Sunshine Villa Florida

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail

tree trail

Disney Springs is a personal favourite of ours and we make a point of visiting several times during our stay.  From shopping, to great food, events and entertainment, its a must see.  Much like every other Disney property, Disney Springs transforms into a magical winter wonderland during the holidays.  One special feature is the Christmas Tree trail where you can discover several holiday trees inspired by a Disney Character or theme like:

  • Haunted Mansion
  • Frozen
  • Rapunzel
  • Muppets
  • Star Wars
  • Fantasia
  • Disney theme parks
  • Mickey & Minnie
  • Beauty & the Beast
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Little Mermaid
  • Princess & the Frog
  • Mulan
  • Snow White
  • Cinderella
  • Robin Hood
  • Jungle Book
  • Mary Poppins
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Toy Story

Disney springs is FREE to enter & park making it a great option for a non park day, or an evening stroll.  There are plenty of photo ops during this walk through experience accompanied with holiday music and falling SNOW!  You can even encounter Santa himself and deliver your Christmas list in person. Begin your tour near the play fountain outside of Once Upon a Toy in the Marketplace.

The Christmas Tree Trail can be seen until January 6, 2019 from 11:00am – 11:00pm.  And if you can’t see it in person, here is a great video capturing the beautiful trees.



Your Ultimate Guide To Holiday Events In Orlando

orlando holiday events

Christmas is the Orlando area is simply spectacular. It sparkles with magic and cheer!  Holiday traditions and joyful celebrations transform Orlando into a Christmas wonderland. Here is your ultimate guide to Orlando holiday events.

Disney Springs Christmas Events

Disney Springs is always on our list when visiting Orlando. But the magical decor during the holidays makes it extra special. Disney Springs offers a variety of seasonal entertainment during the Holiday Season.

From November 8th 2018 to January 6th 2019

  • Christmas Tree Trail– From November 8, 2018 through January 6, 2019, discover 27 holiday trees—each inspired by a Disney character or theme like Mary Poppins, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, among others. New this season is Star Wars and Toy Story.
  • Santa’s ChaletCelebrate the spirit of the season during an enchanting visit with Santa Claus—at the Disney Springs Marketplace from Nov 28-December
  • Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt– Solve clever clues to help everyone’s favorite galactic rascal track down gifts for his ‘ohana.

There’s plenty of live entertainment, carolers, stilt walkers, holiday sweets and treats, a live dj and dance party.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom explodes with holiday magic & cheer during Christmas. No other park sparkles quite like this.

  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
    22 select nights November 8th to December 21st 2018

    Join family, friends & Mickey too for an oh-so-jolly holiday celebration! It’s the party of all parties during Christmas in Orlando. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is packed with live entertainment, a spectacular festive parade, a new fun, musical stage show and an explosion of thrilling fireworks.
  • A Frozen Holiday Wish 
    Every night, Anna, Kristoff and the irrepressible Olaf join Queen Elsa on stage where she uses her icy powers to transform the Castle into a glistening ice palace.
  • Jingle Cruise
    Jungle Cruise is transformed for the Holidays into a holly jolly Christmas cruise. All the regular props sprinkled with holiday cheer. Even the boats get new names.
  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade
    This parade is exclusively for guests attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Celebrate the season with Disney friends as they stroll by in a festive procession featuring jolly St. Nick on his sleigh.
  • Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Season
    The Holiday fireworks are reserved for guests attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

We’ve highlighted Magic Kingdom, but there’s lots of other holiday events going on at the other Disney resorts and you can see them all here.

Universal Orlando Resort Christmas Events

Universal Orlando unwraps a resort wide celebration.  Experience Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are transformed with holiday cheer.  Treat yourself to Universal’s Holiday Macy’s Parade and watch the live retelling of Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale starring the Grinch in the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular.  Holiday events run from November 17th 2018 to January 6th 2019.

