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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

Posts in ‘Things to do in Orlando’

JetBlue All You Can Jet pass special offers

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JetBlue All You Can Jet

JetBlue All You Can Jet

JetBlue is rolling out again their super duper All You Can Jet deal for 2010. In a nutshell: you buy a pass once, and then you can fly as much as you want for one month.

Yes. Unlimited flights, for one month.

JetBlue serves more than 60 destinations including major US cities (NYC, Chicago, Boston, LA, Miami, Orlando, Vegas….) and the Caribbeans, Mexico and Central American capitals.

So there is plenty of choice for seeing friends and family, taking a late vacation, city-hopping or even better – just fly somewhere, randomly!

This year we are proud to be part of JetBlue AYCJ travel partners and we will be offering exclusive special offers to AYCJ pass holders.

Considering you can fly around for free for one month, this is the unmissable time to experience unique activities – wherever they are, and at preferential rates.

How does it work? Pass holders will receive a welcome e-mail containing a link and special passcode to access the special offers page.

Even better: AYCJ special offers can be cumulated with our classic multiSave discount if you book any other product on isango! at the same time.

Useful links:

All You Can Jet passpage on JetBlue

- All You Can Jet page on Facebook

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Boredom at the Beach

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Summer is finally here!  This means one thing…its time to hit the beach!  I know a vacation in the sun and sand sounds relaxing, yet this relaxation can soon turn to boredom.  This is why whenever I head to the beach for a break I try to find things to keep me busy.  The typical beach activities are always nice;  reading, swimming, sun bathing, and just simply strolling the beach.  Even with all the classic activities, I sill get jaded by the second day.  This is why I like to spend one day doing something a bit more stimulating.

The white sands of Longboat Key (Flickr by RTC1)

The white sands of Longboat Key (Flickr by RTC1)

Florida Beaches

Having grown up in Florida, heading to the beach for a family vacation was always a yearly tradition.  Every Labor Day my family and I head to Longboat Key on the Gulf of Mexico.  Every year we look forward to lounging about in the sun, however it gets too hot to sunbath for hours on end.  So, one of our favorite things to do is collect seashells.  In Longboat Key there is a sand bar close to shore and every year we snorkel for sand dollars.  One year we found hundreds of dead sand dollars on the sand bar!  I enjoy shelling so much, that one time on a trip to Clearwater we actually took a tour that took us to an island to hunt for seashells.  It was a fun way to mix up the usual humdrum at the beach. continue reading

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SeaWorld in Orlando

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The Shamu Show at SeaWorld

The Shamu Show at SeaWorld (Flickr by BenSpark)

SeaWorld is a theme park situated in Orlando, Florida that features marine life from all over the world. If you are spending a day at SeaWorld there are several sights to see and rides to experience. SeaWorld’s most famous attraction is the Shamu Show called ‘Believe.’ Although I do not go to SeaWorld very frequently it is still one of my favourite parks in Orlando. It is a favourite of mine because at SeaWorld you do not have to rush around.

Shows at SeaWorld

While at SeaWorld there are several shows that are must sees. A popular show at SeaWorld is ‘Believe’ or as it is more commonly known as the Shamu Show. It is an exciting show that features orca whales performing tricks and interacting with their trainers. All of this is choreographed to music. If you are getting too hot in the Florida heat then sit in the splash zone. In the splash zone be prepared to get soaked as Shamu swims around the tank flapping his massive tail! It is a fun way to cool down in the summer sun! continue reading

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Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida

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Heading to Orlando this summer?  Then a trip to a theme park is a must! And at Universal Studios in Orlando there are things to do for every member of the family. Universal Studios has two fantastic theme parks, Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.  Each park has something for everyone, whether you like action packed roller coasters, water rides, 4-D shows, or carousels.  It is worthwhile to have some background knowledge of how to get around the parks at Universal Studios in order to fully enjoy your visit.

