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Get ready Orlando!  It’s Mardi Gras time at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida!

An amazing extravaganza of lights, music and 1.8 million beads await you this year at Florida’s Biggest Party!

Concert line up:

Olivia Newton-John      Feb 7
Jessie J                Feb 14
Barenaked Ladies        Feb 15
Kelly Clarkson          Feb 21
Heart                   Feb 28
Trace Adkins            March 7
TBD                     March 13
Styx                    March 14
American Authors     March 15
Becky G                 March 20
Yandel                  March 21
The B-52s               March 22
TBD                     March 28
All-American Rejects    April 4
The Band Perry          April 11
Trey Songz              April 18

Magical Stays Vacation Homes would love the opportunity to help you plan your Orlando Vacation!  Contact Susan on 863-420-1010 to discuss our availability and prices for these dates.

#orlandovacationhomes #disneyvacationrentals #universalorlando #mardigras #orlandovillas #disneyareavacationrentals #condorentalsfl #orlandocondos #gatedresorts #windsorhillsresort #windsorpalms #emeraldisland #terraceridge #indianridge #bellavidaresort

Beach FAQS: What You Need To Know About Planning A Beach Day

Many families venture to Orlando with plans to spend all of their time at the parks. Whether it is Disney, Sea World, Universal or LegoLand, theme parks are a major draw to this area for families. However, it would be a
shame to come all the way here and not experience another Florida favorite: the beach! Lather up the sunscreen, throw a few towels in the car and check out these FAQS about the best way to enjoy Florida’s gorgeous coastlines.

How far is the beach?

Magical Stays’s vacation homes are located pretty smack dab in the middle of the state, so getting to either coast is about the same distance. St. Petersburg Beach is a popular choice (more about which beach is right for your
family down below) and is about an hour and half away on the west coast. Daytona Beach and Cocoa Beach are about an hour and twenty minutes, they are on the eastern coast. West Palm Beach and Miami are a little bit more of a drive, and will take closer to 3 hours to get there.

Which Beach Is Right For My Family?

For Families– these beaches are clean, family friendly, and have plenty of options for things to do. The water is clear, there are fun shops, ice cream parlors and outdoor patio restaurants where the whole family can get something to eat. Whether you go for the afternoon or stay for sunset, you can feel safe at these family friendly beaches. These are slow paced beaches where you can rest, take your time, and enjoy the clear waters and quirky beach atmosphere

For Partying- If you’re looking for some fun in the sun without the kids, Florida has some excellent beaches to get a little crazy. Outdoor bars, live music and beach clubs bring partyers from all over to have a good time. Popular for
bachelorette parties, spring breakers and those looking to let loose, these Florida beaches can get a little wild, day or night

For Peace and Quiet– Retirees, empty nesters and those who are looking to fall asleep in the sun with a good book and their toes in the sand should venture a little further north for a more peaceful beach experience.  These beaches are further away, but worth it if you plan on spending the night and enjoying the peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks

Do I Need To Worry About Sharks? Yes. And No. We’d be lying if we said that you could go out into Florida’s beaches without a care in the world, but that is not realistic or responsible. Shark attacks are very rare, but when they do happen are more common on the Atlantic Ocean side. There is no denying that there are sharks in the water, but they aren’t the Great Whites you’re afraid of. They are typically smaller sharks like nurse sharks. Here are some tips to keep you safe in the water. Don’t enter the water if you have an open wound:

 Is there more to do than just enjoy the beach? Absolutely! Depending on the beach you go to, there are plenty of options to keep your family busy the whole day. Shopping, restaurants, exploring boardwalks, museums, parasailing, dolphin tours, fishing and much more!

If you need a break from the long lines and crowds at
Disney, consider planning a beach day to soak up some sun. Wear plenty of
sunscreen, anticipate spending a little time looking for parking, take lots of
pictures, and most importantly, have fun!

