Sunshine Villa Florida

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!

Disney Store Magical Egg Hunt Adventure

disney store egg hunt title

disney store egg hunt

If you are anything like me, I get the Disney blues when I am not in Disney especially when I see so many fun Disney events like the Epcot Eggstravaganza.  So I was delighted to learn that from now until April 13, you can visit your local Disney store and take part in an Easter Egg scavenger hunt.

disney store egg map

You will need to purchase a map and stickers from a cast member to begin your hunt. We paid $6.99 but this may vary depending on where you are located.  The store has hidden 8 eggs in and around the store that you will need to find.  Once you find an egg, you take the corresponding sticker and place it on your map.  There is a Spider-man, Woody, Stitch, Darth Vader, Mrs. Incredible, Elsa, Iron Man, & BB8 that you will need to find.  Once all 8 eggs are found, you take your map to a cast member who will provide you with your choice of a cute Minnie or Mickey Easter egg with a little surprise inside.

Our local store even had a pin board for trading! Not all store do so we suggest calling first if this is something you want to partake in.

disney store pin board

There are no set times, you can start your egg hunt at any time during store hours until April 13th.  Happy hunting!

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

Beyond The Parks – Get Up Close And Personal With Florida’s Wildlife

beyond the parks

In another Beyond The Parks edition, we explore Homosassa Springs State Park.

Want to get up close and personal with Florida’s Vibrant wildlife? Discover the wild-side of Florida with endangered Florida panthers, red wolves, manatees and whooping cranes, plus black bears, bobcats, and, of course, alligators.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park occupies almost 200 acres around Homosassa Spring, which is the primary source for the Homosassa River. The main entrance to the Park is along US19 in the town of Homosassa Springs where you will find ample parking, a visitor center, snack bar and gift shop. From that location, you can take a tram or pontoon boat to the west entrance about a half mile away. The central feature of Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is the main spring, where you can view the spring from the “Fish Bowl” floating underwater observatory, where East Indian manatees are almost always present. A unique underwater structure, the Underwater Observatory, allows visitors to “walk underwater” beneath the spring’s surface and watch the various fish and manatees swim about. An astounding number of fresh and saltwater fish still congregate in the natural spring bowl—large jacks, snapper, snook and others. The Park serves an important role of being a rehabilitation center for orphaned or injured manatees that recuperate in the spring waters before being released again to the wild.

The park also features a variety of captive animals such as alligators, black bears, red wolf, key deer, flamingos, whooping cranes and the oldest hippopotamus named Lu in captivity. The native wildlife that reside in the park serve as ambassadors for their species, providing visitors face-to-face connections between the diverse Florida habitats and the animals that call those habitats home

Paved, wheelchair accessible paths wind throughout the park, allowing easy access for viewing black bear, Florida panther, bobcats, deer, alligators, and many other species. In addition to the animals that are housed at the park – most of which have been injured, or for some other reason cannot survive in the wild – a large number of wild birds and other species call the Park home.

Hours are 9:00 – 5:30

Adults (age 13+) $13, Children (ages 6-12)  $5, Children 5 and under, free

4150 S. Suncoast Blvd.
Homosassa FL 34446   (352) 628-5343

Boggy Creek Airboat Ride Through The Everglades- Beyond The Parks

beyond the parks

We know that the majority of travellers visiting Orlando come for the theme parks, but there is much more to Orlando than parks! There is no shortage of fun activities and many of them have nothing to do with theme parks.

We feature blogs we like to call “Beyond the Parks” which offers you planning options that are outside the typical roller coaster thrill rides. We will show you the vast array of recreational activities and indoor attractions beyond the parks. Like this Underwater Light Show and Orlando’s natural lazy river .

Give Boggy Creek Airboat rides a try!  Glide across the headwaters of the Florida Everglades at speeds up to 40 mph aboard six-passenger airboats. Discover territory that remains unaltered in the wilderness of the Central Florida Everglades.  You will be taking into the breathtaking beauty of nature, including wetlands and wildlife.  See alligators, turtles, birds and more in their natural environment.

Half hour tour:      $28.95 for adult and $24.61 for children

1 hour tour:          $48.95 for adult and $41.61for children

Private 1 hour:     $63 per person

Sunset tour:         $59.95 for adult and $50.96 for children

You drive:             $349 2 people, 1 hour

Feeling super adventurous? They even offer a night tour! Glide through the trails of tall grass without knowing what lurks around the bend. $59.95 adult and $50.96 for children.

You can purchase your tickets here.

TIP: The best time to see alligator’s is early in the morning, before 10AM during hot weather, and later in the day in the cold.

