If you’re looking for a unique vacation experience that puts you just minutes from Orlando attractions yet encompasses you in an amenity-filled resort, choose Star Island Resort Orlando. A Mediterranean design, along with spacious villas and a private setting create one of the best places to stay in Orlando. The prices at Star Island Resort are also appealingly affordable too.

Star_Island_Resort___Club_(031) Upon arriving at Star Island Resort Orlando you immediately know you’re in for a treat. A private, palm-tree lined drive leads you to the registration and club house building – a place you’ll want to spend a lot of time while you stay at the resort. The Club House is home to the full service Celebrity Spa, the Star Island Hair Salon, a massive and well equipped fitness center and Chillie Hillie’s gift shop and snack shop (open from 8am-9pm). Of course, the star of the club house is the pool deck which is one of the finest in Orlando. Featuring two expansive outdoor pools, indoor/outdoor whirlpools and a kids splash fountains as well as plenty of lounge space, it’s easy to soak up some Florida sun and enjoy your vacation time while staying at Star Island Resort. The poolside snack bar, which opens at 11am, was a convenient amenity that made my day at the pool even better. An upstairs bar – The Star Bar – opens at 4pm daily and is a fantastic place to take in the vistas of the resort.

Star_Island_Resort___Club_(043)During my visit, I also enjoyed the numerous activities available at the resort. Nine tennis courts, a large game room, golf driving range and putting green, child’s playground, miniature golf course, nature trail and walking paths, basketball and volleyball court provided plenty of things to do. Star Island Resort also offers water activities on beautiful Lake Cecile. Wave runners, paddle boats, kayaks and fishing boats and pole rentals are all at your ready when you stay at this full-service resort. Supervised children’s activities like noodle races, hula hoop contests and arts and crafts are also scheduled daily. The location of the resort, which is only four miles from Disney World, is certainly a bonus as well.

Star_Island_Resort___Club_(64473)The spacious, luxurious villas at Star Island impressed me from the minute I walked into my room. Every detail, from décor to comfort, was covered. Villa options range from mini-suites to three bedroom deluxe villas and each villa has a private patio or balcony with fan perfect for enjoying those balmy Orlando days. Units surround the pool and wrap around the resorts beautiful, landscaped grounds with ponds and water features, creating a relaxing and inviting atmosphere. All villas except the Mini-Suites are equipped with a full kitchen and dining area, washer/dryer, queen sofa sleeper and flat screen televisions. (Note: The Mini-Suites do feature a kitchenette). Designed for the ultimate in comfort, the furnishings were light in color and modern in concept and the spaciousness of each unit was an added bonus. The luxury suites at Star Island have just what you need for to enjoy a vacation in Orlando.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Have you ever wanted to skydive but can’t logically see yourself jumping out of a perfectly good airplace? If so, iFly Orlando is the place for you. This attraction simulates the feeling of skydiving, but at an indoor facility where the ground is always nearby. Go inside at iFly Orlando  and see what it’s like to experience indoor skydiving. iFly Orlando is safe and fun for all ages over 3. No experience needed!

Now that you know how awesome indoor skydiving can be, purchase discount iFly Orlando tickets with Reserve Orlando.

Bianca is a travel professional, and prides herself on her knowledge of vacation destinations big and small. With 8 years in the tourism industry, she brings you updates on how to make the most out of your time, money and energy in her favorite cities throughout America.

One of the signature attractions of the new Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom is Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid.  Featuring characters and songs from the award-winning Disney animated film “The Little Mermaid,” riders journey “under the sea” to meet Ariel, all her friends and join her for a spectacular adventure.

