Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Florida Vacation part THREE ~ Universal Save money and time TIPS

Universal Islands of Adventure
To read how I saved HUNDREDS of dollars at Universal, and how to get on rides super fast, without a fast pass, read the bottom of the post for all my suggestions, and tips.

As you all know we went down to Florida a couple weeks ago. We got to spend seven days in a wonderful resort. You can read all about the resort, and PART ONE of our vacation HERE. We spent a lot of time at the pool, and relaxed a bunch. On one of the days we went swimming with the MANATEES, which you can read all about HERE, that was an awesome experience. We were all burnt out from going to Seaworld last year. We had season passes, so every time we went to Florida, that's all we did, lol. 
This time the kids were begging to go to Universal, but ohhhh the ticket prices, OUCH. We kind of had 6 people, so I really wasn't looking forward to that. BUT the kids won, and we gave in, the last day we were there, we decided to go. Instead of leaving on Saturday, we went to Islands of Adventure, and got a room at another hotel, for one more night. We were all tired, and exhausted the next day, which was perfect for me, they were mostly quite on the way home, but I was tired too, which wasn't so good, lol. Anyway we made it home and everyone was happy. I'm glad we went!!!
This is the kids and acting all goofy, while waiting in line to go on the Pteranadon Ride. It was the one ride my older one couldn't go on, so it was kind of funny. It was also the LONGEST time we spent in line for a single ride, erghhh. The weather was cloudy, and it started to sprinkle just as we got on the ride. For a 10 second ride, (it seemed even shorter, lol) Dino loved it, but I will never wait for it again. 
We went on all the rides, several times actually. Go to the bottom of the post, and I will tell you how we did it, FOR free, no special passes needed. I am so glad we were able to enjoy all the rides, considering we were only there for one day. We choose Islands of Adventure, simply because the kids wanted to go on more roller coaster type rides. Which I had a blast on as well, YAY...

The new Harry Potter place was awesome. I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan, but I've seen a couple movies, so I kind of knew what everything was, but it was just so impressive. Everything looked so realistic, and I have to say my absolute favorite ride was the Harry Potter one. It was AMAZING, you totally felt like you were in the movie, flying up in the air, it literally was the coolest ride I've ever been on. I highly recommend it to everyone. I didn't have any butterbeer, lol. It just didn't sound to yummy to me, but people were crazy waiting in line for it everywhere. Also the line for the stores to get wands, was out of this world long. I bet they were waiting for well over an hour, just to buy something, WOW. 

We obviously spent a lot of time at Jurassic Park, where Dino D, was in heaven. When I say A LOT OF TIME, I mean it. Maybe several hours, between waiting in line, and getting stuck in line because of thunder, then spending a bunch of time in bathrooms trying to change out of wet clothes, dealing with the cheapest ponchos, and buying new sandals for the girly, because she got SOAKED, we really spent a lot of time there. Since we had nothing better to do, we also shopped at the store there too. Dino got some new dinosaurs, SHOCKER, and the kids all got a gun. my husband was thrilled he could sneak those guns past me, before I had a say. I hate guns, and don't like the kids pretending like they are killing each other, but even I had fun playing with these, darn. 

So that was our day, and the end of our vacation. Before I say goodbye, would you like to know some of the things I did to save some money while at Universal? I'll also give you a quick tip on getting on those rides faster, and not having to wait so long, ok. 

HOW TO SAVE MONEY AT UNIVERSAL

1. Bring snacks. You are allowed to bring snacks, drinks, even sandwiches, or something similar.
I brought beef jerky, nuts, bagels with cream cheese, string cheese, lunch meat rolled, baked cookies, baked brownies, grapes, and TONS of water.

2. Make sure to bring sunblock, hats, comfy shoes, an extra pair of sandals, a charged camera, and a RAIN PONCHO. We got ours from walmart the night before for 99cents each. Yes they were really cheap, and looked it too, but they served their purpose, and with summers in Florida, you need to be prepared. This easily saved me $60. Not having to buy them there.

3. Have a budget as far as spending goes. If you give yourself $100, don't go over it, NO MATTER what. It is way to easy to start buying, and not stop. My kids know they don't get stuff from every shop, or even from every place we go. I take tons of pictures, and that is how we remember our time there, not by an expensive something from a shop, that will probably be forgotten about soon.
 
