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Universal Orlando CityWalk

What do you get when you put some of the best restaurants next to the best night clubs connected to the best theme park? You get Universal Orlando’s CityWalk – THE place to go for amazing Nightlife at Universal Orlando.

Universal CityWalk

Every day that I was in Orlando for the FacingFearsTogether trip I spent some time at CityWalk – whether it was to grab a bite to eat, do some shopping for the girls, or have a couple several lot of cocktails. Though CityWalk is family friendly by day – sporting a cool putt putt golf arena and movie theater – at night it goes to the adults with live bands, killer night clubs and great restaurants. Our first night there Mickey and I dined at Margaritaville where you absolutely must try the friend cheese curds dipped in ranch dressing. Yes, I totally abandoned Whole30 for this little indulgence – and it was amazing. We then went to Pat O’Briens and watched the dueling pianos for a while. And you know – to sample the cocktails… just to make sure they were safe for everyone… we are thoughtful like that.

pat obriens citywalk

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Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure Theme Park

The whole time I was walking through the Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando I was wondering what the heck I had gotten myself in to. I am such a scaredy cat – I send The Teen to movies with Mike when I am worried they might be scary. Yes, she is 15 and less of a coward than her mother. Don’t judge. I think pretty much the only thing that helped me make it through (besides the death grip I had on Mickey’s right arm while I was nestled in between Summer’s shoulder blades) was the promise of a full day at Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure Theme Park the next day.

Islands of Adventure Logo

I haven’t been to Universal in years… like… since Back to the Future ride was still cool. (Didn’t I say no judging? Stopit.) And man have things changed. Now, I of course got to scope out a few things while I was walking through Halloween Horror Nights, but since you know that it was seldom that I actually had my eyes OPEN it felt like the first time. I was super excited to ride the Hollywood Rip Ride RockIt – their newest roller coaster that lets you jam out to your favorite tunes while zooming through the air at 65 miles an hour. I chose Evanescence “Bring Me To Life” for my song – HOLYWOW. The tune is timed *perfectly* with the coaster – it was absolutely amazing. I could have ridden that one over and over and over. It was as incredible as it sounds – times a thousand.

 Universal Orlando Resorts UOR

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Universal Orlando Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Now that things have finally settled down (read:  I can sleep again without visions from Halloween Horror Nights seeping in to my dreams) I am excited to tell you about all of the other amazing stuff I did when I joined the Two Traveling Moms and a handful of other friends for the #FacingFearsTogether event. The first – and maybe most awesome – was the resort where we stayed. The Cabana Bay Beach Resort is Universal Orlando’s newest hotel – and by far the coolest one I have ever stayed in.

From the moment you pull on the to Cabana Bay Beach Resort’s property, you are propelled back in to the 1950’s and 60’s – from the architecture to the music playing to the hotel staff uniform. Even the sign out front boasts “Cool Air” and ” Color TV”… how cool is that?! Inside the front doors you will find a huge open concept with a great seating area and cute little bar nestled in the corner. The center of the lobby boasts a huge atrium of palm trees. I was waiting for a Jetson’s robot to round the corner.

Check in was quick and easy and then we were off to our rooms. I had no idea what to expect when we opened the doors – but I loved it. Suddenly I felt like I had fallen on to the set of MadMen and I was determined to find Don Draper. I have some ummm… suggestions for his advertising.

cabana bay beach resort

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Halloween Horror Nights 2014 #HHN24

I am a chicken. I mean, a big one. I am the girl that spooks herself in dark windows, jumps at stuff on tv, and will nearly kill herself to get to the remote to change the channel when scary movie trailers play. But when my friends Toni and Mellisa from Two Traveling Moms put together the #FacingFearsTogether event for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, I jumped at the chance to go. I mean, the best way to overcome your fears is to face them, right? That ‘s what I tell my Divas in my direct sales coaching – and I should practice what I preach. So I signed up, was accepted… and promptly began panicking.

HHN24 Logo

Named “Nation’s Best Halloween Event” for seven consecutive years by Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando puts you up close and personal with some of the most terrifying sights you will ever see. There are eight horror houses including The Walking Dead, Alien versus Predator, Dracula Untold, and more, plus several “Scare Zones” throughout the park. There are some places that are safe that you can walk around without fear (read: the only places I actually breathed) and even two shows that were my favorite part of the whole event.

Halloween Horror Nights 24

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Have a #SummerBlast at Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando Florida

Last weekend the family and I had the pleasure of spending a weekend at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida as part of their SummerBlast! Promotion. To say it was an amazing weekend is an understatement – it was absolutely the perfect way to kick off the Summer.

hilton summer blast 2014

IT’S BACK! This summer we’re celebrating 101-days of summer vacation! As part of SummerBlast!, you and your family can enjoy fabulous summer fun at the pool and throughout the resort. Join the SummerBlast! team at our pool, as they provide an afternoon of rockin’ pooltime fun, including music, games and prizes! Also, join us for Ducktona 500 on Saturdays, and you can win a prize if your duck is the first to cross the finish line… in our lazy river pool! You’ve gotta see this to believe it!

From the minute you step out of your car, you will fall in love with the Hilton Bonnet Creek. From the friendly valet service to the check in staff – everyone is so nice and accommodating. You can choose to have your room face the pool and Downtown Disney – which I highly suggest. Besides having a beautiful view every morning – there is another benefit which we would learn later in the weekend. More on that in a minute.

We arrived mid afternoon so we quickly showered and changed and headed off to dine at the Pirates Adventure Dinner Theater. There are several dinner theaters in the area – all of which are fantastic! I’ve been to Medieval Times, Arabian Nights, Sleuth’s Mystery Theater, and now Pirates Adventure.  It was a blast! The Pirates Adventure really gets the audience involved more than any of the others which the girls thought was really cool. I highly recommend the dinner theaters – especially for older kids.  And check out KGSTickets.com for the best ticket prices on everything in the Kissimmee/Orlando area!

pirates adventure dinner theater

Pirates Adventure Dinner Theater starts nightly at 8:15 – and lasts a full two hours. So needless to say – we were ready for bed by the time it was over.  Thankfully it is just a few miles away from Hilton Bonnet Creek, so we were able to get back and get tucked in before anyone fell asleep. I was so happy for valet parking!

The next day we slept in and decided instead of going to any of the parks, we would spend the day right there at the hotel enjoying all of the SummerBlast festivities.  I think that was my favorite part of the entire weekend – not having to GO anywhere! The Hilton Bonnet Creek has so many things to do – you do not even have to walk off property to have an amazing time. We got up, got our bathing suits on, and headed down to the pool. Named #1 by TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Fantastic Pools – the Hilton Bonnet Creek pool is surrounded by a flowing lazy river that you can absolutely spend all day in… which is exactly what we did. 

hilton bonnet creek pool

We even had lunch right there on the pool deck thanks to Beech – their poolside grill! I had a cheeseburger that was to die for and the girls had chicken and french fries. Mike and I also had pina coladas… you know… for research purposes and all. It was great to get to eat and not even leave our spot!

BEECH

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