Rides Then Relax | Luxury Twin Centre Florida Holiday

Rides Then Relax | Luxury Twin Centre Florida Holiday

Rides and Relaxation | Luxury Twin Centre Florida Holidays

Enjoy the best of Disney, Universal and the Gulf Coast in one luxury family holiday

The Holiday

The following is a sample itinerary and put together to give you some ideas of the type of luxury multi-centre holidays we’ve had the pleasure in arranging for former clients.

A way to sample the very best of Disney, Universal and the stunning resort at the exclusive Long Boat Key. Naturally, there are many, many other destinations and ways to enjoy Florida and all its attractions.

The resorts all blend a sense of fun with elegant luxury, and are based on some of the favourite spots our clients have enjoyed over the past 12 months. Which also happen to feature high on our own personal favourites list.

Flights: Direct Flights are available from the UK courtesy of Virgin / Delta and British Airways / American Airlines. 

Total Duration: 14 nights

1. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Upon arrival at Orlando International Airport, don’t stress about car hire and driving to your hotel. Allow Disney’s Magical Express to meet you outside the arrivals hall and take you to your resort hotel: the magnificent Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. One of the Deluxe range of hotels, this is a firm family favourite, offering sumptuous rooms, wonderful leisure facilities, swimming pools and fantastic dining.

What’s more, you’re in the heart of the Walt Disney World resort, and straight into your holiday.

Includes:

  • 5 Nights in a Family room with Pool View
  • Free Airport Transfer from Orlando Airport to hotel
  • Disney Dining Plan, which includes:1 quick-service meal, 1 table-service meal & 1 snack per guest, every day.
  • Disney’s Ultimate Ticket for each guest, allowing: unlimited access to all 6 main theme parks, access to golf course, 1 round of miniature golf per person per day, use of Fastpass+ to pre-book times on your favourite rides (up to 60 prior to leaving UK as a resort guest), FREE Memory Maker (allowing access to all official photos taken in the parks from action shots on the rides, to character photos etc – gate price currently $169)
  • Additional hours in the theme park

2. Car Hire

You probably won’t need a car while at Disney, and you may not want one at Universal either. So, the choice would be yours. Either collect a car on your last or penultimate day at Disney, keeping it for the duration of your holiday (pickup at Disney, return to airport). OR, get a pre-arranged transfer from Disney to your Universal Resort, picking up a car on your last day at the resort and retaining for the duration of your holiday.

 

3. Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando®

Your next resort let’s you take in the amazing parks at Universal Orlando Resort. While indulging yourself at a simply wonderful hotel. A personal favourite, you can find out what we really think about the place by taking a look here. But for now, here’s the breakdown of what’s included:

  • 2 Nights in Pool View Family Room
  • 2 Park Bonus Ticket for each guest, allowing: unlimited access to Universal Studios® and Universal’s Islands of Adventure®, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™
  • Complimentary Universal Express™ passes for each guest, allowing you express access to the rides in the parks, avoiding the long queues (Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey™, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™, & Pteranodon Flyers® not included in Express pass use)
  • Early entry to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – meaning you get to the rides an hour before the general public.
  • Access to Universal’s City Walk® entertainment area
  • Complimentary gift delivery service on purchases made in the resort and theme parks directly to your room
  • 5 Minute walk to the entry gate of Universal Studios®
 

4. The Resort at Long Boat Key

Take a two-hour drive south-west of Orlando and find yourself in the lap of sultry, sunny luxury. The Resort at Long Boat Key is one of the finest family destinations along the Gulf Coast. Beautiful rooms no more than a few footsteps from the soft white sand of your private stretch of beach, and the deep blue water of the Gulf of Mexico. Offering:

  • 7 Nights in Family Room
  • The only 4 Diamond Award Beachside Resort in Sarasota
  • Fine and casual dining choices
  • Watersports
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Spa
  • Swimming pools
  • Short drive to the simply beautiful St Armand’s Circle area.
  • Easy access to downtown Sarasota, Sarasota Marina and the selection of arts, culture, and dining available.
 

Summary

The resorts and associated items above is a sample of the delights you can enjoy on a luxury multi-centre holiday in Florida. Each of the hotels offering amazing accommodation, luxurious surroundings, entertainment, dining and all the other trappings you could ask for a memorable family holiday. A week in the heart of the attraction action at Disney and Universal, each hotel offering the perfect respite from busy days in the parks. And then a week of total wind down on the coast.

It should be noted that this is a higher-end holiday for those in search of a hassle-free break, on a higher budget, at some of Florida’s best family resorts. Prices will vary throughout the year and with direct flights, full-sized car plus all attraction tickets and transfers included, a family of 4 (based on 2 adults and children ages 7 & 10) can expect to pay anywhere between £8,500 to £11,000*.

