There are many things about living in Naples Florida that makes life special. According to my husband, Don, one of the best things about Naples is its proximity to Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure in Orlando. We are a mere 3.5 hours from Universal Orlando.
Since my husband Don is a roll a coaster enthusiast, we are annual member to Universal Orlando. We try to get up to Universal at least twice a year. What do you get your husband of 31 years for Christmas? A trip to Orlando! We spent December 16th-18th at Universal.
If you are a Florida resident or an annual pass holder with Universal Orlando, you can sometimes get some super rates at on site hotels. I managed to book a room at Lowes Royal Pacific Hotel which is on site at Universal for just $128.00 a night plus tax. Florida residents can check on line for hotel rates and entrance pass specials at Universal Orlando. When you stay at an on site hotel, you are given a Fast Pass which allows you to go to the head of the line when waiting for a ride. This saves an incredible amount of time when the park is crowded.
Don was thrilled to learn that Universal Studios will be opening up a new roll a coaster in the Spring of 2009.
He actually shot pictures of the track of this new coaster.
Universal's Islands of Adventure will be opening a new Harry Potter attraction sometime in 2010.
Last spring we traveled to Universal for the opening of the Simpson's ride. For those of you who love the Simpson's just standing in line waiting for the ride is a treat. You are in Krustyland waiting to ride a coaster and the dangerous Side Show Bob has escaped from prison into the park. As you wait, you can see different Simpson's characters on screens inside carnival booths. Everyone who is into the Simpson's TV show has their favorite character. Mine will always be Krusty the Clown. I don't think there is any person in the world who could match Krusty's crass commercialism of Krusty products let alone Krusty's MANY product endorsements.
Want to get into a Christmas spirit? Universal Orlando is the place to be. Both Universal Island of Adventure and Universal Studios are decorated for the holidays with wonderful lights, festive garland and all sorts of Christmas ornaments. The parks are a delight to see.
Every evening during the holidays Universal Studios has a Macy's Christmas parade.
There are huge balloons,
young people dancing on stilts,
all sorts of characters,
and cannons shooting out confetti through out the parade. The enthusiasm of all the young people in the parade is contagious!
How these young people can dance on stilts is beyond me!
Santa's helpers circled the tree to help Santa light the tree.
On the count of three, the tree illuminates and cannons fire out confetti snow! What a parade!
Don just couldn't resist getting a photo with some of Santa's helpers.
The last night of our trip we had dinner at Bice at the Portofino Hotel in Universal. After a wonderful dinner we sat outside in the piazza and enjoyed an after dinner drink looking out at the decorated buildings and piazza tree.
On our way back from Universal we stopped at Parkesdale Farm Market in Plant City at 3702 U.S. 92 West 813-752-0502 If you are ever on your way back to Naples from Orlando, plan to make a stop here. The fruit and vegetables are marvelous and reasonably priced. The strawberries are out of this world. Don and I stocked up for the holidays while we were there.
Getting back to reality was pretty tough after being pampered at Universal. Does anyone else have Christmas gifts to wrap?Whether you are in a freezing climate or in a tropical paradise, I wish you all a wonderful holiday and a happy and healthy New Year!
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