Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Your 2023 Orlando Travel Hack

(Guest Post from my friends at Vacation Central Florida)

Welcome to the ultimate guide for exploring the enchanting city of Orlando in 2023. With its
vibrant atmosphere, world-class attractions, and endless entertainment options, Orlando has
become a top travel destination for adventurers of all ages. Whether you're a thrill-seeker, a
nature lover, or a history buff, Orlando has something for everyone. This comprehensive guide
will unlock the secrets of Orlando travel, providing valuable insights, must-see attractions,
hidden gems, travel tips, and budget-friendly activities to make your trip truly unforgettable.

Why Orlando is a Popular Travel Destination
Orlando's popularity as a travel destination can be attributed to a variety of factors:
1. It is home to the world-famous Walt Disney World Resort, attracting millions of visitors
annually. This magical kingdom offers a unique experience with its iconic Cinderella
Castle, thrilling rides, and beloved characters.
2. Universal Orlando Resort, known for its thrilling roller coasters and immersive
experiences, adds to the city's allure.
3. Orlando's beautiful weather year-round makes it a perfect escape for those seeking
sunshine and warmth.
Orlando has earned its reputation as the ultimate vacation destination with its diverse

Best Time to Travel to Orlando
When planning your trip to Orlando, it's crucial to consider the best time to visit. The city
experiences a subtropical climate characterized by hot summers and mild winters. The peak
travel season in Orlando coincides with school breaks and major holidays, resulting in larger
crowds and higher prices. If you prefer fewer crowds and more affordable rates, consider visiting
during the shoulder seasons: spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). You can
enjoy pleasant weather during these periods while avoiding the peak tourist season. However,
remember that occasional rain showers are expected in Orlando so be prepared with rain gear.

Must-See Attractions in Orlando
Every visit to Orlando is complete with exploring its iconic attractions. Begin your adventure at
Walt Disney World Resort, where you can immerse yourself in the magic of Disney. From the
classic rides at Magic Kingdom to the futuristic world of Epcot, there is something for everyone.
Next, head to Universal Orlando Resort, where you can experience the wizarding world of Harry
Potter or venture into the thrilling universe of superheroes. A visit to SeaWorld Orlando is a must
for animal lovers, with its captivating marine life shows and thrilling rides. And remember to
explore the enchanting landscapes of the Harry P. Leu Gardens, home to over 50 acres of
stunning flora.

Hidden Gems in Orlando

Beyond the well-known attractions, Orlando is also home to hidden gems waiting to be
discovered. One such gem is the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which
houses the world's most extensive collection of Tiffany glass. This hidden treasure is a
must-visit for art enthusiasts. Head to Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando if you want a
peaceful retreat. You can rent a swan-shaped paddle boat or stroll around the scenic lake here.
To taste local culture, visit the Mills 50 District, a vibrant neighborhood filled with eclectic shops,
art galleries, and delicious international cuisine. Exploring these hidden gems will allow you to
experience the authentic side of Orlando.

Orlando Travel Tips for First-Time Visitors
If you're a first-time visitor to Orlando, it's essential to be prepared to make the most of your trip:
1. Consider staying at a condo or private house rental, like Vacation Central Florida, within
the theme park resorts to maximize your time and convenience. This way, you can easily
access the attractions without worrying about transportation without paying extra fees.
2. Purchasing tickets in advance and utilizing fast-pass options will help you save time and
avoid long queues. Remember to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen, as the Florida sun
can be intense.
3. Familiarize yourself with the park maps and schedules to plan your day efficiently.
By following these tips, you can navigate Orlando like a pro.

Budget-Friendly Things to Do in Orlando
Orlando doesn't have to break the bank. Plenty of budget-friendly activities offer incredible
experiences without draining your wallet. Stroll through the scenic Winter Park, where you can
explore the charming boutiques and enjoy a picnic by the lake. Visit the Orlando Science Center
to engage in interactive exhibits and educational programs. If you're a nature lover, head to
Wekiwa Springs State Park, where you can swim in crystal-clear springs and hike through lush
trails. Additionally, exploring the vibrant neighborhood of Thornton Park will allow you to
immerse yourself in the local culture without spending a fortune.

