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Greatest Family Vacation 2011



It is summer, the kids are out of school and in need of an adventure.  Let’s be honest, you are probably in need of a vacation yourself.

Thanks to we experienced the Greatest Family Vacation in Orlando and want you to do the same!

Once you book your vacation online with, Here are the top picks for the best family vacation in Orlando:


Bahama Bay Resort:

Located in Davenport, Florida.  This beautiful resort has 2 and 3 bedroom villas. The resort if only a few miles from Disney World and easy to get to and from.  Several pools, two restaurants and a nature trail, this is most definitely family friendly!

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Caribe Cove Resort:

Located in Kissimmee, Florida. This resort is new and fresh.  With huge 2 or 3 bedroom villas, your family has plenty of space to relax and enjoy your vacation.  Easy to get to Disney and all the other major attractions.  Gorgeous pool overlooking a beautiful lake.

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Buffalo Wild Wings:

The best place for wings in Orlando! With three locations all convenient to the attractions, you have to stop by for dinner one night!  You can choose from 15 different sauces for your wings and the salads are delicious too! Make sure you start off with the fried mushrooms!

Planet Hollywood:

Totally amazing food!! This restaurant is not only a great place to hear music, see some pretty great movie and music memorabilia but the head chef James is really doing his job well!!! From friend lasagna to ribs and more you have to visit Planet Hollywood while in Orlando!

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Who doesn’t love pizza?!? We found not only the best pizza in Orlando, but the coolest way to make it! Your way! Show up at Pie-fection and make your own pizza the exact way you want it! Delicious and super fun for the kids!

Breck’s Gourmet Cookies:

In historic downtown Kissimmee, you will find the best cookies you have ever had! Huge and fluffy, crazy flavors and good prices! Stop there and get a dozen! You wont be sorry!

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Dinner Shows:

The Pirates Dinner Adventure:

Sitting by a real pirate ship,with water and all…. yes, The Pirate Dinner Adventure show is a must do with your family.  The food is great, the service is nice and the show is very entertaining.  My youngest, who is 4, actually got to help save the day and fight off pirates! So fun!

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Boggy Creek Airboats:

Located in Kissimmee, this is definitely a must do for your family! Hop on an airboat and zip through the lakes and swamps on central Florida. On our trip we got to see numerous species of birds,  small alligators and some large ones.  The ride is loud but they provide hearing protection earmuffs.  I can not stress enough how fun it was for my whole family, you absolutely have to call them and schedule your airboat ride!

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A staple in Orlando for over 60 years, this is the place you need to go for some adventure.  Of course they have the gator wrestling, but they also have a petting zoo, a numerous other educational shows daily.  My daughter Aleena was picked to go out in the gator pit and choose the gator that was going to be in one of the shows.  Very fun!  The hosts and actors in the shows are all quite funny and very nice. You can get your picture on a live gator or if you are too chicken for that, they have a fake one you can sit on.  On hot summer days, take your kids to the fountain park and cool off.  Great fun and a must do!

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Ripleys Belileve it or Not:

The Orlando Ripleys Believe it or Not is by far one of the best I have seen.  You have so many rooms to go through. Amazingly weird stuff and history throughout the building. My favorite thing by far was the piece of the Berlin Wall!  Yes, an actual slab of the Berlin Wall!  Not only is Ripleys educational, it is so much fun for the entire family! Make sure you ask for Joe Kasinski when you are there, he will tell you some great facts about Ripley’s and make sure you have a great time!

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Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf:

With several locations in Orlando, this is a great break from the theme park madness!  The courses are so fun for kids and even have water hazards!

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Orlando Premium Outlets – Vineland:

Find impressive savings at Ann Taylor, Barneys New York Outlet, Burberry, Coach, Diesel, Elizabeth Arden, Fendi, Gap Outlet, Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tommy Hilfiger and more!  This is convenient and you can find some great deals!

Downtown Disney:

Day or night at Downtown Disney area, choose from dining with dinosaurs to a distinctly Disney shopping extravaganza to catching incredible live music and shows! Divided into 3 sections—Downtown Disney West Side, Downtown Disney Marketplace and Pleasure Island—Downtown Disney area is an ever-changing destination committed to keeping the experiences exciting and new. We Loved the Lego store!  It is Huge and so fun to look around in!!



Our favorite Beach to go to while in Orlando.  It is only about an hour drive from Orlando to the gorgeous beach!  With the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop and plenty of things to do, this is the perfect day trip!


These are all sure bets for a great time with your family.  Now is the time to visit Orlando and make some memories that will last a lifetime! What are you waiting for?

Through you CAN book an affordable vacation! has a price match so if you happen to find a vacation cheaper somewhere else, they will match it! Plus if you visit the Orlando site, you can see specials to Orlando. New ones daily!!

I Believe It’s Magic



There is a reason why every little child’s eyes light up when you mention Disney.  The magic that makes the movies they love, their very first heroes….you know all things that are magical.

Naturally, every family dreams about that time when they will be able to go to Disney World.  Some families justify not going by assuming it would be out of their price range.

With so many specials and discounts through, this is the time to take your long awaited Disney Vacation.

These memories are worth every penny!

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Planet Hollywood-Orlando!



We are all familiar with the name Planet Hollywood.  I honestly had not been to one in almost 10 years!

That changed when Juliana Cadiz, the PR manager for Planet Hollywood Orlando, contacted me and invited my family out there to experience the food, fun and memorabilia.

