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New Year in Orlando, 27th December, 10 Nights, 2ad & 2ch, €4509


How do you top a visit from Santa? Spend New Year in Orlando! Surprise the kids with a holiday of a lifetime, or better still – make it their Christmas present!

Can you think of a better way to ring in the New Year? Enjoy a trip of a lifetime by spending New Year in Orlando with your family. Stay on site at one of the Universal Studios hotels and get early access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and enjoy mind blowing simulator rides from your favourite movies.

Read: Top things to do in Universal Studios – my top tips and tricks


Walt Disney World is another must see – and not just just for younger kids. With the brand new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened last year, and Pandora – The World of Avatar – one of Orlando’s most popular attractions, you may need to spend longer in Disney than you think! Let the kids see their favourite Disney characters in street parades and make sure you catch the dazzling fire work displays.

Read: 10 reasons why you should book Walt Disney World Orlando tickets now!


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However, there is more to a holiday in Florida than Universal Studios and Walt Disney World. There are numerous water parks to choose from as well as Legoland, Peppa Pig World, and the Kennedy Space Center, which is just an hour’s drive away. And don’t forget the shopping! You need to allow a full day to explore the Florida Mall and the Premium Outlets..



I have chosen one of Universal Studios’ Hotels –  Endless Summer Resort, the hotel that we stayed in last year. Not only has this new resort got family friendly facilities, but once you purchase park tickets, you will receive early access to Universal Studios parks, one hour before the parks open, and get free transport to and from the parks. Family rooms and large family suites are available that can cater for families of six.


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I found great value flights with Delta Airlines / KLM with a short stop in Boston for €628 per person on the 27th of December, through Irish travel company e-Travel. The layover is relatively short, and you will still be able to clear immigration in Dublin airport before you fly. 
Dublin Orlando flights for New Year
A 10 night stay at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn & Suites is €1997 based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing, and you only need a €100 deposit to book!  If you wish to stay longer or come back earlier, simply edit the search on the links below to suit your requirements.


I have also priced 14 day tickets to Universal Studios below, these allow unlimited entry to all three Universal Studios parks for 14 days, and a €25 deposit secures your booking. For a limited time you can enjoy Adults at Kids Prices! There are many other ticket options available through Attraction Tickets.com including combination tickets that include entrance to Walt Disney World too. 

There is lots to consider when booking a trip to Orlando but I’ve got a post that might help:

Read: How to plan a trip to Orlando in 10 easy steps

So go ahead, treat the kids to a trip to Florida this Christmas and spend New Year in Orlando!


Search flights here 27th Dec – 6th Jan €628pp

View hotel here €1997

View park tickets 2ad & 2ch €1460

Read: 10 things to know about Universal Studios before you book.


Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of these links are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.


3 Parks For the Price of 2, And New Attractions at SeaWorld, Aquatica And Busch Gardens


Ride the fastest, steepest hybrid coaster in the world, race your family and friends on Florida’s first-ever duelling water slide, or catch a concert in one of the festivals in SeaWorld Parks. There are so many new attractions in Florida that you won’t want to miss!


With all the new attractions in Florida, deciding which theme parks to visit is not easy. For some, a visit to Orlando would not be complete without riding Mako, Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest coaster. Others might want to experience up-close animal encounters, but if you are travelling during the hot summer months, a day at Aquatica, Orlando’s No. 1 waterpark, might be a top priority.

It just so happens that you can experience all of the above with SeaWorld Parks 3 for 2 Ticket, which allows 14 consecutive days unlimited admission to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens from just €134!  I have teamed up with AttractionTickets.com who are offering this exclusive offer for a limited time. This ticket also gives you FREE unlimited parking at all parks and FREE coach transportations from Orlando to Busch Gardens. And that’s not all – this offer is available throughout 2020 and 2021. 


View offer here


New Attractions in Florida at SeaWorld:

SeaWorld is already home to some of Orlando’s best rollercoasters. Mako, Manta, Kraken, Infinity Falls and Journey to Atlantis are all in SeaWorld Orlando, but this year sees the launch of another new coaster ‘Ice Breaker’. This a multi-directional coaster that culminates in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida. Its 48-inch rider height makes it suitable for families too – assuming you like thrill rides! 

Ice Breaker at SeaWorld – 2020 Teaser from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment on Vimeo.

As well as new attractions, you will also find lots of special events running in SeaWorld this year. The Seven Seas Food Festival features live concerts every weekend until the beginning of May. As well as top class performances, guests can enjoy local craft beers and food market stalls throughout the park. This festival culminates with concerts from Billy Ray Cyrus on the 2nd of May and Sean Paul on the 3rd of May. Concerts are included in the price of admission.   

See 10 reasons to visit SeaWorld Orlando here.

new attractions in florida


New Attractions in Florida at Busch Gardens:

The 206-feet tall Iron Gwazi coaster opens in Busch Gardens this spring. It will be North America’s tallest hybrid, and the fastest, steepest hybrid coaster in the world. Riders will experience three inversions, a 91-degree drop and speeds of 76 miles per hour! The height requirement is 48″ so thrill-seeking families can also enjoy this ride together. Are you brave enough to try it?  

Iron Gwazi from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment on Vimeo.

