Christmas Events in Orlando

November 20th, 2012

Spend the Holidays in Orlando!

The holidays are a great time to be in Orlando! Everyone is happy and there are special events on everywhere. There is so much to see and do that you will have to come again next year to see some of the stuff you might miss this year! If you need tickets for theme parks or any of the Holiday Events contact our Guest Services Team by email or by phone at 866 934 9177.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas

Celebrate the magic of the holiday season with your family at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a special event held select nights in November and December at Magic Kingdom theme park!
This festive celebration is filled with spectacular fireworks, a very special holiday parade and live entertainment featuring your favorite Disney Characters. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend this event, and tickets sell out quickly.    Click here for more information!

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration

Waves of Holiday Spirit splash over you during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration! With everything from Santa to Shamu, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is where holiday memories are made. With special shows such as “Oh Wondrous Night” and “A Sesame Street Christmas” and a Wintery Wonderland to explore, experience the holidays with your family like never before!  Click here for more information.

Christmas Events at Universal Orlando Resort
Enjoy a musical celebration of holiday fun & excitement at Universal Orlando® Resort! Celebrate Grinchmas™ at Universal’s Islands of Adventure®, and join in the fun of the Macy’s Holiday Parade™ at Universal Studios® Florida. All the festivities are included with your theme park admission during select dates in December.  Click here for more information.

See Winter the Dolphin in Clearwater, Florida

October 23rd, 2012

Come to Clearwater on your next Orlando vacation

October 23rd 2012
See the star of ''Dolphin Tale'' at Clearwater Aquarium
If you and your family enjoyed ”Dolphin Tale” starring Winter the Dolphin - then you should make a date to spend a day at nearby Clearwater Aquarium.

VillaDirect guests staying at our vacation homes are only about 1 hours drive away from this famous aquarium that’s located near to the causeway bridge that goes over the inter-coastal waterway at Clearwater. It’s easy to get to (and we can provide you with directions if you need them) and it makes for a great day out with the family. Take a stroll down the white, sugary sands of Clearwater beach in the morning, and then spend the afternoon at the Aquarium before returning to your vacation home in Orlando, just an hours drive back.

We recommend that you purchase the Eco Combo ticket which allows you to get a ”behind the scenes” tour of the facility, includes admission to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, to enjoy the ”Sea Life Safari” and to get 10% discount at the gift shop.

Daily activities vary, depending on the time you visit – but Clearwater Marine Aquarium offers a variety of animal and education presentations throughout the day for you and your family to enjoy.

Here’s a sample of some of the daily presentations:

> Story Time: How Winter Lost Her Tail
> Meet our Sea Turtles
> Nicholas the Dolphin in Action
> Playtime with Hope the Baby Dolphin
> Stingray Presentation and Feeding
> From Sand to Sea: Sea Turtle Population
> Meet our River Otters
> Ocean Obstacles, Human Effects on Sea Life
> Saving Endangered Sea Turtles
> Tail Talk
> Dolphins – Winter & Panama
> Shark Feeding
> Exploring Florida Fish (Feeding)

Probably the most attractive feature for families visiting is the chance to see Winter – the dolphin who lost her tail and became the star of the film – ”A Dolphin Tale” that was released in 2011.

If you and your family are staying here in Orlando for a few days – this is a relaxed day out for everyone, with sun, sea, sand and marine life all rolled into a single day’s adventure!


For more information on Clearwater Marine Aquarium and other attractions and shows…Simply email VillaDirect Guest Services Team or call our Guest Services Representatives TOLL FREE (USA & Canada) on 1 866 934 9177 or +1 407 397 9818, we will be happy to explain all the options and find the best ticket deal for your family.

See the Atlantis Shuttle “in motion”!

October 16th, 2012

See Atlantis moving to her new home

October 16th 2012
Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime event as Atlantis is moved to her final display!

If you’re a guest coming to Orlando to stay in a VillaDirect vacation home in early November 2012 – you could have the chance to witness a ”once in a lifetime” event that won’t be seen again!

Possibly the most iconic Space Shuttle of the fleet is ”on the move” for the last time!

Atlantis – Celebrate the Journey event is taking place on November 2, 2012 to welcome space shuttle Atlantis to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Space Shuttle Atlantis is making the 10-mile rolling journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to the Visitor Complex atop the Orbiter Transportation System (OTS). The move will conclude at the new $100-million permanent home under construction for the orbiter. The home for Atlantis is set to open summer 2013.

This will be the last-chance to see a shuttle ”on-the-move” anywhere in the USA – so make a date and call us for this special ticketed event. Tickets are limited, and general admission tickets purchased on November 2 will not be valid – so book early.