Set inside Price Eric’s Castle, Journey of The Little Mermaid is an immersive Disney “dark ride” that uses technological innovations to place guests into classic scenes from the film.  To begin your journey, one descends though grottos and caverns which creates a “going under the sea” effect.  Throughout the queue, guests encounter a shipwreck and friendly sea life like barnacles and starfish to help guide them to their destination.  Board one of the clamshell ride vehicles to continue your adventure.  You’ll be welcomed by Scuttle, the friendly seagull.  He explains Ariel’s ambition to leave the ocean and become part of the human world. 
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Ariel’s Grotto is the first stop on your journey, where she sings “Part of Your World.”  From there, an underwater party starts with dozens of marine creatures trying to encourage Ariel to stay “Under the Sea.” This sequence stars the memorable Sebastian the Crab.  Ariel continues with her journey, though, which causes Ursula, the Sea Witch, to appear.  She, along with her henchmen Flotsam and Jetsam, perform “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”
The Disney World ride concludes with Ariel’s wish to be human granted and guests follow her to the ocean surface.  During this sequence, riders witness Ariel and Price Eric kiss, much to the encouragement of her friends singing “Kiss the Girl.”
Once the ride is complete, guests can meet and greet The Little Mermaid at Ariel’s Grotto.

Purchase discount Disney tickets now to experience Journey of The Little Mermaid and all Fantasyland has to offer.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Geared towards children 12 and under, LEGOLAND Florida is an Orlando attraction where families can visit to build memories and enjoy a day of LEGO-filled fun. From the moment you arrive at the park you are immersed in a world of giant and colorful LEGO creations. From interactive shows to engaging attractions, the park is a wonderland of imagination kids absolutely love. Learn all you need to know with this LEGOLAND Florida Review.

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One of the highlights of LEGOLAND Theme Park is the fantastic show “Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty” at Pirate’s Cove Ski Stadium. Hosted at 12:30pm, 2:00pm, 3:30pm and 5:00pm, the show is a water-ski live-action performance during which guests are asked to help defeat Captain Brickbeard and his pirate gang. Around 20 minutes in length, the Pirate’s Cove Ski Show keeps the attention of little ones. If you sit in the first row you can also use water cannons to shoot at the pirate gang, so try and grab a seat early if you can. Stay after the show to get your photo taken with one of the LEGO imperial guards, too!

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After the Pirate Show, I suggest quickly touring through the botanical gardens LEGOLAND preserved from its predecessor – Cypress Gardens . A sprawling banyan tree over 70 years old, a tranquil gazebo and lush, vibrant plants and flowers create a horticultural masterpiece worth your time. It’s also a nice place to take a rest with kids if they start to tire or get fussy.

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There’s a lot to see at LEGOLAND Orlando, what with the numerous displays built entirely of LEGO bricks and the exciting attractions built just for kids.  Plus, there are even LEGO factories where you can design your own LEGO creation. Attractions at LEGOLAND put kids in the driver’s seat – literally. One of the most popular attractions is the Ford Driving School at LEGO City, where kids earn an official LEGO license after they maneuver through the test track. Kids can also get their flying and boating license at LEGO City.

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With ten different lands to explore, LEGOLAND brings to life not only scenes from across these United States but also faraway lands. Two of the most popular lands include LEGO Kingdoms and Land of Adventure.  At LEGO Kingdoms, kids grin ear to ear while they ride the Dragon Coaster and Royal Joust. The smiles get even bigger at Land of Adventure where kids can go on a Safari Trek or brave the Egyptian desert during a Lost Kingdom Adventure. Of course, no trip to LEGOLAND Orlando is complete without a trip to Imagination Station. Build, test, explore and create while you let your imagination run wild! Don’t miss the Factory Tour at Fun Town, either, as you can see how LEGO bricks are made – a must for any LEGO enthusiast!

After reading this LEGOLAND Florida review, I hope you have a better understanding of all LEGOLAND has to offer. A day at LEGOLAND truly is pure entertainment for those young and young at heart. Visit the Orlando theme park today to build memories with your family.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Universal Orlando Resort is a massive theme park teeming with adventure. Both Universal Orlando theme parks – Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios – are immersive attractions. Only have time for Universal Orlando Resort theme park? Browse through the highlights of each theme park below to find out which is right for you.

rsz_universal_orlando__resort_37129Universal Studios

If you’re a movie or pop-culture fanatic, the character-driven attractions at Universal Studios Orlando will stand out.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley lets you discover even more of Harry Potter’s world. Walk the streets of London, dine at the Leaky Cauldron, buy a wand at Ollivander’s Wand Shop, and then join Harry Potter for an Escape from Gringotts Bank. The multi-dimensional thrill ride navigates through the vaults for an epic escape.

