All posts by Tracee

Tracee's best advertisement is her Disney love and experience; she's visited the Walt Disney World over 20 times and loves to sample special events like : Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival, International Food and Wine Festival, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, Mickey's Christmas Party, the Candle Light Procession and the Osborne Celebration of Lights. Her family has even been chosen to be the Grand Marshall's in the Magic Kingdom Parade! If she had her druthers, she'd be at a Disney theme park every day, but - since SHE can't be there all of the time - she enjoys helping others experience "the magic" instead. She brings her enthusiasm for Disney to every client's vacation planning and offers service with an attention to the details of making a Disney experience magical. In her spare time, she is very active in her church and is a leader in the youth group. She loves spending time with her husband, Jeff, and her twin boys. Tracee is a bonafide "DisneyKin" who loves everything Disney! She adds , "Some of my fondest family memories are of Disney World!"

Disney World Outside The Theme Parks

In my last blog, I told you about some exciting things that you could do after dark in the parks.  Today, I want to share some activities that you can enjoy outside of the Walt Disney World theme parks.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve always said that I’m going to visit the Walt Disney World Resort and not buy any park passes.  I just want to relax, visit the resorts, eat and shop!  Most people just look at me like I have 3 eyes!  But, there are a number of things to do without visiting the parks. Continue reading Disney World Outside The Theme Parks

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Disney Parks After The Sun Sets

After spending a long day at the parks of Walt Disney World , do you stick around for the after hour activities?  With lights, sounds and lots of action, the parks come to life when the sun sets. Continue reading Disney Parks After The Sun Sets

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Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay is here to stay!

On May 25th the geography of Universal Orlando will change.  Along with 2 theme parks, there will be the new water park, Volcano Bay.  The philosophy celebrated at this new water park is “Water is
watLife. Life is Joy”.  It’s the carefree attitude that the fabled Waturi islanders have embraced on their Pacific isle for centuries. Now you can live the Waturi way at this all-new park where thrills and relaxation flow in perfect harmony. Continue reading Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay is here to stay!

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EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival: Flowery Fun!

 

EPCOT will soon be kicking off their annual celebration of Spring with it’s International Flower and Garden Festival.  Beginning on March 1 through May 29,  you can see the beautiful blossoms and fun character topiaries.  Continue reading EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival: Flowery Fun!

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Disney Cruise Line 2018 Itineraries!

It’s never too early to start planning a cruise, right?  That’s especially true with a  Disney Cruise.  Disney has become so popular with cruisers that the cabins book several months dcand even years in advance.  Believe it or not, the itinerary for early 2018 have already been released!  So, start planning your DREAM and get ready to set sail for exciting cruises to incredible ports!
Continue reading Disney Cruise Line 2018 Itineraries!

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Family Vacation Just Got Better at Sea World and Busch Gardens!

Sea World and Busch Garden unveil major new attractions for the updolphincoming year, and family vacation opportunities expand!  Gone are the days that you wonder from pavilion to pavilion watching the lovable sea creatures.  Now you can hop on exciting and thrilling rides that will turn your insides out! This will be the largest new attraction year in the company’s more than 50 year history. Continue reading Family Vacation Just Got Better at Sea World and Busch Gardens!

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Universal Is EPIC!

A sentence that I find myself saying, quite often, as a Travel Pixie, is “Universal Studios is not part of Disney.”  Universal universalStudios is about 20 minutes away from Disney World.  It’s located closer to the Orlando International Airport.  And yes, it is NOT part of Disney.  Universal is it’s own unique and awesome vacation destination!

Last month, I shared information about the awesome resorts that are located on the Universal grounds.  Now, I want to share the two incredible parks.  Universal has two parts: the Studios and Islands of Adventure. Continue reading Universal Is EPIC!

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Orlando Is Not Just Disney, It’s Universal Orlando, Too!

 

Many times, I’ve heard people say “What’s that other park inuniversal
Orlando?”  The truth is,  there are multiple theme parks in the Orlando area.  And Universal Orlando is an entire vacation destination by itself.  After attending an informational seminar, I’ve learned that this is a “must see” for people of all ages.

Let’s start by taking a look at the fabulous resorts that Universal offers.  There are now 5 that you can choose from, all with different themes and perks. hard rockThere is a resort for every price range and style.  The two original resorts, Hard Rock and Portofino Bay, are the in the ‘Premiere Resort’ category.  Both offer early admission to Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Express Pass that allows you to skip the lines, complimentary transportation to the parks and Universal City Walk, access to City Walk, delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort, priority seating at restaurants and transportation to Sea World and Aquatica.

The Hard Rock name is known for it’s rock star style and rare rock memorabilia.  That’s exactly what you will find at this resort.  Rock star theming along with comfy beds, full service dining and great pools!  Speaking ofhard rock pool pools, HR has the only pool that allows you to jam under water with it’s submerged speakers.  The pool also has a fun water slide and cabana rentals.  On select evenings, you can catch a “dive-in” movie poolside.  The standard rooms at Hard Rock can sleep up to 4 people.  If you need a bit more space and have the kids in tow, you might want to opt for the rock themed kid suites.

