Showing posts with label florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label florida. Show all posts

SeaWorld Orlando - The Best Roller Coaster

SeaWorld Orlando - Entrance to Manta

When vacationers think of Orlando theme parks, SeaWorld usually comes to mind, but might not be at the top of lists.  While it's true that there is a lot for young kids to love here (sea animals, Sesame Street Land, cute shows, and much more!), there is plenty of adventure for adults as well.  While I had done my research and heard that there were some stellar coasters at SeaWorld Orlando, I wasn't quite prepared for how amazing some of the rides would be.  With three big coasters - Kraken, Manta, and Mako - roller coaster fans will find plenty to enjoy. Let's break down each ride and I'll share which one was my favorite.

SeaWorld Orlando - Roller Coasters and Quick Queue Pass


Before we start, I should mention that my family and I had purchased Quick Queue passes for the day we were at the park.  Unlike FastPass+ at Walt Disney World, there are no "freebies" that come with your admission ticket.  We found Quick Queue Unlimited passes on a Black Friday sale so we figured it was worth it to give it a go.  This got us unlimited access to most of the popular rides including Mako, Manta, Infinity Falls, Wild Arctic, Antartica: Empire of the Penguin, Journey to Atlantis, and Kraken.  It was a good value to not have to wait in lines with little kids and also allowed us to revisit our favorite attractions again and again.

Traveling with little ones to SeaWorld? Visit my guide to Sesame Street Land!

SeaWorld Orlando - Mako

SeaWorld Orlando Roller Coasters - Mako


Let's first talk about Mako.  Mako is currently Orlando's tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster.  At speeds in excess of 73 MPH and at a height of more than 200 feet, you certainly feel that distinction as a thrill seekers dream.  Mako does not go upside down so riders are restrained with a lap bar in open car seating which makes the coaster feel even more exciting.  I love that sensation of your butt lifting off a seat while you ride a coaster and you will certainly have that feeling time and time again here!! 

SeaWorld Orlando Roller Coasters - Manta


Talk about a roller coaster that is unique!  Manta was my first experience riding a roller coaster from the "flying" position.  That's right!  Inspired by the beautiful and majestic Manta Rays, this coaster takes guests from a seated loading position to flying before you leave the station.  It felt a little awkward as your body is strapped in so tightly.  I enjoyed the unique ride experience, but felt that between the restraint and being in the middle row, I didn't really "see" anything while riding.  I'd love the chance to go back again and ride from the front row.  One of the coolest sensations on the ride was skimming the water - just like a sting ray! 

SeaWorld Orlando Roller Coasters - Kraken


The most traditional of the roller coasters at SeaWorld in my opinion is Kraken, but even this ride has a non-traditional twist as Orlando's only floorless coaster.  Guests sit up right and wear over-the-should harnesses to prepare for twists, turns, loops, and heights of over 150 feet.  It's fast and full of adventure, just like the mythical Kraken it's named after!  While I enjoyed this ride, I did feel like it was something I had "done" before.  
SeaWorld Orlando - Manta


SeaWorld Orlando Roller Coasters - What's My Favorite?


Time for the big reveal!  (Although the excitement of which I wrote about them may have given something away.)  While I love trying new things and Manta was certainly unlike anything else I have ever experienced, nothing quite excites me like the pure speed and height of Mako.  Wowsa!  That roller coaster will leave you catching your breath and begging for more.  I had so much fun riding it and look forward to riding again!

Have you been to SeaWorld Orlando before?  Which coaster is your favorite??

Find out more about the reopening of SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World Resort following the COVID closures here!


Walt Disney World Resort Re-Opening: What We Know!!!

Slinky Dog Dash at Disney's Hollywood Studios

It's coronation day!

Well, not quite. . .but for Walt Disney World fans it's kind of the same thing.  For the first time in forever, Walt Disney World Resort is preparing to open the gates again!! On May 27th, Walt Disney World presented to the Orange County Task Force about their plans.  While I'm sure more will be shared in the days and weeks ahead, this is what we know so far.

