Laura

Apr 232014
 

Much Ado About NothingCelebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday with a free screening of Joss Whedon’s ’Much Ado About Nothing,’ a modern retelling about two pairs of lovers with different takes on romance and a clever way with words. The free outdoor event will take place on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 8 p.m. along the lawn of Loch Haven Park, at the corner of Mills Avenue and Princeton Street.

The Bard’s beloved comedy comes to life in this black and white masterpiece that the Chicago Sun-Times calls “swanky, sexy, and sophisticated, as bracing as a dry martini poured from a silver shaker on a summer night.” Much Ado About Nothing runs 109 minutes and is rated PG-13 for some sexuality and brief drug use.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to bring their own picnic and blankets; no chair rentals or concessions will be available.

Apr 212014
 

Walt Disney WorldA trip to Orlando, Florida, sounds magical, but money can magically disappear if you don’t plan in advance. The big three (SeaWorld, Disney World, Universal Orlando) theme parks there have big price tags. Fortunately, there are secrets to saving on an Orlando vacation, and we are willing to spill them.

Flexibility is key

Whatever you do, don’t visit Orlando in the summer. It’s steamy hot, the parks are packed and the prices are at a premium. The general rule of thumb is to visit when kids are in school. Spring break, winter break and summer are the parks’ busiest times of the year, so plan to visit in between the vacation rush.

Two key times during the year are considered Orlando’s deal seasons: Aug. 15 through Sept. 30 and the month of May. If you are looking for cooler weather, try planning a trip during the first two weeks of December or in mid-January or February. These non-peak times are typically slower for the Orlando hotels, so you may save on accommodations as well.

Go when the kids are young

Children under 3 get free entry into most of Orlando’s theme parks, water parks and attractions. I never thought I would bring a little one to the theme parks, but my daughter is 2 years old and many fun rides and experiences are geared toward the younger audience.

Plan in advance

Don’t buy your tickets at the gate. Depending on the theme park, you can knock off about 20% of ticket prices by purchasing them online in advance.

Plan your meals in advance, as well. Many attractions allow you to bring in your own food and personal items (check the park’s rules before you go). Fill up a backpack with water, snacks, sandwiches and essentials like sunscreen. You’ll thank me later.

Make a trip to Walmart or Target when you arrive to buy a few souvenirs like a Mickey Mouse doll, T-shirt and picture frame. This way you won’t feel tempted to shell out tons of cash in the pricier park gift shops.

Visit Orlando online

Many helpful resources are available to browse before you go. The Orlando visitor’s bureau, Visit Orlando, offers the free Orlando Magicard, a discount card that can help you save on attractions, accommodations, restaurants and more. Visit Orlando will also send you a free Orlando vacation planning kit. Disney World will send you a free Disney Parks vacation planning DVD.

Take the road less traveled

Orlando has much more to offer than theme parks. Go off the beaten path and explore local treasures like Winter Park, downtown Orlando, Bok Tower Gardens, Gatorland, Wekiwa Springs State Park and more.

Apr 182014
 

LegolandBuild family memories at LEOGLAND Florida for less. Florida Residents can enjoy a full year of fun at both LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND Waterpark for just $129. This Florida Resident 2-Park Pass is a great deal with more than 50 rides, shows, attractions, water park access and entry to all the special events. The annual pass gives you free parking, discounts and doesn’t have any blackout dates.

Apr 162014
 

Disney World OrlandoIf you are a Florida Resident, now is the time to visit Walt Disney World in Orlando. Florida Residents can save big with the 3-Day Discover Disney Ticket. For $129, you can enjoy 3 days at Walt Disney World theme parks through June 6, 2014. Some blockout dates apply. The best part is you can use the pass on non-consecutive days and can apply the cost to upgrade to an Annual Pass before expiration. The 3-Day Discover Disney Ticket gives you access to these Disney Theme Parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

 

Apr 152014
 

When the weather is nice and the stars are out, there is nothing more romantic than snuggling up with your date at an outdoor movie. Date Night at Leu Gardens screens a film in its beautiful garden setting the first Friday of every month. The feature on May 2 is ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.’ Bring a picnic, a bottle of wine, chairs and blanket. The cost is $6 for adults, $3 for kids and Leu Members are free. Check the weather before you go. The gardens open at 6 p.m. and the movie starts at 8:30 p.m.

Harry P. Leu Gardens
1920 N. Forest Ave.
Orlando, FL 32803
407-246-2620

Mar 142014
 

Start off your month on a healthy note by picking up fresh produce at the Oviedo Farmer’s Market. The market runs the first Saturday of every month from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It launched in 2011 on the grounds of the Lawton House by the Oviedo Historical Society as a way to foster community and invite the public and residents to learn about its history. Tours of the Lawton House coincide with the market.

Mar 132014
 

Did you know Sanford was once considered the celery capital of the world? That crop helped create a beautiful town with a great weekly farmers market. Plan a Saturday to experience the Sanford Farmers Market. Shop for local fruits, vegetables, homemade goods and listen to local musicians in the quaint downtown setting. For lunch, prost (cheers) with authentic German beer and bratwurst at Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café. The market is open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at East 1st St. & Magnolia Avenue in downtown Sanford.

 

Mar 042014
 

The College Park Sunday Brunch Market is a one-stop shop for piping hot meals, unique finds and farm fresh veggies. Food trucks make special appearances and local bakers sell irresistible cupcakes. Sip on mimosas while browsing vintage clothing, locally made fashion, housewares and accessories. The market is every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1600 Edgewater Drive in College Park.

 

Mar 022014
 

Winter Park Farmers MarketCentral Florida’s most popular produce and plant market, Winter Park Farmers Market, is held every Saturday morning at the historical old train depot. Enjoy a morning of shopping for fine produce, plants and baked goods. To make a day of it, stroll down Park Avenue to window shop or have a picnic in Central Park. The market is held on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 200 W. New England Avenue, Winter Park.

Mar 022014
 

Orlando Farmers Market at Lake Eola Park is one of my favorite places to go on a beautiful Sunday. Stroll through displays of fresh produce, flowers, plants and handmade goods. After an afternoon of shopping, relax under the shade in the beer and wine garden. The market is dog friendly, so bring along your pet for a walk around Lake Eola. The market is set up on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Central Boulevard and N. Eola Drive.