10 Reasons Everything Is Awesome at the LEGOLAND Hotel

Our five-year-old's birthday wish was to spend the night at the new Florida LEGOLAND® Hotel. And quite honestly, I was pretty pumped to check it out myself. We took advantage of the Florida resident rate (35% off) and were set. There are always extra deals and promos here. I Read more

Park City, Utah Skiing With The Family

It's been awhile since the entire family went west, but it was time! I had a few snickers when I announced our plans to embark on a ski adventure with the entire family to Park City, Utah during the Sundance Film Festival. But, then again places that people don't Read more

The Newest Vacation Rental in Orlando

I'm so excited to share my most recent article in PLAYGROUND magazine. Friends from my hometown in Pennsylvania have created the most amazing vacation rental space here in Orlando. Click through to read about the inspiration behind this awesome home and how you can book your stay.   Follow our family 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

Orlando

4th of July in Central Florida

 

Lake Eola

Looking for something fun to do this 4th of July weekend in Central Florida? Here are a couple ideas to get you going.

Fireworks at the FountainThe huge fountain at the center of Lake Eola has been restored to working condition after being struck by lightening last year. The refurbish is just in time for “Fireworks at the Fountain,” taking place on Monday, July 4. Festive food, fun and entertainment will begin at 4 pm. Enjoy an area just for kids too. Get there early for a great viewing spot. The fireworks begin around 9:30 pm.

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach –  Grab your beach blanket and enjoy fireworks Florida style at Shepard Park, Cocoa Beach on Sunday, July 3.The fireworks begin at 9 pm.

Olde Fashioned Independence Day Winter Park –  The Olde Fashioned Independence Day will take place in Central Park with children’s activities, limited food vendors and entertainment. Pull up a lounge chair and relax. Once you have your fill in Central Park, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art (home to the largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany work)will be offering free admisison. The Winter Park Historical Museum will also be open free to everyone in celebration of the recent nomination of the Downtown Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places.

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Review of SeaWorld One Ocean

You are seeing the advertisements and hearing the buzz about SeaWorld’s new killer-whale show, “One Ocean.” Check out my review of the show at The Theme Park Mom.

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Resolve To Travel Giveaway!

Even as an avid traveler, I had some reservations traveling by myself over the holidays with my four-year-old and eight-week-old. How would I make it through security! Well, I did it and will do it again soon. My advice, you don’t need to pack “your life.” Pack just what you need.

Now more than ever, I’m looking for ways to travel “smarter.” One cool item I came across to make traveling easy, especially with kids, is PakUrDerm. The new PakUrDerm™ Travel Kit is the perfect solution to packing the right essentials in carry on bags and following the right FAA regulations to keep everything together and easy to access. I imagine this easy solution would have helped me avoid an unfortunate incident with my favorite perfume. RIP Chanel Chance.

PackUrDerm

The PakUrDerm™ Travel Kit, which features six three-ounce bottles, 20 labels, pen and see-through case, meets TSA guidelines.

I have a family four pack of PakUrDerms to giveaway on this #Travel Tuesday! The contest will run through Tuesday, February 1.

How to Enter:

  • Leave a comment below stating where you plan to travel in the New Year.

Additional Entries:

  • Follow Mamma Mia on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know. (1 entry)
  • Tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment letting me know. (1 entry)
  • Post about the contest on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know. (1 entry)

The kits are priced at $14.95 and can be personalized. For more information or to order your  The PakUrDerm™ visit their website.

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Sea World Orlando Does Christmas Right

We never miss Sea World’s Christmas celebration, and lucky for us Sea World is taking the seasonal celebration to a different level this year with added shows and attractions. Mia and I had the chance to enjoy the festivities last Friday evening. While we were limited on time due to the freakishly cold FL weather and the fact that I gave birth 2 weeks ago, we had a great time and plan to go back with our annual passes before Christmas.

New This Year…

Sea of Trees – Guests will discover 75 massive trees, each sparkling, lighted and choreographed to classic holiday tunes, making a dramatic display around SeaWorld’s center lake. I have to quote Mia in regards to the Sea of Trees, “Mom *long pause* this is a special moment.” Truly one of the most AMAZING, beautiful and unique things I have ever seen.

