Archives for November 2009

Christmas Shopping At The Florida Mall In Orlando

Orlando Florida Mall map

If your on an Orlando vacation and want to find a place to do some Christmas holiday shopping, one of the best places is at The Florida Mall in Orlando. Located at 1187 Florida Mall Ave Orlando, FL 32809, it’s only around 10 miles from the Orlando airport.

The Florida Mall sits on the east-south corner of Sand Lake rd. and Orange Blossom Trail, or route 17-92. Click the map below to see a much bigger and more detailed map showing where the airport, Sea World and Disney is located from it. One of the biggest malls in Orlando, it has around 200 different shops, eateries and stores!
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Christmas Holiday Events At Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios Christmas holiday events

Like the other big theme parks in Orlando, Universal Studios is having some great Christmas holiday events going on now through New Years. Here are some of the highlights:

On Dec. 4-6, 10-13, 17-30, & Jan. 1-2 you and the family can have breakfast with the Grinch and friends at a holiday character breakfast at Confisco Grille in Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park.

Enjoy fluffy eggs, fresh fruit, cinnamon French toast, meats and more with The Grinch, The Whos and The Cat In The Hat. Please note: this event is not included in your regular theme park ticket.

At both Universal’s Islands Of Adventure park and Universal Studios Florida there will be The Grinch Meet and Greet stations as the Grinch dresses up as Santa Claus. Shake his hand and get your kids picture taken with him, every day now till Christmas.
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Christmas Holiday events going on at Sea World

Polar Express show plus other holiday events at Sea World Orlando

Sea World of Orlando has some new Christmas holiday events this year, along with some old ones. The Shamu show features new holiday music and festive lights, along with new tricks from Shamu and friends.

Clyde and Seamore, the funny, comical sea lions have a new Christmas show called “Countdown to Christmas” that is a hoot.

The gang from Sesame Street will be at Sea World putting on their own holiday show called “A Sesame Street Christmas.” The show will featuring our favorite yellow friend Big Bird and the other popular character as they show what Christmas is all about. There will also be a meet and greet after the show for kids.
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Walt Disney World Christmas lighting show at Magic Kingdom

Very soon Walt Disney World will start having their Christmas lighting ceremonies. Nothing is prettier than the Christmas lights at night at the Magic Kingdom, especially Cinderella’s castle! It’s amazing how they can make that castle glow with different colors.

Then of course you have the special Disney Christmas night parades, which are also very colorful and pretty. Add the fireworks and it’s a fantastic place to be! Here’s a youtube video of a past Disney Magic Kingdom Christmas lighting ceremony. Enjoy!

Walt Disney World’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey's very merry Christmas party
Image by Walt Disney World

The article below is for 2009. To read about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party for 2010, CLICK HERE and see what changes have been made for this year.

This year at Walt Disney World they have decked out the resort and theme parks early with their Christmas decorations and lights. Normally they put up all Christmas lights and trinkets the night after Thanksgiving. But this year Disney has transformed the resort into a Christmas winter wonderland already!

Because of that they are having more nights for their special Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, held at the Magic Kingdom theme park here in Orlando. This is a special Christmas party held between 7:00 PM to midnight nightly on selected nights.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is an amazing display of Disney magic, with several shows, parades and special entertainment. For starters you can see all the Christmas lights and decorations throughout the Magic Kingdom park. Disney really knows how to transform the park into a spectacular, magical sight with fantastic Christmas lights and holiday displays.
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World’s largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas

World's largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas
Photos by Amy Beth Bennett, Sun Sentinel


For those who love cruise ships, here’s a few pictures of the new Oasis Of The Seas, which is now the largest cruise ship in the world! It arrived at it’s new home in Port Everglades here in Florida last week. Owned by Royal Caribbean International, it’s a floating city, and a big one at that!

World's largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas
Photos by Amy Beth Bennett, Sun Sentinel

Oasis Of The Seas is 1,184 feet long and more than 226,000 tons. The 5,400-passenger ship with a crew of 2,000 cost 1.5 billion dollars to make. Darn, I guess I can’t afford a copy! No other cruise line seems interested in topping it, so I think it will remain the largest cruise ship for some time.

Personally it looks a bit top heavy to me, especially in the second picture. Somehow it looks like a big wave hitting it broadside would flip it right over. It has 16 decks, a damn high ship! That’s a lot of weight above the waterline. But I’ll never be able to afford to go on it anyway. Cool ship, no matter what!

World's largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas
Photos by Amy Beth Bennett, Sun Sentinel

Walt Disney World Thanksgiving day parade youtube video

Well everyone, I can’t show you what this years Walt Disney World Thanksgiving day parade will look like, because it has not happened yet! But I can show you one from a few years ago. Each year the Disney holiday parades get better, and I’m sure the Thanksgiving day parade at Disney this year will be better than this one.

