When our clients think about a theme park vacation in Orlando, they rarely consider the word 'relaxation' to be part of that equation. But, I am here to tell you, a vacation at Universal Orlando can be just that, relaxing! Below we have five key points going into great detail why you can truly enjoy your family time when visiting Universal and also relax at the same time!
1. The convenience here is huge! Almost all of Univeral's hotels offer very pretty walking paths that can take you from one hotel to another or to CityWalk, Universal Studios Florida, or Islands of Adventure. At night the walking paths are well lit. Another neat benefit of staying at Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Aventura Hotel, and Sapphire Falls Resort is that these hotels also offer a dedicated walking path straight to Volcano Bay. Water taxis are also available at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Orlando, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Taking a water taxi in the morning is a great way to start your day, it is relaxing with beautiful scenery. The water taxi takes you straight from the hotel to Universal CityWalk where you can then walk over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida. There is also complimentary shuttle bus service from Endless Summer as well as all of the other resorts.
2. One of our favorite stress-free benefits of staying on Universal Orlando property is the complimentary Universal Express Unlimited Pass your traveling party gets when staying at one of their three Premier properties, Loews Portifino Bay, Hard Rock, and Loews Royal Pacific. While the Express Unlimited Pass is free to those guests staying in one of the above mentioned resorts, don't you worry, you can still purchase it as an add on to any ticket purchase whether your staying on property or not. This pass is worth its weight in gold, especially during peak traveling seasons and the summer when it is extremely hot out. This feature allows you to pretty much skip the stand by line and walk right onto the attraction! (Disclaimer - Hagrids is not one of those attractions available yet with Express Pass) I love being able to know that there is no type of planning we need to do to make a specific ride we may want to do, and have the ability to just enjoy ourselves and allow the magic to happen spontaneously, not because we have over scheduled ourselves.
3. Their flexible dining options! There is no need to worry or stress about making dining reservations months in advance when you are visiting Universal Orlando. You can always walk up to almost any restaurant and never wait more than maybe 30 minutes at the most. Plus guests staying at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Hotel and Hard Rock Hotel receive priority seating at select restaurants. (Disclaimer- this is subject to change and availability may be limited during peak times or some weekends). We also love their great dining plans. Unlike other Orlando area vacations, Universal Orlando's dining plan offers the flexibility of tailoring it to whatever guests need it. Your whole traveling party is not required to have it in order to participate in the dining plan.
4. They allow pool hopping! Guests staying in Prime Value, Preferred and Premier hotels can pool hop simply by showing their room keys at other resort pools. As we chatted above, guests can walk to other resorts by utilizing those walking paths or take boat/bus transportation between resorts. The only resort that does not offer pool hopping is the Endless Summer value hotels Dockside and Surfside Suites. They also offer complimentary swim diapers, pool noodles, sunscreen and ice water at many of their pools. Each pool offers a unique experience. We totally recommend allowing an extra day or two of your vacation completely dedicated strictly to enjoying pool hopping.
5. Volcano Bay, Volcano Bay, Volcano Bay! This is probably the most relaxing water park you will ever visit with a vast array of slides and attractions. Volcano Bay tackles the inconveniences of carrying tubes and waiting in long lines by completely eliminating them by utilizing their ground breaking technology called TapuTapu. It is an interactive bracelet that you'll receive when you enter the park, it is free and required to wear (you will give it back at the end of the day when you leave). How does it work? You will see the current wait time when you arrive at a ride and you will just touch your TapuTapu on the totem pole if you want to get "on line" virtually. After doing this you are free to grab a cocktail, something to eat or hang out in the lazy river or wave pool while your waiting for your TapuTapu to alert you when it's time to ride. You can also take shots at special photo spots and get photos taken automatically on select attractions. The bracelet will also open and lock your lockers with a tap, and you can even use it to pay for food, drinks and merchandise.
Depending on when you are reading this blog, some of the amenities and activities we discussed may be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, but we hope to see them re-open in the future. Please make sure to check with your Starstuff Travel Planner to confirm any of the information and updates you may be interested in. To book your next Universal Orlando vacation reach out to a planner by clicking here!
