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Orlando may be known for its theme parks but at the heart of the city, you will find an amusement park filled with unique experiences and fun for the entire family called ICON Park.

The Wheel at ICON Park

It is hard to go anywhere in without passing The Wheel, a 400-foot Observation wheel that has become an iconic part of the city's skyline. Here guests can go on an 18-minute ride and see all the sites of central Florida from a birds-eye view. Views include that of Disney World, Universal Studios, Kennedy Space Center, Legoland, and much more! I could not get over how smooth this ride was! I have been on similar wheels before but the stabilization of each capsule never made me feel like I going in a circular motion. If you are concerned about COVID, each capsule only holds one party and is wiped down after each ride. The capsules are also equipped with a touch screen that helps you located the sites in all directions.

And if heights aren't your thing there is so much more to experience at ICON Park! Head to Madame Tussauds to pose with your favorite celebrities throughout time in wax form! You can pose with past Presidents like Lincoln, classic movie characters like Danny and Sandy from Grease, top athletes like Tiger Woods, and recording-breaking singers like Taylor Swift. There is also an entire area dedicated to DC superheroes which will leave you immersed in their stories and make you feel like you are part of the comics right there next to them.

The highlight for my kids was the SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium. Every room we entered left me in awe and I loved the design of this aquarium. It was so accessible for kids to view each tank and the theming for guests was over the top. There are several tunnels including a 360-degree one which puts you face to face with so many of these amazing creatures. I recommend visiting the aquarium first when ICON park opens because this attraction had the longest line all day long.

One of the newest additions to ICON Park is the Museum of Illusions. Here you will enter the world of optical illusions. As you walk through the exhibits there are games to play, mind-blowing tricks to your senses, and fun photo ops for the whole family throughout that will trick your brain over and over again! We could not stop laughing the entire time and I highly recommend visiting here while at ICON Park. Reservations are required and I recommend making them ahead of time for this attraction.

We didn't want the family fun to stop so next we headed over to the In the Game arcade. This area is filled with all different types of games, prizes, and virtual reality experiences. The highlight for my son and husband was the 7D Dark Ride experience.

And just when you think you have already had so much fun you can still jump on the Orlando StarFlyer which is the world's largest swing ride! Or if there are little ones in your group you can ride the Pearl Express Train and take a more "ground" tour of ICON Park!

ICON park is also home to 40+ restaurants and shops. There are so many different types of snacks and cuisine offered that you will not go hungry and even the pickiest eater in your group will be happy!

To experience ICON Park to the fullest, I recommend getting the Park Play pass which gets you into all 8 attractions. This pass also includes discounts to participating shops and restaurants and allows you to skip all ticket lines! If you are looking for a different way to experience Orlando or a one-stop place for family fun I highly recommend checking out ICON Park!

If you are looking for an affordable hotel that's near Disney but want more than just a place to sleep look no further, the Melia Orlando Celebration is your answer! The Melia Orlando is a Good Neighbor Disney hotel located 10-15 minutes away from the parks. It has everything a resort would offer but the prices of a value hotel.

When you enter the lobby you are met with modern decor with a touch of farmhouse vibes. There is a grab and go in the lobby that will meet your needs if you are running out the door for a day of activities! This convenience is perfect for any park bound guest!

One of the major advantages of this hotel is the rooms. Other than the rooms for 2 people all of the other rooms for 2+ have a small kitchen and table. The kitchen includes a refrigerator, a dishwasher, a stovetop, a coffee maker, and a toaster oven. It has everything you would need to bring some of the amenities of home with you on a vacation! Not to mention, these offerings could help save money but making meals and snacks in the room! We also love the kitchen table in the rooms so we can eat together easily whether we cook, do take out or order room service.

The highlight of your stay at Melia will definitely be the pool which is found in the center, surrounded by the entire hotel. This is honestly one of my kid's favorite pools in the Orlando area. There are multiple entry points including a zero-entry side. You can find both basketball and volleyball in the pool and if that's not enough to keep you busy there are tons of games poolside! There is minigolf, Foose ball, ping pong, a giant connect 4 and cornhole. There is no way your kid can get bored at this pool!

If you are hungry the 360 American Bistro is located right next to the pool with an indoor entrance off the lobby. The food is delicious here and what I love about this restaurant is the options it offers. You can sit down for table service, take the food to go to eat in your room or by the pool, or order room service and have it delivered! They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

As a Disney good neighbor hotel, the Melia also offers transportation to the parks for no additional costs to guests. We started staying at the Melia two years ago and consider this place a gem in Celebration. I love that we can stay so close to Disney for a very affordable price and enjoy the amenities of a resort at the same time! I highly recommend this hotel if you are looking for a great place to stay in the Orlando area! If you are interested in booking use code 609230GEN for up to 50% off your stay!

Spring is slowly creeping in the air and when I was brainstorming a wreath for my front door for St. Patrick's Day I knew I wanted to incorporate spring elements. If you follow me you know I love a more simplistic style so I decided to go with a hoop wreath.

The supplies needed for this wreath are simple and open-ended. Just use my wreath as a guide to get your creative energy flowing! There is no right or wrong way to this wreath.

Here are the supplies:

  1. Gold colored yarn (I found mustard to be the best match)

  2. Clover greenery (I used 2)

  3. Greenery (here are two examples; green bush with berries and boxwoods)

  4. Floral wire

First, arrange the greenery on the wreath and secure it with wire. Cut additional flowers and clovers and add them throughout with greens.

Next, make the pom-poms. If you are unfimilar with making these click here for instructions. I used a 3-inch wide cardboard for the Mickey and Minnie heads and a larger serving fork for ears. Hot glue the ears to the heads.

I used the Ashland Shamrock spray to make the Minnie bow and Mickey hat. I hot glued the pieces to the pom-poms. Attach them to the wreath with a hot glue gun or the wire. I used wire and feed it through the pom pom to attach them.

Add ribbon on top of the hoop wreath to hang and enjoy your Disney-inspired St. Patty's Day wreath! Follow along @mickeybarmama for more everyday Disney inspiration!

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