A vacation in Orlando can be fun and affordable if you reserve one of the closest discount hotels near Disney World®.

Choose from these budget-friendly hotels with easy access to Disney World®. When you do, you’ll be sure to save some money while enjoying all of the exciting Orlando attractions available in sunny Florida.

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FantasyWorld_Pool1) Fantasy World Resort
As far as discount hotels near Disney World go, Fantasy World Resort is a family favorite. Featuring Mediterranean-inspired accommodations near Walt Disney World® Resort, Fantasy World Resort offers two-bedroom villas. Each features full kitchens, washer/dryer units, separate living and dining areas, flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi. In addition, the resort also features an expansive outdoor pool area with a lazy river, two water slides, two hot tubs and a children’s splash area.

Blue_Heron_Beach_Resort_(015)2) Blue Heron Beach Resort
Blue Heron Beach Resort boasts a location less than one mile from the Disney World® entrance.  As a result, the high-rise facility is one of the most highly recommended discount hotels near Disney World. Relax in one- and two-bedroom suites with full kitchens, lakefront balconies, whirlpool baths, and washer/dryer sets. Of course, this property has an array of amenities too. A game room, multiple outdoor pools, poolside concessions, fitness centers, shuttle services to Epcot® and Wi-Fi access is available.

fairfield_inn_and_suites_lake_buena_vista_marriott_village_958003) Fairfield Inn & Suites Lake Buena Vista
The resort-style Fairfield Inn & Suites Lake Buena Vista’s convenient location makes it easy to visit Disney World®. Likewise, Disney Springs is right next door. When you’re not at the parks, though, there are plenty of amenities to enjoy. For instance, there is free Wi-Fi and daily breakfast, an on-site food court, an outdoor pool with a whirlpool spa, a kid’s splash zone, a game room, a fitness center, and more.

Ramada_Gateway_(008)4) Ramada Gateway
Ramada Gateway Hotel is located in Kissimmee, just one mile from the gates of Walt Disney World®. The hotel is proud to be part of Walt Disney World® Good Neighbor Hotel. Accordingly, it’s distinguished by its proximity to the amusement parks, a friendly atmosphere and its quality of facilities and services. Enjoy free scheduled transportation to the major attractions including Disney, SeaWorld and Universal along with the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Outlet.

Quality_Suites_Lake_Buena_Vista_(001)5) Quality Suites Lake Buena Vista
Quality Suites Lake Buena Vista offers comfortable accommodations and convenient amenities for all traveler types. With a location just minutes from Disney World® and Orlando attractions, it’s a top pick for visitors. Active guests can enjoy an on-site fitness center, an outdoor pool and whirlpool spa, and jogging trail. The amenities don’t stop there, though. There is also a laundry facility, flexible meeting space, a business center, complimentary scheduled shuttle services and daily breakfast.

Seralago_Hotel___Suites_Main_Gate_East_(001)6) Seralago Hotel
Conveniently located in the Kissimmee area, just 5 miles from Disney World® Theme Parks, the Seralago Hotel & Suites offers one of the best values near the Walt Disney World® Resort. Relax in one of the 614 rooms and suites; swim in the 2 heated, Olympic-style swimming pools or let the kids splash in our children’s pool. Seralago is proud to have been accepted to the Walt Disney World Good Neighbor® Hotel program since its inception.

Destiny_Palms_Hotel_(005)7) Destiny Palms Hotel
Located less than one mile from Disney’s Animal Kingdom®, less than three miles from the Main Entrance to the Walt Disney World Resort area and just minutes from everything Orlando/Kissimmee has to offer, Destiny Palms Maingate West is the perfect choice for your family vacation. It is also one of the most budget-friendly discount hotels near Disney World®. However, just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean you won’t be able to rest easy while staying here!

Blue_Tree_Resort_(050)8) Blue Tree Resorts
Just a little over one mile from the entrance to Walt Disney World®, Blue Tree Resorts is an all-suite condo-style resort. The property is also a Walt Disney World Good Neighbor® Hotel, which means you can rest assured knowing you’re in good hands. Guest rooms include full kitchens, separated rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi and more. Furthermore, the resort offers four outdoor pools, a fitness center, and miniature golf.

Quality_Suites_Royale_Parc_Suites_(021)9) Quality Inn Royale Parc Suites
Evoking the quaint charm of New Orleans’ French Quarter, Quality Suites Royale Parc Suites offers the best value for your vacation dollars. Plus, it’s only 5 miles from Disney World® Theme Parks. As a result, guests find themselves in an ideal location near Orlando’s most popular attractions, incredible dining spots and unparalleled shopping areas. Likewise, the hotel offers gracious amenities and luxurious privacy that you and your family deserve.

Maingate_Resort_and_Spa_(008)10) Red Lion Hotel Orlando
Situated just 0.5 miles from Walt Disney World® Resort, the Red Lion Hotel offers all the comforts of home for business and leisure travelers. For example, accommodations offer free Wi-Fi, mini refrigerators, Keurig® coffee makers and luxurious linens. In addition, amenities include rock n’ roll-themed dining, three outdoor pools, and meeting space. That’s not all, though. Guests also have access to laundry facilities, a gift shop, a business center, and more.