Planet Hollywood, a world-renowned trademark established in 1991, continues to expand its brand into a wide array of dynamic ventures such as the new Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The Resort & Casino was unveiled and has positioned Planet Hollywood as the premier entertainment authority and destination. Founder, Robert Earl, along with original partners and stockholders Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone, continue to steer Planet Hollywood toward exciting and new endeavors while enlisting the star power of Hollywood’s brightest celebrities. With world-class gaming, live entertainment, distinctive dining and out-of-this-world shopping, Planet Hollywood provides guests of every age an unrivaled and unforgettable entertainment experience.

With their headquarters in Orlando, I expected that we would have a wonderful experience at The Planet Hollywood Orlando.
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Downtown Disney is a great place to take the family, walk around and experience a little taste of Disney, without playing the theme park admission.

Once you arrive at the Orlando location, you walk up the stairs on the  red carpet and have a photo shoot.  From the beginning the staff is really trying to give you the Hollywood treatment.

Taking our seats on the first floor, we were able to see where the DJ was going to set up and play.  He was more of a VJ since he played videos on the televisions throughout the dining area.  If you are there to celebrate something, let them know and they will put it up on all the tv’s!

The menu at this location is huge! There is literally so much to choose from.  You can view the menu HERE.

We started with The VIP Platter, which included their famous Chicken Crunch (Yes, delicious chicken tenders coated with captain crunch cereal) Buffalo Wings, Texas Tostados and Spinach Dip.  It was all delicious.  None of us had ever thought to try chicken and cereal, but it worked. I suggest this VIP Platter for sure. At only $19.99, it easily serves four and will give you a taste of Planet Hollywood’s culinary expertise.

Main Course time! Of course our kids all ordered spaghetti.  Large portions and perfectly cooked.

I had to try the steak! I ordered the 12 oz. Ribeye.  Served with steamed veggies and a loaded potato! Cooked just like I ordered it and seasoned so well, I had to keep eating it!

Rob ordered the L.A. Lasagna. A California twist to a classic lasagna! Fresh pasta tubes filled with ricotta cheese and bolognese meat sauce fried to a golden brown with garlic cream and tomato basil sauces.  Yep, you guessed it. Comfort food at its best!

With my parents ordering the Ribs and Chicken Alfredo, we were all satisfied with our meals.

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After eating we had the privilege of meeting Chef James and walking through the kitchen to see everyone in action. James Guillery is the Executive Chef at Planet Hollywood.

His cooking career started back in college, in Tampa, as a way to pay the bills. He originally set out to pursue a degree in graphic design.  However, as it turns out, his skills in the kitchen, combined with his artistic abilities, became his new focus and ultimately led to a very successful career in the culinary world.

James has been the Executive Chef since 2008 and I can not imagine the food tasting any better! One key thing to Planet Hollywood’s fresh food, is just that. It’s fresh! It is all made from scratch and picked from local farmers markets. You can truly taste the difference.  Your food isn’t delivered frozen, it is fresh and in season!

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The decor is amazing inside Planet Hollywood. So much memorabilia.  You can spend a good deal of time wandering up and around the three stories looking at all the wonderful things they have in their collection.

I highly suggest you visit Planet Hollywood when you are in Orlando.  It is not just for tourists.  The food is great, the staff is friendly and always close by to help.

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When you go, tell them The Backstage Beat sent you and then tell us what you thought!

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I first became aware of when I started researching our family vacation to Florida.

I came across the website and was instantly impressed with all the offers, specials and discounts.

Wondering what made them different, I had to ask.

Thanks to Dawn Hatch and Britt Monroe, my questions were answered.
1.How is different than other online booking sites?® is an online travel company determined and dedicated to
becoming the leader in providing travelers with the most intuitive
online booking experience full of relevant information, helpful
guides and travel tips.

As a web-based company, knows the value of the internet.
We also believe in the power of the internet. That is, the power to
connect people and make our lives more productive, enjoyable and

FROM Technology (Fast-Relevant-Origin-Method) and Market Managers
(MM) is committed to offering their guests the best prices and
options in flights with their FROM Technology
(Fast-Relevant-Origin-Method) and hotel amenities through their
Market Managers.  With FROM, you can tell us the KIND of vacation
you want to take and around the time you want to go, and we’ll
countdown the best deals FROM your airport(s). FROM doesn’t require
a destination and displays ALL package deals FROM your Origin (your
nearest major airport, with up to two more comparison airports). also has Market Managers each major market working with
properties to provide our guests with deeply discounted travel
arrangements and amenities such as free room upgrades, instant
rebates, food credits and the finest variety of all-inclusive

Since the launch of’s Word of Mouth (WOM) program in
August 2009, the program has grown to be one of the most extensive
testimonial-based review systems with more than 4.25 million YouTube
views.  Across more than
50 hotels, resorts, CVBs, and specialty excursions, WOM highlights
resorts and destinations through the eyes of the guest — combining
the latest HD technology with the most proven form of grassroots
marketing.  Hotels participating in the Word of Mouth program have
experienced a 121% increase in rooms sold and a 141% increase in
nights sold, which means guests are staying longer.

2.When was started? is a privately held online travel agency (OTA), based in
Panama City Beach, Florida, with more than 500 employees and
services over 90 destinations throughout the U.S., Mexico, Caribbean
and Central America.
Within the past year, expanded its employee roster 58
percent and continues to grow.


Ok.  I’m in love. is by far the best site I have used for booking vacations and even business trips!

I plan on using for all my trips to Orlando, Boston and wherever else we start the next Backstage Beat :)

Right now has some really great specials! Check it out and book now! Don’t put off that much needed and deserved vacation!

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