{Mini Trip Report} Long Weekend in Orlando

Orlando is my hometown. I moved there in the eighties before Universal, MGM, or Animal Kingdom was built. Oh those were the days in central Florida, when I-drive and Disney were smaller yet the main hubs. Things weren’t so crowded or complicated.  Below are some of my favorite destinations/memories during those days…. Anyone from Orlando will know what they are. Sadly, these attractions are long gone. Orlando today is much more overwhelming… there’s more people, lights, sensory overload, and expense.

Photo by Nomeus, 2007 - Flurbex.com


Flash forward to the present day and age. We opted for a long weekend trip to Orlando to see family over Easter and to take advantage of our companion pass on Southwest (which saved us $500 this trip). We stayed in two hotels, rented a car,  ate out for all meals, and squeezed in a day at Islands of Adventure. In short, it was an expensive weekend despite the Southwest advantage and getting a good $10 a day deal  with free gas on an Alamo full sized vehicle. Overall, it was a wonderful trip with plenty of sun and warm weather. That’s what counts as a New Yorker still surrounded by snow.

IOA UNIVERSAL TIPS:

1. In regards to rides, the Express pass is worth it. Or if you don’t mind being split up, try the single rider line. We had neither and only rode two rides. Each was a 60-70 min wait.

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2. Eat lunch at Three Broomsticks. It was efficient and only took 20 minutes to receive our food. We opted for a chicken ribs plate (with roasted corn on cob) and fish and chips. My son had a butter beer and chicken strips. The corn was a little undercooked, but everything else was tasty!

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3.  You can buy your Harry Potter wand and items at the front store to avoid the crowds and mayhem in the small shops in the Harry Potter section. Our hotel actually sold many of the same items, and there wasn’t a 20 person line.

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4. Have fun!

MY HOTEL SUGGESTION: Cabana Bay Beach Hotel

Cons:
-Small rooms and no balcony
-No early check in or checkout givn to us
-Parking fee ($13 per day)
-Breakfast for a fee (8.95 in the diner or try the Starbucks. Hotel room only has a frig)
-Large and spread out (aka lots of walking)

Pros:
+Newer hotel with a fun vibe (bathrooms stocked with VO5 and Zest!)
+Comfy bed
+Lazy river, slide, 2 pools  plus outdoor games like baggo and lawn golf
+Free transport to Universal (5 min ride)
+Affordable price even for a holiday spring weekend: $199 per night

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We will stay here again especially if my son has any say in it. He said it was the best vacation ever. 🙂

 

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#TBT- Fort Myers Beach vacay, 2012

One of the vacations that I never blogged about was our 2012 trip to Ft. Myers Beach. I think the reason behind it was that as soon as we returned to NY, I began looking for employment. I was prepping my resume, getting my fingerprints, and applying for my license. This trip was  a celebration trip- I was finished with my Master’s of Science in Teaching degree. Granted I had to finish my final project while ON this trip, but once I clicked SEND, I still had half the trip to savor and party like a rockstar.

I love Ft. Myers Beach (FMB). I have been vacationing here since elementary school. During my childhood, FMB was were we went to celebrate the end of the school year and my birthday during Memorial Day weekend. Thus, it seemed fitting for me to celebrate the conclusion of my degree here.

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Stuff

Alright, so I did manage to bundle Xander up yesterday so he could experience snow for the first time this year. Let’s just say his snowpants were  12M, his boots a bit too big and his gloves weren’t waterproof. He cried and didn’t want to go outside. Neither did I. But I forced him and he loved it until his boots filled with snow and his face was beet red (about 4 minutes after we ventured into the nearly 0 F temperatures –factoring in wind chill). However, he did enjoy those 4 minutes. He thought it was a blast throwing snowballs up into the air 🙂 And I had fun snapping his photo with my new ‘nifty-fifty’ lens.

On another note, my little bro is in Thailand! He flew out the other day and will spend the next 6 months (or more) becoming a scuba god. He’s writing about his experience, so I recommend you head over to his neck of the Internet woods. His blog is located at www.thescubaintern.com.