Visit Springfield, home of The Simpsons, and eat at Krusty Burger or grab a drink at Moe’s. Then, go on a 4D adventure with The Simpsons an action-packed virtual ride.

UO_Transformers Optimus PrimeSave the world with The Transformers in an epic 3D battle. Fight alongside Optimus Prime and Bumblebee as you strive to defeat the Decepticons.

E.T. Adventure is a classic throwback ride. It might not be as thrilling as other attractions, but riding a bike with E.T. across the night sky is always fun.

Music-themed Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Coaster is a multi-sensory attraction with speeds up to 65mph. An impressive first drop sets the stage for record-breaking loops and sidewinding twists.

At Despicable Me, undergo minion training before being launched into a zany trip with Gru and crew. The minions make their mischief and host a dance party, too. The thrills are tame but kids love this ride.

Try to ward of the evil of Imhotep on Revenge of the Mummy. The indoor coaster plunges into darkness as you try to escape the huge fireballs, swarms of scarab beetles and an army of warrior mummies.

Universal_Orlando__Resort_(73289)Islands of Adventure

Superheroes, action-movies and the first Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park make this park super-appealing.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade is the most transportive of the Harry Potter worlds. The replica of Hogwarts Castle, along with the cobblestone, shop-lined streets, are brilliant. Plus, the dark ride Harry Potter and Forbidden Journey is a state-of-the-art indoor motion ride filled with high-flying fun.

Get ready to “hulk-out” on The Incredible Hulk Coaster, the soaring, loop-filled Islands of Adventure attraction. The can’t-miss green steel coaster bursts out the gate, reaching speeds up to 40mph in two seconds flat.

UO_HULKSuperlatives don’t do The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man attraction justice. Soar through the streets with Spider-Man on the first ever combination of moving, motion-based ride vehicles, 3-D film and live action.

In need of a cool down? Climb aboard Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, a themed log-flume ride set in the Canadian mountains. Experience a 75-foot drop, then plummet below water level for a real rush!

Marvel Island is home to more than just Spider-Man. See your favorite super heroes, like Captain America and The X-Men, and snap a memorable souvenir photo.

Universal_SpiderMan_RideMore wild water thrills are featured at Jurassic Park River Adventure. Float past dinosaurs, before being taken off-course into a restricted Raptor Containment Area. Before T-Rex has you in his jaws, plunge 85-feet into total darkness. Sound fun? It is.

Caro-Seuss-Al is more than just a carousel; it’s a twirling, straight-out-of-a-Seuss book joyride. Hop on elephant birds from Horton Hatches the Egg; twin camels from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; and cowfish from McElligot’s Pool. Trust me, this is kid-sized fun even adults like.

These featured Universal Orlando Resort attractions are the best of each park. In years past, Universal Studios has been tops in my book.  But lately, Islands of Adventure is my favorite Universal theme park.  Which one will you spend the day at?

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

The Magic Kingdom at Disney World is dubbed “The Happiest Place on Earth,” and for good reason. Featuring six themed lands across 107 acres, the Magic Kingdom captures the true essence of Walt Disney World with exciting entertainment, classic attractions, beloved Disney Characters and the charm of childhood.


Magic Kingdom makes the whole family smile

Designed like a wheel with the hub in front of Cinderella Castle, the pathways spoke out across the Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando and lead to six exciting lands:


Walking along Main Street U.S.A.

Main Street U.S.A.

