Tag Archives: disney

Merry Christmas-Florida Style

I just received an email from my good friend who lives in New York City, where it’s currently 25 degrees out (feels like 12 degrees with the wind chill).  Suddenly, I felt like I needed to take off my sweater. 69 degrees isn’t so cold is it? 

My friend’s email snarfily hinted that I must be sad that I never see a white Christmas and surely the “melting temperatures” couldn’t possibly bring on a Christmas feel.  [Note: “Hmmmm…” I think as I open my sliding glass doors to air out my house.]

With the exception of a few Christmases spent skiing in Colorado, I have never known a white Christmas, and so such is not necessary to bring sugar plums to dance in my head. All that is needed is a few seasonal mall decorations, holiday music, and Christmas lights hung with care. [Note: I could do without the blow up Santa sleighs and snowmen. I have yet to see one of those actually add to the decor.]

So, I started thinking back to my holiday memories, almost exclusive to Central Florida. We Floridians have a strange shared existence here in the Sunshine State. We proudly go fishing at night, string lights on palm trees and paint pictures of flamingos in Santa hats.  We ravage overly-decorated malls despite hearing horrid renditions of Christmas carols, we both love and despise Disney depending on our mood and reasoning, and we hide from the sun while giggling at our European tourists baking to a lobster red.  We encourage tolerance for all religions yet complain when it says “Push 1 for English.”  We hold heated discussions over monorails, Light Rails, Tim Tebow and Bobby Bowden. We Floridians are an odd bunch, no? 

But regardless of our varied beliefs, backgrounds, and collegiate affiliations, there are some wintertime happenings that fortunately unite us. Here are some of my Florida memories; perhaps you, too, have experienced some of them:

  • Tanning at New Smyrna Beach on Christmas Day [Note: This was before sun was bad for you.]
  • Driving behind Whole Foods in Winter Park to see the neighborhood filled with amazing Christmas lights
  • Drinking hot cocoa at Mickey’s Merry Christmas Party
  • Having orange wars in the front yard with nearly frozen fruit [Note: Ouch!]
  • Immediately trying out new Christmas gifts such as roller skates, bikes, etc. in the driveway dressed in shorts and a t-shirt
  • Listening to the gorgeous Bach Festival Choir while strolling among Tiffany stained glass windows
  • Freezing while sliding down an ice slide at ICE!
  • Watching the Tangerine Bowl (Citrus Bowl) Parade in its seasonal and collegiate spirit
  • Dressing in winter cap, scarf, and sweater to take a “seasonal” photo to send relatives…and then sweating!
  • Putting water into a ziplock and cleverly calling it melted snow [Note: Yeah, it was funnier when I was young.]
  • Donating to Toys-for-Tots while singing, “Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay…”
  • Sticking reindeer antlers on my dogs…and then my cats
  • Laughing at rubber reindeer poop [Note: Still funny even now that I’m older.]
  • Pretending the soapy snow flakes drifting down at Celebration were real snow flakes
  • Listening to 24-7 Christmas music on 107.7
  • Sitting high up in a tree looking for a lighted nose and sleigh until my mom made me come in
  • Wondering how Santa was actually getting into my house since we had no chimney. [Note: I was very creative with my solutions, one of which included a very well-trained squirrel!]

What are some of your holiday memories? I hope you have some wonderful ones.  And, the Central Florida Top 5 wishes you and your family a fabulous holiday season. Please enjoy this video that highlights Christmas in Florida. [Note: I am sending it to my NY friend…ha!]

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Filed under family, History, Only at a Theme Park, Seasonal, Uniquely Florida

Festival of Trees!

Today I visited the Festival of Trees at the Orlando Museum of Art. I am continually impressed with the OMA (except for the whole $5 parking thing) because of the “big city museum” feel it brings to Orlando. For the Festival of Trees, the lobby is appropriately decorated with palms and lights to give a Florida feel to the holiday mood.

