Orlando City Soccer Club – Orlando Citrus Bowl

A few years ago now we were lucky enough to be in Orlando when the I4 Derby between Orlando City and Tampa Bay Rowdies took place.

My partner is a lifelong Rowdies fan so it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.   We were apprehensive as there was no apparent segregation of the two sets of fans which is unheard of in English Football, however, we needn’t have worried.

The stadium was really easy to find and we were able to park at the venue.  We found that there was great support for the teams (it is even larger over there now than it was when we attended).  In our experience, watching all sports in Florida is a very family friendly, social event and the soccer proved no exception.

There was a slight crowd incident between the Rowdies supporters themselves, but the police were quickly on the scene removing 2 spectators without any real issue.

Today there is a new stadium which is every bigger and very clean and modern.  There are literally no bad seats and there is excellent crowd control.

If you get the opportunity to view any sport while you are in Orlando on vacation I would highly recommend it. For more information about the team and their schedule click Orlando Soccer

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#OrlandoStrong

I’ve been wanting to blog since the tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando but I have been lost for words.   I am usually blogging about why it’s great to visit Orlando and what you should see, do, experience while there and then I realised, today I should do exactly the same.

Before I do though I want to firstly say that I am sending my love and support over to the city that I think of as my 2nd home. Secondly, I firmly believe that we cannot let terrorism win.  In 2001, I had booked to come over to New York, then 9/11 happened and everyone became scared to travel.  My friend and I took the decision that we would still come to New York and it was a very humbling experience.  The New Yorkers were so grateful that we had travelled, that we were showing our support and they believed we were brave to visit.  We didn’t feel like the brave ones.

Life is short, it is a gift.  I have read the stories of many of the victims and it seems that they were full of hope, enjoying and living life and making their own memories.  I can’t think of many places where you can make more wonderful memories than Orlando, Florida.  The feeling of magic when you enter the Disney parks, the feeling of wonder when you see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Resorts.  The absolute beauty of natural Florida with all its weird and wonderful flora and fauna.  The stunning beauty of the beaches. The sunshine.  The unfortunate tightening of your jeans on departure after a week or two of fabulous food, Floridian hospitality and generous portions.

I am booked to return again in September and November and again next year.  I will not hesitate to go and show my support and make more wonderful memories.  I urge others to do the same.

Let’s show our support, our courage and strength.  #OrlandoStrong x

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Tickets for Disney’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party which is held annually at the Magic Kingdom are now on sale.

We love going to the Halloween party as it is a separately ticketed event – so you don’t have to have a ticket for Disney – just the event.  Officially the event opens at 7pm, however, you can gain entry from 4pm and as the tickets are usually cheaper that the day ticket with entrance numbers limited it is a great way to see the park, experience the main rides, enjoy special extras like trick or treating and a special Halloween parade.

Even as you enter the park you start to see all the beautiful little extra details – pumpkins, ghosts, autumn displays – all tastefully done and fun so as not to scare the younger children.

Having said all that this year I have noticed that there has been a large uplift in prices for some of the dates – depending on which day you decide to attend, you may pay significantly more than previously.

The Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2016 ticket prices range from to $72-$105 for adults and $67-$100 for children (ages 3-9) without tax. Children under 3 are free.  Disney have added an additional 4 dates this year with the party running on select dates from September 2nd to October 31st

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2016 dates are as follows:

September 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 29, 30
October 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Advance Ticket Dates By Price

$72 adults/$67 children: September 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 25

$79 adults/$74 children: September 29, 30

$85 adults/$80 children: September 23

$86 adults/$81 children: October 2, 6

$91 adults/$86 children: October 4, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27

$95 adults/$90 children: October 7, 14, 21, 28, 30

$105 adults/$100 children: October 31

The cheaper the ticket, the quieter the day as a general rule with the 31st October understandably being the busy day of all.

So what can you expect and is it worth the money?  For us the answer is yes.  If you only have a few days in Orlando and want to just do one park, why not consider just doing this event – it would be cheaper and less busy?

Get there for 4pm, the entrances are divided at that time for general admission one side and Halloween party admission at the other.  You receive a wrist band on entrance and are given a bag for your trick or treating (the trick or treating does not begin though until 7pm when the event officially opens).

