Unexpected

Hi we’re Kyle and Stacey!  We’ve been friends for over 13 years and last fall we won a worldwide search to land the best social media job in the world: experiencing every attraction Orlando, Florida has to offer in 67 Days.  We had the time of our lives going to amusement parks, eating amazing food, shopping and SO much more.  Below you will find a blog we made documenting all of our smile filled adventures.  Enjoy!

Amusement parks may be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Orlando, but it offers visitors so much more! We were lucky enough to see for ourselves during our 67 days in Orlando. From top notch golf courses to beautiful spas, Orlando has unexpected activities to fit a variety of interests. Whether your idea of a fun day is viewing famous works of art, seeing the Orlando Magic play, or something in between, Orlando’s got it! For an even bigger list,  check out the ‘Things to Do’ tab at www.VisitOrlando.com.

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Belle Vie Day Spa

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We felt relaxed and welcomed the minute we stepped in. The employees who work there are genuine and care about giving you great service. We enjoyed facials with raspberry masks and a nice massage…a perfect weekend activity. This is a cute place to enjoy the great things in life.

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B.A.S.E. Camp

B.A.S.E. CAMP invited us to the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital to help serve lunch to children and their families who are staying there. It was a wonderful way to spend our afternoon! The children’s faces lit up as we came in their room to deliver a special lunch donated by Rainforest Cafe. It was a joy to be able to spend some time hanging out with these amazing kids.

A HUGE thanks to B.A.S.E. Camp for letting us stop by and lend a hand! If you would like to volunteer a day or donate some funds check them out at www.basecamp.org. They depend on volunteers to help run their programs and any help is accepted and praised.

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We are so grateful we had the opportunity!

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Boggy Creek Airboat Rides

Today we got to feel like real Floridians as we took an airboat tour at Boggy Creek Airboats. We really loved it. It was the perfect combination of adventure, thrills and peacefulness. Our guide Jeff was really cool and he knew a lot about all of the local wildlife we got to see. For instance, did you know that Florida has the second highest Bald Eagle population in the US? We actually got to see a few of them, along with a ton of other birds, flowers and even wild gators! Check out the slideshow above to see all of the beautiful pictures.

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Celebration

IMG_3688Have you ever seen the Truman Show? You know the movie where everything is perfectly planned out, the town looks perfect? That’s pretty much the idea of Celebration. It’s a planned community that was made by Disney (although it has few ties to it now). Leaves fall on the streets on fall weekends (this is not common in Florida) and snow falls in the winter (this is even less common). We wondered if Celebration really was all it was cracked up IMG_3694to be, and once we got out of the car it was proven to us that it was. It was proven in the form of fudge. Yes, fudge. They have a Kilwins! We grew up on Kilwins fudge shop in Michigan and we thought it could only be found there… but any “perfect” town is incomplete without one so of course there’s one in Celebration!

After our minor fudge freak out, we headed to Columbia Restaurant. This is a Spanish food restaurant and of course it was… perfect! It really was. The Arroz con Pollo came stewed in its own juices so the rice was incredibly flavorful. The Croquetas de Pollo were so tasty, and of course the fresh Sangria hit just the right spot. This was my favorite Latin food that we’ve had in our 67 days by far. I would recommend this place any day of the week. It hits the spot after a stroll through Celebration and makes you wonder, “can real life really be this perfect?”. Well tonight between Kilwins and Columbia Restaurant, it was!

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Conway Walking Tour

Conway is a community rich in history located southeast of downtown Orlando. Today we were lucky enough to get a guided tour of the area by Commissioner Linda Stewart. Up and down Conway road are signs designating the historical areas and explaining the significance of each. You can take the tour yourself too, it’s self guided (so you probably won’t be escorted by a commissioner). We even got an added bonus at the end when we arrived at a pumpkin patch and they had two pumpkins painted for us!

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Deleon Springs State Park

This morning we headed about an hour north of downtown to DeLeon Springs State Park for some r&r in nature. The springs were first settled by Native Americans almost 6,000 years ago. Since then it has been a plantation, winter resort and now it’s a great place to spend the day with family. From homemade pancakes made right on your table, to kayaking, to Eco boat tours (and of course the continually 72 degree fresh water) DeLeon Springs is great place to unwind, cool down and just enjoy a day outdoors. This may not be the Orlando you get in a guidebook, but that’s the beauty of it: it’s a hidden gem.

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Downtown Historical Walking Tour

Downtown Orlando has a great mix of the new and the old. But with all the new buildings towering over the city streets it is easy to miss the beautiful classic buildings. So it was nice to receive a historical walking tour; were we learned about the history of downtown Orlando and it’s buildings.

Click here to check out all the walking tours in Downtown Orlando!

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Eo Inn and Spa

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Eo Inn and Spa

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Enzian Theatre

Coming from New York City I was not planning on experiencing the chill/hipster vibe I’m used to when we moved to Orlando for 67 Days. Orlando I would just like to say I’m sorry, I totally underestimated you. Friday night at the Enzian Theatre we found a place that thrives on great art and is filled with laid back locals (seriously I want everyone there to be my friend).

Before seeing the film Kyle and I hung out at Eden, which is Enzian’s outdoor bar. We ordered oneTry one of Eden's Signature Drinks...they are delicious! of their signature drinks (delicious) and enjoyed good company under the willow trees.

Ok, getting to the most important part of Enzian…indie movies. All their movies are shown using classic film (i.e. no digital) and all of them are indies. Let me just say that I LOVE a good indie movie! And at the Enzian we not only enjoyed a great indie, but we also ate an amazing meal during the film. I’m not talking plan ole’ hamburgers and hotdogs. They serve fresh, almost 100% organic food…Yes this place is as cool as I’m making it sound.

The Enzian really is an escape from the city of theme parks and attractions where you can enjoy a meal and a movie with the locals.

Outside the Enzian Theatre

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Give Kids the World

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It’s no secret our job in Orlando is to smile…I mean we are the Smile Ambassadors 🙂 Tonight I had one of the biggest smiles I’ve had since we arrived. We spent the evening volunteering at Give Kids the World Village. This village is the place families stay when they come to Orlando through organizations which grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

This place made our inner child come to life! From a life-sized Candy Land game to interactive dinosaur mini golf…it was easy to see how any child would be in heaven there. The village also has evening activities for the guests including celebrating Christmas every Thursday (gifts, snow, and all!).

With so many things going on at the Give Kids the World Village they depend on volunteers…like YOU!

Orlando has so many places to make your family smile…How wonderful is it that there is a place where you can have your family help others smile?!!!

Check out Give Kids the World on Facebook and Twitter

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Golf Lessons at Shingle Creek’s

Brad Brewer Golf Academy

Shaq's Mama Said Knock You Out Golf Tournament

Shaq's Mama Said Knock You Out Golf Tournament

On Day 23 we headed to Shaq’s ‘Mama Said Knock You Out Golf Tournament’ at Shingle Creek. I’m sure you’re wondering if we beat Shaq…well he was so intimated by how good we looked in our polo shirts and plaid shorts he asked us not to play…you know so we wouldn’t show him up :). Just kidding, we’re just not good enough golfers. So after we said hi to the man of the hour we headed to Brad Brewer’s Golf Academy. which was on site at Shingle Creek.Shaq and Us

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Brad was an amazing guy with a huge amount of patience for those who know very little about golf (like us). In just an hour he had us using good form and hitting the balls 150 yards plus…which we were shocked at. The best part is that Brad had us falling in love with golf in a way we didn’t see coming. Playing golf turned out to be really relaxing and enjoyable! Maybe next year we’ll be able to take on Shaq.

Brad Brewer Golf Academy
Brad Brewer Golf Academy

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Orange Country Regional History Center

On Day 7 we met Mayor Dyer, had a tour of downtown, and went to the Orange County Regional History Center…Check out our video:

Want to save GOOD money in Downtown Orlando??? Check out the Buy Local card…it gives you savings all around downtown. Including half off movies at the Plaza Theatre, which means you only pay $4.50 (all the time)!

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Leu Gardens

Stop. Take a deep breath. And smell the roses. That’s what a day at Leu Gardens just north of downtown Orlando lets you do. It was so nice to just take a peaceful walk through the beauty of nature, and Leu Gardens has a lot of it. They have the largest vine, banana, and Camellia collection in the US. One exhibit that we really loved was the butterfly garden. Everywhere we looked there were beautiful wings fluttering around us. Joel, one of the workers there even showed us the newly hatched butterflies. Our 67 days are winding down, and to be honest today we were a bit tired, but the gardens were just what the doctor ordered. There’s something about being surrounded by nature that lets you take a moment to relax, not worry about the world around you and simply enjoy.

Here’s a tip. If you can’t afford a spa while you’re in Orlando, head to Leu Gardens. It’s therapeutic and only $7!

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Mad Cow Theatre

We stayed close to home on day 41 exploring the Thorton Park neighborhood and seeing The Spelling Bee at the Mad Cow Theatre downtown.

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Whenever we drive through Thorton Park we always comment on how amazing the neighborhood is. There are brick streets, houses with picket fences, and trendy restaurants all within walking distance of downtown Orlando. We both agree that if we would move to Orlando…this is the neighborhood we would want to live in.

So it was nice to spend an evening wandering in and out of the boutiques and eating at Graffiti Junction. Graffiti Junction was a hipster burger joint which is filled with picnic tables and local art. They even welcome guests to draw their own graffiti in the restaurant (which is always fun). ps Try their burgers and soups…delicious!

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After dinner we walked to The Mad Cow Theatre via Lake Eola to see “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

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Mandara Spa

Hey guys, guess what time it is? ….It is GIRLS’ WEEKEND time!!

After Our Pedicures

After Our Pedicures

Five of us ladies have flown in from all around the country to meet up with Stacey and get some quality girl time in this fun loving city. This blog entry is coming to you from Genevieve…hi, you guys! I flew in from San Francisco and I don’t know how you feel right now, but my nails look hella great and so I feel like a million bucks.

Relaxing and Delicious :)

Relaxing and Delicious 🙂

To kick off our GIRLS’ WEEKEND the six of us took the short stroll from our rocking rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel over to Mandara Salon and Spa for some valuable de-stress time. The walk over was an essential part of the journey. We turned a corner and all of a sudden we were walking through a little Italian sea side village. The spa was nestled in this serene setting andCIMG9715

it felt like we were in another world. Each of us had a manicure and pedicure in their posh green and tan pedicure room. The treatments came with the use of their ladies lounge where we hung out in between services. Amber, Chris, and I loved the steam room where we felt our troubles melt away. There was also a sauna, jacuzzi, and private showers with all the amenities one might need. It was the prefect way to start off our GIRLS’ WEEKEND together. We read trashy magazines, caught up on gossip, and practiced our deep breathing in style. In fact, there wasn’t any part of this place that wasn’t luxurious. They even had fresh cucumbers for my jet lagged eyes…pretty tasty too.

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Mount Dora


Driving into Mount Dora we were transported back home into the vacation town in Michigan where we grew up. With the smell of a fresh water lake, the quaint downtown, and the smiles on everyone walking by, it felt like we were on a vacation from our vacation. While in town we checked out the following places…and would definitely recommend them:

Segway Tour:

This is the way to see Mount Dora! We had a blast cruising around town on these motorized vehicles… and boy we saw a lot of town in a little bit of time. We even went off roading through trails and to the only working lighthouse on a fresh water lake in Florida. The tour is two hours long, scenic, and full of speed! We were really surprised at how easy it was to learn how to drive the Segways. It takes about five minutes of playing around on them, but after that you hardly even have to think about what you’re doing. Definitely a great way to tour the area.IMG_3425

Lake County Waterways Tour:

The waterways tour took us deep into the Mount Dora Canal for a couple of beautiful hours. The canal is lined with decorated motor homes and mammoth Cypress trees which was wonderful entertainment. On the return trip you get a beautiful view of Mount Dora and you can actually see why they named it MOUNT Dora… it’s a pretty hilly area! It was so nice to get to see the area from a new perspective. Overall it was very relaxing and a great way to spend an afternoon with friends for a low cost.

IMG_3448Mount Dora Craft Fair:

Ok, so you will have to wait another year to check out the craft fair, but if you are into crafts, it is worth the wait. The city closed down the whole downtown for hundreds of merchants to take to the streets. The booths were full of unique and interesting buys! I’ve never seen a craft fair this HUGE. It just keeps going and going! From handmade rocking chairs to beautiful wind-chimes, I pretty much guarantee you will find what you’re looking for and more at the Mount Dora Craft Fair.

IMG_3469Mt. Dora Sushi and Steak:

The restaurant is owned by a Japanese family who is so welcoming they are known to hug their guests 🙂 They are adorable and it was clear they put a lot of love into their sushi. It was delicious! This place receives all the thumbs up we can give them. The sushi was fresh, and they had lots of different kinds of rolls that we had never had before. It was fun to take a departure from the usual spicy tuna roll and try something completely new! If you’re in the area, this is the place to stop by and grab some delicious sushi.

IMG_3482Mount Dora is a beautiful place for a day trip or a weekend visit!

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Orlando Convention Center

Where there are free food samples…there we are!

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The Orlando Convention Center held Florida’s Restaurant and Lodging Show on Sunday afternoon. We were able to try multitudes of free samples while learning about new things coming on the restaurant/lodging scene. If you are coming to Orlando for a show or meeting at the Center I’m sure you’ll be amazed at two things: First how huge the convention center is (it’s the second largest convention center in the country). And second how many window it has…how many you ask? so many 🙂

And if you are not coming to Orlando for the Convention Center don’t just whip it off your to-do list. There are many shows in various topics from food, home, and more where you can learn a lot as you pick-up free samples…which let’s be honest is always good.

IMG_0369Shout Out: To all the employees from Orlando’s CVB who donated their time following the convention to help pack up the extra food for Second Harvest…way to spend part of your weekend doing a great thing!

p.s. If you live in the Orlando area and would like to make a donation to Second Harvest check them out at www.foodbankcentralflorida.org

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Orlando Ballet

IMG_2982To finish off Day 51 we headed to Orlando Ballet’s opening night of Cinderella. Personally I have never been to a professional ballet before and I was amazed. The dancing was so beautiful! The two leads who played Cinderella and the Prince were stunning. There were so many amazing lifts and jumps…I literally wanted to leap after the show on the way to our car (before rationality hit and I realized I would probably pull something). We were also surprised to see the one and only Arcadian Broad who is the famous Orlando teenager from America’s Got Talent. He played one of the jester in the second act and was just as amazing on stage as he was when I watched him over and over again on youtube 🙂 The performance is only this weekend, so buy your tickets today.

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Orlando Magic

Tonight we had the privilege of attending the final pre-season game of the Orlando IMG_1774Magic (8-0 with tonight’s blowout win over the Atlanta Hawks!) where Kyle opened the game with a sweet rendition of the National Anthem. The experience was a delight from beginning to end. Travel to Amway Arena was an easy exit off I-4, parking was readily available, and the arena staff were courteous, professional and committed to making our experience something memorable for the entire family. I was particularly impressed with the fact that the evening was a creative blend of sports and entertainment (the IMG_1763entertainment experience is completely missed when watching NBA on ESPN). The entertainment included hilarious children’s contests, crowd involvement activities, even the taking of final citizenship vows during half-time for a large number of new Americans (a truly emotional celebration for all in attendance). So whether you are a great sports fan or just looking for some good entertainment for the entire family, you would do well to schedule an outing to an Orlando Magic game the next time you visit the area.

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Paramount on Lake Eola

IMG_3781The Paramount on Lake Eola is a dream come true! Our two bedroom apartment has floor to celing windows in the living room and master bedroom, a beautiful kitchen, and a porch overlooking Lake Eola. And let’s talk about the amenties….Whoa! The pool area is insane: cabanas, hot tub, and plenty of chairs to catch some rays in. We have spent plenty of nights down at the pool relaxing in the hot tub after a whole day of coasters. Nothing quite relaxes us like that 🙂

Saying all this, our favorite part of the Paramount is the location in Downtown Orlando. The new Publix isIMG_3790 downstairs so shopping is no hassle. And we are a short walk from everything downtown: movie theatre, park, and more! We have loved coming home every night to the Paramount on Lake Eola…it’s going to be hard to leave.

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Red Chair Affair

Our Hosts for the evening won our Red Chair.  There are many red chairs which were decorated by local business in Orlando.  Many of the chairs came with extra prizes, for instance the couple that won our chair also won a day with us!

Our Hosts for the evening won our Red Chair. There were many red chairs which were decorated by local business and art programs in Orlando. Many of the chairs came with extra prizes, for instance the couple that won our chair also won a day with us!

Last night we attended The Red Chair Affair at the Bob Carr Theatre downtown to celebrate the kick-off of Orlando’s 2009-10 Art Season. The Red Chair Project put the evening together which included a silent auction to raise money for the arts and wonderful performances from many arts programs in the city. The show was a great way to get a sampling of what Orlando offers from ballet to quality theatre.

Some of the many ways to describe the arts in Orlando

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Spa at the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes

This may have been our favorite day so far. By far the most relaxing. We spent the entire day at the Spa at the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes. This spa is ENORMOUS! It’s 40,000 square feet, 3 stories and has its own private pool area just for spa guests! We loved every treatment that we got. The staff was so wonderful and SO good at what they do (people were telling us they drive all the way up from Miami just for these specific spa therapists). The Ritz has many treatments that only they do and no one else. Stacey got an eco rooftop hammock massage. Basically you are put in a hammock on top of a green sustainable rooftop with fresh herbs surrounding you and given a massage from underneath the hammock. Sound like heaven? It is. I got an ashiatsu massage which means someone stood on my back and massaged me with his feet. It was like getting my muscles gently ironed out. Both of these were our favorite massages we had ever had.

There’s just so much to do here. We had morning yoga and were greeted with fresh fruit and yogurt afterwards. We got facials, manicures, pedicures (ask Kyle about his toenails) and were just treated like royalty all day. If you can’t afford an entire day of treatments, we would suggest getting a “Martini Manicure” and then spending the rest of the day in the pool or steam room. At the Ritz Carlton Spa, you take every care, worry, ache or pain that you have and leave it at the door, because once you step inside you’re in paradise.

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Third Thursday Gallery Hop

On the 3rd Thursday of every month downtown Orlando opens up various venues from art galleries to boutiques all to showcase new and emerging art. We had a really good time hanging out with friends we’ve made in Orlando while looking at the amazing art. Oh the art! From head dresses to performance art and street music we were blown away at the variety! It was a perfect night downtown!

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Performance Art

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Puppets

There is nothing better to do after walking around downtown Orlando and enjoying good art then sitting down for a glass of wine at the Eola Wine Company. It’s a beautiful walk from Orange avenue past Lake Eola to the restaurant. IMG_2902

When choosing your wine go ahead and trust the staff…they had great suggestions for us! It was relaxing to sip our wine, talk about our favorite pieces from the night, and watch the people pass by. This was a great night!

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Thorton Park

We stayed close to home on day 41 exploring the Thorton Park neighborhood and seeing The Spelling Bee at the Mad Cow Theatre downtown.

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Whenever we drive through Thorton Park we always comment on how amazing the neighborhood is. There are brick streets, houses with picket fences, and trendy restaurants all within walking distance of downtown Orlando. We both agree that if we would move to Orlando…this is the neighborhood we would want to live in.

So it was nice to spend an evening wandering in and out of the boutiques and eating at Graffiti Junction. Graffiti Junction was a hipster burger joint which is filled with picnic tables and local art. They even welcome guests to draw their own graffiti in the restaurant (which is always fun). ps Try their burgers and soups…delicious!

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Waldorf Astoria Orlando Golf

Waldorf Astoria Golf Club Tour:

IMG_1483If I could describe Waldorf Astoria’s Golf Club course in one word it would be emaculate. The course was built by Rees Jones who built the golf course around the natural habitat in the area. We received a fun golf cart tour of the grounds which was beautiful! Birds were flying over our heads as we curved in and out of many ponds found along the course. Mentioning ponds reminds me to tell you that this course is not for the faint of heart…but if you are a golfer at heart…I’m sure you’d be up for the challenge!

Keep up with the Waldorf Astoria by their twitter and facebook page!

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Waldorf Astoria Orlando Spa

IMG_1494When you walk into your hotel room, wash your hands and just the towels alone make you feel like you’re being pampered, you know you’re in for a world class experience. With a name like Waldorf Astoria that’s what you expect, and we’re happy to report that the only Waldorf outside of NYC offers just that here in sunny Orlando. This hotel is brand spankin new… as in we were the first people to ever stay in our room new. The hotel has a lot classic touches (the famous clock, crown mouldings in every room, marble floors) but this ain’t your grandma’s Waldorf. This one has splashes modern art, technology and amenities thrown in.

Let’s talk about some of those amenities… and let’s start where we started our day… theIMG_1414 pool! First of all there are two large pools and one yummy hot tub here. The Waldorf is connected to the brand new Hilton Bonnet Creek which boasts another swimming area complete with a lazy river. Both areas are accessible for both hotel guests. We were lucky enough to get a private cabana. Gotta say probably the best part of this hotel is the service. We literally tried to push the limits to see how much we could get the pool attendants to do for us… but they pretty much beat us to the punch before we could even ask! They were refilling our drinks and bringing them to us in the hot tub before we could even jokingly snap our fingers. I mean come on.

After a dip we got a delicious taste of home with a knockout reuben from the poolside grille Aquamarine. Then it was off to the Geurlain Spa for Waldorf’s signature “Imperiale” massage. This is a lighter pressure massage that’s meant to stimulate the lymph nodes and cleanse toxins. I was on the edge of being IMG_1450awake and dreaming the whole time, but from what I remember… it was awesome! The spa here is 24,000 square feet and in true Waldorf fashion, decked to the nines.

We finished our night by taking a short sunset stroll to the Hilton’s La Luce for dinner. Here we were treated to fresh Italian food cooked to perfection. The service here, again was wonderful and we loved the huge chalk artwork created by local artists surrounding us. They actually plan to change this art monthly… just erase and start over!

Of course we couldn’t leave you hanging without showing you our suite. It was all about the details for us here. The monograms on the towels, the complementary turn down service and the beds that I think were made by angels. We finished our incredible day by watching the fireworks shows from Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios all at once from our balcony. (Oh, did I mention the Waldorf is on Disney property? Yeah, it just keeps getting better.)

Jealous? Don’t be! Just head over to Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s website and book yourself some time in heaven! (the rates are actually pretty reasonable).

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Well’s Built Museum

We also stopped in the Wells’ Built Museum and found the old hotel was alive with rich history. Back when jazz was coming on the scene many famous musicians came to Orlando to perform and stayed at the Wells’ Built including Ella Fitzgerald and more! It was amazing to walk around the museum and think of all the amazingly talented people who walked through there too. I was in awe.

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Winter Park

Winter Park feels like a trip back into the high life of the 1950’s. Old large Mediterranean houses with beautiful gardens and pools line the several lakes. It’s clear that lots of history has happened in these city limits (including Mister Rogers living there).

In our day in Winter Park today we went to many places that we would love to recommend for your visit to Winter Park; here they are:

Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden

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Albin Polasek is a Czech sculpture who moved to Winter Park after great success through-out the states. Mr. Polasek bought the property where the museum is today in the 50’s and immediately started to fill the gardens and house with his work and art collection. Today the Museum is a wonderful retreat: a great place to bring a lunch, read a book or just enjoy the beauty of art in Florida.

Scenic Boat Tour of Winter Park

IMG_3631We have been on three boat rides since we came to Orlando and Winter Park’s boat ride is by far my favorite! We were able to see many of the beautiful houses (some owned by famous residents) built on the lakes in Winter Park along with Florida’s wonderful natural beauty.

Lunch at Park Plaza GardensIMG_3662

Park Plaza Gardens is a unique and hip restaurant on Park Avenue. The menu had a wide variety of choices and we chose a lot of them 🙂 Our favorites were the corn chowder soup, crab cakes, and the turkey and brie sandwich…they were all just amazingly delicious! One of my favorite restaurants in Orlando and that is saying something!

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

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The Morse Museum wowed us, just down right wowed us. It holds the most comprehensive Tiffany exhibit in the world and it is gorgeous. I have to say that I had no idea how amazing Tiffany glass is until I saw how it used color and layering in the wonderfully complicated patterns today in the museum. It was stunning and a strong recommendation of ours if you are visiting Winter Park.


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Wycliffe Discovery Arts Center

There are 7,000 different languages in the world. 2,400 of these do not have their own Bible translation which equals over 200,000,000 people. Wycliffe Discovery Center‘s (newly renamed from Wordspring) basic mission according to our guide, Kathy Zoeteway is “To show there’s an urgent need for Bible translation and show people how they can be a part of it”.

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From what we experienced from their interactive displays and lectures teaching people all about Bible translations (and even how to read Thai 101) it seems that they are doing just that. What we really appreciated about Wycliffe is that while they’re bringing the Bible into areas across the globe, they’re also spreading literacy and in many cases, helping the people develop a written language. Having this ability to write their native tongue helps with their social status, cultural history and even more practical things like knowing how to read prescriptions given to them.

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From the people at the front desk, to the lovely elderly woman helping us at the salad bar it was evident to us that everyone at Discovery Center is not only dedicated to their mission, but also to making sure you get the most out of your $8 admission to this interactive exhibit.

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Orlando Philharmonic

Speaking of the music, it really was beautiful. I appreciated that the conductor took a moment before each piece and explained a bit of the history of what we were about to hear along withIMG_3608 some musical things to listen for. OK so we weren’t the youngest people there… far from it actually, and that’s why I issue this challenge: If you’re a young person and you think going to the Philharmonic sounds boring, just give it a try. No, it’s not a spectacle like Britney, but that’s not always a bad thing! You get to close your eyes, let your mind wander and enjoy. Just try it. You might be surprised.

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Orlando Musuem of Art and Mennello Museum of Art

IMG_2365 The Orlando Museum of Art is a cozy local place to enjoy colorful art pieces hanging on every wall and from several ceilings. My favorite piece was the most enormous glass scultpure I have ever seen…definitely worth making a trip to the musuem to see it. The museum is also child friendly with a reading room for kids filled with fantasy art and a craft corner.

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The Mennello Museum of American Art holds a small collection of American folk art. From unique paintings of the American countryside to a beautiful steel horse. I felt like I was back in my childhood home in West Michigan. I would recommend bringing a picnic with you and eating next to one of their outdoor sculptures which all overlook a lake.

Orlando's Shakespeare Theatre
Orlando’s Shakespeare Theatre

Directly acrossed from the Orlando’s Art Museum is the Shakespeare Theatre which has multiple shows every year including a festival for new plays. We had the chance to take in a two man show called The Big Bang. It was an hysterical show with well trained actors who knew how to entertain an audience…people were crying they were laughing so hard. If you are looking for professional theatre in the Orlando area look no further then the Shakespeare Theatre.

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Zora Neale Hurston Museum of Art

The Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts (whew) is a small museum located in Eatonville, just north of downtown Orlando. It currently features an exhibit that focuses on viewing the African American middle class through its own lens. It was really cool to see all of the old photos, some ripped and tattered from age. It was really interesting to see Orlando’s history from another perspective.

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IMG_3820We also stopped in the Wells’ Built Museum and found the old hotel was alive with rich history. Back when jazz was coming on the scene many famous musicians came to Orlando to perform and stayed at the Wells’ Built including Ella Fitzgerald and more! It was amazing to walk around the museum and think of all the amazingly talented people who walked through there too. I was in awe.

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Art & Culture

Sports

Relaxing

Volunteer Opportunities

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