Sunshine Villa Florida

What To Do For Mothers Day In Orlando

mothers day in orlando

Treat Mom to something special on Mother’s Day.

 Are you spending Mother’s Day in Orlando?  We’ve got some suggestions that will spoil your mom!

 The Silhouette Portraits

For a unique & sentimental souvenir, the Silhouette Portraits cart in Disney Springs Marketplace offer gorgeous framed silhouettes. You and mom can pose for an artist who cuts a portrait of your profile from plain black paper, resulting in a shadow-like image.  Pricing starts from $12 and you can have up to a family of 4.  A truly memorable souvenir.

Brunch

Here are a few restaurants offering brunch a lovely in and around the Orlando area:

Island Grove
Island Grove Winery at Formosa Gardens have a Mother’s Day Brunch featuring scones, crepes, eggs benedict, chocolate dipped strawberries and bottomless Mimosas! The cost is $39.95

island grove brunch

STK is offering a lovely Mother’s Day Brunch 10:30-3:00 on May 12th. featuring Brunch Classics, Raw Bar, Dessert Playground, DJ, Vie Vite Rosé Garden, Flower Wall & More! Cost is $79 and includes cocktails.

STK brunch menu

Maria & Enzo’s a signature mother’s day brunch featuring a spread of classic Italian dishes and fan favourites including Brioche French Toast, a live-action carving station, and a chocolate fountain. Cost is $45

maria and enzos brunch

Disney Character Couture

Mom deserves to be treated like a Princess, so why not give her a Disney Character Couture Package for Mother’s Day. Disney stylists will transform hair, makeup and nails into designs inspired by classic characters.

Character Couture Packages:

  • Timeless Transformation– Character Inspired Hair, Makeup & Nails – Adults $120, Children 4-12 $90
  • StoryBook– Character Inspired Hair – Adults $80, Children 4-12 $50
  • Magical Makeover– Character Inspired Hair & Makeup – Adults $105, Children 4-12 $75

Here is a list of the Character Couture Locations:

  • Ivy Trellis Salon – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
  • La Vida Salon – Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Ship Shape Salon – Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
  • Salon by the Springs – Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Shopping

What mom wouldn’t enjoy a day of Shopping?  Lucky for mom, there are tons of fabulous shopping in the Orlando area!

Disney Springs

Disney Springs has come a long way since it was Downtown Disney. Still home to old favourites but with the addition of a great shopping experience. Shop at stores like Alex & Ani, Pandora, Lily Pulitzer, Zara, Anthropologie, Coach, Mac, Ugg, Sephora, and more!

Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets 

You are bound to find great deals here at rock bottom prices at stores like Armani, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, Diesel, Adidas, Nike, Gap, Lacoste and more!

Florida Mall

Here you can shop at stores like Adidas, Aeropostale, American Girl, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, BCBG, Billabong, Disney Store, Forever 21 and is also home to Carlo’s Bake Shop from Cake Boss.

The Mall at Millenia

Shop at stores like American Eagle, Holllister, Vans, Foot Locker, Under Armour Abercrombie as well as high end shops like Jimmy Choo, Versace, Chanel, Gucci, Prada, & Hermes

Cake Decorating Experience at Amorettes

Decorate your very own culinary masterpiece — in the form of a Signature Mickey Dome Cake while under the instruction of the talented Pastry Chefs at Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs. It’s a hands-on class where mom’s walk away with a Signature Mickey Dome Cake that they have personally decorated. The 90-minute small group session is limited to just 14 guests, allowing for interaction and conversation with the Pastry Chefs. The experience takes place in Amorette’s Show Kitchen prior to the shop’s opening, and includes beverage refreshments (with alcoholic options such as mimosas and Bellini’s for guests 21-and-over).

Sundays through Thursdays at 9:00 am. 90 minutes

Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday classes decorate a Classic Mickey Dome Cake
Monday and Wednesday classes decorate the Artist’s Current Seasonal Mickey Cake

The cost for two people, including the cake and beverages during class, is $149 plus tax.

Book here

Happy Mother’s Day!

*Times and prices subject to change.

