Staycation at The Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace Hotel

 

Our beautiful little girl turned three early October. When we asked Caity what she wanted to do for her birthday, she said- ”I want to go to the Disney Castle.”And, we decided to embark on another staycation. Being Orlando residents and Disney pass holders, this request was more than reasonable for our Disney Princess. Hilton Buena Vista Palace was our choice for this embargo. My husband is a Hilton rewards Honor member, and we were also able to upgrade room. We have yet to be disappointed with staying at any Hilton Hotel.

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Hilton Suite

Hotels that offer a separate living area is more spacious for a family. The suite also had two bathrooms. One bathroom with a tub/shower and a separate standing shower. This feature is perfect for families because we didn’t have to wait for an open shower to use for getting the kids ready. The half bath was located by the door.  This is such a splendid bonus!!! I used that bathroom to get ready while my husband was getting dressed. The suite had two balconies- one connected to the living room and the other one was attached to the bedroom. I enjoyed lounging on one of the terraces while my husband utilized the separate balcony while working on his laptop.

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The hotel was located walking distance from the famous Disney Springs once known as Downtown Disney. We were able to walk from our hotel-cross over the walkway that connected directly to Disney Springs. The walk was truly a hop skip and jump away. Being that I have small children, I was concerned that it was going to be too much of a walk to the Springs but it was perfect. The only downfall is that the Springs is still a large area to cover without a stroller. I adore the Springs and being able to feel the excitement from my two little ones. The Disney Store Proberly contained anything Disney that your mind could think of. The kids had a field day in the stores. I limited the toys to two items each. And, we couldn’t get toys that we already had. That went out the window because my son wanted a particular “Cars” Jackson Storm car. My husband later informed me that our son had that car at home.  Oh well, now he has a back-up because kids always misplace toys or plain out lose them. It goes from Mommy Mommy we want…Mommy look at this…Mommy lets stop here…Mommy Mommy what’s that smell…Mommy Mommy Mommy etc. They kept me on my toes and I had a blast with them.

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We had a goal of doing two parks on Saturday but our little girl started to catch a cold and wasn’t her chipper self. We started the day at Animal Kingdom which the kids love because they are currently into everything to do with dinosaurs. Our daughter is an animal lover and is fearless. She does not fear the animals like her momma or big brother. Caity Bear was able to brush and play with the animals by the Affection Section. The petting zoo animals consisted of sheep, goats, donkeys, cows, and pigs.

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We weren’t able to visit Magic Kingdom that night due to the little Princess not feeling well.  The hotel amenities had too many things for us to enjoy. My husband and son were able to play in the arcade room and swim in the pool that also had a lazy river.  The next day was a treat for the kids. They were able to meet a few of the Disney characters.

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We love to spend time together whether it’s staying at home, riding bikes, playing hide &seek, to traveling adventures. We make memories with our day to day lives. I wonder what’s the next family vacation.

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Legoland + Universal Studios= Family Staycation

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Every state has its signature sights to visit but my family and I happen to live in a city that kids will have the best moments.  We have a mouse for a neighbor, water parks galore, movie attractions and so much more.  I’m able to explore these places with my little ones. They are so blown away by the characters they watch on TV.  Every few seconds, their heads are swiveling trying to capture everything that is going on.  It’s a constant-“Mommy look…ohhh over there…ohhhh Mommy ohhhhh Mommy look at that…Daddy did you see that…I want to go there.”

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We decided on doing back to back amusement parks.  Our first stop was Legoland.  It’s a hike from where we live.  So, we decided on staying at a hotel closer to the theme parks.  While people may think Legoland will have nothing interesting, other than legos.  People would be floored by how many activities and scenic spots the park offers.  The kid’s area is filled with rides for the little ones to enjoy.  Because it’s Legoland, lego tables are conveniently set-up in the lines while you wait for a ride.  This is brilliant and it keeps the kids occupied.  Located in the children zone, the park offered large legos for the kids to build.  My kids operated like a construction team building a castle. Insert-this is rainy Florida along with Firey heat.  We tend to receive multiple kinds of weather in one day. Always prepare for our weather conditions.  I had five ponchos. Why five and it’s just the four of us-you never know if something happens to one of the rain ponchos.  I like to be prepared for just about everything.  There’s an area in Legoland that has recognizable cities created with Legos.  The details are outstanding.

