Happy Birthday To Us!

So, it’s November 6th, also known our birthday! It was a “Fun Day At Sea” aboard our Carnival Cruise Ship.  My son and I started the day with room service bringing us breakfast in bed. It felt so nice not having to move in the morning and just having breakfast brought to me. After that we took our time getting ready and then ventured around the ship. We walked past a show in the lobby and decided to sit and watch for a while. While watching the show Elijah ordered a kids Piña Colada and kicked back. 

After the show Elijah told me that he wanted to spend his birthday in the kid’s club. My son absolutely loves the kid’s club onboard the cruise ship, he always begs me to spend the day in there. I wanted to spend the day with him but I obliged, and took advantage of the fact that I had some adult time. I went to the adults only section of the boat, got myself a nice Mudslide, and relaxed until dinner time.


Dinner was absolutely delicious. For an appetizer I got the shrimp cocktail which is my go to appetizer. My main entree was a flat iron steak, cooked medium rare, and seasoned to perfection. Just when I thought I couldn’t be any more full it was time for desert.

For desert I ordered the “Carnival’s Melting Chocolate Cake” with vanilla ice cream on the side. Just as I thought I was finished with my desert the servers came out with mini birthday cakes for my son and I. There was more desert than I knew what to do with.


After dinner we went to the theater to watch the show. The show of the night was “88 Keys” it was about very popular piano songs. This line up included a lot of Long Island’s own, Billy Joel, so I was in heaven.

All in all I had a very good birthday. Nothing is better than spending my birthday with my son.

Until our next adventure,

Ela
(Updated November 12, 2017 to fix picture issues!)

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Miami Seaquarium & Boarding Our Ship

My son woke up super excited yesterday knowing that it was time to “go on the big cruise boat”. Our boarding time wasn’t until 1:30 though so we had a good amount of time to waste before we got on board. We started the day with some breakfast at a nearby hotel. Walking distance from our hotel was a Holiday Inn, that offered an inexpensive buffet breakfast; kids under 10 eat free so that was an added bonus.


After we filled our bellies we decided to head to the Miami Seaquarium. There was a groupon online which gave us 50% off the entrance fee. I thought this would be an extremely nice aquarium given the price to enter was very expensive, but I was highly disappointed. Large mammals swam in tanks that were obviously too small for their size, and to top it off there wasn’t much to see. We got to the park at 10:30am and we had seen everything, and even had lunch, by 12:30.


We left the Seaquarium and made our way to the cruise port. We had the perfect boarding time! It’s the first time I’ve selected a late boarding time and I will absolutely do it every time in the future. When you boarding at 1:30 you aren’t forced to sit with your luggage on the Lido Deck, because, your room is ready for you upon arrival. After checking in we went straight to our room to put our stuff away then off we went to get some lunch at the buffet. I always enjoy the food aboard Carnival ships, so I have no complaints there.


After eating lunch it was time to explore the ship. This ship is a bit confusing to navigate (The Carnival Splendor), but thank goodness I have the Carnival Hub app so I was able to navigate a bit more easily. We quickly discovered the splash park, which my son spent an hour at before we headed back to the room to get ready for the night. We were both exhausted, so we decided to watch the “Dive-in” movie and then call it quits. We absolutely love movie night on board. Sitting outside in the fresh air , and eating freshly popped popcorn is so relaxing! All in all it was a good first day on board our Carnival cruise. Can’t wait to see what the rest of this vacation has in store for us!

Until our next adventure!

Ela

Let The Birthday Fun Begin!

Let The Birthday Fun Begin!

There’s one time of year that this low budget traveling mama goes way beyond the normal spending. That would be my, and my son’s birthday (first week in November). We’re going on a fun cruise and I’ll be posting about our birthday adventures on the blog posts to come! Whenever I take a cruise, I always leave a day early to the port. So this time I’ll be overnighting in Miami.


This year I decided to splurge on some first class plane tickets. Now the tickets are only from New York to Miami but it’s something special I could give to my son, and myself for our birthday. My son quickly sat down, put on his headphones, and selected a movie, “The Polar Express”. I sat down, drank mimosa after mimosa, and flipped through Instagram for a bit before deciding to watch “Kidnapped”. Eventually it was time to each lunch, we both chose the chicken ramen, and it was actually really yummy. The chicken was tender and seasoned to perfection. Our plane ride was smooth, we landed into Miami 10 minutes early, and went directly to our hotel.