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.

Need help planning your dream Disney World vacation? There’s a lot to see and do at the most magical place on Earth, and it can be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out what to do. I’ve been many times and still haven’t done it all. However, I can help you start to plan your itinerary by offering Disney World questions designed to help you find the type of vacation ideal for your family. 

Disney World Questions

Let’s do a quick rundown of activities available at Disney World Theme Park:

  • Disney Copyright Family MKFour major theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and Epcot
  • Two waterparks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon
  • Five golf courses
  • Downtown Disney
  • BoardWalk Entertainment District
  • Over 20 large resorts

Granted, you most likely won’t see all there is to see at Disney on your vacation. Keep these Disney World questions in mind to help you narrow down your selection.

Disney_BigThunderMtn1) How many parks do you want to visit?
The most common answer is all of them! I recommend purchasing Disney Park Hopper tickets to get the most out of your days. The Magic Kingdom is by far the best and most endearing park, so visiting there is a must. If this is your first time at Disney you’ll want to take your time at each park you do visit. If you park hop, which is recommended to maximize your time, you can hit a park that opens early and divide your day with a park that stays open late.

Disney_s_Caribbean_Beach_Resort_(043)2) Where will you stay?
This factors into a lot of your vacation planning as location is key, but so is price. Luckily, there is a wide range of lodging choices available in Orlando. If you can, splurge and stay at a Disney World Resort Hotel. Although they can be pricey, they are so worth it! Disney hotels pamper you in every way, and the parks are literally at your doorstep. Many off-site properties are located just a few miles from Disney World’s entrance. So, you can have the convenience of being near Disney World yet save a few bucks for other vacation expenses.

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade_0013) How long will you stay in Orlando?
As far as Disney World questions go, this one is extremely important. It certainly factors into both of the above questions, but after learning all there is to do at Disney World Theme Parks you may want to rethink your game plan. For instance, when I first visited Disney World I wanted to see it all! So, I made the most of my park hopper pass and went to three parks in one day! This was way too much, way too fast – especially if you really want to take your time and experience the unique activities and attractions at each park.

If you want to visit all four theme parks, which is ideal, you will want to have at least five full days. Want to add on extras like a round of golf, Disney Waterparks or DisneyQuest? Then plan on seven days. This way you can get the full Disney experience without running around like a mouse chasing after cheese! Plus, seven-day park hopper passes are only marginally more than five-day tickets ($20 more for two more days of fun). 

Typhoon Lagoon 1966203754_091206_1001 (1)4) What type of tickets should you buy?
You may have noticed I’m partial to Disney park hopper tickets. However, depending on the length of stay you’ve picked Magic Your Way base Disney tickets or Waterpark Fun and More tickets might appeal to you. Water Park Fun & More tickets give each member of your travel party entry to one theme park a day, each day of your ticket. Want to enjoy more than one theme park per day? Choose the Park Hopper Water Park Fun & More Ticket. With so much to see and do here, you’ll love the ability to come and go from Theme Park to Theme Park on the same day. Plus you receive an equal number of separate admissions to any Walt Disney World Waterpark.

Magic Kingdom Fireworks

5) When to visit Disney World?

When you run through this list of Disney World questions, you may find your time is limited. For instance, if you have children and don’t want to take them out of school, summer may be the only option for travel. However, if you are more flexible with your dates keep dates in mind for special Disney events and festivals. Highlights include Christmas, Halloween, Star Wars Weekends, Flower & Garden Festival, and Food & Wine Festival. When you visit also plays into crowd levels. The early fall, December prior to Christmas vacation, and mid-January through early March are all good times to visit. Summer is busy so plan on packing patience into your suitcase.


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 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will soon be in full bloom at Walt Disney World Resort, a sure sign that spring is upon us. The festival begins March 1 and continues through May 29, 2017. Featuring a colorful array of flowers, gardens, topiaries, live music, presentations and educational events, this festival is a highlight for all visitors, from gardening pros to novice naturists.

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Throughout the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, guests will be able to explore topiaries and gardens, learn planting, style and design techniques and groove to the sounds of the Garden Rocks concerts.

Highlights of the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival include:

Topiaries

The 2017 festival features several new displays, as well as some old favorites, with over 100 topiaries. Here are the new topiaries you don’t want to miss:

  • Belle – Located at the France Pavilion
  • Figment – Located behind Spaceship Earth
  • Phineas and Ferb – Located near Odyssey Bridge
  • The Three Caballeros – Located at the Mexico Pavilion

 

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Garden Rocks Concert Series

Groove to music from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s at the America Gardens Theatre. Performances are at 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8:00pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Jon Secada
>March 3 & 4, 2017
Known for the Song: “Just Another Day”

Dennis DeYoung featuring the music of STYX
March 5 & 6, 2017
Known for the Song: “Grand Illusion”

The Pointer Sisters
March 10 to 13, 2017
Known for the Song: “I’m So Excited”

Simple Plan
March 17 & 18, 2017
Known for the Song: “Welcome to My Life”

