Florida – The Parks and other places

Florida seems to be popular for VIPTRAVELUK at this time of year with everyone booking their summer 2013 holidays and are keen to know which parks are the best and where is good to stay.

Whilst I think that the Disney hotels are outstanding and you can grab some amazing deals such as free dining and free money (yes FREE $$) they aren’t for me. I am an International Drive junkie. I will stay at the basic, yet well equipped hotels and save my money for the array of other things there are to do out there.

For us we went in February this year with our almost 1 year old. We visited Sea World, Island of Adventures, Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios …… you know THE PARKS!

But being strapped in a pushchair or carried all day is no fun for a little person so we sought out other places she could crawl / almost walk around

Hidden among the shopping malls and the bright lights of the parks are some great places to let the kids run and play without costing too much.

Firstly, Chuck E Cheese.

My American friends who have children cringe at the sound of it , they will tell you it is the worst place in the world… why? Because there are kids having a ridiculous amount of fun and its loud! But that is the whole point – To have fun !

 Games for all ages!

For more noise and madness (and lots of fun for the little ones 12 years and under) there is Monkey Joe’s which is located in the Festival Mall. Monkey Joe’s is a good place for kids to run, bounce, slide and simply burn off pent-up energy. Snacks can be purchased at the concession stand. The facility is open for walk-in play time seven days a week. This is a good option to keep in mind for a rainy day or to couple up with a day reserved for hitting the shops!

Along International Drive and impossible to miss is Wonder Works.  It’s in the upside-down building on I-Drive. Kids of all ages will enjoy the many hands-on activities within the amusement/science centre facility. The hurricane ride (65mph winds), the earthquake ride (5.2 magnitude), the virtual coaster and the bed of nails are just a few of the popular features to be found. There were many interactive arcade-like science stations located throughout the exhibits. Also at Wonderworks is the nightly Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show…a mix of high-energy comedy, improvisation, magic and audience participation….suitable for the whole family.

Without a doubt visit the parks… after all that’s why people choose Orlando but I would highly recommend that people take a stroll around I-Drive and jump on and off the I-Ride Trolley ($10 for a week pass and you can ride as much as you like) and discover the places they don’t advertise on the high street.

Places we discovered but did not get the chance to see this time were : Fun Spot and Gator Golf (You can buy a small tub of hotdogs and feed the baby alligators out front without having to play inside) but we will certainly get around to that next time!






Around the World on the QE2

I came across a trunk full of treasures belonging to my partner who had told me many tales of her time working on board the QE2 in the 80s. The usual “collectibles” “memorabilia” and “must haves” – but what I loved the most was a poem she wrote about each adventure she encountered. I asked nicely if I could share this with you all so sit back, grab a cocktail and come around the world with us in 5 minutes:

“I saw the World and Sailed the Sea”

Andrea House

I saw the world and sailed the sea while working hard , as busy as a bee,

Sailing on the Queen Elizabeth 2, What a thing for me to do,

I saw the whores in Manila dance, I ate the bread I brought in France

In the Caribbean , the waters I swam,

And in China? Adventurously I tried the Clam

When in Tahiti I rode in a Jeep and snorkelled for corals I wanted to keep

On safari in Mombasa I did trek (and ended up a nervous wreck!!)

Was chased by elephants and a Lion I saw, as King of the Jungle he is Law,

In Tokyo I went to Disneyland , saw Mickey Mouse and shook his hand

In Hawaii I went in a submarine, the underwater world is something to be seen!

In New York from the East Side is where I took a helicopter ride

Then I went up the Empire State – the view from there I really did rate!!

And up the World Trade Centre I did go, to have lunch (and get vertigo)

In Sydney I visited the Opera House, which was so big I felt like a mouse

From New Zealand to Aussie I cruised Milford Sand , Rain and Sun is what I found

In Oz I cruised the Barrier Reef, floating on the wind just like a leaf

In Bombay I saw poor people beg, when they are born they break their leg 😦

In San Diego we had some fun – In Sea World and under the sun

Another great feat to you I can tell….

Is the day I passed through the Panama Canal

With the old traditional mules now made of steel , pulled along mechanically with the cogs of a wheel

In Rio to Copa Cabana I did stray and under that sun I did lay

And when the sun was setting in the sky, Up the Statue Of Christ I went with Guy

Below the sun , above the hue, Up Sugar Loaf Mountain I went for the view

The funny shaped Llamas in Chile walked lopsided and looked so silly !

In Lanzarote I saw Fire Mountain and saw some camels there who sat there pouting

Singapore, the place of the “Singapore Sling” in Raffles Hotel (Or the Mandarin)

In Acapulco I went for a parachute ride and brought some things made from animal hide

In Salvador I brought a car plate for Ally – the people were rough, I didn’t dare tally !

In Kingston, Jamaica I got sunburnt – It hurt so much , my lesson I learnt

In Gibraltar I ventured up the Rock and from the Apes I got a shock

In Madeira where the weather is fine , I tasted the Port (and got drunk on wine…)

In Newport Rhode Island all this took place (I dressed up in frills, buttons & lace!!)

Had my picture taken in the old style fashion and had lunch in the old White Horse Tavern

In Copenhagen sat on a rock by the sea is a mermaid alone, for all to see

And in the Fjords with mountains so tall from the side of a cliff I saw a water fall

In Thailand things were so cheap – prostitutes so young it would make you weep

Though you would get a shock if beside one you awoke only to discover

that she….. was a bloke!!

In Hong Kong the mothers were begging for babies milk , while others stood by to select their silk..

All these places around the world I have been, Yet there is so much more I have not seen

Like the Rolling Stones at the Tokyo Dome, Or the old ruins in Ancient Rome

All of this could bring a tear to your cheek

But life to the full is what I seek

Take these words, listen and heed

I will give this all up when I find what I need.