Nov 13 2014

Orlando Tourist Channel

Here is the tourist channel as seen by millions of hotel guests in and around Orlando.

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Oct 24 2014

What to Take on Holiday With You

Published by under New to Orlando

Pushchairs/Car Seats
If you have children, depending on their ages, as to what you need to take for them. Children under the age of 6 need to have either a child seat or a booster seat. You can take your own as this is the cheapest and best way to do it. It is something like $7 – $10 a day and is payable locally when you pick up the car. These can sometimes be a bit grubby too so I would take your own. The same with pushchairs/buggies (Strollers), if you can, take your own if it is not too bulky, there is no charge for taking both of these items on the plane and it doesn’t come out of your luggage allowance on all of the airlines that I know of but there may be one out there that does. What happens is, at the airport, they give you a big polythene bag to put it in. Your pushchair stays with you until you board and then you hand it over and it goes in the hold. So you have the advantage of having somewhere for the little one whilst you are at the airport. If you decide to leave your pushchair here, then avoid renting one from the theme parks as they are expensive, currently as of 2014 they are $15 a day if you rent a multiple day rental it is $13 a day. You can buy one from Walmart for about $20 or if you are staying at a villa ask the owner if they have one. Many previous guests leave them behind.

If you are flying economy most of the scheduled airlines luggage allowance is 1 x 23kg per person, including children. If you are fling Premium Economy or Business Class your allowance may be 2 x 23kg and if you are lucky enough to be flying First Class it’s 3 x 32kg. Some charter airlines allowances are slightly less so check up before you book or before you start to pack. It is very tempting to take clothes for all seasons but I can assure you, you will take lots of stuff you will not wear and it will eat into your allowance. Try to keep things to a minimum, if you are staying at a villa you can wash and dry clothing easily so you don’t need have a change of clothing for every day. A lot of hotels also have washers and dryers available for guest’s use. You just need loads of 25c coins (Quarters). All of this previous information is assuming that you will be doing a lot of shopping whilst in Florida and you will need to get it home with you without it costing you more than you could have bought it for before you left. You also get a 10kg cabin baggage allowance with most airlines. Some airlines strictly adhere to the “One Piece” rule and will not allow you to take any other pieces aboard without paying for them.

I often get asked if you can take food with you to the US the short answer is no really, things like fruit, vegetables, agricultural, dairy and meat products are prohibited. You can take tea and coffee with you if you wish but everything else can be got quite cheaply over there, such as cereals for kids if yours only eats them for breakfast, most restaurants though do have cereals on the menus at breakfast time. Baby milk can be taken over with you too but in small quantities if not in hold luggage. This is from TSA (Transportation Security Administration) regarding baby food, formula “Baby Formula, Breast Milk, Juice, and Other Liquids
Medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces (100ml) and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Officers may ask travellers to open these items to conduct additional screening and passengers should declare them for inspection at the checkpoint.”
Larger quantities can be packed in hold luggage. One other thing too bear in mind, they may sell the same brand over there in the supermarkets like Publix and WalMart.

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Oct 16 2014

Just Before Your Trip

Published by under Flights,New to Orlando

You should now have an idea of what you need to plan for before you leave for your trip to Orlando. The last thing to consider is whether or not to travel to the airport the day before your flight. We always do it as not only is it less stressful and more convenient it feels like another night of your holiday. We have always flown from Gatwick and stayed on the airport. We have stayed many times at the Hilton, a few times at the Sofitel and more recently 2 twice at the Courtyard by Marriott. The first two are more expensive but the Marriott is just as nice and considerably cheaper. The only thing is if you want to go to the terminal it is a steady 8 minute walk. There is a shuttle that runs every 20 minutes though. Whereas, the Hilton is connected by walkways to the South Terminal and the Sofitel is connected to the North Terminal, if you were not flying with BA, you would need to get the monorail/tram to the South terminal on the morning of your flight. Another new addition is bloc, these are small but cheaper hotel rooms attached to the airport terminals.
There are numerous private B & B’s and hotels close to the airport that can offer overnight stays and parking too. My tip is to use Holiday Extras, they have a price promise and have always been good for us.
There are hotels at other major airports, such as Bewley’s which comes recommended at Manchester as does the Crowne Plaza. Again these can be booked through Holiday Extras
Another key feature that some airlines offer at some airports is “Twilight Check-in” Virgin offer this at Gatwick but not at Manchester for some reason. From 5pm to 9pm you can check your bags in on the day before your flight. You will receive your boarding passes and then all you have to do is go to the gate when it opens. I believe Thomson do something similar this is according to their website” If you’re flying with Thomson Airways from Gatwick, Manchester or Birmingham, and your flight departs during the morning, you can drop off your luggage from 12.00 midday to 10pm the day before you fly. That said, Day Before Bag Drop is subject to availability, “
All of these things make life a bit easier and take the hassle out of getting up in the middle of the night and driving to the airport, disturbing the kids sleep and tiring you out too.