Plain White T’s
March 19 & 20, 2017
Known for the Song: “Hey There Delilah”

Night Ranger
March 24 to 27, 2017
Known for the Song: “Sister Christian”

Little River Band
March 31 to April 3, 2017
Known for the Song: “Reminiscing”

Blood, Sweat and Tears featuring Bo Bice
April 7 to 10, 2017
Known for the Song: “Spinning Wheel”

Gin Blossoms
April 14 to 17, 2017
Known for the Song: “Hey Jealousy”

The Orchestra starring former members of ELO
April 21 to 24, 2017
Known for the Song: “Evil Woman”

Exposé
April 28 & 29, 2017
Known for the Song: “Point of No Return”

Berlin featuring Terri Nunn – NEW!
April 30 & May 1, 2017
Known for the Song: “Take My Breath Away”

STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas
May 5 to 8, 2017
Known for the song “We Built This City”

The Guess Who
May 12 to 15, 2017
Known for the Song: “American Woman”

Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
May 19 to 22, 2017
Known for the Song: “I’m Henry VIII, I Am”

The Spinners
May 26 to 29, 2017
Known for the Song: “Working My Way Back to You”

HGTV and DIY Stars Presentations

During the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, get inspired by the stars of these networks. Learn to build a better garden with fascinating tips, tricks and techniques from talented HGTV and DIY Network designers and personalities. All presentations are at noon and 3pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Monday through Thursday other experts will present at these times.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Don’t forget to make time for these special Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival family-friendly weekend events:

Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment and Conservation Specialists: March 31 to April 2 and April 28 to 30, 2017
Interact with team members from Disney’s Animal Kingdom park during this unique opportunity—an entire weekend featuring a variety of topics the whole family will enjoy, including what we can do to protect the planet, a.k.a. our own Spaceship Earth!

Celebrate Earth Day: April 22 to 24, 2017
Share in a celebratory occasion as we commemorate the place we all call home! Enjoy an assortment of special activities—and listen along as featured personalities speak at the Festival Center.

Discover the Bounty of Florida Agriculture: May 5 to 7, 2017
Don’t miss out on the chance to dig into Sunshine State! Interact with a whole cornucopia of Florida Agriculture specialists inside the Festival Center.

Florida Federation of Garden Clubs: May 12 to 14, 2017
Marvel at amazing flora designs that defy description—each one located inside the Festival Center.

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Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor Kitchens at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival present fresh, seasonal menus from countries spanning the globe. The list below is what’s featured for 2017.

Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market
Country: Germany

Cider House
Country: United Kingdom

Fleur de Lys
Country: France

Florida Fresh
Country: United States of America

Hanami
Country: Japan

Jardin de Fiestas
Country: Mexico

La Isla Fresca
Features: Caribbean Islands

Lotus House
Country: China

Northern Bloom
Country: Canada

Pineapple Promenade
Features: Sweet frozen treats

Primavera Kitchen
Country: Italy

Taste of Marrakesh
Country: Morocco

The Berry Basket – NEW!
Features: Berry dishes

THE SMOKEHOUSE: Barbecue and Brews
Country: United States of America

Urban Farm Eats
Features: All-natural food and drink

All of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival events, concerts and programs are included with Disney World tickets.


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.

Disney World excels at keeping their parks fresh, fun and entertaining! This year is no exception, as the park is bursting at the seams with activity. With that in mind, it’s time to discuss what’s new and what’s next for Disney World Theme Parks.  To get the scoop on new attractions at Disney World for 2017, read on.

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Enjoy a VIP viewing of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks at the end of your Highway in the Sky excursion.

Highway in the Sky Dine-Around

Open Now

Disney offers more than just character attractions and thrill rides. In fact, it’s an excellent place for foodies too! Experience the thriving food scene at Disney World Resort on the Highway in the Sky Dine-Around. It features priority boarding on the monorail, with stops for cocktails (Disney’s Contemporary Resort), appetizers (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort), dinner (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa), and dessert (Disney’s Contemporary Resort). The night is capped by a viewing of the Magical Kingdom’s “Wishes Spectacular” from the Contemporary’s observation deck. Available on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

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River of Light is an amazing new show sure to captivate audiences.

Rivers of Light

February 2017

Another element that will make Animal Kingdom a day and night experience is the addition of Rivers of Light. The innovative experience opened on February 17, 2017, and takes place on Discovery River. The show will combine live music, floating lanterns, water screens, and swirling animal imagery. As night show, it will become the perfect ending to a full day of fun at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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The Na’vi River journey will be unlike any other Disney adventure–ever!

Pandora: The World of Avatar

May 2017

As one of the most anticipated new attractions at Disney World in recent years, Pandora already has an eager fan base chomping at the bit to experience this one-of-a-kind world. Soon enough, they’ll get their chance!

Pandora comes to life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 27, 2017, right in time for Memorial Day Weekend. The immersive fantasy world will envelop guests in the world of Avatar, inspired by James Cameron’s epic film Avatar. Floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforest, and a banshee flying attraction, as well as after dark entertainment, will immerse guests in the world of Pandora.

