2 girls, 1 week in a holiday villa Orlando

Yesterday we had a Disney day.  As an annual passholder I was able to get my friend a 1 day hopper ticket for $79 plus taxes.

We started at Magic Kingdom.  You can tell it is low season as the monorail was on a real go slow and as we arrived they announced it was going out of service.

Bag check and added security and then we were in.  All themed for Halloween the first spot was Snow White with no.line!  After a photo call we headed down the Main Street and arrange some fast passes.  We took a turn on the Tomorrowland transit, had lunch and then went on Its a Small World , Pirates of the Carribean and Buzz Lightyear.  After a little retail therapy we decided to head over to Epcot.

We had just arrived at Epcot when the afternoon storm broke – we decided to sit it out in the car lot and then headed in.  This time on the way in we had a photo opportunity with Daisy Duck! We 7were visiting for the Food & Wine festival rather than the rides, howe’ve,  there were very few lines – we could even have queued to see Anna & Elsa in only 20 minutes.

 

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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.

 

 

Cagan’s Crossing – Clermont, Florida

Opposite Walmart and Lowe’s on the US27 heading North, you will find Cagan’s Crossing Town Centre.

When we last called it was quiet and not all the retail units were filled, however, there are only 2 units remaining available now and with the new Cat Cafe just opening yesterday (yes you read that right) maybe now is the time to go and check it out.

There is ample free parking in and around the Town Centre and some useful facilities like the Community Library, Metro PCS, United Postal Xpress, South Lake Dental, LeNoir Beauty Salon, Tiffany Nails & Spa, Cute and Fluffy Pet Grooming, Plane Computers and the N.V Pharmacy.

For food options there is the I Love New York Pizza and Pasta, Gator’s Dockside Bar and Grill, Noodles Cafe & Bistro, Simka’s Sweets Ice Cream and Sweet Shop, Sarah’s Greek Cuisine and More, Señor Tequila Mexican Restaurant and the Orlando Cat Cafe.

Every Friday from September through May there is a Farmers’ Market from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  The Market is a great place to shop for local produce, specialty jams and jellies, artisan breads and other fresh baked goods, and homemade gifts.  With musicians and other entertainers you can bop while you shop!

You can also donate to the Well of Hope while attending the Market – this is a local food bank which helps around 2,900 families in the Four Corners area – they accept non-perishable food items at the Information Booth.

 

 

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.

Happy Canada Day – Epcot

A few years ago we were at Epcot on Canada Day – it was wonderful to see all the Canadians celebrating their day – they were going around the World Showcase testing all the different beverages – it was all in good nature and was fun to see.

Canada in Epcot is very well staged.  It has O Canada a Circle Vision 360 film which lasts 14 minutes – once seen is enough – but it can be a nice break from the sun/heat!  Canada also has beautiful gardens – the Victoria Gardens which are based on the world famous Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island and Rocky Mountain staging plus a beautiful steakhouse called Le Cellier.

Le Cellier is one of the more expensive restaurants in Epcot and if you want to dine there you are well advised to book in advance (you can book up to 180 days in advance) as on the day bookings in peak holiday season are rarely available.  Offering great steaks, prime rib, seafood, chicken and some vegetarian dishes.  The cocktails, wines and beer are also very good.

There is also a resident band in Canada called Off Kilter – it is a rock/bagpipe band – that plays up to 5 times a day with their CDs also available in the Northwest Mercantile.