Due to limited ticket availability, VillaDirect regrets that the company cannot guarantee that there is availability for all purchases. Tickets are available on a first-come..first served basis. But a trip to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is still a great day out and something that everyone should make the time for during their stay!


For authorized tickets to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and other attractions and shows…Simply email VillaDirect Guest Services Team or call our Guest Services Representatives TOLL FREE (USA & Canada) on 1 866 934 9177 or +1 407 397 9818, we will be happy to explain all the options and find the best ticket deal for your family.

Fun things to do in Orlando that won’t break the bank

August 24th, 2012

Ally Gator’s FREE Bites #3 – Parks and Nature

August 24th 2012
Ally’s happiest when she ”gets back to nature” – and she knows all the best water-holes and swamps near Orlando, as well as the best places for you and your family to visit for FREE when you stay at VillaDirect vacation homes.

If you and your family are on vacation here in Orlando – even if you’re not staying in one of our fabulous pool homes – you may want to save some money by visiting some of the suggested parks and nature trails she’s provided below.

Ally Gator's tips for family fun for FREE during your next vacation to Orlando!
Ally Gator has been hunting down other things that families can do when they visit Orlando and giving us the ideas to pass on to our guests and visitors vacationing in central Florida.

If you want to see the first of these articles, click to read Ally Gator’s FREE Bites #1 or FREE Bites #2.

If you want to see some of the REAL wildlife of Florida during your trip to Orlando, take a day (or two) of your stay to visit some of these places.

Black Hammock Adventures
This family-friendly adventure spot offers something for everyone in the family. Located on Lake Jessup, about 30 miles from our vacation homes in Oviedo, Florida, Black Hammock Adventures is actually an air-boat ride venue, with a bar and restaurant (they’re not free) – but the trip is still worthwhile, because there’s a fabulous wildlife exhibit where you can get close to ”Hammy” the live 12-foot alligator and our own Ally Gator’s smaller cousins, as well as Macaws, Pythons and more.

Harry P Leu Gardens
Located in downtown Orlando, the Harry P. Leu Gardens offer a 50-acre botanical oasis with roses, tropicals, camellias and more. There’s a fantastic museum to visit and tour while you’re there. The Leu House Museum located in the heart of the gardens reveals turn-of-the century living for the families who once called this home. Free admission is only on the fist Monday of every month when the park is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
This island is located about an hour away from your vacation home – but it’s well worth the drive. Located on the Space Coast, just across from John F. Kennedy Space Center, this 140,000 acre preserve includes many wildlife habitats including coastal dunes, saltwater estuaries, freshwater, scrub, pine and swampland that provides habitats for over 1,500 species of plants and animals. Merritt Island is a great day-out and includes a wildlife drive, manatee observation deck, bird and wildlife observation, miles of beaches and more. Make sure to start at the Visitor Information Center that’s just 4 miles from the east of Titusville. The Information Center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays 10:00 am till 4:30 pm. All other areas of the refuge are open during daylight hours.

Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola Park is popular destination in the Downtown area, with many people taking advantage of the beautiful surroundings to walk at lunch or the evenings. The sidewalk that circles the lake is .9 miles in length, making it easy for visitors to keep track of their walking or running distances. Other activities available to park visitors include renting swan-shaped paddle boats for $15 per ½ (half) hour, or electric gondola boats for $15 per ½ (half) hour,  feeding the live swans and other birds inhabiting the park, seeing a concert or a play in the Walt Disney Amphitheater, grabbing a bite to eat at Relax Grill on Lake Eola or relaxing amid beautiful flower beds and a spectacular view of Orlando’s skyline. Opening hours for Lake Eola Park are daily from 6:00 am till midnight.

Watch out for more of Ally’s Bites in the weeks to come…


For discounted, authorized tickets to the theme parks and attractions of Orlando…Simply email VillaDirect Guest Services Team or call our Guest Services Representatives TOLL FREE (USA & Canada) on 1 866 934 9177 or +1 407 397 9818, we will be happy to explain all the options and find the best ticket deal for your family.

Ally Gator’s FREE Bites #2 – Arts and history in Orlando, Florida

August 17th, 2012

Arts, history, and more on these trips for the family

August 17th 2012
Here’s Ally’s next installment of fun things to do with your family.

If you and your family are on vacation here in Orlando – even if you’re not staying in one of the VillaDirect vacation homes – you may want a day away from the theme parks to relax a bit more and to avoid the lines and the gate prices!

Ally Gator has been hunting down other things that families can do when they visit Orlando and giving us the ideas to pass on to our guests and visitors vacationing in central Florida.

