Orlando’s National Treasure Right Next Door at The Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex

Travelers from around the world come to Central Florida everyday. Most visitors are not aware that Orlando has a very unique national treasure within an hours drive, the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex. Mixed in with the Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, Kennedy Space Center was here before them all. When you say NASA to pretty much anyone on the planet, they understand what and where you are talking about. This was the place to be back in the late 1960’s as this was the place where we sent our brave astronauts to the moon,

The Kennedy Space Visitors Complex in Cocoa Beach, Florida is only about a 50 minute ride from the Orlando attractions. The entire experience can be visited in a day while some spend a few days engaged in their behind the scene’s adventures. If one was a science and space admirer, then there are a few very things one could do to make their dreams of spaceflight come true while staying here on good old terra firma. First and foremost the standard KSC ticket gets you pretty the whole shabang! This ticket will allow you to visit the welcome center where they have the rocket garden, IMAX-3D, Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit with the Shuttle Launch Experience as well gift shops and places to grab a bite to eat.

The next step of the adventure will take you on a restricted area tour that transports you by bus to the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Here you can stay as long as you like while observing a real life Saturn V rocket that is on display. Have you ever wanted to touch the moon? Here you can do just that. Touch the moon and talk with actual Astronauts about their experiences flying in space. If you are one of the lucky travelers on a special day of a rocket launch, the Saturn V building is the place to be. Check with the current calendar for these once in a lifetime opportunities!

If the general admission ticket is not enough, check out the upgrades and have lunch with an astronaut. Here you will have a buffet lunch all while listening to a guest astronaut speak of their space explorations. You can even ask that question you have always wanted to know about traveling in space! Next you can check out the KSC- Up-Close Tour or visit mission control at the KSC-Close Launch Control Center Tour. Whatever the experience is, the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex has a little bit of everything for everybody.

 

Early Arrival to the Orlando Theme Parks for No Lines

I get the same questions every day from my guests traveling out to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. The question is, “How can we avoid the line at the parks”? The answer is short and sweet, get there early. If you get to the theme parks early, you will have accomplished the biggest task of your day. Getting there early before everyone gets there not only ensures that you won’t have to wait in long lines for the most popular rides, but it will also save you time from the hot Florida sun that will zap your energy level quick!

Most travelers like to wake up kind of early, stroll down to the lobby of their hotel or resort, have a cup of coffee, then head back up to get the rest of the family for breakfast. This takes up at least two hours in the morning and this does not even take in consideration the time needed to travel to the parks. Combine all of this with the crowds rolling in late and security checkpoint lines and bam, you are now in the thick of late morning traffic that everyone hates.

Getting there one hour before the park opens for example at Disney’s Magic Kingdom will not only give you a smooth and stress free experience, but will also get you a very special early morning performance from of all of Disney’s characters before being allowed into their park for the day. After the performance, greeters welcome guests in to enjoy Mainstreet USA for a short period before their rope drop. Many early morning guests then travel back to the top rides with no wait at all. One could ride at least four rides before really encountering any kind of real lines.

When it comes to the saying, “The early bird gets the worm”, this is exactly right when it comes to getting the most while at the theme parks. This method really works best for travelers who can get to bed early the night before and really try to hydrate the evening and morning before arriving at the parks. Waking up early really works best for travelers from Europe due to the time difference. A traveler from England has the clock on their side as they are five hours ahead of us, so the can wake up at 6 am and feel like they slept in until noon! Unfortunately this is not the case for us in the USA.

Catching Up With Universal Orlando’s CityWalk

If you have ever been out to Universal Studios CityWalk, you will probably remember that it was a pretty cool place to eat, dance and just be merry! Lately though, it has been under a transformation and for the better. The theme of CityWalk seems to be that of the old Downtown Disney entertainment district. People can come here after the parks and grab a bite to eat before heading home or back to their resort, or make it a special night out while visiting their night time clubs, watching a movie or having dinner and drinks.

The most visual transformation has to be the all new NBC Sports Grill & Brew. This was the old NASCAR Cafe that was such an eyesore. But now it is a shiny new jewel among CityWalk’s bustling new skyline. Here one can choose from over 100 beers all while catching sports games from around the world. The other day we were there cheering on some soccer team while drinking beers with our brothers from across the pond. This place is such a great opportunity to meet people from all around the world sharing a pint all the while!

