Posted in Holiday

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando

So it has taken me over a month to sit down and write this post. It shouldn’t have taken me this long but sadly due to my MS after I returned from Orlando my MS decided to make itself noticed and I have just started feeling able to sit down and write a post. I’m lucky with my MS as I don’t have as many issues as other MS suffers do but when it does show it’s ugly head it takes me a while to get back to being human.

Anyway, I am back from Orlando and had a wonderful time. We came, we saw, we cast spells and had a wonderful time. I went with my nephew Josh and we flew out to Orlando on February 6 and landed in Orlando around 4:30. We live in Oklahoma so we flew out of Tulsa. That is not an easy airport to fly out of for those curious. We flew American which flew us to Dallas then to Orlando. The interesting thing about the flight was that we were told there would be a 51 minute layover in Dallas. Turns out..not true at all. We landed a few minutes early actually. We grabbed our bags and went looking for our gate. The gate of course was in a completely different section of the airport and required us to take the Skylink, which is a speed train that shoots you to the terminal you need to go to (I was reminded of the train from The Hunger Games). We found our gate and our plane was boarding! Where the heck was the layover? I wasn’t terribly sad but gee I wouldn’t have minded 10 minutes. So off to Orlando we go..it was a 2 hr flight and I had time to watch a movie from the many selections American offers. I was actually glad I was able to watch their movie and not use my devices..save the battery right?

We touched down in Orlando to a lovely sunny day. After deboarding the plane and realizing we were actually here we started looking for the Universal Travel desk where we had to pick up our Travel Pack that was full of all our tickets for the park. At one point I remember wishing I had wheels on my shoes because we walked forever to get to the Travel Desk. Once we finally located the desk it was empty (thankfully) and we meet a very helpful Universal employee named Cheryl (great name) who gave us so much information about the park I couldn’t wait to get started. We waited for our shuttle that would take us to our hotel and shortly we were off to start our Unviersal adventure.

I had family from Texas that was also visiting Universal at the same time so once we arrived at the hotel and planned on meeting up with them. They were already in the park riding rides so we were going to meet up with them later. Josh and I were ready for a bit of a rest and we wanted to checkout the features of our room. We were staying at Universal’s Aventura Resort; this is an on-site hotel. The hotel was very clean, has a huge selection of bars and restraurants. The rooms come with iPads that control the entire room..from the lights to the air to the tv. It was really cool to play with the lights and use the iPad to control the TV. We didn’t watch much TV but did turn it on a few times to play with it. Not to mention you can use the iPad to get online and surf the web as needed even order food to your room if desired. I was very impressed with the hotel.

It was getting close to dinner time so Josh and I left the hotel and headed to City Walk. We were told we could take the Water Taxi’s to City Walk. We had to talk to a nearby hotel to board the taxi but it was worth it. They became our favorite way to get back and forth from City Walk to our hotel. The hotel supplies a bus about every 15 minutes but we really enjoyed the taxi. The sun was setting the weather was perfect. A person couldn’t ask for a better setting to take a water taxi ride in.

Our park tickets didn’t start until the 7th so we could only get into City Walk which is where we decided to go for dinner. There was so much to chose from we settled on eating at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. It is actually one of our favorite places to eat when we are traveling so we knew the food would be good and who doesn’t love Bubba Gump? My Aunt and cousin found us for dinner and joined us. We had a great waiter, food and an enjoyable time. After dinner we were all ready to head back to the hotel and get ready for our first full day at the park.

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Posted in Christmas

43 weeks until Christmas

Yet another Christmas has come and gone and another one will be here before we know it. Is there anyone out thinking about being away from home at Christmas? I always wanted to do that when I was a child, I was always at grandparents houses Christmas morning. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that my family started having our own private Christmas and we stayed home as my father didn’t enjoy traveling.

I have always wanted to go away at Christmas to someplace really magical, like England and experience a Dickens Christmas. I realize that is just fantasy but I’ll bet there is some lovely village in England that comes close. I’ve wanted to go to New York City on Thanksgiving and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade to usher in Christmas and enjoy the sites New York City has to offer. As I have gotten older the idea of going to colder places no longer appeals to me and a nice warm tropical island has a better appeal. Hawaii would be a great place to spend Christmas at least once or even sunny Florida.

TripAdvisor reports that 40% of travelers book their vacation 6-12 months out and another 60% book 1-5 months out. If you are planning a trip during the Christmas holiday booking now is advised. I truly enjoy using TripAdvisor when I travel. When you download their easy to use app to your phone or personal device you are able to make an itinerary of places you want to visit, eat at or shows to see. There are also reviews from travelers letting you know of their experience at that venue. I have found this very helpful in bigger cities I have been too.

I have listed 5 of the holiday spots that are within the US and easy to get to.

  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina-temps are around 60 degrees, beachfront condos can be rented from $109 – $450 a night depending on your group size. Myrtle Beach has many things to offer during this time of year from sandy beaches to aquariums.
  • Port Isabel, Texas-temps are a lovely 70-80 degrees in December, located just before you get to Padre Island. Rental property goes from $105-$440 a night depending on your group size. Port Isabel is full of American history, lighthouses and pirate ships. Fun can be had by the whole family.
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado-temps range from 40 degrees and lower in December. If a Christmas setting is what you are looking for this is the place. Minutes away from ski resorts, an hour away from Denver. Colorado Springs is home to the Olympic Sports Training and Visitor Center, Pikes Peak is not far away and Garden of the Gods is breathtakingly beautiful.
  • San Antonio, Texas -temps vary during December usually mild weather around 50 degrees, average nightly stay $200 depending on group size. San Antonio has so many things to offer while visiting. During the month of December, some of their seasonal parks are closed but do open for a few events mostly on weekends, check their websites if thinking about going to Sea World or Fiesta Texas. This is a city that stays busy, plus you are only a few hours away from the Gulf Coast should you want to venture further south.
  • Orlando, Florida-temps range from 70-50 degrees in December. Hotel rates vary as most are based on theme park visits. The website does offer good packages for those wanting to visit. Orlando has so much to offer it would be hard to pick one thing to showcase. The Orlando website does offer an app to download to help you sort out your choices of where to go on your trip. I am all about free help.

Those are my 5 choices. I hope they have been somewhat helpful should you decide to pack up and head elsewhere for the Christmas holidays. Have a great trip, Cheryl