A Travellerspoint blog

The Theme Park Capital of the World

Orlando, Florida, USA; 28.4752° N, 81.4670° W

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A great quote at one of the theme parks

After saying goodbye to our family back in New Jersey and our parents, my sister and I took the plane. As for my parents, they will be staying another night before heading home. They're having their own little road trip back from New Jersey, going through Albany to Syracuse, then Rochester and finally back to Mississauga.

Since we only got to Orlando today, we decided that we won't go to the theme parks yet. Although we've had quite a relaxing day yesterday, today we are doing the same. Since we have been to Orlando with the family before, we know that there is a lot of walking and that it can be extremely hot. We will be staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton for the next two days.

SeaWorld Orlando, a great time

We went to SeaWorld; it was a great way of relaxing as we got to watch some shows with the killerwhales, dolphins, and seals doing tricks, etc. It was pretty cool. The equivalent to that is Marineland in Niagara Falls, Canada. But, SeaWorld was a bit different in a sense that it was a lot bigger and there's a lot more to do and see, not to mention the absolutely amazing shows.

Universal Studios Theme Park

We are only staying two days here as we have been to the Disney World theme parks before; Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and the waterparks before. However, we never got the chance to go to Universal Studios and my parents are not about going on rollercoasters, etc, which is another reason why we picked this destination. We each bought a 2-Day Universal Studios park hopper pass with the meal deal, so that we don't have to worry about having to find somewhere to get food.

Universal Studios has two theme parks, Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. After spending one day at Universal Studios, I realize that it is more teen-friendly, compared to DisneyWorld's theme parks, where I find it more kid-friendly. But either way, when going to both of them, I felt like a seven year old once again.

Photoset of our time at the Wizarding World

The first thing we did when we got in the park was that we went straight up to Hogwarts, or The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My sister and I grew up watching and reading Harry Potter, so we are really big fans of it. We bought a few of the Harry Potter souvenirs, mostly some from the Gryffindor house though, since it's our favorite and describes us more. We also got the chance to drink some butterbeer like in the movie and see the castle, the Hogwarts Express, etc, even if it wasn't the real thing. It still felt like being in the movie or being on set.

The theme park map and our ticket

The rest of our first day was spent around Universal Studios. We got the fast pass ticket so that we wouldn't have to wait in line much to go on the rides. We were glad, or else it would have been a buzzkill, seeing the amount of people there were. We tried to get as much done around the park, even if we had the park hopper.

On the second day, we went to Islands of Adventure and it took us more or less 3/4 of the day to finish touring the whole park, so we went back to the other park afterwards. We also went for a late night swim at the hotel, since we didn't really get to enjoy the hotel much. Then we packed our things, because tomorrow morning we are leaving for an early flight to Tampa!

Posted by ZK_15 19:01 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Garden State

Hoboken, New Jersey; 40.7439° N, 74.0328° W

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Welcome sign as we arrive in the state of New Jersey

The thing about travelling around the world or half the world is that it is not really a vacation; it is more like an adventure. So, today we decided to sleep in at our family’s house in New Jersey, instead of waking up early like our usual routine.

We want it to be different today, because it is really tiring to just be on the move every day, so it’s sort of like a relaxing day for us today. Also, since my parents and our little group is not the same age as my sister and I, they are more tired than us. We don’t want it to be too much for them.

New Jersey is also our last destination, before my parents leave us and take the car back to Mississauga. As for my sister and I, we are staying in New Jersey for one more day, before flying to Orlando, where the sister adventures only will begin. After today, we are pretty much on our own, since my parents have to get back to work. But fortunately, we have family in other parts of the world as well, so we won’t be as lonely and it is also why we picked some of the destinations that we chose.

A very tasty bakery

We had breakfast at Carlo’s Bake Shop, a family bakery of high quality located in Hoboken, New Jersey, the birthplace of Frank Sinatra and baseball. Carlo's bakery, originally known as Carlo's City Hall Bake Shop is also the location where the famous TV show Cake Boss was filmed.

After a 1 1/2 hour drive, we then went to New Jersey's largest mall, Jersey Gardens Mall for some shopping. There were many brand names and a lot of shops to choose from. We also wanted to go to The Piers Shops at Caesars, but it was quite far; about 2 1/2 hour drive more.