Naturally there are plenty of amazing Orlando-Beach combination holidays available to meet style, desires and budgets. Why not get in touch if you’d like to enquire.

 

*Prices used as a guide only. For an accurate price based on people travelling, ages, availability and time of travel, please enquire through our contact page.

Interested?

If you’d like to enquire about a holiday similar to this, or about any other Florida holiday, then please get in touch via our enquiries page, clicking the button below.

Twin Centre Holiday in 2016?

Twin Centre Holiday in 2016?

Orlando and The Gulf Coast – A Twin Centre Holiday Itinerary

 

animal kingdom expedition everest
sunset over the Gulf of Mexico

The pull of the theme parks is a strong one for many families heading to Florida – as we’ve said before, it’s one of those BIG holiday trips to make while the kids are, well, still kids. However, a week or more of ‘hitting the parks’ can be a little tiring – especially in those summer months when the temperatures soar and the humidity begins to take its toll. 

Which is why so many families opt for a week or ten days of action and non-stop fun around Disney, Universal and the other main theme parks, before packing up and heading to the relative serenity of a resort along the Gulf Coast. Whether Clearwater and St Pete’s near Tampa (and pretty much the closest port of call from Orlando) to Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples or any number of other beautiful resorts as you move south along the coastline. Each one offering stunning white sandy beaches, the warm and calm blue water of the Gulf of Mexico and pure, indulgent chilled out holiday time. The perfect relaxed antidote to the hectic Orlando pace. 

Something like this,perhaps?

*The following are sample itineraries for guidance only, based on a family of 4 (2 adults and 2 children aged 7 & 9). Prices are averages for the time of year – 1st 2 weeks of UK summer school holiday – and not exact*

Memorable Disney / Universal & Gulf Coast Holiday 

Direct Flights London Gatwick to Orlando International

7 Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

2 Nights at Loews Royal Pacific – Universal Orlando® Resort

5 Nights at Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort

Additional:

Disney’s 14 Day Ultimate Ticket for the Price of 7 Days

Universal 2 Park Bonus Ticket

Car Hire – Full Size for 10 Days (pick up on penultimate day of Disney stay until return to airport)

As guests at Disney you can utilise Fastpass+ to book times to ride attractions and make dining reservations up to 90 days before you travel. You also have ability to enjoy Extra Hours in the Disney Parks. 

As guests at a Universal Resort you and your party can benefit from early entry into theme parks (1 hour before general public) PLUS you have complimentary Universal Express™ Passes to go to the front of the queues on rides for the duration of your stay (note: main rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ not included on Universal Express).  

 

Average Price - Based on 2 adults, 2 children July 21 - Aug 4 2016:

Classic Orlando and Gulf Coast Twin Centre Holiday

Outbound: London Heathrow to Orlando International (with 1 connection / stop over)

Return: Miami Airport to London Heathrow – Direct

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa (2 Bed Apartment) – 7 Nights

The Inn on the 5th Naples, Florida – 7 Nights

Full Size Car Hire: 14 Days

Additional:

Disney & Universal Combo Ticket (All access to Disney & Universal for duration of stay) .

Average Price - Based on 2 adults, 2 children July 21 - Aug 4 2016:

At Florida Travel Service we specialise in helping you put together the holiday you desire. So if it’s something like the examples given above, or if you have something else in mind – or of course if you want us to offer some ideas – then please get in touch through our online contact form or by giving us a call on 029 2076 4101

Discovering Sanibel Island – Florida’s Island Paradise

Discovering Sanibel Island – Florida’s Island Paradise

Sanibel Island Holidays sunset

C/o Patricia Farrell on Flickr

Heading out onto Sanibel Island and you feel the gears go down a notch.

The pace of life is slower on this idyllic stretch of land just off Florida’s Western Gulf Coast. As you might expect there’s a distinctly tropical Floridian feel to this small island paradise (and it’s smaller sister Captiva, lying adjacent). The gentle tide of the Gulf laps against stretches of soft white sand, rich for one of the islands more popular pastimes – shelling – while the arching branches of the palm trees slowly stir on a languid breeze. A million miles from the hectic pace of Orlando (or, more accurately, 160 miles away) this is the other, peaceful, chilled out side of Florida – a place to visit to unwind, kick-back, chill out and all those other phrases of similar meaning. To settle down under a parasol with a good book, to stroll barefoot along the sand, watch spectacular sunsets over the sea and take in the stunning surroundings and vibrant wildlife that packs itself into this beautiful small island.