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This year we decided to rent a home in Kissimmee, FL for part of our vacation. We rented a 6 bedroom 4.5 bath home in a gated community. The process was so easy! I was able to check-in online prior to arrival and 24 hours before my check-in date I was provided with the lock code for the door as well as instructions on how to check-out.
The home I rented was located in the Windsor at Westside community. The community features a club house with a huge resort style pool. The pool also has a kids splash park with a water slide and a lazy river! There is also a restaurant named Tu Casa as well as a bar with delicious libations! Music is played by the pool-side to help you really get into that vacation mode! Additionally, there is an indoor fitness center (which was closed due to Covid-19 with plans to reopen soon), volleyball court and multi-purpose sports courts. They had a lovely walking trail located around the lake, which was very peaceful.
Upon arrival, we entered through the main gate where we were greeted by a very friendly employee. I provided my confirmation number, address to the rental home, and my drivers license to the guard and he gave me a pass to keep on my dash. Check-in time is 4pm so the line at the gate can become very long at that time. Once you have the pass, you can use the other entrances by calling the guard house and showing your pass. Depending on the size of the home you are staying in, will determine how many cars you may have. The home I stayed in sleeps 15 so we were allowed to have up to 5 cars.
The home is two stories. On the first floor is the kitchen, living area, dining area, garage (converted into a game room with Air-Conditioning), laundry room with a washer and dryer, one half bath, and a Master suite (King Bed) with an attached bathroom that has access to the pool.
Upstairs was a huge loft with a wrap around couch and TV, and 5 bedrooms. The bedrooms included another Master Suite (King Bed) with an attached bathroom, an adorable Mickey Mouse theme bedroom with a Twin over Double Bunkbed, an Avengers themed bedroom with two twin beds. In between those two bedrooms was bathroom. Then there was another Mickey themed room with two double beds and the last bedroom with a King Size bed. In between these two last bedrooms was another bathroom. Additionally, all the bedrooms had TV’s with cable TV. There were closets (with hangers) in each room and a very large storage closet in the loft area. All of the bedrooms also had dressers.
The kitchen was stocked well with plates, cups, silverware, pots and pans. There were plenty of mixing bowls, pitchers, and plenty of cooking utensils. They did provide 1 roll of paper towels, a small amount of dishwasher powder and laundry powder. All of the toilets had 1 extra roll of toilet paper as well. They also provided 1 trash bag. The trash is picked up each day - you place your trash bag inside the bench outside of the front door each morning. There was also a broom and vacuum in a closet if you needed to clean up any spills/messes.
The home also had a screened-in private pool with a hot tub, an outside eating area, and pool loungers. There were lots of towels and I loved being able to wash the towels if we needed more! The house had plenty of space and would be great for large families or multi-generation families. It also gives your family lots of flexibility with your vacation styles. If you have family members that don’t want to go to the theme parks in the hot Florida sun, then they can stay home and relax by the pool.
The home is located only about 15-25 minutes from all of the Orlando Attractions (theme parks, shopping, and other recreational activities). There were plenty of grocery stores and restaurants within just a few minutes drive from this property. The house was spotlessly clean and my children are really missing the pool now that we are back home.
To learn more about renting a vacation home or to book your next magical stay, reach out to Jennifer McCann at JMcCann@Starstufftravel.com and visit her Facebook page by clicking here.
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Last week my family and I spent four days at Universal Orlando Resort. We arrived at Loews Royal Pacific Resort and headed inside. Upon entering the hotel we had our temperature checked and received our wristband for that day. These team members were wearing face masks and face shields. If you had previously had your temperature checked that day and received the corresponding colored wristband you did not need to have your temperature checked again. We then headed to the front desk to check-in. There we found plenty of social distancing markers on the ground to ensure you a safe distance in line. The front desk, concierge, bell services all had plexiglass installed to ensure safety for all. The elevators had hand-sanitizer (on each floor) and signs posted advising only one travel party per elevator. Daily room-service has been suspended, however, you were able to call for any amenities you may need - towels, trash bags, etc. The restaurants were serving the same limited menu and all tables were social distanced from each other.
Now let's head over to the parks….