We stayed at the EB Hotel Miami. This isn’t a budget hotel but it’s also not very expensive. This hotel is about a 10 minute car ride from the airport and walking distance from fast food restaurants. Burger King and Pollo Tropical can be found right next door to this hotel. The lobby is very nice, with a bar that offers happy hour every night. Our hotel room was very spacious with plenty of storage space. This hotel also has a very nice pool area, the pool itself is nothing special, but the seating area around the pool is very nice and furnished with couches and tables so you can enjoy yourself and relax outside. My son and I hung outside for a while and enjoyed the sunshine before we left for dinner.


When dinner time rolled around we decided to grab a bite at the Monster Bite Food Truck. This was about a 10 minute walk from our hotel, and was actually right in the parking lot of some other Miami Airport Hotels. Although the food was a little bit expensive for my taste the portion sizes were plentisome, we had so much food left over. If you’re looking to try something a little different I’d definitely keep the Monster Bite Food Truck in mind. My son and I enjoyed our food very much.

Stay tuned to hear about what we do next!

Until Our Next Adventure,

Ela

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World

So, this blog post is coming to you a little late, only because I didn’t know if I wanted to write one for this trip or not.  I wrote a post about a trip to Walt Disney World already on this blog and I didn’t want to repeat myself too much.  Eventually (as in right now), I decided what the heck, if you want to read it you read it, if not, no ones forcing you, right? haha.img_0646

Anyway, so my birthday (which is also my son’s birthday) just passed on November 6th. One of our presents for our birthday was a surprise trip to Disney World.  When I saw the Magic Bands in the mail I got so excited and felt like a kid again!  For those of you who don’t know what Magic Bands are, you seriously disappoint me.  Just kidding, or am I? Anyway, Magic Bands are basically your key to Disney World.  Magic Bands are your room keys, your form of payment, your tickets into the park, your fast pass, and how you get on the Magical Express (transportation from airport to hotel). Magic Bands provide so much convenience because you only have to worry about carrying around one thing. Enough about Magic Bands though, am I right?

So we arrived into the Orlando airport, on our birthday and made our way downstairs to hop on the Magical Express.  Once we were on the bus it was about a 35 minute ride to the hotel.  We arrived at the hotel before check in time, but we were still able to check in and opt for a text message when our room was ready.  Since the Magic Bands are our room keys we didn’t have to stop back at the front desk, just go straight to our room once it was ready.  We left our bags with the bellhop and made our way to the first park, Animal Kingdom.

When first walking in to Animal Kingdom it really gives off a “Zoo” vibe, but once you break through you realize there is a lot more to offer. In my opinion Animal Kingdom is one of the parks that is best if you have a little kid (young toddler/baby). There are a lot of “rides” that don’t have height requirements also there are a lot of shows to keep the kids entertained.  If they are not happy with that Animal Kingdom also has many animal enclosures where children could look at the animals (just like a zoo), and in Rafiki’s Planet Watch they could even touch the goats.  If you’re traveling to Disney World with a young child and don’t have time to go to all 4 parks I would definitely recommend Animal Kingdom as one you got to do.

Day number 2, Epcot. Epcot is 100% an adult park.  Of course the kids can stay entertained in Epcot, each country has an “entertainment” team that puts on a show that gives you an inside look into the country, this entertains them for a while.  But, in my honest opinion, adults have 100 times more fun in Epcot than the kids do.  You walk around the “World Showcase” in Epcot and buy dishes that are popular, and even alcohol from that country. When we visited Epcot they were holding the International Food and Wine Festival, which was amazing. They added booths from all the countries in the World Showcase, and even added booths from some countries that weren’t in the World Showcase.  Each booth had a couple of popular dishes (sample size), then a couple of popular beverages from that specific country.  It was a great way to walk around and just sample all the good eats the world has to offer.  There was also a lot more going on in the Food and Wine Festival that I didn’t partake in, but you can learn more about it by clicking here.  Outside of the World Showcase Epcot also offers a couple of rides and “meet and greets”.  My son and I got a fast pass to meet Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy. Baymax, Joy, and Sadness were also available for meet and greets, but no fast pass was available.  Epcot also offers some rides, they have the Land, the Sea, and Future world.  At the Land they have Soarin’ (hang glider ride) and Living with the Land (slow boat tour). At the Sea they have The Seas with Nemo and Friends (slow ride) and also a small “aquarium”.  Future world offers, Fast Track, Mission Space, and Spaceship Earth.  So of course children will be entertained at Epcot, but I definitely think this park appeals more to the adults.

