#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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Restaurant Row

Sand Lake Road is sometimes referred to as Restaurant Row by the locals – located just minutes from International Drive (I Drive), Sand Lake Road has emerged as a favourite dining destination for locals and visitors. There are loads to choose from – here are our top 3

Seasons 52 – freshest seasonal menu – healthy options – every item is less than 475 calories although you would never know – they don’t stint on taste. The menu is regularly changed to reflect the in season foods and to top it off there is an outstanding cocktail menu – go to http://www.seasons52.com to check out the menus and the location.

Vines Grille & Wine Bar is another of our top 3 – the restaurant is lovely and great if it is a little cooler, we like to sit out on the patio/bar area though and people/traffic watch. The Bar Menu is fabulous for smaller bites and they host a Happy Hour from 4-7pm every night when you get half off all bar food. Finally, the martini choses are great – my favs are the Great Gatsby and The Portini. http://www.vinesgrille.com for more info.

Finally a shout out to the Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar which boasts “a world-class menu of hand-selected premium steaks paired with an award-winning list of 100 wines by the glass”. If you enjoy a steak you will not be disappointed. If I am ever feeling a little homesick, I like to go on a Sunday and enjoy the 3 course Prime Rib dinner for $29.95. http://www.flemingssteakhouse.com

The New Transformers Ride at Universal Studios Orlando

20140224_114247 20140224_123120We managed to ride the relatively new Transformers 3D ride at Universal Studios this February.  As with all the rides at Universal the build up/queuing areas to the actual ride all form part of the story and your journey into the ride itself.  Universal says “As a N*E*S*T recruit, you’ll find yourself on the front lines of an intergalactic war between the Autobots and Decepticons. You’ll fight alongside Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, trying to keep the Allspark from falling into enemy hands.”

Very similar to The Amazing Adventures of SpiderMan ride in Islands of Adventure, you enter a moving 3-D motion simulator which takes you into battle.  There are loads of special effects and the ride definitely has the wow factor, especially for boys (big and little alike!).

I enjoyed it – would give it 5* although I prefer SpiderMan as I am more familiar with the characters.  A word of warning – if you are not good on simulators this is not the ride for you!