Essentials for Your Orlando Vacation

Plan ahead and be prepared for your next Disney area vacation. Chances are, you will be spending most of your time outdoors and walking the popular theme parks. Remember these five essentials when packing for your trip to Orlando.

You can’t go on vacation in Florida without remembering suntan lotion. The sun tends to have a stronger, more direct effect on the skin in our state. Most of your vacation will be spent outside. Make sure you apply lotion from head to toe to avoid uncomfortable sunburn. Aim for an SPF of 15 or higher.

Dress for the weather. We are grateful for warm summer-like temperatures through most of the year. Summer months can be scorching-hot, while our fall and spring months are pleasantly warm. Visitors will enjoy mild winter months with noticeably cooler nights, November-February. Pay close attention to the weather forecast in anticipation for your trip for the latest weather trends.

Sandals are part of the daily dress code in Florida. However, tennis shoes will make a world of difference in comfort when visiting the Orlando theme parks. Be prepared to spend a whole day on your feet at Walt Disney World. Painful feet will not create a memorable experience.

 photo SuitcaseOverflowingGreatly.jpg

Smartphones are extremely useful tools while on vacation. Popular theme parks have created great apps to help you plan daily itineraries. Guests can view ride times, theme shows at the parks, and even make their dinner reservations straight from their phones! The devices are also excellent for weather forecasts and driving directions by GPS. Take pictures or play games for entertainment while waiting in long lines or sunbathing on a beach in Central Florida.

One last piece of advice for your next Orlando vacation is to bring your hunger for thrilling adventure! New amusements are introduced every year in Orlando. There is something for everyone and every age! You will never grow tired of visiting because you will never be able to do it all.

New Attractions This Summer

The excitement never gets old in Orlando. Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are constantly adding new attractions to keep the fun alive. Experience these new thrill rides on your next trip to the Orlando area.

Disney has added the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to the ever-growing Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. The family-friendly rollercoaster transports riders through the famous diamond mine from the movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It will seem like you’re part of the movie while twisting, turning, and rocking in unique mine train carts. Indeed, a ride not to miss on your next trip to the Magic Kingdom.

 photo Disney-Mine-Train.jpg

Universal Studios has built a new land to their Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The much-anticipated Diagon Alley is set to open in early this month. Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts is the new, 3D multi-dimensional ride that anchors this new attraction. Fabulous eateries and shops compliment the ride! Dine on traditional British fare at the Leaky Cauldron and grab desert afterwards at the Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. Diagon Alley is a must-do adventure in Orlando.

Orlando is ever-changing. The amazing attractions at Disney World and Universal Studios can easily take up most of your vacation time. Map out your activities and plan wisely to make sure you are able to visit these new rides.

Old Town Excitement

There is more to Kissimmee than the well-known theme parks. Visitors to the area can add more magic to their vacation with horse rides, helicopter tours, swamp excursions, and even rodeos. Small town charm surrounds Disney and can be found along Highway 192. One of these unique roadside attractions is Old Town.

Old Town provides affordable fun and excitement for the whole family! Rides, restaurants, and shops make up this popular attraction. There are thrill rides for the adults, gentler rides for small children, and classic carnival rides, such as a carousel and bumper cars. Enjoy friendly competition while racing the go-carts. Think of Old Town as a super-charged street fair.

 photo OTWNnewer.jpg

Classic car enthusiasts love to bring their cars to the nightly car shows that Old Town is known for. Vintage cars line up for show every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night. American muscle cars are shown every Friday night. You won’t want to miss the local bands performing on weekend nights while the cars cruise the streets.

Unlike the larger theme parks, Old Town is an attraction where you can experience everything in one day. The rides and restaurants are open late. After having so much fun, you may want to do it all a second time!

 

Old Town | 5770 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway (Highway 192) | Kissimmee, Florida

Beautiful Beaches Just A Short Drive Away

When you vacation in Central Florida, you truly get the best of both worlds. Not only do we have the most popular theme parks, but we are within a short driving distance to beautiful beaches. In the midst of all the Disney excitement and adventure of Universal Studios Orlando, take a break and relax on the wide, sandy shores of our “local” beaches. There is a beach that’s perfect for everybody.

Both Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach on the east coast are reachable in under an hour’s drive from the Orlando area. Cocoa Beach is popular with surfers and those that prefer a more family-friendly beach. Enjoy a wide strand with plenty of room to enjoy traditional beach sports. Watch cruise ships as they come and go out of Cape Canaveral. Rocket launches are also popular events at the Kennedy Space Center.

