Travels with Rhe ~ Westgate Town Center Resort, Kissimmee, FL

I was thrilled to be able to visit Westgate Resorts during their Military Families weekend. Not only does Westgate offer free vacations to families every year, but they also offer military discounts to their resorts. Not enough? Well, Westgate also strives to hire veterans and spouses and support them in their transition out of the military. Both their CEO and COO are former military, and if you spend just a moment on their property you can feel just how important it is to honor military families with TIME. Time to be together in a relaxing environment, and time to take a step back from the business of life and just be a family.

Whether you are military or not the Town Center Resort is everything you could hope for in a home away from home. You don’t even have to leave the property to have a great time; but if getting out for an adventure is on your list you are only a short drive from experiences like Walt Disney World, Sea World, Universal Studios, Legoland, and more!!

Military Weekend is full of fun things to do for families, including a military vehicle demonstration with a WWII reenactment group, a family night with games, food and music, a movie night, and so much more.

The Resort

I was absolutely impressed by the resort itself. The rooms were gorgeous, clean, and spacious. If you stay in one of the suite rooms you will have a full kitchen, access to laundry right outside your door, and a balcony with seating. There are several food and dining options whether you are vacationing with or without kids. The waterpark was great, with plenty of seating, areas for food and drink, and fun for all levels of comfort with water structures. There’s an ice cream shop, arcade, and small store on-site with a deli and pizza joint. You can catch a movie, play mini golf, rent bikes or even pick up a meal kit to cook in your room. Everything is walkable within the resort (or by Westgate Tram!), and you honestly could enjoy time away from regular life and never leave or use your vehicle. I gave a full room tour on my Instagram so I hope you check that out, as well as some more highlights of my stay. Westgate staff can help you get tickets to local attractions and even access swim lessons for the kiddos right on site!

 

My favorite place to eat during the whole trip was Villa Italiano Chop House. And you know I ordered an old fashioned! They did an excellent job, and the large round ice cube (or globe) was a perfect touch! I want to mention that they were so busy that night, but the bar tender checked in with me extra despite being a little shorthanded that evening. I think its important to acknowledge that sometimes life happens, but its what you do in situtations like that that matter and the staff was absolutely amazing….serving my food quickly and refilling my water and drinks. Try the tomato soup, its killer!

Why Westgate

I don’t know about you, but when I choose to spend my money or share how to spend yours I want to try my best to focus on businesses that not only give back but show their true priorities. I am more likely to spend my money and encourage you to spend yours in places that not only aim to please their guests, but also are committed to supporting their communities (military or not). It’s what makes the world go around! And in this crazy world, kindness matters.

I’m proud to support Westgate Resorts. I would encourage military families to stay there so that they can continue to pay it forward to others. And watch next year when Military Salutes returns and Westgate gives away free vacations to military families.   

 

 

have you ever stayed at a Westgate property? I’d love to hear about it!

 

 

 

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Visit San Diego Like a Tourist Part 2

Back again to share with you another day in San Diego and some fun ideas for your trip to the sunshine state. Today’s post is a day full of fun, experiencing Balboa Park which is definitely a tourist destination, and also includes a couple fun local favorites for food and drink. When visiting anywhere I love to not only see the normal tourist destinations but also check out some of the local’s favorite places. On my personal list always is 1) a local record store and 2) a speakeasy style bar.

A top spot on my list was Balboa Park.

Balboa Park is a 1200 urban cultural park with open space areas, museums, art museums, gardens, the Zoo, places to eat, theater and more! It truly is remarkable to look at it and really fun to walk around in. Historically it is also very incredible. Balboa was a spot for the 1915/16 Panama-California Exposition and the 1935-36 California Pacific International Exposition. Named a protected park in 1835, Balboa is the oldest parks dedicated to public recreational use and is also on the register of historical places. If you get a chance to visit this place, take out a chunk of time to really walk around and explore.

Also, got to hang out with my best friend’s brother, who was an amazing tour guide and got me to ride my first scooter! I know, I live in DC with them everywhere and I’ve always been too afraid to try. It was a blast and I absolutely recommend it!

We had the chance to check out the Botanical Gardens that are located within Balboa Parks. And apparently it is one of the most photographed areas of the park. It was built for the 15-16 Exposition and is actually the largest of its type of structure, which apparently is called ‘lath’ which is the tiny slats like a trellis, that is usually hidden under plaster. You can see it in my pictures below.

The buildings themselves are also part of the art!

Visit the cool restaurant and bar inside the grounds as well. They make a mean old fashioned, and have really cool art within the green space inside as well. Balboa Park is a visual treat!

A must visit is Extraordinary Desserts located in the downtown area of San Diego. They have a more extensive menu at their Little Italy location versus the Bankers Hill location, but both has amazing and super fancy desserts. It was pure heaven!! Their Vietnamese coffee is also excellent as well.

A quick Lyft ride away is Record City. I love checking out record stores in general. They make me happy and its exciting to see what will be in them. This one was a gold mine and I found some great stuff and the prices were really reasonable. The store staff was great. I was a little bummed they didn’t have a listening station, but the place was really packed full. They will play a record on the store record player if you want to listen to something as well. They have a good mix of new records and old, and probably the most soundtracks I had ever seen.

This might be the perfect time to pick up some in and out if you’re hungry (although you might still not be hungry after your treat at Extraordinary Desserts). I always get as much In and Out as I can whenever I’m in California because I never know when I’ll be back. If In and Out isn’t you’re thing, maybe Poke is. So, you get in your car and head over to Good Time Poke. You walk in and instead of sitting to eat the friends you’re with keep walking and head towards the large freezer doors. You’re confused about what is happening but you roll with it because why not?! You open the freezer doors and walk through into the coolest Tiki Bar/Speakeasy that you can’t get into through any other way. You’ve made it to The Grass Skirt, where they mix Mezcal and Absinthe like its no big deal. They have a small outdoor (but secluded) and the inside has some surprises as well! Definitely super fun and something that should be on your list.

One place I never got to get to was the Gaslamp area! I heard they have some amazing speakeasy, weird and cool bars as well! But the Grass Skirt is super fun and their drinks are amazing!!

Do you have favorites in the Downtown Area or Pacific Beach? I’d love to hear them!

Check out my first Visit San Diego Post here!! And stay tuned; I have one more post about my time in California coming up!!

 

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