Getting There

Aerial Shot of Sanibel Island

©ERIC SALARD via Flickr

Sanibel Island is located on the south-west region of Florida’s Gulf Coast, some 20 miles from downtown Fort Myers (12 from the Fort Myers Beach area). You can reach the island by car, taking I-75 to Exit 131 (the Daniels Parkway) and from there by heading onto the Sanibel Causeway (a toll required of $6) – the spectacular bridge highway which connects the island to the mainland. For those flying into the area the nearest airport is the Southwest Florida International Airport near Fort Myers. You can’t fly direct to this airport from the UK but connections are pretty easy – typically via New York, Atlanta or Charlotte (North Carolina) – served by all the usual airlines (BA, Virgin, Delta, American, United etc). Those travelling from further afield Tampa airport is about a 2.5 hour drive to the North while Miami is a similar distance to the South.

Sanibel Island Lighthouse

© Pat (Cletch) Williams via Flickr

The Lighthouse

One of the more prominent landmarks on the island, the Sanibel Lighthouse – or Point Ybel Light – has been a feature of Sanibel since it was erected in 1884. Located on the eastern tip of the island the lighthouse is a 98 foot tall iron skeleton tower and is, quite literally, a beacon of the island – appearing in the background of many a tourist’s photos.

J.N. “Ding Darling” National Wildlife Refuge & Bird Sanctuary

Named after prominent cartoonist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling the sanctuary achieved national refuge status in 1976 to protect one of the nation’s largest mangrove ecosystems and, in the decades that have followed, it’s become a hugely popular place to visit for lovers of wildlife – particularly those who can’t miss a bit of bird watching. With its huge array of birdlife, with migratory birds finding their way here through the year – especially during the winter months of December to March – Ding Darling is a real haven for those looking to sample a bit of natural world America. Within the refuge there are plenty of trails to walk, ride and cycle around, taking in the sumptuous natural beauty and allowing you to get close to the diverse flora and fauna around and about.

The Sanibel Stoop

One of Sanibel’s most popular things to do on the sugar white beaches is to partake in a spot of shelling. With some stunning shells of manifold colours washing up onto the shores of the island, it has become a spot renowned for those looking to collect a few mementos of their stay. So why the ‘Stoop’? Well, that’s the name given to the bent-over, knees bent posture that you’ll see from the beach dwellers as they line the sea shore, sometimes in their hundreds, searching for their prized pastell coloured shells.

Sport & Sea Life

It might be a chilled out kind of place but there’s still plenty to do for those who are looking for a bit more of an active time of things. From golf at the South Seas Island Resort to a range of water sports at the beaches as well as plenty of opportunities to get out on the sea itself with charter sailing, leisure cruises and deep sea fishing excursions all available. And there’s even the chance to head on down to Key West for the day with rides on the popular Key West Express boat trip.

Sanibel Island Beach

© Jeremy T. Hetzel via Flickr

Sanibel Island Sunset

©Jeremy T. Hetzel on Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Of course, if you’re just looking for a bit of time to kick back, relax and indulge a little bit on your holiday then there’s plenty of that as well. It might only be a small island but there’s plenty of choice between fine and casual dining, with, as you might expect, some excellent options for those who are looking to sample some of the local seafood choices.

Staying on the Island

While there’s not a huge selection of places to stay on Sanibel (it’s on little, after all) there are hotels and self-catering options to meet most budgets. From RV and Camp Sites to budget inns and a smattering of apartment and condos to rent all the way to some of the wonderfully located beach front hotels such as the West Wind Inn or the more pampered luxury of Sanibel Harbour Marriot Hotel & Spa or the Sundial Resort & Spa.  

 

 

Take Me Down to Panama City

Take Me Down to Panama City

Panama City Beach Florida Travel Service For many Brits thinking about resorts along Florida’s idyllic Gulf Coast their minds will turn to those along the western seaboard: to Clearwater & St Pete’s, Sarasota, Naples or Fort Myers; maybe to the Keys way down in the South.

But take a peak northwards, let your eyes drift up the map and around the panhandle and you’ll likely see the name Panama City, nestling away in that little North-West stretch that we, on this side of the pond, have tended to ignore. It’s not really been out of ignorance, you understand, more out of practicality.

Over the years we’ve drawn to the attractions of Orlando, the glamour or Miami and appeal of the Keys and our routes to the state have reflected this. Those other Gulf resorts have benefited from European tourism by their proximity; it’s a fairly easy drive out to Clearwater from Orlando, for example.

It helps of course, that these resorts are beautiful destinations; from their long stretches of white sandy beach, the warm waters of the Gulf and the variety of eating, dining and accommodation on offer.