Universal Studios Florida

  • Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s
    Merry and Mayhem combine as the Minions join Santa Claus in an incarnation of Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, a holiday favorite that also features characters from Madagascar and Shrek.
  • Mannheim Steamroller The best-selling holiday artist of all time visits Universal Studios as Mannheim Steamroller returns for live performances.
  • Blues Brothers Holiday Show is a hit with all ages with songs like ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ and ‘Blue Christmas’.
  • Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley Diagon Alley is transformed with festive décor & lighting

Islands of Adventure

  • The Grinchmas Holiday SpectacularExplore Seuss Landing™, filled with the Christmas charm and cheer of Who-ville. Delight in The Grinchmas™ Who-liday Spectacular, a live retelling of the classic holiday tale starring The Grinch™. Plus, meet the maven of mischief himself for an autograph and photo.
  • The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast
    Choose from irresistible entrees and get your camera ready. The Grinch™ himself will make the rounds, stopping to pose for photos and share hilariously snarky small talk.  Reservations
  • Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade
    With its buildings already covered in snow it’s the perfect backdrop for its holiday transformation. Don’t miss Hogwarts Castle fabulously lit by a projection-mapping show.


LEGOLand Christmas Bricktacular

December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22-31 2018
Thousands of LEGO and DUPLO bricks create a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree with dancing lights and songs on until December 25th.  Build Lego trees, mail a letter to Santa and don’t miss the nightly 3D fireworks!

This jolly time of year features a combination of seasonal shows, special treats, twinkling lights and more during Christmas Bricktacular and Kids’ New Year’s Party! These events are included in general admission – no extra ticket required.


Christmas in Celebration Florida

Now Snowing in Celebration

November 24th through Dec 31st 2018 Celebration, Florida is the town that Disney built.  Now Snowing, Central Florida’s original and premier “Snowing” event, offers one of the area’s only synthetic ice rinks, special community performances by some of the area’s top young talent, and special concert events throughout the season. Now Snowing is a month-long Winter Wonderland Spectacular featuring strolling Charles Dickens style Carolers, photos with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, ice skating, train rides, and nightly snowfall at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 PM. It’s a true throwback to the traditional family style holiday. Festivities kick off on Nov 24 with the Tree Lighting Ceremony from 5.30 – 9.00pm.

The main event is the nightly “snowfall”  Who says it doesn’t snow in Florida? Nightly Snowfalls are at 6.00, 7.00, 8.00 and 9.00 pm.

There’s also Santa in his chalet, horse drawn carriage rides, and the Celebration Express Train.

Celebration Holiday Home Tours

The Celebration Holiday Home Tour is held December 1st 2018 from 3-9 p.m. and December 2nd 2018 from 1-5 p.m.  This self-guided tour takes visitors on a journey through several of the town’s fabulously decorated homes. Visitors can enter each home to see beautiful decorations and custom New Urbanism architecture by the Walt Disney Company. Visitors will also enjoy extravagantly decorated trees and tablescapes in the expanded Winter Wonderland.

ICE! At Gaylord Palms

November 16th 2018 to January 6th 2019
ICE! is back at Gaylord Palms with an all-new theme featuring the beloved classic holiday movie A Christmas Story. Watch this hilarious family tale come to life through interactive ice sculptures and displays. Experience iconic scenes such as The Old Man’s Major Award, Aunt Clara’s pink nightmare and the ultimate triple dog dare at the school’s flagpole. Everything is hand-carved from two million pounds of ice.

Features include:

  • ICE! Featuring A Christmas Story
  • Dreams of Christmas Light Show
  • Cirque Dreams Unwrapped
  • Atrium Christmas Tree Trail
  • Frostbite Factory
  • Alpine Rush Snow Tubing
  • Santa’s Snow Throw
  • Photo’s with Santa
  • Claus Christmas Traditions and Story Time Sing-a-long

Space Coast LightFest

Nightly throughout December

More than 3 million twinkling holiday lights will ignite the night sky at Wickham Park. The Spac Coast Lightfest is a holiday themed drive through event. This event attracts over 15,000 cars.  Over 2.7 million twinkling lights create this dazzling wonderland.

