When Visit Florida asked if I would head to Kissimmee with my gang and share my thoughts, I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to celebrate half term! You can read about the start of our trip in Kissimmee Katy, and here – the fun continues!
BREAKFAST – MARKET STREET CAFE
There are breakfasts, there are cafe’s and then there’s Market Street Cafe in Celebration, just about the loveliest diner you could wish to visit for THE most delicious breakfast – and just 10 minutes drive from our villa! I mentioned my love of Celebration in part 1 of our Kissimmee trip and on THIS day – I fell in love with the place even more with its weatherboard and picket fence perfection. For starters, Market Street Cafe is directly opposite the lake and consequently has the most gorgeous views from all outdoor tables. Add to that the coffee refills, pancakes and waffles for the kids and eggs every which way you could possibly dream up for a hungry mamma and breakfast was pretty much perfect! Celebration has the most incredible chilled-out vibe alongside its aesthetic perfection, an unusual and potent combination!
From breakfast, it was a leisurely stroll to the next highlight of our trip –
CELEBRATION BIKE TOUR
My kids adore their bikes so we knew this would be all kinds of awesome and it didn’t disappoint!
The bike tour took us around the cycle paths and walkways of Celebration on the most gorgeous, old style bikes, incorporating stunning lakes and desirable streets! The kids nearly fell off with JOY at the “house with the slide” – a stunning lakeside residence with a slide from the balcony to the pool. I’m with them – what’s not to love? And seeing a wild alligator in the lake? Day made! Taking in the gorgeous roads with their picket fences and Wisteria Lane perfection, I’m surprised we didn’t head straight to the nearest Real Estate Office (I’m SO local!) and throw our credit card on the table!
For me, Celebration is a MUST VISIT in Kissimmee. It’s a world of its own and a world away from the theme parks and rides that Florida is so famous for – a whole other side to the place you wouldn’t necessarily think of visiting.Walt Disney designed the place to complete the Disney experience. His plan? To have an airport and town for Disney visitors to stay in, so tourists could be in the Disney bubble from the minute they got on the plane. These big plans were never fully executed and I, for one, am glad they weren’t, because now we all get to enjoy it!
Apparently, as our tour guide informed us, it’s not possible to own a holiday property there, which ensures Celebration doesn’t feel over run with tourists. Always a bonus!SOME Disney elements are very much present in the place, like the odd street name, or sign, or our lunch location.…
U CAN COOK
Set up 5 years ago by Lorenzo Fernandez – U Can Cook is all kinds of fabulous, in the best possible way! If you have a kid who is into the Disney princesses – this is like a dream come to life! It’s the kind of experience you would DREAM of finding as a parent whilst doubting whether such perfection actually existed. It does! I remember the first time I discovered Lapland UK back home, I felt the exact same way and could have almost kissed the guy behind the whole thing, for creating such a phenomenal experience. U Can Cook gave me the same feeling.
The place is generally used to host parties and functions but you can also book as a small group. With just 4 of us, I’ll admit it felt a little odd to have incredible actresses singing full on “Let It Go” about two feet from your face – but once you got past the intensity of it and went with the flow, it was all kinds of brilliant! I have NEVER seen such a perfect Belle or Ana or Elsa – EVER! If I was ever going to believe I’d met the real deal, it was there. Dare I say it – EVEN better than those I’ve seen at ACTUAL Disney! And that’s going it some!
The place is incredible. Styled to within an inch of its life to the kind of standard you’d expect on a movie set, Lorenzo really hasn’t missed out anything in his vision for a perfect Disney extravaganza!The kids made pizzas and edible Olaf’s and it felt like we’d been transported into an alternate universe.Then it was back to the Magic Village, to chill by the gorgeous pool for a couple of hours before heading to Disney Springs and Cirque Du Soleil, La Nouba!
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
LA NOUBA, DISNEY SPRINGS
I’ve always been a massive fan of Cirque Du Soleil. Back in my Blue Peter days I filmed with their Allegria show – finding myself suspended 30 ft above the stage, dangling on ribbons. It was awesome to see behind the scenes and witness the work and commitment that went into creating every magical experience. Then I saw “O” at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, after which I talked everyone I knew into guaranteeing me they’d see the show at some point in their life – I’d found it THAT life changing. Something about the shows just take you to another realm and transports you to a magical land.
La Nouba at Disney Springs was no exception!This was the kids first experience of Cirque so I was beyond excited to open their eyes to what’s physically possible on a stage.
Which – it would appear – is anything!
BMX bikers riding into the audience? Check
Incredible costumes and styling? Check
A stage that changes dimensions from one scene to the next? Check
Gravity defying stunts that make you question which way is up? Check
The kids were transfixed – mesmerised by this avant garde circus spectacle – where the impossible became possible – and I was grateful that their first Cirque experience had been a good one – fuelled by the biggest bag of candy floss we’d ever seen, purchased on the run in!
We were at the 6pm show which meant it was dark by the time we excited and Disney Springs and it’s restaurants were lit up, giving it a completely different vibe to the Disney Springs we’d seen upon arrival – it looked magical!
The perfect end to a spectacular day and back to the villa to dream of what tomorrow would bring.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
The first time I ever visited the States, I spent 4 days filming at Kennedy Space Center. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! The scale of the place, the excitement, the being-up-close-to-rockets pretty much blew my mind as space travel has always fascinated me, which is why I was excited to return with the kids!
Kaya and Akira have both studied space at various points at school, so after an easy hours drive from Kissimmee finding ourselves in Titusville was beyond epic. Pulling into the carpark and seeing the silhouettes of rockets in the distance was just about the best start to any day – a total WOW moment that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.
First stop was the Heroes and Legends exhibit and 3d Experience with about the coolest 3d glasses I’ve ever seen! A huge screen took us through a potted history of space travel, complete with wind blasts at various points. It was fascinating and, although age-wise I would say aimed at 10 and above, 7 year old Akira still managed to enjoy the novelty of it.A highlight of the day was having lunch with an astronaut – and at a staggeringly reasonable $29 for adults and $19 for children, this is a must-do for any trip to Kennedy. The buffet lunch alone was worth the price-tag but then hearing astronaut Bruce Melnick share his space experiences just brought space travel that bit closer and fuelled the kids excitement for the rest of the day. After lunch, we went on the “Behind the Gates” on a Kennedy Space Centre Bus Tour. I was really excited to take the kids to see the launch pads and VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) which I remembered so well from my previous trip, as well as Launch Centre 39. The scale of everything was incredible – the bus driver telling us the blue part of the flag on the side of the VAB was the size of a basketball court should give you some idea of the sizes involved!Wandering around the Rocket Garden was awe inspiring, the sheer scale of the silver rockets dwarfing everything around them, leaving all of us open mouthed as they towered above us in the sunlight. It was surprising and refreshing to be able to get so close to something so unique. Akira especially loved sitting inside one of the early pods, horrified at the thought of the astronauts being bolted inside – a moment which Bruce told us, they likened to being “Spam in a Tin”!
Kennedy was the perfect ending to our Four Days in Florida!
We were blown away by the variety on offer but the biggest surprise for all of us was the natural side of the state. The stunning creek for our kayaking experience, the airboat experience, the bike tour in Celebration – so many highlights for all of us and so many memories to take away forever.
As we left Kennedy, the sun was setting and we retreated back to our gorgeous villa, recounting parts of the day and high on the most brilliant memories of the best trip EVER! We kept trying to decide on our collective highlight but we couldn’t decide on just one – always the sign of an amazing trip – in the most incredible place, staying at the loveliest resort – which I’ll tell you all about next time!