Daytona Beach provides a thriving scene for active young adults. Located just north of Cocoa Beach, Daytona is home to the Daytona 500 race of NASCAR. It is perfectly accepted for beachgoers to drive their cars onto the beach and park. Drive out onto the beach strand and set up camp for the day! Motorcycle rallies are held during the months of March and October.

 photo clearwater.jpg

To the west, the Gulf Coast of Florida has much calmer waters and promotes a more laid-back feel. Clearwater Beach can be reached within an hour and a half from the Orlando area. Experience crystal clear ocean water and a wide, white sandy shore that’s perfect for beachside games. Popular ocean sports include paddleboarding and parasailing. While here, make plans to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for fun family-friendly activities while learning about Florida’s ocean animals.

Which beach sounds right to you? On your next vacation to the Orlando area, don’t forget to make time for our beautiful beaches. The salt air and warm sand between your toes nicely compliments the active days spent inside the theme parks.

The Chocolate Kingdom Chocolate Factory

Chocolate lovers of all ages will enjoy their visit to the Chocolate Kingdom, of Kissimmee. This popular attraction boasts a full-service chocolate factory and candy shop that features delicious treats made fresh daily. It will be hard to resist purchasing some of these fine sweets to indulge in while on vacation. These goodies are locally made with passion only at the Chocolate Kingdom.

 photo ChocKing.jpg

Guests are treated to an interactive factory tour that lasts less than an hour. Learn all about the bean-to-bar process of chocolate production. The tour is very family-friendly, as spectators follow a unique storyline which adds more excitement and adventure during their visit.  There are even chocolate tastings, where you will be able to sample chocolate at the different stages of production.  At the end of the tour, make your own fresh chocolate candy bar with a wide selection of toppings! Not only will you gain a new appreciation about chocolate, but you will take away sweeter vacation memories.

Chocolate Kingdom is located beside Old Town Kissimmee and Fun Spot on Highway 192 in Kissimmee.

Upcoming Events in Orlando - Spring and Summer 2014

Plan your upcoming vacation around these fun spring and summer events at the Orlando area theme parks. All of the listed events are family-friendly. Admission to most events is covered in the cost of your park ticket and will complement the excitement of thrilling rides and amusements. Check our blog often for more great ideas that will add to your Central Florida vacation experience.

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (now through May 18th) is a wonderful kick off to our spring season in Kissimmee. Visitors enjoy bright flower displays, home improvement seminars, live music from legendary bands, and unique seasonal foods at the World Showcase. After one trip to the Flower & Garden Festival, you'll want to schedule future vacations around this event.

Epcot’s popular summer concert series, Sounds Like Summer, begins on June 8th and runs until July 26th. Listen to your favorite classic rock songs performed by tribute bands. Bands honor the Beach Boys, U2, the Eagles, Bee Gees, and other well-known acts. These concerts take place in the America Gardens Theatre in the World Showcase with a different band performing each week.

Fans of the popular Star Wars films will enjoy Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios, May 16th - June 15th. Disney is the place to be for special thrilling entertainment paying tribute to the Star Wars franchise. Experience specialty rides, celebrity parades, fireworks shows, Jedi Training for younger children, and collect autographs from your favorite Star Wars characters. It's all taking place right here!

 photo StarWarsRESZ.jpg

Viva La Musica takes place at SeaWorld every Saturday, from April 26th - May 17th and pays homage to Latin culture. Experience tasty Latin cuisine and exciting concerts featuring internationally renowned Latin musicians. Come hungry, as there are lots of delicious dishes to sample. This event is free with a paid SeaWorld admission.

During SeaWorld’s Summer Nights Celebration, which takes place June 21st – August 10th, the excitement heats up as the day cools down. Thrilling light shows and fireworks displays light up the night skies and add an extra flair to the always popular marine show featuring Shamu. Clyde and Seamore put on a hilarious nighttime show as well, titled “Sea Lions Tonite.” Enjoy a thrilling experience on SeaWorld’s rollercoasters as the day winds down.

Universal Studios hosts its own Grand Celebration of the New Orleans original party, Mardi Gras. This party is ongoing until June 7th. Catch the same level of excitement as you would in New Orleans, only in Orlando and beside great Theme Park rides. Internationally known music superstars and bands from hip hop and rock and roll will be hosting free concerts. Extravagant floats, Cajun food, and Bayou-fused music surround Universal Studios to create a festive environment.