As well thrilling roller coasters like Tigris, SheiKra and Cheetah Hunt, Busch Gardens is also home to some of the world’s most endangered animals. This African-themed park is home to over 200 species, including Bengal tigers and organgutans. You can also take a safari ride through the park, where you may meet some of graceful giraffes – like this one!

new attractions in florida

Busch Gardens is also running special events throughout the year including the Food & Wine Festival, which is running until the 26th of April. This festival will include weekend concerts from artists such as The Commodores and KC & The Sunshine Band. Concerts are included in the price of admission.  


New Attractions in Florida at Aquatica:

Not one to be left out, Aquatica has also got a new ride, Riptide Race. This is Florida’s first-ever duelling water slide. With a 68-foot tower, riders will race side-by-side on a raft, through 650 feet of indoor and outdoor sections. Now this is my kind of ride! 

Riptide Race at Aquatica from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment on Vimeo.

As well as Riptide Race, one of the this year’s new attractions in Florida, make sure find time to see why Aquatica has been voted Orlando’s No. 1 waterpark. Experience the feeling of weightlessness in recently opened KareKare Curl, or brave Ihu’s Breakaway Falls – at nearly 80-feet tall, this is Orlando’s steepest multi-drop tower of its kind. There are also lots of family rides in Aquatica, including Ray Rush, which has twists and turns inside a colossal water sphere.

new attractions in orlando - riptide race

So whether you like thrilling coasters, animal encounters or family water rides, the SeaWorld Parks 3 for 2 Ticket caters for all your needs – and then some! Secure entrance to all three parks with free parking for 14 consecutive days from just €134.

AttractionTickets.com’s Dublin office is open from 9am-9pm seven days a week. You can reach them on 1800 927 467 or book via their website here.

new attractions in florida


This post was sponsored by Attraction Tickets.com but all views, as always, are my own.



The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

AmericaDestinationsFamily HolidaysLong Haul

Where to Stay in Orlando

mickey mouse

For anyone going to Orlando for the first time, choosing the place to stay can be a little daunting. International Drive, Kissimmee and Lake Buena Vista are all great places to stay, but how do to know which one is right for you? I teamed up with American Sky, the Florida holiday specialists, to get their view on where to stay in Orlando.


International Drive | Lake Buena Vista | Kissimmee

Walt Disney World covers 47 square miles on its own and there are over 20 different theme parks and attractions in Orlando – that just gives you an idea of how vast Orlando is. The good news is that despite receiving 50 million tourists a year, it is quite easy to get around Orlando.

It is actually the busiest car rental market in the world, so roads and infrastructure need to be good – and they are. So when choosing your base in Orlando, the first thing you should ask yourself is: do I want to hire a car? If the answer is no and you want to visit a lot of different theme parks, then the answer is simple – stay on International Drive.



International Drive

International Drive or ‘I-Drive’ as the locals call it, is best described as Orlando’s ‘Vegas Strip’. There are hundreds of hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions lined up beside each other for eleven miles. Top theme parks like Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Aquatica are here, as well numerous attractions including The Orlando Eye.


The ‘I-Ride’ bus service is excellent and runs from 8am to 10.30pm so there is no need for a car. Many hotels that are located here also offer free shuttle services to the main theme parks.

If you do decide to take a taxi to Walt Disney World, what you pay in cab fare you save in parking, so despite many people saying you have to have a car in Orlando, I think if you stay on International Drive, you can easily do without one.

where to stay in orlando - International Drive

There are many accommodation choices to choose from on International Drive. It is important to remember that when holidaying in Orlando, most of the time you are not in the hotel – you are out visiting theme parks or attractions instead. This makes International Drive an ideal location if you are looking for a reasonably priced hotel. I have chosen two hotels that are excellent value, receive great reviews and are centrally located.



$ The Rosen Inn at Pointe: 7 nights from €549pp including flights.

This is an excellent budget hotel on International Drive. Formerly the Quality Inn Plaza, this now offers three swimming pools, free WiFi and a free shuttle service to Universal Studios, Aquatica, and SeaWorld.


There are three restaurants on site and children (9 and under) eat free when dining with an adult, (one child per adult). Situated across the road from the Pointe shopping centre and cinema, this hotel receives great reviews on tripadvisor.

See more here 



$ The Avanti Resort: 7 nights from €509pp including flights.

A firm favourite with Irish holidaymakers, the recently renovated Avanti resort is located in a prime position on International Drive. There is a large swimming pool, bar and restaurant on site and there are free shuttle buses available to Disney, Universal, Wet ‘n Wild, SeaWorld and Aquatica.


They also offer interconnecting rooms which are ideal for large families.  Highly rated on tripadvisor and awarded a certificate of excellence, this is the perfect choice for anyone looking to stay in the heart of International Drive, without breaking the bank.

See more here


If you plan on spending a lot of time in Universal Studios’ three theme parks, it might be a good idea to stay in one of the Universal hotels. Not only are they exceptionally good, but you will also have access to the parks earlier than the general public. This is particularly beneficial if you are a Harry Potter fan, as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can be extremely busy in peak season.


