Feeling the tropics in Miami, Florida

To celebrate our anniversary, we decided to explore the world-renowned Miami in Florida. At first, I had doubts with the place being child friendly since Miami is often synonymous to partying, and millennials getting wasted. Lol. But then as I was reading travel websites, Miami can also be fun for families with kids in tow! We wanted to see how Miami Beach compare to our beaches in the Philippines.

We got a beach front hotel as we want to have a full day and walking access to the beach. We chose the Mid Beach- from reading reviews, it’s not too crowded and it’s great if you just want to relax with kids in tow. South Beach is where the party and night life happens so we skipped it. Miami Beach is divided into three namely- North Beach, Mid Beach and the South Beach, all three share the same shore but walking from Mid to South Beach is about an hour away. As you can imagine, Miami Beach is a very long stretch of white sandy shore and it is an island separate from downtown Miami. What connects it the mainland Miami are well built bridges.

So from New York, we took the plane from La Guardia Airport to Miami International Airport. The flight was 3 hours and was comfortable.

We saw this from the plane which looked like they were building new roads out of the ocean.

Then we booked an Uber to our hotel in Miami Beach.

We booked the Holiday Inn- Oceanfront thru booking.com. It was the cheapest among the other beachfront hotels in Mid Beach. A bit above our budget but the beach access was worth it. It was a 20 minute drive from the airport to Miami.

Holiday Inn Oceanfront.

The hotel’s swimming pool

Beach Access. We really loved how the beach is accessible to the hotel. The hotels placed beach chairs and umbrellas for use for their guests. There is a concierge by the beach for each hotel. One can also order drinks from the hotel’s bar and have it sent it you on the beach. Such fun under the sun!

Collins Avenue- This vibrant beach walk connects the beach to the hotels. You can see a lot of people walking, biking and it is lined with palm trees. The scenery gives you that tropic vibe we don’t see often in North America.

The second day, we decided to have breakfast in South Beach, do some strolling, head to Little Havana and availed the sightseeing cruise on the nearby islands in Miami.

We got an uber to take us to Front Porch Cafe in South Beach- it was a 10 minute ride.

Breakfast in Front Porch Cafe in South Beach.

We strolled along Art Deco in South Beach and had a little peak of the beach.

South Beach is what’s synonymous to Miami. Mostly photos of Miami is from the South Beach. I could only imagine how it is during the night time. If Mid Beach has Collins Ave, South Beach has Ocean Drive.

Right after our quick stroll in South Beach, we took Uber to downtown Miami in Little Havana.

Coming here was like coming home, we see the houses were built just like our houses in the Philippines. one, two- storey houses with low gates and palm trees.

Little Havana has very rich history. It is home to many Cubans in Miami that emerged during the 1960’s. Little Havana specifically in Calle Ocho is lined with walk up Cuban restaurants and stores selling Cuban tobacco and garments. The vibe is very lively with salsa music played live by a Cuban band.

They have a walk of fame which features famous Latin artists like Thalia.

The Domino Park is where Cubans meet and discuss politics while playing dominoes. If you have seen the movie, Father of the Bride, this is where Robert De Niro sits down with her daughter and played domino.

Real police in Little Havana. On a horse!

Sightseeing Cruise

We spent 2 hours in Little Havana and headed to the Bayside Marketplace where we shall be starting our sight seeing cruise along Biscayne Bay. Bayside Marketplace is an open, festive shopping mall located along the harbor of Biscayne Bay. It has various restaurants and shops. It’s very lively and festive. And the fact that it’s near the harbor makes it very refreshing.

While waiting for the boat.

We booked the 90 minute sightseeing cruise thru Trip Advisor for 25 usd per person. We sailed past the Miami skyline , islands near miami and the mansions of the rich and famous. There is a tour guide who would ask you to guess whose mansion is she referring to with some clues. We got to see J Lo’s, Jacky Chan’s, Lebron James’, I cannot recall all the names and mansions the guide mentioned.

Miami Skyline

The port of Miami is known as one of the busiest and the largest in the world.

We passed by the cruise ships docked in the port.

The next day, we decided to just relax and bask in the sun. We spent it swimming in the beach and the pool

We wished we had more time here, I would have wanted to explore more of Miami. I wanted to visit the Everglades, Key West, check out the night scene in South Beach. Also, Miami is a bit more expensive that we thought it would be. Restaurants impose service charge ranging from 18- 22%. Let me picture out for you how costly it is. A coconut fruit with its juice costs 18 usd in Bayside Marketplace and cocktails range 18- 30 dollars. But as long as we had fun right?