Being that we were staying at Loews Royal Pacific we hopped on to the Water Taxi to CityWalk. The Water Taxi’s were clearly marked with signs notating which benches were open for seating. As you walk towards the parks entrance (either Universal or Islands of Adventure) there is a team member using a PA system reminding guests of Universal’s required face masks policy and also informing guests where to locate the U-rest areas.
Upon entering the parks guests hold up their ticket and the team member will scan with a handheld scanner. There were plenty of markers on the ground so guests knew where to stand to encourage social distancing. The lines for rides all had markings on the floor for where to stand. Each guest is given hand-sanitizer before entering the ride vehicle (you must use their hand sanitizer) and if it is a 3D ride the glasses will be given to you at that same time. All ride vehicles are social distanced as well by either a whole row of seats between parties or your own ride vehicle. I witnessed a guest take their mask off during the ride and at the end of the ride the team members took the ride vehicle out of rotation to sanitize. Each park has U- rest areas - outdoor spaces in which you can remove your mask. You can stay as long as you like and relax with reminders to remain a safe distance from other guests. Overall, I was highly impressed with their procedures.
Universals Mobile App was very helpful during our stay. You can view their safety guidelines, get a virtual line pass for select rides, mobile order food, and check wait times. Let’s talk about my experience ordering food - it was super easy. When we were ready to eat - I just hopped on the app, chose my restaurant, made my food/drink selections and paid for it. Once I got to the restaurant and was seated I just clicked the button to prepare my food and it was brought to my table. All of the quick service restaurants had team members at the entrance seat you at a table, you will also be required to use hand sanitizer at the entrance, another team member would come by and get your order number from your mobile order, then deliver you food for you. They would also get refills and anything else you might need. Team Members were also located at the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines and they would wipe down the machines after each guest.
Universal Orlando Resort has gone to great lengths to ensure their safety procedures are completely guest/team member focused, easy to follow, and enforced with the upmost respect. I am so happy to say that we felt incredibly safe, relaxed and had a very enjoyable time. As a parent of elementary school aged children I was concerned about the required face mask policy. I was worried that it would be more stressful for me to try to get my children keep their masks on, it would be uncomfortable for them, and I wasn’t sure if it would even be worth it. However, it was the complete opposite - my children kept their masks on without a single reminder from me. They never complained about the masks. That was also my experience witnessing other children throughout the parks. I was also not looking forward to wearing the mask as an adult. Florida is hot enough. But wearing the mask made no difference - I hardly knew it was even there. All Team Members were wearing their masks and I witnessed them giving gentle reminders to guests if they were not wearing the masks correctly. The crowd levels were very low with plenty of space to allow for social distancing. I sat back and watched to see if guests were following the procedures Universal Orlando has in place and I am so pleased to say that guests were following them. Guests and team members were very respectful with ensuring a safe distance between parties.
Hats off to Universal Orlando Resort for a job well done!
To learn more about Universal Orlando or to book your next vacation, reach out to Jennifer McCann at JMcCann@Starstufftravel.com and 'LIKE' her on FB by clicking HERE.
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Disney's Yacht Club Resort is a nautically themed resort in the Epcot area of Walt Disney World. The resort opened up on November 5th, 1990 with around 630 rooms. Located adjacent to it's sister resort, The Beach Club, these two resorts offer different color schemes and slightly different theming. Walking into the Yacht Club you will find a very stately atmosphere with Nantucket theming and colors of navy blue, dark colored wood, leather and even an antique globe. It sits on Crescent lake and is positioned across from Disney's Boardwalk Resort. One of it's many positive qualities is that it is actually walking distance to Epcot, Hollywood Studios and mini golf. If you are not interested in walking to those parks the resort does offer water taxi service. Since it connects to the Boardwalk area you also have access to the many different food options and nightly entertainment.
Another popular reason many guests are drawn to the Yacht Club is because a majority of their rooms sleep a family of five. With different bedding configuration such as two queen beds and one day bed, one queen bed along with one twin size sleeper chair and one day bed and many other options, this resort seems the perfect fit for those larger families.
