Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sea World Halloween Spooktacular

Every year Sea World hosts the Spooktacular.  Included in the price of a One-day park ticket is the Halloween celebration geared for kids 12 and under.  Along with the regular Sea World amenities Spooktacular has attractions like Penelope's Party Zone.  Kids can immerse themselves in games, music, crafts, and characters every weekend between now and Halloween on weekends.  Here they can also decorate apples or rice crispy squares.

There are also shows starring all the Sesame Street characters and kids can be selected to be part of the show.  Children's costumes are encouraged so dress them up and their photo can be part of the virtual costume parade at the Bayside Theater.

It's not Halloween without trick-or-treat.  Throughout the park are 15 or more trick-or-treat stations where kids can safely enjoy the traditional candy grab we all grew up on.   There is a lot of strolling entertainment such as characters, gifts, and places to eat.  It's a great alternative to walking around the neighborhood! If you really want to bump up your experience for additional prices you may consider Count Von Count's Spooktacular breakfast, the Family Fun Tour, or the Halloween Sleepover for kids Kindergarten - 5th Grade.

Check out for park hours and pricing as they tend to change.  Our kids love it and we think you will too.  Mine are a little older now so we go to other venues but this one is a lot of fun.

(NOTE:  The above image is courtesy of

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Orlando Science Center

Just up the road from the theme park corridor on the north side of Orlando is the Science Center.  It's just off I-4 on Princeton Street next to the Loch Haven area.  The Science Center opened about 20 years ago and struggled for years amid all the mega parks but carved out a nice existence for itself.

Six stories tall with an observatory on top the themes of the different floors changes periodically.  Dino Digs and  Lights & Lasers are two of the exhibition themes where kids can do hands on exploration with physics and chemistry.  They can also visit the lab and look at things under microscopes.  There are also electrical and water experiments with which they can amuse themselves.

My favorite exhibit is the Dino Digs.  Dozens of fossils behind glass are displayed in this room.  There are employees and volunteers all over who are there to speak with visitors and to discuss or explain the science and history of the dinosaur periods.

The Science Center is geared for school age kids but all ages enjoy this place.  It's educational for everybody and a great family experience.  There are playgrounds for the little kids and when you go make sure you secure reservations for the 6-story Imax Theater.  It's always awesome.  Check the website for shows and times.

Also check for admission and pricing.  If you're from the area the best price is the annual family pass for $135/year.  This price includes a free parking garage and discounts at the gift shop and cafe.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bongo's Cuban Cafe - Downtown Disney

Bongo's Cuban Cafe in Downtown is like visiting Havana in the 50's.  Established in the 90's by Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio, this is a great experience even if you aren't too familiar with Cuban fare.  The reservations line is a good idea but this time of year it's not quite so essential.  The staff is almost entirely Cuban and the service is usually fantastic.  More of that in a moment.

The girls at the reception desk are quite nice and hospitable.  We arrived early and were seated right away.  The food was perfect and we loved the atmosphere.  Unfortunately, our server wasn't the best and, while she was pleasant, was not very helpful.  Other servers paid more attention to us so it was still a nice dinner.

Dinner was perfect in every way.  We started with a potato ball with meat stuffing appetizer.  Cuban fried rice and fried pulled pork were also delicious.  The drinks were awesome and the children's menu had a good variety.  I recommend the pollo with yellow rice or the fried pulled beef which is a great choice every time.

The dining room is typically bustly and it's a little hard to hear everybody but not annoying.  The bar area is nice although we visited the dining room and entertainment on weekends is worth filming. There is a small gift shop attached if you're a souvenir hunter.  It's often too hot but this time of year you can sit outside and eat as well as on the balcony overlooking the sidewalk at Disney Village.  At night when the street music is playing and the street is lit the feeling is awesome and you never want to leave.

I give the experience an "A" although our server left something to be desired.  Everything else was great for us so we recommend this as a dining experience and hope to return as soon as we can.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Medieval Times Dinner & Jousting - Kissimmee, Florida

Looking for something different when visiting Orlando that doesn't involve waiting in line for rides and water slides?  This may get your attention.  Medieval Times Dinner and Jousting has been in Kissimmee, Florida for over 20 years and has been a great success since it's inception.

Located just minutes from the gates of Walt Disney on Hwy U.S. 192 in Kissimmee, Medieval Times is a dinner and horse show that you can't not love.

Dinner shows are made by reservation at  You don't have to have them but I always recommend them.  Arrive 1 hour before show and mingle.  They have an open court area, a bar, gift shop, and a medieval-era village you can

visit. You're seated in one of 6 color-coded areas which corresponds with one of the 6 knights.  He's yours to cheer for.  The show starts with demonstrations of horsemanship, jousting, lance charges, etc.   The knights periodically throw flowers to the ladies as you can see by my daughter's smile. She caught one.  Yes, that's my son who also loves the camera!
Tickets are $59.95/ea. Adult, $35.95/ea. 12 & under.  3 and less are FREE.  Presently, they are running a Florida resident special for $33.95/Adult and $29.95/3-12.  I don't know how long this is running for so check it out.  Dinner consists of roast chicken, garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, potato, spare rib and pastry for dessert. The coolest part is  NO FORKS.  That's right - you eat with your fingers like in old England so the children will totally enjoy it.  We've enjoyed Medieval Times more than once over the years and it's always fun.  It's not just about entertainment.  The show gives you a taste of people being good.  It exemplifies chivalry, rivalry, and revelry, which are all traits we admire.  Make your reservations at:

                  1-888-WE-JOUST  or 1-888-935-6878

Have fun and thanks for reading.