Ally Gator's tips for family fun for FREE during your next vacation to Orlando!
If you want to see the first of these articles, click to read Ally Gator’s FREE Bites #1.

Do you want some (light) culture to your visit? Ally’s not the most ”cultured” of critters – but she enjoys each of the venues she’s listed below and all of them are FREE to guests visiting Orlando.

Cornell Fine Arts Museum
This museum sits on the campus of Rollins College in Winter Park and overlooks lake Virginia. The Cornell Fine Arts Museum includes works from Henry Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Thomas Moran, as well as seasonal exhibits by modern and fine arts. You’ll need a valid student ID to get in for FREE – but if you’ve got kids in High School or college – they’ll get FREE access. Otherwise, the entry fee is $5 per adult. The museum is open Tuesdays through Fridays 10:00 am till 4:00 pm.

The Grand Bohemian Gallery
Located in the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Orlando, guests can experience a blend of art, music, Italian mosaic barrel-vaulted ceilings and beautiful surroundings in the main lobby, with over 150 rare works of art, jewelry, glass and sculpture. There’s a similar (but smaller) display at the Bohemian in downtown Celebration Bohemian). While you’re there – we recommend that you enjoy lunch or a fabulous Sunday brunch in the restaurant – or ”double” your day with a visit to the nearby City Arts Factory (see below).

CityArts Factory
This isn’t so much a single gallery so much as a tour through some eclectic, quirky (and sometimes downright strange) art galleries in a single building in downtown Orlando. The CityArts Factory is open from 11:00 am till 6:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday and about 20 minutes drive from most of the vacation homes we offer. Exhibits vary from modern to classical, impressionist to photography, but it’s a great way to spend an hour or two for FREE.

The Morse Museum
This Winter Park location offers an unequaled opportunity to view and enjoy the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). The Morse Museum’s Tiffany collection includes jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass windows and lamps, and the chapel interior the artist designed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The Museum’s holdings also include a major collection of American art pottery and representative collections of late 19th- and early 20th-century American painting, graphics, and decorative art.

The Zora Neale Hurston Museum
The Zora Neale Museum takes you on a stroll through history starting with the author’s humble beginnings and displays creative works of other artists of African descent. Donations are accepted. The theme for the 2012 Zora Neale Hurston Festival is “The Rise of Community: The Town of Eatonville Models 125 Years of Self-Governance.” Activities include live concerts, educational seminars, heritage tours, a HATitude brunch and an outdoor festival.

The Winter Park Historical Museum
Be sure to squeeze this one in with a trip to the shops and bistro atmosphere of Park Street in Winter Park – especially if you visit the Morse Museum (see above). The Winter Park Historical Museum helps visitors discover the tradition of Winter Park – Central Florida’s premier urban village! Located in the Farmers’ Market. See displays of pictorial history, collectibles, and memorabilia. Gift shop too!

Open Tuesdays through Fridays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Saturdays 9:00 am to 2:00 pm – admission is FREE.

Watch out for more of Ally’s Bites in the weeks to come…


For discounted, authorized tickets to the theme parks and attractions of Orlando…Simply email VillaDirect Guest Services Team or call our Guest Services Representatives TOLL FREE (USA & Canada) on 1 866 934 9177 or +1 407 397 9818, we will be happy to explain all the options and find the best ticket deal for your family.

Splitsville opening this Fall at Downtown Disney in Orlando

August 14th, 2012

The BIGGEST Splitsville ever!

August 14th 2012
If you're in town in early September 2012 - come and see this Ice spectacular!
Exciting news for vacation home guests coming to Orlando to visit Disney and other area attractions!

The largest Splitsville bowling lanes – ever – is opening this fall on the Westside at Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World® Resort. Located next to the Disney Quest indoor theme park – This new Splitsville is going to be their first two-level venue and, at 50,000 square feet, will be the largest one in the country – in fact, almost twice the size of any of the other four locations. And it’s going to feature 30 bowling lanes, again nearly twice as many as at any other Splitsville.

This Splitsville will also have a balcony with outdoor seating, as well as billiard tables and live entertainment, making it an ideal place for some family fun outside of the theme parks. Like other Splitsvilles, this one will serve upscale food and beverages, including sushi, amid a stylish interior that features both hip and retro décor elements. Let’s just say that this is not going to be your father’s bowling alley.


For discounted, authorized tickets to other Disney attractions and shows…Simply email VillaDirect Guest Services Team or call our Guest Services Representatives TOLL FREE (USA & Canada) on 1 866 934 9177 or +1 407 397 9818, we will be happy to explain all the options and find the best ticket deal for your family.