Although there are a handful of restaurants that the Yacht and Beach Club share within their two resorts, the two sitdown restaurants in the actual resort itself are the Yachtsman Steakhouse and Ale & Compass. The Yachtsman Steakhouse is an exclusive dining experience that focuses on high quality grain fed beef. If you are a foodie and love a good steak, this is the place for you. You actually can watch the butcher hand cut steaks in the dry-aging room. Ale & Compass focuses on classic seafood dishes that are perfect for you seafood lovers. While Yacht Club offers a few additional lounges and quick service establishments, you can also easily walk to the adjacent Beach Club resort for additional sitdown and quick service dining.
Another reason many families are drawn to this resort is for Stormalong Bay, the pool that both Yacht and Beach Club share. A portion of the pool is about two feet deep with a complete sand bottom that has no hard concrete at all. There are also sand dunes in places where you can sit and build sand castles making this the perfect pool for parents with little kids. There are even sand toys sold in the gift shop. There is also a lazy river that, that before the pandemic, had tubes and noodles up for the grabs. Near the lazy river area there are also water falls and two hot tubes area. There is also a super neat water slide that looks just like a shipwreck with a near by walk up bar for those frosty poolside beverages. You can also easily access Beaches and Cream from the pool area. This is the fun dessert shop in the sister resort, Beach Club. One of my personal favorite things about the pool is that they offer men and women lockers/dressing rooms. When we have a late flight we hang out at the pool all day before showering and heading to the airport.
The Yacht Club resort has many fun family activities offered daily such as Movies Under The Stars, Pirate Adventure Cruises, motorized boat rentals, campfire activities and more. While these recreational activities listed are all pre-Covid I am sure at some point they will make a comeback to the resort. You will want your Starstuff Travel Planner to confirm that the activity you are looking to participate in is still scheduled for your trip arrival.
If this sounds like the resort for you, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today for more information by clicking here!
It is no secret that many families have been pent up in the house for weeks now and are looking forward to traveling this summer. It is also no secret many of them may be staying local or at least in the USA due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have put together some great ideas for families to start thinking about their summer vacation!
1. Park City, Utah - The activities available to you during the summer here are endless. You can try fly-fishing for the first time, hop in a hot air balloon and soar into the sky, hike a mountain , go horseback riding, test your balance with stand up paddle board yoga, or enjoy one of their beautiful golf courses. For thrill seekers, they have an alpine slide and an alpine coaster! At the end of the day you can BBQ with the family from your deck and soak in the beautiful mountain views!
2. Branson, Missouri - Just 30 minutes from the Ozarks (yes just like the popular Netflix show) is a great place for families to spend some summer vacation time. Their Table Rock State Park offers miles of walking trails, picnic spots, boating (get the water skis ready), even tube and kayak rentals! This summer is all about traveling and being out in the great outdoors exploring with your family and Branson is the place to do it.
3. Lake Tahoe - This area actually borders both the California and Nevada states. It is United State’s second deepest lake and also one of the highest elevated lakes in the country, you will want to take a plunge in the sparkling water the second you see it. On the California side you can visit the Heavenly Mountain Gondola Ride which takes you up 24 miles for a beautiful panoramic view of Lake Tahoe. Also on the Cali side, you can visit Emerald Bay which includes a Castle! Enjoy a 2 mile roundtrip paved walkway down to the shore where you’ll be rewarded with the authentic reproduction of an 800 A.D. Norse castle built in 1929 named Vikingsholm.
4. Sevierville, Tenessee - There is an awesome unique mountain theme park which has created a unique outdoor family experience by immersing guests of all ages in the beauty and adventure of the great outdoors and it is called Anakeesta. Admission includes a scenic ride via the Chondola ride or choose to experience our Ridge Rambler adventure trucks to the summit of Anakeesta Mountain where you enter their magical Firefly Village. You can also visit the Forbidden Caverns or Rainforest Adventures while visiting Sevierville with your family this summer.
5. Outer Banks, NC - If you are looking to enjoy some beach time with your family this is the place to do it since it is always ranked one of the best family beaches. When you need a break from the beach head over to NC Aquarium On Roanoke Island and learn about stingrays alligators, otters and so much more. Maybe even spend some time over at the Wright Brothers National Memorial and pick up your entire Junior Ranger booklet and program schedule.