When: From 6.30pm to 10pm November 19th 2018 – January 1st 2019
Melbourne, Florida

Mount Dora Christmas Events

Nov 3 – Dec 30 – Polar Express Train Ride
Dec 1- Dec 2 – Mount Dora Holiday Homes Tour
Dec – Thurs/Fri/Sat – Mount Dora Food Tours

Daily in December:

  • Mount Dora Christmas Lights Tour
  • Mount Dora Christmas Light Cart Tour
  • Take the Polar Express from Tavares train station to the North Pole.
  • Rusty Anchor Christmas Lights on the Lake Tour – twice nightly.

Happy Planning!

Photo credit: Disney Photo Snapper, Universal


4 Ways To Beat The Orlando Heat This Summer

regal palms pool

Snowbirds like to visit Florida during the winter months to escape the cold in exchange for some Southern heat. But for people like me who are parents, we like to visit the parks during summer break when the kids aren’t in school. But that means sweltering humid temperatures. So how do you deal with the Florida summer temps? Well we’ve come up with 4 ways to beat the Orlando heat this summer.

Resort Pool

If one thing is certain about visiting Florida during the summer, it is that you’re going to need to spend some time in the pool. Luckily for those who stay with us, they will have full access to the community pool.  It features a zero entry for your little ones, a ripping water slide, and lazy river in a lush tropical setting.

regal palms pool

Cold & frozen treats

Icy treats are the perfect accessory on a hot summer day. While at the parks, you can indulge in one of the many frozen or cold food and beverage options available to purchase. You can find some satisfying sweets or icy beverages dining locations and carts scattered throughout the theme parks. My personal favourite – Dole Whip! Another personal favourite is Twistee Treats. You can spot these cone shaped buildings scattered around the Orlando area and they offer creamy soft serve ice cream in a combination of flavours. Don’t forget you can also visit our onsite restaurant Frankie Farrells for a cool beverage.


Indoor attractions & entertainment

When you aren’t soaking up the sun at pool, chances are you’re in one of the theme parks. Although many of the attractions and entertainment are outdoors, there are plenty of indoor options in each park that are out of the sun and into the air conditioning.

Many of the classic attractions at the Magic Kingdom such as The Haunted MansionPirates of the Caribbean, and, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, are perfect for visiting on a hot day. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy some of the old school attractions that you may not have experienced in a while.  Don’t forget our resort has an indoor arcade that you can escape to when in need of some A/C and some gaming fun.

Disney Springs Beat the heat

“Beat the Heat DJ Party,” offers visitors the chance to chill out and cool down. With a lively DJ, always-on fountains, and a playful combo of bubbles, hula hoops and beach balls, the party is a huge hit with guests of all ages. During this daily extravaganza, kids and adults are encouraged to dance, splash and simply take a break.  You can join the fun at the splash pad near Once Upon a Toy for a Beat the Heat DJ Dance Party!

DS beat the heat

We hope that our tips will help you beat the heat this summer.

Amphicar Water Tours


The BOATHOUSE® in Disney Springs is the only place in the world that offers the unforgettable & thrilling experience of a Captain’s Guided Tour in a vintage Amphicar.  What is an amphicar? Well, its a cross between a car and a boat! These rare cars drive on land and enter the water with a splash, taking you on a Captain Guided, 25-minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs.  There were less than 4,000 of these unique amphibious vehicles produced during the 1960’s. Less than 400 exist worldwide today and you can experience one at Disney Springs!

Tours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (weather permitting).
Walk-up reservations can be made at the The Boathouse BOATIQUE
20 minutes | $125 per car | Up to 3-4 people in the car per tour.

Receive a $25 Reward toward an Amphicar Tour with a Restaurant or BOATIQUE purchase of $50 or more.



Late Nights At Disney Springs

Disney Springs has a little something for everyone. Whether you enjoy dining, shopping, live entertainment, or a little Disney, you are sure to find something to enjoy.

And it’s cooler after the sun goes down at Disney Springs.  Join the late-night your way every Thursday-Saturday until 2 a.m! Whether you opt to stay and linger after dinner, decide to visit after a day in the Disney Theme Parks, or choose to come specifically for a little late-night fun, there are plenty of ways to make the night your own.  There’s plenty of free parking and no cover charges!

