Theme parks and hotels provide fun holiday activities
The holiday season is magical in Orlando
By Phyllis Steinberg
Hundreds of families waited in long
lines and endured nine-degree temperatures in the Gaylord Palms Resort &
Convention Center in Orlando, FL at the resort’s “Ice” display which runs
through Jan.2. Two million pounds of ice were carved into magnificent
holiday displays which included an ice slides where young and old bundled up
and slid down the ice. Hotel staffers handed out heavy parkas to those who
didn’t come dressed for the occasion
huge “Ice” spectacular is just one of many magical activities that await
visitors to Orlando this holiday season. Thousands of brightly colored
lights depicting holiday scenes are glowing throughout the city and at the
Universal Studios Orlando has many
activities for the family during the holiday season including the famous
Macy’s Holiday parade which will be performed until Jan. 8. Disney’s Magic
Kingdom is presenting “Mickey’s Very Special Christmas Party” on selected
evenings throughout the holiday season.
There are many new rides at the
theme parks this season to spark memorable adventures for families. The
lines for the newest rides were the longest on my recent visit, but
Universal and Disney have fastpass machines that allow guests to re-schedule
a time later in the day to go on many of the busier rides without waiting,
thus avoiding long wait times for the most popular attractions.
newest attraction at the Magic Kingdom is “Stitch’s Great Escape.” This
delightful adventure may be too scary for children under six but will be
loved by the rest. The attraction uses the latest technology of smell and
touch to wreck havoc among the audience.
“Mickey’s Philharmonic Magic” is
another recent addition to the Magic Kingdom. Here, the lovable Donald Duck
directs an orchestra in 3-D with lots of instruments flying in all
has the thrilling Mission-SPACE to make this holiday extra special for young
and old. Four passengers are assigned a space craft, (which was actually
designed with the help of ASTA space engineers), and it is their job to
prepare for a mission to Mars. One of my travelling companions on Mission-
SPACE was an eight-year old boy, attired in a space suit and accompanied by
his father. Both father and son, had a great time on the ride and worked
together, each performing certain tasks insuring a safe landing on Mars.
Memories like this last a lifetime.
which boasts exhibits from many lands such as China, Norway, and Japan, was
all aglow with entertainment. In front of the Norway pavilion were singers,
dressed in their native costumes, and outside of the China pavilion a man
did magic tricks.
Universal Studios’s newest ride,
“Revenge of the Mummy” is a thrilling roller coaster ride,
in the dark, into the tomb of a mummy. You are not allowed to carry
backpacks or purses on the ride, but handy lockers are provided just outside
the ride to check your belongings. A machine scans your fingerprint and
locks and unlocks your locker. Universal has really gone hi-tech with this
ride. For those who are afraid of roller coasters, "Revenge of the Mummy” is
certainly not in the category of the giant roller coasters. It is a lot of
fun with dozens of special effects. I’m not a fan of roller coasters, but I
really enjoyed this ride. Another tip for avoiding long waits is to go in
the single passenger line. I decided to brave it alone and got on the ride
in less than five minutes.
overlook Sea World Adventure Park this holiday season. The lines are shorter
at this park and the attractions are fun and educational. New, this year is
“Shark’s Underwater Grill,” a restaurant where you can dine with sharks
swimming next to you in a giant walled aquarium. You can also dine next to
“Shamu” the killer whale who year after year continues to amaze the audience
with his repertoire of outstanding tricks.
Also, you can cool off in the
Penguin Encounter Exhibit where dozens of species of penguins make their
home at Sea World Adventure Park. There is also Stingray Lagoon where
youngsters have fun petting the Stingrays.
Even McDonald’s Restaurants are
special in Orlando. There are eight “Bistro Gourmet” McDonald’s in Orlando
which serve made to order breakfast, lunch and dinners on real plates with
silverware. These McDonald’s also have pool tables and game rooms. Try these
“Bistro Gourmets” for an extraordinary omelets, waffless, pastas and gourmet
coffees. Check out Orlando locations at
stayed at Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center on this visit to Orlando
and loved it. There are acres of beautiful gardens and replicas of Florida
locales such as the St. Augustine with its famous fortress and a Key West
fishing village, complete with its own sailboat. Gaylord Palms also has a
Canyon Ranch Spa Club which offers 25-massage, facial and body treatment
rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness center. The Gaylord Palms also offers
free transportation to the theme parks and has a computer in every room with
free internet access for all guests. The resort also has many restaurants in
a variety of price ranges and a wonderful buffet restaurant called “Villa de
The “Ice” spectacular is well worth
the wait to visit this holiday season at the Gaylord Palms Resort and they
give everyone who attends a blast of cold air in sunny Orlando and a free
cup of hot chocolate afterward.
For more information about events in
Orlando, visit Orlando’s official website at orlandoinfo.com or call
toll-free at 800-551-0181.
by Phyllis Steinberg
Back to TravelLady