Countdown to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2012

August 13th, 2012

The Food and Wine Festival is a MUST VISIT event

August 13th 2012
If you're in town on September 30th 2012 - come join in the Celebration!
Yummy food in great surroundings, Florida sunshine and a tour of the World – all in one park! Who could ask for more? Well – if you’re on vacation and staying at one of our fabulous range of family homes and condos here in Orlando, be sure to make use of our Guest Services Concierge team, who can help you plan your visit – for FREE!

This festival of fun opens on September 28th and features some wonderful tastings and samplers of the most stunning foods and wines prepared by tops chefs from around the World. And there’s no need to buy airline tickets – because the World comes to you here in Epcot at Walt Disney World® Resort.

Phone lines open on August 14th for all the ticketed events for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (407) 939-3378 and you can also book authorized, discounted tickets from VillaDirect.

Celebrating culinary adventures from September 28 though until November 12, 2012 - Food and wine lover’s will find a paradise at Epcot with the 17th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

From tasty tapas and refreshing beverages to celebrity chef demonstrations and rock star performances, there’s something to satisfy every taste and interest.

Upon arrival, visit the Festival Welcome Center to pick up your Marketplace Discovery Passport and plan your day. Then, dine your way around the world, attend a cooking demonstration, savor satisfying wines and tap your toes at an exciting outdoor concert.

Festival Highlights

Throughout the festival, delight in outstanding food, fun and entertainment. Festival highlights include:

  • Nearly 30 international food and beverage Marketplaces
  • Signature dining experiences with celebrated chefs
  • Party for the Senses—a spectacular tribute to the sensory arts
  • Culinary demonstrations and wine seminars
  • The Eat to the Beat concert series, with nightly musical performances from popular hit-makers

With all this—and so much more—you can look forward to tasting your way around the world!


For discounted, authorized tickets to EPCOT….Simply email VillaDirect Guest Services Team or call our Guest Services Representatives TOLL FREE (USA & Canada) on 1 866 934 9177 or +1 407 397 9818, we will be happy to explain all the options and find the best ticket deal for your family.

Disney On Ice – Rockin’ Ever After

August 9th, 2012

Come see this ice spectacular show on your trip to Orlando

August 9th 2012
If you're in town in early September 2012 - come and see this Ice spectacular!
Mickey and Minnie searched the globe for the ”hippest and hottest” acts to perform in the most sensational showcase to rock on the ice – Disney On Ice presents Rockin’ Ever After. This new ice spectacular tour launches on August 31 in Lakeland, Florida. Tickets for all 2012 engagements are now on sale at Ticketmaster and from DisneyOnIce.com.

For guests visiting Orlando and the theme parks who are staying in VillaDirect vacation homes – the best venue is at the new Amway Center in Orlando… and shows are available from September 7th through the 9th at various times (tickets range in cost from $15 to $52 for a front row seat).

Jam to a Scottish jig as a group of royal contenders from the latest Disney-Pixar film, Brave, compete to win the heart of headstrong, sharp-shooting Merida, making her ice debut! Experience a show-stopping performance as Sebastian breaks out of his shell for one night only to make waves with Ariel. A chorus of harmless hooligans from Tangled unleash musical mayhem when they get a visit from the sassy and spirited Rapunzel and her charming ally Flynn. And, get your feet moving as the Beast and his castle’s enchanted entourage take center stage in a spectacular show for Belle.

The most exciting part of bringing a fearless and independent character like Merida to the ice for the first time is knowing that she has a powerful and inspiring message to deliver about finding the courage to determine one’s own fate,” says Producer Nicole Feld. “We think her story translates well to the ice and will really resonate with today’s audience.

Produced by Feld Entertainment, Rockin’ Ever After remixes the stories of Disney’s most adventurous heroines with upbeat music and energetic choreography that will have audiences singing, dancing and cheering for their beloved Disney idols. Mickey and Minnie encounter the most talented performers in the land with an all-star lineup that includes Sebastian and the Daughters of Triton from The Little Mermaid, the rowdy pub thugs from Tangled and the spunky enchanted servants from Beauty and the Beast. The journey continues to the Scottish highlands where audiences will be captivated and star struck by Merida, as an exhilarating archery contest ensues for the right to marry the fiery redhead.

“Our challenge in developing Rockin’ Ever After was figuring out how to highlight moments from these beloved stories in a way that reflects the type of entertainment that families value today,” says Producer Juliette Feld. “By pulling elements from the talent show trend on contemporary television, we developed a truly unique way to lead into each fairytale.

For the tour schedule and to find out more about Disney On Ice presents Rockin’ Ever After, go to http://disneyonice.com.