Cruise Ship Watching – Beyond The Parks Edition

As you know we like to feature our Beyond the Parks articles which introduces you to Orlando area activities that are not theme parks.  While fun, Orlando is so much more than that.  Today we talk about Cruise Ship Watching in Port Canaveral, Florida.

If you’re visiting Orlando and want something different to do than definitely consider Cruise Ship watching. It’s an experience filled with excitement, amazement and tons of fun!  Only an hour from Orlando, Port Canaveral is a hub for Cruise Ships such as Disney Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruises and seasonally, Norwegian Cruise Line.

Take your pick of one of these 3 delicious restaurants where you can enjoy some delicious cuisine while watching the ships cruise on by.

Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Gril

Their menu features a variety of delicious seafood options like, Conch fritters, tuna, shark bites, mussels, oysters and much more.  They also feature live musical entertainment every weekend.

Grills Seafood Deck:

Grills was built right on the water’s edge of Sunrise Marina and serves Breakfast Lunch Dinner & Dessert in an authentic Florida Style. The feature a unique Lionfish menu which contrary to popular belief is not poisonous, but a delicious, white flakey fish. They offer a vast variety of fresh seafood, sandwiches and sushi.

If you plan to visit either one of these restaurants on a Saturday or Sunday, the best time to arrive is around 3:30pm. Though the ships don’t begin their parade out to sea until approximately 4:30pm, to get an outdoor table next to the water, an early arrival is important and will increase your chances to snag a good outdoor.

Seafood Atlantic

A smaller and quieter restaurant/seafood market, Seafood Atlantic gives you the same views as Grills and Fishlips but with fewer people and fabulous fresh fish. You can even buy fresh fish or seafood at the little market and pack it in ice for your drive home.

Jetty Park

Jetty Park is one of the most sought after points of interest in Brevard County.  A 35 acre park at your fingertips offering a variety of activities .  You will have to pay an entrance fee ($15 for non-resident), but it’s well worth it. Once inside the park, follow the winding path until you get to the parking area. Park, grab your camera/smart phone and head towards the pier.

Jetty Park has campgrounds, a beach, fishing pier, concessions and is also currently developing a new Cruise Terminal.  The best spot to watch the ships are from the fishing pier.

What Time Do Ships Sail Away From Port Canaveral

Your best bet is to check the websites for Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Disney to find out the sail away times. But do it a week before you plan to go to Port Canaveral. If you wait until the day of the cruise to check the departure times, they will have been removed from the cruise lines’ websites.

Generally speaking, the cruise ships leave from Port Canaveral beginning about 4:00 pm.  If you’re heading out to Jetty Park, it’s about a 15-20 minute walk from the parking lot to the end of the pier.

Plan Your Disney Trip With Our FREE Planning Itinerary

disney planner itinerary

With 4 parks filled with so many attractions, shows, and dining, it could get overwhelming trying to plan your Disney vacation.  We have created a simple Disney Planning itinerary that you can download here FREE!

disney planner itinerary

Before planning, it may be helpful to check crowd calendars.  We recommend checking here.  This site provides crowd times for each month.

A lot of time and effort goes into planning your perfect Disney vacation.  Here are some great articles that you should check out before you go:

Travelling with pets? Read here

Want some insta worthy snaps?  Don’t forget to look for the elusive #disneywalls here

Beat the Orlando heat!

You’re all set to have a magical holiday!

Legoland Florida Ticket Discount Benefits Autism Speaks

legoland

Legoland Florida is offering discount pricing during the month of April in support of World Autism month.  You can purchase print at home theme park tickets at a discount rate of $42.50 plus tax or combo tickets offering same day admission to the theme park and water park for $65.50 + tax.  $10 of each ticket sold will be donated to the North and Central Florida markets of Autism Speaks.