So if you want a different kind of Orlando experience, be sure to follow our “Beyond the Parks” edition blogs.

Visiting Orlando With Pets? The Perfect Pet Daycare For Your Pet

Many people travel to Florida with their beloved fur babies but where do they go when you want to visit the parks?

Best Friends Pet Care is pet centre near Walt Disney World is a 27,000-square-foot pet care center offering boarding, daycare and grooming for dogs, cats and other family pets in a safe, healthy and fun environment. 

Choose from a range of accommodations and extensive menu of activities. While you explore the parks, your pet can enjoy playgroup, special treats and a movie!  After park-hopping, spend time with your pet playing in our private dog park or taking a walk around the grounds.

Best Friends Pet Resort welcomes all pets, regardless of where the family is staying. They do offer special discounts for Walt Disney World® Resort guests.  They are open 365 days a year and they follow Walt Disney World’s Extra Magic schedule for resort guests.

  • All Indoor Accommodations:These climate-controlled accommodations are up to 32 square feet, and provide a pet cot for your dog’s comfort. Dogs have unlimited access to their patio area, except during cleaning.

Accommodation sizes are 4’ x 7’ and 4’ x 8’. All rooms have 3 feet of clearance. The larger accommodations are comfortable for all medium sized breed dogs and some large sized breed dogs.

Our all-indoor accommodations include two potty walks with a staff member each day. Guests may visit to take their pet out into the dog park or the walking trail at any time during our normal operating hours.  $44 Standard/ $41 Resort Guest/ $37 Daycare

  • Indoor-Outdoor 2-Room Accommodations:These accommodations include a climate-controlled indoor bedroom with a pet cot, and an outdoor patio, which is protected from the elements. Dogs have unlimited access to their patios during the daytime for most of the year. During peak summer temperatures, however, to protect the dogs from the heat, the patio doors are opened four times during the day for access to the patio.

Bedrooms are 4’ x 4’ and 3’ x 4’. All bedrooms have a minimum of 3 feet of clearance. Patios are 3’ x 8’   and 4’ x 8’. Patios have more than 9 feet of clearance. The larger accommodations are comfortably sized for most dogs, except giant breeds.

All indoor-outdoor accommodations include one potty walk with our staff per day. Guests may visit to take their pet out into the dog park or the walking trail at any time during our normal operating hours.  $49 Standard/ $45 Resort Guest/ $40 Daycare

  • Vacation Villas:Our fourteen two-room villas provide an 8ft x 9ft (72 sq ft) tiled bedroom, with a raised platform bed and doggy-eye-level flat panel TV.  Each villa also has a private outdoor 4ft x 7ft (28 sq ft) relief patio.  The Vacation Villa boarding experience includes 1 Potty Walk, 1 Playgroup Session and Turn-Down Service each day all overseen by a personal pet concierge. $93 Standard/ $86 Resort Guest/ $93 Daycare
  • VIP Luxury Suites:For the ultimate in pampered pet boarding, we offer our four 226 sq ft super luxury suites.  These suites provide a 16ft x 9ft bedroom, with paw print floors and tile walls, glass doors, a raised platform bed and flat panel television, programmed for your pet’s entertainment.  Each suite also comes with a private covered outdoor play yard, where pets can enjoy private play time with their family, or with their personal “pet concierge”.  This all-inclusive boarding experience includes a wide range of daily complimentary activities: 2 Potty Walks, 2 Playgroup sessions and Bed Time Story each day, all overseen by a personal “pet concierge”.  Guests in our Super Luxury suites may also enjoy a complimentary “Go Home Fresh” bath after a 3-day minimum stay.  $109 Standard/ $101 Resort Guest/ $109 Daycare


  • a la carte for Doggies:
  • Play & Stay- $22  
  • (Four hours of play with other dogs)
  • Playgroup- $15    
  • (30 minutes of play with other dogs)
  • Playtime- $8    
  • (10 minutes of play with an associate)
  • Cuddletime- $8
  • Walk & Explore- $8
  • Bedtime Story- $6
  • Ice Cream Break- $4
  • Holiday Meal- $5
  • Premium Bed- $5
  • Kitty City is designed to be a sanctuary for our feline friends.  Housed in a separate wing of the building, it is protected from the sights, sounds and smells of dogs. We have accommodations for up to 24 kitty guests, who can relax in your choice of a two-room or four-room condos, and watch the world through their windows.  Each condo has a separate, private relief area; and all condos are individually vented to outdoors for the health of our guests.  Two Level Kitty Condo

$28 Standard/ $26 Resort Guest/ $26 Daycare / Four Level Kitty Condo $40 Standard/ $38 Resort Guest/ $35 Daycare

