Well, i’m sitting on yet another plane flying across the Atlantic, so I thought I would use some of the ‘boredom’ time to ramble on a bit and hopefully get some useful hints and tips down at the same time!
Sitting on a flight from Manchester to Toronto.
Normally I would type this up in our blog, but as my thoughts are going back to our last visit to Orlando, I thought I would write a ‘rambling thoughts’ page on the Bellavida site instead!
The good news is the flight is only going to take 6 hrs 30 minutes which is great compared to the 9 hours it usually takes to get to the villa in Orlando. We have family in a town called Terrace Bay in Ontario, so we are staying in Niagara for a few days, before flying over there. Never seem to be off a plane!
We have some guests in the villa itself at the moment, a really nice couple and their family, hopefully they are having a great time and the weather is great.
Anyway, onto a few hints and tips!
Getting around Disney
I have seen a lot of posts on forums recently where people ask if they should hire a car or not when staying at a villa, the answer is yes. So assuming you have a car, you might want to know some of the faster routes to different places.
Disney gets the first visit for most people, so Ill start there. The best way we have found is to turn out of Bellavida to the left, then drive up to Poinciana Blvd. Turn right onto Poinciana, go along for a couple of miles and you come to the 192 (camping world is opposite you). Cross the 192. Now, depending which part of Disney you are heading into, you have three options.
If you are going to Animal Kingdom or MGM, after crossing the 192, you follow the ‘follow the sun’ signs, these will turn you left onto a road called the ‘Osceola Parkway’. It is a toll road, i’m afraid I cannot remember the exact toll, but it was about 50 cents, but it is a easy and fast way into that side of Disney.
For Epcot, you go past the Osceola Parkway anf follow the road up to the 535. This is a t junction, an you turn left in front of a Wal-Mart. Follow the 535 for about a mile and Disney is signposted to the left, on ‘World Drive’.
For Downtown Disney, do the same as for Epcot, but don’t turn off the 535. After a few miles you drive under the I4, and then the entrance to Disney is on your left, and this puts you straight in Downtown Disney.
Magic Kingdom can be reached using any of the above, its at the back of Disney World, so I would just choose the route you prefer, personally I would probably use the Epcot route.
Of course, there is a lot more to Orlando than just Disney!
We find the best way to SeaWorld and Universal is to follow the Downtown Disney route, but turn onto the I4, towards Orlando when you get to it. Both are signposted from the I4. The Space coast is the same, you just follow the signs.
At the same place as the junction with the I4, if you take the road immediately before the I4 on your right, there is a popular restaurant called Bahama Breeze, and then the Florida Premium Outlet Mall.
If you go under the I4, and turn right into a place called ‘Crossroads’ there is a good mini golf in there, although there are a couple much nearer to home, so coming right back to the house, and want to play mini golf, just head up to the 192, turn right and there is a small course on your right, turn left onto the 192 and you will come across ‘Congo river’ golf which is fun, and is on your left after a mile or so.
Don’t forget with all mini golf course etc. to grab the little discount booklets they have in the entrance to Wal-Mart as most offer discounts.
Now, if you want to go supermarket shopping, there are two big options. You cant miss Wal-Mart, but there is also a Super Target’ on the 192 very close. To get there, take a left, then right onto Poinciana, then right onto the 192 and it will be on your left.
You will also pass a couple of nice restaurants that way, the Olive Garden is a nice Italian, and ‘Smokey Bones’ is great for ribs, If you turn left onto the 192 at the top, an go down as far as Celebration (just past Old Town), there is a place called ‘Charlies Steak House’, its not the cheapest, but the steaks are amazing, you can cut some with a fork, so its a favourite for us!
Old Town is interesting on the car night, usually at the weekend, a different ‘Orlando experience’ to Disney, and the town of Celebration is interesting, there are some huge homes in there worth millions, worth a nosey! The middle of the town is also quite nice, the cinema there is smaller, but usually quite quiet if you want to watch a movie.
If you fancy an airboat ride, Boggy creek are very good, to get there you turn left out of Bellavida, then left onto Poinciana (take care turning left as there are a lot of accidents – they are installing lights which will make things better), and simply follow the road for about 1 miles until it runs out. It i signposted as well!
Gatorland is another interesting half day, to get there you go right out of Bellavida, then right onto the 192. Follow the 192 for a couple of miles until you reach Orange Blossom Trail (its the road after John Young Parkway), and turn left onto Orange Blossom (O.B.T.). Gatorland is a couple of miles up, on the right. Keep going for about 3 more miles, and you drive past a large Costco on the left, then under the ‘528’, keep going and on the right you will find the ‘Florida Mall’. Its not that obvious, so if you look out for the ‘Best Buy’ store which is a large blue and yellow store on the left of the road, the mall is on the right opposite it.
‘The Loop’ is full of ‘home’ type shops, and they are building a JC Pennys there as well, to get there you just turn up John Young instead of Orange Blossom!
Well anyway, got to go, the meal is coming! I hope someone will find some of the info above useful, its killed an hour on the flight for me!