Over the past couple years, Legoland Florida Resort has made ongoing efforts to make their resort a more welcoming place for guests with autism spectrum disorders.  Here are some of the ways Legoland Florida is accommodating guests on the autism spectrum:

  • To assist guests who have difficulty waiting in line, they have created a pass specifically for guests on the autism spectrum. The no cost “Blue hero pass” allows the guest and their family to bypass the standby line at popular attractions.legoland blue hero pass
  • Multiple “quiet rooms” located throughout the resort offer a private space where guests on the autism spectrum can relax with noise cancelling headphones, weighed blankets and soothing toys.quiet room legoland florida
  • “Social stories” where guests can see an illustrated step by step walk through of every ride and show, so guests won’t be surprised by periods of darkness, loud noises, bright lights or other elements that may be frightening or overwhelming. legoland social stories
  • The resorts newly hired Model Citizens now receive specialized training to prepare them with skills and sensitivities needed to more effectively interact with guests on the autism spectrum

The parent company Merlin Entertainments operate under a set of values that includes “we care”, and by working in partnership with organizations like Autism Speaks, they are committed to ensure that the place built for kids is truly built for all kids.

You can purchase tickets here. The offer is available now through April 30. Tickets must be redeemed by May 31, 2019.

*Photos courtesy of Legoland

Epcot’s Easter Egg-stravaganza

Every year during Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, Epcot hosts an annual scavenger hunt for Easter eggs.  This year the hunt runs until Sunday, April 21.

To join the scavenger hunt, you will need to first purchase a scavenger hunt map. The map costs $6.99 and you can find them at Disney Traders, Pin Central, or World Traveler.

*

The eggs on your sticker card are the eggs you are looking for around the park.  Keep your eyes peeled as some are tricky to find.

Place the matching sticker on your map after you have spotted the egg.  Once you have found them all, head over to Disney Traders to submit your map and receive your prize, the choice of one themed egg!  New this year is that the eggs themselves have a surprise inside!

Eggstravaganza is on through April 21st during Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival.  If your looking for an Easter service, Disney’s Contemporary Resort offers church services on Easter Sunday.

Hint:  Some eggs are located inside

*Image courtesy of All Ears

Gator Night Shine – Are You Brave Enough? Beyond The Parks Edition

When you think of Florida, what comes to mind? Sunshine? Oranges? How about gators?  In this edition of Beyond the Parks, we talk about Gatorland.

Gatorland lets you get up close and personal with the Florida natives in a nighttime experience- Gator Night Shine.

Gator Night Shine adventure takes you deep into the domain of Florida’s most famous reptile, the alligator!

Armed with only a flashlight and gator food, you bravely make your way along the winding wooden walkways of Gatorland’s Alligator Breeding Marsh. The sounds of the night come alive around you as the rustle of feathers overhead and the splashing of water nearby signal that you are not alone.

Turning your flashlight towards the water, you suddenly become aware of hundreds of hungry, glowing, red eyes slowly making their way closer…

Tour Length: 1 – 1.5 Hour (Tour begins at dusk, please meet at the far south end of the parking lot)

Number of People: Minimum 5, Maximum 25

Admission Policy: This guided tour is an after-hours special Gatorland event and is restricted to Gatorland’s Breeding Marsh. Gatorland will provide the flashlights, insect repellent, and some alligator food.

Tickets are $24.99 + tax

Of course Gatorland has plenty of day time encounters as well.  You can see alligators, crocodiles of all sizes along with the extremely rare white leucistic alligator.  They also have a free flight aviary, & petting zoo.

Gatorland Experiences:

Stompin Gator off road adventure: Board one of three, 12-foot-high custom-made, off-road monster vehicles for a 15-minute rugged and hilarious adventure like no other theme park ride anywhere.

Screamin Gator Zip Line: Soar across five intense zip lines ranging in length from 230 feet to more than 500 feet, and carefully cross a swinging bridge over the park’s main walkway.  Fly over alligators and crocodiles at speeds near 30 miles per hour.

Animal Shows: Thrills and chills abound as some of the largest alligators in the world jump four feet or more out of the water in this one-of-a-kind show. Learn more about alligators and crocodiles and their awesome powers.

Adventure Hour: Hand feed giant gators. Home to hundreds of alligators, you’ll have the opportunity to safely venture within a few feet of hungry, giant alligators and create a thrilling feeding frenzy.

Meet a gator: Get up close and personal with a gator for a photo opportunity

gatorland

Gatorland is open everyday from 10-5 rain or shine.

14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32837 (407) 855-5496

Sunset Walk At Margaritaville Resort Kissimmee – Beyond The Parks Edition

beyond the parks

In another Beyond the Parks edition, we visit Sunset Walk in Kissimmee. A new dining and entertainment complex created and located next to Margaritaville Resort.