There are eight hotels to choose from, including the famous Hard Rock Hotel and the popular Cabana Bay Resort, which have large family suites. If you stay in one of their five star resorts, the Hard Rock, Lowes Royal Pacific or Lowes Portofino, you will also receive complimentary express passes which will save you valuable queueing time!

where to stay in orlando

$$$ Loews Portofino Bay Hotel: 7 nights from €799pp including flights and Universal express passes

I was fortunate to be able to stay in this hotel and it was fantastic. Designed by Steven Spielberg to replicate Portofino in Italy, this hotel has outdoor bars and cafes that are identical to the Italian resort.


They even have tenors singing at various times during the day. Situated on a lake, there are times when you forget where you are. The interior is luxurious too and it also offers a unique way to get to Universal Studios – a free water taxi service!

See more here



Lake Buena Vista

Lake Buena Vista is the ideal place to stay if you are planning on spending most of your time at Walt Disney World. Remember there are five different Disney Parks so if you are travelling with young children, you may spend a lot of time here.


Lake Buena Vista is also good for golf and outlet shopping. Choose to stay in one the Disney hotels or one of the many hotels, homes or villas in the area.


There are 25 different Disney hotels to choose from which come in four categories, value, moderate, deluxe and deluxe villa resorts. By staying in any of the Disney hotels you can avail of extended theme park hours, free transportation to all the parks and the airport, as well as free parking and free WiFi. For a limited time only you can also receive FREE dining on selected 2020 holidays – ts & cs apply.



$$ Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort: 7 nights from €729pp including flights

This hotel is in the moderate class and is perfect for families looking for the ultimate Disney experience, without the expensive price tag. Designed to replicate a Caribbean resort, there are seven pools, including one with water slides, as well as Caribbean style beaches. Kids will love the pirate adventure cruise and there are also pirate themed rooms available at a supplement.

See more here



$ Solterra Resort Homes: 7 nights from €629pp including flights

The Solterra Resort Homes offer the best of both worlds, luxury homes with a resort feel. Situated only nine miles from Walt Disney World Resort and minutes drive from shops and restaurants, the location is superb.


They offer five, six and seven bedroom homes, all with private pools and either a games room or spa. The facilities on site include a communal pool with a water slide, and a club house with a fitness centre and tennis courts.

See more here



$$ Sheraton Vistana Resort: 7 nights from €679pp including flights

The luxury Sheraton Vistana Resort comprises of one and two bedroom villas in 135 acres of land. There are numerous facilities on site including seven swimming pools, a fitness centre, mini-golf, tennis courts and free WiFi. Let the kids enjoy the kids club or Wii tournaments, while you have a massage on your poolside cabana.


There is a wide selection of restaurants and bars within the grounds, so there is no need to venture out at night time. Highly rated on tripadvisor and awarded a certificate of excellence, this is a great choice for a family holiday. The Sheraton Vistana is ideally located, only 10 minutes from Sea World, 15 minutes from Universal and only 5 minutes from Walt Disney World.

See more here




If you fancy something away from the hustle and bustle of the parks, Kissimmee is a good choice. Although only a fifteen minute drive to International Drive and even less to Disney, there are many homes and villas with private pools here, creating a country feel, which is ideal for large or extended families.


If you want to visit other parts of Florida and don’t plan on spending your entire time visiting theme parks – chose Kissimmee. A trip to the Kennedy Space Centre or Busch Gardens, both less than 90 minutes drive, are perfect day trip options.


There are many different neighbourhoods within the Kissimmee area and each have a good selection of shops, bars and restaurants.  Here are my top three places to stay in Kissimmee

where to stay in orlando

$ The Highland Reserve Executive homes: 7 nights from €629pp including flights

These homes are exceptional value. and are  only a fifteen minute drive to Walt Disney World. There are four, five and six bedroom homes available. Choose the simply furnished executive homes or upgrade to the executive plus, which offers a modern décor, more living space, free WiFi and a games room or spa.

The development overlooks the nearby golf course and there is a communal pool, tennis courts and play area on site.

See more here



$ The Calabay Parc homes: 7 nights from €599pp including flights

Complete with their own private pool and outdoor loungers, these homes are perfect for lazy days in the Florida sunshine. Located in the pretty countryside of Kissimmee they are approximately 30 minutes from Walt Disney World Resort and 40 minutes from International Drive.


They offer a choice of four, five and six bedroom villas. Choose to upgrade to the executive plus homes which offer modern décor, more living space, free WiFi and a games room or spa.

See more here



$$ Windsor Hills: 7 nights from €679pp including flights

These executive five and six bedroom homes are ideally located only five minutes drive from Walt Disney World and fifteen minutes from International Drive. The have excellent facilities on site include a large swimming pool, whirlpool, fitness centre and multi sports.


Children will love the games room, pool slide, the 58-seat cinema and free WiFi! The Windsor Hills homes are also next door to the Mystic Dunes golf course.  They also offer executive plus homes which have modern décor, more living space, free WiFi and a games room or spa.

See more here


$$ Magic Village Yards Trademark Collection by Wyndham: 7 nights from €689pp including flights

If you want to stay beside Walt Disney World but still want the comforts of you own home, then look no further than the Magic Village Yards. These luxury three and four bedroom villas are right in the heart of Disney. The Club house offers activities for children, an outdoor heated pool, a play room and free WiFi.


