In a couple of months time Tom Watson, 5 times winner of the British Open, will be 60 years old. Today he almost won the Open yet again and if he had managed to win it he would have become the oldest person to win a major. It didn’t happen unfortunately but the way he played this week, he showed the whole world that there is hope for everyone as you get older.
I don’t use the word “awesome” much…but this achievement, even though he didn’t win, must surely go down as one of the greatest achievements in sport. Fantastic stuff & congratulations Tom. You’ve nothing to be ashamed of…
Seems we’re in a phase where the legends that most of us have grown up with are now leaving us. I suppose you could call it aging…or plain and simple “I’m getting old” syndrome.
The latest to leave us…former US TV newscaster Walter Cronkite, known to millions as “the most trusted man in America”, has died at the age of 92.
Mr. Cronkite presented the evening news program for CBS from 1962 to 1981, helping the program to become the most watched bulletin in the US.
His career covered such major global events as the assassination of former US President John F Kennedy, the moon landing, Watergate, former President Richard Nixon’s resignation and the fall of Saigon.
In 1972, he was deemed by a poll of the US public to be, “the most trusted man in America”, beating presidents, members of congress and other journalists.
He ended his broadcasts with his signature sign-off: “That’s the way it is.”
Mr Cronkite’s opinion was so trusted by the US public that when he criticised the war in Vietnam, President Lyndon B Johnson is reported to have said: “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.”
Finding new things to see and do anywhere is what makes life fun but Central Florida has more than it’s fair share of hidden treasures. Yesterday I visited a place “Where Dreams Take Flight”…Fantasy of Flight. Fantasy of Flight is approximately 30 minutes from Orlando’s major attractions and is a great place to go for the aviators and historians in the family.
The museum has over 40 vintage aircraft, real airplanes with names straight out of the history books. The legendary World War II B-26 Marauder and the B-24 Liberator. The unstoppable P-51 Mustang and the B-17 Flying Fortress. And the incomparable Ford Tri-Motor… the actual plane used in the Spielberg classic Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. This really is the “World’s Greatest Aircraft Collection” and it has been lovingly and painstakingly restored to pristine condition.
Fantasy of Flight is the vision of award winning pilot, author and world renowned aircraft collector Kermit Weeks. This adventure is very real as you take a VIP exclusive tour of runways, hangars and the private airfield. You can climb aboard an authentic biplane and feel the rush of flying in an open air cockpit just as they did back in the Golden Age of Aviation.
Fantasy of Flight creates so many unforgettable memories for the whole family and is part of the memorable experiences you can enjoy with the Florida Leisure Dreams Come True Club. Below is a video I made of my day out and it was a terrific experience. Hope you enjoy it.
I just came across a great article by Jim Wang giving 7 reasons why you should skip staying at hotels and rent a vacation home instead. At the end of the article Jim mentions two things you need to be aware of but we’ll talk about them once you’ve read the article:
Bankrate had an article recently in which they recommended renting a home or condo to trim vacation costs. While I very much value the opinion of the fine folks at Bankrate, that’s good advice that’s about decades overdue.
At the very least, it’s five years overdue, because my friends and I have been doing this for at least that long. In fact, it was the topic of discussion one day at Meals on Wheels and when one of the other volunteers remarked that they had been renting vacation homes for decades.
1.It’s cheaper. It’s exceptionally cheap when you go during the off-season, usually almost 50% off the peak rates. The vacation homes are usually very large so when you finally calculate the cost per person, it’s quite affordable.
2.It’s negotiable. Hotels are not very good at negotiation, unless you’re a savvy customer or use something like Priceline, the price is whatever you can get through a travel search site. Demand for vacation homes, especially in this recession, is down and you can use it to your advantage.
3.You have kitchens and grills to cook yourself. Most hotels, unless it’s suites, won’t have any type of kitchen or even a microwave. You can continue to save money on your vacation if you take advantage of the kitchen and the grills usually made available in vacation homes.
4.A pool of your own! If you’re in a vacation home usually frequented in the summer, chances are it has a pool that you can use all to yourself.
5.Plenty of communal space. If you want to play board games or yard games, it’s pretty much impossible in a hotel. With your own vacation home, you have living rooms and other communal spaces you can take advantage of.
6.Parking aplenty. If you go to a hotel in a resorty area, usually you can park one or two cars a room in the hotel parking lot. With a vacation home, no one is monitoring so you can pack in as many as you want.
7.Free Wi-Fi. The last home we stayed in had free Wi-fi, which was a great perk. While paying $9 a day at a hotel isn’t horrible, I don’t plan on being tethered to a computer so $9 to check my email is a bit much (I know there are lots of hotels with free Wi-Fi, but many still charge!). 8.More likely to be pet friendly. A vacation home is more likely to be pet-friendly, which means you can save on kenneling costs. Hotels? Forget about it, you have no chance.
It is not without negatives though. First, you’ll usually have to rent the vacation home or condo for an entire week, even if you’re only staying for a long weekend. My recommendation is that you split the cost evenly across the number of people, rather than the number of days people are staying.
Second, you’ll need a lot of people to fill the beds in a house to make it worthwhile. When we went to the Outer Banks, there were close to fifteen beds. We had enough people and the cost of the home was ridiculously cheap, but if you don’t know enough people then it may not be worth it.