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Day number 3, Magic Kingdom. Now of course, in my book, no park beats Magic Kingdom. In Magic Kingdom you truly feel the magic and the kid in you comes alive.  I couldn’t help but smile while I was surrounded by smiles, Disney Characters, Cinderellas Castle, and more.  This was the first time I walked into Magic Kingdom and a crane wasn’t in my view of the castle, but unfortunately Movie Cameras were all over the place.  Disney Channel was shooting their “Christmas Special”, this is where the artists sing songs live in front of Cinderella’s castle, for Disney Channel to air in the month of December.  So I wasn’t able to get any usable shots of the castle, also it was impossible to get up close to the castle because there was a sea of people swarming the castle to be on TV (as the audience).  First ride we went on was The People Mover.  This is basically a decent speed car that brings you through a couple of the rides in Tomorrow Land.  The line could get pretty long for this ride but it always moves very fast, so don’t let the line discourage you.  The other rides we went on were Space Mountain, Its a Small World, The Haunted Mansion, The Merry-go-round, Buzz Light-year, and probably a couple more I can’t remember off the top of my head. Once 830pm came around we made our way towards the castle to try to grab a good view of the fireworks. The fireworks always get to me, I seem to get a little teary eyed every time I watch them, without fail. I feel the fireworks bring a feeling of nostalgia and that’s what gets every adult a little emotional as they watch the beautiful display.

Day number 4, Hollywood Studios. So I didn’t want to go to Hollywood Studios because there’s not too much to do for young children, but of course, Disney now owns Star Wars and Star Wars has completely taken over Hollywood Studios so we had to go.  Hollywood Studios has a Star Wars march which is actually really cool.  The Storm Troopers march up Hollywood studios and even I got goosebumps as they made their way through the crowd. Once they complete their march they put on a little show on the stage in the center of the park.  Its really cool, if you go to Hollywood Studios make sure to watch it.  After that we did a Disney Junior Live show, which is basically a puppet show of the most popular cartoons on Disney Junior, and it does a good job of getting the kids involved. My son absolutely loved it, he was in shock that his favorite Disney Characters were right in front of him doing their show.  After Hollywood Studios closed, we took the boat over to the Disney Boardwalk, which is a cute small boardwalk with some nice restaurants, family bikes, and they even had a Disney Movie playing on the lawn (with blankets out for people to sit on).

Now that I told you about all the parks, I guess I should mention where I stayed, haha.  I actually stayed at the Port Orleans Riverside resort.  Port Orleans Riverside is considered one of Disney’s moderate resorts (meaning its not too pricey, but its also not one of their “value” resorts).  I’ve stayed at the Port Orleans Riverside Result 6 times now and I have never had a bad experience.  I’ve also stayed at the Coronado Springs resort once and it was pretty similar to Port Orleans Riverside.  If you are on more of a budget they have “value” resorts, and if you want something a little more fancy they have “deluxe” resorts.

If going to Disney World I always recommend to stay at a Disney Resort, its 100x more convenient.  You have the Magical Express (transportation from airport to resort, round-trip), also there’s transportation from the resort to each Disney park (including Disney Springs and water parks), you can pay for everything with your Magic Band (no worries about carrying around credit cards), and you can do the dining plan if you choose (which gives your vacation more of an all inclusive feel).img_0651

All in all my birthday vacation was an A+. Definitely the best birthday present ever.

If you’re going to Disney for the first time, or just have any questions about Disney World in general leave me your question on a comment below and I’ll answer it in no time.  Also if you have some tips or tricks to share with my readers leave that below also, I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.

