Theme Park Tickets for Orlando (for the Brits)

I’m writing today’s blog for the Prossers who are due to go to Florida at Easter.

First thing to say is be realistic about the tickets you need and the type of ticket you need – for example you won’t need a 14 day Disney ticket and the Orlando Flex Ticket Plus in a 2 week holiday.

Secondly, we always buy our theme park tickets in advance, not at the park – you will save time and money doing it this way.  We’ve also find it can help you to budget for your holiday and have quite often bought some theme park tickets each month prior to our holiday (time allowing)

Disney tickets – you can get some ticket options that are just for UK travellers, however, for us we tend to buy on the US english website so we can ‘magic our way’ to exactly what we need.  You need to know how many days you want to visit, whether you want to visit more than 1 park a day (park hop) and whether you want to pay a premium for non expiry tickets – this option can be useful if you have every intention of coming back to Florida as you could deliberately buy more days at this year’s price but use them on years to come.  If you don’t pay for the non expiry your tickets will expire 14 days after first use.

You can use Guest Services at Downtown Disney to save time and queuing if you ened to buy Disney tickets in Orlando or exchange vouchers for tickets.

Next thing to know/remember.  You don’t pay for children under 3 years old to go into the parks.  Child prices are applicable for ages 3-9, 10 upwards are considered adults.

Next on to the other parks.  The Orlando FlexTicket provides 14 days consecutive days to both Universal parks, Wet and Wild, Seaworld and Aquatica.

For Universal you need to select from 1, 2, 3, 4 or 7 day tickets for either 1 park or both parks.  Buy in advance and you will save money – look out in the UK for Universal’s 2 and 3 Park Bonus tickets.

Where to buy your tickets – we usually buy direct from the websites, at today’s exchange rates we elect to pay in US dollars.  There are specialist websites – a few that some of our guests have used include:

http://www.attraction-tickets-direct.co.uk

http://www.orlandoattractions.com/tickets

http://www.orlando-ticket-deals.co.uk

http://www.kgstickets.com

Finally, please don’t be attracted by the ‘too good to be true’ offers that you will see advertised in restaurants, gas stations at ‘tourist information’ offices – these are not genuine tickets and may not be accepted at the turnstiles.  Some are genuine tickets but you have to waste half a day of your holiday viewing timeshare apartments.

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Dine with an astronaut – Kennedy Space Centre

Recommended by our friends the Gardners and my brother – all big space fans.  We paid for my brother (and sister-in-law) to have lunch with an astronaut for his birthday a few years ago.  It was easy to book online.

A small group get to dine with the star of the daily Astronaut Encounter.  The featured astronaut gives a special briefing, with insights into their space missions and will then answer individual questions, give autographs and pose for photos.

The current roster of astronauts include: Al Worden, Bob Springer, Bruce Melnick, Charlie Walker, Jon McBride, Wendy Lawrence and Winston Scott.  Go to http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/lunch-with-an-astronaut.aspx and visit the upcoming events for a list of Astronaut Encounter & Lunch With an Astronaut guests.

Current price is $24.99 for adults and $15.99 for children ages 3-11, in addition to admission.

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Gulfport

Gulfport near St Petersburg is a beautiful, unique little beach town right at the end of the Boca Ciega Bay peninsula.  Often overlooked for the barrier islands, yet we feel that it has a lovely fun-loving and easy going atmosphere which we adore.  It is an artist community which literally glows at night with all the lights on the trees along the Beach Boulevard.

There is a beach – fine for swimming and sunbathing – plus a four block stretch of good restaurants, little cafes and funky boutiques.  The locals are really friendly and twice monthly they put on an ‘art walk’ which is really like a low key street party – the first Friday and third Saturday from 6pm to 10pmImage

Cupcake Delights – Mount Dora

Tonight my blog is just about Cupcake Delights in Mount Dora.  I have mentioned it briefly before in blogs about Mount Dora but today I am only talking about this little cupcake shop which is my personal favourite.

Cupcake Delights opened in November, 2007 I’ve been visiting ever since, every time I go to Florida I squeeze a little trip in.  When I have my parents or parents-in-law with me, I take them on a Thursday as over 55s can buy cupcakes for $2 each.  Located at 112 E. Fifth Ave. just across from Donnelly Park, you can’t miss it because it is pink!

The cupcakes are beautifully fresh and lovely and moist.  Don’t go too late in the day though because when they are gone, they are gone!

There are a number of signature cupcakes which are available every day, and then a selection of others which are rotated.  The signature flavours include carrot cake (Kathryn’s favourite), classic buttercream, chocolate buttercream, coconut dream (my Mum’s favourite), cream cheese and red velvet.

