Category Archives: Orlando

NOT Your Grandma’s Ferris Wheel!

Are you looking for something to do this weekend? We are constantly in search of unique places for our readers to visit. Our latest trips were down I-75 to Orlando to visit I-Drive 360 and a plane trip to the Washington, DC area to see National Harbor in Maryland. What both destinations have in common are massive Ferris wheels, entertainment, restaurants and stunning views.

I-Drive 360, Orlando FL

This entertainment area is located on International Drive, close to the convention area. It was named after the 360° view you will get from the Orlando Eye. You will find restaurants, shops, and entertainment and best of all, lots of free parking!

Coca Cola, Orlando Eye

The huge 400-foot, Ferris wheel opened in 2015 and is run by Merlin Entertainments, under its Midway attraction brands which also has the iconic London Eye. Although this in not as large as the London Eye, it is still impressive and gives you panoramic views of Orlando, theme parks and downtown. Each of the 30 capsules are air-conditioned and have seating. There are touch screens in the gondolas that tell you what you can see on your twenty minute tour. At night, the Eye lights up
with changing color displays commemorating national holidays, important world events, and charitable causes.

Weekend Celebration at Disney

by Trish Utter

Celebrating Colt’s 21st Birthday at The 50s’ Prime Time Cafe

My son, Colt, celebrated his 21st birthday at … Disney! I cannot believe that here we were celebrating my son’s 21st, when it seems like yesterday he was at Disney on all the kiddy rides.

On this trip we needed a couple of hotel rooms, but found Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa to be the ideal location for a large group of friends and family to stay. Just minutes to Disney, and across the street from outlet shopping, this property offers studio to 3 bedroom condos that are huge. We saved money by cooking and the place was big enough too comfortably accommodate everyone.

Colt wanted to show his girlfriend, Hallie Mclean, around Disney’s Hollywood Studios. One of Colt’s first stops was the Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster. This coaster is inside a large building and Aerosmith music plays as you step into a stretch limo that is then catapulted into darkness and you fly past neon, glowing street signs.

Oasis in the middle of Tourist Town

by Trish Utter

Oasis1Shopping in Orlando and visiting Disney can leave you exhausted and wanting sanctuary. It is a pleasant surprise to find a hotel that offers the weary visitor a place to recharge that is conveniently located within 5 minutes of the main gate to Disney and the Outlet Malls and offers a tranquil refuge for visitors.

The Bohemian Hotel is in the heart of Celebration Town Center and sits on the edge of the water. Celebration is a neighborhood of single family homes, unique retail stores, restaurants and cafes that have all been beautifully designed. This is an oasis in the heart of tourist town that only locals seem to know about. You can sit outside with a cup of coffee on one of the quiet little streets and watch the horse drawn carriage go by as it takes people for tours of the neighborhood.

Oasis2On arrival guests are greeted by the doorman. The lobby of the hotel is a work of art but then that is what you expect from one of the Kessler Collection properties. The rustic furniture, mixed in with glittering chandeliers is a sight for the senses.

The hotel gives you the feeling of being in a fabulous upscale, grand home of a movie star, more than a soulless building. Rooms are comfortable with Bose stereo, along with the Kessler CD, luxury linens and beds that are so comfortable you might end up wondering how you can get one to take home.

You can enjoy a martini out by the pool that overlooks the lake or dine in the intimate and sophisticated Lakeside Bar + Grill.

This is a great place to relax and get away from Orlando’s hopping tourist area and rates are surprisingly affordable.


Location and Luxury, a Winning Combination for a Great Vacation

By Trish Utter

bluezoo-restaurant-2_WEBLike most people that travel, I hate lines and crowds and I hate driving. Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort has the perfect solution for those that want to be in the heart of everything without having to get in and out of the car. This towering resort is the only private hotel on Disney property meaning that not only can you visit all the theme parks in a matter of minutes but you also get the extra benefit of Extra Magic hours. This is where the parks are only open to those who stay on Disney property.

