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Monday, February 26, 2018

Entertaining Our Snowbird House Guests On A Budget

It has been a rough winter in the north this year.  The temperatures have hit record lows and there's been lots of snow everywhere.  In fact, my brother-in-law sent me a picture of his snow filled backyard in New York just yesterday.  Meanwhile, I am looking at it in my snowbird home in Florida and my air conditioning is on.  Needless to say, I have guests from the north who are looking for some sun and fun.  We are in central Florida so the beach is an hour away, not too bad, and we are only steps away from our community pool.  We are also only about an hour away from all the major theme parks and minutes away from Legoland.  We are in a great area for any of our family and friends who want to get out of the snow, enjoy a fun-filled vacation and save on a hotel bill.

We love having company and would love to join them at all the theme parks but we have to be frugal living on a retirement budget.  When my daughter, Lisa, recently came to visit we were looking for something to do.  We wanted to do something touristy but not an expensive theme park.  After researching things to do in Orlando, Lisa found a great deal on a combo ticket for three fun experiences.  The Orlando Eye, a 400-foot tall observation wheel, Sea Life Orlando, an aquarium and Madame Tussands Orlando, wax museum.  If we chose to only go to one of these attractions and we bought the ticket online, it would cost us $25.00 ($27.50 at the door).  If we chose two attractions we could get a pretty good deal paying $39.00 but we chose the $49.00 three attraction ticket.  Florida residents, like me and Soko, get a discount and only pay $44.00.  The free parking and the fact that the three attractions were located in the I-Drive 360 entertainment complex sold us on the deal.  We could have a full day of activity and fun and it wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg as they say!

We bought our tickets online and headed to Orlando.  It was not hard to find the attractions we were looking for.   We just headed towards the giant wheel.  We parked easily in the free parking garage.  We exited the garage and wound up in the I-Drive 360 complex.  There were several restaurants, bars and shops here.  We were very excited about Ben & Jerry's being there and since we were on vacation, or at least Lisa was, we had to have a waffle cone.  (Not pictured.  We ate them too fast!)

We strolled through the entertainment complex until we reached our destination.

It was a little cloudy out when we got to Orlando so we decided to do one of the indoor attractions and wait to do the wheel.  We selected Sea Life Orlando to do first.  Because we got our tickets online, we went directly to the entrance line instead of the ticket line which was longer.

I loved swimming with the lionfish.

There were tons of large fish tanks like this one throughout the aquarium.

The 360 degree tunnel was amazing!

The special exhibit devoted to these little creatures was very interesting.

We really enjoyed the Sea Life aquarium.  

It was still cloudy when we left the aquarium but we could see the sun in the distance.   We decided to check out Madame Tussands while we waited for the sun to reach us.  This was the first time the three of us had ever been to a wax museum.  Lisa was worried that I would be scared of the life-like characters because I am afraid of dolls.  I had a great time and I didn't have any anxiety at all.  Now it would have been a totally different story if I had been stuck in there after hours, by myself...!!

Soko helped Donald Trump with some presidential business.

Lisa was thrilled to pose for pictures with one of her favorite artists, Andy Warhol.

Shaquille O'Neal challenged Soko to a one-on-one basketball game

Justin Bieber hired Lisa to be one of his backup dancers.

Jimmy Fallon interviewed Soko on his late night show.

I had breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn.

And Soko saved E.T. 

We never thought a wax museum could be so fun.  We were so impressed with how life-like the figures were.  While we were enjoying the museum, the sun finally peeked out so we headed to the observation wheel.

We entered the capsule which was huge.

We will be the next capsule to be at the top.  It's a long way down from here!

The three of us took lots of pictures and were very happy with the view we had now that the sun was out.

The monitors in the capsule showed us exactly what we were looking at.

We enjoyed a very relaxing 25 minute ride!

I would recommend all three exhibits to anyone and everyone of all ages.  Also, there is another add-on to this deal, a day at Legoland.   Your adult combo ticket will cost $99.00 for the four experiences and $94.00 for kids.  Considering that the cheapest ticket you could buy for Legoland is $79.99 per adult (when you buy two days in advance)  this is a terrific deal.  Extra pluses are that you don't have to enjoy Legoland on the same day as the other exhibits.  You have up to 30 days after you go to the first attraction in your package, to get there.  And if you are staying in Orlando and don't want to drive the hour to get to Legoland, you can take advantage of a free shuttle. 

We are so happy that we found this place and I am sure we will take other guests here.  I would not mind doing this same adventure again.  It was that fun!


  1. Looks like you all had a really fun day! Loved the photos! It's great you were able to get that combination ticket too - those theme park/attraction prices really can add up! Thank you so much for sharing this post, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party!

  2. Thank you for linking up to the Merry Monday linky party! What a fun trip! laura