Looking for some great food?  Try The legendary Palm bringing the waffkeslegacy of its famous New York steakhouse to Universal Orlando® Resort.  The Palm’s legendary menu offers a variety of American fare, Italian specialties, and its prime cuts of beef and jumbo lobster. If you’re in the mood for eating like the velvetcelebs, head to The Kitchen. It has an array of comfort foods with rock memorabilia on the walls. If you are lucky enough to be visiting Hard Rock on the last Thursday of the month, you can sit in on a Velvet Session.

Portofino Bay, in my opinion, is the stark opposite of HR.  It is an experience in the charm and romance of a Mediterranean village in Italy.  Portofino has elegant rooms and dining.  The water area is potogorgeous with it’s 3 pools and breathtaking  lagoon.  The Beach pool has a water slide and sand beach, the Villa Poll has cabana rentals and if you’re looking for some quiet time, check out the Hillside pool.  PB comes alive at sunset when guests are serenaded on the piazza with live Italian opera during Misica della Notte (Music of the Night).

The accommodations  are made up of 750 rooms and suites. There are several different suite configurations.  One of my favorites is the Despicable Me themed kid suites. minion  An exquisite culinary voyage right to the heart of Italy awaits you amid a decor of Bice (Bee-Chay) at Portofino, which combines Old World elegance and modern chic.  Bice Ristorante offers Northern biceItalian cuisine and superb service in an elegant atmosphere.  If you have a hankering for a  brick oven pizza, be sure to give Sal’s a try.  The Thirsty Fish is a casual bar on the piazza that offers live Jazz Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.

Royal Pacific and Sapphire Falls are the Preferred class of resort. Royal Pacific offers the same front of line access of  the two Premier resorts .  Royal Pacific also will give you priority seating at the royalrestaurants throughout the resort.  Other perks, such as  early admission to Wizarding World of Harry Potter,  complimentary transportation to the parks and Universal City Walk, access to City Walk, delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort, priority seating at restaurants and transportation to Sea World and Aquatica are available at both.

The Royal Pacific will transport you to an exotic South Seas island with it’s sparkling waterfall and lush landscaping.  The 1,000 jurrasicguest rooms and suites, it can accommodate families of 2 to 5.  If you want some privacy away from the little ones, opt for the Jurrasic Park kid suites.

RP offers some great dining choices.  The Island Dining room features Pan Am with a twist.  This is where you can dine with the characters and there is even a special dining room for the kids!   Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (Chop Chop) features cuisine with an Asian-Polynesian fusion.  How can you go wrong with Emeril?  One of the best “extras” at RP is the Luau on Saturday evenings.  It all starts with the nightly torch lighting. luau Sit back and experience an evening of authentic Polynesian food and entertainment at the enchanting Wantilan Luau.  The weekly Hawaiian dinner show featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet of Polynesian specialties, live Hawaiian music and traditional hula dancing. Hula and fire dancers delight the audience and entice a few to even learn the hula!

Sapphire Falls is the newest resort and Universal calls it “an island escape in the heart of an unforgettable adventure”.   It boasts a sapphire16,000 sq ft. zero-entry pool with water slide, play area, hot tub and fire pit. The 1000 guest rooms and suites all sleep up to 5 people, with different configurations.  Each room has a mini fridge, coffee maker and free WiFi.  You can pick from standard view, lagoon view or pool view.  All of the rooms are comfy and a great place to rest after a long day at the parks.

Rumbling in your tummy?  SF has full service dining at Amatista cakeCookhouse, Water Tavern and Drhum Club Kantine.  If you are
looking for something filling with great ambiance, try Amatista.  The outside seating is next to the waterfall for a beautiful, relaxing sound. Upon entering the Strong Water Tavern,  you’ll find a wall of vintage rums complete with your own rum expert, a ceviche bar, and a patio with breathtaking views of the lagoon. Be sure to take part in the daily rum tasting.

bowlIf you are looking for a value, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is first resort in the Prime Value group.  Currently, the Bay has 1800 guest rooms and suites.  The plan is to add another 450 rooms by the end of 2017.  The standard rooms will fit a family of 4 comfortably.  They do offer family suites that sleep 6.  Cabana has 2 large pools,  a tasty food court and the Galaxy Bowl Restaurant, which is a sit down.  Along with a sand beach, CB has a 10 lane bowling alley and dive-in movies.  If you want a blast from the past and you’re missing the beach hotels of yesteryear, this is just what you’ve been looking for!

So, as you can see, Universal Orlando offers a resort for everyone.  Whether you are looking for top of the line amenities or just a great resort at a value, you can’t go wrong.  By the way, did you know that there are 2 awesome parks within walking or complimentary shuttle distance?  Watch for my September blog for more information about those adventures.

If you would like more information about any of the spectacular resorts of Universal Orlando, just contact one of the Travel Pixies at Our Laughing Place Travel.  We will help you plan the perfect vacation!

 

 

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