There is also a restaurant on site where you can dine or order food to your villa. If you don’t want to drive to the Disney Parks, take the free shuttle bus available and save on the parking!

See more here



Top Tips when visiting Orlando:


        • Remember to get your ESTA application before you fly. An ESTA is mandatory for non-US citizens when travelling to the USA. You can apply for an ESTA online.


        • Travel off peak if you can, prices will be lower and temperatures will cooler. If you have to travel during school holidays Easter can be a better option to summer, as American schools only have one week off at that time. Check the Spring Break dates here.


        • Book your theme park tickets in advance. Not only will this save you money, but also valuable queueing time. You will also find that you can purchase combo tickets to visit multiple parks at a lower rate, than purchasing them when you arrive.


        • Choose a hotel with a free shuttle bus to the parks, or one that is close to the iRide – International Drive’s affordable public transport option. You may or may not rent a car in Orlando, but even if you are driving, the cost of parking at theme parks is quite high. If there is a free shuttle bus or iRide available, use it. Read my top tips and tricks for visiting theme parks.


        • Allow down time. Queueing in hot temperatures, as well as the increased adrenaline can leave children exhausted. Try to plan some quiet days to laze by the pool between visits to the park.




    This post, where to stay in Orlando, was sponsored by American Sky but all views, as always, are my own.

    The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery



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    Where to stay in Orlando


Book a Disney Orlando Hotel & Park Tickets for 2019 & Dine for FREE With Drinks, For Your Entire Stay!

mickey mouse

Book a Disney Orlando hotel and park tickets for 2019 with Attraction Tickets Direct and dine for FREE at up to 100 dining venues, receive FREE drinks with meals and get a $300 Disney gift card!


I often see deals to Orlando pop up in my newsfeed and I think maybe we should go this year. But once I add on the park tickets and fast passes, the price doubles. I fall for it every time. What I love about this new deal from Attraction Tickets Direct is everything is included in the price. You could actually go to DisneyWorld, stay in a Disney Hotel, skip the queues to the most popular rides, dine for free and even get $300 spending money! Now that’s a game changer.

disney Orlando hotel and park tickets

The only thing better than telling your kids you are going to Walt Disney World in Florida, is telling them you are staying there! Imagine feeling the Disney Magic 24/7, enjoying Disney’s movies under the stars from your hotel swimming pool, with the added bonus of easy access to all the Disney parks and nightlife options. By staying at a Disney hotel you also receive Disney Magical Hours which is early admission to the park before anyone else and Disney’s Magical Express which free transportation to and from the parks and the airport. You can even pre-plan your stay by using the Disney Fastpass+ which allows you to pre book for popular attractions like Frozen Ever After, character greetings and special viewing areas for parades and fireworks. Kids will love the free WiFi too!

disney Orlando hotel and park tickets

But that’s not all….


Attraction Tickets Direct are now offering free dining, free drinks with meals and $200 Disney gift card!


This offer is even available during the Summer holidays! There are exclusions over Easter and with specific properties – you can see them here. When you book a Disney Orlando hotel and park tickets together, with Attraction Tickets Direct, you will also receive the following:

  • Dine for FREE for your entire stay at up to 100 dining venues*
  • Free Drinks with meals*
  • $300 Disney Gift Card*
  • 14 day Ultimate Ticket for the price of a 7 day ticket, giving you unlimited access to all 6 Disney Parks
  • Free memory maker – worth $199
  • FREE Orlando Airboat Ride and Wild Animal Park Admission
  • Free gifts including VIP Shop & Dine For Less card, autograph book and savings at the Florida Mall.
  • Guaranteed lowest prices combining Disney hotels, entrance tickets and a dining plan. (Find a cheaper like-for-like price and they will double the difference!)
  • Fully bonded with ABTA for your protection.

This really is an incredible offer, you can actually save up to a staggering €2352* based on a family of four travelling for two weeks! And the best part, there are 100 different dining venues to choose from, you DONT have to eat in your hotel every night!  There are different dining packages depending on which hotels you book. Check out the short video below for the full low down on FREE Disney dining.

You will see room prices from €66 per night in Disney’s Value Resorts but these only offer free breakfast so you are better to choose Disney’s Moderate, Deluxe Resorts or Deluxe Villa Resorts. In order to get the $200 Disney gift card, you need to choose a Moderate or Deluxe hotel too, so these are definitely the best value option. For a full list of all Disney Hotels click here. Prices start at €125 per room per night in the moderate, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

disney Orlando hotel and park tickets

The Attraction Tickets Direct website is so easy to use. Just select the dates you want to travel, then choose the Disney hotel you want, add on your park tickets and the free dining package. Price for a two week holiday at Disney’s Caribbean Resort in July is €4821 based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing. Prices are even less if you travel off peak. This includes hotel accommodation, 14 day unlimited park tickets, FREE dining, FREE drinks with meals, FREE $300 Disney gift card, FREE memory maker, Disney’s Magical Hours, Disney’s Fastpass+ and transportation to and from the parks and airport!

Have I convinced you yet? You only need a deposit of €100 to secure your 2019 booking and you can pay off gradually!


