Our Laughing Place Travel has been known as an agency specializing in Disney travel since it’s beginnings years ago. And we still have a deep love for all things Disney. But we also love other destinations, too! Why set limits on our love, right? One of my personal favorite vacation options is Sandals Resorts. With amazing destinations, all inclusive convenience, and budget friendly pricing, what’s not to love, right? Continue reading Get Busy Relaxing At Sandals Resorts!
Working for an earmarked agency and specializing in Disney travel, it’s pretty much a given that between myself and our other travel pixies, we have tried the vast majority of dining locations throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. And it’s such a great thing, too, because one of the most frequent things I am asked by the folks I am working with is what restaurants I would recommend. Dining can be kind of tricky because everyone has their favorite foods and how good or bad a restaurant is can vary dramatically depending upon who you ask. And, of course, what may be a favorite for families with small children may not be an ideal choice for an older adult couple traveling either with no children or adult children. But luckily for us, Disney offers a huge array of dining choices and there are some locations that just naturally are favorites across the board and folks almost always leave those places with a smile on their faces and a full belly! So I’ve put together some quick recommendations from all of our OLP Travel Pixies to help make those dining decisions even easier. So let’s get started!
For families with small children, the resounding number one recommendation is Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. And it’s no surprise why! With a fabulous buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus the opportunity to meet Mickey himself along with a few friends, this truly is the ideal location for kid friendly fun. Other great options include Tusker House at the Animal Kingdom (Jungle Juice is the BEST!) with Donald and Friends; ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort which has an awesome breakfast including Lilo and Stitch or a delicious dinner which, while it doesn’t include characters, it does have singing and coconut races! Lastly, The Garden Grill in EPCOT‘s The Land pavilion is a wonderful option including Chip ‘n Dale and friends for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For families with older children, dining gets a little bit more ‘grown up’. But it’s WDW, so really, how grown up can you be, right? The recommendations for these family types include Teppan Edo in Japan in EPCOT’s World Showcase. This entertaining dining experience is sure to be a favorite for the whole family. Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom offers options that appeal to a slightly older pallet while still giving you the magical feeling of dining in Beast’s castle. At the Coral Reef in The Living Seas at EPCOT’s Future World, you can enjoy amazing dinners while feeling like you’re dining inside a fish tank. The Boathouse at Disney Springs has brought to life a whole new dining experience! Enjoy the car style water taxis and a dinner you won’t soon forget. And finally, don’t forget about Sci-Fi Dine In Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Enjoy classic drive in favorites while a the ‘movies’ in your very own car booth. This is great fun for everyone in the family!
Moving on to the honeymooners. Truly, is there anywhere better to
honeymoon than WDW?? I think not! For dining, California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is highly recommended. This restaurant is at the top of the resort and offers breathtaking views of the Magic Kingdom as well as the Seven Seas Lagoon. If you time it just right, you can even see the fireworks! Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is another great option. With beautiful African style surroundings and one of a kind dining offerings, this is definitely the place for a nice, romantic dinner. Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is one of the best kept secrets at WDW. This very upscale restaurant is a AAA Five Diamond Reward recipient since 2000. The timeless elegance of this location will be the highlight of your honeymoon. But let’s not forget Citricos while you’re visiting the Grand Floridian. This is another amazing location to enjoy a delicious Mediterranean style meal in the casual elegance of the dining room. Romance? Yes please!
And last, but not least, there are the couples with either no children or traveling with adult children. For these folks, Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian tops the list. With it’s casual waterfront setting and panoramic views of the lagoon, this is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal and some great conversation. Trattoria Al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk is another great casual option. With delicious Italian offerings as well as a great variety for those with dietary needs, this is the perfect location to sit back, relax, and enjoy the meal! Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe Dining Room in Disney Springs has been delighting folks for years! This amazing place offers a unique fusion of Asian and Californian Cuisine. And don’t forget about Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This classic restaurant will make you feel like you’re back in the golden age of Tinseltown. This lower key restaurant is a great respite from the hustle and bustle just outside it’s doors.
There you have it! Some tried and true recommendations from your
favorite OLP Travel Pixies! Are you hungry yet? Then let’s get busy planning! Bon Appetite!
Clients of all ages ask me “What else can I do in Orlando?”. Of course there are several theme parks and adventures, but what about something for those that want some down time? Orlando has that too.
One of the most exciting events to come to the city will be the Pro Bowl. After years of the best players basking in the Hawaiian sun in Honolulu, they will now be headed to the Mouse-town. The NFL has agreed on a three-year deal for the Pro Bowl to be played at Camping World Stadium, formerly the Citrus Bowl.