There are many other great ideas for your family summer vacation this year right here in the USA. Let a Starstuff Travel Planner help you plan your getaway now so you have something to look forward to! Reach out to us by clicking here.
With the current status of the world today amongst the recent COVID-19 outbreak, most of you are already going stir crazy inside of the house. It can be a very depressing time, so we came up with a few fun ideas that are bound to lift your spirits. We hope these ideas will put a smile on your face when you are missing walking down Main Street!
1. Break out the Mickey Waffle iron! If you do not have one yet, it is time to treat yourself. While we love our Mickey waffles during our Disney vacation, they are not always just for breakfast. Why not spoil yourselves and create a waffle ice cream sundae and watch a Walt Disney movie you have never seen before?
2. It's time to dust off your old vacation photo albums, your scrap books and character autograph books. Enjoy looking through years past of your family's Walt Disney World vacations. Doing this together will bring back good memories which in return will bring back good feelings. Talk about what your very favorite memory is and what you are looking forward to doing next time you get to go back.
3. Did you know there is a very easy recipe to recreate your favorite Disney dessert, the Dole Whip? You can use your imagination to come up with different Dole Whip desserts just like our Maleficent Waffle cone here from Storybook Treats! Just utilize Google, you will find tons of them.
4. This is one of our favorite things to do! We LOVE burning our favorite resort scented candles and melting wax melts to fill our house with the scent of the Beach Club! There are so many options to choose from, your favorite resort scent, Pineapple Whip (hey burn this when your making your homemade Dole Whip form above), Mickey Waffles and more! I can assure you they all smell spot on! We always get ours from Fandoms And Fairytales who has generously extended an offer to all of our Starstuff Travel fans for an extra savings (look for the info at the end of our blog).
5. Commit to a Disney puzzle. Depending on the age range, choose a puzzle that is slightly challenging to keep it fun. When your finished make sure to glue it together using puzzle glue so you can have it to look back on. We are all going through a historic period right now, one day you can tell your children and/or grandchildren about the time you were stuck in the house and all worked on a puzzle together!
These are just a few of many neat Disney focused things to keep our mind off of what is going on in today's world. Please feel free to comment with any neat crafts, recipes and ideas you may also have to offer, right now we can all use it! Thank you to Fandoms And Fairytales who is offering our readers 10% off of their purchase on their site by using the discount code of STARSTUFFTRAVEL at check out until the end of April 2020! Click here to access their site. Thank you also to JP Mulhearn Photography for their photograph for our blog. Another great thing to do while missing WDW is to head over to their Facebook page and check out their awesome pics by clicking here.
We have visited Walt Disney World so many times, and although we love it dearly, we needed something new to enjoy. This past week we took part in the 7 hour Backstage Magic tour which is run by two Adventure By Disney guides. If you are not familiar with Adventure By Disney as a whole, they provide group guided family vacations to various domestic and international destinations under the Disney brand. The guides on those adventures are top notch, so it was quite a treat to have two of them for our 7 hour tour.
The tour itself is currently $275 per person and includes a table service lunch as well as all the bottled water and snacks your little heart desires while on the motor coach (our snacks for this tour were allergy free chocolate chip cookies). The tour does not require park admission and children must be 12 years of age or older to attend.
We met at the front of Epcot where they went through some housekeeping like no photography allowed (they take photos for you in specific areas) and then we boarded the motor coach. They drove us behind the scenes to the American Adventure. For those of you who have not yet been behind the world showcase, the drive alone is very neat. We also had access before the park was open so we were able to see how many cast members get ready for the day. Outside of the American Adventure we learned some of the many tricks the Imagineers used by forced perspective to create the three story building image to look as though it was five stories tall. Our guide then took us behind the scenes of the actual show as we learned all about the system used to manage the attraction (which by the way is still from the 70's) and we even got to touch a real animatronic!
Our next stop was over at Creative Costuming which is exactly as wonderful as you could imagine it would be. I was in full blown little girl, princess mode when we walked in! You learn a lot about how the costumes come to be for the front line performers, the entertainment performers and of course the animatronics. You also get to see the Cast Members in action which is very cool and lastly you get your picture taken.