Highlights include:

Avatar Flight of Passage: Fly high above the jungles of pandora on a Mountain Banshee.

Na’vi River Journey: A family-friendly boat ride through the bioluminescent rainforests of Pandora.

Satu’Li Canteen: Explorers can recharge at this canteen, the main dining location within Pandora.

Pongu Pongu: The go-to place for drinks and snacks.

Windtraders: An all-encompassing gift shop for all things Na’vi.

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©Disney/Lucasfilm Ltd. © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

Star Wars Tour

Spring 2017

New attractions at Disney World don’t stop at the Animal Kingdom. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is opening an all-new Star Wars Guided Tour. The 7-hour experience is an immersion into all things Star Wars and is offered on Mondays and Saturdays only. Character greetings, themed dining, ride experiences, insider tours, a dessert party and VIP viewing of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectauracular are among the highlights. This new experience comes on the heels of several new Star Wars attractions that debuted in December 2016. Among them, the onstage showcase “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.”

Even more Star Wars themed lands are in the works for Hollywood Studios, so stay tuned!

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Miss Fortune Falls features a treasure hunt through raging river rapids.

Miss Fortune Falls

Spring 2017

New attractions at Disney World also extend to their waterparks. Over at Typhoon Lagoon, guests are treated to an all-new family-style raft adventure. It’s themed after Captain Mary Oceaneer, who legend has it, was a treasure hunter who roamed the seven seas until a rogue storm marooned her vessel at Typhoon Lagoon.

The ride starts gently enough, as treasure rafts make their way through the open waters. But then, they plunge into a whitewater adventure! At two minutes long, this excursion is set to be one of the longest at Disney’s Waterparks.

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Concept art of the revamped Planet Hollywood Observatory at Disney Springs.

Disney Springs

Throughout 2017

In 2017, the transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs continues. This year the expansion is focused on food, with a bevy of new restaurants opening.

Paddlefish: Taking over the former Fulton’s Crab House location, Paddlefish offers a sleek and modern spin on a steak and seafood house. Menu options include a build-your-own-boil, while the rooftop lounge will offer a special late-night menu as well as fantastic views of the water and Disney Springs.

Planet Hollywood Observatory: Out with the old and in with the new! This reimagined concept takes the old dome of the Planet Hollywood Restaurant, and transforms it into an observatory focused on a different kind of stars–the celestial ones! However, the interior still feature a ton of movie memorabilia, video screens, and music, so you can still get your pop culture fix. The menu, created by celebrity chef Guy Fieri, puts an out-of-this-world spin on everything from burgers to cocktails.

The Polite Pig: Orlando locals love The Ravenous Pig. The Polite Pig, serving as it’s sister restaurant, offers the same scrumptious Florida cuisine. Wood-fired and grilled meats are their signature, as is an impressive beverage program that serves all drinks on tap–even wine!

Wine Bar George: Speaking of wine, at Wine Bar George master sommelier George Miliotes creates a unique place to sip, sit and eat. Infused with the themes of a winemaker’s estate, the vibe is very warm and cozy. Small plates dominate the menu as wines have a starring role. And, with over 100 to choose from, every palate will be pleased.

It’s Going to Be a Great Year

This is the latest update on new attractions at Disney World for 2017. As always, Reserve Orlando will keep you updated on all that’s happening in Orlando, Disney World and beyond.


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 spirit of New Orleans is brought to life during Universal Orlando Mardi Gras!  A combination of electrifying concerts, a dazzling parade, delicious Cajun cuisine and plenty of authentic New Orleans musicians creates one of the biggest parties in Orlando, Florida.   

Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras 2015

On select nights February 4 through March 25, 2017, Universal Orlando guests will be treated to a family-friendly version of Mardi Gras.  You know it’s Mardi Gras the minute you enter the park, with festive decorations, traditional Zydeco Music, street performers and stilt walkers creating quite the scene.  Of course, the biggest crowd pleasers are Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Concerts.  This year’s line-up features a variety of music with everything from rock to R&B, to country to pop sensations taking the stage. 

Concert_499673637The complete line-up of Universal Orlando Mardi Gras performers:
  • February 4: Trace Adkins
  • February 11: Ne-Yo
  • February 18: Collective Soul
  • February 19: X Ambassadors
  • February 25: Fifth Harmony
  • March 4: Yandel
  • March 5: Olivia Newton-John
  • March 11: UB40
  • March 12: Toby Keith
  • March 18: Jason DeRulo
  • March 19: Earth, Wind and Fire
  • March 25: The All-American Rejects

 

All concerts are included with the purchase of Universal Studio tickets.  Concerts are held at the Music Plaza stage.  Get ready for beads, bands and good times!

Before the concerts, be sure to take in the Mardi Gras Parade.  Winding its way through the streets of Universal Studios, the parade celebrates cultures from around the world  A lot of work, imagination, wood, glitter and paint went into making each float, all of which will take you around the globe to exotic locales.  The celebration continues at the French Quarter Courtyard, which is the central location of the Mardi Gras festivities.  Located near the Mummy and Twister attractions at Universal Studios, the French Quarter is where you’ll find food, spirits and music straight out of the Big Easy. 

