Florida Panhandle Parks | Articles and Reviews at Family Travel Blog

Weekend on the Beach: Weekend trips that include relaxing on the beach are always a good idea. Visit the Florida Keys where you can check into one of the island resorts or explore fun attractions and restaurants in Key West. During the summer, many lake and ocean beaches are within driving distance on the East Coast, West Coast, the South and Midwest. During the warmer season it’s easy to plan a day trip or an affordable overnight stay. In the winter, inexpensive vacation spots may be harder to find and you may have to take a plane to get to a tropical beach in South Florida, Hawaii or the Caribbean.
The jewel of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is home to more than 1,200 islands, but travel between them has long been dictated by expensive yacht charters and sluggish public ferries. In 2018, that’s set to change, now that UberBOAT, from the popular ride-sharing app, has launched on-demand transfers and private tours along the Dalmatian Coast. Hit the high seas in the direction of Šolta, a hilly isle a mere nine nautical miles from Split (the second-largest city in Croatia).
Olas Verdes is the area’s first LEED-certified hotel, and its location near Playa Guiones makes it ideal for beach-lovers. The flexible layout lets you connect suites, depending on your family’s size. Two-bedroom units sleep up to seven, and rates include daily breakfast.
Walt Disney World has so much more to do than just theme parks.  There is miniature golf, water parks, fishing, even pony rides.  You will find world-famous shops and eateries at  newly opened Disney Springs.  This area was formerly known as Downtown Disney and has undergone a complete transformation and expansion to create an even bigger Disney experience.
As one of the only two skeleton museums in America, Skeletons: Animals Unveiled! features over 40 exhibits and more than 500 real animal skeletons. With everything from an African Safari exhibit that features massive elephant and giraffe skeletons, to the creepy flesh-eating beetles that help clean the bones, this place will keep the kiddos exploring all day.
This history museum of Florida features the heroic Seminole tribe whose past is told in multiple exhibits at the Smithsonian-affiliated museum that includes artifacts and life-like dioramas focusing on facets of Seminole life such as religious ceremonies, recreation, cooking, crafts, fishing, hunting and homelife – all complemented by the inspirational film We Seminoles. ahtahthiki.com
Many of the live shows at WDW are described in our individual park sections above, but there are also some parades and shows that warrant special mention. We’ve also included a generous selection of photos when it’s warranted:
A century ago, Shanghai was China’s star city, a cosmopolitan center of art, technology, and finance. Today, it’s reclaiming that mantle, parlaying the economic boom that began in the 1990s into a world-class array of cultural and culinary attractions. On the West Bund riverfront, Tank Shanghai will transform disused oil tanks into a sprawling arts complex with a gallery, an education center, and parks when it’s completed later this year. Farther north, the Norman Foster and Thomas Heatherwick–designed Fosun Foundation, with its façade of shifting bronze cylinders, began hosting performances and art shows last fall. The North Bund is being redeveloped with a park linking it to a new lifestyle development that’s anchored by the city’s first W Hotel. In the residential Minhang district, Cordis debuted in May, and Amanyangyun will open nearby after relocating Ming and Qing dynasty buildings, as well as 10,000 ancient camphor trees, from Jiangxi province. More luxury stays are still to come in 2018, including the Middle House, the Bulgari, and the Edition. —Samantha Culp
Experience magical live performances, exciting Future World attractions and dazzling fireworks, along with exploring the World Showcase pavilions—featuring technological innovation and the culture and cuisine of 11 nations: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, the United States, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom and Canada. Make your way around the world!
The resort’s tropical gardens, saltwater lagoons and two golf courses are tempting, but the most popular retreat is Dolphin Quest. It provides guests with a variety of interactive dolphin programs, including training adventures, a family experience and kids’ quest. Meanwhile, at Waikoloa’s 4-acre lagoon, water lovers can schedule kayak trips, snorkel sails and seasonal whale-watching tours. After dark, attend the Legends of Hawaii luau to experience traditional island dancing and music, as well as a buffet dinner.
Disney’s property includes four golf courses. The three 18-hole golf courses are Disney’s Palm (4.5 stars), Disney’s Magnolia (4 stars), and Disney’s Lake Buena Vista (4 stars). There is also a nine-hole walking course (no electric carts allowed) called Oak Trail, designed for young golfers. The Magnolia and Palm courses played home to the PGA Tour’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. Arnold Palmer Golf Management manages the Disney golf courses.[22]
Discover one of the largest animal-themed parks in the world—home to more than 1,700 animals across 250 species and featuring exciting expeditions, wild adventures and elaborate parades and performances. Explore 6 enthralling lands: Oasis, Discovery Island, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia and DinoLand, U.S.A.. Spot exotic animals, trek on fascinating jungle trails and venture into wildly themed restaurants!