We then headed back on the motor coach and drove over to the Animal Kingdom for a private lunch at Tiffins with a special menu where we learned more secrets about the park and the restaurant. I have always been a fan of Tiffins so this was a real treat.
After we finished our lunch we were brought to a hidden marina where the lotus and animal barges are prepped for the Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular. It was so incredible to see exactly what the barges look like up close but even more so how they are cared for. Then we were walked inside for an exclusive visit to see what happens with the technology portion in the control room. These are really things you just never think about when you are watching the show.
After finishing up with the Animal Kingdom we were escorted back to the motor coach and driven to Central Shops. This is where Imagineering actually builds and maintains Disney Park ride vehicles, props, and animatronics. We learned exactly what happens when maintenance needs to be performed on a ride vehicle as well as how they can build rides from scratch. While we were there we saw Tomorrowland Speedway cars, pirate ships from Peter Pan's flight, a tea cup from Mad Tea Party and so much more. We watched Cast Members mold faces, work on signs, paint, weld, you name it, they were doing it. We then visited the audio animatronic area and were able to to see an original bird from Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room, but even more exciting, we got to see the large polar bear that was once used in my favorite Epcot ride The Maelstrom! #BringtheMaelstromback
Our next and final stop was the one most of us had been waiting for......the infamous Utilidors of the Magic Kingdom! We learned how and why the Magic Kingdom was built the way it was and why they built the utilidors. They showed us the mapping of it, where the ambulance area was, how cast members managed not getting lost in such a vast area and much more that I will not spoil for you. One of the neatest things was they actually did not play Disney music in the utilidors, I remember hearing Whitney Houston. Our guide said this was to give the Cast Members a break when they had stepped away from the park. You can only listed to It's a Small World so many times a day. After our time here the motor coach drove us back to Epcot where we started earlier that morning. It was a long day, but a day we will never forget. The guides were so full of information and you could tell they really loved what they did for a living. The tour was pure perfection and really great for those who are frequenters to Walt Disney World and need something new and fresh to enjoy. It is also great for people who enjoy learning all about how a big business works behind the scenes. It left us wanting to book another tour!
If you are ready to book your next Walt Disney World tour, reach out to your Starstuff Travel Planner today!
Right in the heart of the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot, you will find this new BBQ Quick Service dining option named after Sam Eagle of the Muppets. Before even entering the establishment you can smell the fragrant summer time BBQ essence of something being smoked. The outside area surrounds a large smoker and a bunch of picnic tables for generous outdoor seating.
The outdoor bar and patio offers an extensive drink menu that features a number of craft beers and ciders from across the country on draft, as well as wines from the west coast, fountain beverages and specialty regional cocktails you can now add to your "Drinking around the world" bucket list.
We visited Regal Eagle smack dab in the middle of lunch time and were pleasantly surprised that we barely waited to order. They have a nice selection of BBQ items from all over the south, along with some great sides that you would imagine pair nicely with these types of dishes. After ordering you gather your food, stop at the soda fountain machines to gather your beverage if ordered, as well as your silverware. There is no need to look for napkins in this area, they have a full napkin roll holder right in the middle of your picnic type table.
Our choice for lunch included Kansas City Smoked Half Chicken which was $13.99 and came with a choice of one side (we opted for the beans), North Carolina Chopped Smoked Pork Butt Platter with a side of fries at $12.49, and lastly a BBQ kids Chicken Leg meal with two sides (we chose mac and cheese as well as creamy coleslaw). They also have selections for Gluten/Wheat allergy, Egg allergy, Milk allergy, Peanut allergy and Soy Allergy/friendly options. I was pretty impressed at how extensive those menus for allergy option guests really was. We are giving this new Quick Service option the thumbs up for the ample amount of inside/outside seating and the friendly menu items. They could give bigger portions but the quality of the food was pretty decent for the price.
To book your next Walt Disney World vacation, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner here!
