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    Disney World – Orlando, Florida USA Part 4

    I hope everyone had a beautiful and stuffed Thanksgiving yesterday! How does time pass so quickly? How the heck did Thanksgiving past already, and almost at the end of 2016? What? Didn’t 2016 just start? Ugh. What do you mean I went on vacation 4 months ago and still haven’t finished writing about it?

    Sorry! Work has been busy and I have been traveling for work/personal lately… so many things to do, so little time. Adulting is hard (did I forget to take my gummy vitamins today again? I don’t remember). But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, the magical world of Disney.

    I think I’ve been to Disney World 5 times now. Twice as a baby/kid, three times as an adult. Ha! And I will not go back until my future kiddies want to go to Disney World. However, Disney World is such a well run machine. They do try to make it really the happiest place on earth. Yes, the rides are for kids but the overall theme, decor, staff, music, feels makes you feel like a kid again. Bless up.

    Disney World is comprised of 4 theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom; and 2 water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.

    I went to Magic Kingdom a few years ago for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and it was the cutest thing. I heard the same about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. If you could only go to Disney one day, I’d definitely recommend trying to go during these two events. And especially if you’ve never been to any Disney park before, Magic Kingdom is the OG classic… the heart of it all. Although the event itself usually starts at 7PM, but with your event ticket, you can enter the park as early as 4PM. Many rides are still open during the event. The event is so FRIGGIN cute, even if you are not a Disney fanatic (but enjoy watching children dressed in the cutest costumes trick or treat around the park).

    The classic Cinderella Castle shot.
    The classic Cinderella Castle shot.

    Anyway, I was only in Disney for 2 days and chose Magic Kingdom and Epcot for my 2 days. The company I interned for closed down Animal Kingdom for a few hours on a summer evening so that was pretty cool; they only have one coaster I believe, yet I remember that being pretty fun. Hollywood Studios only had 2 rides that are for ‘bigger’ kids: Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror but other than that, I didn’t think I would’ve wanted to spend the whole day there. I never went to the water parks so I can’t talk about those.

    In this post, I’ll go into:

    • Getting from Port Canaveral to Disney World via rental car
    • Accommodations
    • Magic Kingdom and Epcot
      • Overall experience/tips
      • Favorite and least favorite attractions
      • Food
    • Disney Springs

    Enjoy! read more “Disney World – Orlando, Florida USA Part 4”

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    Cape Canaveral – Orlando, Florida USA Part 3

    Hiya! Continuing my Orlando series, I’ll tell you what happened on Day 2, before I boarded onto the Cruise. We checked out of our hotel at Four Points, and drove to Cape Canaveral to drop off the car rental at the Avis near there. I’m almost certain that all the rental car places near Port Canaveral has a free shuttle to the Port for all the cruises. Since we had picked up the car around 9:30AM the day before, in order to stay within the “1 day” rate, we had to return it 9:30AM the day after. An important thing to know about rental car rates is that the time starts ticking once you get your car rental agreement/receipt. It doesn’t matter what your reservation time was. Each rental car place differs on the grace period, but I believe for Avis and Hertz, it is 30 minutes. So after the grace period, if you haven’t returned your car yet, they will start charging you at the disgusting hourly rate. So, we had to wake up earlier than planned and drive the 45 minutes (without traffic on Saturday morning) to Cape Canaveral. Luckily, the Avis manager working there was uber cool and when we asked him if Avis could store our luggage anywhere, he said he didn’t have space but he didn’t need our car yet so we could keep it for a few more hours at no additional charge. WOOT.

    Yes, I was planned to drag my suit case around if need be. There are places to eat within walking distance around the Avis rental place so you could just wheel your stuff to one location and chill there.

    Anyway, we were hungry (although a whole week of unlimited eating awaited us on the cruise) so we went to get breakfast. I yelped around of course and found Simply Delicious Cafe & Bakery with a 4.5 rating and 300+ reviews. Whaaaaaaat – pix looks good. Let’s go.

    Simply Delicious Cafe & Bakery
    125 N Orlando Ave
    Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

    Street parking was easy. There was a wait of 15-20 minutes for two peeps. Damn that place was busy. The portions are huge and the prices aren’t bad for the portion. I would definitely suggest sharing one plate between 2 people, especially if you’re just trying to hold your stomach over for a few hours before hitting that lido buffet ya feel me?

    Banana & Nutella Stuffed French Toast
    Banana & Nutella Stuffed French Toast
    Banana & Nutella Crepe
    Banana & Nutella Crepe

    We got a full order of the banana and nutella stuffed french toast and a nutella and banana crepe. LOL, we love nutella and banana. I think the food there is good, but not super amazing. Perhaps the other breakfast foods are good, but we both got chocolate filled dough SO that was way too overwhelmingly sweet. The amount of nutella they pump in there is just way too much. It was good for the first few bites but then I got so tired of it. Also, it’s super filling so if you’re going to try the stuffed french toast, maybe opt for the half portion (it’s $1 cheaper).

    The wait for the food took a while but the waitress was friendly. You pay the bill at the counter.

    After breakfast, we still had some time to kill so as my BF is a surf-enthusiast, we passed by Ron Jon Surf Shop and wanted to go in. This store is HUGE. Maybe killed about 25 minutes in there just walking around and looking at surfboards. Then, we went to Cocoa Beach for a few minutes to check out the beach. It was okay.

