July 31, 2012
One of my articles was published today. You can read ‘A Hidden Gem in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula’ in Travel Culture Magazine, follow the link below.
Honeymoon in Orlando
By ALICIA MCLEOD
With the potential for affordability, excitement and just plain fun, Orlando is a popular honeymoon destination. Couples looking for a truly relaxing vacation however, may want to try elsewhere. If a whirlwind vacation full of activity packed days and fun with the screaming masses is indeed your idea of a dream vacation, then the following may provide some tips on how to get the most of your trip.
My new husband and I chose Orlando for fun, sun and romance. We thought that the theme parks, especially visited without children, would be thrilling, easy-going and exciting. However, since spending ten days in one of America’s most visited cities, we now realize that it is a dream family destination and not ideal for couples. The weather was incredibly hot and muggy, the lines were long and the food was fast and sub-par. But it must be said that amongst these downfalls there were some smiles to be had during Disney’s magic hours and at Universal Studios.
If you are taking this trip to visit Disney World and Universal Studios take advantage of the perks that appeal to adults, offered by both. First at Disney, their magic hours are offered daily to all guests of any Disney resort. Magic hours are extended theme park hours, in which one of the four Disney World theme parks open two hours early, or stay open two hours later. The ability to stay until one in the morning at the Magic Kingdom, and avoid the crowds, was a trip highlight. At Universal Studios they offer an Express Pass, which allows holders to bypass the main line-up for most attractions, which makes things at this park far more enjoyable as you spend your days on rides being cooled by wind and water, instead of sweating buckets in line-ups. The one downfall of Universal’s Express pass is the price which is about $60.00 – $100.00 per person, depending on the day, whether you purchase online or at the park and whether or not there is a special. Another Express pass will need to be purchased if you want the same benefits at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The Express pass line-ups tended to be a lot shorter, and this was during peak season, with the majority of attendees at the parks not willing to shell out the dough. Another plus at Universal is their CityWalk which is full of shopping and restaurant options, doesn’t cost to access, and is more geared towards adults. CityWalk also offers many nightlife options from clubbing to karaoke, so you can shop for a new outfit, have dinner at somewhere other than a hot-dog stand, and cap off the night with a few cocktails.
A few must see and do’s in Orlando, when indulging in the adult theme park based trip, include the thrill rides which abound at Universal but are few and far between at Disney, the Wild Animal Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and tasting beer from around the world at Disney’s Epcot. In only three of the theme parks at Disney do they have “thrill” rides, these are, Everest at Animal Kingdom, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom, and Rock ‘N’ Rollercoaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I purposefully left out the Tower of Terror, as it failed to invoke any feelings of terror in myself, my husband, or the six year old girl beside us. The Wild Animal Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a guided tour that lasts three hours, resembles a private safari, includes my favorite lunch of our vacation, and fun goodies like a photo cd and take home water bottle, that make guests feel special. Some of the animals you see on this excursion are crocodiles, hippos and buzzards, and all are seen a lot closer than if you were to wait in line and do the free with park admission Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction. As it was for the Express pass at Universal’s parks, this too is an activity hindered by cost. The cost varies seasonally, starts at $189 and does not include admission to the park which is required to attend the trek. Epcot offers samplings of food and drink from many countries, and it is the opinion of this newlywed that a vacation to Orlando isn’t a vacation without a sampling of beer from each. This is a fun way to enjoy an afternoon and forget about the oppressive heat, just be sure to bring your wallet as each beer will be in the six to eight dollar range.
The world’s best honeymoon destination? No, far from it. A unique vacation if you have energy and are willing to open your pocketbook? Yes, and could be made more fun if done with a group of friends and during a sale.