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Being a kid can be rough, but being the adults traveling with tykes can be difficult as well. Coordinating activities for youngsters of varying ages is a challenge (little Tommy wants to visit the petting zoo, while teen Tammy would rather go shopping), as is attempting to stay on a budget. For parents planning a trip for the whole clan, we have good news (and bad news).
After the holidays, we tend to get stuck in winter slumps. For many of us, as the temperatures drop and the sun goes down earlier, we’re left counting down the days until spring. But instead of hiding inside all winter, use the post-holiday months as a time to travel somewhere new, whether it’s to a relaxing beach, a ski resort out West, or Walt Disney World. All of the deals below are valid for travel throughout January – just in time to nip those winter blues in the bud.
January is one of the best months to visit Orlando, especially later in the month, when crowds at the theme parks are down after the holidays, and temperatures are in the perfect mid-70s. Hotels follow suit and dip down in pricing, like the 4-star Melia Orlando Suite Hotel, which starts at just $125 per night in January – a 45 percent savings on high season rates. The Melia is the closest all-suite hotel to the Disney Parks, and includes a full kitchen in each unit, plus a 360 -egree infinity pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and complimentary breakfast. Dozens more 4-star Orlando hotels are available for low rates in January, like the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orlando – Orange Lake Resort from $80 per night, the Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa from $97 per night, and the Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club from $105 per night. Read more
It takes a special kind of nerd to track down all the healthy-eating options at the Magic Kingdom; I am that nerd. Of course, I love pigging out on a behemoth burger or a cinnamon bun the size of my face on occasion. However, most times what I need is a light but filling meal that doesn’t wreck havoc on my belly (especially if I plan on hitting the Mad Tea Party ride). If this sounds like you, never fear. We’ve scoured the park’s restaurants for some healthful choices that also happen to be darn tasty.
1. Quinoa Salad: Be Our Guest Restaurant, Fantasyland
Quinoa is all the rage these days because it packs a powerful punch of protein. Be Our Guest’s lunch menu includes quinoa salad ($7.99), which comes with green beans, potatoes, olives, roasted bell peppers, golden beets, and tomatoes. The kids’ lunch menu includes Mickey-shaped meatloaf and seared mahi. Read more
Cue the talking wardrobe. Prepare the grey stuff (it’s delicious). Pump up the steel-drum, nautical-themed music. Guests will be showing up in droves for the grand opening of the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland, which makes its debut on Thursday. [Update: It's open and awesome!] This portion of Walt Disney World has nearly doubled in size, going from 11 to 21 acres, making it the largest expansion in the park’s 41-year history. So, it’s no surprise that there is plenty to see. We’ve done some of the leg work for you, though, so you’ll know exactly what to target.
1. Down a Brewski
Well, a LeFou’s Brew, that is. This frozen apple juice concoction has a hint of toasted marshmallow and is topped with all-natural passion fruit-mango foam. It’s served up at Gaston’s Tavern (and, yes, he really does use antlers in all of his decorating).
2. Dine Inside Beast’s Castle
Disney has really outdone itself with the Be Our Guest Restaurant, a gourmet, French-themed eatery. Its massive chandeliers, gorgeous terrazzo floors and snowflakes falling among the fictional French countryside all stay true to the Beauty and the Beast movie. Choose from quick-service meals for lunch or fancy table service for dinner. Read more
There’s rarely a time when Orlando isn’t buzzing with people that don’t call themselves citizens of Florida, but the winter months can make the roadways particularly zany. If you’re in the region as a proud member of the Snow Bird contingent, an avid follower of all things Disney, or just flying down to one of the most widely used convention centers in the world, we’ve got some advice for you. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of Orlando, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.
A number of viral videos depict a similar theme. On the morning of a big day – sometimes Christmas, sometimes a birthday – parents will train cameras on their children as they tell them the family is going to Disney World … and they’re leaving today. The kids, overwhelmed with the prospect of meeting Mickey in person, burst into tears.
This strategy may be adorable (or traumatizing, depending on how you look at it), but the premise neglects a lot of nagging questions. How do you discretely pack for a week away without giving away the scheme? Will holiday travel slow down the festivities? Is there a way to chaotically dart through an airport and reach your destination while avoiding the dreaded Home Alone scenario?
For the first time in 41 years, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will serve alcohol to park goers. Be Our Guest, the park’s “Beauty and the Beast” themed restaurant opening next month, has announced they will serve wine and beer during the spot’s dinner hour. The eatery is located in the park’s Fantasyland Forest, which features a castle modeled after the one where the Beast resides.
Parents want vacations to run smoothly. No one should get sick, hurt, or lost. Sometimes the latter is the hardest to avoid. Families have wanderers, eager-beavers, and inherently independent little ones that need special attention, especially in crowded places. Modern Family fans will remember the scene when Lily, a young child, runs around Disneyland, driving her fathers mad. They resigned to buying her a pair of high heeled princess shoes to slow her down. My parents chose the leash.
Explore Orlando’s theme parks for less this summer with a stay at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek. The new 4-star resort is slashing seasonal rates by 40 percent so you can enjoy your stay for as little as $125 a night. Travel July 29 through August 30 to take advantage of this great deal.
In addition, the resort’s award-winning signature restaurant, deep blu seafood grille, is offering a $40 three-course tasting menu for the month of August. Advanced reservations are required to enjoy the restaurant’s contemporary fusion fare, which focuses on fresh seafood dishes.
The family-friendly Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek is located in picturesque Bonnet Creek inside the Walt Disney World complex and offers a complimentary shuttle service to the Disney parks. When you’re not discovering the parks, relax at the resort’s lagoon pool (complete with a lazy river), try one of the five dining outlets, or splurge with a treatment at Blue Harmony Spa.
To book this deal, visit www.wyndhamgrandorlando.com or call 407-390-2300 and ask for the 40 percent off customer appreciation advanced purchase deal.
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