If you are on the fly and need a quick bite to eat, try stopping by the all new Hot Dog Hall of Fame. Here you can taste all of the most famous hot dogs from every stadium in the good o’le USA. Try anything from the famous Chicago hot dog with all of the toppings or a steamer from New York, it doesn’t matter because this place has it all. You will not find any other location like this in Orlando. You can eat authentic shoestring fries and taste authentic topping like actual pinto beans for the famous Arizona dog or sauerkraut for you New York dog! This place even has brats so the menu is absolutely mesmerizing.

Lastly would be my little favourite, The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar. This little gem is for everyone who love sushi and burgers. Here you can dine on some of Orlando’s most delicious sushi and burgers of fuse them together and feast on their signature dish the “Burgushi®“. Trust me it is delicious especially when you wash it down with one of their 10oz exotic martinis. If martinis are not your thing try one of their signature hand spun milkshakes. If you can’t make up your mind, I recommend their Bento Box. This is a sampler of all of their most famous dishes but on a small sampler scale.

 

Universal Studios Springfield USA Serves Up Some Tasty Treats

Have you ever wanted to have a Krusty Burger and be able to wash it down with a beer from Moe’s Tavern? What if I told you that there was a real live place where you could do exactly that! The place I’m talking about is Universal Studios Orlando’s Springfield USA. Here you can rub elbows with Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and Maggie and even your most favourite side characters like Moe, Mr. Burns and even Apu at the Quickie Mart. Probably the best of it all are all of the delicious foods and treats that we have all watched time and time again on the television.

Universal Studios spared no expense when they created Springfield and my most favourite little dive has to be Moe’s Tavern. Here you can sit at the very bar where Homer spends most of his spare time at. The famous beer of all here is Duff beer. Nothing like a good cold Duff beer to start your day or if beer is not your thing try the Flaming Moe instead! It is just orange soda with dry ice, but is on par in sale to Harry’s Butterbeer. Here you can have your picture taken with Moe’s patron saint Barney Gumble who has a statue at the end of the bar.

By now you should be feeling pretty hungry so peel yourself off of your bar stool and walk to the back where you will find 4 counter service dining options. On of my favourites has to be Cletus’ Chicken Shack. Here you will find big o’le chicken sandwich platters with fries. Cletus’ is sure to fill the biggest of appetites. Also you will find The Flying Dutchman that serves up fried foods, Luigi’s Pizza and Lisa’s Teahouse of Horrors. Lisa’s would be the place for any vegetarians in the group!

If you’re the type of person who likes to sit outside and people watch while you eat, try out the local food truck fair at Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck. Here you can grab a cold Duff’s beer and chow down on some tacos or nachos! If savory dishes are not your thing then I have just the treat for you. Lard Lad Donuts are famous in Springfield. Sit down and savor the taste of the Big Pink. This donut is about as big as a open man’s hand wide and about four inches thick of sweet decadent goodness! Tell Mayor Quimby I said hello!

 

SeaWorld Best Theme Park in Orlando for the Budget Traveler

Being in the theme park ticket business I am bombarded on a daily basis with questions about budget traveling. Many people know that Orlando is not very budget friendly! One part stands out above the rest and that park is Seaworld Orlando. It’s very expensive to go to Disney or Universal these days and average ticket costs can be over $120 a day. The worst thing about that is you’re paying that much money to be in a crowded environment where people don’t seem to be very happy. Now take SeaWorld for example, here you can go for a day for around $83 per person and have some of the most beautiful scenery to enjoy throughout your day.

Not only do they have the most beautiful parking Central Florida but they also have some of the coolest animals on the planet here! I wish try to tell people to take a good look at the Sea World parks. They actually have four here in Central Florida. The first and most popular of course to see world, followed up by Busch Gardens in Tampa and now they have two awesome water parks to cool off at on a hot Florida summer day. The biggest and most popular one is Aquatica and the other one is Discovery Island which sits next to their Tampa theme park Busch Gardens.

A budget traveler who wanted to get the most out of a vacation would probably take a look at their all new 14 day unlimited ticket that includes free parking. This would get a person into all four of their parks with free transportation to Tampa and free parking at any other of their parks. This ticket is only $148. I’ll take a good look at Disney and Universal and see how much they’re charging and this doesn’t even include a water park or parking fees. Current parking fees at the other parks are up to $20 a day.