Sunset Walk compliments the laid-back resort lifestyle of Margaritaville Resort Orlando, bringing multiple dining venues, live entertainment, and much more to the heart of Kissimmee. No matter what your speed, from sipping a margarita while people watching to sinking into a luxurious leather recliner at Studio Movie Grill, Sunset Walk offers multiple options for leisure and amusement.

Now open:

IT’SUGAR is a specialty candy store dedicated to satisfying the universal sweet tooth. It is a modern day playground that mixes novelty sweets, giant candy and unique gifts with mega-sized attitude; a place where all of your big, bold candy dreams come true

At Burger Fi, they never settle.  They craft their all-natural burgers using only the best Angus beef, free of hormones, steroids and antibiotics.  They even go the extra mile with other chef-created favorites like hand-cut fries, veggie burgers, grilled chicken and frozen custard desserts.

burger fi

Eat. Drink. Rock On.  Rock & Brews provides a superior dining experience with a Rock ‘n’ Roll twist. Their founders have a natural appreciation for Rock ‘n’ Roll music, an affinity for craft beer, and a desire for classic comfort food with a unique spin. Rock & Brews has the area’s most extensive tap list. Come visit and check out their unrivaled selection!

rock and brews

Studio Movie Grill:  This isn’t like your neighborhood movie theatre.  This state of the art theatre is 40,000 square feet and offers an unparalleled movie experience. Whether you come early or stay late, Studio Movie Grill will set the mood to socialize and connect. Once inside, enjoy custom luxury recliners, laser projection and Q-SYS sound systems paired with an American Grill menu, full-service bar and in theater dining. Service buttons are placed at every seat, so your server instantly knows when you need to place an order or need assistance, and we’ll deliver your order directly to your seat anytime during the show.

Coming soon to Sunset Walk:

Ford’s Garage:  Gourmet burgers and craft beers

Bahama Bucks: Tropical frozen desserts

Yeomans Cask & Lion:  Traditional British pub

Game Time:  A 24,000 square foot Family Entertainment Center offers fun indoor amusements with something for all ages.

Also coming is a new concert pavilion for live music, children’s entertainment area.

Sunset Walk is located at 3251 Margaritaville Blvd
Kissimmee, FL 34747   You can find their full directory here

See Which Great Whites Are Swimming In Florida’s Waters Right Now

Florida is surrounded by the ocean which means it’s also surrounded by marine life, including sharks, many of them whom enjoy hanging out in Florida’s vast surrounding bodies of water.

With the help of the tracking devices (and social media), Ocearch brings the ocean marine life to your screen.  Ocearch conducts research expeditions aboard the M/V OCEARCH, which serves as an at-sea laboratory. The M/V OCEARCH contains a 75,000 lb. capacity hydraulic platform designed to safely lift marine animals out of the ocean for access by a multi-disciplined research team.

Animals are caught from tenders, using handlines, and are guided by hand in the water on and off the lift. The animals are then brought to the submerged platform of the M/V OCEARCH vessel and the platform is raised. Once the animals are restrained and hoses of water have been set to enable a continuous flow of fresh seawater over the gills, the science team, made up of researchers and veterinarians, begins its process. Tags such as SPOT, acoustic, and accelerometer are attached, morphometrics are recorded, and samples, such as blood and tissue, are collected.

Ocearch has carefully crafted its procedures to minimize stress and risk to the sharks during research expeditions. From the capture to the release, the tagging, handling, and sampling procedures follow established protocols by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) of participating institutions.

Ocearch and partners have tagged & named several species of sharks (and other animals like loggerhead turtles & whales) and you can follow their aquatic travels through the oceans they call home.

Let’s meet some of the Great Whites currently swimming in Florida’s coastal waters (whom happen to have their own twitter handle. Check it out!)

