We decided after last year's trip to Orlando that we needed to begin a new tradition (at least for now)... spring break in Orlando, Florida.  We do not have work schedules that allow for an actual "spring break" however, with Dave as the Public Information Officer for our local city school system he enjoys taking time off when the students/staff aren't at school.  It makes life easier for him, and Jess is always ready for a little vacation!  

There are a couple of reasons why Orlando is the ideal place for us to spend spring break.  

First, easy peasy!  A huge piece of this for us is that Jess's parents own a condo in Orlando.  It really doesn't get much better than that - thanks mom and dad!  Located less than 10 miles from Disney property, Bahama Bay Resort is nestled into a residential community that makes you forget how close you are to all of the craziness.  It's close enough to Disney and all of their entertainment, yet hidden from all of the madness on 192.  Seriously, unless you're sleeping in Cinderella's Castle we're not sure there is a better location.  

Aside from having a great location, Bahama Bay offers lots of amenities for the entire family to enjoy.  There is an awesome lake which is why Jess's dad fell in love with the place.  After staying at several resorts in the Orlando/Disney area, he kept coming back to Bahama Bay and a big part of that was the peaceful lake that you overlook while laying by one of their pools.

There are two larger pools and two smaller pools along with a splash park for the kids to play.  Both large pools offer drinks and snacks with one featuring a full scale restaurant along with a beach/sand area between the lake and pool.  This place has something for everyone, even movie rentals at the Clubhouse!  Email us if you are interested in staying here.  We're happy to hook you up and share our tips and tricks... like the back entrance to Disney!       

Second, Disney!  Ah, the magic.  When people talk about Disney being the most magical place on earth, they aren't crazy.  At least, we don't think we are crazy.  There is something so timeless, magical and exhilarating about being in the presence of anything Disney.

This place gives us all the feels, especially Jess.  When we visit the Magic Kingdom, there are literally tears of happiness and yes, even the sad kind of tears when we leave.  Jess has been working on that for years, but she still tears up every time we leave the park... seriously!  Tell us it's not over!  There just aren't enough hours, even when Magic Kingdom is open for 15. 

This trip, we expanded our time at Disney from a trip to Magic Kingdom and a few evening visits to Disney Springs to include a day at Epcot.  We'll tell you all about that here.  Jess has been fortunate to experience Disney more days than she could possibly count and Dave has memories from a Disney cruise that allowed a few days visiting the parks while he was in middle school.

When Jess re-introduced him to Disney last year, she did a good job selling it.  Magic Kingdom will forever be Jessica's favorite park and after experiencing Epcot together as adults for the first time, Dave now has a favorite park too.  Magic Kingdom and Epcot are both musts for future trips.

Third, location!  Orlando is in central Florida and is conveniently located (minus the traffic and toll roads) to everything.  If you've been following along, you know that our trips are BUSY.  Traveling with the Kirk's generally consists of early alarms, late nights out and lots of detailed itineraries.

We like to soak in every second and fully maximize our time when traveling.  This spring break trip gives us one or two days to relax, read and hang out by the pool (can I get an amen?).  We know there are some of you that think a full week of this would be perfection, but it would literally drive us nuts.   Ergo, central location.  It's the perfect way to explore!

When we spend a week in Orlando, the central location of "home base" gives us the opportunity to go other places during the day.  We devote one day during the week's vacation as beach day.  Last year, we spent the day in Daytona Beach and this year we headed to Cocoa Beach.

Jess spent lots of time at Daytona Beach growing up while Dave spent several of his high school spring breaks in Cocoa Beach playing baseball.  Needless to say, our beach day was a little different and he'd choose it over the hot days stuck on a baseball field with no beach in sight. 

We also spent one day exploring St. Augustine.  Central location for the win, again.  St. Augustine was closer to a two and a half hour drive.  With all the historic attractions in St. Augustine, Jess knew that Dave would love it.  We figured with being pretty close, it was worth the drive to spend a day there.  Tampa, Gainesville and Sarasota are all similar drives from Orlando.  They are a little longer treks, but all offer a lot of things to do and see.

Forth, shopping!  If you're spending a week in Florida, you might as well go ahead and prepare yourself for a rain shower.  Orlando is home to two great outlets and we usually venture to one (or both) of them when a rain shower is in the forecast.  Now if it starts raining at Disney, then pull out your poncho and start dancing in the rain.  However, when one of our hang out by the pool and relax days gives us a rain shower, we decide to spend our time shopping instead.  

4951 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 352-9600

8200 Vineland Avenue
Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 238-7787 

Check their websites for full store listings and hours.  Both locations have some of the same stores, but there are also a handful of stores specific to each location.  Be prepared for both locations to be busy pretty much all hours of the day, even if it is raining.  Most days, both outlets are open until 11 o'clock.  That's about two hours past our bedtime, but not on vacation.  This comes in handy if say, you're driving back from dinner in Cocoa Beach and you weren't able to find the heels you were looking for at the first outlet stop so you talk your husband into conveniently stopping by the second on the way back to the condo.  Lucky gal!

Fifth, flights!  We usually fly Allegiant Air from Owensboro to Orlando Sanford.  The flight is so easy, like doesn't get any easier.  We love our little airport when it comes to flying to Orlando.  We are back on the ground (and usually back home) within twenty five minutes.  We told ya, it doesn't get any easier.  This is the only flight that we're able to use at our airport.  We wish we could use it more, but there are simply no other flights headed in and out of OWB.

In most cases when we travel, we have a drive to Nashville or Louisville before and after each flight.  This can make traveling exhausting, even more so than it already is.  Needless to say, we jump at the chance to take Allegiant to Orlando anytime we can.

Plus, it's a good way for us to support our little airport.  Ease is the one thing that we like about Allegiant.  The down side to the airline is that you pay for every extra little thing you could ever imagine and the 40 pound weight limit on your checked luggage that you also paid for - yeah, who does that?

If you live in a bigger city and are jumping on Southwest, Delta or American and headed to Orlando International - it's still pretty easy too.  Orlando Sanford is getting busier and busier with Allegiant flights expanding, but Orlando International will always win the busy game.  Car rental and navigation are pretty simple at both airports.  The lines might be shorter at Sandford, but they'll probably move quicker at International.

Also, even though you might not have to get to smaller airports extra early when you are flying out on Allegiant, with their growing population and number of flights at Sanford, you will want to arrive to the airport with plenty of time on the way home.  Allegiant schedules lots of flights around similar times and pretty much everyone flying has to go through line to pay for carry on luggage even if they aren't checking a bag.

Sixth, seafood!  Thankfully, Jess started to enjoy seafood a few years ago.  Before that, Dave was always solo on his seafood indulgences while traveling.  Traveling to Orlando gives you a wide variety of great seafood options.  Even if you aren't on the beach, chances are that you are pretty close to some body of water wherever you are in the Orlando area.

We can't get enough seafood when we travel to Orlando, or anywhere near the coast for that matter.  We don't pass up on the opportunity to try seasonal specials or order one too many appetizers.  Do not pass up on seafood and order something on the menu that you can get any day at home.  We are very conscious of this while traveling.  It's easy to order your go to.  Order something new, soak in the endless seafood opportunities and order smaller dishes so that you can try more things.

There you have it.  Orlando has become our Spring Break destination.  We think this will be a tradition that we carry on for quite some time.  You can't ever get enough Disney, right?

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