Out and About: Universal Orlando Celebrates Holidays with Macy’s Parade and Grinchmas

Universal Orlando Celebrates Holidays with Macy's Parade  - photo by Carol Garreans

The holidays at Universal Orlando are full of wonder and magic. Macy’s brings a few balloons from their legendary Thanksgiving Parade to Universal Studios Florida for a mini-parade that makes me want to go to NYC to see the whole thing! It’s amazing to watch as these gigantic balloons are maneuvered down the street in the park. I think I was just as excited as the kids were.

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Out and About: Disney on Ice Follow Your Heart is Fun for the Whole Family!

Disney on Ice Follow Your Heart

Follow Your Heart” is the name of this year’s Disney On Ice tour, and it was very well put together, plus a lot of fun for the family.

It’s not a Disney show without the core characters of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy, and they not only started the show, but appeared in other portions as well.

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Out and About: House of Pho Opens in Orlando

House of Pho Opens in Orlando

We have eagerly been awaiting the opening of the House of Pho (pronounced fa) on John Young Pkwy at Sand Lake Rd. Well, at last, they are open!!

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, and at House of Pho, there is a beef version and chicken version. They are working on a vegetarian option, but haven’t perfected it yet. We love pho. It comes with broth and noodles, red and green onion and then you add things to make it your own. I add Hoisin sauce, culantro, a little bit of fish sauce, and bean sprouts. The kids add soy sauce too. My husband adds Sriracha in addition to everything else. We love it as what starts out the same, is personalized in a short amount of time.

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Out and About: A Dining Review of Pincho Factory in Dr Phillips

My husband, Kirk, grew up in South America. As a result, we eat a conglomeration of food styles. When we heard of a new place opening in Dr Phillips, we had to try it.

The Pincho Factory Dr Phillips - kitchen

The Pincho Factory offers pinchos (meat on a stick) as well as burgers and other sandwiches. The pinchos come as steak, shrimp, or chicken.

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Out and About: Silver Spurs Rodeo is Fun for the Family

On Friday night (Feb 19), I took my kids to the Silver Spurs Rodeo at the Silver Spurs Arena at Osceola Heritage Park. This is a great family event and I do recommend getting there earlier, rather than later. It was a nearly sold out event on Friday.

2016 Silver Spurs Rodeo - Rodeo Queens

Cowboy / cowgirl clothing is not required, but if you need to add some to your wardrobe, there are vendors there selling hats, belts and buckles, among other things.

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Out and About: Osceola County Fair is a Fun Family Outing

This weekend, I took my family to the Osceola County Fair on Saturday. We choose to go to this fair as it is very reminiscent of the county fair from way back when I was a kid – it’s even the same company that provides the rides.

Osceola County Fair at night - photo by Carol Garreans

We have gone every year for the past 8 years, but this year we did notice a couple changes. Gone are the bigger roller coaster and the Tilt-a-Whirl. The latter is a disappointment for us, as it’s my daughters favorite. Thankfully, there is a similar ride in its place that both kids had to ride twice.

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Out and About: Monster Jam is Exciting Family Fun and It’s Coming to Orlando Jan 23

Monster Jam hit Tampa this weekend and we were invited to check it out. This time, however, my husband was able to come along for the first time. He has never been to an event. And our daughter always says that she doesn’t want to go, but she does and she always has a good time.

Going airborne during fireworks at Monster Jam in Tampa Jan 16 2016 by Kirk Garreans

We were a bit concerned about rain, but thankfully it waited until after the show to rain. This was the first time I have had to deal with the disabled access processes at Raymond James. Everyone was helpful and accommodating when there is no way around the building inside the gates for a person in a wheelchair.

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Out and About: Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Fun for Families

This weekend, my family and I were invited to opening day of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater‘s production of The Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens.

Orlando Shakespeare Theater's production of The Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens/Photo by Carol Garreans

If you have kids and have read the Magic Tree House books, you remember Jack and Annie, along with the tree house and how it magically travels through time with help from Morgan La Fey, the magical librarian of Camelot.