You can visit the following venues for late-night dining, hand-crafted cocktails, and incredible entertainment:

  • Boathouse– A live-band performs inside until midnight, but the over-the-water deck bar offers stunning nighttime views (cool breeze included) until the night concludes. Hungry? The full menu is available until 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
  • The Edison – The hand-crafted cocktails speak for themselves, but when you add in entertainment that includes a mix of live musicians, flapper-style dancers, stunning aerialists and a DJ with a ready-to-go dance floor, it’s clear to see why The Edison has already become one of the most sought-after late-night destinations in Central Florida
  • Enzo’s Hideaway– The speakeasy-vibe continues at this intimate hideout. Be on the lookout for a soloist who, when mixed with a rum beverage from the bar, will transport you back to a bygone era.
  • Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar– When the day crowd clears out, expect some fun additions, including larger-than-life games that give you permission to enjoy some friendly competition with friends, both old and new.
  • Paradiso 37– Looking for some Latin flare? The volume is turned up on this energetic venue where dancers and live music pair perfectly with the largest selection of tequila at Disney Springs
  • Morimoto Asia– A special entrance leads upstairs to a tucked-away Asian Ultra Lounge. This under-the-radar addition is a très chic, little-known gem that’s perfect for date night for two or gathering with friends
  • STK– Style and sophistication take center stage at this upscale steakhouse-turned-lounge once the dinner set departs. Hip DJs read the crowd and masterfully mix playlists to get the party started
  • Raglan Road– For over a decade, this authentic-as-they-come Irish bar has been one of the very best late-night options in town.

Late nights run until June 29th.

More info here

Sprinkles Cupcakes

Like cupcakes? Have you ever purchased one through a cupcake ATM? Well you can at Sprinkles!

Sprinkles is a gourmet cupcakery located in Disney Springs. They serve up fresh baked cupcakes with unique flavours using high quality ingredients. Their cupcakes are deliciously moist, and bursting with flavour.  Choose from Red velvet, chocolate marshmallow, salted caramel and more.  They even offer Vegan, gluten free and sugar free options.

Late night craving? No problem!  You can visit their pink cupcake ATM just outside the store.

Sprinkles also serves ice cream, shakes and coffee.

Visit their full menu here

Disney Springs Lands Among New York Times’ Top Places to Visit In 2018

disney springs

Disney Springs is among several U.S. spots on a newly released New York Times list of the 52 Places to Go in 2018 coming in at number 41.

The focus of the New York Times article is how Disney Springs provides “an unexpected culinary destination with a focus on grown-ups. Rick Bayless, Masaharu Morimoto, Wolfgang Puck and Art Smith have all opened restaurants here, and George Miliotes is launching a wine bar in spring 2018 that will be the only master sommelier-ied wine bar in the state. There are boutiques, a House of Blues and partying opportunities aplenty — all giving adults a new reason to go to Disney,” wrote Nell McShane Wulfhart.

To read the full article Click here

What is Disney Springs?

Disney Springs is an entertainment complex brimming with unique boutiques, culinary experiences and live entertainment.  It’s everything from a brief visit to a full day—and well into the evening— experience. A fun break from the parks, and there’s enough going on to please shopaholics, foodies and picky children.  It’s free to access and divided into 4 main areas:


Family friendly area home to many shops & dining options including Lego store and T-Rex family restaurant.

West Side:

Ignite your senses with the sound of applause for world renowned shows and the tempting aroma of treats to be discovered. Be sure to check out a live band at The House of Blues.

The Landing: 

A waterside district with several new restaurants with beautiful waterfront views and new buildings designed to look like they’ve been there for years. Enjoy a dockside cocktail at The Boathouse.

Town Centre:

This area is themed after Florida’s turn of the Century waterfront towns and includes over 30 shops and a variety of dining options and a playful promenade that lets you relax, refresh and reconnect.

Whether you want to dine at a celebrity restaurant, do some shopping, listen to a live band or cruise Lake Buena Vista on an amphicar or Italian water taxi there is plenty to do for everyone! Visit their website here for a complete listing of all it offers.