Visiting Volcano Bay for the first time and a trip to the mall…

One of my favourite things to do on holiday is shop. It’s funny because I don’t actually go shopping at home very often at all. Sometimes weeks would have passed without me popping into town for a nose at the shops. Online shopping is another matter, I’m rather partial to online shopping. Anyway, whilst on holiday, Phil and I love shopping. Sometimes things are cheaper abroad, but mostly it’s because you can find things that are a little bit different to back home. Anyway, when Stateside we adore a trip to the Mall and if there’s an outlet nearby then even better!

When Phil and I were last in Orlando, we found an outlet Mall just under 2 miles from Universal Studios. We visited a few times during the ten days that we were there and picked up some treats, so knew that we wanted to visit again on this occasion.

We had a great time, I picked up some gorgeous summer clothes from American Eagle as well as the dreamiest Kate Spade bag. I love Kate Spade and this quirky bag was such a bargain. I was super pleased!

After we had exhausted the Mall, we popped over to Volcano Bay at Universal. I had been desperate to go since it opened last summer and it did not disappoint!

I’m such a fan of the Disney waterparks and I had a good feeling about the Universal one as their parks are really well put together.

It’s a bit awkward to get to as you have to take their shuttle bus from Universal Studios. I found this a bit annoying to be honest and would have much rather driven there ourselves. We had to wait for a while on the way there as well as the way back. We also went out of peak season, so I imagine it’s worse in the summer.

The park itself is fantastic, really well themed with the iconic volcano in the centre of the action. There are so many rides and the rapids are the best that I have ever been on.

One big issue that I had with was the Tapu Tapu queue system. Originally I thought that it was fantastic, but if you visit the park after midday (like we did), a lot of the rides are already fully booked for the rest of the day. This kinda sucked as we didn’t get to go on as many as we liked. I would therefore recommend that you go early and tap in to any that you are set on riding.

After a busy day shopping and visiting Volcano Bay, we headed over to Disney Springs to try out the Star Wars Void experience. It was fantastic and we had so much fun. It was well thought out and immersive. I would definitely recommend it.

What are your favourite things to do in Orlando?

L x

The Everglades, Keys and Fort Lauderdale…

Of all the times that we have travelled to Florida, we have never quite managed to make it to the Everglades or The Keys. We always seem to become swept up in the lights of Orlando and the beaches in North Florida. I think that there’s just so much to do and explore that we always seem to run out of time. Anyway, on this occasion, we decided to fly to Miami and explore the southern part of the sunshine state.

Our first stop was The Everglades, a gorgeous national park oozing with wildlife and greenery. We went on an airboat tour from The Everglades Holiday Park . The airboat was super fun and our host very knowledgeable. I loved feeling the wind in my hair and looking out for gators. Luckily we managed to spot quite a few on our trip. They are such majestic creatures and I feel like I learnt a lot about them from our trip. The only downside to the airboat tour was the part at the end where you have the option to hold a baby gator. It had its mouth tied shut and I just felt like it was completely unnecessary. Nobody needs to hold an alligator and the poor little thing must have felt terribly vulnerable. That being said, I would still highly recommend the boat tour and I think that overall they have good intentions with the wildlife.

Next stop was a trip to Key Largo. I had heard how dreamy the Keys are, but I didn’t imagine that they would be quite so lush. I immediately fell in love with the chilled atmosphere, crystal clear sea and how genuinely beautiful they are. The sea was warm and inviting. Possibly the clearest sea I have ever seen and still as a Polaroid. I could see fish everywhere and it was just so, so lovely. We found a little hidden beach tucked away behind some (also dreamy) houses and just existed there for a while. The winter has felt terribly long (and appears to be never ending – snow over Easter, say what?!), it was so, so nice to soak up the sun and feel it on my skin. I loved walking around in flip flops and a sundress. The temperatures were 27/28 degrees every day and it was absolutely divine. What a treat.

Continuing our beach theme, we headed over to Fort Lauderdale for a sunset stroll on the beach followed by dinner at a restaurant with live music that kisses the coastline. We also had a look around the shops. Fort Lauderdale is quite lively in the evenings, so I would definitely recommend a visit.