Sea of Trees

The Christmas Market – Located on the park’s Bayside Pathway, guests can shop for one-of-a-kind gifts and dine on scrumptious holiday delights. Hot chocolate in a Sea World refillable mug recommended! Annual pass holders will receive 20% in the park through Christmas! So, get your holiday shopping on.

Christmas Marketplace

Returning from last year’s festivities are Shamu’s Christmas show, Miracles; The Polar Express, where guests jump aboard a trip to the North Pole to visit Santa; Winter Wonderland on Ice, skating show choreographed with dancing fountains and fireworks; Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas, a hilarious sea lion duo make sure Santa doesn’t miss them this year.

Mia and her friend Kai at Seamore and Clyde Show

Countdown to Christmas

Tip: Those interested in a Sea World annual pass… Buy now and get three months free!! I plan on taking advantage for sure.

Sea of Trees and Marketplace photos courtesy of Sea World Orlando

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Weekend Getaways

We love taking weekend getaways when we can. Really, anything longer in this economy has become next to impossible. One of our favs is the Doral Golf & Spa Resort.

Aerial view of the resort

We escaped the house renovations this past weekend on a last minute trip that was much needed. The resort is slightly west of Miami near the airport, but just a hop, skip and jump to South Beach. The resort flies the Marriott flag and offers Nickelodeon inspired activities for kids… Sliming and the such. I love this place because it’s not “too much kid” and not “too much adult.” The perfect mix of both worlds, and I can relax.

For the “big kids” there’s the Pritikin Longevity Spa and five different golf course including the well-known Blue Monster. There are several restaurants and of course the staple Starbucks. For the smaller ones in the brood there’s scheduled kids activities throughout the day, a super fun (even for me) water slide, the zero-entry Blue Lagoon pool and Camp Doral for ages 5-12. There are certain weekends that are deemed Nickelodeon getaways so check the website if you want the complete Nick immersion.

The rooms are spacious and comfy. And, I’m a girl who needs her space.

Rates start at $139/night for a family package. If you are looking for a weekend getaway from the Orlando area, this is the place to go!

Blue Lagoon Pool

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Splash Up! Aquatica Orlando

Mia and I had the awesome opportunity last week to attend Aquatica Splash Up. The event allowed tweeters, bloggers and the such the chance to explore the 2-year-old Orlando water park. Mia and I are long time Sea World fans and were excited to see how Sea World’s emphasis on wildlife was incorporated into Aquatica.

We were fortunate enough to link up  with fellow blogger and PLAYGROUND online editor, Jen Burg and her family to explore the park on the scorching FL afternoon. (If you don’t know Jen you should. Check out her Suburban Mom blog for great deals on just about everything!)

The tiny tots area, Kata’s Kookabura Cove, was perfect for Jen’s 2-year-old daughter Kendall and even for 4-year-old Mia. The water was the perfect temp and the slides were still thrilling even for my mini thrill seeker. I could have lounged in Kookabura Cove all day!

Next we ventured to Walkabout Waters… where the bigger kids play. Mia thoroughly enjoyed herself, but was definitely on the cusp of being a little small to hang with this crowd. I could barely keep up with her in her excitement to try just about every slide and climbing option in Walkabout Waters. My effort to keep up with Mia was quite entertaining to the Burg family and I’m sure anyone else observing my net climbing skills.

Before the evening was through, we had to check out the infamous Dolphin Plunge where you slide down a tube through the tank of Commerson’s dolphins (aka mini shamu). Jen took the liberty of checking out the slide for us.

Last but not least we cruised around the lazy river and were pleasantly surprised to again see into the Commerson’s dolphin tank and also drift past a giant fish tank.

During our afternoon at Aquatica we dined at the Banana Beach Cookout where it’s all you can eat and drink all day. A total bargain for a family day at a water or theme park in Orlando! Adult price is $19.99 and children 3-9 eat all day for $11.99.

Admission to Aquatica is $47.95 for adults and $41.95 for kids. Get this… FL and GA residents can get an after 2 pm year long pass for only $49.95!! What a steal. Be sure to upgrade your ticket before you leave for only a few dollars more.

Disclaimer: Aquatica provided Mia and I with complimentary admission to Aquatica for the event. However, all opinions included above are my own.