Walt Disney World Re-Opening


As always, for the latest information, visit the Walt Disney World website and the Disney Parks Blog.

With announcements from Universal Studios Orlando and Legoland Orlando, Disney fans have been patiently waiting their turn.  Here's what Disney shared:
  • Reopening of the parks begins on July 11th with Magic Kingdom Park and Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Both EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios will follow suit on July 15th.
  • No parades or fireworks for now.  Disney is limiting these in park events that draw large crowds and said they plan to have them return "at a later date."
  • No character meet and greets, no makeovers, no playgrounds - for the time being.  They do mention that characters will be around the parks though.
  • Limited capacity means you'll need an advanced reservation to enter the park.
  • Currently new tickets and new hotel reservations are not being accepted.  Disney is working with guests who have existing reservations first before allowing new reservations to be accepted.
  • Masks are a must for everyone 3 and over.
  • Temperature checks will also be required prior to park entry.
  • Of course, increased cleaning and disinfection will be a priority around the park.
  • DVC resorts at Walt Disney World will begin reopening for members and guests on June 22 along with Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.  Hilton Head and Vero Bech Resorts will begin reopening June 15.

It's never too early to plan your next WDW vacation! Find all the details on Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and celebrating the holiday season at Walt Disney World here!


SeaWorld Announces Re-Opening Plans Too!


Not to be outdone by Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando also announced their plans to reopen at the same Orange County Task Force meeting:
  • June 11th reopening for SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, and Discovery Cove.
  • Masks required for guests 2 years and older.
  • Temperature checks prior to park entry.
  • Limited capacity in pools and rivers.
  • Hand sanitizer at the entrance and exit of each ride.
  • Character interactions and parades may be modified to promote social distancing.
  • Increased cleaning procedures and practices to promote social distancing. 

For the latest information on SeaWorld, visit the official SeaWorld website.

Planning a visit to SeaWorld, check out my guide to Sesame Street Land!


So what do you think?  We all know that visiting theme parks this summer will be unlike anything we've ever experienced before.  Will you be joining those braving the parks, or watching and waiting to see how things go?  

Family Guide to Sesame Street Land at SeaWorld Orlando

Bert and Ernie
SeaWorld Orlando has been a popular family destination in Central Florida for many years now, but the recent addition of Sesame Street Land gives young families even more to love.  This new land opened in Summer 2019 and adds so much fun for little ones when visiting SeaWorld.  Before our visit, I had a lot of questions and I want to share answers to some of those questions that may be on your mind too as you plan your visit!

What is in Sesame Street Land?


A lot!! In this relatively small corner of the park, you'll find 6 rides - all perfectly sized for pint sized visitors, a playground area, a splash pad, shopping, interactive displays, food trucks, character greetings, and a parade.  See. . .it's a lot!  At the time of our visit, my boys were 4 and 7 which was perfect for visiting.  Throughout most of the rest of SeaWorld, my youngest was too little for almost all of the rides, but here he could do everything.  His favorite was the Cookie Drop.  My oldest is still a little shy when it comes to roller coasters, but the Grover themed roller coaster here had him all smiles - he rode it 3 times in a row!  The interactive displays are all very well done too.  You can actually walk along Sesame Street ringing doorbells, knocking on Oscar's trashcan, racing bicycles, and building monsters.