Some of the cupcakes on rotation include: Banana Cream Pie, Banana Split, Boston Cream, Butterfinger, Butter Pecan (Hubby’s favourite), Cappuccino Delight, Chocolate Caramel Chunk, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Madness, Cookies & Cream (just one of my favourites), Key Lime Delight (my Dad’s favourite), Wedding Cake (another of my favourites) and then there are some seasonal flavours!!  One year we were there around Halloween and I had a pumpkin spice which came complete with a little individual gingerbreak person – yum yum.

Go to http://www.cupcakedelights.com for more information and photos!

112 E. FIFTH AVE.  |  MOUNT DORA, FL 32757  |  PHONE (352) 383-2200

Thornton Park – South Eola

Described as Orlando’s “most stylish district” by the Washing Post, Thornton Park is east of South Eola.  A series of brick-lined streets with independent stores and boutiques, known as an artist and gay-friendly neighbourhood which is also full of great quality dining options.

Some to note are:

Dexter’s – 808 E. Washington Street (407) 648-2777

We recommend brunch at Dexter’s after a walk around Lake Eola.  The key is getting there early, I’d say before 11ish or you’ll be waiting.  Everything is good, the quiche, the blue corn waffle/pancakes and the chicken and Belgian waffle combo are all amazing – believe me.  They also do some great drinks – fruity Mimosas, Bloody Marys and Margheritas.

Hue – 629 E. Central Boulevard – (407) 849-1800

Downtown Orlando’s most critically acclaimed and award-winning restaurant. HUE is a contemporary urban bistro with a French accented, globally influenced menu. We have become a local landmark that personifies city style in Orlando’s best neighborhood – Thornton Park.

Recipient of the prestigious Golden Spoon Award by Florida Trend Magazine for five years running. Named 75 Hot Tables 2003 – Best New Restaurants in the World by Conde’ Nest Traveler Magazine, the only Orlando restaurant to ever win this award.

Virgin Olive Market – 807 North Orange Ave, North of Colonial – (407) 601-7848

Desribed as the Neighborhood Noshery!  This is a place to go where you will be supporting a locally owned business which uses local farm fresh eggs and offers vegan, gluten and soy free options.

Amazing food, great flavours, a menu which offers a vast variety throughout the week,
Go with half and half that combines a soup of the day with half a salad or sandwich!!!

Magic Kingdom – New Fantasyland

The New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom is now open.  There are 2 new themed areas:
  • Enchanted Forest
  • Storybook Circus
Enchanted Forest
In the Enchanted Forest, you can meet some of your favourite Disney Characters for the films The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.  Discover roaring waterfalls and royal castles as you go through the Forest on the way to the Enchanted Forest attractions and experiences including:
  • Under the Sea~Journey of the Little Mermaid: (similar to The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot) you enter Prince Eric’s castle and board a giant clamshell to rock out on this new musical attraction
  • Be Our Guest Restaurant: offering 3 amazing dining rooms in the middle of Beast’s Castle to choose from
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle: Belle and Lumière share their stories
  • Ariel’s Grotto: a legacy from Fantasyland, here you can visit Ariel, take photos and get autographs
Storybook Circus
The Storybook Circus is inspired by the Disney film Dumbo.  It takes you to a different age when big top tents attracted huge audiences with their amazing animals, stunts and entertainment.  There are rides and attractions:
  • The Barnstormer: a child friendly rollercoaster modelled on a Goofy themed stunt plane adventure
  • Dumbo The Flying Elephant: there is not one but two Dumbo rides now – side by side – so less queuing but same popular ride.
  • Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station: This is a circus-themed water play area where visitors can enjoy cooling refreshment – conveniently located near restrooms and the station
  • Fantasyland Station: The newest station on the Railway 
I am told that there will be more attractions opening in 2013 including a Princess Fairytale Hall where you will be able to meet the Disney princesses and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – a new exciting ride.

Mall at Millenia – what’s coming this year

I’ve blogged about my love of the Mall at Millenia before – just off the I4 exit 78.  As well as great shops there are also some fantastic restaurants – our favourites are the Cheesecake Factory and PF Chang’s China Bistro which does an early bird meal deal.

Another great reason to visit is the Blue Martini – a bar, restaurant and music venue which offers more than 32 unique martinis, a tapas style menu with an outdoor terrace – http://www.bluemartinilounge.com

Anyway, I have been distracted again by the mention of the Mall at Millenia when I meant to tell you what is coming in 2013 – hot off the press I am told the following will be arriving in 2o13:

7 For All Mankind – Spring 2013

Breitling – Early 2013
H&M – Fall 2013
Hublot – Spring 2013
Microsoft Store – Fall 2013
Omega – Spring 2013
Papyrus
Prada – Summer 2013
Sephora
Splendid – Spring 2013
The Buckle – Spring 2013
The Capital Grille – Spring 2013
YSL – Summer 2013

Go to http://www.mallatmillenia.com to find out moremall-at-millenia