5 Mar 2014

Florida, USA

To top off my holidays within 2011, I went to Florida with my family for two weeks. We went to both Orlando and Clearwater. The idea being the first week we visited all the theme parks and exhausted ourselves whilst the last week was our time to relax.

My beautiful and wonderfully organised Mother

Prior to our trip, my mother being wonderfully organised purchased all four members of my family the "Orlando Flex Ticket", allowing us unlimited access to 5 theme parks: Universal's Island of Adventures, Universal Studios, SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica and Busch Gardens.
We were staying in the Wyndham Orlando Resort on International Drive, whilst our room wasn't particularly spacious, the hotel itself was beautiful and right in the middle of International Drive, therefore surrounded by restaurants and shops! Although the Flex Ticket allowed us access to most of the theme parks, we were slightly disappointed when we found out it didn't allow us entry to Disney. Fortunately the hotel offered some great deals on entry and we ended up going to Disney on our first full day in Florida. And so after a massive meal at Denny's we headed off to bed for an early night in preparation for our 7am start.
Photo from http://www.wyndham.com/
The reason our entry prices to Disney was so affordable was because we also had to sit through a Time Share Conference. Which was maybe one of the most boring things ever but completely worth it for the amazing day we had ahead of us. Disney really is magic with the castle, the atmosphere and of course the rollercoasters, as soon as I had entered the park I was enchanted. I have to say my favourite ride was space mountain! Those stars! Incredible.

The second day we went to Universal Studios. Maybe one of my favourite places in the world. Despite the jet lag, on arrival at the Studios I was bouncing up and down like a child who had fizzy drunks and sweets for breakfast. All this excitement was of course for Harry Potter World. I have loved Harry Potter for as long as I can remember and have an unhealthy obsession for it! Whilst all the other rides and parks were amazing, nothing stood out to me as much as the Harry Potter section, although I won't lie the butterbeer was a bit of a disappointment! But that is a minor detail I am very willing to overlook in comparison to the rest of the park. In order to avoid queues my family we were in the queue and waiting before the park had even opened, I can genuinely say it was most certainly worth the early start, we managed to avoid all queues for the majority of the rides.

Another one of my favourites! SEA WORLD! (They were all my favourites, I am just completely in love with Florida) I had been to Sea World once a long long time ago when I was about two. I was absolutely ecstatic to be returning 15 years later. Everything in Sea World excited me, I have always loved the water and seeing the animals was amazing. But my day was made when a brattish overweight child fell into the stingray pool. Absolutely priceless.

Aquatica, unfortunately the day we went it was slightly windy and therefore quite cold in comparison to the weather we had been having so less than ideal to be wet and in a bikini all day! It was fun nevertheless and the photographers got some amazing photos of my family and I. All of which are framed on my bedroom wall at home. It was a really fantastic day, the rides were slightly more tame in comparison to the bigger theme parks and my Mum was more willing to give some of these rides a try!

After our wonderful week in Orlando, it was time to embark on our journey to Clearwater, with one vital stop on the way; Busch Gardens. Once again I would highly recommend it. Animals combined with rollercoasters, what more could you want?!

Clearwater, the perfect place to relax! We were staying in the Hilton, which was located opposite the beach. A short walk across the road and you were there! The hotel also had an amazing pool which is where my family and I spent most of the time lazing in the sun. There were so many benefits to staying in this hotel as there was also a small hut where you could rent jet skis and the hotel was just a short walk away from a jetty, filled with amazing breakfast cafes and restaurants. There's also an amazing bar right next to the pool (convenient!).
Credit to my baby Jess, for taking a photo of the excellent view from our hotel

Florida is an absolute must on the travel bucket list, I can genuinely say I haven't been anywhere as fun filled and packed as Florida. There is an endless list of things to do and for those that love their holidays to be packed, this is the place for you to be!

As always, loads of love


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