You just can’t beat a trip to Orlando for a fun, action-packed week.
Forget taking the grandkids, hubbie and I recently persuaded a bunch of American pals in their 50s and 60s to holiday with us and what a great time we had.
As it was 1am when we arrived, our Yankee pals had already let themselves in and filled the fridges (yippee!).
This amazing villa was booked through The Top Villas who have the most incredibly lavish and comfortable villas I’ve ever seen in Florida.
Exhausted as we were, we couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear when we looked round. It was like a film set from Dallas!
With nine bedrooms (all with huge flat screen TV’s, massive King size plus beds, and en suites big enough to hold a ceilidh in), and 12 bathrooms, it sleeps 24.
As well as a fabulous heated swimming pool and hot tub there are cabanas, a cinema with leather recliners, gym, games room, golf putting green and private views over natural conservation area.
As a week starts at £4,828, if you fill it this works out at just £201 each a week. Talk about a bargain!
Reunion resort is five miles from all the main theme parks and is set in 2,300 acres of lush landscape.
It’s the only place in the US with golf courses designed by the greats, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson.
We divided our time between theme parks, shopping and a couple of the guys played golf.
Our first sojourn out was to Discovery Cove the No 1 amusement park in the world, according to Trip Advisor, for the second year in a row.
This all-inclusive tropical oasis is where you can swim with dolphins and encounter exotic animals.
The Discovery Cove Ultimate Package includes a day at Discovery Cove (with 30-minute dolphin swim experience, meals and drinks) as well as 14-day unlimited entry to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Aquatica, starts from £169 per person.
The vice president of Discovery Cove is Stewart Clark whose Scottish parents are avid Sunday Post readers and send him the Broons Book every year, as you can see from our picture together.
Next day was SeaWorld where the aquatic environment comes alive like nowhere else.
Climb aboard and ride the mighty Manta, a white-knuckle rollercoaster where you’re upside-down, side to side and at times I felt, almost inside out. Not for those with a heart condition!
Then you can experience the power and grace of killer whales in the awe-inspiring Shamu show, One Ocean.
And there’s nothing cooler than to see the world through the eyes of a penguin in the exciting adventure of Antarctica. Go for their “Close-up Experience” it’s worth every dime.
The SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens 3-Park Ticket offers 14 days unlimited entry and prices start from £95 per adult and £92 per child.
Walt Disney World complex still attracts 18.5 million visitors a year, but Mickey Mouse is under threat from a young British wizard.
Yep, you guessed it, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios is the current big noise.
Half of our American pals were huge Potter fans (the girlies), and for them this was the highlight of the trip.
Diagon Alley was launched summer 2014 and (even as a non-Potter fan, it really is jaw-dropping, a multisensory celebration of all things Hogwarts).
To travel between “London” and Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, you board the Hogwarts Express a wonderful steam train, just like the one in the movies.
The unforgettable journey features a tour through the British countryside, punctuated by encounters with magical creatures, characters from the Harry Potter series and even Dementors!
Once you reach King’s Cross Station you stroll through London passing through the iconic brick wall to see the wizarding hub of Diagon Alley unfold in front of you, before exploring the unique shops, restaurants and alleyways.
It’s completely authentic to the fiction as it was created in partnership with Warner Bros.
At the end of Diagon Alley, a 60-foot, fire-breathing dragon sits atop the towering entrance to Gringotts Bank, which houses the next generation, 3-D thrill ride (it’s fab), Harry Potter And The Escape From Gringotts.
This is an amazing revolutionary attraction that propels you into the pulse-pounding moment when Harry, Ron and Hermione break into Gringotts Bank the best ride in Orlando, as far as I’m concerned.
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