If theater is your thing, Orlando has plenty of choices. The La Nouba, Cirque de Soleil at Disney Springs is a breathtaking, colorful show that can’t really be put in one specific category. It’s circus meets acrobats, meets magic! This is a must do for the whole family.
Universal is home to the famous Blue Man Group. Their show is full of awesome music, art, technology, science and laughs! It’s amazing to see what these colorful guys can use to make music!
Bring along your investigative skills and your appetite, and be prepared to laugh your way through the evening at Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Shows in Orlando, Florida. This interactive show will keep you on the edge of your seat! Pay close attention and see if you can solve the crime.
You’re an animal lover, you say? Well, Orlando has plenty of places to see nature at it’s best. Discovery Cove, is a one-of-a kind experience where you can swim with dolphins, feed tropical birds,
play inches from a family of otters, and take a break on the lazy river. Between adventures, recharge with unlimited island fare and refreshments.
Have you ever wanted to hug a sloth or hold a lemur? You can do that and more at Exotic Animal Experience. This is a special place where you can have a personal experience with animals that enjoy a “hands on” crowd.
If you’re like me, you love to shop! Orlando has some serious retail therapy! Of course, Disney Springs is one of the top shopping stops in the area. With all of the new stores, it’s not just about a Mouse and Princesses. The Springs offers 87 stores and boutiques. Of course, if you are searching for great souvenirs, The World of Disney is the stop for you!
If you’re looking for some great prices, look no further than Orlando’s 3 outlets. Orlando International Premium, Orlando Premium and Lake Buena Visa Factory Stores are all within 30 miles of each other.
So, you say that sports is your thing? Head over to ESPN Wide World of Sports and you can see an event any time of the year! The Braves spend the spring in Orlando. Several cheer competitions, youth soccer tourneys and gymnastic events are held throughout the year.
Orlando is home to the NBA team Magic. They play in the Amway Center, in downtown Orlando. Maybe you’ve heard of Shaquille O’Neal?
Of course, no visit to O-Town is complete without a spin on the
Orlando Eye. The 400 foot observation wheel provides breathtaking views of Central Florida. On a clear day, you will be able to see Cape Canaveral. Visit the Eye at night for an extra special treat. The city lights up the evening sky!
If you would like more information on the exciting offerings of Florida’s belly button, just contact one of the Travel Pixies at Our Laughing Place Travel. We will be more than happy to to help plan all sorts of fun for your next vacation!
If you’ve visited Disney World over the past few years, you have been able to use the new Fastpass+ System. The old “slide your card and print your ticket” systems are of days past. The new system allows you to “reserve” your Fastpasses before your trip. Continue reading WALT DISNEY WORLD FASTPASS NOW EVEN BETTER!
Being a Travel Pixie at Our Laughing Place Travel, I get asked the question “Is Disney all that you sell?”. The answer to that questions is no. We actually sell all sorts of travel, including all cruise lines. While we do specialize in Disney travel, our goal is always to provide the best concierge service for any vacation. Continue reading Preparing The Fleets For Cruising in 2016
A long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away… (sorry, I just had to do it!)
I’ve just returned from another fantastic Disney World vacation! The most anticipated part of our trip was the new Star Wars Experiences. When Disney does something, it’s always out of this world! When we entered Hollywood Studios on December 18th, everyone received a collectible BB8 pin.
The new Watto’s Grotto, located in the back of the park near Lights, Motor, Action, was filled with merchandise. Before you enter the store, there is a T-47 Airspeeder (best known in its modified Snowspeeder form) parked out front—a vital vehicle for the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War. They had a Disney photographer that took our family photo.
Once inside the store, you are immersed in the world of Star Wars. The back half of the store has a floor to ceiling Sand Crawler that is built into the wall. The store offers tons of t-shirts, purses, pins, housewares and even a Darth Vader antenna topper. (This was the only place that I was able to find it!) Of course, they had a wide variety of Lightsabors. Itseemed that the new Villain. Kylo Ren, was the most popular. While we were in the store, they had a BB8 on demo. The droid is a remote control that was driven by an IPad. It was a cute little guy that made noise and was sneaking up on shoppers.
If you are familiar with Hollywood Studios, you will remember the Tatooine Traders that sits outside of the Star Tours ride. It is still the same store with some new merchandise. The rear of the store was the most crowded. It was filled with kids (of all ages) creating their own droid. They have several bins of heads and bodies to pick from. There is also a build your own lightsaber area. This was pretty popular too. This is where you must choose the dark side or to be part of the resistance and join the Jedi.