The New Orleans Bands performing include:
February 4-14: Young Pinstripe Brass Band
February 15-21: New Breed Brass Band
February 22 – March 5: Free Agents Brass Band
March 6-15: Naughty Professor Brass Band
March 16-25: Dirty Bourbon River Show

 

After the concerts end, head to Pat O’Briens at Universal CityWalk.  It is a replica of the original bar in New Orleans.  Grab a hurricane and continue the festive fun you can find only at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras Celebration.

Get Universal Orlando tickets for an authentic Mardi Gras Celebration unlike any other!

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.

Searching for a break from the winter blues? Head to the Sunshine State! It’s the perfect place to play this spring, as there are endless things to do. From character-filled daydreams at Disney World to adventure-themed thrills at Universal Orlando Resort, attractions cater to families with kids of all ages. Need a nudge to get your spring break started? Read on to find things to do during an Orlando Spring Break.

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Make a Splash at Orlando Water Parks

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Aquatica

Nothing breaks the winter blues better than a day splashing under the Orlando sun. Kick off your snow boots, slip into some flip flops, and bask in the refreshing excitement of Orlando water parks. The choice is yours really, with five aquatic attractions available.

Aquatica is the perfect choice for families seeking both wild and mild thrills, while Discovery Cove puts you thisclose with manta rays, exotic birds, dolphins, and even otters.

Want to learn how to surf? Try the ultimate indoor wave at Fantasy Surf.

Don’t forget about Disney’s Blizzard Beach either. With tickets starting at $58, it’s more affordable than you may think.

See What’s in Bloom at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

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Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

In the past, Epcot was thought to be the adult side of Walt Disney World. With a focus on global attractions and culinary delights, it’s easy to see why. However, Epcot appeals to kids too. This is especially true during the International Flower & Garden Festival this spring. Held March 2 through May 30, the event features elaborate topiary displays showcasing Disney characters in a splendor of greenery, flowers, and colors. In addition, there are pop-up outdoor kitchens to try and Garden Rocks Concert Series musicians to listen to like Gin Blossoms and The Guess Who.

Experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Kids and adults alike are fanatics for all things Harry Potter. At Universal Orlando Resort, immerse yourself in the worlds of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Both bring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to life. At Hogsmeade you can explore the iconic Hogwarts Castle, surrounded by the village of Hogsmeade where you can eat at the Three Broomsticks and find your own magical wand at Ollivander’s. Plus, you can join Harry Potter and friends on The Forbidden Journey for a thrilling adventure filled with magical creatures, a quidditch match and more. Before you board the ride, you tour through Hogwarts Castle, making your way through the familiar classrooms and corridors of Hogwart School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Hop aboard the Hogwarts Express for a trip to Diagon Alley, the newest area withing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Traipse through the streets of London, browse through shops for wizard robes and quidditch supplies, dine at the Leaky Cauldron, and then ride the heist-themed Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Wash it all down with a frothy butter beer!

Catch Spring Training at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports

ESPN Wide World of Sports

ESPN Wide World of Sports

Are your and your kid’s diehard baseball fans? During your Orlando Spring Break, see the action up-close in a spring training game at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. The Atlanta Braves call the field home for spring, and play some of the best teams in baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, and New York Yankees are a few of the ball clubs on tap. See if your team is on the schedule, which runs through April 2, 2016. It’s great way to see your favorite players up close without having to pay Major League prices. Plus, you’ll get the inside, pre-season scoop on your favorite baseball team. Score!

Travel to the Space Coast

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach

Need another Orlando Spring Break idea? One the great things about Orlando is its easy access to the coast. Travel to the Space Coast, and make a day of it by exploring beaches like Cocoa and Melbourne. Add a visit to nearby Kennedy Space Center to get an inside look at the NASA Space program. It’s an extensive attraction that lets parents sneak it a bit of education during their spring break. On top of that, it’s interesting too! Stop for lunch in Downtown Titusville, known for its shopping and dining, and if there’s time take a peek at the animals of Brevard Zoo.

Take to the Outdoors

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Blue Springs State Park: By Ebyabe/Wikimedia Commons

Florida is a known for its man-made theme parks, but there’s a whole lot of family fun found outside in Orlando. During your Orlando Spring Break, trek to Wekiva Island to go boating, canoeing, fishing and kayaking. If you just want to relax and soak up some Florida sunshine, reserve a cabana. It comes equipped with comfy places to lounge, a grill, and a fridge. At Blue Springs State Park you can hike, picnic, swim and even see majestic manatees. Of course, for a little more adventure outside you can opt for an Orlando airboat tour. These high-speed boats put the wind in your hair and place you right in the middle of Florida’s everglades. Be prepared to see an alligator up close! For even more outdoor adventures, head to Forever Florida. They have ziplines, horseback rides, safari tours and more.

