Travel

Disney Springs & Universal CityWalk welcomes guests!

Today marks an exciting day for fans of Disney and Universal because we are starting to see some movement towards reopening’s! Universal Orlando’s CityWalk opened several venues yesterday to guests with limited hours and Disney Springs opened some shops and dining today. Disney Springs will open some of the Disney owned stores and restaurants next Wednesday May 27th. Here are some things to expect with each opening.

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen located at Universal’s CityWalk.

Universal’s CityWalk has select dining open such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant and Market, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen and Voodoo Doughnut, just to name a few.  Guests will also be able to shop at the Universal Studios Store and have some fun at Hollywood Drive-In Golf. The venues that are opening will be open from 4pm-10pm at this time. Temperature checks will be required as will face coverings. For a complete list of restaurant and store openings as well as Universal CityWalk’s full safety measure listing, please check out their website at universalorlando.com.

Disney Springs opened some of the third-party owned stores and restaurants today such as Basin,  Pandora Jewelry, Pop Gallery, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Vera Bradly and more. Some of the restaurants open include Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, Boathouse, Earl of Sandwich, Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Co., Planet Hollywood, T-Rex, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill as well as several other places.  Next Wednesday, May 27th, Disney has announced that they will open some of their Disney owned places such as World of Disney and the Marketplace Co-Op as well as D-Luxe Burger.  There are 6 key things that Disney would like guests visiting to know before they come to Disney Springs at this time.

Garage entrance into Disney Springs
  1. Parking will be limited to the Orange and Lime garages; no surface area parking will be available. Once these garages are full you will not be admitted, this includes guests with dining reservations as Disney Springs will be considered at maximum capacity at that time. In addition to the limited parking, only four entrances will open; Orange garage entrance, Lime garage entrance, Hotel Plaza Boulevard Pedestrian Bridge entrance and the rideshare location entrance.
  2. Temperature screenings will take place at these entrances. No one with a temperature of 100.4 or high will be admitted (nor will anyone in their party).
  3. Face coverings are required for ages 3 and up.
  4. Physical distancing rules apply. Disney has placed some barriers and distancing queues around Disney Springs to help.
  5. There will be reduced hours and no scheduled entertainment during this time.
  6. Disney has increased their focus on cleaning and sanitizing including adding hand washing and hand sanitizing stations throughout Disney Springs.

As of this posting, there has not been any announcements for the opening of resort and parks at either Universal Orlando or Walt Disney World. Be sure to follow me here, as well as my travel pages on Instagram and Facebook, to stay up to date on the latest news!

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Travel

Exploring Ohio Amish Country

One of the many farms we passed along the country roads in Berlin, Ohio

Sometimes you need just a short trip out of town to relax and explore so I packed up the car with my kid and my parents and we headed off to Amish country. Most folks in the midwest know of several areas you can visit that offers a peek into the Amish lifestyle, my mom’s favorite is Berlin, Ohio so that was where we headed for short 3 day adventure. This is not a typical adventure that my daughter and I do, in fact we hadn’t been there in probably 9 years but I figured a few days for us both to unplug would be a good thing.

We stayed at the Berlin Grande hotel which was beautiful! The rooms were spacious and super clean, probably the cleanest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. With friendly staff, a salt water pool, hot tub, outside courtyard with plenty of seating to hang out and talk, plus a complimentary breakfast this hotel was more than worth the price. The added bonus is that you are walking distance to the Farmstead Restaurant, which was so good we ate there twice, and just a few short blocks from the main street in town with lots of shopping. Since it was over 90 degrees while we were there we drove to the main shopping area but it is absolutely walkable as well.

We were only there for one full day and two half days so there was a lot that we didn’t do but here were a few of our favorites. It’s not a trip to Berlin without a stop at Heini’s Cheese (even in a downpour). While you wander through their cheese section you get to try all of the yummy options, my hubby swears their Ghost Pepper Cheese is the best, my daughters favorite was the Pepperoni Cheese, or maybe the sharp Cheddar or was it the Butter Cheese…honestly she ended up loving a lot of them and she had so much fun trying them all. But don’t think they just have cheese, they have incredible homemade fudge that is so yummy we had to get some of that too.

After cheese shopping we were headed to Miller’s Bakery, which had my mom not been with me there is no way I would have found it on that back country road, to pick up donuts and bakery goods that are some of the best we ever tasted. Helpful hint, they almost always run out of powdered sugar donuts but you can call ahead to place an order and just let them know which day you will be there to pick them up. On the way back into town we passed a petting zoo so my animal obsessed daughter insisted we stop. She spent well over an hour wandering through and petting farm animals and holding bunnies. The area with the animals you could interact with was more than worth the cost of admission. She also wanted to ride the horse and when they say the horses are big, they are not exaggerating. She got to ride for a decent amount of time and had a lot of fun.

Overall, I think spending just a few days was the perfect amount of time unless you are a big shopper. In the past I had gone there to order a kitchen table, still in great shape after 9 years of abuse, but this trip was just to relax. There was more to do that we just didn’t have time but with having a kid that loves to be online it was just the right amount of time for her to “unplug” and get some swimming in. With that said, the hotel had free wi-fi and I only lost my phone signal once but we were way off the main path into some back roads and it was just in one spot. So even though we unplugged, we really didn’t have to it was just a choice we made. So head to Amish country, eat some incredible fresh food, do some shopping, enjoy the scenery and do some relaxing.