Main Street U.S.A. is the main entrance to the Magic Kingdom. Guests will emerge from a tunnel for the Walt Disney World Railroad and are instantly transported to early 20th-Century America, complete with stylistic and architectural influences from around the country. Main Street is lined with shops selling merchandise, food and memories, all designed with a small town America feel, inspired partly by Walt Disney’s Childhood. A Town Hall, Barbershop, fire station, and a City Hall, which serves as the guest relations lobby, bring the Americana feel to life. Main Street U.S.A. is home to several great places to eat, including The Crystal Palace (American cuisine buffet-style), The Plaza Restaurant (victorian-america themed serving sandwiches, burgers, salads & ice cream), Tony’s Town Square (inspired by the restaurant in The Lady and the Tramp and serving pizza, pasta & Panini’s) and Casey’s Corner (located at the end of Main Street and serving American ballpark fare like hot dogs and  fries. Shopping choices include The Emporium, a 17,000 sq. ft. store, the largest in the Magic Kingdom, and the Chapeau Hat Shoppe, among many others. Main Street U.S.A. is also the place to watch the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade, Dream-Along with Mickey Show, SpectroMagic Nighttime Parade, Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party and the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, the biggest & brightest fireworks extravaganza in Disney history.

Walt Disney World attractions lifestyle shoot. April 2013. Photographer: Cynthia Perez

Inside Pirates of the Caribbean


This Magic Kingdom land represents the adventure of exploring foreign lands and is themed with an exotic mix of jungles from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America and the South Pacific. Adventureland is home to attractions like Jungle Cruise, 1930s-style safari boat through the world’s most exotic, untamed rivers; Pirates of the Caribbean, a classic Disney attraction featuring Captain Jack Sparrow; The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and Swiss Family Treehouse. Shopping options include the Agrabah Bazaar, Island Supply & Pirate’s Bazaar. The El Pirata Y El Perico Restaurant, serving Mexican fare, is the main restaurant in Adventureland. Refreshments and soft serve can be found at Aloha Isla & Sunshine Tree Terrace.


Big Thunder Mountain Railroad delivers big thrills


Featuring all of the adventure and excitement of the Wild West, Frontierland is where guests to experience cowboys, Indians and the thrill of exploration. Several classic attractions are located here, including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Tom Sawyer Island, Splash Mountain and the Country Bear Jamboree Show. Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café, Golden Oak Outpost and The Diamond Horseshoe are the main eateries in Frontierland, and Big Al’s, Briar Patch, Frontier Trading Post & Prairie Outpost & Supply are the main shopping stores.


The beauty of the Liberty Belle shines

Liberty Square

Liberty Square is based on an American Revolutionary town and honors the colonial heritage of America. It is home to attractions like the Liberty Square Riverboat (a paddlewheel steamship), The Hall of Presidents Show and the ever-popular Haunted Mansion attraction, where guests board a doom buggy and explore the supernatural activity of the Haunted Mansion. Eating options at the Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom include Columbia Harbour Hose, Sleep Hollow and Liberty Tree Tavern, an 18th-century colonial restaurant serving New England style lunches. Shopping enthusiasts will want to make time for Heritage House, Yankee Trader Gourmet Shop and Ye Old Christmas Shoppe.

Fantasyland Belle and Beast with Guest

Greet Belle and the Beast at Fantasyland


Disney World’s Fantasyland has brought all-new ways to play to the Magic Kingdom.  The entire area has been updated, and is nearly double the size of its predecessor.  After opening in phases, the new Fantasyland includes the quintessential fairytale experience guests of all ages will love.  Attractions here include Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Princess Fairytale Hall, Be Our Guest Restaurant, Storybook Circus and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (debuting soon).  This area is known for its Character Meet and Greets, as well as its immersive straight-out-of-a-storybook surroundings. 

Nothing makes a kid smile more than Disney World

Space Mountain is classic Disney fun


Tomorrowland takes guests into the future with attractions like the Astro Orbiter, Buzz Lightyear’s Ranger Spin, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Space Mountain, Stitch’s Great Escape, Tomorrowland Speedway & Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. Themed as an intergalactic convention of sorts, Tomorrowland features the Buzz Lightyear Shop, Merchant of Venus, Mickey’s Star Traders & Ursa’s Major Minor Mart as shopping options and Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café, The Lunching Pad, Tomorrowland Terrace Cafe and  Noodles Station are dining options.

Park hours for the Magic Kingdom vary. Generally, the park is open at 9am and stays open until at least 8pm, if not later. Please check your vacation dates for exact times.

Purchase Disney World tickets now to experience “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.