10 Tips for Visiting Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida
We recently visited Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for the first time. We visited during the holiday break in December, which is the busiest week of the whole year. We knew that ahead of time but, boy, was it packed! The staff did a good job of keeping people moving and safe. It also rained on and off all day. So, not ideal conditions for visiting a major (and expensive!) amusement park, but we still had fun. We also learned a lot.
Sandoway Discovery Center in Delray Beach, FLA
Opened in 1998 in a former private residence in downtown Delray Beach, Florida, Sandoway Discovery Center is a nonprofit center focused on the native coastal environment and its inhabitants. The Center, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has plans to expand the outdoor area with an additional touch tank for stingrays in the coming year.
10 Must Do Activities at the Contemporary Resort in Disney World
There are so many options when it comes to hotel accommodations at Walt Disney World- everything from camping at Fort Wilderness to staying inside Cinderella’s Castle. We’ve been to Disney World three times, and each time we’ve stayed at a different level resort. On our second trip a few years ago, we splurged and stayed at the Contemporary Resort, considered a deluxe resort because of its amenities and proximity to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Parks. While we were there, we found so many fun things to do. Here are our top ten favorite things:
Top 10 Disney Planning Tips
We’re coming up on our third visit to the “mice” in Orlando this summer and our children are so excited! We were definitely bitten by the Disney World “bug” and keep coming back for more magic. It truly is (one of) the happiest places on Earth, no matter how old you are.
Regular readers and followers know I am a planner. I start planning a trip to Disney World even earlier than I plan most other trips. Lately, I have found myself sharing some advice with friends who are going to Disney for the first time. I thought I would share my tips:
My Top Disney World Dining Recommendations
This past weekend, I was at a party chatting with a friend about her upcoming trip to Disney World. She asked for my dining recommendations. Before she knew it, I had pen and paper out, my My Disney Experience app on my phone open, and it was about thirty minutes before she could get a word in the “conversation”. I had a LOT of recommendations.
We’ve been to Disney twice already with our children, and have five days booked for this summer, as part of our larger road trip. While I wouldn’t consider myself a Disney expert, I did speak to a lot of people for personal recommendations and read a lot of blogs before each of our trips. I was very interested in where to eat to have the best family experience.
You can make dining reservations 180 days from the start of your stay. I cannot stress enough how important it is to make dining reservations ahead of time, and as soon as you can. When you make a reservation, they will ask for credit card information to hold the reservation. There are various cancellation policies based on the venue; some restaurants give you up to five days, and some are within 24 hours of a reservation. There are also a few dining options that will require you to prepay for your meal. Disney has various dining plan packages at various price points, and include snacks, quick service meals (you order at a counter, pick up your food, and find a place to sit), full service (buffet and menu options), and formal dining. Note: Disney Dining Plans are only available if you are staying on a Disney owned property.
Why I Love Staying at Marriott Hotels
Airbnb and Homeaway are popular ideas when it comes to housing while traveling and I love the idea of staying in a neighborhood and really becoming part of a community. I also know several people who love hitting the road in their camp or trailer, or even camping in an old fashioned tent, communing with nature. For me, and my husband and young(er) children, it’s less hassle and gives me more of a “vacation” versus “trip” feel to stay in a hotel when we’re traveling as a family. I like the idea of someone making my bed with fresh sheets each day, whipping up breakfast, and helping me navigate around a new place.
My family has become loyal fans of the Marriott company. You’ll read specifics about my favorite Marriott properties in some of my posts, but my favorite brand of the company is the Residence Inn. Residence Inns are designed to feel more like a home than a “regular” hotel room. Plus, they’re consistent in many ways I appreciate: