Florida Ocean Adventure

The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center is a hidden gem on the Treasure Coast. Perfect for families and a great learning experience. Read more

Family Getaway Postcard Inn St. Pete Beach

A few weeks ago, our family, along with two other Orlando families,ventured to St. Pete beach on the Gulf Coast to celebrate a little friend's 8th birthday at the Postcard Inn. I was attracted to the aesthetics of this trendy spot since it was transformed from a Travelodge in Read more

Best Play Spots in Paris

It's almost three weeks since we returned from Europe, and I've finally sifted through my photos. I felt like my first post should talk about the fun playgrounds/parks in Paris. What an awesome experience to see the girls jumping right into the mix at playgrounds many miles from their Read more

Hidden Gem: Sand Key Florida

My other half planned a short getaway for our nine year anniversary. I wasn't exactly sure where we were headed, but knew it was somewhere around Clearwater Beach. As we drove over the bridge to Clearwater, I kept expecting a turn off at one of the many beach hotels. To my surprise Read more

Westin Cape Coral Weekend Getaway

Most of you who follow my Instagram or Twitter know that we had a fabulously fun weekend at the Westin in Cape Coral, FL a few weeks ago. The property became a Westin in December of 2013 and underwent a plethora of renovations, which I believe puts it in the best Read more

Meeting Winter - Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Most of the world has seen (or at least heard of) the movie Dolphin Tale. The story highlights the rescue of a wounded dolphin who ends up losing one very important important thing... a tale! The Clearwater Marine Aquarium works hard in the movie to create a prosthetic tail just Read more

Orlando

Orlando Staycation Family Favorite Winners

Local parents voted on their fave Orlando staycation spots and the results have been released!  I wrote about the winners in this issue of PLAYGROUND magazine.

Take a look at the top spots from local families who know. From best resort pool to best resort on a budget and best family suite, this list is for locals for sure, but also great info for visitors to Orlando.

Orlando Staycation Picks

Staycation Picks 2014 PLAYGROUND Family Favorite Awards

 

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Celebrate Dogs! Back Again in Orlando

For those of you who follow me on Instagram and Twitter, you know our Boxer, Sam, is part of Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 9.47.37 PMthe family. We are super excited to be attending Celebrate Dogs!, the nation’s largest canine extravaganza, here in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center. The event is here for the fourth year in a row December 13 and 14.

Not only will we be in attendance, but I have a family 4-pack of tickets to give away to a lucky local family! The 4-pack also includes and an American Kennel Club/Eukanuba deluxe goody bag.

Plus, if you follow me on social media, you’ll be able to see the play by play of Sam taking on the agility test on 12/10.

Presented by the American Kennel Club (AKC®) and Eukanuba Dog Foods, this two-day event is open from 8am – 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, with plenty of fun and thousands of dogs for

My only son! Sam.

Sam. Excited for his agility challenge!

the whole family to enjoy.

The full event schedule and details can be found here. Lots of fun activities for dog lovers!

Celebrate Dogs! is also home to one of the world’s premiere dog events, the 2014 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship (AENC), where the nation’s top canine competitors will vie for the coveted Best in Show honor, the title of National Champion and the highest cash prize offered for any AKC Dog Show.

Daytime tickets cost $10.00. Children 12 and under are free. Tickets to the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship evening competition are $25 for all ages.

4 Chances to Win Tix & Prize Pack!

How to enter:

1.) Leave a comment below letting me know your favorite breed of dog.

2.) Tweet about the event and leave a comment letting me know you did – Enter to win 4 tickets to the @AKCdoglovers and @Eukanuba #CelebrateDogs in Orlando http://goo.gl/x3XriX.

3.) Follow the American Kennel Club on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know.

4.) Follow Eukanuba on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know.

I’ll select a winner next Wednesday (12/10) before the big event! Winner must choose to attend either 12/13 or 12/14. Good luck!

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Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary tickets to the show. All thoughts and opinions on The Mamma Mia Blog and my social media outlets are my own.

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Spooktacular Fun!

We love to visit SeaWorld during Halloween for their annual Spooktacular event. The girls are obsessed with the many creatures of the sea and SeaWorld does a great job tying in trick or treating fun with learning about our world’s oceans.

Spooktacular takes place weekends in October! Get all the details here. 

SeaWorld Spooktacular

Bubbles are a must at Spooktacular.

 

SeaWorld Spooktacular

Meeting new friends who wanted to dance

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And another friend who wanted to dance

Follow our family travel & food adventures live on Instagram and Twitter! Happy travels!

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Disney on Ice presents Frozen

Diney on Ice presents Frozen

Disney on Ice presents Frozen

Rumor has it that this show is sold out in Orlando. Don’t believe everything you hear! There are tickets left and those procrastinators out there (like myself) can purchase them for this weekend’s performances.

Unfortunately I don’t have tickets to give away this time around, but ticket prices are really reasonable. There is new availability this week for seats in the upper level starting at $20.

Disney on Ice presents Frozen show schedule for Amway Center:

Thursday, September 4 at 7:00 p.m.

Friday, September 5 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 6 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 7 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Produced by our friends at Feld Entertainment, Disney on Ice presents Frozen Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt will kick off its world tour in Orlando this week. That makes this show extra special!

We are attending the preview show tomorrow so if you are still on the fence, follow our experience on Instagram or Twitter to get the real time scoop.

You can also follow the show’s producer on Twitter @nicolefeld or @disneyonice or on Facebook for more info.

We were invited to attend the Disney on Ice presents Frozen show as guests of Feld Entertainment. All thoughts and opinions on The Mamma Mia Blog are my own.

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Enchanted Evenings At Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Waldorf Astoria Enchanted Evenings

Waldorf Astoria Pool Entrance

The Waldorf Astoria in Orlando, near Disney, has an unimaginable amount family fun going on this summer during Enchanted Evenings. Enchanted Evenings schedule of events happen every weekend through Labor Day.

We had the chance to stay at the Waldorf Astoria, in a two bedroom suite perfect for families, during the kick-off of Enchanted Evenings. The girls finished school on Wednesday so it was the perfect way to celebrate summer.

Enchanted Evenings at Waldorf had fun poolside activities for the kids including Water Walkers. (Take a look at this video of Mia taking advantage.) She never stopped laughing. Other family friendly activities taking place around the hotel were a Weird Science Ice Cream Social, Regatta Sailboat Decorating, Kids Club Astoria After Dark and Family S’mores Night. The full schedule of events is here.

We spent a lot of time at the zero entry pool, perfect for the girls. I heard several guests raving about the Lime In he Coconut poolside cocktail and had to try it out. This drink was heavenly! Just a five minute walk from the Waldorf pool is the Hilton Bonnet Creek (where there’s another schedule of family activities for Summer Blast) pool and lazy river. I’ll have a post coming ASAP on Hilton Bonnet Creek’s festivities, which you are welcome to enjoy as a guest at Waldorf.

Ice Cream Social Waldorf Astoria

Ice Cream Social Waldorf Astoria

Oscar’s for breakfast was the highlight of our mornings. The breakfast buffet left us full through lunch. I couldn’t get enough of the fresh squeezed juices like – carrot and watermelon. The girls had to be carried away from the pastry display.

Service, in true Waldorf style, was impeccable and even Mia commented on the friendliness of the staff. As a testament to the family fun we had, our 3-yr-old cried in the lobby saying she never wanted to leave.

Summer rates during Enchanted Evenings start at $249. This location is perfect for your Orlando staycation (like us) or families visiting Orlando on summer break.

Follow our family travel & food adventures live on Instagram and Twitter! 

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Waldorf Astoria

The girls in the Waldorf lobby looking out to pool

Enchanted Evenings Waldorf Astoria

Relaxing after a fun filled day! 

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Orlando Parents Vote On Their Local Hotel Favorites

Living in one of the most visited locations in the world means that families living in Orlando have a plethora of options when it comes to a staycation. Readers of PLAYGROUND magazine voted on their top staycation choices in town and I had the pleasure of writing about the results. I was also able to throw a few faves of my own in there. I think it’s a must read for Orlando parents and really any family traveling to Otown. Click below for the full article (pages 32-34)

Staycations in our backyard!

Staycations in our backyard!

Be sure to follow our family travel adventures on Instagram!

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Holiday Fun Around Orlando

I’m going to petition to add just a few more weekends to the month of December. There are always so many fun things to do in the Orlando area over the holidays. I had a long list, but here is a quick snapshot of the holiday themed activities we were able enjoy this month.

 SeaWorld Sea of Trees is part of SeaWorld’s Christmas celebration. It’s amazing and a must-see in Orlando over the holidays.

The Rosen Shingle Creek Nutcracker Tea is a chance to dress up and celebrate the holidays with carolers, an abbreviated performance of the Nutcracker, great desserts and snacks and a visit from Santa. Truly the perfect mommy daughter holiday outing.

Nutcracker Tea

Nutcracker Tea

Lake Eola Park has a huge Christmas tree as well as gigantic nutcrackers guarding the entrance to the park off of Rosalind Ave. The Russian Academy of Ballet does a free Nutcracker performance at the lake each year and other activities take place at the lake throughout the holiday season.

Lake Eola Park Holidays

Lake Eola Park Holidays

Disney Magic Studios Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights will take your breath away. Disney puts on this magical show of lights each year at Magic Studios.

Whether you are on a budget or have money to spend, there are always fun activities around Orlando during the holidays!

Be sure to follow more of our family travel & holiday adventures on Instagram!

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Back In Orlando & Tix Giveaway

I’m excited to announce the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey January Orlando premier of their brand new show LEGENDS!. The show will be in Orlando January 9-12, 2014 at the Amway Center.

The circus has been a  tradition for families for many years. It’s an experience that spans generations. Truly a show for all ages.

The Greatest Show On Earth!

The Greatest Show On Earth!

Just in time for Christmas, I’m giving away a family 4-pack to this year’s show. I’m sure your family would be excited to see these tickets under the tree. I’ll be contacting the winner on Dec. 23.

How To Enter:

  • Leave a comment below letting me know your favorite circus memory or act
  • Tweet about the giveaway using this tweet: Enter to win tix to @RinglingBros #Orlando LEGENDS! show on @mammamiafl blog. #RinglingOrlando
  • Share on Facebook (leave a comment to let me know you did)

 

Even if you do not win. You can use special code MOM14 to receive $4 off each ticket. This code is valid only for Friday 7:30 p.m., and Saturday 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. performances.  Not valid on front row and premium seats. Not valid day of show.

Performance Schedule:

Thursday, January 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, January 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 11 at 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 12 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices:

Tickets for Thursday and Friday performances are: $75 (Front Row), $35 (Premium Seats), $27, $23 and $16

You can also like Ringling Bros. on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

Be sure to follow our family adventures on Instagram!

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Feld Entertainment is providing me with complimentary tickets to the show. All opinions on The Mamma Mia Blog are my own.

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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways, Orlando 7 Comments

Rosen Orlando Holiday Happenings

I can’t even wrap my head around the many fun holiday happenings in Orlando this year. I really need two months of December to fit it all in.

One of my favorite hotel groups here in Orlando, Rosen Hotels, is hosting a slew of fun holiday events for every age. From lunches and dinners with Santa and the Winter Wonderland Festival to the European Winter Fair and Christmas Wagon, there has to be something to put your family in the holiday spirit.

Rosen Centre Holidays

Rosen Centre Holidays

This weekend, we will be taking part in ice skating fun at the Rosen Centre. It’s the first year for ice skating at the hotel and we are super excited. What could be more fun than ice skating in Florida! Plus, the skating is paired with face painting, balloon art, photo booth a DJ and more holiday fun.

Next on the agenda… Mia and I are attending the Nutcracker Tea at the Rosen Shingle Creek complete with a performance of the Nutcracker, traditional tea and photos with the Sugar Plum Fairy. Shh… I’m surprising her with this little mommy daughter holiday date. She is hard pressed to get my full attention these days. Follow my Instagram or Twitter for the play by play of her surprise.

Cost for each holiday activity is listed here. Prices are reasonable for memorable holiday family fun close to home!

Come back to The Mamma Mia Blog to read about more holiday happenings in Orlando.

Be sure to follow more of our family travel & holiday adventures on Instagram!

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My Birthday Party Boycott & Disney Character Celebration

This year, I decided I was not putting myself through Pinterest stress to create the perfect birthday party for my three-year-old. I was on a mission to find an alternative that would bring just as much fun for us as a family to overshadow the lack of birthday party. My solution was a Disney character dinner. I came upon my solution about two weeks prior to her actual birthday… In desperation mode to figure out a plan. She is obsessed with her Disney pals so why not take advantage of the character dining that Disney does right in our backyard.

I was a little late on the planning and as Disney would have it, there weren’t a whole lot of openings for the celebration.

Party guests

Party guests

(Guests can book 180 days out from their visit so reservations were slim pickings.) I called the Disney reservations line and the helpful planner identified an opening at the Swan Hotel’s Garden Grove. I was hesitant as I know the Swan Hotel to be a convention/meeting focused property, but thought we’d give it a shot.

The restaurant was not buffet style so we were able to order from a menu. Score!

There was a soup and salad bar where I had thebest clam chowder I’ve ever tasted and the most delicious bacon vinaigrette dressing. The kids loved their meals. Our adult entrees were salmon and chicken. There’s was a dessert bar where we observed the pastry chef creating a chocolate nutcracker while we were selecting our desserts. We also had an amazing server who made sure the birthday celebration was complete.

Of course the greatest part of our dinner was the personal interaction she had with Pluto and Goofy. Not her first choice of characters, but they are definitely high on the list and she was a happy girl.

So Orlando moms, if you are stressing about an upcoming birthday and have a Disney character loving child in the house, I completely recommend one of the character dining options.

 

This mom is #winning

This mom is #winning

 

Follow more of our family travel & Orlando adventures on Instagram!

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