I'm Back!

Well everyone, I have been super quiet lately because I've been away on vacation! You may notice though that blog posts have still been posted - I had them scheduled so that y'all would still have stuff to read through while I was away! I decided to really switch off this vacation you see, and I tried to avoid as much of my 'work' life as possible - it was impossible, I caught up with a couple of emails in the night while relaxing but that was all! Which is good for me!

However, the LONG plane journey meant that I could get lots of new exciting resources made for the new School year! Be sure to head on over to my store and follow me for updates on LOTS of new fabulous fun resources! Here.

So, I can hear you ask, where have I been? What have I been doing? Well, read on to find out more about our first part of our vacation. Part 2 will be announced in a few days!

Our vacation started at Orlando, Florida. We decided to rent a car and I would drive. We went with Enterprise in Orlando International Airport and they were great, we had a sat nav and off we went. Only problem was - the sat nav couldn't find signals until we were out of the parking lot and for a few minutes after! You can imagine my face trying to manoeuvre around a country i've never been to before! Alas, we managed to pull in somewhere, re-set up the sat nav and off we went again - woohoo!! Until the thunderstorm hit - OMG! I have never seen a thunderstorm like that - and all I had was t-shirts - oops! Never mind, it was still boiling. Also, I highly recommend hiring a car if you're going here, it works out so much cheaper, you can get so much more done - on your terms! And you can just drive around to wherever you want to go - whenever! We were worried about how expensive fuel (or gas) would be - we got 3/4 of a tank for $22! I nearly passed out! So we will definitely be driving again for our visit in March.




Our villa had been booked through a company called Head for Orlando. They were absolutely fabulous from start to finish, we had a panic as our flights ended up getting changed dates and we weren't sure if we had done the right dates in the villa, they got back to us so quick, putting us at ease, they were fabulous - Melodie in particular is amazing to deal with! Be sure to check them out, their prices are amazing, they have a HUGE amount of villas to choose from to suit everyone. We are already going to book with them for our next trip in March/April this year - and we can't wait!

Oh and to top it all off, they even have connections to the parks through a website - you can find all their details on their website when you book with them to get discounted tickets for the parks!!! WIN WIN!

So, what did our villa look like? We thought the price was absolutely amazing for what we paid so we were unsure, we pulled up and were immediately chuffed! We knew it was going to be just fabulous.


The inside was just as beautiful..


And then of course, you had the private pool. The weather was so nice and warm we definitely got our use out of it!



The villa had lots of info in a book about attractions close to us, the first day we went over to Walmart to fill up on some snacks for the week and then had an early night. The next day we headed to Gatorland!


This is definitely worth a visit and is a bargain price for all the fun you can have here! There is so much to do and it really is a lovely place to visit. You can purchase food on the way around to feed the alligators, fish and birds! There are 2 different shows on at different times throughout the day which are loads of fun, you can even walk through a real life swamp! We had a ball here and would definitely go back again, for sure! For everyone who knows me, snakes and spiders are my biggest no no. In the park I sat down and had a snake around my neck while holding a baby alligator for a photo. I don't know what my smile is trying to say because I was freaking out over the snake! But, I did it! Something I never thought I'd be able to do - but I did it! The alligator was the least of my worries!

Of course, from there, the rest of the week is a bit of a crazy blur, there is SO much that you can do in Florida that there is no way you can ever do it all, even if you live there I think! We decided to pass on Disney this year and do it next year when we returned - so we opted for two days at Universal! Of course, I booked it all in advance to be organised, and then dopey me left the tickets in the villa - reception are great there and just took my details down, asked for my ID and then re-issued us our tickets - phew!


Now, parking is a little bit expensive at Universal $17 per day, but it's worth it, it's kept in a covered car park so when you go back to the car at the end of the day it's nowhere near as hot as it would be if you left it out in the open! Now, as you all know, I have serious issues for anything Minion. I was so excited to go to this one (I went to the LA one when it was first opened, I was one of the first people to go on the Minion ride when it opened for testing and LOVED IT!) so you can imagine my disappointment when all day I kept eyes peeled for the minion characters - and I saw none of them! There were hardly any around the park which I was a little gutted about, I did have a picture with the grinch and his friend though! (I have no idea who his friend is!) Simpsons land (or Springfield) is great. My partner loves the simpsons, he had a whale of a time going around, into the shops, buying the humungous donut, having a krusty burger, duff beer etc. All of which you can't really get in the LA one. It really is worth a visit! Then of course, you have the new Harry Potter land - definitely worth a visit, it was absolutely fabulous, so much going on and the scenes are just perfect - the castle looks so amazing and realistic! 

It does get really busy at Universal, if you don't want to pay out for fast passes ( they can mount up so quickly with the price! ) then I really do suggest getting to the park really early, and start from the back of the park to the front. Be sure to check out all the fab little shops there too - especially the Christmas ones! And there is a little arcade that's great for a cool off or to hide from the rain.

Food wasn't too expensive here, we both ate in Krusty with a meal each for just under $20 - not too bad considering the prices in some parks elsewhere, there were also options to have discounts/dining plans etc. but as there are only two of us - we didn't really feel the need!


Not far from our villa was Bonanza Golf and Gifts. Nathan LOVES anything golf wise so we thought we'd have a go at mini golf - be wary, it gets super hot, so be sure to take some drinks with you, we bought them fairly cheap in the shop there and carried them round with us. Naturally, I won! (Address; 7661 W Irlo bronson Memorial Hwy, FL 34747)

The next day we headed over to I Drive 360. The weather turned a little rainy as we got there late afternoon we headed into the 'Arcade City' - it was SO much fun!! We spent over an hour in there having a great time and won some fab prizes. I had pouted with Nathan for the week because all I wanted was a King Bob minion! He had tried and won me so many different minions - but no King Bob yet!

In the arcade I went in and there was King Bob, I said I'd have just one go and that was it. On my first go I won! You can imagine my surprise! The workers there are so lovely, offering to take a photo with me and Bob to go on their Facebook page - I politely declined! We went on to win 2 more minions. Our left over tickets we passed on to a lady with 2 children - she was over the moon and so grateful! This is what Florida is all about people!

Here were my winnings from the Arcade there..



The last few days consisted of going around different restaurants that we love - Buffalo Bill Wild Wings, FOR SURE! Nathan always has the Build a Burger - he loves it! I decided to spice it up a little bit this time though and tried the flatbread.

DO IT! If you ever go there, try the flatbread, it is AMAZING, the nicest I have ever tried anywhere, we could have happily returned every single night for it. Staff are absolutely lovely - in every single one of these restaurants! It is a sports bar too, so there's lots of sports going on around the bar through their TV's from around the World, if you go when there is no 'major' event on, it's nice, quiet, peaceful and a great atmosphere!


And of course, here was my minion collection! Trust me, you are never too old for minions, ok?! I also had 2 more little ones that I forgot to put in this picture and a blanket! CRAY-ZY I know!


We always love to visit a Gift Shop before we leave a place too, we like to pick up little things from each of our vacations and also fetch back for our family. We came upon the Magic Castle Gift Shop - you can't really miss it, it has a huge wizard on it! While we were driving one day, it is huge inside and they have SO much on offer. The workers there are really lovely and will chat away to you for a little while - the prices are also fantastic! And the quality of stuff is brilliant, we spent a fortune in here though picking up loads of fabulous different things, we had a MASSIVE carrier bag full of so many different things - they even do disney, minions, harry potter etc. it's great! If you're passing by, be sure to stop there. You can also google it for address, more info etc. At the front of the shop there is also a guy with a booth who sells tickets for the local parks, we didn't buy from him here but he was real busy! However, he did say his Disney tickets are not discounted because they don't get discounted anywhere - so don't get your hopes up for those! (Address; 7647 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, FL 34747) 


Right by our villa (well just down the road from the gated community like a 2 minute drive) was a Dunkin' Donuts. YOU HAVE TO TRY THEM! The hot chocolate there is absolutely amazing, we would go here after a long day out (when the rain was just starting) pick up a hot chocolate and take it back to the villa just to sit and chill, it was lovely! You can even buy packs of stuff to fetch home and they do every donut that you can pretty much imagine!


If you are looking for some discounts/vouchers during your stay check out the Enjoy Florida Magazine you can look at it online or pick up a magazine, you can usually find these in gift shops, theme parks etc. There are loads of different discounts available and it updates regularly so keep your eyes peeled! It's also great for finding out what is going on around you too! 


If you're driving, there is a great premium outlet not too far away! It includes loads of different shops and the clothes are at AMAZING prices! There was a food court there too, along with a Disney store - let's face it, who goes to Orlando and comes back without something Disney?! The prices were great here, they even had Christmas jumpers reduced to crazy prices like $15?!



Nathan LOVES adidas tracksuits to travel around in - in the Adidas store they were on offer - buy 1 item get 1 half price! And that was even after they were discounted ! BARGAIN!

Then we headed on over to UGG - it's a huge place and is split into two sections, be sure to cross over to the other shops, I bought a pair of UGGs for around £50 cheaper than over here! Don't forget to include the tax when you are budgeting! (Address; 4951 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819)

Then, it was time to say goodbye to Florida and head on to our next part of the journey... be sure to keep an eye out on my blog for step 2 coming next week! 

Please note, I do not work for, represent or get paid to leave reviews on any of the places above that I have mentioned. When I travel, I love to be able to read reviews before I go to find out what is the best to visit, when I'm unable to find reviews I get wary, but by reading them I have also found so many fabulous new places. Where's your favourite place in Florida?

Nikki 

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