Have you visited Southern Florida?

L x

Our day at Aquatica…

Dress: it was my Mum’s in the 90’s!

Sunglasses: classic Ray Bans

Phil and I love water parks, so I was quite excited when I found one in San Diego.

Owned by SeaWorld, Aquatica has a few rides, a wave pool and a lazy river.

The lazy river is my absolute favourite thing to hang out on at a water park because I just find it so relaxing.

Phil and I visited the water parks at Disneyworld last year, so my expectations were quite high. Unfortunately, I didn’t rate Aquatica too highly. Sure it was fun and all, but it’s actually quite small and two of the rides were closed which was a shame as it was peak season and they only have about 7 to start with!

I was also disappointed by their changing rooms. You couldn’t have a proper shower and the lockers were located far away from the changing facilities, which was super annoying. At the Disney parks, everything is really convenient and you can actually get ready properly afterwards, which is great if you aren’t going straight back to the hotel.

Anyway, I think that Aquatica is fun, but could definitely be better.

Which water parks do you rate?

L x

Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, exploring the Disneyworld Waterparks…

My first taster of a Disney water park came when I was a child and had been whisked away during the holidays to ‘do Disney’. I was so excited because visiting Disneyworld is a dream come true at any age, but especially as a child when Belle is your heroine and Scar is your mortal enemy. From the moment I was told we were going I could not wait. Although, I’m certain that I wasn’t entirely sure what ‘Disneyworld’ was exactly. Was it a castle? Was it where all of the characters from my childhood existed? Was it the flying Dumbos and a parade? I wasn’t quite sure, but one thing I was sure of was that I needed to experience it. 

Once we had arrived and visited a couple of the parks, it was quite clear that it really was a world of Disney. So much to explore, so many famous faces to meet and two incredible water parks. I absolutely adored all of the parks, but the water parks were firmly cemented in my memory. Right up there with the castle and the giant Epcot golf ball was the shipwreck of Typhoon Lagoon saved in my memory of childhood highlights for eternity. I think it’s because we don’t have anything like it here in London that made me love the water parks so much. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t prefer them over Magic Kingdom, but I loved my days there all the same. That’s why I wanted to make sure we visited both Disney water parks when we visited Disneyworld last April. That and I wanted to get my money’s worth after paying almost £1000 in tickets alone!

The first of the water parks we snuck in a few days into our trip. For some unknown reason we opted to hit up Blizzard Beach first and I couldn’t wait to park myself in a doughnut and roll around the lazy river whilst devouring that gorgeous Floridian sunshine, so as soon as we arrived we whipped off our clothes and got straight in (well, we actually waited for our pals to arrive and messed around in the wave pool for a bit first, but you get the picture). I had forgotten just how much fun water parks are and we had an absolute blast racing down water slides and floating around in various inflatable objects. I think in every adult there is a little bit of fun and Disney sure know how to encourage you to unleash it.

The second water park that we visited was Typhoon Lagoon, the one that made it into my childhood memory favourites list. I’ve got to admit I was a bit worried about a couple of things. Firstly that my memory had let me down and it would actually be a bit pants and secondly that because we had such a blast at Blizzard Beach, our expectations were high and we ran the risk of being disappointed. Let me assure you that was not the case and we had an even better time at Typhoon Lagoon! Who knew?!

There are so many good things about Typhoon Lagoon, from its epic wave pool with the sound of the water crashing echoing across the park like a roar from an angry T-Rex, down to the water Rollercoaster where you choose between the route of ‘Coconut Crusher’ or ‘Pineapple Plunger’ (the banana one was closed). They also have a huge drop slide (which apparently includes some sort of colonic irrigation which nobody tells you about, but gave our husbands quite a treat when they took on the slide) and a snorkelling pool where you can swim amongst a variety of fish. Typhoon Lagoon has it all. 

Both parks are great for a bit of fun and relaxation in the sunshine. We loved them so much and will definitely hit them up the next time we are in Florida.

Have you visited the Disney Water parks?

L x