Get Ready for the Best Orlando Spring Break Yet

These are some of the best things to do on your Orlando Spring Break. From theme park adventures to outdoor escapes, your family is sure to have an epic escape in the Sunny State. Reserve all of your vacation needs, including attraction tickets and hotel rooms, with Reserve Orlando for the guaranteed best rates and insider insight.


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.

It’s hard to plan for New Year’s Eve with kids. You want to do something, but what? I’m here to help! Here are a few affordable and free family New Year’s Eve celebrations in Orlando.

Kids New Years Eve ThinkstockPhotos-461188145 (1)

Celebration Town Center
If you have little ones you know won’t make it to midnight, visit Celebration Town Center. Technically, an official New Year’s Eve party isn’t planned. However, there are still a lot of festive things to do for families. “Now Snowing” is Central Florida’s premier snowing event, featuring a snowfall program, ice rink, strolling characters, photos with Santa, horse drawn carriane rides, and more. There is a small fee to skate, but all of the other experiences are free!

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Ring in the New Year family-style with a “Noon Year’s Eve” daytime Celebration at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Join in the festivities with live entertainment, games and activities, character appearances and more. Watch a giant countdown clock and welcome the New Year with noisemakers, hats and a juice toast. Activities are included with paid Zoo admission or Zoo membership. Held from 10:30am-1:00pm.

Dave & Buster’s
Families can eat, play and party on New Year’s Eve at Dave & Buster’s. Family packages are available starting at $30. All packages include an appetizer buffet, soft drinks & play in the Million Dollar Midway.


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.

Ring in 2017 with live entertainment, champagne toasts and top notch parties. Orlando New Year’s Eve celebrations for adults are festive, fun and located at some of the hottest venues in Central Florida. To find out more about Orlando New Year’s Eve parties, read on.

Orlando New Year's Eve Celebrations for Adults

Universal Orlando Resort
Both parks—Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure—are open from 8am to 1am on New Year’s Eve. Party zones will be set up throughout the parks, with DJs, character appearances and fireworks at midnight planed. A midnight coaster ride sounds like a thrilling way to welcome 2017.

NYE ThinkstockPhotos-493374134Eve at Universal CityWalk
CityWalk pulls out all the stops for its New Year’s Eve celebration. The jam-packed party feature six unique party zones with signature drinks, six popping night clubs with live music and unlimited gourmet cuisine, and access to Orlando’s biggest outdoor dance floor. DJ M-Squared is returning for a third New Year’s Eve at CityWalk, and will bring is genre-fusing mixes with him. Tickets start at $139.99.

Wall Street Plaza
This annual December 31st Block Party is downtown Orlando’s largest New Year’s Eve event. Rock in the New Year with live music and an outdoor lighted dance floor. Plus, DJ Draven is returning to keep the party going all night long. The Wall Street Plaza party kicks off at 8pm. Ticket are $30.

Blue Martini NYE 2017 Celebration: A Casino Royale Gala
Book a New Year’s Eve special table for your own party then dance the night away with live entertainment. An open bar (beer and wine only) will be available from 8-10pm. In addition, there will be a live band at 8pm, balloon drop at midnight at live DJ from 1-2am. Tickets start at $70, and reservations are required.

NYE Champagne ThinkstockPhotos-463795637Funky Monkey Bistro & Bar
Hosted by Danielle Hunter and featuring the talents of Chantal Reshae, David Freklz Hunter, and many more, this party includes a $75 prix-fix menu. A sushi bar with a live sushi roller and champagne bar with unlimited champagne are highlights. Reservations are required. Call 407-418-9463.

Church Street New Year’s Eve Block Party
Orlando’s biggest street party is one Church Street New Year’s Eve. Watch the world-famous “Orange Drop” 60-feet in the sky and spectacular fireworks, as well as DJs spinning tunes, a video wall, and a live simulcast of Times Square. The party starts at 8pm. Minimum age for entrance is 21.

New Year’s Eve Celebration starring Kristin Chenoweth
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will be have Kristin Chenoweth, along with special guest Cheyenne Jackson, host an elegant New Year’s Eve Celebration. Doors open at 8pm, with the show starting at 10pm. An after party will be held until 2:00am in the lobbies of the art center. Tickets start at $110 and include show, two drink tickets, and champagne at intermission, party favors, after-party entertainment and after-party desserts. Call 844-513-2014 for tickets.

New Year ThinkstockPhotos-78820594Cuba Libra
Put a little spice in your New Year’s Eve plans! Cuba Libre will have an open bar from 10pm-12am, live entertainment, a balloon drop, champagne toast, and so much more. Reservations are suggested. Event is for ages 21 and over only. “¡Feliz Año Nuevo!”

Five Star New Year’s Eve

Party all night at this Brazilian dance party, featuring world-class DJs and fireworks. General admission offers a full-service open bar with beverages, beer, vodka, whiskey and Prosecco. Guests are asked to dress in white and gold, in keeping with the Brazilian theme. Bonus: Child card will be provided at the event. Ticket packages start at $290.

Howl at the Moon
The dueling piano bar on International Drive is offering a gourmet buffet, champagne toast and party favors on New Year’s Eve starting at $75 per person. For only $25, though, your’e guaranteed entry, a champagne toast at midnight and party favors. Other ticket options are available. Guest must be 21 and over for entry.