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Legoland also has a water park located inside the park.  My daughter is two and does not care for the loud splashy parks.  It was great to see the water park had a separate area that had kid-friendly slides and not too busy looking activities.  My little brew and I ventured out to the lazy river.  It’s nice to see that the double floats had one of the tubes fully closed in like a seat for the younger kids to sit in without falling into the water.  My son is four and is able to do a little more activities than his little sister.  The water park had a massive water jungle attraction for the bigger kids.  There were slides everywhere, large water buckets that dropped massive amounts of water on the kids below.  This was too much excitement for my two years old who opted out.  My husband took our son into the water jungle and of course, it was right up my big boy’s alley.

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Amelia Island Getaway

 

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May 1st is my wedding anniversary and, May 3rd is my birthday.  My husband and I tend to combine those two memorable days and go on vacation.  Our beautiful state of Florida has so many places to visit.  Amelia Island was an excellent choice.  I love the quaintness of the island and the nature scenery that can be seen while touring.  The Omni Resort Amelia Island Plantation was our hotel during our stay.  I always wanted to stay at an Omni hotel because of the luxurious high-end feel of staying in a mini palace.  The Omni experience was more than anticipated.  The entire grounds were nestled in a forbidden forest.  The resort felt like it has been there for centuries and the trees grew around it.

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Maxi Dress: $29.99 Fashion Nova

Sandals:  $27.33 Amazon

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We ate breakfast every morning at the Sunrise Cafe.  When I travel, there is always something or someone that adds a special place in my heart.  Miss Donnie is the person that set my little tummy on fire.  She created the delicious seafood omelets that my husband and I couldn’t get enough of.  Miss Donnie cooked the omelets as if we were guests in her house.  She was warm and had a friendly smile anytime we seen her.

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Our first evening in Amelia Island, my husband Corey and I had dinner at Falcon’s Nest.  The restaurant was located on the resort premises.  We walked through a scenic path surrounded by beautiful foliage.  I ordered what I thought was going to be a simple, bland fish sandwich and was pleasantly surprised that it was deliciously seasoned.  Corey blackened shrimp was just as tasty.  I love when the food tastes as if it was cooked in someone’s home with love.

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Adventure Day-we explored parts of the massive compound on our bicycle tour.  I am not the most coordinated person and looked weird trying to mount the bike.  Oh yeah, and I decided to wear a sundress with sandals because it was cute…total fail.  While biking through the trails, I received a few scraps from the bushes.  My husband and I tried to follow the map given to us ,but we then had to trust Miss Google to help navigate.  We visited two lush parts of the plantation that was breathtaking.

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We decided to spend most of the day on Saturday, hanging out on the beach.  My husband and I were the best of friends before we became an official couple.  We have an ease about our relationship that allows us to enjoy each other company as friends.  Our relaxing day on the beach consisted of me reading, zoning out, dipping in the water and with Corey doing the same and doing minor work on his laptop.

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Dress:  purchased from Francescas “Not Available”

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Swimsuit Top:  $24.95 Love Culture

Swimsuit Bottom:  $24.95 Love Culture

Swimsuit Cover:  $17.59 Amazon

Any place spent with my husband, is always a wonderful experience because I’m able to travel with the person that I adore & love.

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Striped Dress: $13.99 Amazon

 

Family Ski Vacation In Gatlinburg, Tennessee

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Our family goes on vacation at least once a year. The destination of choice this year was skiing in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Since we live in Florida, we wanted the kids to experience being in the snow. With that said-we booked our trip in January for a February vacation.  Tennessee was experiencing a downfall of snow in January, but it didn’t snow while we were there.  The weather forecast during our vacation was plagued with two days of rain. We leave rainy Hades Florida to go to another rainy region…laughable.