Click here for more details:



Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change.  For all the Ts&Cs* click here.  This post was sponsored by Attraction Tickets Direct but all views, as always, are my own.


The Travel Expert

Walt Disney World Orlando – The Best Tickets To Buy And Where to Stay!

minnie mouse

Planning a trip to Orlando? Get 14 days for the price of 7 at Walt Disney World, get free hotel nights, free Disney Fast Pass+, free Memory Maker and even free money – yes you did read that right!


Walt Disney World offers children the chance to come face to face with their favourite Disney characters, see extraordinary parades and amazing firework displays. It is where children and adults experience unparalleled Disney magic, but it also offers so much more. Some of the best attractions in Orlando, such as Pandora, The World of Avatar and Toy Story Land are in Walt Disney World, and let’s not forget that Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge will be opening later this year!  Walt Disney World has six different parks, including Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and two water parks. You may need to spend more time here than you think….

best tickets to buy in Walt Disney World

I have teamed up with Attraction Tickets Direct, the theme park experts, who are offering amazing deals on Walt Disney World tickets and Disney Hotels right now. Not only do they offer the best value theme park tickets on the market, but they also offer the best variety. Attraction Tickets Direct only sell theme park tickets – they are the experts! They send you real park tickets (not vouchers) so there is no need for queues, just sail through the entrance doors! They offer free delivery and no credit card fees and also include so many FREE extras that you won’t get elsewhere.  They are currently offering the 14 day Ultimate Disney Ticket for the price of 7,  which comes with all this……..

Free Fastpass+

Pre-plan your stay by using the Disney Fastpass+ which allows you to pre book for popular attractions like Frozen Ever After, character greetings and special viewing areas for parades and fireworks, 30 days before your arrival.

Free Memory Maker Worth $199!

There is no need to panic when you can’t take your camera on a water ride or if you are holding on too tight to get the camera out of your pocket! With Memory Maker, all your favourite memories from the rides will be captured. You can relive all the theme park fun when you get home and enjoy the photos taken of your family by Disney PhotoPass photographers. Photos are linked to your Disney account so you can download them immediately and print them as many times as you like! This normally costs $199, but it is FREE if you purchase Disney tickets through Attraction Tickets Direct.
 best tickets to buy in Walt Disney World

Free money!

Receive $25 Disney spending money per person with all Walt Disney World Orlando tickets purchased for 2020. Thats $100 for a family of four. Shop some souvenirs, meals or drinks throughout Walt Disney World Resort.
See more here


And that’s not all….

For a limited time Attraction Tickets Direct are also offering ALL OF THESE FREE when you book Disney Ultimate or Disney Combo tickets. 

ICON Orlando™

Orlando’s answer to the London Eye, this observation wheel is the largest on the East Coast of America and is the best way to get a birds eye view of downtown Orlando and all the theme parks. Tickets are flexible so you don’t need to pre-book just decide when you want to ride this big wheel when you arrive.

SEA LIFE Orlando

Come face to face with more than 5000 marine animals at Sea Life Orlando. Marvel at the 360-degree ocean tunnel and be amazed at the floor-to-ceiling ocean displays. 

Madame Tussauds Orlando

Instagram to your hearts content with all your favourite celebrities at Madame Tussauds Orlando, another fun-filled attraction for all the family. 

Tickets to all of these are flexible so you don’t need to pre-book, just decide when you want to ride this big wheel, when you want to visit Sea Life and when you want to meet your favourite celebrities, when you arrive in Orlando!

And Attraction Tickets Direct give you even more…..

Free entry to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Free 1-Drive Nascar Go Karting Race & Meal with every booking over €250
Free entry to Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course and free round of mini golf each day at one of Disney’s mini golf courses.
Free Planet Hollywood Orlando $10 voucher plus VIP priority seating per booking
Free Dollar Off Drinks cards with every Orlando booking over €500
Fee VIP Shop & Dine 4 Less card Gold with every booking over €500
Free Disney autograph book with all child tickets.
Unlimited use of Disney’s transportation system.


14 Day Ultimate Tickets cost from €517 for adults & €494 for children

View offer here


Love Walt Disney World? Why not stay in a Disney Hotel!

The only thing better than telling your kids you are going to Walt Disney World in Florida, is telling them you are staying there! Imagine feeling the Disney Magic 24/7, enjoying Disney’s movies under the stars from your hotel swimming pool, with the added bonus of easy access to Disney’s parks and nightlife options. By staying at a Disney hotel you also receive Disney Magical Hours which offers early admission to the park before anyone else and Disney’s Magical Express which gives free transportation to and from the parks and the airport.

best tickets to buy in Walt Disney World

Attraction Tickets Direct are currently offering up to four nights free when you book a two week stay in one of Disney’s Hotels. You can secure a booking with €100 deposit and amend or cancel your dates free of charge. With prices from €71 per room per night, a holiday at Walt Disney World Resort might be a lot less than you think…

See more here


Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Attraction Tickets Direct but all views, as always, are my own.



The Travel Expert



Orlando Family Offer, 9th May, 2ad & 2ch, €465 per person!


For most families Orlando is THE bucket list destination. Lets face it the magic starts as soon as you tell your kids you are going to Disney World!