For that kind of money I better be whisked off like a pharaoh from Egypt. When you stop and do the math this is only about a dollar 50 a day and comes with free transportation to Busch Gardens. So at the end of the day, the folks over here have really made it possible to have a great and memorable vacation on a budget.

Animal Beauty Abounds at SeaWorld Orlando

I have thousands of travelers each week ask me what I think the best parks are for their small children. SeaWorld in Orlando is one of my top choices and here are the reasons why. First and foremost I have four children and I have taken them to every park here in Central Florida dozens of times. Being in this industry is a great blessing and it has exposed my children to some very beautiful and magnificent things. Whenever I look back at photos and reminisce about times gone at the parks, the things that stood out the most were animals. Animals can have huge impression on children. For some reason they look at them in amazement and remember them more than they remember a plastic animatronics.

I feel SeaWorld understands this, and being great stewards to these creatures, you can see the beauty in every animal at their park. I was once invited by my SeaWorld representative to take a few of their rescued sea turtles to release back into the wild. They had rescued them from South Carolina and had rehabilitated them back to health over a year. Most of their animals have been rescued that they have in the park and now they call it home there. The beauty and compassion is everywhere you look there. Just when walking in and seeing their first flamingo, I would always stand back and watch my kids gaze in amazement. It’s like they are for seeing something that they’ve only read about in their books.

I love to sit watch the looks on their faces. Sure other local theme parks have animals as well, but SeaWorld probably has the most beautiful and memorable ones at their park. Where else can you see an alligator, manatee, dauphin and killer whale in one part? The answer is you can’t! Exploring this park for one day with kids is perfect. Don’t forget to pack their bathing suites as well. There are many little animal themed splash areas all around their park. So when contemplating a vacation here to Orlando and you’re bringing children, take a good look at this central Florida treasure.

Stopping to Smell the Flowers at SeaWorld Orlando

There are some great theme parks in Central Florida but SeaWorld Orlando sticks out for its price. If you’re traveling to Florida on a budget and are looking for something that will entertain you for a whole day while giving you the most visually beautiful backdrop, in this park is for you. See world has been around for a long time here in Orlando, and has been around for almost as long as Walt Disney World. People have been coming to see dolphins, ride roller coasters and witness a real live orca since 1973.

And this has given this very unique theme park plenty of time to grow beautiful plants and exotic trees. If you’re the kind a traveler like I am, I like a little bit of both worlds. I like a little bit of excitement followed up by natural beauty. There is nothing like walking in and smelling this sweet smells of gardenia, plumeria and other exotic flowers that seem to always be in bloom. The landscaping and attention to detail is absolutely magnificent. I have never seen anything close to it at any of the other local theme parks including Disney.

They must have an army of horticulture experts because everything there looks so beautifully manicured and spot on. Among the hustle and bustle of some of their pathways, they have managed to make little Zen areas for one to go off and escape the masses. All one has to be as a lover of beautiful things in the will to look. Many times I have taken my family over; I take my camera and just take beautiful pictures of flowers. They have some of the most beautiful hibiscus plants I have ever seen and thousands of the sweetest gardenias I have ever smelled.

Maybe the plant these plants in order to keep the smell down of travelers and the occasional sardine from the sea lion area. Nonetheless it is one of the most beautiful parks for one to go to who wants a little bit of both worlds.

Last Chance for Viva La Musica at SeaWorld Orlando

If you happen to be in Orlando and want to listen to some great music and sample some tasty food, well SeaWorld is the place to be. This weekend marks the last of their visa let music performances at their park and it should go out with a huge bang! All you’ll need to attend a savanna is your day pass and a huge appetite for Latin America culture. This fiery festive celebration has been running since April and ends this Sunday with some top rated musical acts and local restaurant cuisine. You’ll be able to enjoy some world-class music all while enjoying local craft beers, margaritas and Mojitos.

All of the pads will be lined with tense selling delicious pastries and desserts and you’ll even be able to wash it all down with some special housemate sparkling red sangria. There will be no excuse for you to be empty-handed! If you want to get up close to the stage you can pay for seats and they start at around $15 or you can just bring a blanket and lay out along the lake like we do and enjoy it for free from a distance. All of the tents Will have food and beverages and is reminiscent of SeaWorld parties when they have the bands brews and barbecue events. It is such a festive event and things that you will definitely want to see are the Jardin areas.