Orlando Travel During Colder Months
While Orlando is known for its warm weather, the colder months also offer unique experiences
for travelers. During this time, you can enjoy the festive atmosphere at the theme parks, with
special holiday events and dazzling decorations. Additionally, the cooler temperatures make
outdoor activities more enjoyable, such as exploring the scenic trails of the Tibet-Butler Nature
Preserve or taking a hot air balloon ride over the city. Pack warm clothing for the cooler
evenings, as temperatures can drop significantly. Traveling to Orlando during the colder months
will provide a different perspective on this beloved city.

Orlando is a captivating city with endless adventure, relaxation, and exploration possibilities.
From its world-famous theme parks to its hidden gems and budget-friendly activities, Orlando
offers something for every type of traveler. By following this ultimate guide, you will have all the
tools and knowledge necessary to unlock the secrets of Orlando travel in 2023. Whether visiting
for the first time or returning to rediscover its magic, Orlando will undoubtedly leave you with
unforgettable memories. So pack your bags, embrace the enchantment, and let Orlando whisk
you away on the journey of a lifetime.

Start planning your Orlando adventure today and make 2023 the year you unlock the secrets of
this incredible city!

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic releases 2023 menu

Delicious new dishes from Rosa Mexicano, Il Mulino and Amare will join festival favorites from Shula’s, Kimonos and more for the event’s 14th year
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel has released the menu for the 14th year of its Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, taking place Friday, Nov. 10 and Saturday, Nov. 11. The menu lineup of more than 20 items includes delectable new dishes and beloved festival favorites from the hotel’s resident restaurants and lounges, and festival-exclusive pop-ups.

Over the course of the two-night event, guests will explore a wide range of cuisines with Mexican, Italian, sushi, steak, seafood and barbeque all available throughout the event’s food stations, with different menus each night. 

ROSA - Red Chile Taco

Friday, September 01, 2023

Enjoy Magical Dining at Taverna Opa

Visit Orlando's Magical Dining, a culinary extravaganza that allows locals and tourists alike to explore the diverse flavors of the city, is happening now; and I've been making my way around the city to enjoy as many experiences as possible. 

Photo courtesy: Visit Orlando

Last night, I embarked on a gastronomic adventure at Taverna Opa, a Mediterranean restaurant nestled on the second floor at Pointe Orlando. With a three-course menu ($40) that promised to tantalize my taste buds, I was eager to dive into a world of flavors. Join me as I recount my delightful journey through saganaki, filet mignon, and Greek yogurt -- plus the additional complementing wine flight that elevated the entire experience.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

A Central Florida holiday tradition Festival of Trees: “Enchanted Holidays”

One of Central Florida’s most beloved traditions, Festival of Trees, signals the arrival of the holiday season and returns to spread joy and cheer from November 11-19, 2023. 

Presented by the Council of 101, this year’s event celebrates the magic and memories of the holiday season with its new theme, “Enchanted Holidays.”

As guests make their way through the museum, they’ll be transported to a world of enchanted elegance and magical wonder as they take in the sites around them. Festival of Trees: “Enchanted Holidays” honors the magic created when the Central Florida Community comes together to support one another and the Orlando Museum of Art.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Central Florida Zoo’s Zoo Boo Bash set for Oct. 14-15, 21-22, 28-29, 2023

This October, the wildest Halloween event in town is returning once again for Zoo fans, this time with an extra weekend of fun. 

The beloved Zoo Boo Bash, presented by Orlando Health, is offering more Halloween festivities than ever this year with three weekends of costumes, an exciting trick-or-treat path and all your Zoo favorites.

This year’s party takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on select dates, Oct. 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29.

Gatorland’s Popular Gators, Ghosts and Goblins Halloween Event Returns For Fifth Year of Family Fun and Fright Done Right!

Gatorland®, the “Alligator Capital of the World™,” is bringing back its popular Gators, Ghosts and Goblins™ Halloween event for a fifth year in a row of family fun and fright done right!  The all-ages, daytime, family-friendly event takes place over three weekends in October, from Oct. 14 through 29, 2023.

Halloween fun is for everyone at this all-ages, daytime event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., included with park admission. Guests are welcome to wear costumes.  But nothing scary or gory, please.  Skunk Ape is easily frightened, seriously.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Things to Do: Labor Day Weekend in Orlando

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant will host the 11th annual Great Irish Hooley roots revival music festival Labor Day weekend beginning Friday, Sept. 1 and continuing through Monday, Sept. 4.