Friday, August 31, 2012

Florida Vacation Destinations from the United Kingdom

I want to share this site for all our visitors from Great Britain and all United Kingdom.  As one of the countries that boasts the greatest number of visitors to Central Florida you can get great rates on hotel, theme park, and car rental packages all on one site for very competitive prices.


I got connected with this site on Twitter and after I checked it out I think it's a great site for families to plan Florida vacations.  It's easy to use and there are discounts and package deals that clearly would interest you.  

Visit them yourselves and see what you think.  Looks like a great site. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac - Monday August 27th -Today's Hours

If anybody is left in Florida today that's from out of town you know about Tropical Storm Isaac.  It's dumping tons of wind and rain on the entire state but so far not a lot of damage as it's expected to make landfall somewhere between Tallahassee and New Orleans.  In spite of that, some of the parks are still open except for Busch Gardens in Tampa.  They made the wise decision to close for today but are expecting to open on Tuesday.

The Disney parks are all open but the crowds are small (I can't imagine who would be there now!) and Universal Studios is still holding open.  Sea World closed at 4:00pm.  Also, the water parks for all the parks were closed today including Wet and Wild on International Drive.

All the parks are planning to be open for regular business tomorrow but check the websites for updates.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top 10 Most Visited Theme Parks in the World

I thought this was interesting information so I decided to post it.  The top 10 theme parks in the world and how many people visit a year:

1.  Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida  -17,142,000

2.  Disneyland - Anaheim, California  - 16,140,000

3.  Disneyland, Tokyo - 13,996,000

4.  Tokyo Disney Sea  - 11,930,000

5.  Disneyland Paris -10,990,000

6.  Epcot - Walt Disney World Orlando, Florida -10,825,000

7.  Animal Kingdom - Walt Disney World, Florida  - 9,783,000

8. Hollywood Studios - Walt Disney World, Florida - 9,699,000

9.  Universal Studios - Osaka, Japan  - 8,500,000

10. Islands of Adventure, Universal, Orlando - 7,674,000

I got this information from Yahoo Travel to give proper credit.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Meg O'Malley's Irish Pub - Downtown Melbourne Florida

Meg O'Malley's Irish Pub & Grill is s typical Irish pub. Located in the downtown shopping area on Strawbridge Avenue, Meg's has for years been a wonderful place to hang around, have some drinks, make friends, and enjoy some great food.

Good luck finding a seat at the bar any day of the week but there is plenty of sating in the dining room.  The wait staff is very pleasant and the service is excellent.  Enjoy some Irish food such as shepherd's pie, (my favorite), or Irish stew.  They also have a very good selection of appetizers, one of which is Irish sausage wrapped in dough.  They also have burgers and standard food for the kids.

Any given night they have Irish music and sing-a-longs.  The atmosphere is lively but not obnoxious.  Any time we go there we always enjoy the food and the clientele is what we like, folks who like to have a good time but not to get too rowdy.  Meg's has various celebrations through the year but, if you want to go there for St. Patrick's Day, buy tickets and be prepared for a crowd!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Jungle Cruise -Walt Disney World

The jungle cruise in Frontier Land is a boat ride through the Amazon Jungle.  You get a tour guide who takes you down a river that's a lot like Humphrey Bogart's African Queen.  Thoroughly enjoyable, you go deep into the "jungle and see all kinds of animatronic creatures that have actually been there since Disney opened in the early 70's. This is an original Disney attraction.

This one uses all of Disney's imagination and mixes the African animals with the plains animals and the jungle creatures of Central and South America.  Unless you're Jack Hanna you and your kids don't mind that most of these animals don't actually live in a jungle - but it's Disney and who cares!  It's all cool.  The tour guide gives you about a ten minute ride through the winding river and shows all kinds of animals.
So you experience an entertaining monologue from your boat captain the whole time.  It's pretty amusing and you'll also see a waterfall as you even glide through an ancient replica of a temple ruin from Cambodia.  Surprisingly, there are lots of crocodiles, elephants, hippos, and predators to look at.  There is Fast Pass for this one but this time of year the crowds are light because every body's gone back north so the lines are shorter.  We got on this one in less than five
minutes.  The coolest part for the Dads, you sit down and the whole ride is in the shade!  A real bonus.  Hope you don't miss this one when you come down.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad - Magic Kingdom

Does this look cool?  Well, it is.  Big thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is one fun ride.  It's a roller coaster through an old western gold mining mountain where you ride a train through twists and turns , up and down hills, and into the mountain itself.

I you like old-fashioned coasters with a rough ride you're going to like this one.  It's not a terribly rough one but it's enough that I don't suggest it if you're pregnant or have neck or back problems.  There is a height restriction but I think it's only 40 inches.  I saw some pretty little kids on it and mine all went on it by the age of five so not too bad.  It is good enough to rattle your teeth and when you get off it you'll have had fun.

