Archives for October 2009

Sea World raises basic ticket prices again, still lower than Disney

sea world raises prices again, still lower than Disney

Picture by Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel

Well I knew it was going to happen, I just did not know when. Today Sea World of Orlando announced that they would raise the price of a basic one day ticket. The cost now will be $78.95 for a basic one day ticket to Sea World. The move brings Sea World’s base price to just 5 cents less than single-day, single-park tickets to Disney or Universal, both of which raised their own prices over the summer.

Every year all of the big three theme parks raise their base, one day one park ticket prices. So it’s nothing new, it happens every year. But I wanted to let you know this. Now, most of the theme park tickets people buy actually cost less than this. That’s because of all the special multi-day and park hopper ticket deals you can find.

In fact you should never buy a one day, base price ticket to one park at Disney, Universal Studios or Sea World. Normally if your on a vacation in Orlando your going to spend several days at the parks. All of them offer two, three or more day ticket deals and park hopper specials.

But they have to have a base price to work with, so they always have a standard, one day one park price to work with. As you can see, all the theme parks are very close when it comes to their base price. But it can vary widely with multi-day and park hopper deals. Now if only they would lower their base price!

Walt Disney World’s Festival Of The Masters 2009

walt disney world festival of the masters 2009

For those who don’t know, Walt Disney World is holding their 34th annual Festival Of The Masters at downtown Disney on Nov. 13 to 15th. So just what is the Festival Of The Masters? It’s an art show, featuring top artist from all over. The types of arts you can see here is a wide range of items. Pottery, glass blowing, paintings, photograph, wood working, jewelry and all types of custom made crafts.

This year there will be nearly 150 artist showcasing their unique arts and crafts. Some of the things you see here are amazing and you can’t find anywhere else. I loved the guy who made life-like bust of women and men, they looked ready to talk to you!

Whatever type of arts and crafts you like your sure to find something here you love. The artist will put up booths all over the downtown Disney area. Besides the artist, there will be live entertainment, art shows for kids, a chalk artist display and much more.

Over at Cirque du Soleil La Nouba in the downtown Disney area you can meet the performers and have your kids enjoy face painting and balloons. Also if your a Disney pin lover check out the pin traders location, the biggest Disney pin trading and swapping store in the Disney resort.

Then of course you can go shopping at the dozens of Disney stores at downtown Disney, and eat at several restaurants and food shops. Disney’s Festival Of The Masters 2009 is an art lovers dream and one you don’t want to miss!

Orlando low price economy hotels in the Disney, theme park area

Ramada Convention Center I-Drive
Ramada Convention Center I-Drive

Little by little I keep adding pages to this tourist site, filling it up with information you can use for your Orlando vacation. Today I added a page of economy priced hotels I recommend, which you can find here in my Economy Hotels page. All are in the Disney, Universal Studios and Sea World theme park area.

When it comes to hotels, there seems to be two types of people. One type thinks of a hotel as just a place you sleep for the night, nothing more than a bed. So to them, paying a high price for a hotel seems crazy and pointless. They just want a basic, clean and safe room they can sleep in each night and the rest of the time they will never be in it.

The other type thinks of a hotel as their home away from home, and they want a room with all the extras and amenities. The hotel they stay at is one of the highlights of their vacation and what they remember most. There is no wrong or right way to view a hotel, it’s all in the persons view and what they want.
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On my own vacation to Vermont!

Vermont covered bridge

Well everyone, today I take off on my own vacation! Since I’m from Vermont I’m flying up for two weeks to see the family. I also have a friend that I will get paid to help with a project, so it’s a bit of a working vacation too. The fall foliage in the northern part of Vermont is almost over, and that’s where I’m going.

So maybe I’ll take a trip down to the southern part and try to get some pictures of the fall leaves. It’s really beautiful in the fall in Vermont. But, cold weather is right behind it, which I hate and is why I’m in Florida! Anyway let me tell you what I packed and how I do it for some travel tips.
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New travel luggage sets from ebags now open

Meteor 4-Piece Luggage Set
Meteor 4-Piece Luggage Set

Well everyone, I now have a new page of quality travel luggage you can buy from eBags! On the net for years, ebags has thousands of luggage, bags, backpacks and briefcases to choose from. They also have the lowest prices around, yet are high quality. You can find the page in the top left sidebar under “travel luggage sets”.

