Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Seen it all in Orlando? Think again!

Have you been to Orlando lately? Even if you have, you might want to take a second look as Orlando continues to expand its offerings for tourists of all ages!

So what else is there to do besides the "big three" theme parks (Disney, Universal, and Seaworld)? Lots, and many of them are right along the major tourism road International Drive! You probably already know about some of them, like Legoland and the Orange County Convention Center, but here are a few that are either opening soon or have just recently opened:

-  Orlando Eye: Yep, just like London, Orlando is getting an "Eye"! It will be a whopping 400 feet tall, making it the tallest observation wheel in the Eastern U.S. The compartments will be air-conditioned and able to hold up to 15 passengers. Before you board, you'll be able to attend a 4D theater experience showcasing Florida landmarks.
- The StarFlyer: Want to have a different viewing experience that keeps you out in the open? The StarFlyer will be a 420-foot swing, the tallest StarFlyer in the world! It's like your favorite carnival ride, just much much taller.
- The Skyscraper: 420 feet isn't tall enough for you? How about a 570-foot roller coaster? The Skyscraper is being described as the world's tallest roller coaster, climbing up past 50 stories and then plummeting at speeds up to 65 miles per hour - yipes! There will be an observation deck for those of you like me who'd rather just allow their loved ones to ride, along with several other ride options in an indoor theme park called the Sky-Plex.
- Madame Tussauds: The world-famous wax museum is setting up a new shop in Orlando, and just like its sisters and brothers around the world, it's sure to be amazing! Never been to one? Check out this quick video I made at the Madame Tussauds in Vegas:

- Sea Life Aquarium: Great for young visitors, this educational Aquarium will feature more than 5,000 sea creatures throughout numerous types of displays, including 180-degree underwater tunnels.
- I-Drive Nascar: This attraction opened in December 2014 and is THE place to go for indoor karting, with electric karts that can go up to 45 miles per hour. There is also bowling and an arcade available for those who don't like to kart.
- Escapeology: Another attraction that opened in December, this themed attraction involves teams of 2 to 5 who must work together to find clues and solve puzzles that allow them to escape a room within 60 minutes. If you love puzzles, crime shows, or just want to do some family bonding, this is a great option for you! Fall in love but run out of themes? Travel to nearby Winter Park (just outside of Orlando) and visit It's A Trap, which hosts similar games but with a more video-game theme.
- Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts: Catch a show and rest your feet after a long day at one of the theme parks at this new community space taking up a full two city blocks.

So, next time you visit Orlando, make sure to ask your travel agent to add on one of these amazing new attractions and add some extra flair to your trip! Don't have a travel agent? We're always happy to take on new clients at Operation Relax! Visit us online at and start planning your next vacation.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why I'm So Excited About the Quantum of the Seas (and her sister ship, the Anthem)

As a travel agent, I see a lot of cool and exciting places and ships. But none of them has excited me as much as the arrival of Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas!

Ever since the ship was announced a couple of years ago, I've eagerly gobbled up every tidbit of information, each mock design, and all videos discussing what was happening with the build and release.

Then to top that off - they picked none other than Kristin Chenowith to be the Godmother of the ship! :)

So what is it about the Quantum of the Seas (and her identical sister Anthem of the Seas, which will debut in November) that has this travel agent in a tizzy?

1) The Quantum of the Seas is the world's first "smart" ship! It's chock full of technology, from the fastest internet at sea to the Royal IQ app (where you can book dinner reservations, spa appointments, and excursions) to faster boarding by pre-uploading your passport and information to ... wait for it... ROBOTIC BARTENDERS!!! Yep, you can get your favorite shaken and stirred beverage from a cool futuristic robot-thingy.

2) The Quantum of the Seas has SOOOO MUCH TO DO! Sure, it has the features that many of the newer Royal Caribbean ships have, such as a climbing wall and the Flow Rider surf simulator. But now there's also the North Star, which is this orb that rotates out over the ocean with amazing views; the RipCord, an indoor sky diving simulator; and bumper cars - and a slew of other activities within the same area, including skating in a roller skating rink, and a circus training school with a trapeze. There's so many great choices for people of all ages and skill levels.

3) The Quantum of the Seas brings Broadway to the sea! Ok ok, so Royal Caribbean already offers that on other ships, but it will be awesome in the new theater But one offering that the Quantum will have that is new is the Earth Harp, which is the coolest thing to see but impossible to describe. However, I found a video that should help.

4) The Quantum of the Seas has Dynamic Dining - no giant main dining room! Instead, there are four smaller themed dining areas that are still free of charge. There are still restaurants that charge a fee, but you are no longer confined to one area to eat.

5) The Quantum of the Seas is chock full of the best rooms - balconies! In fact, 90 percent of the ship features balconies. And of the rooms that don't have a "real" balcony, many of them have "virtual" balconies - video screens live streaming the ocean that make you feel like you have a floor to ceiling window!

Can you blame me for being excited to get to experience this ship in April?!? It's going to be great! Just a heads up - the Quantum is leaving the US for Asia in May, so if you miss the chance to sail on her you'll have to wait for the Anthem to arrive in November.