Because the world is still big!

Another week in Orlando

Posted in Money Saving Tips, Vacations  by Traveler on August 19th, 2009

Last week we returned from our one week annual pilgrimage to Orlando. As usual we stayed at Orange Lake Resort, which to my surprise began offering free wireless access all the villages.

 Wet and Wild

This year we decided to purchase the annual tickets to Wet and Wild. After doing some serious search on the internet, I was able to find this coupon, which lower the weekday annual pass at Wet and Wild from $49.00 to $40.00 per person. The coupon also have discount for daily passes, and it is good until December 31st. 2009. You can download it here.

Wet and Wild is much smaller than any of the Disney water parks, and in my opinion, everything inside the park is much more expensive. Lockers cost you $8.00 to rent, and if you want to do water ski in the lake, you must pay extra for that too. The food it is expensive as well, although this is something I had expected.

Some of the most popular rides have long lines, while in the smaller rides the lines were short and they moved fast. The good thing about the park is that they allow food and drinks inside the park, as long as there are not in glass containers, so if you pack some sandwiches and some drinks you will save a lot of money.

In general my kids enjoyed the water park. We visited twice during the week.

Bongos Restaurant

One of the biggest disappointed this summer vacation was the dinner we had at Bongos Restaurant in Downtown Disney. Bongos is owned by the singer Gloria Stephan and her husband. They serve Cuban food and on the weekend they have live music at the restaurant. This was our second time having dinner there and I must say that it was a completely different experience compared to our previous visit to the restaurant.

To begin with, they assigned us a table on the second floor, right in the middle of all the traffic. People who were going to the restroom would pass by our table, and the waiters would also walk very closed to us when they were delivering food. I requested to the hostess to be moved, and although there were several empty tables, she refused to do it with the excuse that the table was assigned to us by another hostess downstairs and she couldn’t do anything about it. It had to go downstairs to talk to person who originally assigned the table for us in order to get another table.

The food took for ever to arrive, and when it finally did the meat was hard, and very salty. They also forgot to bring the black beans we had ordered, so we had to wait another 10 minutes for the beans to arrive while the food was getting cold.

The bill was around $75 for two people (only me and my wife went out to dinner that night. I gave the waiter the credit card, and when he returned with the credit card receipt to sign, they have charged $87.00. I thought they were including the tips in the bill, but it turned out that the waiter had made a mistake and he had overcharged us. He asked for my credit card again to cancel the charges and issue a new one, but at this point I just told him to leave it like that and to keep the difference from the original bill as his tips.

I was really disappointed with the service and the food. The first time we visited Bongos was in the middle of the week and it wasn’t that busy, so perhaps that is the reason we got a much better service that this time around.

Disney Boardwalk

Although every year we spend a week in Orlando for one reason or another we have never been in Disney Boardwalk, so this year we decided to spend an evening visiting the stores and walking around the resort. We had a very pleasant time. The resort and surrounding areas is very beautiful. At night it lights up and the reflection of the lights in the water makes the place feel magical.  The place have several restaurants and even a nigh club for adults only. It is much more quiet than Downtown Disney, but still a good place to walk by the water and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.

Ponce de Leon State Spring Park

Every year, we pick one State Park to visit during our stay in Orlando. This year we went to Ponce de Leon Spring Park. The park is build around a natural spring that pours 72 degree water into a natural swimming pool. Compared to Blue Spring Park, this park is much more smaller and less beautiful, but the kids definitely enjoyed jumping in the cold water.

There is so much to do in Orlando besides the parks that it will take more than a week to see everything. At one point we considered visiting Gator Land, but we ran out of time. We also thought about doing the indoor skydiving, but later on discarded it and decided to go to Old Town instead. I am glad we did, because the kids had a blast riding the go carts over and over again.

In general, we had a great time, and especially my children got to share some fun times with their cousins. In total there were about 30 family members in Orlando this year.


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