Club Cool

Club Cool is located near Innoventions West at Epcot (not on the map). Its our favourite place to ‘cool’ off as it offers free samples of soft drinks from other countries that aren’t sold in the States. My favourites are Kinley from Israel and Mezzo from Germany while hubby likes the Smart Watermelon from China.

Club Cool also sells all kinds of Coca Cola memorabilia and offers you the opportunity to put together your own cup for a price.

We love it and recommend it as a stop which is off the map and free!

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The Cheesecake Factory

The Cheesecake Factory is a national chain of restaurants in the US, in Orlando we go to the one in the Mall of Millenia

It has a huge menu with loads of choices (200) and the portions are big. You can dine in or outside. If you don’t have time or are too full for desert then go to the takeaway counter and take some home for later.

With 50 flavours to choose from – my favourites? Oreo, Dulce de leche, vanilla bean. Cheesecakes can be refridgerated for 5 days and frozen for up to 6 months so there is really no excuse not to buy while there.

Hidden Mickeys

Hidden Mickeys are hiding everywhere – in the rug in the hotel lobby, in the snowflakes of the parade, in the fireworks, even in the bricks outside Magic Kingdom.  They are everywhere and some people get a bit obsessive about them.  I’m told that Hidden Mickeys started during the construction of Epcot and they took off from there.  There are books, websites and chatrooms all dedicated  to identifying Hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World.

As well as the ‘usual’ Hidden Mickey form of the tri-circle frontal silhouette wiht a big circule for hte face and two smaller circles for the ears, other designs include full body silhouettes, handprints or even just hidden initials.

Get started at http://www.hiddenmickeysguide.com

Rodeo

For a real wild west experience – go to the Rodeo if it’s on while you are in town.  The Silver Spurs Rodeo is held twice a year – February and early June – check the website http://www.silverspursrodeo.com for exact dates and to purchase tickets as it sells out fast.

A tradition since 1944, this year the 129th Silver Spurs Rodeo is taking place 1-2 June, 2012, Friday & Saturday at 7.30pm.

Held at the Osceola Heritage Park, a state of the art Arena where every seat has a great view.  The park also includes the Osceola County Stadium for baseball and the Kissimmee Valley Livestock Show and Fair Pavilion.

The event features the classic bareback bronc, barrel racing, bull riding, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping and muttin bustin’!  It attracts competitors from as far as Canada.

Palms & Roses B&B Ocala

We stayed at Palms & Roses for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago when our villa was booked out by other guests so we thought we would take advantage and explore a part of Florida that we hadn’t been to before.

Palms and Roses Bed & Breakfast is owned by Don and Jenn Kehl with their 2 friendly pets Bonnie the dog and Baxter the cat.  The B&B has a lovely homely feel, small and intimate with 3 letting bedrooms.  All the rooms are ensuite.  Ours had a queen bed, tv and coffee making facilities.  The bathroom was really well supplied with toiletries and a hairdryer.   The bedrooms are large and I was blown away by the size of the shower in the ensuite bathroom.  There was also free wi-fi available – a must for Mr K.

A full English breakfast is served to get you through your day. An alternative menu is available by special request.

Palms and Roses is located approximately 10 miles south of Ocala, and a mile north of The Villages and Lady Lake.  It’s away from the crowded tourist areas, and nestled in a rural area in the world-renowned horse country of Marion County.
It has gorgeous grounds, Jon helped on the farm and I was allowed to pick a fresh tangerine straight from one of the bushes in the grounds.

It was a wonderful and memorable stay, we felt we visited with friends even though we hadn’t met Jenn or Don before.  I highly recommend a stay to see a different side to Florida.

Visit http://www.palmsandroses.com/index.html to find out more

Disney’s Boardwalk at Nighttime

Disney’s Boardwalk at nighttime comes into it’s own.  It is quieter and more ‘grown up’ than Downtown Disney with free live entertainment and fantastic viewing of the Epcot and Magic Kingdom fireworks without having to pay to get in!

To get to the Boardwalk you need to follow the signs to the Epcot Resort area.  You can park for free but you must have some photo id to get into the car park.  Follow the signs down to the Boardwalk area and enjoy a leisurely walk round the lake.  The best place to see the Epcot fireworks is from the bridge but you get a good view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the lake near the entrance (also very near the ice cream parlour & candy store – bonus).

There are several places to eat both restaurants and snack stalls.  It has a lovely safe atmosphere and the usual Disney magic and service.

We had a wonderful evening – enjoyed by all generations from 28 to 78.  Highly recommended and again I stress a ‘free’ evening out (unless you buy food/drink!)