With over 12 theme parks and four waterparks you are literally spoilt for choice! From Disney World, to Universal Studios, simulator rides to rollercoasters, water slides to dolphin swims, the choice is endless.  Lets not forget how much is accessible from Orlando too. Visit the Kennedy Space centre, shop till you drop in the outlets, or chill out one some of Florida’s amazing beaches. Suffice to say there is something here for everyone. For more info on Orlando you can read my blog here.Orlando family offer

I found a great Orlando family offer with Sunway Holidays. Book early, save yourself a fortune! Fly from Dublin on the 9th of May and spend seven nights at the newly renovated Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando, for only €435 per person based on 2 adults and 2 children. This hotel is located in the heart of Orlando on International Drive, close to theme parks, restaurants and night life and also offers free shuttle to Universal Studios. Facilities include 3 swimming pools, children’s playground, restaurant, sports bar and video games room! Highly rated on tripadvisor and awarded a certificate of excellence, this is a great choice for a fun filled holiday. Price include flights, taxes, baggage and seven nights hotel accommodation. If you want to extend your stay talk to the Sunway team, add on more nights in Orlando, a few days at the beach or even a Caribbean cruise – the choice is yours!


Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by Sunway Holidays but all views as always are my own 🙂


Click here for more details:



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Orlando, Easter 2017, 2ad & 2ch, Flights & Hotel €2440!


Book now for Easter 2017 and plan a holiday to the best family holiday destination in the world – Orlando!

With twelve theme parks, four waterparks and a host of other activities on International Drive, you will be spoilt for choice of things to do in Orlando. Take the kids to the Magic Kingdom, enjoy the parades, the fireworks and let them meet their favourite characters. Enjoy the amazing simulator rides at Universal Studios and experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it will take your breath away. For the dare devils amongst you try the world famous roller coaster rides and slide down the tallest water slides in one of the aquaparks. Shop till you drop at the Premium Outlet Mall or swim with the dolphins at the stunning Discovery Cove. I can’t stress enough how much there is to do here. It’s an amazing holiday for adults and kids and that’s what makes it such a good family holiday destination – there is something for everyone! Check out my blog on Orlando by clicking here.

Universal Orlando, Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert

Easter is an ideal time to travel, its not as hot as the summer months and I’ve chosen dates at the start of the Irish Easter holidays, these are earlier than the US holidays so hopefully it wont be as busy in the theme parks.

Fly from Dublin on the 10th of April and spend 10 nights at the Rosen Inn International for only €2440 for 2 adults and 2 children. This hotel is in a great location on International Drive and gets great reviews on tripadvisor.  You can choose to extend your stay in Orlando or spend a few nights at the beach, but either way you should book now before the airfares increase – which they definitely will!


There are a range of flight options with this deal to Orlando that vary in price. Some connections are better than others, I have priced this holiday based on flights with American Airlines with one stop in Philadelphia. There are cheaper options available with two stops, so try to select the one with the best connections and the least flying time. For the best prices on theme park tickets and plenty of other things to do in Orlando please click here.

Click here to book:


All prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to availability.


travel deals


Orlando 29th Dec, flights & hotel, 8 Nights €699!


Fancy ringing in the new year in style? No where does it better than Orlando, amazing fireworks, long lasting celebrations and balmy weather… tempted?

Orlando is one place that will definitely guarantee you a holiday full of fun. There are over twelve theme parks and four water parks to choose from as well as numerous entertainment facilities on International Drive, you will literally be spoilt for choice. The biggest surprise for me was that Orlando is not just for kids, most of the theme parks are great for adults too. It’s not all about Mickey Mouse and roller coasters. My favourite theme park is  Universal Studios, the Harry Potter experience is amazing and the simulator rides are remarkable. And if thats not enough you have the Florida Mall and the Premium Outlets on your doorstep with plenty of bargains waiting to be snapped up! Read my blog on Orlando for more information.

This fantastic offer includes flights with Virgin Atlantic on the 29th of December and 8 nights in the Ramada Gateway Hotel, based on two adults and two children sharing. This accommodation receives good reviews on trip advisor and is centrally located. You can choose to stay longer or upgrade your accommodation but bear in mind there is so much to do in Orlando you won’t spend too much time in your hotel.  This price includes all taxes and charges based on four sharing, supplement for 2 sharing is only €100 per person.

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The Travel Expert









Orlando – Where to stay

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Before you book your accommodation you need to ask yourself, do you want a hotel or a home, and do you want to rent a car.

If you are going to spend most of your time in Walt Disney World then maybe one of their Hotels or a nice Home in Lake Buena Vista would be most suitable. If on other hand you are visiting most of the other Theme Parks then International Drive is ideal. There are plenty of great value Motels here and  there is a regular bus service (I-Ride) to all of the main attractions and shopping malls, so car hire is not required. There are plenty of  bars, restaurants and lively nightlife, so if you want to be in the hart of the action, then I-Drive is for you.

