Orlando 2014 Submitted by Susan Lindstrom
Whenever I hear the destination Orlando, I always think of Mickey Mouse. I am a true Disney fan and visit the parks quite often, but this past week I had a great opportunity to see some unexpected sites and adventures in Orlando. Of course I did visit Disney, but I also had a wonderful time at other amazing locations. Perhaps the next time you visit Orlando you might want to check out these places too!
The first day, I got to experience iFly Orlando. This is something I have never done before. Ifly is a simulator that allows you to sky dive indoors. It was truly amazing and an unforgettable activity!!
Day 2: Universal. We toured the Loews Portofino Resort (which reminds me of Venice, Italy), Hard Rock Hotel and the newest Resort: Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach. What a day!! I was thoroughly impressed with Lowes Portofino. The property was beautiful and the rooms were very spacious. They even have little scooters on the property to make it look authentic. There is also a spa on the property if you want to relax. The Cabana Bay is a great resort for families of 5 or 6. All the rooms are suites and the decor is vintage 70s.
Day 3: we toured Nickelodeon Suites, which is definitely a resort for families with younger children. We had a character breakfast with Spongebob and all his friends. After the tour, we headed to SeaWorld where we saw the new Antarctica exhibit with penguins, Shamu, and polar bears. Additionally, The Manta, a roller coaster where you lie on your stomach the whole time, is a thrilling ride that you will not want to miss! That evening we enjoyed Cirque Du Soliel which is a must see at Downtown Disney.
Day 4: Today, we journeyed to Gatorland, which first opened in 1949. We got to see lots of gators, including some wrestling, as well as experience the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line Adventure. This is a thrilling zip line with 5 different platforms that lets you fly over some of the gators!!
Day 5: We finally made our way to Disney! We ate breakfast at Cape May and then toured the Beach Club, which is my absolute favorite Disney property. After that, we toured Port Orleans Riverside, which is a great value and has wonderful “Royal rooms” that are decorated perfectly for little princesses. Next on our list was the newest Disney property: Art of Animation. This imaginative resort makes you feel like you are actually standing in Radiator Springs, from Cars, journeying through the oceans with Nemo and friends, and includes other themes from various Disney films as well. After the tour, we were able to go to the parks, so I headed to Epcot to see the Flower and Garden Festival. This was a special treat to see all the Disney Topiaries. We then hopped over to Magic Kingdom to see the new Festival Fantasy Parade, which features colorful floats featuring many beloved characters from old as well as newer Disney movies such as Tangled and Brave.
The last day we experienced parasailing with Sammy Duvall Watersports. What a treat!! If you have never parasailed, this is the place to do it. It is located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort where they have a private section of the lake. Our guides were very professional and took us up 400 feet where you could see all of Disney property. I wish I had had my camera up there to get some great aerial shots.
As you can see there are lots of unexpected adventures to experience in Orlando. If you are a Disney or a Universal junkie and want to add some extra fun to your next trip, you might want to consider one of these unexpected adventures. Contact Susan Lindstrom or another CSB Travel advisor to start planning your next unexpected Orlando vacation!
Words and Pictures by Susan Lindstrom