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Items to pack for small Kids
• Electric devices plus charges
• Small toys
• Coloring book w/crayons
• Learning materials
• Snacks upon snacks and then more snacks
• Stroller if needed
• Travel cups

We stayed at the Hamilton Inn by Hilton which was in the heart of Ober Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The town was quite cute with an old world charm. Our room was adequate for the time being. Next time, we will book a more spacious room to accommodate our entire family.

Adventure Outings
• Walking around the Gatlinburg town
• Arcade
• Anakeesta
• Tubing and Skiing



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Restaurants
• Flapper Jacks Pancakes
• Crockett’s Breakfast Camp
• Calhoun’s
• Cherokee Grill and Ober Gatlinburg

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Behind The Scenes

Anytime you’re planning a vacation with small adults ages three and two, be prepared for an adventure of unexpected bumps. Let’s all be honest for a second… breath. Traveling have its ups and downs, especially vacationing with toddlers. Please acknowledge that possible meltdowns may occur and that’s okay. As parents, it’s our duty to stay calm. And as Dori says, “Just keep swimming.” My daughter thinks Mommy is a snack queen and should continuously provide her princess unlimited snacks at any given time. My sweet baby bear turns into a howling grizzly bear in Usain Bolt speed when told no more snacks. My threenager wants to stay on his IPad all day playing car games. When it’s time to unplug, the high octane whining can start a jet. Always remember to have fun and enjoy all the memorable moments spent with family. No family is picture perfect, and we all have things going on behind the scene.

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Disney World Staycation For The Holidays

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During the Christmas Holiday, instead of going out of town…my family embarked on a Staycation in our beautiful city of Orlando, FL.  Staycations are the best and it allows you to uncover or rediscover interesting fun things to do in your town.  Orlando is known for being Mickey Mouse town.  So, why not enjoy the festivities at the world renown Disney World.  We have two lovey Toddlers.  And, what kid wouldn’t love to visit Disney World to see the beloved characters that they watch on television.  Instead of making the 45 minutes drive to Mickey’s home, we decided on staying on the Disney Property.

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The lovely Disney Port Orleans at Riverside became our home for the weekend.  My husband and I wanted to choose a hotel that had the character charms in the resort rooms.  We were not disappointed because the room was richly done with prince & princess theme.  A large painting of Princess Tiana adorned the room which was befitting the theme since this character was from New Orleans.

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Port Orleans rooms are nicely done with details at each turn.  Even though the hotel is older, the craftsmanship was spectacular!  The A/C unit in the room was encased by a wooden box that fit the decor of the theme.  The grounds were immaculate and I can’t rave enough on how detailed the hotel appeared to resemble a New Orleans vintage era place.  While at the resort, we rented a four-passenger bicycle.  My husband and I peddled while the kids had fun ringing the bell.  This is no easy task for two out of shape people but we managed to go around on the bike trail twice since the kiddos loved it.

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The hotel offered transportation to the Disney Parks and a boat ride to Disney Springs “Downtown Disney.” The buses arrived in ten to fifteen minutes increments. And, to our surprise…the buses brought you to the Disney entrance.  In the past, we parked and had to take the monorail or boat inside the parks.  When you take the boat ride to Disney Springs, is another magical experience.  Disney Springs aka Downtown Disney is plagued with different retail stores, restaurants, and activities that will impact your stay.  I had sensory overload when we entered The World of Disney Store.  The store is gigantic with wall to wall Disney goodies that will have your eyes popping out at every turn.  It ’s easy to get sucked in the Disney magic and overspend.  But to all my budget conscious people, please check out UNIQLO store for your shopping apparel needs.  I purchased a Mickey tee-shirt from World of Disney and ended up returning it after falling into the UNIQLO store where all items are affordable.  I bought a tee-shirt and sweatshirt for the price of the tee-shirt at World of Disney.

We had a two-day stay at the resort.  Friday, was our adventure at the Animal Kingdom.  The kids had a field day gushing over all the animals.  The park takes you away to exotic places without having a passport.  The park has a lot of things to do for small children.  My kids especially enjoyed the Dinosaur section.