The rest of our day in New Jersey, we just spent most of the time together, having a picnic in the local area park, staying at my cousins' house and playing with the little kids, etc.

View of New Jersey

Posted by ZK_15 20:46 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The City That Never Sleeps

New York City, New York, USA; 40.7142° N, 74.0064° W

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An afternoon well spent in New York City, what's another way of spending a better time shopping? It didn't take us as much time as we had expected to get from Boston to here; only 3 hours.

We called our family in New Jersey and they said that tomorrow they'll be meeting up with us to give us a tour of the city, so for the rest of the day today, we are just going to spend some time shopping and for tonight, we got tickets to watch Cinderella on Broadway.

Broadway is a very famous landmark. They have award winning shows and many musicals, etc. We chose Cinderella, since we love Disney.

View of New York City

We also went on a helicopter tour of New York City and the views were absolutely beautiful.

View of the city from our helicopter tour

New York has five boroughs; Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan and Queens. Our hotel for the night is in Brooklyn, the borough with the second largest population. We will be staying at Sheraton, since we found a good deal of 139$/per night, including breakfast.

We heard that there's good shopping on Canal St and to never buy any perfume from New York. So, we just shopped around everywhere and tried to get to know the city a bit. We had dinner at Tom's diner, in Manhattan. It is a very famous restaurant, for the Seinfeld TV series and it has been around since the 1940's.

After watching the amazing show on Broadway, we walked around in Times Square, since it was so lively, even if it was like 11:30 pm.

After our breakfast buffet, we used the Grand Central Station and left our car at the hotel, to avoid paying the parking around. Also, New York City is really busy so it is quite hard to find a good spot. The parking spots on the street only have a limited time before you need to add more money in as well.

Amazing view of the bridge and of one part of the city

We met up with our family members, and they brought us to take the ferry to go to the Statue of Liberty, which was one of the gifts given by France and it is the symbol of political symbol.

We couldn't actually go in to visit the inside, since we had to do some paperworks a few months earlier if we wanted to. Instead, we just took pictures and then headed to Central Park. Although it is a very big park with a zoo and everything, we didn't get to go around everywhere. We then went for lunch at 2 Bros Pizza and it was absolutely delicious.

We then got the chance to go to the UN Headquarters, home of the international organization and one of the most visited. My dad is part of the United Nations and he always wanted me to be part of it too.

Great capture of one part of New York City

We also visited the Rockefeller Centre, the Empire State Building, the American Museum of National History and Madison Square Garden.

There is so many things to see in New York, but unfortunately we didn't have enough time to do everything and we had to keep going. Before heading to New Jersey, we stopped by Baked by Melissa, for some amazing cupcakes for the road.

One of the rarest event and the thing that really amazed me when we were in Manhattan was that we got lucky. The Manhattan Solstice occurred. Since it only happens twice a year, I was pretty surprised. It also looked really cool, because the sun aligned with the east-west streets.

We got in New Jersey quite late at night, but it wasn't actually too far from New York City, only about 1-1/2 hour.

Photoset of the places we went to in New York City

Posted by ZK_15 14:55 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Walking City

Boston, Massachusetts; 42.3583° N, 71.0603° W

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Harvard University

It took us only 3 1/2 hour to get to Cambridge, Massachusetts. We spent our time visiting the two famous universities; Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). It took us about 3 hours of walking to finish our tour. We then had lunch at the Warren Tavern, a restaurant near Harvard Square. We walked around and shopped for some souvenirs at the Harvard shop. There was also a Curious George store, which kind of got us curious, so we went in that too. We then drove about 20 minutes before getting to Boston, where we will be staying.

What I love about Boston is that it's lovely and everything is close to each other. There is no need to drive around all the time, since it is much more convenient and time-consuming to walk around instead, and I guess that's why it's also known as the Walking City.

Other people on the Segway Tours with us

But that being said, something very unique that they have in this city, is that there's an option to tour the city by Segway. So that's what we did. There wasn't anywhere to park it though. We only had it for 1 hour as well, so we only had so much time. It was pretty cool, since it was my first time doing this and I've only seen it in movies like Mall Cop.