My favourite theme park is Universal Studios so given the choice I would stay at one of their hotels. They have four hotels of varying standards so they have one to suit every budget. One of the main advantages is that you are allowed to enter the park one hour before opening, fantastic for the Harry Potter Rides. The Cabana Bay Resort is their three star hotel but to be honest its more like a four star. Its 50s retro style gives you the feeling you have walked on to the set of Grease. They have a bowling alley upstairs and a real diner downstairs. In fact I’m told the reason it is not rated four star is that the diner is self service.   I thought it was a great family hotel, really spacious rooms with a kitchenette, which saves on the cost of dining out. There is a large family pool with a lazy river, slides and a jacuzzi, open till late every night, a fab way to relax after a long day at the park.

Tom ten city breaks for families

Depending on your budget, there are also three luxury hotels which, not only allow early access to the park, but where you receive a complimentary express pass ticket. Express pass tickets are fantastic, particularly in high season, the queue should be no more than 15 minutes on any ride.  Note the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is excluded from the express pass.  You  can also buy these passes at the gate but they only sell a limited number and they cost $89!

My personal favourite was the five star Portofino hotel, its such a contrast from the busy Theme Parks. Designed by Steven Spielberg, it is an exact replica of the jet set Italian Resort. Sitting at one of the lake side cafes, sipping a latte, listening to the Tenors singing, you almost forget where you are. The rooms are very spacious and beautifully furnished and the service is what you would expect of a five star hotel. It is suitable for families and couples as there are three swimming pools. You can choose from the lively family pool with slides and waterfalls, the quiet pool, or the fantastic spa. You can also avail of the free water taxi straight to Universal Studios, it’s such a nice touch.

Portofino hotel

If, however, you fancy a livelier setting then the Hard Rock Hotel is for you. However bear in mind, you can’t get away from the music, it’s everywhere, even under water in the swimming pool.  It is also a five star hotel so you can expect the same excellent service but for me it lacked the grandeur of the Portofino.  There is also another choice, Lowes Royal Pacific Resort, another themed hotel, this time like a Pacific Island. I felt it was a little dated and more like a four star but then it less expensive to stay there than the others and the cost of drinks and meals  are reasonable too. It is one of their luxury hotels and you will still receive a complimentary express pass, so this is an excellent choice if you want to keep the costs down.



The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery


My Stay At Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida


Universal Studios is my favourite theme park in Orlando. They have 3 parks, Universal Studios, Islands of adventure and the newly opened Volcano Bay.


I’m a bit of a movie buff anyway so I was mesmerised looking at the film sets and loved taking photos with all my favourite characters. The simulator rides are amazing. I think it’s safe to say that there are rides for everyone to enjoy. Some have height restrictions but there are enough rides to keep the small kids happy too.

You really feel like the ‘Transformers’ character, Optimus Prime is throwing you up in the air on the Transformers ride, the technology is mindblowing. Dispicable Me, Spiderman and the Simpsons are fantastic too. You are seated in what appears to be a small car, but they feel like rollercoaster rides. I should mention that if you are a Simpsons fan, there is a whole area dedicated to them. You can have a drink at Moes Tavern, try a Krusty Burger or just hang out and meet some characters.

universal studios

If Rollercoasters are your thing, there are plenty. Although I don’t particularly like being scared to death for fun, I did go on a few for research purposes! The Hulk goes upside down 7 times, I don’t know how I managed it, but I did it.

I preferred the water rides in Islands of Adventure. There are several, and they area a great way to cool down during the heat of the day. Some are more daring than others, like Dudley do-Rights Ripsaw Falls, which is really a rollercoaster on water! For a great fun family ride try Popeye and Blutos Bilge-Rat barges, ride the white water rapids but beware you will get drenched! Since my visit Universal Studios have opened a dedicated water park called Volcano Bay, I guess I’ll have to go back and try that one out!

universal studios

There are so many great rides in both Universal Studios parks, but for me the pièce de la resistance is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Even if you have never watched the Harry Potter movies, you cannot help but be amazed at the technology and the attention to detail. There are now two rides, one in each park, but you can go between the two on the Hogwarts Express Train. It is not just about the rides though. You visit Hogwarts Castle, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, you would easily spend a whole day there! Make sure you go to Olivanders and buy a wand. They are beautifully made and presented in a box, a really nice gift ($35) to bring home. See my detailed blogpost on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter by clicking here .

universal studios

Like most of the rides at Universal Studios, there is a child swap facility. If both parents want to ride, but can’t leave the kids alone, one parent can wait in the child swap area and they won’t have to stand in line again. Speaking of queues, these can be quite long during peak season and around school holidays.

I recommend buying an express pass to save yourself queuing time. Generally speaking  with an express pass you shouldn’t have to queue for longer than 20 minutes. Alternatively if you stay at one of Universal’s luxury hotels, you get the express pass for free. You also avail of early access to the Parks, one hour before opening time which is a huge advantage especially if you’re visiting Harry Potter. Incidentally the only area the express pass isn’t accepted is on the Harry Potter rides, so staying at one of Universal’s Hotels is the only way to avoid long queues there, by availing of the early access to the park.(See my other blogpost on where to stay in Orlando by clicking here)  In low season queues are much shorter and express passes should not be necessary.