Swimming-at-the-Swan_WEBThe resort has 2665 rooms but unlike some other huge hotel properties that have guests walking all over the place, this hotel has everything right where it’s needed. Shopping, restaurants, jogging trails, kids club, five heated pools, tennis courts, spa and their own white sand beach. We were out of our room and in China in ten minutes!!!! ….. China at Epcot that is. We hopped on a boat that ferries guests from the Swan and Dolphin to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. You can even walk to Epcot or Disney’s Boardwalk. If you need to get to any other Disney location there are shuttle buses that arrive every fifteen minutes.

Zip Around the Treetops!

by Trish Utter

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary and on the adventurous side this summer think about this new attraction -zipping 55 feet above 4,700 acres of Florida’s most scenic wilderness preserve at Florida EcoSafaris. Visitors are taken on a safari vehicle into the woods and outfitted by their expert guides with a harness and helmets. Edging your way over the platform suspended high in the air and taking that first leap is worth it as the thrill of flying like a bird becomes reality. As you zip through the tree tops, you will reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour! Ziplining is the cool new thing to do in South America and Europe but now Floridians can enjoy this experience right here in Orlando. This is a terrific team building experience or family bonding activity that will create lifetime memories. Children must be at least 10 years old and guests must weigh between 70-275lbs. There is also a gift shop and restaurant.

Florida EcoSafaris

ICE at Gaylord Palms

Brooke-and-the-Chef_webDid you know that it can be a constant 9 degrees Fahrenheit in Florida? ….that is if you visit ICE at Gaylord Palms. This is the most “over the top” spectacular Holiday attraction in the state and now in its seventh year. The massive convention hotel holds nearly 2 million pounds of ice that is hand carved by 40 artisans from Harbin, China into 3-dimentional colorful art.


Visitors can expect to be handed large warm coats upon entering and then guided through a winter wonderland that includes a visit from Old Man Winter, through an arctic forest, and into the middle of a life sized Christmas Carnival, complete with carousel! One of the main stays of the show is the life size nativity scene that looks as if it were made from highly polished glass. Huge colorful ice gingerbread houses, an ice train and other sculptors are there for children to climb, slide and explore. The most loved attractions are the cold and slippery ice slides that children and their parents just can’t get enough of.

Largest Private Collection of Vintage Planes

The clocks have been turned back to the 1940’s as you drive up to the art deco airport terminal in Polk City, Florida, with a fully operational runway and aircraft hangars. Not just a museum but a timeline experience, Fantasy of Flight houses the largest private collection of antique planes in the world that includes a Short Sunderland, a rare P-51 Mustang and a B-24 Liberator bomber. There is a real cockpit to climb in to and a children’s section that teaches the principals of flight in a fun way that includes a hang glider simulator. Visitors can walk through The World War I trenches and experience an aerial dogfight. You can also take a backlot tram tour that shows off the many hangars housing engine parts and beautifully restored aircraft. Enjoy a meal in the 1940’s caf? or browse in the gift shop. Daily aerial shows are performed right over your head and you can end your day with taking a flight yourself in a airplane!

Fantasy of Flight

Colt and Brooke’s Top Picks for Disney World

Rock-N-Roll_WEBHollywood Studios

Rock n’ Roll Roller Coaster
An enclosed steel coaster that has one of the smoothest rides. We love the energizing rock n roll music of Aerosmith and the neon ight interior. It gives you the rush of being on stage with the band. It’s also Mom’s favorite too!

Colt-at-the-Tower-of-Terror_WEBThe Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
One of the most unique rides we have ever been on. Enter the vacant 1939 Hollywood Hotel. You are taken up in the service elevator for a ghostly tour and then…the drop! You get a short glimpse of the outside and a bird’s eye view of Hollywood Studios, but this is only for a second as the view closes and you drop down.

Animal Kingdom

Expedition Everest
Don’t know if we can tell you about this as the unexpected makes this the most fun. All we can say is that this railway car is careening out of control with you in it so hold on for the thrill of your life!