  1. Miss Costa is a Sub-Adult Female Great White, weighing in at whopping 1668 lbs and a lengthy 12’5″ long. She is currently swimming around just off the gulf coast near Sarasota today!
  2. Hal is an adult male great white and is partial to the eastern side of the Sunshine State; last pinged on March 27th, 2019 – This big boy is 12’6″ long and is pretty heavy at 1420 lbs. He can be found swimming off the coast of Daytona Beach. His name is a tribute to Canada’s Halifax.
  3. Out of all the sharks we have near Florida right now, Katherine is the largest. She weighs exactly 2000 lbs and is a staggering 14’2″ long. Her location was last pinged on Feb 29th, 2019 a bit further out in the water near West Palm Beach.
  4. Caroline is a female great white, 12 ft 9 inches long weighing in at 1348 lbs. She was last pinged March 30, 2019 off the Cape Canaveral coast.
  5. Miss May is 10 ft 2 inches and was last pinged March 30th, 2019 off the Atlantic coast near the Florida/Georgia border.

You can see where these and more sharks are right now by tracking them on Ocearch’s shark tracker

Get Your Drink On – In A Big Way

Monkey Shoulder, the blended malt Scotch whisky, is bringing the fun back to serious cocktails in a big way, with the introduction of The Monkey Mixer
The giant travelling cocktail mixer made its debut during Arizona Cocktail Week last February and has made stops all around the country inspiring liquor fans to “Play With Your Whiskey.”
The truck resembles a cement mixer, but instead of construction materials, it’s filled with a cocktail called the “Mixed Up Monkey.” The drink features Monkey Shoulder whiskey, mint simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, soda and mint leaves.

In Orlando, the Monkey Mixer will be stopping at the following locations:

► March 21: 12 p.m.-3 p.m. at Twin Peaks (227 FL-436, Altamonte Springs)
► March 22: 5 p.m.-8 p.m. at Twin Peaks (8350 International Dr., Orlando)
► March 29: 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. at Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace (1900 East Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista)
► March 30: 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. at Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace (1900 East Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista)

Stops are being added for the truck through April 2, with exact details to be determined. All of the events are open to the public and individual venues have various cocktail specials.
Monkey Shoulder has received numerous accolades including designation as Drinks International’s Top Trending Scotch Whisky Brand of 2017, its fourth consecutive win in the category, and receiving the World Spirits Competition 2016 Double Gold honor.

Fun facts about The Monkey Mixer:
• The capacity for the “Mixer” is the equivalent of 123,000 bottles of Monkey Shoulder
• The Mixer is over 27 feet long, 13 feet tall and 8 feet wide
• The mixer is powered by a 5000 watt Cummins Onan diesel commercial generator
• The sound system packs over 2000 watts of power

This may be a fun, unique experience if your in the Orlando area.

Gluten Free & Vegan Dining Options Near Disney

vegan and gluten free dining in orlando

For those who are gluten intolerant or vegan, it can be very difficult to find delicious dining options.  We’ve rounded up 4 great restaurants that offer fresh & delicious vegan and gluten free options in the Orlando area.

Etho’s Vegan Kitchen

Etho’s menu is 100% vegan and features hearty, homestyle fare.

Gluten free options include a Coconut curry wrap, chickpea salad sandwich, and chocolate amaretto mousse for dessert.

601-B S New York Ave, Winter Park, FL, 32789, (407) 228-3898

 

Sweet Tomatoes/Souplantation

This restaurant is a buffet/salad bar style with fresh fruits, vegetables, soups and baked goods made from scratch, all following homemade recipes bursting with flavor.

Their current specials include vegan Sante Fe black bean chili, and gluten Free Lemon muffins.

12561 S.Apopka-Vineland RoadOrlando FL 32836  (407) 938-9461

Bolay

Bolay offers nutritious, wholesome and nourishing bowls that are 100% gluten free along with some vegan options.

Bolay creates the perfect blend of nutrient-rich and savory flavors by offering freshly prepared gluten-free ingredients. Choose your base (sweet potato noodles are yum!), veggies, protein (includes tofu), and sauce to create your own unique nutritious bowl bursting with flavour.

1971 Aloma Ave, Winter Park, FL 32792  (407) 907-6577

Hot Krust Panini Kitchen

Hot Krust Panini Kitchen offers any of their delicious panini sandwiches like their Florentine chicken on a gluten free bun, as well as vegan options like a tempeh bacon panini.

8015 Turkey Lake Rd, Orlando, FL, (407) 355-7768

We hope that we have given you some delicious dining options to try on your next visit.