5 Delicious Places In and Around Disney To Get Ice Cream This Summer

When temps reach the triple digits in Florida, locals and guests alike frantically search for ways to cool off and escape the heat. Submerging yourself in a private pool, heading to a water park, or exploring local splash pads are fun ways to keep cool, but there is one other way that is not only refreshing on a hot day but delicious as well. Nothing goes better with summer than ice cream, so here are our 5 favorite ice cream spots to check out next time you’re in town

Abracadabra Ice  Cream Factory

Family owned and operated, this charming ice cream parlor takes dessert to a whole new level. Instead of just scooping ice cream into a bowl or cone, they use liquid nitrogen to flash freeze the cream right in front
of you. And ice cream isn’t the only treat you should try here; the pizza is super cheesy and there are salads, subs, wings and appetizers to choose from as well. We recommend the blueberry pancake ice cream (Blueberries,
Butter Pecan and Cake Batter) or the Godfather (Cheesecake, Chocolate Chips and Graham Cracker.) Ice cream lovers under the age of 12 burn off extra energy while bouncing on the bounce houses right on site.

Twistee Treat

For Florida locals, Twistee Treat is a hot spot for a cool treat. The exterior of the small building looks like an ice
cream cone, and customers can walk up to the window and order a variety of desserts. Prices are very low, and portions are generous. This is a “no-frills” ice cream experience that never disappoints. To experience ice cream like a local, bring the family to Twistee Treat for soft served ice cream in a crunchy waffle cone or in a big cup with your choice of toppings. Milkshakes and twirls are good too!

Sprinkles Cupcakes  and Ice Cream

Leave it to Disney to offer an ice cream place that delivers cupcakes out of a walk-up ATM. You read that right,
instead of getting money from this one-of-a-kind walk up ATM, you can customize a cupcake and have it delivered right to you. This place has delicious ice cream flavors, as well as cookies and of course gorgeous cupcakes. Their
cupcake selection is always changing, but if you have the chance to try banana dark chocolate, salty caramel or lemon, we highly recommend it. The cupcakes aren’t just tasty, they are beautiful and perfect for a classic Instagram
picture. If you’re in the mood for ice cream, try a double scoop sundae with chocolate chip, mango sorbet, or rocky road

Ample  Hills Creamery

Disney’s Boardwalk has an adorable ice cream shop with outdoor seating overlooking the water, a great place to have
dessert after a long day at the parks. Although it’s a little on the pricier side, this gourmet ice cream shop offers so many options and crazy-huge portions. Have dinner at the sports bar next door, take silly pictures at the photo booth right outside the store, and watch boats glide through the water as you enjoy ooey gooey butter cake ice cream or for guests 21+, a Hard Root Beer Float.

The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor

Nothing breaks up a day of Disney magic like ice cream at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor in the Magic Kingdom. You’ll know you’re getting close to this ice cream lover’s paradise when you start to smell the freshly baked cookies. These perfectly round, soft yet sturdy cookies are only made better when you scoop two giant servings of your favorite ice cream between them. We recommend the ice cream sandwich with mint chocolate chip ice cream. So. Good.

Whether you’re looking for a quick cool down treat at the parks or want more of an ice cream experience like the
locals, there is no shortage of fun, family-friendly ice cream places in the Kissimmee area. The cool thing about these five ice cream places is that they’re so much more than ice cream; each one offers a unique experience that
the whole family will really enjoy.

How To Survive Disney: Summer Edition

Disney sees an average of 56,000 people PER DAY during the summer, which means if you and your family are planning a summertime vacation to visit Mickey and friends, you’re not alone. Temperatures in Florida during the
summer can hit the triple digits, and the humidity can make it feel even hotter than it actually is. Big crowds + high temps can make anyone feel a little cranky, but we’ve got some tips that’ll make Disney in the summer time a
magical and enjoyable experience.

There are two words that all visitors must know when they plan their summer trip to Disney: Water Parks. Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are incredible places to spend the afternoon, whether its floating down the lazy river or racing down the rapids, families can enjoy the excitement of Disney in their bathing suits, and stay
cool during the hottest time of the year.

Beach is the biggest of the waterparks, offering guests 66 acres of slides, flumes and water fun. At Typhoon Lagoon, you can hang ten as the perfect wave rolls through the wave pool! New to surfing? Book a surf lesson
before the park opens and a pro surfer will teach you the basics in becoming a knarly surfer.

If water parks aren’t your thing, you can still find ways to cool off throughout the other Disney parks. Splash Mountain, Kali River Rapids, and misting stations throughout the park offer guests plenty of ways to cool
off throughout the day.