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Oct 09 2014

Accomodation Areas

There are 3 main areas for accommodation here they are:


This road is approx. 11 miles long and the Northern end of it is where most hotels, shopping and restaurants are located. Universal Studios and Sea World are close to I-Drive so if you are a non-driver or considering not having a rental car then this area would suit you best. I-Drive is served by the area’s exclusive and convenient I-RIDE Trolley service you can sit back and ride up and down the International Drive Resort Area. The ticket prices are just a few dollars or you can buy a week pass. Many restaurants all within walking distance of most of the hotels. There are two Outlet malls (Premium Outlets) one at the North End of I-Drive and the other just off I-Drive on Vineland Road and both are served by the I-RIDE Trolley bus.


Kissimmee is closer to Walt Disney World and has the well-known Hwy 192 the Irlo Bronson Highway, which has lots of restaurants shops and motels. There are also some villa communities here too. The town of Celebration is located here too and was built and originally run by Disney and is a fully functioning town. Old Town is another attraction just off the 192. A lot of the motels have been here a lot of years as this was the first real touristy area built after the completion of WDW. Some of the hotels look a bit tired and in need of some renovation but there are still some nice ones too. The 192 can get busy during rush hour and so travelling to theme parks may take a bit longer.

Hwy 27 is a road that was once orange groves but has now been built up to cater for the ever growing demand for somewhere to stay, these are almost all villa communities peppered along its length Hwy 27 is divided by the Interstate 4 (I-4) which runs from Daytona Beach to Tampa. North of the I-4 is where most communities on the 27 are and the 27 also meets up with the 192. South of the I-4 will take you to Haines City and the last of the villa rental communities. You may hear a lot about distances to the theme parks from some of these locations and yes some are further from Disney but closer to the other parks each place has its own charm and good points and many people return year after year to stay in all the locations.
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Sep 24 2014

Our Orlando Flight 2014

Published by under Flights,New to Orlando

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Sep 23 2014

Villa or Hotel?

Published by under New to Orlando

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Dec 07 2012

The Little Mermaid at New Fantasyland


Visitors to the Magic Kingdom can now enjoy the new Fantasyland. The new area opened on the 6th December 2012.  You can travel with Ariel, the Little Mermaid, in her new ride “Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid” songs and characters from the movie will make appearances on the attraction.

Set in Ariel’s undersea world, guests are treated to a “Dark Ride” with modern technological enhancements that make this ride an experience that resembles many scenes from the film. You enter this part of Fantasyland, through Prince Eric’s Castle, descending through grottos and then onto the ride. Various distractions are visible throughout your waiting in line, from such things as Barnacles, Crabs and Starfish.

The ride car resembles a clam shell and once you board it Scuttle, the yarn-spinning seagull, welcomes guests as they embark on their adventure. He tells the story of how Ariel wanted to leave her underwater world and become part of the human race. First, before we can see Ariel, we must descend under the sea. Special effects give the feeling of descending in your clamshell to the ocean floor.  First area we reach is Ariel’s Grotto, where we see the treasures she has collected on land. Things such as whozits, whatzits and thingamabobs. This is where she sings “Part of Your World.”

Then we see a whole host of sea creatures singing and playing instruments to try and convince Ariel to stay “under the sea” all conducted by Sebastian the Crab. However she is determined to go and visit the Sea Witch to see if she can make her human. They have made a great job of Ursula’s lair, along with Flotsam and Jetsom she sings “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”

Next Ariel gets her wish and she becomes human and we follow her to the surface, where we see friends encouraging Prince Eric to “Kiss the Girl” much to the annoyance of Ursula, which leads to a spectacular ending, with a few surprises.


