A couple of weeks ago I shared a post announcing my imminent departure to America and the resulting radio silence this would entail (you can read that post HERE). I was excited about my trip as it’s been twenty-three years since I last visited the States. Even more exciting was the fact that this was a girls only/no kids/no cat kinda holiday.
I wanted to blog about my Magical Mystery Tour, and I wanted to share some of the incredible places I got to see on a trip that was brimming with inspiration, laughter, and positivity.
To avoid a 10,000-word blog post I’ve decided to write this up as a short series! Pull up a chair, grab a cuppa, and let me share a journey that lit up my soul, rekindled my smile, and filled my heart with joy.
Before we get going I must just say a HUGE thank you to my aunt and cousin, Vicky and Bex, who were my travelling companions for this trip. In my humble opinion they should venture into organising trips on a professional level as the itinerary they prepared for me was not only delightful but also allowed for impromptu stops at Krispy Kreme for a 10pm snack-attack.
I’ve always been crazy about anything American even going so far as to write a school project about American Football when I was just nine years old. I had no idea what I was going to be doing on this trip, or where I was going, hence the Magical Mystery Tour title. It was all a surprise – and a wonderful one it was too.
Magical Mystery Tour: Part I
Any worries about jet lag were swept aside when my cousin picked us up from the airport in Orlando. She herded us down escalators, into lifts (elevators), and down corridors until we found the car park. As I stood in the doorway of the multi-storey parking lot I surveyed the abundance of Jeep Cherokee and SUVs and wondered which one was ours. She giggled when she hit the key fob and a silver-grey Mustang convertible lit up in front of us. I frightened the poor man exiting his car as I squealed rather loudly! A MUSTANG! The car was incredible and really lovely to drive. My cousin took charge over the car hire as I utterly freaked out about the busy roads and couldn’t get my head around the traffic lights – what’s with turning right on a red? Nope, I was happy to sit in the passenger seat and soak up the ride.
My aunt and uncle have a lovely villa in Kissimmee which was our first stop. Hot tub at midnight? Don’t mind if I do!
Our first full day was packed with site-seeing and oodles of shopping (note to self: take an empty suitcase next time I go!).
We started in the beautiful area of Celebration which is a captivating small town with a range of little boutiques and restaurants. The tree-lined streets are so pretty and the diverse mix of smaller homes and grand mansions is wonderful. We drove around for a while and I found myself day dreaming about which house I would end up living in. We saw an armadillo munching on the grass at the side of the road but didn’t come across any alligators as we parked up by one of the many lakes.
The area isn’t a known tourist venue, even though it was originally founded by The Walt Disney Company, and because of this it retains its charm and character. You can feel the sense of community as you potter in the shops and sit by the lake eating an ice-cream. According to the Visit Florida site, Celebration has a few events running throughout the year that are worth a visit: Oktoberfest, weekly farmers market, and various art and wine occasions.
I loved this American town and would happily stop here again. We wandered into the Bohemian Hotel, which is perched right on the lake. There’s a decent sized pool and a beautiful restaurant. The walls in the public areas are decorated with some fabulous art work and the essential oil candles fill the air with an appealing scent.
Want to visit Celebration? Check out the Bohemian Hotel HERE.
After a mammoth photo shoot in the Mustang (tree-lined streets and lake views make a great setting!) we headed for Disney Springs which is also known as Downtown Disney. This is more of a tourist attraction as it’s packed with unique boutiques and huge branded merchandise stores. It’s home to the World of Disney which is the world’s largest Disney merchandise shop – I was in my element!
Set around the Lake Buena Vista, Disney Springs is more than just a shopping centre. There’s a great variety of restaurants and attractions including a House of Blues Music Hall and La Nouba by Cirque de Soleil. The area has plenty of parking as well as buses to the Disney Resort hotels (these are available from June). (Twitter: @DisneySprings)
We finished the day off at the Premium Outlets where I snagged a pair of Ralph Lauren flip flops for $10, I was one happy shopper!
Next time, I’ll be spreading the magic with tales of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, and enjoying a meal with the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood.
I hope you’ve enjoyed part 1 of the Magical Mystery Tour.
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