Archive for Orlando Area

Embassy Suites near Disney World to be Renovated

I know that some of my fellow Disney enthusiasts think it is sacrilege to not stay at a Walt Disney World Resort when they visit Disney World.  And to a certain degree, I agree.  But not everyone feels that way or it is not always possible to stay on Disney property when you visit the magic.

You might have a ton of loyalty points with Hilton rewards program.  It might be during the holidays and you are unable to get a Disney hotel room.  Or (now don’t faint here), you may be going to Universal Studios and Sea World.   If that is the case then this news will be right up your alley.  The Embassy Suites Orlando – Lake Buena Vista  is going to be renovated next year.

Embassy Suites Orlando - Lake Buena Vista Hotel, FL - Hotel Exterior

The 334-room hotel was recently bought by an affiliate of Philadelphia-based GF Management The new owner will maintain the Embassy Suites brand for the hotel and has slated a renovation of more than $13 million during the next year.

The company said it plans to maintain the Embassy Suites brand for the hotel, which is located at 8100 Lake St., about a mile from Disney property.

It is always nice to have a newly renovated hotel as a back up plan when you travel, don’t you think?

Brick-or-Treat at Legoland

Have you already done Disney’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party?  Is Universal’s Halloween Horror Night just too scary for you?  Well,  you are in luck because there is an alternative way to celebrate Halloween in the Orlando area.  LEGOLAND in Winter Haven, Florida has Brick-or-Treat every Saturday and Sunday in October.


And best of all is that it is included in the regular park admission price!!!



Ghouls, ghosts and goblins descend on Miniland USA transforming it into a haunted adventure with a scavenger hunt in search for these scary creatures that have invaded our famous cities.

This spooky, kooky event also features trick-or-treating along the brick-or-treat trail, build your own LEGO model activities, the largest LEGO Jack-O-Lantern in the world, Halloween entertainment and an all-kids costume contest with brick-tastic prizes!

*All show times and events are subject to change.


  • LEGO Ghost Build –Kids will help build a ghost model out of LEGO brick.
  • LEGO Scary Scavenger Hunt in Miniland – LEGO Scary minifigures will be hidden throughout Miniland USA along with a LEGO Ghost featuring a letter. Children will need to find all 5 letters in order to unscramble the secret word. Answers must be submitted online at All participants can enter for a chance to win LEGO prizes and tickets to LEGOLAND
  • Brick-or-Treat Trail – Opens at 1 pm on event days. Children can trick-or-treat on the Brick-or-Treat Trail in the Enchanted Walk gathering goodies, delicious treats and other surprises. This kid-sized cul-de-sac trail features six LEGO-themed treat stations and offer a safe, fun and entertaining trick-or-treating experience.  The trail will be located adjacent to Miniland
  • Costume Contest –  Costume contest will be held on event days at the Wells Fargo Fun Town 4D Theater where kids can win a LEGO prize pack. – LEGOLAND Costume Contest is grouped into the following categories and times:

3 pm:  0-3 years

4 pm:  4-8 years

5 pm: 9-12 years

  • Meet & Greet with LEGO Halloween characters
  • Dance Party in MinilandSaturdays only – Festive music and entertainment
  • Photo opportunity with largest LEGO pumpkin in the world!

New Housing Development Near Walt Disney World

Ever thought about moving closer to the Mouse?  It might be even easier now since the Wall Street Journal is reporting that next month Meritage Homes Corp. expect to complete a $18 million deal to buy close to 900 lots near Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando .  The property is owned by two Walt Disney Co. subsidiaries.

This is exciting news for someone with plans in the somewhat near future to move to Orlando to live out my golden years like Blanche, Dorothy, Rose, and Sophia.

Meritage Homes Corp. is  one of the nation’s largest home builders by annual closings.    The current plans of the builder are to construct single-family homes from 1,800 to 4,800 square feet between $225,000 and $450,000. If everything goes as planned, construction should start in October with homes ready for sale in early 2014,

Meritage thinks the location near Disney is the perfect location for those with jobs in the theme park arena.  That is sort of where I differ with the thoughts of Meritage.  While some people in the service and retail industries may make a good living most are making very little to be able to afford a $225,000 house.  This will however be perfect for middle or upper management types and people who move from other areas who sold a house in a more expensive area.

The Orlando housing market was hard hit by the downturn. But it has been rebounding, pushing land prices higher. Meritage paid about $20,000 a lot, double what the lots probably would have commanded last year, says Robbie McEwan, a land broker with CBRE Group Inc. “There’s so much money and pent-up demand from builders,” he says. “It’s crazy.”

I do find it interesting that the Walt Disney Co. is selling off more land.  It seems to be a trend.  First, with the Western Way project and then with the new upscale hotels in the midst of Disney property (Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Four Seasons).  Will this continue to be a trend?  Did Walt Disney buy too much land when he initially purchased the Florida Project?  Or do they need the cash to fund new projects?  Maybe this is how the company’s bottom line is increased with fancy accounting in order to make up for The Lone Ranger and John Carter.  Inquiring minds want to know!!!!

Meritage Homes Corp. already has several developments in the Central Florida area.  Check them out to see if this might be right up your alley.

Baby Zebra at Busch Gardens Tampa

If you haven’t noticed, I love baby animals!!!!  They are soooooo cute!!!  I just want to hug them – even though I know they are wild animals and that wouldn’t be a good idea.

We recently posted Mosi Makes His Debut on the Savannah at Animal Kingdom.   Mosi is the first Masai giraffe calf born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  What a cutie!!!

But there are baby animals being born all up and down the I-4 corridor.    An endangered Grevy’s zebra was born only last week at Busch Gardens Tampa’s 65-acre Serengeti Plain.


This is the 5th foal for 13-year-old Brooke, and the first for father Two Step.  And the gestational period for a zebra is 13 months.  You read that right – 13 MONTHS!!!!!   (That is a long, long time to be preggers.  I’m just saying.  Let’s give some props for Brooke!!  You go girl!!!)   The little cutie joins seven female and one male Grevy’s zebras.  Visitors to Busch Gardens can view the baby  from the Edge of Africa, Skyride and Serengeti Express train ride.



Disney’s Animal Kingdom also has Grevy’s zebras roaming around throughout the savannah on the Kilamanjaro Safari ride.

Orlando Water Park Deals for Fun and Sun


Water parks are a great way to spend the day cooling off and having fun.  And the water parks in the Orlando area are some of the best in the world.  Here are some deals to help you enjoy beating the heat on your vacation:

Wet ‘n’ Wild on International Drive has a Florida residents ticket that is $50 (the one day ticket price) and you can return for free the rest of the year.

•At Sea World’s water park Aquatica, the After 2 p.m. Pass allows you to enjoy the water park after 2 p.m. every day through Dec. 31 for $55.

•Walt Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, the After 2 Annual Pass allows you to enter the water parks after 2 p.m. for 365 days from purchase.  The After 2 Annual Pass is $62 ($50 for ages 3-9).

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