2 girls, 1 week in a holiday villa in Orlando – Disney Springs

On our last full vacation day, we headed to Disney Springs to check out the changes.

We parked in the multi-storey Orange car park – undercover so keeping the car cooler for our return, lots of spaces and good location into Disney Springs by the bowling at Splitsville and the new Coca Cola World.

Starting our visit on the terrace of Coca Cola World (3 storeys of Coke branded products) we took in the view and got our bearings.

We made our way through the new undercover shopping arcade – to the outside stores.  What an absolutely fabulous setting, fountains, palm trees with pristine shop fronts.  We had a quick browse in Kate Spade before making our way to The Boathouse for our lunch reservation.

Lunch at the Boathouse was everything we had hoped for – great service, good quality food, nice selection and the crafted cocktails were the best!

After lunch we made our way to the Disney and Lego stores before going back to the new stores including Under Armour, Sephora, Zara and Ugg.

Taking a mid afternoon break, we went to Sprinkles for a cupcake desert.  I had been looking forward to trying the cupcake ATM out, however, it was out of order.  We went in and order a cupcake sundae – a cupcake cut in half with a scoop of ice-cream in the middle. For us, the product didn’t live up to the hype – I’m not sure we would return – particularly as there is Ghirardelli which serves amazing ice creams.

All shopped out and appetites well and truly satisfied we headed home, just ahead of a very  nasty storm!

2 girls, 1 week in an Orlando holiday villa

We woke really early – it was still dark – due to the 5 hour time difference ftom the UK and our early night.  I opened the blinds in my room to watch for the sunrise.

As the sun rose, I donned my swimming costume and stepped out to the pool for an early morning dip – the sun rise was beautiful and the temperature perfect – pool was like bath water without pool heat.  As I relaxed by the pool afterwards a couple of hot air balloons glided over.

After a light breakfast, quick showers and getting dressed we headed out to visit the Premium Outlet on Vinelands Avenue.  With more stores and an easy to follow layout we prefer this one to the one on International Drive.  We looked in Ugg, GAP, Saks on Fifth before moving across the road to where the bulk of the stores are.  Best buys were probably in Kate Spade with upto 80% off.

Then an early storm came in, starting with a few large drops of rain, the skies darkened dramatically and then opened.  We decided it was a good time to visit the food court for some lunch!  There are a couple of new franchises in the food court including Greenacre which makes from scratch salad bowls and a new sandwich stall.  After the storm passed, we completed our outlet shopping and then headed to Target on the way back to the villa.

Super Target at Rolling Oaks really sells everything and is clean and not so crowded at Walmart – although it is a little bit more expensive I think.

Starting to feel hungry our final stop was to order 2 take out pizzas from Papa Johns.  $6.99 each, cooked to order and delicious!

Still gettin used to the time difference we watched a little television Dancing with the Stars and an hour of the presidential debate before calling it a day.

 

Berry Town Centre

Berry Town Centre is a small shopping precinct at the intersection of Sand Mine Road and US Highway 27, in Davenport.  Ideally located just 1 mile from Tuscan Hills, also handy for those people staying on communities like Legacy Park, Calabay Parc, Four Corners, Florida Pines, Solana, and many others along the US27.

The anchor for the development,  is a large Publix supermarket.  Publix is open from 7am to 10pm every day . The quality of the bakery and fresh produce is excellent (fruit and veg generally tends to be fresher than Walmart although slightly more expensive).  They also make excellent ‘sub’ sandwiches and hot food area ideal for a lunch, service is very friendly if at times a little slow – so have patience – it will be worth it!  There is also a useful pharmacy department and cash machine. There are butchery and fish departments both stocked by very helpful staff who are happy to provide whatever you are looking for and give advice on cooking it. If you find you just can’t cope without your Cadbury’s fix there is even a foreign aisle selling a selection of UK goods.  Publix sells wine and beer but not spirits (hard liquor).

If you need to stock up on spirits, don’t worry Party Liqours is just 2 doors down – where you will find a well stocked store at very reasonable prices.  In the same block you will see Davenport Dental, Hair Masters, Vaperior, Nail Creations and the Sunday Grill (which actually sells British Fish and Chips!).