Kennedy Space Center For Kids

Kids are often captivated by the idea of visiting faraway places and space travel is about as faraway as it gets!  If your kids are anything like mine, dressing as astronauts and learning about space are favorite activities of theirs so when we planned our cruise vacation out of Port Canaveral we knew we had to plan a visit to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.  My husband and I had visited Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in the past, but seeing it through the eyes of our children was even more enjoyable.  Here are a few must-do activities when you visit:

KSC Bus Tour - Included in your admission to KSC is a bus tour which takes you "behind the gates" and gets you closer to launch areas.  From the bus, you'll see the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) where rockets and shuttles are assembled prior to space travel.  The building is so large it will hold more than 250 BILLION ping pong balls (that was a favorite fact of my son's that he's still telling everyone!).  You can also see the crawler that transports assembled space vehicles to the launchpads and get as close as possible to the launch areas.  The 20 minute bus tour ends at the Saturn V/Apollo Center where you take a step back to the beginnings of NASA and relive the excitement of JFK's challenge to go to the moon and the success of Apollo 11.  Here you can even touch a piece of the moon!  You also can experience the launch from the perspective of the control room and feel the excitement as countdown to liftoff happens.  When you're finished exploring the center, you board a bus back to the main visitor complex.  No worries - busses run continuously so you can stay for as long as you want.

Meet an Astronaut - One of the highlights of visiting KSC is the chance to interact with part of history. Beyond touching the moon, many days there are opportunities to interact with an astronaut as part of your visit.  We booked an additional experience while we were there called Dine with an Astronaut.  During the buffet lunch, we were able to hear from Astronaut Mike Baker about his time in space and the audience had the chance to ask questions.  My boys had a chance to each ask a question - one being how to do you become an astronaut and the other asked the ever popular "how do you go to the bathroom in space" question.  Following the lunch, each family was offered the chance to get a picture with him.  Later on in the day, he was also in the gift shop for an autograph signing.  This opportunity was free and open to everyone.  We went back to say hi again and had him autograph the NASA hats that the boys had with their spacesuits.

Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted - After learning about NASA's past, why not take a look at it's future?  There is much to see and do in this exhibit where kids can have hands on experiences learning about the next frontier in space travel - Mars.  There is a free stage program offered several times throughout the day which ignites young imaginations about what their generation may be doing in space in the years ahead.  You can also see what vehicles look like that have been and will be exploring Mars.

Atlantis Exhibit - By far, my favorite exhibit at Kennedy Space Center is the Space Shuttle Atlantis.  The tour opens up with a video history of the creation of the space shuttle program and ends with the big reveal of the actual Space Shuttle Atlantis in her final resting place at KSC.  Guests will marvel at this amazing shuttle, but that's only the beginning.  This has a TON of fun activities for kids to interact with during the visit.  They will have the opportunity to crawl through a play space shuttle, slide down a large slide, and play computer simulation games about docking and landing the space shuttle.  Also included here is the Shuttle Launch Experience.  This simulator ride gives guests the chance to feel what it would be like to "lift off" from Kennedy for your own mission to space.  My youngest was SO excited to do this, but he had to miss out as the minimum height is 44 inches.  However, my oldest and my husband had a great time and highly recommend this for everyone.

Still looking for more space adventures?  There are addition tours, the Astronaut Hall of Fame, and other exhibit buildings to check out that we simply didn't have time to explore everything.  If you are short on time, make the Bus Tour and the Atlantis Exhibit your priorities - it's the best way to get the most out of your visit.  With so many hands on experiences, your little ones will feel completely at ease as they explore and learn about the wonders of space.  Whether your visiting Orlando, Cocoa Beach, or enjoying a cruise vacation out of Port Canaveral - don't miss visiting Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex during your Florida vacation!



My family and I received complimentary admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex so we could share our experience with you. 

Give the Gift of a Family Vacation!

This holiday season, why not give the gift of a family vacation to the ones you love?  What better way is there to celebrate the season then creating family memories that will last a lifetime?? You've heard me share about the specials my friends at Get Away Today have had in the past, but Black Friday deals keep getting better and better!  Check out information below on specials for not only California, but Florida travel too.

Disneyland Travel - Get Away Today still has Adult's at Kid's prices on 3 day or longer tickets for Disneyland.  This is good on a variety of tickets including park hoppers or one park per day and can be used with or without MaxPass.  There are no blackout dates and they are good through the end of 2020!  Purchase your discount tickets to Disneyland Resort here.