Islands of Adventure (Flickr by Rob J Brooks)

Islands of Adventure (Flickr by Rob J Brooks)

Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios

Islands of Adventure is Universals newest theme park and consists of five islands: Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, the Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing.  I have been to Islands of Adventure so many times I can’t even count.  I actually have several of the rides memorized! The reason for this is I have lived in Orlando my entire life and I worked there in the summer. I’ll give you some tips to navigate around Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure and which rides are worthwhile if you are pressured on time continue reading

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Take a free birthday trip to Disney in 2009

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Anyone visiting a Disney theme park on their birthday next year will be admitted free of charge, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has announced.

The offer will apply to the Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World in Florida.

Disney”s giveaway is part of the company”s ”What will you celebrate?” promotion, aimed at attracting visitors to its parks on special occasions.

Visitors to Disney parks will also be given badges with phrases such as "Just Graduated" or "First Visit" as part of their celebrations.

Chairman Jay Rasulo said: "Our goal is to mark the special moments in your life in a way that your family will remember forever."

The first Disney theme park opened opened in Anaheim, California in 1955 and the company now has parks in France, Hong Kong and Japan.

Miley Cyrus, the star of Disney”s hit show Hannah Montana, has said she plans to celebrate her 16th birthday at Disneyland on October 5th.

Family – Theme Parks – Treat the family to a day at one of the Disney resorts or to a splashing day out at a Spanish waterpark.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18790092-ADNFCR

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September is ”the time to visit SeaWorld”

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Tourists have been urged to visit the SeaWorld theme park in Florida during September to experience the "bigger picture".

In an article for Jim Hill Media, Eric Davies points out that the quieter season is really the best time to enjoy the Florida theme park.

Access to all of the "innovative" attractions to be found across the 200-acre park is thought to improve because the number of visitors is thought to drop by around 35,000 after August.

This makes "getting on your favourite ride, show or attraction there a relative breeze".

Mr Davies wrote: "During this quieter time of year, when it is a lot easier to get around this 200-acre marine park, you can really take in the bigger picture."

SeaWorld recently held a new green initiative for Californian residents with electronic equipment they are keen to dispose of, reports Sign on San Diego.

Those that dropped off any unwanted goods – from TVs to computers – received an entry discount voucher for the theme park and a coupon book for Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets.

Family – Theme Parks – Treat the family to a day at one of the Disney resorts or to a splashing day out at a Spanish waterpark.
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18784382-ADNFCR

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The best long haul flight option? London – Florida.

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I would firstly like to note that this blog reflects only my personal views regarding certain air carriers and not necessarily the views of my colleagues; I write in hopes that you will find my experiences useful in planning your next trip from the UK to the American Southeast (specifically, to Florida) and that you will share your own pond hopping insights and experiences by commenting below.

 

Right…so, I was recently faced with the task of booking a last minute flight from London to America.  As, previously, I had only flown between Heathrow and Philadelphia or Baltimore (and subsequently travelled by car to my home in Delaware.  And yes, Delaware is a state…in which there are no major airports…), I never had to worry about domestic flight connections upon arrival to the US.  But, this time, I was going to visit family in Jacksonville, Florida.  Had I been visiting one of the major southeastern destinations—say, Atlanta, Miami or Orlando—a non-stop flight would have been feasible.  But for other popular vacation spots, such as St. Augustine, Charleston, New Orleans (and, in my case, Jacksonlle)—finding an affordable, low-hassle flight becomes quite difficult.

The point here is that you shouldn’t narrow your US travel destinations to cities that seem to pose the least complicated flight routes.  There are so many lovely, coastal spots in the southeastern states that require just a bit more effort—a few more minutes of crafty internet searching and an extra hour or two of travel time.  In my case, Delta Airlines provided the most affordable, reliable and comfortable way of getting from London to Jacksonville. 

First, a note on baggage…

Perhaps some of you, like me, have made the pond hop several times: then there’s a good chance that you, or people that you know, have experienced problems with recovering baggage.

Last time I flew from Philadelphia to Heathrow, using a certain air carrier that shall remain nameless, over $300 worth of valuables were stolen from my suitcase in transit, for which, the airline refused to compensate me.  The incident was, the customer relations agent informed me, not the airline’s fault, for I, the traveler, had chosen to place valuables in my suitcase.  Point taken, but with all of the hand baggage restrictions these days—and all of our technological obsessions—it is nearly impossible keep every digital device, Apple gadget, and Nintendo gaming accessory slung over our shoulders for a 17 hour door-to-door journey.