When planning your day, schedule your FastPasses so that you are alternating between rides that are outside (like Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train) and rides that are inside (like The Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan.) You’ll be spending a lot of time waiting in lines for your favorite rides, but thankfully most of the lines offer shade to keep you out of the sun. On super hot days, look for rides that let a lot of people in at once, like Mickey’s Philharmonic Orchestra, to avoid standing outside in the heat for an extended period of time.

The secret to beating the heat is not only about what you do, but when you do it. Get to the parks early before the hottest part of the day, and then head back to your vacation rental for some rest or pool time around lunchtime. Then, as temps start to drop again, head back to the parks in the early evening to enjoy smaller crowds and cooler temperatures. When you do this, you’ll be rested and ready to experience the magical fireworks display.

The first time you do Disney in the summer and see that someone else has a personal fan or mister that is keeping them cool, you’ll want to run to the nearest gift shop to get one on your own. You can do this, but it’ll cost you. Instead of buying them on property, you can find fans and misters at retail stores all over the area for a fraction of the price that you’ll find at Disney. This portable cooling device will be a lifesaver on hot scorching hot

Nothing beats the heat at Disney like an ice-cold sweet treat. Gaston’s Tavern has a delicious slushy that is perfect for summer, and you can’t go to Disney without trying the refreshing goodness that is a Dole Whip.

It’s also important to dress the part when visiting Disney in the summer. Clothing that keeps sweat off of your body, is light colored and cool is the best bet for staying comfortable. Sunscreen is a must must must, and don’t forget a hat and your shades. Many locals like to invest in cooling towels that are activated when you dunk them in water. These towels provide a cooling sensation around your neck or shoulders that is a welcome reprieve from the rising temps.

A summer vacation to Disney is something everyone should experience at least once in their life, and if done correctly, can result in lifelong memories and a really good tan.

Part of being a responsible dog owner is making sure your family pets are taken care of while you’re away. You could board them in a kennel or have someone stop by 3-4 times a day to let them out while you’re
away, but you know you’re going to be constantly worried about them. Dog lovers know that dogs aren’t JUST dogs, they’re part of the family, and leaving them behind just doesn’t feel right. Some dogs get anxious and afraid
when left in a kennel or boarding facility, and sitting around the house for a week or two with just a few daily spurts of human interaction can’t possibly be enjoyable for them.

Magical Stays knows that dogs are family, which is why when you stay with us, you can bring your four legged family members too. We offer a wide range of houses that are pet-friendly, allowing you to come and enjoy your vacation without obsessively checking your phone for updates from the dog-sitter. Here are the top 3 reasons you should bring your dog on your next Florida vacation:

Peace of Mind

With your furry friend by your side, you can relax by the pool, stay up all night enjoying the game room, sleep in your comfortable bed and pack your day with fun at the theme parks without a hint of guilt. You can relax knowing that your dog is right where he/she is happiest; with you.

Less Planning

In the middle of planning and packing for your upcoming trip, the last thing you need is one more item added to your to-do list. Finding a pet sitter or researching dog kennels can take up precious planning time; time that you should be spending organizing your flip flops by color or bragging to your friends on Facebook that you’re going to Florida. When you bring Fido with you, you have one less thing to plan, schedule and think about.

They Get Treats!

Magical Stays loves pets, which is why every dog that comes along on the family vacation gets a special welcome package just for them! Leave your dog bowls and toys at home, because we’ve got it covered. We will have a beautiful dog-friendly welcome basket bowl filled with goodies and dog toys for your pet to enjoy while they’re here. Hey, they’ve worked hard all year protecting your yard from predators like squirrels and cats, they deserve a little pampering too, right?

Many of our pet friendly homes have fenced in backyards, giving your furry friend a nice open space to run and play. Our homes are located in safe and quiet neighborhoods with sidewalks throughout, so you can start and
end your day with a relaxing walk together. There are even local dog parks near by if you want your dog to socialize and play while they’re on vacay.

Did you know that Disney offers pet boarding for while you’re at the parks? If you’re not sure you want to
leave your dog at the vacation home all day, you can board them on Disney property where they will be taken care of and let out multiple times a day while you visit the most magical place on Earth. There is a small fee of
course, but it allows you to stay all night until after fireworks without rushing home to let the dog out.

Your canine companion is part of the family, and he/she should enjoy a vacation like part of the family. Don’t leave your dog behind the next time you visit Disney, instead, bring them along for a vacation that your furry family member truly deserves.