To the other side of Publix are a couple of eateries – Bamboo Wok (a very good Chinese) and  Mia Pizza which does really fresh thin pizzas and you can eat in or take out.  take-aways and also a British Fish and Chip Bar, Sundays Grill, where you can take out or eat in.   To the far side of the car park there is a Kangaroo Gas Station and a SunTrust bank.

Crossing over Berry Boulevard towards Jacks Road you will find Kumo Steakhouse, Fairways and Linkster’s  Tap Room which is a Golf themed bar with a good selection of beers.  Over the parking lot you will find the largest of the restaurants available – Applebees, which is an American Sports themed Bar and Grill. This place has a great atmosphere and the food is a good standard with generous portions. They often run two for one promotions on drinks (don’t forget your ID)

Continuing along you’ll find Leslie’s Pool Supplies, The UPS Store for all your mailing needs, All Pro Barbers, Berry Nails, Dhaba Indian Cuisine and BOM Thai.

If that wasn’t enough, just across the highway there is a large CVS pharmacy and a Family Dollar.

All in all, very handy and catering for all your every day needs.

 

 

Winter Park – Orlando

Taking Exit 87 off the I4 and head along Fairbanks Avenue to the Orlando suburb Winter Park.  It has some excellent independent shops as well as some chains, nice bars and some wonderful restaurants.  Add to that some museums and an entertaining boat ride and you have a good half/full day of fun away from the Theme Parks.

Heading along Park Avenue you will see plenty of shops, trendy wine bars and restaurants.  Some of our favourite stops include Alex and Ani – which is an American brand jewellery store which specialises in eco-friendly handcrafted expandable bangles, chain necklaces & rings, Peterbrooke Chocolatier and the Ancient Olive.  My partner also likes to visit Performance Bicycle which is actually over by the Winter Park Village shops.

Restaurant wise we have tried a few a couple of favourites being Luma on Park, Park Plaza Gardens and Prato (best pizza in Orlando?).

Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour will show you the wealthiest sections of Winter Park – running since 1938 it’s part nature tour and part local history lesson – always entertaining.  It can get very hot so make sure you bring a hat and some water.  It departs from Morse Street which is about 15 mins walk from Park Avenue.

On Saturday mornings the Winter Park Farmers’ Market is more of a social gathering than a serious farmers market with dirty vegetables!  Good fun though and worth a visit it does sell vegetables as well as potted plants, preserves, baked goods and fast food.

Friday Feeling – Mall of Millenia

The Mall of Millenia in Orlando is an absolutely beautiful place to visit.  It is actually a beautiful building and the domed roof means it is also very light.  There is a light and airy feeling and always lots of space both to park and to browse.

With loads of parking, you will never struggle to park and if you are feeling really fancy you can even valet park.

When I have taken guests to the Mall they have described it as a leisurely experience with no overcrowding.  A great selection of Retail – from the best designers, jewellers and department stores.  There is also a fabulous selection of restaurants and bars.

Even the restrooms are nice – spotlessly clean, plenty of them and spacious.

If you are visiting during a holiday season e.g. Easter, Christmas it is always worth checking their website to see if there are any events on.  One year we were there to see Father Christmas arrive – it was amazing!  Even if you are not there for the actual events it is still worth visiting as the decorations are fantastic.

My favourite stores include Bloomingdales, Sephora, Tiffany’s, Kate Spade and Macys.  Other familiar names include Pandora, MAC, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister and GAP.  If you go to the website you can download a voucher for a savings booklet which you need to present at Guest Services (Millenia Concierge) on Level One at the Main Entrance.

To eat there are fast food offerings in the Orangerie including subs, wraps, vegetarian, chinese and chicken.  There is also a good selection of restaurants including The Capital Grille and The Cheesecake Factory.  My personal favourite is PF Chang’s China Bistro which often has a good happy hour and offers both lighter plates and lunch menus.

Located on Conroy Road just off Exit 78 of the I4.  To find out more please visit http://www.mallatmillenia.com.