Speaking of Jedi, Disney has a thrilling experience for children called Jedi Training:Trials of the Temple. The young Padawans sign up at the Indiana Jones store. From there, they are lined up and given their brown robes. Under the tutelage of a Jedi, the recruits learn how to use the Force and to wield lightsabers. Now that the Empire has driven the Jedi to the distant corners of the galaxy, the training must proceed in secret at ancient Jedi temples.
After a short training session, the Jedi come face to face with the evil forces of the dark side. They must battle Darth Vader and the new villain, the Seventh Sister Inquisitor (from Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels) . There are several shows throughout the day, so there are opportunities for everyone to become a Jedi. There can never be enough good in the galaxy!
The other new and very exciting Star Wars feature is Star Wars Launch Bay. The huge building is located next to the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. During our visit, we stopped by this attraction several times. We were greeted by Stormtrooopers, soldiers of the Empire. They posed for photos but were very strict about it. They decided who they would pose with and exactly how each person would stand. These guys were not to be messed with!
Once inside, you entered the Launch Bay Theater. The 10 minute movie offered insight from writers and directors of past and present Star Wars movies. One of the most exciting parts of the movie said that they will be releasing 3 movies in 3 years. That means 2 more in the near future!
After the movie, you are free to explore the area and get an up-close look at replica props, models, costumes and artifacts from the Star Wars films. One room is set up like the Mos Eisly Cantina from Episode IV, A New Hope. Here, you encounter Jawa traders roaming about. I was told that if I offered them something to trade, they would give me a trinket. So, I dug through my purse and found a nail file. I handed it to a Jawa and he looked it over very closely. After a minute, he looked up at me and nodded. He gave me a robot head! So, I lost my finger nail file but gained an exciting experience with a Jawa.
What was the best new Star Wars feature, you ask? It was a meet and greet with the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Darth Vader. This entire visit, from start to finish was fabulous! The Empire staff was stern and to the point. We were told that it will be at Lord Vader’s discretion if he speaks with us. We were taken back to the room and Vader was on the bridge, looking out the window. Truthfully, I was a bit terrified! He was huge and frightening. He turned to us and pointed to my sons. They went over and he walked around them just looking and breathing that deep raspy breath. He said “I sense great pride with you two. This could be good or it could be used for evil. We will meet again”. Next, was my turn. I stood next to him, cowering. Like I said he is HUGE! After that encounter, we were able to meet Han Solo’s trusty sidekick, Chewbacca, He was everything that I’d expected him to be, sweet hug-able and furry!
After a grand day at the Studios, it all ended in a blast! Disney has concocted a fantastic mixture of original score from the Star Wars movies and dynamic fireworks called Symphony in the Stars. These were so good that I think they rival Wishes in the Magic Kingdom! Btw, the best place to view is on Hollywood Blvd, in front of Starbucks.
So, if you’re planning a visit to Disney World, be sure to check out the Star Wars areas. I promise that you won’t be disappointed. Follow the force and you will find all of the characters and new merchandise.
Planning a Disney vacation is half the fun of a Disney vacation, right? For some of us, the sooner we can begin planning the better. There are so many things to consider: When to go? How to travel? Where to stay? And at the top of everyone’s list… “How much is it going to cost?” You have questions? I have answers! I went straight to mine and Mickey’s very good and reliable friends at Disney Travel to get the REAL scoop for you, and I can say with assurance: it is possible to begin planning for your 2015 vacation in 2014! Continue reading Here’s the Scoop: Disney World Resort Reservations for 2015
How many pictures of Spaceship Earth do you have? I have a few thousand. I love taking pictures of the big Epcot Ball. It is such a unique structure. You can get amazing pictures of Spaceship Earth standing in front of it. Some of the best shots will not be so obvious. The Epcot icon is visible in lots of unexpected areas of Epcot. If you are near The Seas with Nemo and Friends there is a wonderful spot for Spaceship Earth pictures. You might even catch a picture with the monorail going by. The photo here was taken in Italy. I love that the statue in the front of the picture looks so big and Spaceship Earth looks so small. Continue reading Epcot ~ Uniquely Photographed
As the saying goes, “Everything is bigger in Texas!” If that’s true, I can’t wait to see the excitement of the Lone Star State when the Disney Magic arrives in Galveston in September. Back in March of 2012 I told you all about the itinerary for cruises departing from the Port of Galveston. You can read about them here.
Captain Mickey already received a Texas-sized welcome when he visited to get ready for the ship’s arrival. Remember all the excitement when the Disney Magic sailed into New York earlier this year? I’m expecting an even bigger greeting from Texans in September! And, can you imagine how the Disney Magic will show it’s love for Texas?! Continue reading Texas Sized Disney Magic On Galveston Island