When we decided to visit to Orlando for three days, we didn’t have any firm plans outside of a few days at Disney World. Despite being professional travelers, we don’t often have much time to plan travel details ahead of time. We typically use guide books and websites like Tripadvisor and Yelp, but often we wish we had information about great attractions, restaurants etc. that others don’t have.
Then we discovered a website called Arrivedo. You know how when you ask a hotel concierge for recommendations, you always get good advice? Well, Arrivedo takes that concept and builds on it in a very useful way. The articles are written by travelers who have stayed at the hotels and who have talked to hotel staff to get all their local knowledge. The traveler then shares their experiences with us. Genius!
We searched their website for Orlando and found a ton of articles, ranging from where to eat, where to get essentials (groceries, etc), non-theme park ideas, places for coffee, and much more. We liked the concept of getting tips from insiders, so we gave it a shot. Here’s how it went:
The Best Eateries around Lake Bueno Vista article recommended Chevys Fresh Mex, a Mexican restaurant not far from our hotel. We LOVE Mexican food and were eager to give it a try. We had plans to go to Magic Kingdom the next day and wanted the kids in bed early, so we showed up quite early for dinner, around 4:30pm. It was really nice inside and we got a large booth in a section all to ourselves. The server gave us an enormous amount of complimentary tortillas and salsa to munch on while we waited for our food. We didn’t have to wait long as our food was prepared quickly and was served fresh and piping hot. Having recently spent a month in Mexico, we know what good Mexican tastes like, and this was it. Our meals were amazing – what a great way to start the Orlando leg of our holiday!
We had a day off in-between theme parks so we wanted to do something a little different. The Exploring Central Florida article mentioned a charming small town called Celebration, Florida which wasn’t far from our hotel, so we decided to stop by for a visit.
Celebration is a very charming little town with large trees overhanging the streets. We love nature, so we couldn’t resist walking along the canal which runs along the middle of Water Street. The kids had fun looking at ducks and picking up exotic caterpillars. Afterwards, we took a slow stroll down Market Street looking at all the fun shops, restaurants and tasty treats for sale.
The main reason we chose to visit Celebration was that the Arrivedo article mentioned there were some good walking trails in the area, so we headed to the lake and saw that there was a trail all the way around. The kids noticed a little splash fountain to the left, so that’s the direction we chose to go. Along the way, we noticed an alligator looking up at us from the lake. Our daughter loves wildlife, so she was very excited and wanted to stay a while. Meanwhile, our little guy charged ahead to the splash fountain. As all two year olds do, he ignored our request to not get his clothes wet and ended up getting drenched! Shortly his sister joined him and they were having so much fun, we nixed the walk and just let them stay and play until it was time for his nap.
The Exploring Central Florida article recommended the Disney Springs entertainment complex and we thought it might be a fun place to take the kids for dinner. We had a goal of finding a fun restaurant for our little guy to offset the fact his sister is getting a special breakfast with Cinderella at Magic Kingdom. Disney Springs has a dinosaur themed restaurant called the T-Rex Cafe, which we knew our son would love. It was exactly what we were looking for; a big, over-the-top restaurant with lots of animatronic dinosaurs, loud sound effects and good food. Our son is still pretty little (almost three), so he was a little unsure at first, but he quickly got used to it and had a really fun time.
On our way out, we stopped for a special treat at Sprinkles, a gourmet cupcake shop not far from T-Rex. We got three cupcakes to split between the four of us: chocolate marshmallow, s’mores and salted caramel. It was impossible to decide which was best, they were all so good!
You know how after three straight days of eating out three meals a day, you don’t really feel like eating out at all? We were humming and hawing about where to go for dinner after our second day at Magic Kingdom, when I remembered the Best Eateries around Lake Bueno Vista article recommended a Cuban place called Sofrito Latin Café. We figured this was a great opportunity to get some excellent food which wasn’t deep fried or too filling, and we were right.
Sofrito Latin Café is a nice, low key Cuban fusion café. You place your order at the counter and they deliver the food to your table. After a full day in 90 degree plus weather at Disney, we appreciated the large jug of self-serve water; between the four of us, we must have drank half the jug! Our food was excellent and brought back great culinary memories from our earlier trips to Cuba and Venezuela.
You know how trips are always so much better when you get advice from a local? This is how it felt as we used the recommendations from the Arrivedo articles. The restaurants were perfect for us and our kids, while our trip to Celebration was so much fun. We’ll be sure to check back for more great tips on all our upcoming trips!
Heading to Orlando? Check out the full list of recommendations by Hyatt Hotel in Arrivedo here.
Arrivedo transforms recommendations from locals, writers and guests into Neighborhood Guides for hotels around the world, helping hotel guests experience unique local recommendations.
This post was sponsored by Arrivedo. The opinions within are completely our own based on our family travel experiences.
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