Despite the two negatives, which are potential deal-breakers, renting a vacation home beats a hotel in my book.
Jim, I’ve got news for you… i) you don’t need to rent for a week with us…we’re very happy to look after you for a day or two and ii) rates for our VIP members can mean you stay for less than $16.00 per person per night! I challenge you to find a better deal anywhere in Orlando than that!
Also, you make a great point in your bonus to the list…vacation homes are very likely to be pet friendly. We have a dozen such homes ourselves and we are trying to bring more online such is the demand.
Forbes Traveler.com has just announced their top 15 vacation destinations and coming out right at number 1 is ORLANDO. Those of us who live and work here aren’t surprised by this news and part of the reason is the enormous diversity of the area.
We have some great attraction parks such as Walt Disney World, Sea World and Universal but we’re also only an hour away from either the Atlantic Coast or the Gulf Coast. This makes us perfectly situated and when you consider the range of accommodation available to guests, there really is nowhere that can compete.
The hidden gem is the vacation home. Once guests discover vacation homes very rarely do they go back to staying at hotels. The attraction of a private swimming pool at the end of an enjoyable day out at the theme parks is one attraction but so is the ability to save money by housing all the family in one place rather than in multiple rooms. There’s also the fact you can save a small fortune by utilizing the fully equipped kitchen rather than going to expensive restaurants each mealtime.
Orlando also has some other hidden gems; if you fancy some great shopping then Mall of Millenia or Florida Mall will delight you, Orlando Science Center is a great find and promises a gentler pace for the all the family and if you really fancy something special, why not take a flight in a hot air balloon and oversee the whole Central Florida area?
Of course, we also have some fabulous restaurants if you enjoy fine dining or if you are a golfer, you’ll enjoy teeing it off at some of the best courses the US has to offer. Orlando is the place things happen..the rich and the famous live here…people like Tiger Woods, so you’ll never know who you’ll bump into!
So now it’s official…isn’t it time for you to visit us and have a great time?
One of the nice things about providing magical memories for our guestsis that we occasionally get to experience things ourselves. Over the last month some of our staff has been fortunate enough to visit both Busch Gardens and Sea World to see what’s going on and find out what’s new.
Busch Gardens in Tampa has long been a favorite park of mine simply because it blends wild rides and wildlife so perfectly together so I made sure I did that trip along with Annette, Kim and Rebecca!
There are over 2,500 exotic and endangered animals for you to visit as well as more record breaking roller coasters than any destination in Florida! There’s absolutely something fun and something educational to see and do for every member of the family no matter their age.
In addition there are some great VIP tours such as the Elite Adventure Tour that includes a private tour guide, front-of-the-line access to all the major roller coasters and water rides, including Gwazi, Montu, Kumba, SheiKra, Congo River Rapids and Tanganyika Tidal Wave (front row is included), reserved seating at the KaTonga show, lunch at the Crown Colony Restaurant, and a one-of-a-kind experience hand-feeding giraffes on the Serengeti Safari tour.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to do the whole Elite Adventure Tour but we did manage the Serengeti Safari Tour where we all discovered first-hand just how long a giraffe’s tongue is while giving them a leafy snack! As you can see from the picture above, I got to enjoy some lettuce with one of the giraffe’s!
I have to say that the tour was simply fabulous and it’s something I would recommend that you and your family do when you visit us next time. Busch Gardens is just over an hour away from most of our vacation homes and its well worth the trip as you will become immersed in the Serengeti experience as your tour guide shares a lot of intriguing information and some interesting personal stories about the amazing wildlife.
On this trip you can unlock the mystery to the eland antelope’s mysterious clicking, discover the naturalistic beauty of the Serengeti Plain, and experience the thrill of feeding antelopes and giraffes. This Adventure creates memories that will last a lifetime and you’ll also enjoy some amazing photo opportunities such as the one I created up above.
Busch Gardens has a whole host of things going on for wild life buffs; Jungala features Bengal tigers, the Rhino Rally sees you hop aboard a wild jeep tour (see Rebecca, our concierge navigating the jeep in the above video…it’s a hoot!), see majestic Clydesdale horses, Edge of Africa features hippos, lions, meerkats, lemurs, crocodiles and hyenas and Myombe Reserve gets you up close and personal with gorillas and chimpanzees.
Of course, everyone loves a good thrill ride and Busch simply has some of the best around; from SheiKra and it’s 200 foot drop to Gwazi (one of the fastest wooden double roller coasters on the planet, Montu (7 insane inversions), Kumba (voted one of the world’s top coasters) and the Scorpion (3 G’s of force). But there’s even more and if you love getting wet then Congo River Rapids, Stanley Falls and Tanganyika Tidal Wave will be sure to keep you cool on a hot Florida day.
Busch Gardens has a lot of other stuff going on as well but you’ll just have to explore that for yourself but you can take a look here for more pictures.
4th of July fireworks are a tradition for most people in the US. If you are staying with us in Orlando for the 4th you must check out Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show. This year the show at Magic Kingdom starts at 9pm and it really is the best!
Also Downtown Disney will have a fireworks show at 10:30pm so get there early and have a really great time in Florida this year. Enjoy the show!