There are a few climbs and plunges, a little water, but other than that it's just right for the kids.

Thunder Mountain was closed for the better part of this year for repairs so we haven't been on it for a while.  That has made it a busy ride because folks have waited for a long time for it to reopen.

You probably want to Fast Pass this one due to the extraordinarily long lines.  Thunder Mountain is located right next to Splash Mountain which is another long wait so I suggest getting a Fast Pass for one and waiting in Stand By for the other one.  This will cut your wait for the two of them significantly.

No, we don't know these folks.  I just got a shot of them going by as we waited in line.  Definitely don't miss this one.  It's worth the wait and you're under cover from this Florida heat while in line.  Drink lots of water this time of year as we are in the tropics.  Have fun.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Spaceship Earth - Epcot - Walt Disney World

Spaceship earth is a slow-moving 16 minute ride through the big ball that is so iconic of Epcot.  narrated by Dame Judi Dench, you embark on a voyage that goes back 40 million years and follow man's progress through time.
The ride is for all ages and goes up through he building and back down at the end for 16 minutes.  One can see prehistoric man, the Gutenberg's presses, the Renaissance, early radio and television, up to the first man on the moon.

I found Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel amazing and really liked the Walter Cronkite broadcast of the first moon walk. The tour in somewhat interactive as it takes your photo and at the end of the ride the kids get to create a future world of their own using the screens inside the car while using the photos of their family's faces.  Thoroughly entertaining and laughable they will all have a good time with it.

When you disembark there is a huge globe with all your faces placed in random locations on it.  This ride is similar to the old Carousel of Progress at Magic Kingdom.  It's a great fun ride, (air-conditioning is a plus) and they family can enjoy a well planned venue along with a little educational stimulation at the same time.  This is good since life isn't all roller coasters!  Have fun.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mission: SPACE - Epcot - Walt Disney World

I really wasn't ready for this one the first time I rode it.  I'm very impressed with the techno experience of it all.  When you first enter this huge arena you are ushered into the space culture and see all kinds of rockets and vehicles as you wind through the line.  The cast members are totally real and they usher you into an intro room where they give everybody seats and assignments such as Navigator, Pilot, Mission Specialist, etc.

You walk into a capsule where everyone sits at the space ship controls with buttons, switches and a joy stick.  You get the little briefing that you're going on a 3-month mission to Mars and will be placed in "hyper sleep" for the greater portion of the ride.  You launch from the pad and feel the engines roar while G-force pushes you back into your seat.  The trip takes you out past the space station, slingshots around the moon, and you run through an asteroid

belt.  I'm not going to ruin it by giving away the whole thing but I can tell you the kids think it's awesome.  It's not a dangerous ride but the illusion of space travel is recreated incredibly.  It's not for the faint-hearted or those with physical conditions but it'll smooth out those wrinkles for sure!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tutto Italia Restaurant- - Epcot

Epcot has some of the most charming restaurants and all in authentic style.  On our visit yesterday our intention was to eat French cuisine but we ended up at Tutto Italia, one of two Italian restaurants along the walk of countries.  Our reservation was for 4:45p but we checked in about 4:30p expecting to wait and were seated immediately. The charm of our waiter, who was from Milan, Italy, was typically European.  His manners were extraordinary and he genuinely seemed to enjoy waiting on us. He started us out on heavy bread with olive oil and large green olives.  We didn't bother with appetizers but the selection was very good.

   I was impressed with the presence of management and the way all the servers stood around in attendance scanning the dining room and responding without being asked for anything customers seemed to need.  The staff, all from Italy, presented a well-kept, professional appearance without hovering.  They were all smiles and interacted with patrons without being annoying.  Management was in constant motion and customer service was at it's peak.

Lunch includes pasta, fish, lasagna, and several types of salads.  Prices are from $19 to $29.  We didn't eat lunch but wish we had!  Dinners range from about $23 to $29.50 but they also have a 3 course for $39.99 if you like the whole meal. I ordered the Risotto Al Frutti Di Mare and it was a "10". Perfect dinner.  I'm always amazed when I do the fine dining thing how the servings seem so small but when you're finished you can't imagine having eaten any more.  A good sign of quality food to be sure.

Appetizers and desserts are going to increase your bill quickly so be aware of that.  We didn't have one or order any of the wide range of wines or champagnes but we did order two desserts.  The four of us with the two deserts and no extras came to just under $200 with tip.  So, it's not exactly Olive Garden, but, for the experienced diner looking for the pleasure of a quality dinner it really does it for you.  If you like Europe and want to have a moment in Rome this place is sure not to disappoint.  hats off to the Italians on this one!