Once you see a luggage set you like, click on the picture and you’ll be taken right to that item in the ebags website. All their luggage sets come in different colors, so if you like the style but don’t like the color displayed chances are it comes in the color you want.

You can pick from 2, 3, 4 or 5 pieces of luggage per set. Hardcase or soft, rolling or duffel style, you can find it all at ebags. So check out my new luggage sets page and see all the styles. Of course you also can go right to eBags and see everything they have right there.

What to tip a taxi cab driver in Orlando, Florida

What to tip a taxi cab driver in Orlando Florida

Many people who go on a dream vacation to Walt Disney World or any theme park in Orlando often don’t travel very much. Because of that, they are confused about tipping. Seems like everyone wants you to tip them, even the girl getting your coffee! But one place that tipping is always expected is the taxi cab driver.

So for this post I’ll just explain what you should tip a taxi service. Now, chances are if you don’t rent a car your going to take a cab from the airport. Because they are use to big families and parties the taxi service there often has mini vans and full size vans along with the more standard taxi cab.

When I first took a cab from the Orlando airport they got me a mini van cab. I was confused about if I should pay a bigger tip because they used a van just for me. The answer is NO, you do not. Normally if it’s a single rider or a couple they will use a car. But sometimes they just have a van available at the time, so that’s what they use.

They also have nice big sedans that don’t even look like a taxi cab. It all depends on the cab company. Again what they use for a vehicle has no bearing on what the tip should be. 15-20% of the fare is the right amount for tipping. Now if you get a private limo that is different, and I would tip 20-25%.

No matter what type of vehicle is used, the standard tip for a taxi cab driver in the Orlando area is 15-20% of the total fare. It also does not matter where you have them take you. Dropping you off at a rental house, Disney or a 5 star hotel the rates are the same.

Now what if you have lots of luggage? Well it depends. If all he does is pop the trunk and stand there as you load it all in, then I would not tip him any more than the normal 15-20% of the fare. But if he helpfully and cheerfully stuffs your 10 bags in the cab and helps get them out, I would throw in an extra 5 bucks or so.

Just on a side note, you never tip a public bus driver, nor any driver of any Disney bus service. You also don’t tip any driver that drives the rental car shuttle bus from the airport to the rental car lot. I hope this helps you a bit to know what to tip for Taxi cab services in the Orlando area!

Sea World ride height requirements, why so high?

Sea World's Journey to atlantis ride

Recently someone asked me why it seems like the height requirement on all the rides at Sea World are so high? For a kid friendly theme park, she expected much more rides that a toddler up to kids 30 inches or shorter could ride. Well, when Sea World first opened they did not have hardly any rides at all! Sea World was made to be primarily an aquatic animal and sea life park.

All of the animal shows and exhibits anyone can go and see, even toddlers. But down the road Sea World decided to start making a few rides so they could attract a wider audience. Since they were making rides one by one, each one had to be a thrill ride, made to attract most people, from teens to adults.

Because a thrill ride throws you around and even turns you upside down, you have to be tall enough for the shoulder harness and seats to hold you in place. A short person or child could slip under the harness, or be thrown or bounced right out of their seat. Since all the rides they made so far are thrill rides, the height requirement has been on the high side.
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Walt Disney World verses Universal Studios Orlando, what one?

Walt Disney World's Snow Whitemarvels spiderman

Living right here in Orlando, I’m always surprised at some things people ask me. But then I realize that not everyone deals with theme parks every week! I often get asked if Disney is part of Universal Studios. No, they are not, in fact they are big competitors of each other. So then I get asked the next question, which is, which one do I recommend?

Ouch! That’s a really loaded question, and it depends on so many things. So let me try to explain the fundamental differences between the two theme parks, and then you can decide for yourself. The biggest difference I think is the characters of the parks. Walt Disney World has all of the favorite characters of the Disney movies.