Truth be told, I hear "Your going back to Disney again?" probably about five times a day. What many people do not realize is there is so much more to do than just the parks! One of our new favorite things to do when we have free time is to rent a Sea Raycer over at one of the resorts on the historic Seven Seas Lagoon. The lagoon was man made back in the late 1960's and today is used for recreational boating as well as ferry transportation to and from the Magic Kingdom and surrounding resorts.
Reservations to rent the Sea Raycers are not required, it is a first come first serve basis, and cost just $32 per half hour. Drivers must be 12 years old and at least five feet tall. Children under 17 years old must have a parent/legal guardian sign a release form. We always rent a few boats when we go so our younger son can be on his own. It is a great activity for a teen his age because it gives them a sense of independence. If you were to put the pedal to the medal, the maximum speed is only 20 MPH (although that speed feels much faster when your partner is doing donuts!)
Where can you actually drive the Sea Raycer? Pretty much all through out the Seven Seas Lagoon minus a few restricted zones and while in the no wake zones (where the ferry boats are) you have a restricted speed you have to follow while staying 50 feet away.
One of the neatest things for Disney fans to experience while driving the Sea Raycer is being able to drive past things like the abandoned Discovery Island, which was an island in the middle of Seven Seas Lagoon where people could visit between 1974- 1999 to observe different animals and species of birds. My favorite though, as seen below, is viewing where the old River Country was. River Country was the first water park in Walt Disney World and was opened in 1976. It closed back in 2001 and they are now building a nature themed resort named "Reflections" a lakeside lodge, said to be opened in 2022. You can catch the construction site below which is only view-able from driving the Sea Raycer!
You can see the smile on our sons face as he whisks past us on his own Sea Raycer. I truly enjoy this activity with him whenever we get the chance. It is a great inexpensive activity to do with kids while not leaving Disney property.
Where can I rent a Sea Raycer?
Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Polynesian Village Resort
Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
To book your next Walt Disney World vacation, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner here!
I spent this past weekend helping my eldest son pack his stuff up for his big move. While I am so excited for this new chapter in his life and could not be more proud of his accomplishments, I was having a problem shaking my selfish depression on my own new chapter. The one that was going to leave me with one less child to travel with.
A flood of emotions and memories came over me while packing up his room. We have been traveling together since he was a baby, it just would not feel right to travel without him. Early on when the kids were little, we would do fun affordable weekend getaways like the Inner Harbor in Maryland or to Kings Dominion Theme Park in Virginia, but as he grew we started traveling more frequently and further away. I can remember saving change in a jar when he was just seven years old in order to get our family down to Orlando for our first real family vacation. I can remember shopping for matching clothes for him and his siblings to wear while we were away on vacation. I remember all of those times of rubbing endless amounts of sunscreen on the kids, buying plastic pirate swords for sword fights, and needing to run back to the hotel room for naps when they got grouchy. I remember at times thinking how unfair it was that the lady next to me at the pool was able to read a book by herself in peace while I had to play Marco Polo with the kids. I sit here and think to myself, I just wish I knew it would be over so fast. If I could just have another day in the pool with them again. People always tell you "Enjoy it while you can, it goes way to fast", but you do not truly understand it until it actually happens to you.
If you really think about it there are only a limited amount of years our kids are under our care before we set them free. I read somewhere that if you actually count it up, there are only about 18 summers you get to spend with your children before they go out in the world on their own. I can tell you first hand how quickly this time can sneak up on you and there is no way to get it back no matter how painful it can be. I took some time to look through our photo albums yesterday to remind myself of all the great memories I have been lucky enough to create with my son during our years traveling together.
So many people 'wait' for the right time to take a vacation. They 'wait' for their kids to be older, they 'wait' until they are more established, they 'wait' until school is out and so on. I was so lucky that I never waited. We did not have an extra dime when we started traveling and I just did it a little at a time, as the kids grew I took them out of school to travel and never waited until a 'better' time. Today as I say goodbye to my son as he moves onto his new adult life I am so thankful I have so many amazing memories to look back on. I am thankful I was smart enough not to ever wait and I was thankful I took the trip every single time. Make sure you are busy creating all of those memories while your children are still young and at home with you, they are only little once.
To book your next vacation with your favorite little one, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner here!