But this gives you a little taste of what to expect if you are at Disney World this year for the Thanksgiving day parade. They will have several of them during the day. Of course with four theme parks each parade will be a little different. This youtube video is of the Magic Kingdom Thanksgiving day parade at Walt Disney World. Enjoy!

Orlando Holiday airport travel tips and tricks

Orlando Holiday airport travel tips and tricks

The 2009 Holiday travel has begun! Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years see’s the biggest tourist crowds in the Orlando airport. Many from Florida are flying out to spend a white Christmas with loved ones up north. While many more are flying in for a Disney or other theme park Holiday vacation.

The biggest hassle will be at the Orlando airport. Expect long lines both at the baggage check-in area and also at the security points. These two spots will give you the biggest headaches and cost you the most time. Many people flying in or out for the Holidays don’t travel often and may not be up to date on everything.

So here’s a few refresher tips and tricks for you. Many airlines now charge for checked baggage, or checked bags over one per person. So remember that when your in the baggage line. But since they charge per bag anyway, and the baggage line is the longest wait at the airport, why not ship them instead?
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Thanksgiving day at Universal Studios and Sea World

Thanksgiving day at Universal Studios and Sea World

A week ago I made a post about what is going on Thanksgiving day at Disney. So I thought I’d also tell you what will be going on at Universal Studios and Sea World on Thanksgiving day. The truth of the matter is, there really is not that much extra going on at any of the theme parks on Thanksgiving day, except for bigger crowds!

Both Universal Studios and Sea World will have a few extra decorations and so on with a Thanksgiving theme. But there are no special Thanksgiving parades planned, or any Thanksgiving shows. It’s just not a Holiday that lends itself good with theme parks.

Here and there you will find restaurants in both Universal Studios and Sea World that will be serving the traditional Thanksgiving meal, like turkey, ham and cranberries. Normally it will be the bigger restaurants in the parks that will be serving Thanksgiving meals.

But that’s really about the only things that will be different. However because it’s a Holiday the parks WILL be full, very full. So be prepared for that and come early. Right after Thanksgiving all the parks will put up their Christmas decorations and lights.

They really do a good job transforming the parks into a Christmas theme, and the lights at night are fantastic. So if you are visiting the parks at Thanksgiving make sure you also come back the day or two after Thanksgiving, and stay till night to see the lights!

Best place for Walt Disney World discount tickets

best place for walt disney world discount tickets

Click here for best deals on Disney tickets!

Of all the things that has to do with going on an Orlando vacation, the most confusing is getting your Disney theme park tickets! So many places sell Disney tickets, and all of them claim to be lowest in price. You can buy them in dozens of little booths in the tourist areas, as well as inside many hotels. BUT, most of these have strings attached.

The most common catch is that you have to go on a tour of a local time share resort and listen to their sales pitch. Trust me, it’s boring, you waste valuable time, and the sales people are very aggressive. If you don’t sign that paper they want you to sign, they make you feel like crap.

So avoid all that hassle. The best way to get the cheapest Walt Disney World tickets with no strings attached is buying them online. You always pay the lowest price when you buy online. But even then, you have dozens of different choices. All of these places that sell Disney tickets buy them wholesale at a discount.
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Walt Disney World Thanksgiving events and parades

walt disney world thanksgiving events and parades

Well in just a few weeks it will be Thanksgiving. Those of you who are going to take an Orlando vacation and go to Walt Disney World at Thanksgiving time might be wondering what is going on. One thing I can tell you is, all the Disney theme parks will be packed!

In fact every one of the Disney parks should fill to capacity in the early afternoon. So if you want to take in a Disney park on Thanksgiving day, go early and prepare for crowds. Don’t even think of park hopping on Thanksgiving day. Plan on going to one Disney park and staying there for the day.

Now as to what you can expect to see that is new on Thanksgiving day, the answer is not that much really. Disney will put up all their Christmas decorations and lights that night, but not on Thanksgiving day. So you will not see any special Christmas sets or displays.
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Youtube video of Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park

Today I found a really cool youtube video of Walt Disney World’s Blizzard Beach water park. Now there’s lots of youtube videos out there of Blizzard Beach water park. But this one is taken with the persons point of view. They did that by using waterproof cameras while they went down the slides and water chutes.

It’s a very good and quality video that really shows you just what you can expect the full length of all the Disney’s Blizzard Beach slides, rivers and tubes. It’s longer than most too. So if you want to go to Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park, make sure you check out this cool youtube video!