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Have Baby Will Travel

If you didn’t have a chance to read my review of Orlando’s newest waterpark, CoCo Key, check it out over at Have Baby Will Travel. My review is being featured there now! Click the image below to get there.

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Memorial Day Weekend in Central Florida

Hanging around Orlando this holiday weekend? Here are a few ideas for fun around town on a budget.

Sea World After Dark

Reflections

This weekend kicks off Sea World’s After Dark events that run May 29 through August 15. The events include Shamu Rocks, Sea Lion Tonite and Reflections, a soaring celebration of fountains and fireworks. To add to the excitement, now through December 31, 2010, when U.S. residents purchase a full-price adult admission, children ages 3-12 receive a ticket to SeaWorld for only $5.00. 100% of the proceeds will be donated by SeaWorld to a wildlife conservation project of your choice.

Rockin Lake Eola

Lake Eola Park

The Lake Eola Fountain was finally repaired and turned on this week just in time for the first concert in the  Rockin Lake Eola concert series. Head downtown for some urban action and enjoy the free event happening every Saturday through September 3 from 3 to 11 pm. Groove to live music from local and national acts.  Food and drinks will be available for purchase from local downtown businesses.

Beachfest 2010 Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach Pier

The Cocoa Beach Pier is only 45 minutes East of Orlando and  is hosting the Beachfest 2010 this weekend! The festival features over 22 musical groups, and basically any time you stop by you’ll catch some tunes.  Food and beverages always available for purchase at the pier.

What are your plans in Central Florida this holiday weekend?

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Summer Time Is Water Park Time!

We love pools, we love water and we loooove water parks! This weekend we took part in a little “staycation” of our own at Orlando’s newest water park attraction, CoCo Key Water Park Resort. I’ve noticed the new attraction several times from I-4 and was possibly more excited than Mia to check it out.

CoCo Key Water Park

The water park is perfect for kids and the water park caps off admittance at around 650. (I’m not a crowd person so this was paradise) We had Mia and Madi with us so I was able to see the fun factor from a four-year-old and ten-year-old point of view. The girls raced from slide to slide. I could keep a constant eye on both girls from the comfort of my lounge chair. I even had some fun on the slides myself.

The Minnow Lagoon is covered and shielded from the FL sun. Lots of interactive water fun in the shade!

Minnow Lagoon

Parrots Perch

The rooms at the resort are very modern and cozy. If you are hungry there are multiple choices for snacks or a meal. Besides the water park, there’s a large arcade, fun kids lounge in the lobby, resort pool for more water fun after the park closes and a small sand area for building castles.

Opening rates start at $89/night for a limited time. I know where I’m taking my mom on her next visit to Orlando! Water park access is $19 per room, per day for resort guests and $19.95 per person for day guests. The FL resident day pass is $14.95. If you are headed to the other local theme parks, the resort offers a free shuttle service!

Tip: If you are purchasing a day pass, book online. The park is popular and has been selling out quickly!

Let me know when you are planning your trip. We’ll meet you there!

And, in case you need directions… Just follow the tropical red bird in the inner tube.

Disclosure: Our family visited CoCo Key as guests of the new resort. The previous post contains my honest opinion on my family’s experience.

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Day 3/4 San Diego

Yesterday we ventured to Coronado for breakfast and then made the two hour trek to Big Bear. The weather was beautiful. We decided not to ski due to lack of time, but did partake in some snow tubing. Seriously, I’m talking Mia on my back flying down a giant hill of snow! Our little rustic hotel, Frontier Lodge, sat right on Big Bear lake. We spent time soaking in the beauty of the lake and skipping rocks on the water. This was a side of California I have never seen, and one that Mia really enjoyed.

Getting ready to tube at Big Bear Mountain

Today was a lazy day back in San Diego…. Right after sleeping through the 5.5 earthquake aftershock, we laid by our bay front pool and soaked in the rays. This evening, we went to La Jolla for a casual dinner at Bubba’s Smokehouse and spent some time with the seals. After dinner it was back to the Hilton to hang by the giant fire pit by the bay.

La Jolla

We head back to Florida tomorrow, but this trip was definitely refreshing for my soul. Maybe we can “accidentally” miss our flight. Don’t test me… I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. It’s been a great trip and I hate to see it end. Catch you all back on the other coast!

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Posted on by Amanda in Travel 3 Comments
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