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!
This is part 2 of our trip... ENJOY!
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 at The Magic Village. 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 / 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. 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! I know, the irony!
Then it was back to our Magic Village Resort, 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 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 a Kennedy Space Center and 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 epic. Pulling into the carpark and seeing the silhouettes of rockets in the distance was just about the best and most surreal start to any day – a total WOW moment that everyone should hopefully 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 age-wise I would say aimed at 10 and above.
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 Center 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 trip in my Blue Peter days, 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.
Kennedy was the perfect ending to our time in Florida.
During our four days 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!
We were in Florida as guests of VISIT FLORIDA and EXPERIENCE KISSIMMEE
All views are my own and this blog was not edited before being posted.