Day one of travelling is always so exhausting. I love vacation but I am not a fan of the actual travel/airport/flying part. We had an early morning flight from Halifax, connecting in Montreal and onto Orlando so we were on the go since 3am but the adrenaline always kicks in once we reach our destination and can get out and have some fun!
Our first two nights we stayed in the International Drive (i-drive 360) area. It’s a huge entertainment area with plenty of attractions, shopping, and restaurants. It is also quite close to Universal Studios (which we also did not visit this time around 😢, we do enjoy it though).
After getting settled in our room, we decided to go explore the area and do a few fun things. You can’t visit any area that has a giant “city eye wheel” and not go on it so our first stop was to ride the “Coca Cola Orlando Eye” to get a breath taking view of the city from a new perspective.
Next was the “7D Dark Ride”, which is an emersive ride that places you in the middle of a video game (fighting zombies, etc) where your seats move and you interact with the surroundings by shooting at characters on the screen. Players are ranked by score and of course, Brad won (and surprisingly, I didn’t come in last!!)! It was a lot of fun.
We always enjoy touring other food type facilities when we travel so we decided to do a chocolate tour at the “World of Chocolate”. This experience takes you through the process of chocolate making from bean to bar and they had a bunch of amazing chocolate sculptures to view along the way (yes, a giant chocolate Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, and many more)! And of course we got to try some delicious samples at the end of the tour. It was quite fun and informative. I always get so much inspiration when I travel and come back rejuvenated to create some new things!
After some shopping and a little rest at our hotel, it was time to head out for dinner to my favourite chain restaurant, Texas Roadhouse. If you’ve never eaten here, you’re missing out. If you ever get the chance to dine here, I highly recommend it. They have restaurants all over the US. The closest to home is in Bangor, which is where I first discovered my new found love for this place. When you enter they actually have a meat case on display (which they hand cut in house each day) and you can choose which cut of meat you’d like. They bake fresh sweet rolls every five minutes and serve it with the yummiest cinnamon butter and it is bottomless so the bread just keeps coming. They also have buckets of peanuts at each table for guests to enjoy while they wait. Every main course comes with your choice of 2 sides. I opted for the sirloin steak with their cheese topped mashed potatoes and buttery corn (cuz, you know, vacation). And here is the most amazing part, all this food and it was only $10.99!!! (Okay, it is $10.99 USD so that would be like a million CAD but whatever).😉 I promise you will never leave here hungry!
There are 2 large factory outlet malls in Orlando so much of our second day was spent shopping and browsing. My best find, of course, was a huge Disney store “Character Warehouse” which is where all of the official Disney Park merchandise goes to once it is either overstocked or being replaced with new merchandise so they are incredibly discounted from what you’d pay if buying in the parks. So I got an early start to my Xmas shopping and scored a really cool Death Star suitcase for our daughter (who is obsessed with Star Wars) for only $15.99 when original retail was $39.99. Score! 😉 There were lots of other neat shops but I am always drawn to anything colourful and especially candy/sweet related, obviously!! So I snapped a few pics of a cute candy store along the way.
Our hotel offered a daily breakfast which included waffles and they had a Mickey waffle maker so we got to have a little Disney in our trip afterall.
Speaking of Disney, I just couldn’t help myself. We made a little side trip and visited Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, which is where we usually stay when we go on a Disney vacation. So I did get a little Disney fix and got to enjoy one of my favourite Disney Park treats, which is their Rice Krispies Treats. Yes, out of all the amazing and elaborate treats you can get at Disney, these are actually my favourite. Something so simple yet for some reason they taste differently and even better than ones I’ve had or sadly even made (ingredients list “inverted sugar” so I think this is the reason). And it’s not the Mickey shaped ones, they are the little cut up squares you only seem to be able to find at a Disney resort. I’ve read they are made by a bakery named Selma’s but can’t say with certainty. Anyways, I enjoy some of these every trip to Florida!
Finally, here are a few our our eats from onboard the Oasis of the Seas: They have a “Johnny Rockets” onboard. I am a sucker for old fashioned, retro style diners (in case you haven’t noticed from our shop decor) nad JR is one we enjoy when we travel. Burgers, fries, rings, and shakes…so all American. The way it works onboard the ship is you pay a flat cover charge, which I believe was $6.95 and you can eat as much as you want, including soda. The only thing not included was milkshakes. They are charged per drink and I think were round $5 each. We had a free dining voucher included with our cruise package so this was the first place we headed after we boarded and got settled and were ready to eat. They automatically bring out a plate of fries and rings to enjoy while your burgers are cooking. We both opted for Bacon Cheddar Burgers with grilled onions (of course, Brad had a double one). For the shakes, Brad had strawberry (shockingly, as he is a majot chocoholic) and for me, anytime there is an option for my shake to be turned into a malt I take it! So I had a classic chocolate malted milkshake. We were full after this so unfortunately we did not take advantage of ordering a bunch more. But it was so good!
Speaking of milkshakes…we became a little obsessed with having shakes and at $5 USD a pop at JR, I got creative and started making our own! Chocolate milk is complimentary as is soft serve ice cream so we filled a glass with chocolate ice cream and stirred in chocolate milk and.voila. Everyone who saw us doing this at the cafe were jealous they didn’t think to do this as they ate their plain cones. I do like to think outside the box as much as possible. 😂
Sorrento’s is the pizza place onboard and pizza became our late night snack most nights after going to shows or the nightclubs. The best was when the create your own was available (only until 10pm so rarely got this option) but the few times we did, it was extra delicious, even though the toppings were limited. Pictured is pepperoni and marinated mushrooms. And there was always shakers of oregano, chili peppers, and parmesean to sprinkle on top.
The only other “specialty dining” we did onboard was we ate at Izumi (not included in your cruise fare and requires an additional fee, usually a flat rate. I believe Izumi was around $50 per person but we went on one of our additional cruise days where they offered 50% off so it was a bonus). Izumi is a Japanese Sushi and Hibachi restaurant. We went for the hibachi/teppanyaki as we always enjoy this type of dining experience.
The chef was very funny and super entertaining doing many fun tricks with the food as he cooked. The meal consisted of…
an edamame appetizer…
fresh salad with ginger dressing…
and the main course…fried rice, grilled vegetables, and protein of choice. We both opted for the steak and chicken combo. It was a great night with excellent food and a wonderful dining experience. I would highly recommend trying Izumi if you are ever on an Oasis class ship.
Lastly, what would a vacation or cruise be without desserts?!? We certainly indulged in our fair share of desserts! Some were fantastic and some were quite underwhelming. My favourites were the strawberry vanilla cake, and mini red velvet cupcakes (they didn’t serve any of their cupcakes with icing, just sprinkled with powdered sugar but I did enjoy them nonetheless).
Unfortunately, due to our cruise being extended and our return to Orlando being delayed we didn’t get to do many of the things or visit many of the places we planned to so I don’t have as much to share as I originally planned to. But with our love for Florida, I know it won’t be long until we return again! Thanks for following us along on our trip. A new recipe will be up soon and I am also thinking about starting a vlog showing recipes so stay tuned!
Hi, I'm TJ!
Welcome to Susie's!
This blog focuses on sweet treats as well as family dinners. Join me in my retail bakery as well as in my home kitchen where you'll find a variety of yummy recipes, some indulgent and some healthy lifestyle too.