NYE ThinkstockPhotos-78818827Atlantic Dance Hall
Swing in the New Year at Atlantic Dance Hall with a live big band, fun and high spirits. Party hats and horns, a viewing of the Epcot fireworks at midnight, and champagne toast are included in the cost of admission ($42/per person). Doors open at 9:00 p.m. Guests must be 21 years or older with valid ID to enter. For reservations, call (407) WDW-DINE.

As you can see, there’s a lot of parties planned for December 31, 2016. Choose which New Year’s Eve celebration for adults you’d like to attend. Then, begin your own countdown to this special night. 2017 will be here soon!


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.

rsz_disney_cmasRinging in the New Year at Disney World is fun at all four theme parks. Here is a park-by-park guide detailing Disney World New Years Eve, complete with park hours and times for special shows and events.

Note: Disney World New Years Eve details for 2016 have not yet been released.The information below is from last year, just to give you an idea of what may be offered.

Magic Kingdom

  • Park is open 8:00am – 2:00am; Extra Magic hours 7-8am
  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Parade: 12:00pm & 3:30pm
  • Main Street Electrical Parade: 7:00pm
  • Holiday Wishes Fireworks: 7:30pm
  • Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks: 11:50pm
  • New Year’s Countdown Fireworks at 11:40pm
  • A DJ dance party in front of the castle and Celebrate the Magic projection show are also scheduled. Check showtimes upon arrival at the park.

 

Tips: The Magic Kingdom is the busiest of all the Disney Parks, and they host the most kid-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration. Luckily, you can experience the same events on December 30 complete with the midnight countdown. Think of it as a rehearsal for the big night on the 31st! If you do plan on a December 31 visit, arrive before 10:30am as parks will fill to capacity early. Fireworks for the Magic Kingdom show are a spectacular sight. They are shot over the castle and all around the park perimeter. Even the countdown to midnight is done in fireworks forming numbers in the sky. If you’d like to view the show outside the park, the observation deck on the 4th floor of the Contemporary Resort, beaches of the Polynesian Resort, marina dock at The Grand Floridian and restaurants such as Califronia Grill and Narcoossees offer fantastic viewing spots. Please note alcohol will not be available at Magic Kingdom NYE celebrations, excluding beverages served with dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant.

Epcot Meg (150)Epcot

  • Future World: 8:00am – 1:00am
  • World Showcase: 10:00am – 1:00am
  • IllumiNations Peace on Earth holiday version – 6:30pm
  • IllumiNations New Years Eve version with Countdown & Fireworks – 11:40pm
  • DJ dance parties will take place throughout the park. Check for time party times upon arrival at the park.

 

Tips: The Midnight Fireworks show at Epcot features a special salute to each country, with dazzling fireworks lighting up the sky over each pavilion, accompanied by traditional music. Epcot is a wonderful place for adults to ring in the New Year. Live DJ dance parties are hosted throughout the park at places like the Fountain Stage at Future World and America Gardens Theatre at World Showcase, as well as courtyards at Italy, United Kingdom and China. , and temporary bars are set up on the promenade, usually at Mexico, China, Italy, Germany, American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France and Canada. All dance party locations also have free noisemakers and party hats.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Park is open 8:00am to 12:00am; Extra Magic Hours until 2:00am
  • Fantasmic!: 8:00pm & 9:30pm
  • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular: 12 a.m.
  • Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! : 9:00 p.m.

 

New Years 106522367Tips: To get the best viewing spot for Disney’s Hollywood Studios Fireworks find a spot on Hollywood Boulevard facing The Great Movie Ride. The fireworks show is shot from the roofs of the buildings surrounding that area. This park is generally less crowded than Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Plus, temporary bar kiosks are set up throughout the park.

Animal Kingdom

  • Park is open 8:00am – 8:30pm
  • No specific celebrations are planned at Animal Kingdom

Disney Springs (Formerly Downtown Disney)

  • Disney Marketplace: 8:00am – 1:00pm
  • Shopping: 8:00am – 2:00am
  • West Side: 8:00am – 2:00am
  • Cirque du Soleil: 6:00pm and 9:00pm performance. The show features a special NYE finale.
  • Splitsville Luxury Lanes will have NYE specials
  • Raglan Road is hosting two NYC bashes in one night. Raglan Road rings in the Irish New Year at 7 p.m. and again at Midnight. Live Irish music and the award winning Raglan Road Irish Dancers are featured. A complimentary champagne toast welcomes 2017. Call (407) 938-0300 for additional info or to make reservations.

 

All three districts within Downtown Disney will have DJ dance parties, live entertainment, Disney food trucks, plus wine, beer and cocktails will be served.

New Years 455259861Disney World Resorts

Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
Swing to the sounds of a live big band from 8pm-2am. Party hats and horns, and champagne toast are included with admission, as are viewing of the Epcot fireworks at midnight. Upgrade to VIP admission for access to the second floor dance club with guaranteed seats, access to private balcony for viewing of Illuminations and complimentary desserts.