  • a la carte Kitties:
  • Playtime- $8
  • Cookies & Milk- $3
  • Tuna on a Ritz- $3
  • Activity Toy- $3
  • Deluxe Kitty Bed- $5

Pocket pets: facility provides a safe little haven for “pocket pets” such as hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and ferrets.  Pet parents must provide their own housing/cage and all supplies (food, bowls, litter, etc.) for their pocket pet. Small- $13 Standard/ $11 Resort Guest

Medium- $17 Standard/ $15 Resort Guest

Large- $22 Standard/ $20 Resort Guest

X Large- $25 Standard/ $23 Resort Guest

 Reservations are strongly recommended.  Visit their website for up to date rates, terms and conditions.

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2019

universal orlando mardi gras 2019

Florida’s biggest party – Universal Orlando Mardi Gras – kicks off February 9thOnce again Universal Orlando brings New Orleans to Central Florida until April 4, 2019.

Enjoy nightly parades with outrageous performers, colorful costumes and countless beads flying through the air. Catch some of the biggest names in music live in concert on select nights.

The star-studded concert line-up includes:

  • Saturday Feb 9 –       BUSH
  • February 16-              GAVIN DEGRAW
  • Feburary 17-              DAN + SHAY
  • Feburary 23-              MACKELMORE
  • March 9-                    BECKY G
  • March 10-                  SEAN PAUL
  • March 16-                  STEVE MILLER BAND
  • March 17-                  ZIGGY MARLEY
  • March 23 –                NF
  • March 24-                  PITBULL

If you plan on viewing any of these performances, keep in mind that there are no seats.  You will be standing therefore you should plan to arrive at least 2-6 hours before the concert starts- the more popular the act, the earlier you should arrive.  Checking out crowd calendars beforehand may help with your planning.

The nightly parade will entail 12 floats and the theme will be “Party Animals.”  The floats and performers will be dressed as their favorite spirit animals from all over the world like the Artic, jungle, ocean and more. It’s an elaborate affair giving guests the opportunity to dance along with street performers and collect beads by handfuls as you watch the fun, colorful floats pass by.

Parade times:

5:15PM:

February 21 & March 4th:

6:15PM

Feb. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
Mar. 1, 5, 6, 7, 8

7:15PM:

March 3

7:30PM:

Mar. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
Apr. 1, 2, 3, 4

7:45PM:

Feb. 9, 16, 17, 23
Mar. 2, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31

Enjoy authentic mouth-watering Cajun food available for purchase. Enjoy a variety of New Orleans dishes at the French Quarter Courtyard like beignets, frog legs, crab etoufee and crawfish.

universal orlando mardi gras kingcake

Additionally, you can enjoy authentic New Orleans bands each nigh.  Enjoy the beats of the Big Easy! Catch these authentic New Orleans bands performing daily in the French Quarter.

  • February 9-17:                 Dirty Bourban River Show
  • February 18-27:               Naughty Professor Brass Band
  • February 28-March 18:    Free Agents Brass Band featuring Honey Bannister
  • March 19-April 4:             New Breed Brass Band

You can enjoy all set of activities FREE with as long as you have an admission ticket on the Mardi Gras event date.

Want a chance a riding on one of the floats and tossing beads into the crowd? Here’s how!

Annual Passholders:

There is a sign-up form that annual passholders can access, which formally requests a spot on one of the floats. There are a few things that you should be aware of first:

  • Space is limited, and signing up does not guarantee a spot
  • Must be 18 years of age (or accompanied by an adult)
  • Must be at least 48 inches tall
  • No bags or strollers
  • Floats can accommodate guests in push wheelchairs with advance notice

On-site Hotel Guests:

Universal has allowed a limited number of Universal Orlando on-site hotel guests to also participate in the Mardi Gras parade. The same restrictions as above apply here.

The link to register is advertised as UniversalOrlando.com/MardiGrasFloat; however, this link does not seem to work. Some guests have had success visiting the ticket counter at their on-site hotel or stopping by Guest Services at Universal Studios Florida, so that’s what we recommend you do.

 Standby

Each night, two hours prior to the parade time, there is a standby line that forms outside of A Day in the Park with Barney in Woody Woodpeckers Kid Zone. Should there be spots on the floats due to the previously-outlined guests not showing up, a limited number of those in the line may be allowed to ride a float. We hear this is most likely to happen on a weekday.

Got kids? The Little Jester’s Parade Viewing Area located in front of the Brown Derby Hat Shop offers an unobstructed view for petite partygoers.  Access is available beginning one hour before the parade starts.