Category Archives: Florida
Travel, Vacation, Holiday what ever you may call it. What does it mean to you?
Time to enjoy family and friends, or relax and see the world. Vacation means different things to different people but one thing is a constant “It’s WORK.”
Have you ever sat down and figured out how much time you spend looking for places to go and places to stay. Then more time on how to get there and how to pay for it. And “LADIES” we know in addition to all that research we also have to pack for our children and that includes the “Big Ones.”
On average according to several different research companies prospective travelers spend between 46 and 60 hours minimum, researching before they travel. Do you have that much time to waste? If you do are you sure you found Reputable places to spend your hard earned money.
I spent a lot of time over the years doing just that. I decided to go in to Business as a Travel Planner and have obtained connections with the Top Companies in the Industry that use only Vetted suppliers to insure your satisfaction. So take the WORK out of your vacation and let me do the planning for you. www.atouristlifetravel.com
Check out my website and have a look around, there are answers to lots of questions and many travel options. When you are ready email me or just sign up for email blasts on specialized travel locations you may be interested in at a later date.
One of the most important pieces of information I obtain for ANY vacation is,how I will get my STARBUCKS . I must have my coffee. I like it strong and black. I hate waiting in line behind the half/caf skinny blah blah blah. If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen as they say. Next I do a search in the area I am staying to see where the nearest Starbucks is located. On occasion,there will not be any. I have a fix for that. I always bring a bag of French Roast with me and include an assortment of different filters to fit any machine the Hotel has available. I have suggested to Starbucks offering a passport to fill showing all the Starbucks you have visited. I use my Gold Rewards card but it only gets me the occasional free coffee and then only if the location participates and is not independently owned. I would like people to know that I have visited Starbucks from Seattle to The Bahamas and beyond. In the unlikely event there are no Starbucks or available coffee brewers, I check the local hangouts for the good stuff. I have found great coffee in Alaska in a few places. And in Jamaica luckily the first thing I smelled when we stepped off the ship was the coffee. Being a connoisseur of all things coffee, I have previously tried coffee from all over the world and usually know what to look for. When I have run out of all these options I just go for the double esspresso.
I thought some of this was really cool. I hope all you Disney Geeks enjoy it I know I did.
There are many things to do in Florida; a lot depends on how you arrived and where you will be. I love Disney but there are many things to do near Orlando and several of the parks will offer transportation from Orlando International included. If you are a little more adventurous and don’t mind driving there is a lot to do on the West Coast. Let’s begin up near Crystal River you can swim with the manatee and there is wonderful fishing in both fresh and salt water. It is a much slower pace up there and the people are mostly local or lifelong transplants. There are also a lot of wonderful wildlife parks that are trying to preserve the local habitat. They are state-run and survive mostly on donations. My favorite is in Homosassa, Ellie Schiller Wildlife Park. I loved it as a kid it was privately owned then. They use to have a big machine that you put quarters in and it created an alligator out of hot wax. It had closed for a few years until the State took over. My favorite animal was the Hippopotamus. I was excited when I discovered he was the same one that was always there named Lu. I liked the monkeys too but apparently no one else did so they were removed. Lucky for me they did not go far they now live on Monkey Island just around the corner at Riverside Resort.
After you have visited all the wonderful little shops and bars along the way, head south down 19 to Weeki Wachee. This is another old-time Florida favorite. The claim to fame are the underwater singing Mermaids, they also have a lot of birds and wildlife. Travel on 19 can get a bit nerve-wracking it is stop and go traffic but plenty to eat and buy along the way. Another all time favorite is Tarpon Springs sponge docks. Here you can take a cruise out to pick shells or learn about the sponge divers. Greek food is also plentiful and the best. When you are full, walk off your meal by shopping. My best guess is there are over 50 little souvenir shops in the short quarter-mile strip. Before you head home go to Hellas and take home dessert. Now we are about halfway down the coast so if you are thinking it is time to stop for the night we found a really nice place. Residence Inn Tampa ( its in Lutz ) it is clean and they are all very friendly. This hotel offers free breakfast and several evening get togethers offering complimentary horsd’oeuvres and drinks. There is also a nearby Flea Market on Fri , Sat & Sundays if you are a bargain hunter. Look for a later post on things to do from here to the Southern end of the state.
Book a Disney World Hotel, register on the Disney website. There are nice free maps and planners they will send you. Also you can make dinner reservations and plan out your day before you arrive (weeks in advance not days). I know it sounds crazy but I promise this is a must. Plan what park you think you will visit on what day and reserve your favorite place to eat. You can reserve more than one restaurant as long as the times are different this way if you are to far away to get to one there is always the other so spread it out on your map. On that day when you have a better idea of your time schedule you can stop in any restaurant and cancel the extra. Usually you can show up 45 min early or late and you are still golden. If you have NO reservation you may never eat. I found this out first hand and after paying big bucks for a food plan it was infuriating. You can almost always make a change to an existing reservation.
If you book their hotel you are automatically going to get the White glove airport pick up at no additional charge and you can still cancel with no fees even a few days before. Tickets for the parks can be purchased when you arrive. Your hotel has a concierge that will help you. You can also buy discounted tickets . I advise individual days as they do not expire. If you did cancel at the last-minute you could still use them at another time or resell them. Airfare, if that is your method of transportation usually can be exchanged but must be used up within the year. More helpful airline information is available. If your dates are flexible you can use Disney’s booking website to compare seasons the cost difference can be astounding. Also check the show schedules , often things are only on specific days so that may be a deciding factor. Some shows can only be accessed from within the specific park or with additional show tickets. Look closely at the Disney Maps they are helpful for selecting your Disney Hotel. If you are only visiting a couple of parks you may be able to stay at one of their hotels with nearby transportation or a back entrance for guests it will cut down on the time you will otherwise waste on a Disney bus. An example of this is, The Polynesian Resort is within WALKING distance of the Magic Kingdom or that Epcot is accessible by Boat if you are staying a The Beach Club Resort, The Board Walk Inn or the Yacht Club Resort. Down Town Disney can be accessed by boat from Port Orleans and Old Key West. If you are a seasoned Disney visitor like me you may wish to try a behind the scenes tour. I love the exotic things available at the different hotels but the pools are never warm enough for me.