Snow White, Cinderella, Mickey and Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Daffy Duck, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and Tinker Bell and all the other Disney stars are at,,,, Disney of course. Universal Studios has Marvel comics characters and Universal movie stars.
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Added a laptop computer case, briefcase and luggage page

McKlein I Series Gold Coast Leather Detachable-Wheeled Laptop Case
Click picture for more info on this item

Hi everyone, I wanted you to know I just added a new page in my site here. Since this is a tourist site and many come here by plane, I figured it makes sense to have a little store with luggage, bags and laptop computer cases in here. So I made the first page, which you can see in the pages selection in the top left sidebar.

This first one has just laptop computer cases. Wheeled ones, briefcase styles, computer bags and so on. Since I travel with a laptop I know how hard it is to buy one you really like. All of these are from Luggage Pros, a quality luggage and bag company.

Clicking on any of the item pictures in the laptop computer case page will take you right to that item on the Luggage Pros website. They have hundreds of styles, colors, sizes and brand names of luggage and computer cases. They have a nice price range too, from lower cost models that are still high quality, to the high end items that cost quite a bit more.

In time I will add many pages for all types of luggage, bags, briefcases and laptop computer cases. Anything I sell here is quality products you can trust that will last and has a good return policy. I hate junk, and I will not sell any of it in here! So check out my new page if your in need of a good laptop computer case, or go right to Luggage Pros and see all their items!

How far from the Orlando airport is Disney and other theme parks?

Orlando Florida map of airport distance to Disney, Universal, Sea World and other attractions

Click here to open larger map in new window

One of the most asked questions I get is how far from the Orlando International airport is Walt Disney World, Sea World and all the other attractions. So I’ll give you a quick run-down in this post on the distance in miles from the Orlando airport to Disney and many other attractions and areas around the central Florida area.

The Orlando airport connects to major interstates and toll roads that gets you right to all the major attractions. You can pretty much stay on only one or two roads all the way to where your going. Reading all the road signs can be tricky, but for the most part it’s pretty simple to drive from the Orlando airport to where your going.

Now for the number one question I’m asked: how far is Walt Disney World from the Orlando airport? Disney itself is 44 square miles big, so it depends on what part your going to! But in general Disney World is about 22 miles from the Orlando airport.
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Fall season best time for Orlando vacation theme parks visit

best time for a Orlando vacation is in the fall for Disney and Universal

Ok so my attempt at using one of my Vermont fall pictures and Tinkerbell is not so hot! I’ll do better next time. Now that fall is here I wanted to say something I’ve said before and I’ll say again; the fall season is the BEST time, in my opinion, for your Orlando vacation to see Disney, Universal Studios, Sea World and the others.

The reason for this is many, and I’ll explain them all here. The summertime is actually the busiest time of the year for all the theme parks in Orlando. So, what happens when any area is at it’s peak for tourist? The prices for everything is the highest it will be all year long. Also, the crowds are the fullest, and the Florida sun is at it’s hottest. To me summer is the WORST time to come to Orlando!

But now that it’s fall, the summer crowds are gone. That means the prices for hotels, rental cars, airlines and so many other things are down. Or at least on their way down right now. It’s not as hot in the fall, yet still plenty warm. Most people underestimate how hot it gets here in Orlando in the summer. Also the afternoon thunderstorms are gone, or at least much fewer.
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Tips on how to avoid lines at theme park rides

How to avoid long lines at theme park rides like Disney

One of the biggest headaches, if not THE biggest one at theme parks, is waiting in line for the rides. Everyone is different in respect to their tolerance of waiting in line. Some seem to be happy and talk with others through a 2 hour wait, while a 15 minute wait for others is draining. The cruel fact is, your going to be waiting in line for most of your day when you go to a theme park.

In fact sometimes it seems like the whole point of going to a theme park is to stand in lines! Waiting an hour to go on a 2 minute ride does not seem like such a hot deal. But everyone does it, at least if they want to get on the ride. However there are some ways to cut down on ride wait times.

So I’m going to give you some creative tips on how to avoid some of the lines. You may or may not want to take some of these tips, it all depends on how big your family is, your kids ages and how much you dread long lines! So these are just tricks to cut down on some of the waiting throughout the day. The first one is pretty obvious, which is, get to the park as soon as it opens!
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