From 7pm all the main rides remain open, you cannot fast pass them, but as the numbers are controlled there is generally no need to.  There are 2 parades – Boo to You!  which start with a headless horseman – the parade is worth viewing and the quieter of the 2 is the 2nd one.  The Hallowishes Fireworks display is extremely good too.  When we have visited the event we have never experienced any long queues and have never queued for longer than 20 minutes for anything!

Trick or treating is available all night and the queues are a lot quieter towards the end of the evening.

The final and key thing to mention is about the wearing of costumes.  Late 2015, Disney instituted tighter security procedures for entering the parks (we have been asked to go through the metal detector on a couple of occasions now) and banned costumes for adults. The guidance for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party have now been published and are as follows:

  • Disney may deny admission to anyone or remove anyone who is wearing attire that is considered inappropriate or could detract from other guests’ experiences.
  • Guests may dress as their favorite characters, but cannot pose for pictures or sign autographs.
  • Costumes must be family-friendly and not obstructive, offensive, violent or objectionable.
  • Costumes must not contain weapons that resemble or could be mistaken for real weapons.
  • Costumes may not contain sharp or pointed objects, or materials that might strike another guest.
  • Guests who do not abide by the guidelines may be refused entry or removed unless their costumes can be modified to acceptable standards.

For guests ages 14 and up:

  • Layered costumes or costume props that surround the entire body are strongly discouraged and subject to additional security screening.
  • Costumes may not reach or drag the ground.
  • Capes should not go below the waist.
  • Themed T-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts and hats are OK to wear
  • Transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords and tutus are OK. Headwear must not cover the face.
  • Masks are not allowed.

For guests ages 13 and under:

  • Costumes and some masks may be worn

So there you have it – more information can be found and tickets may be purchased at MNSSHP

 

Epcot -how to manage to last the day!

With the new Frozen ride in Norway due to open in June and Soarin across the World due to premiere in the Summer too – I thought it might be useful to share some of our survival tips for lasting the full day at Epcot.

Epcot is essentially split into 2 worlds – Future World which opens from 9am and then the World Showcase which opens from 11am – both stay open until 9pm when the Illuminations fireworks show ends the day.

It can be really tiring at Epcot as there is quite a bit of walking and not that much shade to be found which during the long hot afternoons can mean staying until the close of the park a challenge.

Our first tip is some super cool air conditioning seating inside just near the back entrance to Club Cool – so head into Club Cool and test the Coca Cola samples from around the world and then go out the back entrance (going towards The Land) and through into the building for some refreshing aircon – stay a while, make your next plans and just enjoy the coolness.

Next tip – heading to The Land – there is seating outside and inside in the shade.  We like to take a ride on Living with the Land to get another break/breather from the sun – it’s a gentle ride through the green houses.

You will also find shelter from the sun or indeed the summer thunderstorms in The Seas – there is a Nemo clam shell ride and then lots to see, including a children’s play area all under cover in the air conditioning.

Once you get into the World Showcase, shade can be harder to find – we like to spend a little time in the back areas of Canada – I have sheltered from a thunderstorm more than once in this area!

There are also seats in the shade as you walk towards France from the United Kingdom – down the slope towards the entrance gates from the Boardwalk area.

Morocco has shaded areas amongst the retail opportunities and there is the Fez House which is beautifully cool and beautifully ornate – but so easily missed!

Japan has lovely cool shops and a gallery area with internal seating – a very calm place to regroup.  We also like the area outside near the Katsura Grill – sometimes you can find both shade and catch a breeze coming off the lake sitting up in this area.

China again has some seats around the carp lakes – sometimes in shade and a wonderful airy shopping area to browse and cool down.

Finally, Mexico – inside the temple it is cool and dark – lots to see, one of our favourite gentle cheesy rides (featuring Donald Duck) an opportunity to have a tequila if you like it and indoor fountains – it can just be a bit of a shock when you step back outside into the heat and the glare of the summer.

If you take your time and take frequent breaks, plus plenty of fluids (preferably non alcoholic) you can last the day 9-9pm – final tip – wear really comfy shoes!!

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