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Our second day was spent at the Magic Kingdom.  We purchased the Fastpass which I highly recommend.  The Fastpass allows you to move through the lines faster.  The kids had a late nap which allowed them to stay up a little past their bedtime to see the fireworks.

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It’s truly a magnificent experience to visit the Disney parks with Family.  Being a resident of Orlando, we’re able to frequent the parks at our leisure.  The little ones always have a blast and we will continue to go until they grow out of it.  But, it’s Disney and we never truly outgrow our inner Disney kid.

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Costa Rica Vacation

Vacation in Costa Rica

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Mr. And Mrs. O

My husband Corey and I had the pleasure of spending our second anniversary in Costa Rica. The city is flowing with an abundance of activities to do. The capital San Jose is centered around beautiful mountain views. Our hotel room overlooked the soccer/football stadium. The panoramic views are breathtaking and the view is equally beautiful with perfect scenery.

The Hilton Garden did not leave anything out when it came to details and creating an ambulance of exquisite decor.  The hotel is a modern sophisticated contemporary styled home away from home accommodations.

This was my second trip to Costa Rica and my husband Corey’s first visit.  I wanted to share the adventure by exploring the country with my life partner.  We choose to rent an SUV to explore the country on our time.

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Our first excursion was the canopy zip lining and horseback riding adventure.  Our hotel was located in the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose. All of our destinations were located at least two-three hours from the city. The drive through the mountains was nerve-racking for me with the winding roads going up and down the mountain. We went on a few organized trips from the hotel. The shuttle picked us up and other people from various hotels along the way. The canopy zip lining and horseback trip excursion included lunch. Yayayayayaya!!! Our meals were scrumptious. It was not my first-time zip lining, so I was more than comfortable. We had to walk through and up the mountain roads to connect to the cable cords. We even tried the Superman zip line was a stray jacket type of brace was strapped on to give the effect of flying through the mountains. Next, was the horseback riding. I was extremely nervous and curious because I didn’t know what to expect. Horses are powerful beautiful majestic beings. After ten minutes, on being on Simon the horse I was able to relax and enjoy going through the mountain trail.

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After our day trip from zip lining and horseback riding, we wanted to find a quaint spot to eat dinner.  We were well rested and ready for our night of fun.  We stumbled upon a restaurant tucked away downtown away from the hustle and bustle.

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We decided to take a day trip to Manuel Antonio which is a natural park tied in with a beach.  Unfortunately, we were unable to hike the two-hour trail than runs into the beach.  We were only able to see part of the park because we arrived late.  We then headed over to the nearby beach.

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Our last excursion in Costa Rica, we visited the Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Hot Springs.  This particular day was hot and clear to see the volcano without foggy clouds.  This excursion included lunch and dinner was held at Tabacon Springs.

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Beige Maxi Dress: Ross discount store

Coral Sundress: venus.com and more details on “How To Wear Spring Dresses”

Denim Romper: Target.com $27.99

Rust Romper: vintage piece purchased at Victoria’s Secret

Wedges: Lulus.com $29

Gold Sandals w/bow: Francescas.com

Coral Sandals: Groupon.com $5.99

Swimsuit: Venus.com $39.99

Disney Family Cruise Vacation

Disney Cruise Family Vacation

Hello Hope Loves, ShellyO is back from a Disney Cruise Family Vacation. We booked the balcony cabin to have more space and to have our personal deck in our lovely room. Traveling with a 1-year-old and 3 years old is a fun adventure. The kiddos had a sensory overload seeing all the Disney characters. Daddy and mommy were delighted to have many different activities to share with the kids. The shows were kid friendly with a few modern twists that did not spoil the experience. I can go on and on bragging about the wonderful crew. Every crew member was kind/professional. The food provided had a variety of different cuisines which were great because one of our kids have dietary restrictions. I am truly grateful to have spent time with my beautiful family. I highly recommend the Disney Cruise experience!

Some of my Cruise pics and ensemble:

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