    We wanted to head back to Avis by 12:00pm, since the Carnival cruise check in started at 12:30pm (the port is only less than 10 min away). Luckily, we got bored of the beach and just decided to go back to Avis around 11:45am. There were already cruising families lining up for the shuttle. We were the last two to fit on the shuttle that left around 12:00 and with major traffic build up around the port dropoffs, it took us like 40 minutes to actually get dropped off. My family, who arrived in Orlando that morning, had actually checked in around 12:15pm, so I’m guessing 12:30pm is a lie and you can check in earlier than that.

    I’ll stop here and save all the cruise talk for another post. As always, let me know if you have any questions and thanks for reading!

    xoxo Eileen

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    Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida USA Part 2

    This is part 2 of my Orlando trip last month! Click here for part 1 and my short-versioned itinerary. Beware.. it’s a long post 🙂 How do I even choose where to cut it for a “read more”???

    BF was impatient waiting for the entire "Universal" to come around.
    BF was impatient waiting for the entire “Universal” to come around.

    Before I cut it, I’ll tell you the details and pics I go into in this post.

    • Getting to Orlando from New York
    • Getting to Universal Studios Area from MCO
    • Accommodations
    • Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventures
      • Overall experience/tips
      • Favorite and least favorite attractions
      • Food
    • Emeril’s Tchoup Chop Restaurant

    Woot, have fun reading 😛 read more “Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida USA Part 2”

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    Orlando, Florida USA (August 2016) Part 1

    #happiestplaceonearth
    #happiestplaceonearth

    My “big” vacation this year was a 8-day, 7-night Carnival cruise around the Caribbean that ported in Port Canaveral, Florida with my family of 18. Cruises, in my opinion, are the best, least stressful option for big group vacationing.. but I enjoy cruises regardless of the number of people going. While the more the merrier mentality goes here, it’s also even better when you have good company (but that’s true for literally any trip or life situation haha). I’ve heard horror stories before where people who originally had flights the morning of embarkation had flights cancelled or delayed or whatever and made them miss boarding the ship. I don’t think it happens frequently, but it does happen and was something to be aware of. Thus, many cruise forums suggested that people who had to fly into port, fly in the day before just incase. For me, it was an excuse to extend my vacation another day so I planned to fly in a day before, and also stay a few days after to make this flight to Orlando really worth it. (The rest of my family flew the first flight into MCO the day of (arrival around 9:30AM) and actually made it onto the ship before I did.) Now I’ve been to Orlando every single year for the past 4 years thanks to my job, so I went to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure twice, and Universal Studios Florida, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios once as an adult. The kid in me didn’t mind going again, especially since the BF hasn’t gone to the newer Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Diagon Alley) in the original Universal Studios yet and I haven’t gone to Epcot as an adult. SO! It was set. “We’re going to Disneyland World (and Universal Studios)!!!” I’ll go into my cruise experience in a later post but for now, here’s my short-version itinerary for the Florida portion:

    Day 1 – Friday

    • LGA -> MCO (6:30AM -> 9:05AM)
    • Pick up car rental at Avis Counter at MCO
    • Drive and check into Four Points by Sheraton Orlando International Drive (3,000 SPG points)
    • Walk to Universal Studios Florida
    • Rides
    • Lunch at The Simpsons Fast Food Boulevard (World Expo)
    • Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley
    • Rides
    • Walked to Royal Pacific Hotel to eat dinner at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop
    • Took ferry back to Universal Studios
    • Watch parade and go on one more ride

    Day 2 – Saturday

    • Check out of Four Points
    • Drive to Cape Canaveral to drop off Avis car rental
    • Cool Avis manager says we can keep the car for a few more hours without extra charge
    • Eat breakfast at Simply Delicious Cafe & Bakery
    • Walk around Ron Jon Surf Shop and Cocoa Beach
    • Return car at Avis and take free shuttle to Port Canaveral

    Day 2 (Saturday) to Day 10 (Sunday)

    • #CaribbeanCruiselife (to be written about in later post)

    Day 10 – Sunday

    • Cruise ship disembarkation at 8:30AM, free shuttle to Avis Car Rental
    • Drove to Lake Buena Vista and returned car at Avis
    • Walked to Disney Springs to find free bus to Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel (10,000 SPG points)
    • Checked in to hotel
    • Took bus to Magic Kingdom Park from hotel
    • Ate lunch at Casey’s Corner (Main Street, U.S.A.)
    • Rides
    • Waffle break at Sleepy Hollow (Liberty Square)
    • Rides
    • Took bus to Disney Springs
    • Dinner at Earl of Sandwich
    • Walked around Disney Springs

    Day 11 – Monday

    • Took Friendship boat to Epcot
    • Breakfast at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie (France)
    • Oh you know, just roamin’ the world
    • Taco Break at La Cantina De San Angel (Mexico)
    • More world explorin’
    • Rides
    • Dinner at Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe (Norway)
    • Watch Chinese acrobats perform (China)
    • Watch Illuminations/Fireworks show (watched in Italy)

    Day 12 – Tuesday

    • Check out hotel
    • Uber to MCO airport
    • Lunch at Panda Express (really the only thing I crave for in airports)

    I’m going to break this into separate posts per day / theme park and hopefully remember to link it back to this post for easy access. Looking forward to sharing more details on this trip!

    xoxo Eileen