By Steve Sewell

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Nov 23 2012

Candlelight Processional at EPCOT

Event:   Candlelight Processional
Venue:  EPCOT
Nov 23 2012 – 30 Dec 2012

Time once again for this traditional Disney event, the Candlelight Processional. Held twice nightly at the American Gardens with a variety of celebrity guest narrators, a 50 piece orchestra and a mass choir. The event retells the story of the birth of Jesus. There is no additional charge to view this but the places are limited.

Some of the celebrities this year are.

  • 11/23 – 11/25: Geena Davis
  • 11/26 – 11/29: Neil Patrick Harris
  • 11/30 – 12/01: Whoopi Goldberg
  • 12/02 – 12/04: Andy Garcia
  • 12/05 – 12/07: Blair Underwood
  • 12/08 – 12/10: James Denton
  • 12/11 –  12/13: Jodi Benson
  • 12/14 – 12/16: Lea Salonga
  • 12/17 – 12/19: Alfre Woodard
  • 12/20 – 12/22: Trace Adkins
  • 12/23 – 12/25: Gary Sinise
  • 12/26 – 12/28: Amy Grant
  • 12/29 – 12/30: Marlee Matlin (interpreter: Jack Jason)


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Jul 11 2012

Shopping in Orlando

Published by under Orlando Articles,Shopping

View Shopping in a larger map

Orlando is such a great place to shop and you will be spoilt for choice. There are shops and outlets to suit everyone from Gucci to Guess and JC Penny to Prada, they are all here and all the time more are being added.

Some of my favourite places to shop are as follows. For the outlets deals I like Orlando Premium Outlets both at Vineland Rd and I-Drive where the old Belz Outlet Mall was. The Vineland road location was the first one on the scene and is pretty much an outdoor mall with some overhead cover. They boast 150 stores that include Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Armani, Nike, Levi’s, Reebok, Guess and many more. There is also a food court serving a wide variety of food, some seating is outside too. A tip here is for the over the over 50’s to make use of the 50 Plus Shopper Perks . There is an extra 10% off your purchases every Tuesday from participating stores. It also growing at the newer International Drive location. There are a few more stores here but pretty much the same sort of thing. Parking can be easier at the International Drive location than the Vineland road mall.

Other main malls are the Mall at Millennia and the Florida Mall, the Florida Mall has over 250 stores and is more of a regular shopping center with stores such as Dillard’s, JC Penney, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears, M&M’s World, Clarks of England, Hollister Co., MAC, Apple, Microsoft Store, Pandora Jewelry and many more. There is also a much larger food court here with all the usual offerings. The Asian food vendors are keen to offer a sample of their wares, the Bourbon Chicken is very nice but it always gives me a terrific thirst bout an hour after. Could be the MSG! The mall stays open until 9pm except Sundays where they close at 6pm.

The Mall at Millennia is a newer mall and is a bit more high end, shop wise and merchandise. Over 150 stores many exclusive brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Apple, Cartier, Bloomingdales, Macy’s and many more. The Mall is on 2 levels and there is also a food court.

It is worth knowing if you are not from the US you can get a discount passport for Macy’s gift wrap, upstairs, that gives you a further 11% off items in the store including already marked down stuff. So you can get some great deals.

By Steve Sewell

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Jul 05 2012

Jaws Replacement at Universal Studios Orlando

Jaws ride from above

The old Jaws ride.

Following the announcement of Jaws closing at Universal Studios, it is still shrouded in mystery as to what exactly will replace it. There are strong rumours that it is going to be a Harry Potter expansion following the success of the one at Islands of Adventure. Rumour has it that it will feature a London similar to that in the HP movies. There will be a ride set in Gringott’s Wizarding Bank Coaster and there is also space for a Hogwarts Express that may connect you to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in IOA. There is also an enclosed space that could be a secret entrance to Diagon Alley and a Restaurant that could be the site of the Leaky Cauldron.

By Steve Sewell

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