When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, the site employed about 5,500 “cast members”.[44] Today, Walt Disney World employs more than 74,000 cast members,[45] spending more than $1.2 billion on payroll and $474 million on benefits each year. The largest single-site employer in the United States,[46][47] Walt Disney World has more than 3,700 job classifications. The resort also sponsors and operates the Walt Disney World College Program, an internship program that offers American college students (CP’s) the opportunity to live about 15 miles (24 km) off-site in four Disney-owned apartment complexes and work at the resort, and thereby provides much of the theme park and resort “front line” cast members. There is also the Walt Disney World International College Program, an internship program that offers international college students (ICP’s) from all over the world the same opportunity.
For proof of Abu Dhabi’s burgeoning status as the cultural capital of the Middle East, look no further than Saadiyat Cultural District, which is quickly becoming a treasure trove of world-class art and groundbreaking architecture. The multibillion-dollar initiative has already resulted in one major project, the Jean Nouvel-designed Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened in November. Though its construction was controversial, the museum has quickly become the premier creative beacon in the Emirates. Work is under way nearby on the Zayed National Museum, by Norman Foster; the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre, by Zaha Hadid Architects; and the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, which when completed will be the largest Guggenheim museum in the world. The city’s hotel-building campaign is also in full swing: this year Marriott debuted a 400-room hotel in the Al Forsan sports center, and next year will see the opening of the Abu Dhabi Edition and Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas. —Dylan Essertier
A trip to Europe is for families who enjoy exploring historic sites, sampling local cuisine and learning about a different culture. Visit Florence, Italy, which is an easy historic city to explore with children. Another great city to visit with kids is New York. Younger children can explore a huge variety of playgrounds, climb on giant statues representing characters from children’s books, visit a zoo, ride on a carousel, visit a planetarium and watch a show at the Marionette Theater.
Set sail into 1856 and experience Key West during the time of some of the most dangerous wrecks and recoveries to date. Kids of all ages will enjoy the costume-clad actors, films and artifacts that tell the story of a time when “wreck ashore!” was yelled every time a new wreck was spotted.
The chance to explore this elegant three-story Mediterranean Revival building is reason enough to visit, but the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum also offers visitors an engrossing journey through local history. Constructed in 1907 to serve as Pensacola’s City Hall, the century-old building was transformed into the museum in the late 1980s and features several seasonal changing exhibits and a traveling exhibit. The highlight of Historic Pensacola’s flagship museum is the “City of Five Flags” exhibit, which tells the unique story of Pensacola through centuries-old artifacts, historical photographs and stories told through archaeology and preservation efforts. The exhibit covers the entire first-floor and features streamlined timelines, engaging interactives, one-of-a-kind artifacts and immersive environments, all designed to help visitors experience life in Pensacola under five different flags.
Tickets With Park Hopper Plus (gate price for admission to any of the four theme parks, including visiting more than one per day, plus extra water park and other fun visits, including tax) – 3-day or longer tickets will be $21.30 less when purchased in advance.
Two hotels that might fit your needs with family accommodations that can sleep 5 or 6 people are the Belleclaire, on the Upper West side, convenient to subways, or the Skyline on West 42nd street, a three block walk to Times Square and multiple subways. The motel-like Skyline has an unusual New York amenity, a swimming pool. The Belleclaire offers discounts for stays of 3 nights or more. The alternative is to book two rooms with two beds, one for you and your wife and younger daughter, the other for your older daughter and her aunt. You may find good rates on weekends at hotels in the Wall Street area that cater mostly to weekday business travelers such as Aloft Manhattan Downtown or Doubletree by Hilton. In the Times Square area, Days Inn Broadway is a possibility and the Radisson Martinique or NYMA hotels near Macys and many subways are other budget choices. Hotel rates vary with the seasons. When you know your travel dates, try using discount services such as Booking.com or Hotelscombined where you specify travel dates and the number of guests and see which hotels are offering buys when you want to visit And remember to add 14.75% NY hotel tax to the rates you are quoted. If you can find a lodging with free continental breakfast, that is a big saving for 5 people.