Southern California Combo Ticket - Looking to plan a longer visit to Southern California?  You can combine the above Disneyland ticket deal with savings on other popular SoCal attractions like Universal Studios Hollywood and LEGOLAND, plus get an EXTRA combo discount to save even more on these tickets.  No promo code is required - you'll see the savings pile up in your cart! Check out the Southern California Combo savings here.

And For The East Coast - No need to fear!  We get included on the fun with this Black Friday Sale!  You can save an extra $10 off tickets for Florida attractions like Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando off of the already discounted prices offered through Get Away Today.  Use code BLACKFRIDAYFL to access this savings.  For more on Florida deals, click here.

Don't forget to use my special code PIXIEDUST to save even more when you book a vacation package including tickets and hotel stay.  Visit soon though!  There is limited availability on some of these deals and they ALL expire on December 2nd!  Happy traveling my friends!

I'm an affiliate partner with Get Away Today.  That means that while you're saving money on some amazing vacations, I may also earn a small commission.

The Edison at Disney Springs

If you've visited Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort in recent years, you have noticed the addition of more great restaurants and stores making this a top destination for visitors to Orlando. The Edison is no exception to the reputation for delicious food and a fun atmosphere.  My visit in October 2018 was a Saturday lunch reservation with one of my good friends who moved to Orlando a few years prior.  The outside presents as an industrial throwback and welcomes guests with a patio and ample outdoor seating.  It's located in The Landing of Disney Springs near some other favorites such as Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' and Morimoto Asia.

Upon entering the restaurant, the industrial theming from the outside continues.  A large clock greets customers while you check in and wait for your table.  We were seated promptly at our reservation time and found the restaurant only partially full on a Saturday afternoon at 1:00.  With the expansion of dining options in Disney Springs, availability for many of them can be found, especially if you can be flexible with days or times. On our way to the table, we walked past several recreations of inventions from the past.  There are also many casual seating options in the restaurant such as oversized chairs and couches.  The vibe inside the restaurant reminds of The Great Gatsby and a throwback to the 1920s. It's a multi-level restaurant as well which adds to the visual interest. I have seen events advertised here featuring jazz music on select evenings - this looks like a fabulous place to enjoy an evening out at Disney Springs!  While you probably wouldn't be bringing the kids out too late, it's worth noting that this does turn into an adult only (over 21) venue after 10PM.

Industry means comfort inside of The Edison
When we were seated at our table, we found ourselves faced with an impossible choice of what to eat.  The lunch menu features a wide variety of favorites including burgers, sandwiches, seafood, and an assortment of soups and salads. I ended up opting for The Edison Burger while my friend decided to give the Fish Tacos a try.  The presentation and taste were both great on the fish tacos.  My friend shared that the Mahi-Mahi was cooked perfectly and the tastes were bold and flavorful.  I'm really glad I chose The Edison Burger too.  After a few days of trying to eat healthy while working, I went all out on my final meal in Disney. The burger was topped with cheddar cheese, crispy onions, bacon, special sauce and french fries on the side - this was close to heaven on a plate!  I regret not giving the Clothesline Candied Bacon a try after seeing this served as an appetizer to the table next to us.  It features an assortment of bacon literally hanging on a cute little table sized clothesline. There's always next time, right?!?

How great does this burger look?
So what were my overall thoughts on The Edison?  I'd definitely recommend it to friends and family looking for good food and a casual, fun environment.  It's certainly a family friendly spot for lunch or dinner.  Guests can expect pricing in line with most non-signature table service restaurants in Disney with main dishes ranging between roughly $15 and $30.  With so many great places to eat in Disney Springs and throughout the Walt Disney World Resort it's truly becoming harder and harder to make decisions when planning your advanced dining reservations.  Featuring a menu that I would describe as classic American fare, this is one place where the whole family will be able to find choices to suit them.  Bon appetite, friends!