Enchanted Evenings At Waldorf Astoria Orlando

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 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

Fun Travel Prep for Kids - Paris & London

It's not everyday you travel over the pond to such amazing places like Paris and London. I decided to start the journey for me and Mia long before we packed our bags for the airport. Here are a few fun things we did to get ready and excited! My brother sent 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

Disney's Art of Animation Resort

We finally had the chance to visit Disney's Art of Animation Resort this week for a little staycation. It is located where construction on the unfinished half of Disney's Pop Century Resort was started, but later abandoned after 9/11. The resort is the first to be built in the complex 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 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!

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Posted on by Amanda in Orlando, Travel Leave a comment

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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Posted on by Amanda in Holiday Travel Series, Orlando Leave a comment

Tis the Season for Photo Gifts

Are your holiday cards ready to pop in the mail?

Personalized photo calendars make a great gift!

Personalized photo calendars make a great gift!

Tis the time of year when procrastinators like myself are in a panic over finding the perfect holiday card. Plus, I’m always stressing about unique gifts for friends and family near and far.

I had an email from Rite Aid Photo Center this week and had to share these codes with other procrastinators and really just anyone looking to save some money this holiday. I’m also giving away a code for a free photo gift blanket ($49.99 value) and 8.5×11 calendar ($19.99 value)  from Rite Aid.

Holiday codes for everyone! Enter to win the freebie codes below.

* 8×10 canvas for $10 Code: CANVAS10  Valid: 12/3-12/7
* Calendar for $12.99 Code: CALENDAR Valid: 12/8-12/14
* 20 4×8 photo greeting cards for $9.99 with envelopes included Code: CARD999 Valid: 12/15-12/21
* buy 1 8×10 print and get 2 5×7 free prints Code: PRINT810 Valid: 12/22-12/28
* 35% off cards and calendars with minimum 10 cards Code: CARDCAL35 Valid: 12/29-1/4
* 100 digital prints for $9.99 Code: PRINT100 Valid: 1/5-1/11

How to Win:
* What photo gifts are your fave to give or receive? Leave a comment below.
*Tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment letting me know you did.
*Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did. I swear my Twitter posts are awesome!
I’ll select a winner on 12/13 at 3 pm and notify immediately to leave ample time for ordering as a gift.
Disclosure: The codes provided to the winner do not include shipping & handling. Winner may choose to pick up in store.
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Posted on by Amanda in Deals, Giveaways 22 Comments

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

 

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Florida Turtle Adventure

During a recent trip to visit friends in Jupiter, FL, we stumbled upon the Loggerhead Marinelife Center. This place is amazing. We knew it was amazing when we saw the designated “after hours turtle hatchling drop off” area at the entrance. The girls wandered through a small aquarium area before heading out near the beach to the state of the art turtle rehabilitation area.

Intrigued with this turtle's story...

Intrigued with this turtle’s story…

Each tank had a different turtle with a unique rescue story. An educator stood at each tank to talk to guests about the turtle’s situation and plan for rehabilitation. From the rehab tank area, you can peek into the indoor medical care area to observe turtles being looked after or undergoing medical testing.

Most all of these turtles will be returned to their natural habitat within days or weeks. Others that are not fit to be released back into the wild will remain or be sent to larger aquarium environments were they will thrive.

New turtle friends.

New turtle friends

The Loggerhead Center is a hidden gem and a wonderful place to take the family. Be sure to stop off on your next trip to South Florida.

 

If you can’t make it to Florida, go to the Center’s website where you can track the progress of their turtles, adopt a turtle of your own or even view a live turtle cam.

Guests are recommended to make a donation upon entering, but there’s no set admission cost.

Follow our family travel adventures on Instagram!

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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 hotel category on the West Coast of Florida.

Ready to set sail.

Ready to set sail.