As I wondered throughout the exhibit, at first many of the displays were unimpressive, seeing much better at Michaels or JoAnn Etc., but I judged too quickly, as many others were great plays on different themes. There were themes featuring French poodles, Disney, and the Orlando Magic. My personal favorite (besides the orange and blue Gator theme) involved the space program. Decorated with planets, space shuttles, and shooting stars, the tree was topped with an astronaut proudly standing on the Moon with an orbiting lunar module.

I noticed that birds were a reoccurring item: peacocks, parrots, owls, and even penguins!  I also enjoyed the gingerbread houses, menorah display, and checking in with Santa to see if my winning Powerball ticket was on the way! (He asked just how good I had been this year. Hmmm…)

Enjoy the following videos:

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Filed under disney, Seasonal, The Arts

Disney Events and other Items…

In addition to ranking each month’s Top 5 events, Ialso like to keep you aware of the other great things going on in the Orlando area.  Disney, of course, always has things going on, but I’ve listed two items of note on Central Florida Top 5’s main page: 1) Opening of Diana-The People’s Princess at Downtown Disney (I posted a video on website), and 2) The Disney Cup Youth International Soccer Tournament. 

Here’s a picture from the Disney Cup, showing European soccer star Leo Messi who plays for FC Barcelona. He gave on a demonstration and workshop for the young players.

From wdwnews.

From wdwnews.

 Other local events:

  • Enzian Theater debuts DEPARTURES today, an Academy Award Winner in the foreign film category.
  • Theatre Downtown brings back smash hit Sordid Lives for a weekend encore.
  • Bjorn Again: ABBA Tribute is playing at the Plaza Theater in downtown Orlando tonight

Be sure to check out the video below of last night’s Art Stroll at Baldwin Park…good stuff!

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Filed under disney, Music, Sports, The Arts

Happy 4th, Orlando!

I’ve had several friends asking where’s the best place to see fireworks this weekend. The nice thing about the Orlando area is that you are never very far from a great firework display. From the theme parks and city displays to private country clubs, there is bound to be at least one you can easily view.

Most of the firework displays are on Saturday evening, which is the actual fourth, but 106.7’s Red, Hot, and Boom concert and firework display is on Friday, the third. This is an incredible event, but beware parking and traffic problems. This venue has yet to solve this hours-long dilemma. Also, beware slowdowns on I-4 during the actual firework display, as cars have actually been known to pull over and park on the side of the interstate to watch. Yikes!

On Saturday, Lake Eola will be another crowded display, with slightly better parking and traffic control (but not by much). Be sure to get to either of these popular events early (by noon or one by the latest) to get a prime seat. Fortunately there are plenty of food and drink vendors (and port-o-lets) to last you, and a picnic from home is always appropriate (and cheaper).

If you are interested in a more old-fashioned celebration, the cities of Sanford, Oviedo, and Winter Park all do a nice job. While definitely less crowded than Eola and Red, Hot & Boom, it won’t feel like it when you are there!

And finally, check around your neighborhood. Several private clubs do great fireworks display that you can enjoy “off property.” For example, the Winter Park Racquet Club does fireworks over Lake Maitland, which can be enjoyed by everyone on the lake. (It has a public boat ramp at Fort Maitland.) And Interlachen Country Club typically does fireworks over its golf course, which is visible by surrounding homes.

At last resort, climb on your roof and you will probably be able to see several fireworks show, albeit from a distance. (But be careful! Emergency room trips are never fun!)

Here’s a brief list of area firework displays for you:

  • Red, Hot & Boom (Friday, July 3)
  • Lake Eola, Downtown Orlando
  • St. Cloud Lake Front
  • Downtown Mt. Dora
  • Avalon Park
  • Celebration
  • Kissimmee Lakefront Park
  • Sanford, Fort Mellon Park
  • Disney
  • Universal

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Filed under General Info