Until Next Time

-Ela

Florida

Florida


Hello my friends.  Sorry I have been lost lately, I’ve been doing some family vacations instead of “real” travel (things I didn’t think my readers would have too much interest in) – but I think its time to update y’all as to where I’ve been and ensure you that you can expect more travel posts from me in the near future.

First stop was Disney World in Florida.  When going to Disney World, I for one, highly recommend staying at a Disney World Resort.  The Disney World resorts have a free airport shuttle (the Magical Express); and then have free shuttles to the parks (much more frequent than if you stay in a hotel off-site).  I decided to stay at Coronado Springs, it fit my budget best.  Another Disney World Resort I absolutely love (and have stayed in every other time I’m in Disney World) is Port Orleans – Riverside.  I loved both of these resorts, I like Port Orleans a bit more but Coronado Springs was less expensive, and honestly, still very good; especially for the price.  (If any of my readers have been to Disney World and stayed at a Disney World Resort please comment below and tell me where you’ve stayed and if you enjoyed the property- I go to Disney World pretty frequently and would love to try new properties).

Now that I’ve bored you all with my Disney World Resort rant, lets get to the park.  I only went to Disney World for one day, so of course I chose to visit Magic Kingdom.  If you have a little one I highly suggest bringing a stroller, the park is very big and its a lot of walking, so your little one is bound to grow tired quickly.  I also recommend decorating your stroller that way when you park it outside of a ride it’s not confused with someone else’s stroller.

My son is only two years old, so we went on every ride he was allowed to ride at Magic Kingdom.  He absolutely loved the Carousel, we rode it at least 5 times.  He was also a big fan of Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride (which I also enjoyed).  I was so happy he enjoyed himself at the park (his mama is a big Disney fan) and I will definitely be taking him back more frequently.  Disney world is such a magical place that makes you feel like you’re reliving your childhood.  I highly suggest saving up and bringing your little ones there (or even if you’re an adult GO!) its worth every penny.Of course our trip to Magic Kingdom ended with the fire works display.  The song they choose for their show is guaranteed to make you tear up.  My eyes were all watery and I was looking around to make sure I didn’t look like a fool, and I didn’t.  Every other adult around me had watery eyes as well. Don’t leave the Magic Kingdom park before you have a chance to see  the fireworks display, and if you do leave make sure to go back so you can see it!  Epcot also has a fireworks display and its very good, but its just not as moving as the one at Magic Kingdom.

  A week later it was time to visit my grandparents.  During the winter they move into a condo in Stuart, Florida.  Stuart is a cute LITTLE town in Florida.  The first day in Stuart I hung out at their complex, and my son wanted to swim in the pool (FOR 4 HOURS), haha.  After I finally got my son out of the pool we went out to eat at LongHorn Steakhouse.
At LongHorn I got the Flo’s Filet and Lobster tail.  It was absolutely delicious.  Flo’s filet is so tender, and perfectly cooked (I got mine medium rare, I hate the meat being over cooked).  The lobster tail was so juicy and packed with so much flavor.  LongHorn is a chain restaurant, and I usually try not to write about chains on my blog, but it was so delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed my meal.
The next day it was time to head to the beach.  On the way to the beach we decided to stop at a little hot dog restaurant.  The name of the restaurant was Frank’n Stein.  The hot dogs were so yummy and much better than you’d get in the shack at the beach.  I ordered a chili cheese dog, and small fries.  I put some fries on my hot dog and loved every bite of it. I thoroughly enjoyed the food.  If you’re in the area I highly recommend stopping in to this stand.After eating some hot dogs it was time to hit the beach.  We decided to go to Jensen beach, the sand is clean and the water is warm.  Every time I visit this beach I love it even more.  There’s a food shack on site but the food is very expensive, so if you visit this beach you should pack a lunch for yourself (and anyone  you’re there with).

 

Well there you have it folks, that’s what I’ve been up to these past couple of weeks.  I’ve been laying low with my family and spending time with those who really matter to me.  It’s always important to set some time aside for the important people in your life, you never know what can happen tomorrow.  I will start traveling again shortly so stay tuned for more adventures.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns make sure to post them below and I will get back to you.  Also remember to comment below with your favorite Disney World Resort and why you liked it!

 

Until Next Time

-Ela