California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
This elegant affair is pricey ($625 per person!) but promised to be a memorable NYE experience. The gala features elaborate food stations, complimentary alcoholic beverages, appearances by Disney characters and spectacular views of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks.

Narcoose’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
There are two NYE dinner celebrations planned at Narcoose’s:

Early Dinner: Seating is between 5:00 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., and price is $159.75 for adults and $74.55 for children, prepaid (tax and gratuity included).

Late Dining Event: Seating is between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Price is $317.48 for adults and $118.28 for children, prepaid (tax and gratuity included).

Victoria & Alberts at Disney’s Grand Floridian
A ten-course New Year’s Eve meal, featuring eight courses and two desserts, paired with nine wines, is hosted at Victoria & Alberts. The meal is prepped by lauded Chef Scott Hunnell. The meal with wine and gratuity will be $375 plus tax. You should know that guests must to be older than 10 years of age to attend and older than 21 to be served alcohol.

As you can see, there are plenty of special events planned for New Year’s Eve at Disney World Orlando. Plus, all events are included with the purchase of Disney tickets.


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.

SeaWorld is the only place where real and amazing live. Through every experience at these aquatic theme parks, guests are encouraged to connect with the sea. As a result, exciting rides, amazing shows and up-close encounters are made that much more captivating. Not only do you connect with the wonders of the ocean, you care about them.

To highlight SeaWorld’s commitment to animals all over the world, as well as their guests, Reserve Direct invited two families to visit the park as part of our SeaWorld: One Park, Two Ways campaign. Discover all the fun and educational experiences they had as they explore the real, amazing aspects of SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego.

We sent Krystal, from Sweet Sunny Days, to experience SeaWorld Orlando. Additionally, Shelby from OC Mom Blog, toured SeaWorld San Diego. During their time at the park, we invited each blogger to exclusive, behind-the-scenes activities at the park. Don’t worry—you can have this kind of access too. They’re all part of SeaWorld’s efforts to educate visitors on their conservation efforts. Interactive and engaging, they add the real to any day at SeaWorld. And  yes, it’s pretty amazing!

Discover more about these parks with our recaps below.

SeaWorld Orlando

Real

Meet a Dolphin
At the Dolphin encounter get up-close to bottlenose dolphins. Not only will you get a chance to touch the dolphins, you learn about how SeaWorld’s animal team cares for these clever animals.

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Explore the Aquariums and Rescue Areas
Did you know nearly all of SeaWorld Orlando’s attractions have special aquariums showcasing a variety of aquatic life? During Krystal’s visit, her family was able to discover another side of SeaWorld at Sea Garden. This section of the park is home to rescue animals ranging from eagles to spoonbills, as well as close-up, one-of-a-kind encounters.

behind-the-scenes-tour-at-seaworld_ssd

Behind the Scenes Tour
At the Behind the Scenes Tour, you’re able to touch a shark and interact with a penguin. As a result, it was Krystal’s favorite activity at the park.

Amazing

Ride the Trio of Roller Coasters
SeaWorld Orlando packs more of an adrenaline punch than any other SeaWorld park. Thrill seeker will love Mako, Manta and Kraken.

Shamu’s Happy Harbor
A haven for children and parents, Shamu’s Happy Harbor has pint-sized attractions for kids and plenty of seating for parents.

seaworld-shamu-one-ocean-ssd

One Ocean Show
Killer whales are the focus of One Ocean, a show that connects the majesty of these ocean creatures with an overall message of conservation.

Want to learn more about Krystal’s day at SeaWorld Orlando? Read her full article at Sweet Sunny Days.

SeaWorld San Diego

Real

Touch a Bat Ray
Did you know bat rays are closely related to sharks? Their skin is also super smooth. Find out for yourself with these real (and free!) experience.

seaworld-christmas-34-oc-mom

Dolphin Encounter
At the Dolphin Encounter, Shelby and her family were able to touch and feed dolphins. This was the highlight of their day!

Behind the Scenes Tour
SeaWorld San Diego has a strong rescue operation—over 900 animals have been helped this year alone! On this behind the scenes tour, get an inside look at how these recovery missions work as well as the animals they help rescue.

Amazing

Pet’s Rule Christmas
Shelby’s family loves household pets, which made this show an easy favorite. This another show you can also see year-round, when it’s simply Pet’s Rule. Same antics, less holiday music!

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Dolphin Island Christmas
Dolphins and pilot whales get into the Christmas spirit during this festive show. Not visiting during Christmas? Don’t worry. Dolphin Days showcases the same beautiful animals in the regular season.

Christmas Experiences
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is truly amazing. Kids love the meeting Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Plus, you can’t resist the magic telling Santa what’s on your wish list this year.

To discover more of Shelby’s day at SeaWorld San Diego, read her full blog post at OC Mom Blog.

As you can see, SeaWorld is one park you can easily discover in two ways: real and amazing. Experience the park for yourself, on us!

A special thanks to our hotel partners, Holiday Inn Resort Orlando and Doubletree Hotel San Diego Hotel Circle, for sponsoring hotel stays for both of families.