This is an area where you will be able to go and relax with COM music but still be close enough to where the fiesta is happening you be able to sit down at tables and watch the party. Next will be the Mercados. These will be peppered across the pathway throughout the park and they’ll be little shops stationed with original artwork and paraphernalia inspired by the Latin culture and created by local artist sings and artists. Such items will include paintings, jewelry and music. Over by the bayside area, the pathways will be full of energy! These pathways will be colored with bright beautiful Caribbean décor, and dance floors will be spaced throughout and DJs spinning live music. Remember to bring your appetite, thirst and hunger for some Latin music culture.

SeaWorld Orlando Set to Break Some Rollercoaster Records This June

Summer cannot come fast enough to SeaWorld Orlando. And the reason why is because Orlando is about to get the largest tallest fastest roller coaster in the state. See world already has some serious arsenal but adding this one will be the cherry on top! When News broke that they were going to be bringing this behemoth us to Central Florida, everyone set up in their seats and listened. Set to open June 10, 2016 they have already had a few media events were they fired up the ride for photos and videos.

From what I have seen it will pretty much in golf the whole back of their theme park that sets up next to Central Florida Parkway. You can see it all the way from interstate for it almost looks like it is even with their sky tower observation platform. The roller coaster will climbed to 200 feet and then set riders off on a 73 mph ride along a massive steel masterpiece that they are calling a hyper coaster. Next time you’re driving down the highway rolled on your window and stick your arm out and this is pretty much about before she will feel on the first drop of Mako.

The one thing that really stands out about Mako and makes it very different from all of the roller coasters in Central Florida is that you will only be held in by a lab restraint. Most of the other roller coasters put you in a full body harness with overhead shoulder straps. This will not be the case for Mako. Designers wanted to add a bit of excitement and I think they have accomplished it by doing this. If you have ever been to sea world Orlando the new roller coaster will be in the back of the park and over where there shark encounter exhibit is.

The actual roller coaster will come out and over the sharks attraction well spectators can sit and watch riders scream overhead. Having this type of roller coasters sure to bring travelers over from the other theme parks for an afternoon and take part in some record-breaking while exploring one of Orlando’s most beautiful attractions. Lately see world has been in the spotlight and had a little bit of downtime but lately they have been on the up and up and I look forward to visiting this June to ride this one-of-a-kind masterpieces!

Having a Great Time at Walt Disney World for Almost Nothing

If you have ever come to Disney World and we were pretty strapped for cash, there are so many things to do for free that most people don’t even know about. The biggest and best one would have to be the Walt Disney World monorail. Guess can pay the parking fee of $20, then go to the ticket and transportation center and climb aboard the world-famous monorail. You can take it for a spin around the seven seas lagoon and even stop in and explore waltz resorts.

Next you can walk outback of those resorts and jump on a boat and go resort hopping. Doing this will get you some of the best and most beautiful views of Walt Disney world. One of my favorite stops has to be the wilderness Lodge. This resort is the closest thing to the Pacific Northwest without needing to jump on an airplane. Explore the great halls, sit by the fire or even walk out back and catch a Disney movie on an inflatable screen with the beautiful Bay Lake as your backdrop.

Next would have to be the boardwalk resort that is located behind Epcot. Here you can park in the parking lot of the resort and walk him through the hotel lobby and out onto the boardwalk. Here you will find a beautiful lake surrounded by a 30 foot wooden boardwalk peppered with restaurants and small stores. They even have a brick oven walk up pizza Rea that serves up some pretty delicious pizza slices. Walk a few more steps and you can catch a game inside the ES PN lounge while sipping on a cold brew.

If you are into Micro brewery, stop in to Disney’s own big River brewing Company for a pint of award winning Beer. When the daytime comes tonight walk over to the backside of Epcot and catch your free display of Epcot’s firework show.  I have spent many a evening with my children in tow watching illuminations reflections of earth while chowing down on a few slices of pizza.

If you want to catch another cool firework show, walk through the pathway from the boardwalk over by the Swan and dolphin hotel and continue on the path towards Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Sit along the walkway in the evening and catch the all new Star Wars firework show. So it’s a little more than a parking fee or not one can have a great time at the Walt Disney World resort while saving money!