Welcome to the OI Blog

Here at Orlando Informer we love to blog about Universal Orlando, Disney World, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and all the other exciting tourist destinations and local activities around Central Florida. While we occasionally cover breaking news, the focus of our blog is more on helping you plan amazing vacations with the latest insider tips and expert advice.

THE BIG 5: Top five shopping centers in Orlando for finding the best bargains

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If you thought Orlando was all about the mighty theme parks, eating delicious food, and 90-degree temperatures, you’re missing out on a big feature in the world's number one vacation destination: shopping! Whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s designer clothes, sportswear, electronics, beauty products, or another suitcase to fit all that stuff in, Orlando has you covered. Better yet, there really are some bargains to be had - and, as a bonus, the exchange rate for us Brits means that even … [Read more...]

Universal Orlando for younger kids: We bet they’ll have more fun than you!

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Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure are known for being thrill-packed theme parks geared towards Orlando’s older visitors, while Disney gets all of the attention from the younger guests. I’ve heard many people ask if it’s even worth it to take their smaller children to Universal Orlando because they fear their kids won’t be able to go on many of the rides. I speak from experience when I say that, yes, it is totally worth it!   My first experience Universal Studios … [Read more...]

SeaWorld Orlando trip report – November 2014 (Christmas Celebration, the Polar Express Experience, and Shamu Miracles)

SeaWorld Orlando - November 2014.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration is always a favorite for my family, so we piled into the car for a trip to see the opening weekend events. We’d forgotten to check the weather forecast, though, and found ourselves touring SeaWorld on a rainy day again. So we ended up with the unexpected benefit of very low crowds throughout our visit. We oohed and aahed over the Christmas decorations as we entered the park. The Christmas tree at the entrance is just so large and beautiful that we … [Read more...]

Performing arts in Orlando: These recommended venues and original events showcase some of our best

Walt Disney Theater

Orlando is buzzing with a contagious energy over the resurgence in our performing arts community, thanks to the recent grand debut of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. Because of this, I thought it would be worthwhile to check out a few of our top venues and events for those wishing to add some depth and variety to their Central Florida vacations.   The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Downtown Orlando had the honor of opening the brand-new … [Read more...]

IAAPA Expo 2014 round-up: Next-gen bungie jumping, paid lockers at Universal, Halloween haunts, and more Kong

IAAPA 2014.

The IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) Expo took place this past week, November 17 - 21, 2014. The event brings over 27,000 people from 100 nations together, which results in a roughly $51.3 million economic impact on Orlando. I had the opportunity to walk the nine miles of aisles and find some of the most intriguing products from the 1,000 exhibitor companies, and now I'm going to share the highlights of my experiences with you.   Big starts … [Read more...]

Orlando Informer Weekly Dispatch: November 16 – 22, 2014

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OI Daily Updates Greetings, vacation planners! Prepare to UPGRADE YOUR ADVENTURE to Universal Orlando with our Weekly Dispatch. This is a summary of all the latest Universal news and activity on our site. Please note that these updates are listed from newest to oldest: 11/22 - Hot butterbeer is back at Universal Orlando! Starting Friday, November 21, the warm beverage can be purchased along side its regular, frozen, and ice cream varieties throughout the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. To … [Read more...]

THE BIG 5: Top five outdoor bars at Universal Orlando

Duff Brewery at Universal Studios Florida.

One of the defining characteristics of Universal Orlando is that it offers many more adult-oriented distractions than the Mouse House. The atmosphere of both Universal theme parks - and the nighttime entertainment magnet known as CityWalk - is exciting and energetic. Seen as both a pro and a con depending on who you ask, Universal has no qualms placing their bars and adult beverages out in the open and all around their resort. With the recent additions of The Cowfish, The Hopping Pot, and … [Read more...]

Diagon Alley revisited: The wonderful, the awful, and everything in between

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogmeade & Diagon Alley.

When the world first heard the roar of the Gringotts dragon and gazed upon the stunning scenery of Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, it was difficult for each of us to not be awestruck. However, now that the grand opening confetti been swept away from the streets and our own perceptions, it’s time to examine this ground-breaking experience a little more closely. Let’s take a look at the aspects of this land that have earned a special place in our hearts and discuss … [Read more...]

Busch Gardens Tampa insider tips: Tour, drink, and cool off like you never have before

Busch Gardens Tampa.

Busch Gardens Tampa is one of my favorite theme parks, and having been there so many times over the years, I've managed to scrape together a lot of tips through simple trial and error. Now I want to pass them on to you. I think that everyone, from brand-new visitors to hardened veterans, will find something to make their day at the park at least a little more enjoyable.   #1 - Use the lockers, but use them smartly Busch Gardens is serious about their policy regarding loose items on … [Read more...]

Magic Kingdom trip report – November 2014 (holiday decorations, Jingle Cruise, Memento Mori, and A Frozen Holiday Wish)

Magic Kingdom November 2014 featured

I visited Disney's Magic Kingdom both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend and had an awesome time at the park. It was sunny, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, and the crowds were moderate. During the ferryboat ride from the Transportation & Ticket Center to the park, I immediately noticed the construction area of the new waterfront bungalows at Polynesian Village Resort. Work appears to be moving along, and these new properties should be available for Disney Vacation Club members … [Read more...]

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