The Happiest Place On Earth

Yes! Finally, Disneyland! My daughter’s only wish for her 7th birthday was to visit Disneyland and without second thoughts we let her wish come true just like fairytales. Also, the adults are a bit excited to visit the happiest place on earth. It’s not just for kids okay? So last year, we went to Disney World Resort in Florida to visit 2 theme parks there (Magic Kingdom and Epcot) and spent a day in Clearwater Beach in Florida. But what would have been a 4 day trip was magically extended to 6 days! Our plane going back was cancelled due to a tropical storm in NY leaving us no choice but to visit Universal Studios in Florida. lol

Just a bit background, there are 2 States in United States with Disney Parks. California has Disneyland and Florida has Disney World Resort which has 8 theme parks namely: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Theme Park, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney Springs, ESPN Wide of World of Sports Complex. It is highly advisable to spend a day at each them park since there are lots of rides and things to do. A day wont be enough actually if you want to try all the rides and attractions. A park ticket must be purchased beforehand through online on Disney’s website.

New York to Orlando, Florida is approximately a three- hour flight, luckily there is no time difference between the 2 states.

We checked-in at the Springhill Suites by Marriott in Orlando, Florida. Note that one can either purchase hotel accommodations inside Disney World. They are a bit expensive given the location and attractions so we decided to choose one that is outside the Disney World Resort. Our hotel was just 10 minutes away via Uber to the park entrance. From the airport, it took us 30 minutes to the hotel though. Florida’s streets are so vast though if you compare it to New York City’s grid-like streets.

Late night yogurt after we landed at the hotel

We visited 2 Disney Parks during our visit, the first day, we went to Magic Kingdom and the second day we visited EPCOT. There is only one entrance to Disney World, all visitors regardless of which park go through the same entrance. And from the entrance, you ride your way to the parks through the monorail.

Inside the monorail. Feels like riding the subway.lol
View of the Cinderella Castle from the monorail.


Most of the photos you see about Disney (especially those with fireworks) is the Cinderella Castle which is located in Magic Kingdom. This is the most visited of all parks as this is where all the magic happens! Kids and the feeling kids (including me) love this park. Most Disney characters I grew up with are here.

Entrance to Magic Kingdom

Upon entering the park, we were greeted by the parade of Disney princesses. Since this was a time when Disney has just reopened after the pandemic, there was no hugging and meeting with characters. Apparently, these magical characters still has to practice social distancing. lol

Disney Princesses meet and greet at the balcony.
The most fun rides we had at the park were the Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The park’s rides were mostly for kids but we enjoyed the Jungle Cruise and the Pirates of the Caribbean
Before getting wet at the Splash Mountain
Big Mountain Railroad

We most probably rode most of the rides and a day won’t be enough if you want to experience all the rides and attractions in Magic Kingdom.

One of the most memorable was dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table. It was like dining in a castle!

While waiting for our table.
The food was a delight 🙂
Cinderella made an appearance when we were eating.lol

And to cap our day at the MAGIC KINGDOM,

DAY 2 We went to EPCOT, short for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. But prior to this, we had our daughter’s birthday breakfast at Chef Mickey’s

Minnie Mouse is also practicing social distancing

Chef Mickey’s was fun. Seeing Mickey, Pluto, Minnie and Goofy in chef costumes and singing songs is something every kid (also adult) would wish for. lol

EPCOT with it very large golf ball

At first I thought EPCOT attractions and rides was mostly for adults but then it’s not. My daughter is a fan of Elsa and Anna in Frozen and she was so happy seeing them.

One of out favorite rides was the Soarin’ Around the World attraction where you get to go to different tourist attractions all over the world through a flight simulator. I remember we were the only ones screaming Wooow! ahhhhh! ohhhhh… or so we thought?!

EPCOT also has the World Showcase which shows 11 pavilions representing countries around the world, and with each pavilion, there are also attractions and restaurants and drinks! It was so huge that we were not able to visit all the pavilions.

This is France. One of the attraction here was the Beauty and the Beast Sing along. It was so funny as everyone was singing!

We did lots in EPCOT but due to severe excitement, I wasn’t able to snap decent photos

The day was once again capped with fireworks just like Magic Kingdom. We promised to be back again and try a different park, after all, there is 6 more left.