HOW TO GET ON RIDES FAST AT UNIVERSAL

1. My number one saving grace on all the rides was having a little one, so we could all go to the child swap area, and wait in a cool room, with a TV and hang out until everyone was off the ride, then we could swap. The way you are supposed to do it is, your party is supposed to wait in line then, when they get off they swap with you. The kids loved it, because they always got to go on the ride twice, once alone, then with me again. This was a real time saver, especially when wanting to ride again a second time.

2. However, you technically still had to wait in line one time, which meant hours and hours of waiting. SO if you've ever been there, you may have noticed a SINGLE rider line. We took this every time, and only waited at the most 15 minutes, even on the longest lines, it was AWESOME. So going in this line, we ended up riding alone, but who cares. I'd rather ride alone, than to wait 2 hours in line, you know what I mean. 

So utilizing the two above shortcuts, we were able to go on all the ride, multiple times, and we didn't spend an extra dime. Just for the record, to get FAST PASSES on the day we went, it would have cost us $80.00 per person, YES, PER PERSON. So we only saved $400.00, and to be honest, I'd say in many cases we got on the rides even faster than those with fast passes. So there you go, my little advice. If you ever go, and don't mind going on the ride alone, then by all means do what we did, and take the single rider route ALL THE WAY, and if you happen to have a little one with you, double score!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Florida Vacation part TWO ~ manatees ~

Swimming with the manatees
While we were there, I booked us in so we could swim with the manatees. It was quite the experience. these beautiful creatures are so peaceful, and are found in Crystal River Florida, as the spring waters stay at a warmth of 74 degress pretty much all year. So they love it there, especially in the winter months.

I booked our tour with Native Vacations, and was very pleased with the tour. We spent a good 3 hours in the water, with the manatees. Here we are all suited up before we headed out. Everyone looked so darn cute in their wetsuits, he he.

We took a short boat ride to the actual streams where the manatees are often found. We learned how to spot them, but we didn't have much luck on our own. Thank goodness captain Tracy was a real pro, she found them, she knew just what to do, she taught us how to snorkel, and it was totally awesome.
After my entire family had their encounters, and I was still holding on to Dino D, and didn't even catch a glimpse of one, I finally got fed up and told him to stay on the boat, lol. I finally got to see the manatees, touch them, swim with them, and I was the only one who got any pics too, AWESOME!!! I even took Dino D out there at the end so he could see one too. We had a great time, and by noon, the kids had completely PASSED out on the way back to the resort. Which was almost a 2 hour drive, so it was a long day, but totally worth it. 
That's part two of our vacation. We really didn't do much else. We hung out at the resort a lot, the pools, and decided very last minute to give in, and take the kids to Universal. So come back to see some pics from there too, maybe even a video again, he he. 

I am so grateful to be able to go on vacations, and will be planning one more towards the end of July, this time to the beach in South Carolina. Oh I can't wait!!


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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Florida Vacation part ONE

Here are some pictures from our Florida vacation last week. Todays post is pictures from around the resort. We stayed in a beautiful 2 bedroom suite at the LIKI TIKI VILLAGE, in Orlando.
The resort, had an awesome water park style pool area, where we spent many, many hours, catching the kids as they flew down the slides. I think by the end of our trip, I must have done the equivalent to 10,000  military bench presses, catching Dino D, then lifting him up so he could go down again 10 seconds later. We all had tons of fun at the pool. My kids have been trained since little that they must wear hats, and thanks to the shirt bathing suits, and sunblock, nobody got burned, despite spending HOURS, and DAYS in the water, in the middle of 95 degree hot days.

You will notice another girly with us, that is my cousin, and we travel with my aunt and cousins often. My aunt could't come with us, but her daughter did. Last time her brother came, and we love having family travel with us, especially since we always stay large rooms. We have plenty of space, and it's always funner with more people there.
There were many activities at the resort. We played tennis, badminton, shuffleboard, rode bikes, and rode these lovely paddle boats. Note to self, DON'T ever do that again. Gosh, lugging around 3 kids and myself, for an hour, just about killed me, and can those life vests be any more uncomfortable. It was fun though watching the kids shriek every time they saw a ripple in the water. There were 2 baby gators somewhere in the water. I tried, but could not find them, he he. 
Last but not least, by far my most favorite part of staying at resorts, or large suites at hotels, is having a kitchen. I HATE eating out more than once a week, possibly twice. To be honest if it wasn't for the cost, I probably wouldn't actually mind THAT much, but when you travel with 6 hungry peeps, you need to get creative. Trust me we all ate REALLY good. I was terrible about taking pics of my dishes, but I can tell you I gained 4 pounds while there, so yeah, we ate well, haha. 