The hotel is tucked away off of I-75, south of Sarasota and in the small canal filled town of Cape Coral. The drive was three hours from Orlando and from what other guests at the resort said, it was around two and a half hours from West Palm airport. The property is not beach front, but it is on the water with access to Fort Myers beach via water taxi direct from the resort. We took advantage of the water taxi and even spotted a few dolphins on our journey.

Our room was a two-bedroom suite with two bathrooms, a full kitchen plus a washer and dryer. Perfect set-up for a family. All the Westin’s rooms have private screened-in balconies with views of the Gulf of Mexico or the river. Your stay includes a ton of amenities including guest access to three pools, bike rentals, tennis courts and daily resort activities.

Westin Kids Club

Westin Kids Club

The Westin Kids Club, for ages 4 to 12, was definitely a high point of Mia’s trip. Parents can opt for a half-day ($40) or a full day ($70). She did the half day session, which included lunch (bonus!) and crafts.

Not a shabby coffee view.

Not a shabby coffee view.

She made a cute little beach themed tote bag and a colorful flower pot. The Kids Club takes the older kids on outdoor excursions when the weather permits.

The Westin staff was extremely friendly and helpful. From Taylor at the front desk to the wait staff at Marker 92, the onsite restaurant. Taylor was actually one of the main attractions for my kids as they requested continuously to go by and say hi.

 

I spoke with several guests who had scored a variety of room rates. A couple was staying in a room with two double beds for $85 per night. It looks like our two-bedroom suite was going for $195 in October. The fall is the slow season for Florida hotels, but the weather is amazing.

Beautiful views are everywhere!

Beautiful views are everywhere!

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a mom of two, well let’s say highly energetic girls, the Westin Cape Coral was perfect and fun for all of us.

Follow our family travel adventures on Instagram!

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Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary stay at the Westin Cape Coral to review their new Westin Kids Club. All thoughts and opinions about the Westin Cape Coral are my own. 

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Travel Leave a comment

World Sight Day

IMG_4704

Rockin the sunnies

Who knew! There is an entire day, Oct. 10, dedicated to keeping our eyes healthy. I was approached about a World Sight Day briefing that was taking place this week and decided to join in on the conversation, as I am admittedly not the best about regular eye exams.

I doubted at first, that I would get much out of the briefing. What could I possibly learn outside of the fact that you should protect your eyes with shades, which as you can see we have no problem with, and regularly visit the eye doctor?

I am so glad I took the time to listen in.  I got some simple tips for me and my computer and sun loving brood.

*To prevent digital eye strain, look away from your computer for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. The 20/20 rule!

*Keep your distance from the screen – 20 – 24 inches.

*Always look for the sticker on sunglasses UVA/UVB protection. Did you know your eyes can get sunburned?

*UV radiation is present year-round.

*Dark leafy greens and foods containing Omega 3 can preserve eye health.

So break out those sunnies, set up your computer and make a salmon salad! For more information on eye health, go to the Vision Council’s website.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post per The Motherhood & Vision Council. All thoughts and opinions are my very own.

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Fitness & Health Leave a comment

Doggie Portraits Sit Stay Pose Promo Code

Artwork courtesy of Etsy Shop Sit Stay Pose

Artwork courtesy of Etsy Shop Sit Stay Pose

If you are like us, your dog is part of the family. Our boxer loves (aka tolerates) being dressed up in capes, headbands and attending tea parties.

My dear friend and dog lover, Anne Dalles, recently discovered she has a special gift for painting dogs. She simply asks for a photo of the pup and goes to town, as you can see by the photo of my girls with our dog, Sam.  I’m obsessed and I feel like most dog lovers out there will be too!

Anne gave me a special code for readers of my blog to use on her Etsy shop for a 20% discount. It’s good through 11/20 with the code MAMMAMIA20.

The Inspiration Girls & Sam

The Inspiration Girls & Sam

This would make an awesome Christmas gift for the dog lover in your family! Prices vary on how many dogs or kids are featured in the art and on canvas size.

 

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Giveaways Leave a comment
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