Category Archive: Florida

A Most Wonderful Time of the Year at Universal Orlando Resort

Holiday magic is a real thing. A feeling deep in your soul. A feeling that brightens your smile, lights up your eyes and has you humming along with the Christmas music. At Universal Orlando Resort, there’s a little extra special magic thrown in, thanks to the powers of Harry Potter and his friends along with the imagination of thousands of creative minds. As an ambassador for Universal Orlando Resort (that’s a photo of all of us above in our ugly Christmas sweaters), I was invited to a media preview for their holiday events and, boy, was I impressed. I think you will be as well – and while it’s not too late to make your plans, you’d better get hopping. Holiday festivities run through January 6th, 2018. Here are my five favorite magical holiday experiences at Universal Orlando Resort. Everybody […]

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Splish Splash: A Review of Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort

Last month I attended the media preview as well as the Grand Opening of Universal Orlando Resort’s new water theme park – Volcano Bay. I was predisposed to love it, of course, as I’m a fan of most things UOR (that’s probably why they hired me to be part of the inaugural Blog Squad ambassador program). But, I was not expecting to find so many things to love about this third theme park in the UOR brand. This review is a result of my visit to the park on the media day (with only a few hundred people in attendance) as well as the more crowded opening day. TL/DR:  Just go, it’s amazing! For those who want to know more, here are the details. The story of Volcano Bay starts with the culture of the Waturi, a fictional tribe from […]

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Tips for Planning Your Universal Orlando Vacation

I thought I was a pro when it came to visiting Universal Orlando. After all, I’d been to Halloween Horror Night last year and had been to Universal Hollywood just a few months ago. But with the ever-evolving attractions, hotels and restaurants, and coming soon a waterpark, it sometimes feels like I’m at a brand new destination every time I go. That means my strategies and tips for visiting are evolving, too. Here are my current tips for maximizing the fun, while minimizing vacation stress, on your next visit to Universal Orlando Resort. Select Your Dates I’m a big fan of shoulder and off-season travel as it often means fewer people and better prices. Mid-September through October is probably my favorite time to visit – the weather is warm but not stifling and the crowds are manageable. If you’re dealing […]

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Universal Orlando Resort: I’m So Excited

I am an unapologetic Universal fan, whether it’s Universal Orlando Resorts in Florida (I went there last year for Halloween Horror Nights), or Universal Studios Hollywood (I went there on a getaway last month with a family teenager). So you can imagine my enthusiasm when Universal Orlando Resorts asked me to join their Blog Squad, a year long ambassador program to discover and write about the theme parks (and a water park opening early next year), special events, world-class hotels and entertainment venues, shopping, food, and more. (You can read the announcement here.) This opportunity to discover more about Universal Orlando starts tomorrow! I’m excited to spend five days on site in the company of other bloggers, photographers, and videographers, many of whom I’ve not yet met. My stories of discovery and fun will come weeks and months down the road, […]

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Halloween Horror Nights: A Hauntingly Good Time

As daytime segued into evening, the personality of Universal Studios Florida segued from fun and frivolity into apprehension and anxiety. I was in Orlando to attend the 25th anniversary edition of Halloween Horror Night, Was I absolutely crazy for putting myself through an evening of terror? Halloween Horror Night started in 1991 with one haunted house and was called Fright Nights. The following year it was re-named to its current moniker, scaring participants for a whopping three nights. The 2015 incarnation features nine houses, five scare zones, and two show productions over 30 nights. Was I crazy? Perhaps. But I was also ready to tackle the evening! I was privileged to attend a pre-scare media session featuring Mike Aiello (the creative force behind HHN), Jon Timon (Universal), Director John Landis (American Werewolf in London), Producer Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead co-executive producer […]

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Florida’s Best Beaches

While Florida has become particularly well known for its theme parks, there is so much more to this diverse, vibrant and beautiful region than roller coasters and dancing seals. Boasting a year round tropical to sub-tropical climate, Florida is the warmest state in the U.S. and an extremely popular destination for tourists the world over. After all, they don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing! Check out our list of Florida’s best beaches: Daytona Beach Situated on the east coast, Daytona Beach is home to a 23 mile stretch of soft white sands lapped by the turquoise waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a family friendly resort, however during Spring Break hundreds of American university students descend on Daytona Beach to take a break from their studies and to party by the beach. Throughout the rest of […]

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Tu Tu Tango Offers Food & Art for Weary Orlando Travelers

Orlando is a city of theme parks, tourists, and is frequently plastic and sterile. One year it was named the angriest city in America – I guess that fake smile starts to grate after awhile.  When you’re ready to take a break from the theme parks and angry mobs, chances are you’ll be looking for a restaurant that is nearby everything, has good food that’s fairly priced, and has an enjoyable atmosphere.  And if you’re traveling with the family, you want something that’s kid friendly but offers up more than hot dogs and fries. In Orlando, one of the restaurants that may just fit this description is Tu Tu Tango, a concept chain restaurant with locations in several states and in Canada.  The restaurants are all themed around Spain’s bohemian artist culture – it’s like being in an artist’s loft.  […]

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6 Sports Museums in the South

The southern United States may be known for seceding from the Union and its checkered civil rights history, but with those issues long in the past (hopefully), the South is now carving out a name for itself with signature cuisine, tourism, and don’t forget those charming accents. Part of the culture of the South has always been its love of sports and all things sports related.  It’s not surprising then, that sports museums have cropped up around the area, drawing visitors from across the country and around the world.  Here are a few that you might not be familiar with: PGA Museum of Golf – Recently renamed (it was formerly known as the PGA Historical Center), this museum showcases the history of the PGA, with interactive exhibits, and a variety exhibits of golf artifacts and memorabilia. The PGA Museum of […]

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Beach Shopping at Ron Jon Surf Shop

Shopping is one of the top activities for travelers.  That’s right, surveys show that millions of travelers want to spend a little time shopping on their holidays.  Whether it’s a major shopping expedition, or just picking up a few souvenirs, I’m not certain, but there’s no doubt that a lot of money is spent shopping while enjoying a little holiday time.  Being stuck inside shopping while traveling to a beautiful destination seems a real shame to me, but if the Orlando area is in your plans, I can recommend stopping off at one of my favorite spots, Ron Jon Surf Shop. Although there are several Ron Jon locations, my favorite is the one at Cocoa Beach, a short drive to the east of Orlando.  This store is huge!  It has over 52,000 square feet of shopping and displays, and a […]

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Photo: Daytona Speedway

Last year I had the opportunity to visit Daytona Speedway, and I’m remindsx of it today while the Daytona 500 is running.  To be honest, I’m not a NASCAR fan, nor really of racing in general – although I have plenty of friends and family members who are.  But I went to the speedway with an open mind to learn about a sport than fascinates millions of people. This photo was taken in front of the stands (the ones you see, if you’re watching on television today).  It’s an iconic shot with the stands, pit row, and the finish line right at hand. After some time to take photos, we were loaded up into a pace car for a few laps around the 2 1/2 mile tri-oval course. Although our speed was nothing like the race speeds, we did get […]

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