That said, however, if you are looking for an alternative place to visit then maybe it’s time to look a little north and discover the delights of Panama City. And, by the way, while it might not be the primary ‘go-to’ resort for British tourists adding a bit of beach to their theme park trip, we’re NOT talking about a sleepy little undiscovered town here. Panama City is a fully developed, lively and hugely popular American holiday resort that can offer entertainment and seaside fun for all ages. Its long (27 mile) stretch of white sand beach is the rival to many other resorts on the Gulf Coast (yes Panama City is still on the Gulf) while the town itself thrives on a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, bars and entertainment. Like Daytona over on the Atlantic Coast, Panama City Beach comes alive during Spring Break season (late Feb-late March) as thousands of students from across the US descend upon the town for a week of party-time as they let off steam on their annual jaunts away from their campuses. If you fancy joining in the late night, hard partying revelry – if that’s your thing – then give it a try. On the other hand, if it’s a more traditional chilled out beach holiday that you want to experience, whether as a family or a couple, then PCB has plenty to offer, including: [su_spacer size=”30″]

  1. A range of stunning beach side / gulf view restaurants
  2. Accommodation to match your budget from stunning beach front condos to family friendly hotels and apartments
  3. 27 miles of stunning white beaches with the warm, azure waters of the gulf lapping against the shore
  4. Boutique shopping at Pier Park with a range of cafes, ice cream parlours and restaurants
  5. Catamaran rides out to Shell Island for some amazing snorkelling and diving opportunities
  6. Amazing wildlife in the wetlands and conservation areas from tropical birds to the occasional alligator
  7. Waterpark fun at Shipwreck Island with its 65 foot Pirates Plunge
  8. On-shore or deep sea fishing excursions available right on the doorstep.

As for accessibility, well if you want to head out on a bit of a road trip from central Florida it’s about a 5 and a half hour drive – albeit a very pleasant drive through some beautiful Floridian country if you want to make a day of it. However, there is now an easy access way to get the area via flight links to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), located just 10 minutes from town. With flights from Delta Airlines available you can pretty easily add this destination to your itinerary or head straight there from one of Delta’s hubs.

To find out more about a holiday (either stand-alone or twinned with another destination) why not drop us a line here…

St Armands Circle – A Touch of Cool in the Florida Heat

St Armands Circle – A Touch of Cool in the Florida Heat

St Armands Circle Sarastoa CollageWe love St Armands Circle at Florida Travel Service.

And, if you’ve been there, chances are you’ll love it as well.

This is where the Sarasota beaches meet. A few miles across the spectacular causeway from bayside Sarasota, St Armands Circle is the picturesque junction between the popular, sprawling sands of Lido Beach and the peaceful, slightly opulent luxury of Longboat Key.

And the Circle represents this meeting of tastes and style; a mix of refinement and laid back fun.

Boutique retailers snuggle up to cafes, bars, ice cream parlours and restaurants of the finer dining variety, all based around the colourful, tropical flora of the large roundabout at its centre.

Day or night it’s a place bustling with life, yet still able to retain a certain peaceful air. Holiday revellers and locals alike line the wide pavements, watching the world go by as they sip something cold and enjoy the many different cuisines on offer. Italian, Latin American, Classic American or French cuisine there’s something for just about every palette and enough choice to accommodate couples, groups and families.

Among the food and drink there’s a delightful array of designer shops, galleries and boutiques, as well as a few of the more touristy retailers you might expect for a place near the seaside. However, there’s nothing crass or tacky about the shops in St Armands Circle. Set out in low level  colonial style buildings and tastefully coloured in Floridian pastels the architecture lends itself to the cool charm of the place and affords a scenic backdrop among the tall palm trees and perfectly manicured lawns and hedgerows.

If you’re looking for a way to escape the midday heat then St Armands Circle is the perfect spot to visit, to find a seat under the parasols and fans of the roadside cafes or air-conditioned restaurants. Frequently on previous visits we’ve found the Circle a great way to break up the day on searing hot summer afternoons. A late lunch or early dinner before heading back to the beach to savour to beauty of a Gulf Coast Sunset.

But then, of course, this is a place that can really come alive at night.

As the sun goes down so the evening revellers come out, filling the bars and restaurants and taking the opportunity for a gentle stroll along the spotless sidewalks, window shopping or flashing the cash and cards on some tasteful gifts, designer clothes or local artwork.

Yes, we love St Armands Circle, a cool gem in the Sarasota heat.

For more information or to book your visit to St Armands Circle as part of your next Florida holiday, give us a call on 029 2002 6117 or get in touch via our online enquiry form.

 

 

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