For discounted, authorized tickets to other attractions and shows…Simply email VillaDirect Guest Services Team or call our Guest Services Representatives TOLL FREE (USA & Canada) on 1 866 934 9177 or +1 407 397 9818, we will be happy to explain all the options and find the best ticket deal for your family.

New Fantasyland at Disney Grand Opening set for December 6, 2012

August 8th, 2012

The grand opening of the new Fantasyland

August 8th 2012
Book to stay with us in early December 2012 and be among the first to see the new Fantasyland when it opens on December 6th!
A few months ago, VillaDirect was delighted to announce that there was going to be a ”new addition” to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World® Resort here in Orlando!

Yesterday – the announcement finally came that this fabulous new ”world” is to open on the 6th December this year. Attractions included in the Grand opening include Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ariel’s Grotto, Gaston’s Tavern and more.

Make a date to come with your family and be among the first to visit this newest attraction. Early December is one of the quietest (and lowest cost!) times of year to visit – and rates for VillaDirect vacation homes, flights and tickets are at their lowest. So take advantage by booking your family into one of our Orlando pool homes and paying for the rental and your authorized theme park tickets using our Lay-Away-And-Stay program like so many of our guests.


For discounted, authorized tickets to the Magic Kingdom…Simply email VillaDirect Guest Services Team or call our Guest Services Representatives TOLL FREE (USA & Canada) on 1 866 934 9177 or +1 407 397 9818, we will be happy to explain all the options and find the best ticket deal for your family.

Ally Gator’s Free Bites # 1 – Events to Enjoy in Orlando

August 7th, 2012

Enjoy these ideas for some family fun that won’t cost you a penny!

August 7th 2012
Guests visiting Orlando always enjoy their stay in our vacation homes - and most visit the theme parks and attractions…many tell us that the homes they stay in are the smallest part of their vacation budget!

Sometimes, buying theme park tickets can become expensive – especially for families ”on a budget” or larger families. Some guests try to beat the system by buying cheap tickets and are turned away at the gates at Disney and Universal – so if you’re going to the parks, be sure to buy from an Authorized Disney Ticket reseller like VillaDirect vacation homes.

Ally Gator's tips for FREE events on your next vacation to Orlando!
Over the past months, some guests have asked us to give ideas about where they can enjoy a family trip without costing them a ”Family Fortune”! So our own Ally Gator came out of her ”swamp” to take a walk around Orlando and came back to tell us about these fabulous FREE events that you might like to check out when you’re coming to stay.

The Great Irish Hooley
Come to Downtown Disney when you stay at one of our homes in late August and visit Pleasure Island during Labor Day weekend to enjoy the Great Irish Hooley featuring six authentic Irish bands, plus, enjoy the original Riverdance choreographer leading Irish Dance Workshops for guests. There’s also the chance to enjoy Irish food favorites at Raglan Road Irish Pub and more live entertainment.

Popcorn Flicks in the Park
The City of Winter Park (about 30 minutes drive from our Welcome Center) offers FREE movies on the second Thursday of every month. Bring a blanket, a picnic and snacks, your family and friends who are on vacation – and join in the fun. The Popcorn Flicks are scheduled to start at 8:00 pm – but our weather sometimes delays them – so we recommend that you check out their webpage or call them before you set off!

Jazz at the Winery
This annual event runs at the Lakeridge Winery on September 15th and 16th in Clermont. Just about 15 minutes drive from most of our vacation homes, the event features concerts from well known jazz musicians like the Robert Harris Group, Airtight and Tory Wynter. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary winery tour and also purchase food, wine, beer and soft drinks during their visit.

Annual Winter Park Autumn Art Festival
Every year in Spring and Fall, Winter Park holds this art festival, that’s one of the most popular events for guests and locals alike. The Autumn Festival is being held on the 13th and 14th October this year and is the only show to exclusively feature local and Florida artists. About a 30 minute drive from our Welcome Center, it’s a day-out for the family that’s sure to please.

Fall Fiesta in the Park
This annual family favorite is a great day-out and you’ll get to explore over 600 booths of juried artists displaying every kind of media, including ceramics, glassware, jewelry, photography, painting, wood and clothing, and much more besides. The Fall Fiesta in the Park is held every year by Lake Eola in downtown Orlando and is held on November 3rd and 4th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is FREE.

Watch out for more of Ally’s Bites in the weeks to come…


For discounted, authorized tickets to the theme parks and attractions of Orlando…Simply email VillaDirect Guest Services Team or call our Guest Services Representatives TOLL FREE (USA & Canada) on 1 866 934 9177 or +1 407 397 9818, we will be happy to explain all the options and find the best ticket deal for your family.