Universal Studios

Located next to Universal Studios is City Walk. This is a huge area with bars and restaurants and a few shops too. Remember if you are planning on having a drink, you must bring age identification with you. Even if you think you couldn’t possibly be asked, you will! There were people aged over 50 refused alcohol because they had no identification with them, so don’t say you haven’t been warned! Keep your park entrance ticket, as this allows you free into the bars and night-clubs without charge.

I was genuinely surprised at the quality of the food here and throughout the park in general. The biggest Hard Rock Cafe in the  world is here and there are also some really nice restaurants too. I loved Vivo Italian Kitchen and Antojitos authentic Mexican. They make the guacamole at the table beside you and you can choose how much garlic and spice you like – it’s a nice touch.  Dare I say it, but I liked the Karaoke bar too! Rising Star is not like the tacky karaoke bars you might find abroad. You sing with a live band and backing singers, and the talent is really good!

So whether you want rollercoasters, simulator rides, movie memorabilia or some great night life – don’t miss a visit to Universal Studios, Orlando!


For the lowest price ticket options visit Attraction Tickets Direct.



The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery


Orlando, Florida

Orlando with the Travel Expert

Orlando is as much an adventure as a holiday.

In fact, if you choose to visit all the theme parks while you are there you may find that you need a holiday when you get back! Without doubt, its probably one of the best family holidays you will have with your kids, but what surprised me was how great it is for couples too. I travelled without my kids on an inspection trip and I had such a fantastic time (sorry Luke & Alex – I probably shouldn’t say that!)  There are direct flights to Orlando with Aer Lingus making it so easy to get there and transfer times from the airport are no more than 20 minutes.  Flying direct from Ireland to the USA allows you to go through customs in Ireland, so once you arrive in the States you are treated like a domestic passenger and avoid all the queues – bliss!

Depending on how much time you have you really need to plan your stay. If you are travelling with young kids, Disney is a must. The Magic Kingdom, as its name suggests is magical! There are more rides for younger children here and they can meet their favourite  Disney characters. They have daily parades too which are fantastic for adults and children to watch.  If you can let them stay up late, the firework shows are well worth it. Try not to go to Disney on your first day because the kids will probably be too tired to appreciate it and will inevitably fade before the fireworks begin. There are four Disney parks, the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios so depending on whether you have kids, and their ages, you may choose to select specific parks rather than try to see them all. Bear in mind there are over twelve theme parks in the Orlando area and four waterparks so unless you are there for three weeks you won’t see them all.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan your trip and allow for rest days and also shopping days in between!

Pluto in Disneyland, by The Travel Expert

Discovery Cove for instance, where you have the opportunity to swim with Dolphins, needs to be booked in advance as they limit the number of visitors to the park each day. It may seem expensive at $289 but this is an all inclusive park so all meals and drinks are included and your ticket automatically allows you entrance to Seaworld and Aquatica too. If you upgrade to the Ultimate package, Busch Gardens is included in the price and you can go to either park as many times as you like within a 14 day period.

If you don’t want to go to Discovery Cove, the Orlando Flexticket might be for you.  You have unlimited access to Seaworld, Aquatica, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure , Wet ‘n Wild and Citywalk. The Flexticket plus includes Busch Gardens and a free shuttle bus from Orlando. If, on the other hand you want to see everything, then the Orlando Freedom ticket plus is for you, this has entry to all of the Disney Parks and all of the parks on the Flexticket plus and at the moment Legoland too.  Now can you see why planning is important?

My favourite is Universal though, they have two parks, Universal Studios and Islands of adventure. I’m a bit of a movie buff anyway but even if you are not,  the simulator rides are amazing. You really feel like Optimus Prime is grabbing you and throwing you up in the sky on the Transformers ride, the technology blew me away. If rollercoasters are your thing, there are plenty ! Personally they are not for me but I did  love the water rides in Islands of Adventure, there are several and a great way to cool down during the heat. The Wizarding World of Harry  Potter was the icing on the cake for me.  The attention to detail in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley not to mention the two simulator rides and the Hogwarts Express – as the American’s like to say ‘awesome’!


Beside Universal Studios there is City Walk. This is a huge area with bars and restaurants and a few shops too. I was genuinely surprised at the quality of the food here and throughout the park in general. There are plenty of nite clubs too if that’s your scene. Dare I say it but I liked the Karaoke bar- Rising Star, it’s not like the tacky ones you find abroad, you sing with a live band and backing singers – the talent is really good. Remember if you are planning on drinking you must bring ID with you, even if you think you couldn’t possibly be asked, there were people aged over 50 refused alcohol because they had no Identification with them, so don’t say you haven’t been warned!

Last but not least – the shopping! The Florida Mall is a like a traditional shopping centre with all the typical high street stores, it has Abercrombie and Fitch and the new Pink store from Victoria Secrets plus a huge range of other shops. If on the other hand you are looking for a bargain , then head for the Premium Outlets, like the name suggests, it’s mainly designer shops at discount prices. Make sure you register at the information kiosk before you start. You need to pay $5 for a discount booklet, it will save you  a lot more in each shop, a massive 20% off the already discounted bags in the Michael Kors outlet alone! Remember to purchase an extra suit case  on your plane ticket for your return journey, or better still pack light on your outbound journey and then you will just have to go shopping when you get there!

Like this post? Check out my  blogpost on Universal Studios.



The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

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