The Quincy Market from Faneuil Hall

After our Segway tour, we went to Fanueil Hall, where we started the historic walking tour, also known as the "Freedom Trail". Then, we came back to Quincy Market for lunch, and it was packed. There was a variety of food to choose from. We decided to get some sushi and it quite tasty.

The leafy sea horse blew me away

After relaxing a bit, we walked a few minutes until we got to the New England Aquarium. We saw different things, and one of the animals that really interested me was the leafy sea horse, because I had never in my life seen such a thing. It was pretty cool.

It was quite tiring because we walked so much, so we went to the harbor and sat on the grass by the water. It was right across the Boston Harbor Marriott Hotel, where there was two weddings going on. Near the Boston Harbor, there's a public paying washroom. It is quite odd to me, since they not only require money to be able to use it, but after a certain time, the doors open, even if the person inside is not done. Quite embarrassing and weird.

Boston from our Sunset Cruise

To finish off our tiring day, we took a relaxing 1 1/2 hour cruise, called the "Boston Sunset Cruise". We got a deal online, so we paid 2 tickets for the price of one.

A great view of the TD Garden

It was somewhat windy, but the boat ride was amazing, especially since we got a great view of the sea and of Boston. We also got to see the USS Constitution and some of the other famous sights.

Waited in line for about 30-45 minutes for this, definitely worth it!

On our second day in Boston, we stopped for some treats at Mike's Pastry, because we saw a lot of people walking around with the box and we heard that it is really tasty. Surprisingly, when we got there, the line to get inside the shop was blocking the entrance to at least 4 restaurants, so it was quite a wait and there was a long queue! We then went to Boston Common; the public park, where we took a swan boat ride.

One of the best seafood restaurants I ever tried!

We went for lunch at Legal Sea Foods, because how can we come to Boston and not have seafood? We ordered three plates of different types of seafood and ordered some tea too; fortunately it wasn't the tea from the Boston Tea Party!

We then continued on our road trip. Next stop, the Empire State!

Posted by ZK_15 13:44 Archived in USA Tagged travel adventure discover Comments (0)

The Green Mountain State

Chittenden, Vermont, USA; 43.7078° N, 72.9482° W

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When we got back to Montreal from Quebec last night, we stayed over one more night, because it was too late to leave for our next destination anyway and we were tired.

This morning though, we packed at around 7 am and ate breakfast at the Bonaventure Metro Station, which was connected to the hotel. We then hit the road.

Our drive in Vermont

It took us about 3 1/2 hour to get from Montreal to Chittenden, Vermont. We didn't stop at all. The scenery that we passed by on the road was amazing. I now understand why Vermont is known as the "Green Mountain State." There are mountains everywhere and if you are someone who loves nature, that's all there is all around on the road.

We decided to make Vermont a stop for our road trip, since we just wanted to relax, enjoy the scenery and experience a day staying at a resort on the mountains.

Visiting the farm

On our way to the Mountain Top Inn Resort, our home for the night, we stopped at Bragg farm and at the teddy bear factory/museum, which I found very interesting and cool, because it is quite rare to find a teddy bear museum.

Since Vermont is quite mountainous, it is pretty popular during the winter for ski or snowboarding, but during the summer, all of the colors of the different trees, all the grass and everything just makes it even more beautiful. So either way, going during the winter or the summer makes it both quite worthwhile, because during all seasons the state has its beauty. The best thing to do is basically just driving around and enjoying the views or going to take a hike.

We also went to visit the marble museum, which was another great landmark and also very rare too. Finally, before heading to our resort, we stopped at the Chocolatorium.

The Mountain Top Resort Inn

When we got to the resort, the view was breathtaking. Also, the resort offers many activities, so the next day, we enjoyed those and relaxed some more. We were able to go clay bird shooting, fly fishing,and horseback riding.

And another view of the Mountain Top Resort Inn

Before heading to Cambridge, we stopped at the Ben and Jerry's factory for a tour and to get some ice cream of course!

The Ben and Jerry's Factory!

I was shocked to learn that Ben & Jerry's was started from a renovated gas station. Now, it is a huge success worldwide and it's pretty amazing. When we tried the ice cream at the factory, it tasted even better than what we usually have and it was great.

Posted by ZK_15 13:28 Archived in USA Tagged adventure Comments (0)

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