Eating Around the World at the 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Hey all! Today I want to take a break from writing about my recent trip to Paris and Rome, and share a peek of what I’ve been up to since returning stateside. Blog-wise, it looks like I’ll be in Europe through the end of the year, and I’m in no hurry to stop writing about my favorite place in the world!

That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped adventuring around my adopted hometown of Orlando, however! September was a very busy, very exciting month, both in my blogging and in my personal life. It started off with the wedding of a good friend, quickly followed by Dan’s birthday weekend, and finally a visit from my younger brother Jared. September also marked the beginning of two of my favorite seasonal theme park events: Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, and the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World! Because these events have a limited run, I wanted to jump right in and share them while they are still going strong. First up is the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Continue reading “Eating Around the World at the 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival”

The 2016 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

It’s time again for the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival! I debated whether or not to write about this year’s event, since I already covered last year’s festivities. If you’re looking for tips on how to make the most of your time and money (hint: lighten up on the drinks), check outย my original festival post here.

Already know the basics? Read on to see how this year’s offerings compare. Continue reading “The 2016 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival”

A Muggle’s Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Welcome, Muggles!

By now, you’ve surely heard that the world of Harry Potter exists in Orlando, Florida.ย The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which first opened at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure park in 2010, takes fanatics and casual readers alike into some of the most popular scenes from the books and movies that captured a generation. First came Hogsmeade, and more importantly, Hogwarts Castle. From fire-breathing dragons to Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, the land realistically captured the magic of the series and served it up with a side of nostalgia. Continue reading “A Muggle’s Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter”

Why I’m Keeping My Disney Pass

If you’ve ever been to a Disney park, you know it doesn’t come cheap. And if you haven’t been to a Disney park, I’m guessing the insane cost is one of the biggest factors in that decision. As a traveler, I like to spend my money wisely. Instead of buying boatloads of expensive shoes, I save money regularly to put toward future trips. But there is one thing that I do pour an exorbitant amount of money into, something that pops up frequently in my blog posts. Year after year, I pay hundreds of dollars to have year-round access to Walt Disney World. Continue reading “Why I’m Keeping My Disney Pass”

All the Small Things: Orlando Edition

I’m wrapping up my Orlando posts for a while, but before I go, I wanted to share a few more details from my little brother’s visit back in September. I’ve already written quite a bit about our visits to Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World, but what about everything in between?

When Jared first booked his flight to Orlando, I asked him what one thing he wanted to do or see, aside from the obvious, “Go to Disney World.” His answer?

“I want to see some gators.” Continue reading “All the Small Things: Orlando Edition”

Around the World in One Afternoon

World Showcase, that is…but more on that later!

One of Jared’s last full days in Orlando was spent at Walt Disney World. I love hosting family members, and it was important to me that he enjoy himself enough to come back in the future. So on our final day of theme park hopping, Jared and I woke and joined the early morning crowd outside the turnstiles of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We planned to tackle the park’s rides and maybe hit a couple of shows, before taking an afternoon rest and exploring Epcot with Dan later that night. Continue reading “Around the World in One Afternoon”

Sharing a Few of my Favorite Things

One of my favorite things about living in Orlando is being able to visit Walt Disney World whenever I want.ย I know, I know. Orlando is much more than a bunch of theme parks, and there are plenty of people who think Disney parks are for people who can’t handle the real world. But there is just something about strolling along Main Street, cotton candy scent lingering in the air, that makes me feel happy. It’s like I’m on vacation along with everyone else in the park, when in reality, I have to be back at work on Monday. Continue reading “Sharing a Few of my Favorite Things”

Orlando Through a First Time Visitor’s Eyes

It almost makes me sick to think of how long it’s been since I last posted anything new. I could blame the holiday season…it’s hard to get to work when the Christmas tree is glittering, and there are presents to be wrapped and holiday festivities to be had. In reality I know it’s mostly just a horrible combination of a packed work and social schedule and my own (to put it bluntly) laziness. I’m always honest with my readers, but I think we’re at the point now where I can admit the embarrassing truth Continue reading “Orlando Through a First Time Visitor’s Eyes”

Experiencing La Dolce Vita at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Rome. Venice. Florence.

Is there anyone in the world who hasn’t dreamed of visiting Italy? Seeing a country that has so thoroughly influenced the world I know today has been a distant dream of mine for ages. Continue reading “Experiencing La Dolce Vita at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel”

Disney Day, Take Two!

Okay. You can do this.

I repeated it in my head as I got ready for the day ahead.

Water? Check.

Comfortable shoes? Check?

Companions in misery? Check. Check.

I popped yesterday’s enormous blister, shoved my feet back into gym shoes, and steeled myself for the day. Continue reading “Disney Day, Take Two!”