Also I had a lesson in cooking in a small kitchen. I barely had 18 inches of counter space, and no pantry, so I was stocking all our food on top of plates, in between pots and pans, in the stove, anywhere I could find room. It made me keep my working area clean, that's for sure. 

The pictures below are of the kitchen, breakfast one day, which consisted of eggs, bacon, toast, crepe pancakes, fish chutney, oj, and tea. 

I also made cookies, but to my surprise there was no cookie tray, so I changed plans and made it a small cookie brownie cake type thing, and YUMMY, it was good. 
Come back tomorrow to see more pics from our vacation. 
We went swimming with the manatees and I can't wait to show you!!



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Thursday, December 16, 2010

I thought I saw a snowflake ~~ I did I did ~~ and my Florida trip to keep me warm!!

Dang it's been COLD, like seriously COLD. Just after Thanksgiving we got hit with freezing temperatures, and are still freezing, and it's only the beginning!!

On Saturday, it snowed for like 2 seconds, BUT, it was enough to get the kids bundled up, and take a quick picture outside. We are silly like that, but we hardly get snow here, and if we do, it's like an inch, that melts the next day. Although last year, we had snow like 5 times, and one time, we made a snowman family, there was so much, (after my grass had no more snow) BUT I did make 5 snowmen, and they lasted for almost a week. It was cool. Anyway, I just thought I'd share a few pics, from the snow a couple days ago.

Then I will share some pics from our vacation in Florida, just a couple weeks ago, it was 85 degrees, and beautiful. Gosh I wish I was still there.

I am so tired lately, have no idea why, hope I'm not coming down with something, I have to much to do still. My eyes are literally closing as I type right now, so I will try and make this quick. Just adding the pics, and off to bed I go.

Good Night everyone!!!

































As always ENJOY!

Special requests, or mad love always welcome:)
http://www.blogger.com/bellabeforeandafter@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Amaze me August #12~~ Florida update

We are finally down here in Florida, and after a horrible start, we are finally chilling in our 2 bedroom condo, and loving it.

We are planning Sea world today, and Universal and the beach, and some other things. I still have yet to see the Space Center, on the way home.

Last night I managed to make some yummy burritos, and even rajma (indian beans in chilli sauce) and basmati rice, fresh salsa, guacomole, and even brownies. I didn't even bring any of my spices, and made do with what I could find at Wal-mart, so there now I KNOW that even you guys can make some Indian food, anywhere :) May not be so exciting for anyone else, but I was otally happy, and my hubby, oh yeah he is like 5 pounds heavier, lol. Ok me too, shoot, thank goodness they have a gym, and pool, and tennis, and all that stuff here.

Ok so anyway, the internet, we have to pay for it, sucks, and it's per laptop, sucks, so since my hubby uses it mostly at night, I can't he he. So I am stuck having to update my blog, now, quickly. Sorry guys no features this week, unless I get more time to work on my blog, otherwise I will do it next week.

I am waiting to get a couple more pics for this giveaway I am planning, so I will set that up JUST AS SOON as I can.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous day!!
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You guys are all doing such great projects, and I love seeign them, as usual. When, oh when will I ever be able to do some crafts?? Oh well, until then you guys give me so much inspiration, and I am so lucky to have all these wonderful ideas, on my blog, where I and everyone else can go see.

Thank you again, to EVERYONE who continues to support me in these parties, and lifts me up with such sincere, and kind words, and comments. I am so lucky to have you all.


Make sure to spread the word, about these parties, and of course my upcoming giveaway, I soooo appreciate it.

As always ENJOY!

Special requests, or mad love always welcome:)
http://www.blogger.com/bellabeforeandafter@gmail.com
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In my spare time I enjoy cooking, and baking. In fact my mother and I have been making cakes for over 30 years. I also love gardening, traveling, and all things crafty. I struggle daily to keep my like organized, along with my never ending battle to keep the house clean. I adore my three kids MOST of the time, and can usually be found doing the mom thing from morning till night. I try to catch a few mommy moments, but those are hard to find in this wonderful life of mine. I am blessed and happy, and am thrilled you stopped by today :)