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Hawaiian culture and natural resources are the main sources of entertainment at this ride-free Disney resort. Located on a crescent of white sand along Oahu’s western shore, Aulani caters specifically to vacationing families. Spacious, minimalist rooms incorporate charming touches like a surf-happy Mickey carved into a wooden lamp base. Restaurants offer casual kid-friendly fare as well as upscale dining for when a babysitter is on duty. Outdoor adventures abound, including swimming with stingrays, watersliding through lava rock into the swimming pools, snorkeling lessons, and paddleboarding. There’s not only a supervised children’s club for guests ages 3 to 12, but also a teen spa that offers DIY body-polish workshops and treatments for boys as well as girls. Surf parties by the pool feature special appearances by Disney characters, and there are nighttime screenings of Disney classics.
We are often asked if you can buy, say, a 10-day Base Ticket and use it as a 5-day Hopper by visiting two parks per day. The answer is no. You can only enter one park per day with Magic Your Way Base Tickets (the gates will prevent you from entering another park on the same day with that ticket). You must buy the Park Hopper option if you want to go to more than one park per day.
In September 2011, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced plans to partner with filmmaker James Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment production company, along with 20th Century Fox, to develop theme park attractions based on Cameron’s Avatar film franchise, with the first installation planned for Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, in the form of a themed land. While no specific plans or attractions were announced, construction on the new area was expected to begin by 2013. Disney also secured exclusive global theme parks rights to the Avatar franchise.[85] The expansion, named “Pandora—The World of Avatar”, opened May 27, 2017.[86]
Cape Hatteras Island offers a budget-friendly beach vacation, with a multitude of tranquil stretches of sand to relax on as well as the chance to enjoy more active pursuits like scuba diving, surfing, standup paddle boarding and fishing.
Independence Day celebrations in new cities can be great experiences, with parades, fireworks, and local food specialties. A festival in Palermo, Sicily, would be memorable as well, and street food is part of the attraction. The royal wedding buzz may still be in the air in London, and with warmer weather, it’s a perfect time to visit England’s capital.
Disney Security personnel in Florida have investigated traffic accidents and issued accident reports. The forms used by Disney Security may be confused with official, government forms by some.[citation needed]
“We decided to rent this cabin a week before 4th of July. It was our very first experience on TripAdvisor… The cabin is amazing. [It’s] very modern, clean, and full of any kind of supplies, from glasses to dishes, from a huge collection of music to a great collection of DVD, from towels to linens. EVERYTHING. Huge fire pit outside, amazing grill, summer shower to cool down. Amazing screened porch to spend the nights chatting with friends and laughing. ” — TripAdvisor Reviewer
*Unless otherwise noted, fares include ROUNDTRIP AIRFARE via U.S. certified air carrier, hotel transfers (in Mexico and the Caribbean), hotel tax, resort baggage handling, fuel surcharges and all pre-collected U.S. and foreign taxes and fees including September 11th Security Fee. Packages in Turks and Caicos or San Juan, Puerto Rico do not include airport transfers. Packages flying into Cancun but staying in Cozumel require supplemental ferry transfers at an additional cost. More details
^ Hill, Jim (April 3, 2011). “Keeping up with Disney’s “Kingdom Keepers” : Ridley Pearson talks about all the research that goes into this popular book series”. jimhillmedia.com. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
Today, Walt Disney World is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an average annual attendance of over 52 million.[3] The resort is the flagship destination of Disney’s worldwide corporate enterprise, and has become a popular staple in American culture.
We have 4 unique theme parks to explore. Consider how many days – Opens a dialog you’ll need to enjoy it all. Be sure your visit includes Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and our all-new Toy Story Land opening June 30, 2018!
A family-friendly Costa Rica trip offers jungles filled with chattering birds, monkeys and other wildlife, black sand beaches, waterfalls, hot springs and much more. Let the kids look for endangered green macaws or snorkel and surf. Zip-lining and rafting experiences are also available, along with hiking through the canopy walkways in Montverde Cloud Forest. Drift down the canals at Tortuguero National Park, known as a nesting spot for green sea turtles, leatherbacks and Hawksbill turtles (you’ll need a guide to explore the beaches at night, when the females usually arrive to lay eggs). 
As for terra firma, beautiful Atlantic beaches await, along with wildlife at the Canaveral National Seashore, a beautiful barrier island National Park. And even if you’re not shipping out for a cruise, you and your family can marvel at large luxurious ships from Grills Seafood Deck, a family-friendly and casual venue.
Claiming Collier County has a story too big for just one museum, they prove it with five separate and unique history museums in Florida. Learn about the Calusa and Seminole Indians, saber-toothed cats that once roamed the area, curious inventions, weird vehicles and early settlers who forged the foundation of southwest Florida. colliermuseums.com
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