Shermanstravel Blog

Orlando

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Want to be somewhere warm this season without giving up the holiday cheer? We introduced some surprising destinations for getting into the spirit of things earlier this week, including some sunny locales, but we wanted to give Orlando — the third most popular holiday travel destination in America — a special spotlight today. Yes, it’s a balmy 70-plus degrees here this time of the year, but you’ll still find plenty of Christmas classics here. You can still throw a snowball or pretend you’re in a snow flurry — with palm trees and a swimming pool never too far away.

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1Hershey Park

Shorts and sunscreen have been replaced with jackets and scarves, and theme parks across the country have suited up to take the winter weather in stride. The gates are open for one last hurrah of the year as these parks offer the best of the holiday season. Warm up with the festive glittering lights, re-themed rides, seasonal treats, and, of course, the treasured opportunity to meet Santa. Though some of the bigger rides of these parks are closed for the winter, exploring the all-encompassing holiday worlds built in these parks is the main attraction.

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cakes - mickey - © Disney

One of the biggest assets that set Disney World apart from its competitors is the level of service the company delivers to guests. It’s no secret that the iconic resorts offers exclusive hours and transportation, but here are 10 lesser known services offered by the House of Mouse.

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Flickr Joe Turco2

Want the ultimate Disney vacation? There’s a way you can enjoy Mickey and friends on both land and sea: by combining a stay at a Walt Disney World hotel with a trip aboard Disney Cruise Line that embarks from Port Canaveral.

The easiest way to do this is to first book the cruise, then make your stay at Disney World an add-on with a Land and Sea Vacation package. But there are some caveats with this method of booking — here’s the dish on what you should know.

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DugJax

Disney World is for guests of all ages, despite what some folks might say. Little ones and kids-at-heart can both have a great time at the Orlando resort. Of course, for older guests, it might take a little tweaking, since a trip to the House of Mouse isn’t the senior’s textbook vacation. Here, 10 tips for making it work.

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Flickr Aaron Fulkerson copy

Free breakfast, iPod docking stations, and coffee makers are nothing compared to some of the whacky hotel amenities we found. From vintage record players to pet psychologists, here are five quirky — and dare we say somewhat outrageous — amenities that can be found at hotel chains across the country.

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Even though vodka originated in Europe, we love it so much here in the States that we’ve dedicated an entire day to celebrating it. Yep, October 4 is National Vodka Day. Here are four places where you can honor the popular spirit.

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disney world - fireworks - jd baskin

Watching the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom is perhaps one of the most popular experiences at Walt Disney World. What’s not so magical? The hoard of crowds during the show and the mad crush to exit the theme park after. If you’re done with all the rides, we suggest saving your sanity by enjoying the show at these locations outside of the parks.

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Disney Cinderella Castle at ChristmasTo say that Disney World in Orlando, Florida pulls out all the stops for the holidays is an understatement. Starting in September, the Magic Kingdom is decked out in fall and Halloween décor. The entire resort, including the parks and hotels, later makes the transition to Christmas decorations in November through the first couple days of the New Year. Wreaths, lights, garland — you name it, they’ve got it.

The holiday festivities alone are enough to draw in thousands of visitors during the last few months of the year. Here’s what you should know when traveling there during this season.

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Disney Saratoga Springs Villa ResortDisney World hotels are designed for a variety of interests, budgets, and travel needs. The 20-some-odd hotels are divided into four resort categories: Value, Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villas. The latter are ideal for those who’d like some extra space and the comforts of home while on vacation.

The Deluxe Villa resorts are made up of suites with studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom units, depending on the property. Some even have two-story Grand Villas. These resorts are primarily used by members of the Disney Vacation Club, Disney’s timeshare program, but non-members can stay when inventory is available.

So what’s there to know about staying at one of these resorts? Read on to find out.

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Epcot Center Monorail Disney World Florida

Pop quiz: where can you find Florida’s third largest bus fleet?

Correct answer: Disney World.

With a bus fleet that’s third in size to the cities of Miami and Jacksonville, Disney World offers resort guests complimentary transportation.

Guests can forgo renting a car and take advantage of the bus service, plus get around via boats and monorails. Plus, getting to the resort from Orlando International Airport isn’t much of an issue with included motor coach transportation, including luggage transfers.

So what’s there to know about a transportation system that covers an area that’s twice the size of Manhattan? Here’s the scoop.

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Flickr/Anna Fox - Epcot Flower Festival

Any trip to Disney World usually feels like a special event, but did you know that the resort hosts unique parties and festivals all year long? Here’s what you can expect from six of the most popular celebrations.

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Disney World ClockVacation time is precious, and that’s especially true if you’re going to Walt Disney World — a destination that guarantees you’ll spend a lot of time waiting in line.

Here are five things that you can do before you leave home to save time on your Disney vacation.

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Sandito Mojito, Cuba Libre OrlandoWe’re game to celebrate nearly every food- or drink-focused holiday (National Margarita Day, anyone?), so we’re excited that August is Rum Month. Rum is the elixir of both swash-buckling pirates and bleary-eyed Caribbean travelers alike. But some folks have rum misconceptions: They think only of umbrella-topped super-sweet frozen drinks or unimaginative soda mixes from their young-adult years. We’re here to open your eyes to a brave new world of this sugar cane-based liquid miracle. Beyond plain Bacardi, there are hundreds of varieties of rum — some as premium as any top-shelf cognac.

These 21 bars from coast-to-coast (and points in between) are serving up choice cocktails this month using rums you may not have heard of before. And don’t forget that Saturday, August 16 is officially National Rum Day. So raise a glass and say, “Aaar!”

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Disney World Wait Times/Anna Elsa FrozenSeveral things are synonymous with Walt Disney World: iconic characters, turkey legs, Space Mountain, and long lines. Attractions without long lines are the anomaly, and not the rule, at the “Most Magical Place on Earth,” but that doesn’t mean you have to spend your whole vacation waiting.

Read on for nine tips to reduce your ride wait times.

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