The moral of this story: proceed with caution when indulging in the dollar discount…

(My friend Natalie also wanted me to add: “mind the gap between the airport employee, and the conveyer belt: next stop, ‘Charring Loss’”—I can’t take credit for her genius).

Finding an affordable flight with easy connections…

With my normal go-to airline out of the question, I had to start from scratch. As always, my first points of research were skyscanner.net, and lastminute.co.uk.  Between these two sites, I was able to get a general idea of which airlines flew directly from London to Jacksonville…none!

 

I first considered taking a direct flight to Miami or Orlando…and then switching to a US low cost air carrier such as Southwest to get to Jacksonville (Florida is much bigger than it seems: Miami is a 5 hour + drive from Jacksonville).  The combined cost of these flights was way, way, way beyond my budget.

 

After about 2 hours of online research, I concluded that Delta Airlines was my best option: they offer several routes—with changes in Atlanta—to cities across the southeast, including Jacksonville.  Their prices were also the lowest, and, significantly, they offered plenty of layover flight times.  This is key, as, depending on the size of your travel party—and your country of citizenship—you may require more time to get through passport control and through customs before embarking on your domestic flight.  As a solo traveler with a US passport, 45 minutes probably would have been enough, but I chose a 2-hour layover, just to be safe.

The actual flight:

…was great!  We departed on time, my meals were decent (a choice between chicken and pasta, followed by pizza), and the movie selection was good.  We landed on time, and the Delta representatives were very specific and concise in their instructions for passengers needing to board transfer flights in Atlanta.  The route from the plane gate, to passport control, to baggage claim, through customs, to baggage re-check, and back through security was clearly mapped out and jet lag/idiot proof.  I was back through security with enough time to purchase a Father’s Day gift and to relax and stretch before boarding my connector flight to Jacksonville, which actually arrived early.

The take home advice:

Don’t be put off from planning a holiday to a non-major US city because of complicated flight routes.  Chances are, if you are traveling to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, or Tennessee, that Delta offers an affordable route through Atlanta

Good luck and happy planning!

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Orlando for Dummies

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My American friends call it Orlando, Florida, which means there are probably tens of other Orlandos across the US? But this one is the holy grail of consumer tourism. Theme parks have popped up like mushrooms with a symbiotic generation of hordes of hotels and restaurants to welcome fun hungry tourists.Beyond Disneyworld, EPCOT, Animal Land, Universal Studios, and Sea World, there must be other 20 parks: the pirate’s park, the water park, the fear park, the parrot’s park…And rolling across Orlando by car is an endless sequence: hotel, restaurant, hotel, restaurant, park, hotel, restaurant, t-shirt shop, restaurant, park, hotel..At the airport, I ask for a map to find out how to get to the hotel. I get offered a free, 150-page guide. The requested map is one on one thin page, and the other 149 pages are dedicated to ads for parks, restaurants and hotels. The last page is the pearl – a tipping guide, teaching Europeans how to tip! 15% for cabs and restaurants, 1 buck for suitcase handling, 1 buck for asking the concierge for directions, and 2-3 bucks if the directions are complex.Orlando, Florida: Land of the Tip.Restaurants are competing in a permanent race to put more stuff on your plate. We spent the first evening at a conference buffet. Great idea: you can pick, choose and pace your meal. But the second evening, we had a team dinner at a famous steak house, where obviously, they do steaks. The waiter carries a large tray full of fresh meat cuts – it’s the menu. WaiterShe goes on to tell us every detail about every cut: age, weight, texture, taste, most appropriate cooking method. She’s fighting for her 15% tip. (I should have recorded the speech).I go for a respectable, 23 ounce filet mignon (there are only 2 in each cow, I learn). It’s called “The Fabulous.” When I order, she nods in confidence: “The Fabulous – good choice.” I feel important. The slab of meat, which lands on my dish 5 minutes later, also looks important. Perfectly cooked, melts in your mouth.But my ears start buzzing half way through. My body can’t take a full Fab.

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