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Out and About: AIMExpo 2015 Delivers Fun With Motorcycles and ATVs

The 2015 AIMExpo happened this past weekend Oct 15 – 18th at the Orange County Convention Center. This is a trade show for motorcycle industry people, but it’s open to the public on the  17th and 18th.

AIMExpo 2015 - motorcycle wheelie

At the public portion of the event, you can get up close and personal with motorcycles of every make and model. If you are in the market for a new bike, this is a good show to be at. There are lots of accessory vendors, too. Everything from music speaker systems for ATV’s, Jeeps, etc. to clothing.

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Out and About: Jimmy Hula’s in Hunters Creek Offers Beach Shack Food and Experience

While we were running errands in Hunter’s Creek, we decided to try Jimmy Hula’s Restaurant for a late lunch. The brand has several Central Florida locations, and the atmosphere is very casual. They have tables with reclaimed car bench seats as well as chairs, and the overall vibe is that of a surf shack on the beach. This is kind of cool, in a kitschy way.

Jimmy Hula’s Restaurant

The menu has several burger options and sides, as well as a variety of tacos, sandwiches and appetizers. When you walk in the front door, you order at the counter, and they give you a number in order to bring the food to you.

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Out and About: Jeremiah’s Italian Ice in Hunter Creek

Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, a fun shaved ice/ soft serve ice cream place, recently opened a location in Hunter’s Creek, so we went to check it out.

Jeremiah's Italian Ice

It is a walk up, order at the window type of place. We first tried it on their Grand Opening. It was very loud, and very busy. We had to try the gelato as that is what they are known for. Their version of gelato is a combination of the shave ice and soft serve, and it’s served in a cup. There are so many possible combinations, it’s hard to decide. Some options are fruity flavored and very refreshing on hot days here in Central Florida. Other options are very indulgent and good for when you are in the mood.

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Out and About: Maker Faire Orlando 2015 Was Fun and Educational for All Ages

As annual Orlando Science Center passholders, my family and I look forward to Maker Faire every year, but this year’s event was a bit of a tiring experience from us, but with no fault from the actual event.

Maker Faire Orlando 2015

I can say that we missed a lot of activities due to homework projects and kids being kids, not in a good way. But we did make it to the Science Center along with lots of other people.

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Out and About: Grand Opening of Pizza Mia Ristorante on S. Orange Blossom Trail

My family and I happened upon a new restaurant called Pizza Mia Ristorante that opened today (July 6), so we decided to give it a try.

Pizza Mia Ristorante pizza by the slice

Pizza Mia Ristorante is located at 12640 S Orange Blossom Trail, near South Chase. This place has a family history about it. The owner’s father, and Uncle have pizza places in the New York City area, and this is the first location in Florida.

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Out and About: Previewing the New Crayola Experience at the Florida Mall in Orlando

Today (July 1), the new Crayola Experience opens at the Florida Mall in Orlando, to entertain families. Yesterday, my family and I had a chance to preview the Crayola Experience during a media event.

Crayola Experience opens at the Florida Mall - crayola crayons by Kirk Garreans

I was unsure what to expect as this is a new experience in Orlando. The original Crayola Experience, however, has been open for over 18 years in Easton, Pennsylvania, and this Orlando location marks their second location. So we went with an open mind, as well as a lot of excitement. Who doesn’t love Crayola, right?

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Out and About: Taking the Family to See Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s Production of The Frog and the Princess

Last Sunday the family and I attended a Father’s Day matinee performance of The Frog and the Princess by the Orlando Shakespeare Theater company. Not just a play, it required audience participation, which made it all the more fun.

The Frog and the Princess by the Orlando Shakespeare Theater

You know the Brothers Grimm story: Prince likes Princess but is turned into a frog, frog must win Princesses heart and be kissed to become human again… blah, blah bah. But this production of the classic fable has a twist. Since I am not into giving away spoilers, you must go see this show to see what happens, but it updates the tale nicely.

The Frog and the Princess by the Orlando Shakespeare Theater
My husband Kirk as one of the princes at The Frog and the Princess by the Orlando Shakespeare Theater

The show is only about an hour long, so it’s easy to sit through, even for our seven-year-old. It’s in a smaller more intimate theatre, which adds to the fun.

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