The life of a blogger is usually pretty isolating, but I’m not complaining! I can sit around in my pjs with one of my cats on my lap and scour Pinterest for a DIY project to share and call it work. So much better than other things I could be doing to earn a living!
Recently, I was invited to visit Orlando as part of a business trip and got to do some really fun things. It was great having a few days to stay in Orlando to have a break from my normal routine. It was weird getting fully dressed every day but I didn’t mind at all.
My first stop was Disney with my brother and his wife Ashlyn and some friends from Orlando. We have a wonderful friend who gets us into Disney FOR FREE every time we go. It’s so much fun to be with everyone and I could never afford to go if we were paying full price for admission. One of my top personal finance tips is to make friends with someone who works at Disney if at all possible… 😉
After Disney, we checked into our hotel. The Park Inn by Radisson Resort and Conference Center is just a couple of minutes from Disney and all the other attractions. We wondered what it would be like because it is a fairly moderately priced hotel with such a great location. We were pleasantly surprised and really liked our room.
The staff at the front counter were helpful and friendly and although there was a line to check in we only waited about two minutes. The rooms were simple but clean and comfortable. We could see some of Disney’s Animal Kingdom from our room which was very cool.
If you are looking for a 5 start resort The Park Inn is not for you. If you’re like us and want a clean comfortable room for a great price I highly recommend checking them out. You can find rooms for as low as $69 a night! Another thing that is important to mention is that the hotel is pet friendly. There were a LOT of people there with small dogs and it was cute seeing everyone walk around the hotel with their furry friend.
The next day I had a meeting with Daniel Reichard of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. I have been working with LCEF for a while now and it has been a lot of fun. They provide investment opportunities for kids and teens and I am really excited about what LCEF is doing. You should take a look at the World Changers program when you can, it’s a great way for teens to start investing for as little as $25!
I also had a couple of phone meetings that day as well as a podcast interview but then we headed over to Downtown Disney and enjoyed looking around for a while.
On Tuesday we drove to a place called Wild Florida. I’m not much of an outdoorsman and had never heard of them but Sam contacted us and invited us to go on one of their airboat tours while we were in the Orlando area. I still was feeling hesitant because to be honest, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to ride on an airboat. Then Sam mentioned something about having an animal encounter with a lemur or a sloth. WHAT? SIGN ME UP!
We started with the airboat tour. It was super loud but a very smooth ride. They gave us all headphones and we just took them off whenever our guide would stop to point something out to us. We saw a gator that was at least 13 feet long and all sorts of beautiful egrets, herons and other birds. One of my favorite things was seeing all of the baby gators. Our guide pulled into a little cove area and there must have been 50 babies all up along the shores of the lake. Some were hardly a food long. I couldn’t get a picture but it was very cool.
Wild Florida is truly an amazing place. Not only do they have airboat tours but they have all sorts of animals, reptiles and birds to see as well. And then there are the animal encounters. You can visit with a porcupine, a lemur, or a sloth! I chose the sloth. What I didn’t know is that she has a baby! They were very gentle and she loved the grapes I had to feed her. The baby slept the whole time but I was able to touch them both and they were much softer than I expected.
I GOT TO TOUCH A SLOTH!!!
Wild Florida is a great alternative to all the other theme parks Orlando has to offer. It is a little out of the way but it’s peaceful and calm and a great way to learn about the real Florida. Definitely worth the 45 minute drive and something I would do again!
After such a big day we slept in the next morning and then met David from cici’s pizza for lunch. We have a cici’s in Jacksonville but it’s pretty far from my house and I’ve never been so I was curious to give it a try.
David told us that Cici’s is one of the largest pizza chains in the country. The restaurant was really big and had a fun game room with all sorts of things to do.
cici’s is buffet style with all sorts of things to choose from other than pizza. They had soups, a beautiful salad bar, pasta dishes, pizza and desserts! All for just $6.99 a person. Amazing deal!
I don’t talk about it much but I have a serious issue with gluten, so I was really interested in finding out the types of options cici’s would have for people who eat gluten free and I was not disappointed. They had delicious honey bbq wings in addition to all their other offerings. I did have to special order them at the counter but it just took a couple of minutes for them to get to the table.
For those who love pizza they keep everything fresh throughout the day. They will even custom make you a pizza or flatbread if you don’t see one on the buffet like you want. They made mom a delicious looking flatbread with the toppings she wanted and she said it tasted as good as it looked.
My only complaint is about the cinnamon rolls. They were so warm and so soft! And then my mom ate one right in front of me even though I couldn’t have one. Oh man they smelled wonderful! Next time you go to cici’s eat an extra one for me!
Many thanks to The Park Inn, Wild Florida, LCEF, and cici’s pizza for being such wonderful hosts on my trip to Orlando! If you want to learn more about the life of a blogger take a look at my disclosure page!