So last time I told you all about the exciting #UKdoesMacys project, and about our first visit to the store at the Mall at Millenia in Orlando.
Here are my top five things to do and places to stay in Orlando. And, well, I think you can guess the first one…
1. SHOPPING AT MACY’S!
You just can’t visit Orlando without checking out the beautiful Mall at Millenia. Pre-Christmas is a beautiful time to visit.
The mall looks extra sparkly and Macy’s is beautifully decorated. But it’s not all about the atmosphere. Shopping at Macy’s can save you some serious money, and as an international visitor, you can make your money go even further with a quick trip to the Visitors’ Centre where you can pick up a Macy’s International Visitor Savings Card, which will give you 10% off most of your purchases (do check before you buy though, there are certain items, like cosmetics, that aren’t included). There are also tons of really serious promotions all over the store. I bought a gorgeous Michael Kors bag for 50% off. I KNOW!!
2. Brio Tuscan Grille, Mall at Millenia
By the end of the morning, my Instagram feed was BURSTING with things I wanted (I seriously considered asking Mr English to stay behind so I could bring the Nespresso home instead) and we were ready for a sit down. The staff at Macy’s (who were so friendly and lovely, we wanted to take them all to lunch with us too) recommended Brio Tuscan Grille and we weren’t disappointed. Check out these salads:
3. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
When we finally wanted to flop after all the driving, shopping and eating, we headed to our hotel, the fabulously retro fifties/sixties- inspired Cabana Bay Beach. This place is just gorgeous and kids will absolutely love it. The staff were lovely, and hilarious (the reception girls insisted on Mr English wearing the ‘birthday hat’ that they gave him, and told him off every time he took it off), and our room was just retro-tastic (sadly we arrived at night so sorry for slightly dark pictures):
The accommodation is arranged in three blocks around a giant pool area, with a sandy beach and even a lazy river. Elsewhere there’s ten pin bowling and we were sad that we missed films by the pool – highly recommended by a friend who had stayed the week before.
The Bayliner Diner, a very cool retro food court, serves great casual dining choices, like burgers, chicken sandwiches, shakes etc, and Mr English and I were rather taken by the Swizzle Lounge and stopped off there for a lovely glass of red and a spot of people watching after a long day.
And of course one of the best things about staying at a Universal resort is the special retro coach service that takes you straight to Universal Studios. Guests also benefit from early entry to Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
4. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
One evening during our stay, we strayed over to Cabana Bay Beach’s sister resort, beautiful Portofino Bay. As the name suggests, the hotel is inspired by the Italian town of Portofino and its 52 acres sit nestled on the edge of a beautiful lake (with water taxis available to whoosh you to Universal Orlando). With 750 rooms and suites, it’s a beautiful luxury resort, BUT it hides a secret silly side. Check out this suite. The bedroom is beautiful – really well appointed, suitably luxurious… Seems sensible enough…
But wait, what’s that door?
A brilliantly themed Minions themed room, with two fabulous beds!
There are 18 of these fantastic Despicable Me themed suites at the hotel. Can you imagine what the kids think when they first open the door? What a holiday treat.
5. Mama Della’s at the Portofino Bay Hotel
Of course you can’t visit the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel without a visit to Mama Della (and yes, she’s a real person, I even got a hug). Mama Della’s restaurant features authentic Italian cuisine and we sat outside overlooking the twinkling lake – it was so beautiful.
The food is incredible with proper Mama-sized portions: incredible crispy calamari, veal scallopini, frutti di mare linguine, filet mignon, you name it. The food was delicious, the wine even more so and the setting was beautiful. The perfect way to round off a wonderful day. Thanks Mama!
Special thanks to Jennifer and Ashley at Loews Hotels. For more information about Macy’s, follow #UKdoesMacys on Twitter, because two other lovely bloggers are heading out to San Francisco and New York to discover the Macy’s stores there. Lucky things.
If you’re planning a trip to the USA and would like to know more about Macy’s, check out Visit Macy’s USA – you’ll even find me there!
Five nights in Orlando from £879pp (Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort)
Five nights in Orlando with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick direct to Orlando, room only accommodation at the 3V Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and car hire. Price is per person based on 2 adults and sharing a tower standard room including all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Price is based on a departure on 12 May 2015.
Seven nights in Orlando from £1,489 per adult and £639 per child (Loews Portofino Bay Hotel – Minions Suite)
Seven nights in Orlando with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick direct to Orlando, room only accommodation at the 5V Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando and car hire. Price is per person based on 2 adults and 2 children and sharing a kids suite including all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change. Price is based on a departure on 26 May 2015.
To book: www.virginholidays.co.uk, 0844 557 3859 or visit one of our 110 stores located in Debenhams, House of Fraser, Tesco and Sainsbury’s stores nationwide. Start your holiday before you’ve even taken off in the v-room at Gatwick Airport… adults £24.50, kids from £14. Virgin Holidays is a member of ABTA and is ATOL protected.
**Add on Universal Orlando 2-Park Bonus Ticket from £125 per adult and £115 per child. They are valid for 14 consecutive days from the day of first use so can be used at any stage of your stay. **