Archive | Hotels & Motels

Tips and deals for Central Florida area hotels and motels.

Star Wars-themed Dinner Show from a Galaxy Far Far Away

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disney World later this summer. With it, news of a Star Wars-themed dinner show has surfaced on our planet. Travel forward in time and this new Disney dinner show should come to fruition around 2021. That is, if the dark side doesn’t intervene.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is scheduled to open on August 29, 2019, while the Star Wars-themed hotel does not yet have an opening date. This luxury hotel is tentatively named “Galactic Journeys: A Star Wars Adventure.  A restaurant is planned for the very heart of this new universe. It is within this Star Wars-themed restaurant that the exclusive Disney dinner show is assumed to take front stage.

Star Wars-themed Dinner Show

2016 concept art

Package to Include Star Wars-themed Dinner Show

Additionally, it is reported that Disney will offer a multi-day adventure as an “all-inclusive” package. Visitors (as well as local Jedi) will be able to spend two nights and three days enjoying an out-of-this-world experience. Hop aboard the Chandrila Star Line and be transported within this galaxy. Even Droids will appreciate the convenience of an Orlando vacation package.

Speaking of all-inclusive…
Reservations for Capone’s Dinner & Show package everything you need into one low price. This local dinner show has free parking too. You don’t have to be a Padawan to appreciate the great service you’ll experience at this affordable dinner show. You also do not need to wait to experience it. Capone’s is open now, nearly every night of the year. Bring the entire gang – even the little Wookies will love it. It’s a blast from the past, fit for your future Orlando vacation!

May the Future Force be with You

Disney dinner show drinksAs only Disney can do, every detail including the Star Wars-themed dinner show is certainly expected to please. Even Ewoks will love it. Sip some Blue Bantha Milk (from A New Hope) or Green Milk as Luke Skywalker did at Thala-sirens in The Last Jedi. Dine on a feast suited for ‘the force.’ As for the show? Prepare yourself for a number of Jedi mind tricks, as it is sure to thrill.

Finally, only time will tell if this new Star Wars-theme dinner show will actually make a visit to our planet. Stormtroopers prepare. It is sure to meet a few death stars along the way, but nothing Disney cannot handle. Start saving now. The cost is also expected to be out of this world!

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Alternatively, if you are looking for an affordable dinner show, try Al Capone’s dinner show. It remains the best value among a host of Orlando dinner shows. This award-winning experience will please your entire rebel alliance.

Pet-Friendly Accommodations Possible for an Orlando Vacation

If you are looking for pet-friendly accommodations to make your Orlando vacation possible, you’re in luck. For pet owners that refuse to leave their dogs & cats at home, there are options.

Pet-friendly accommodations in Orlando

Please bring me on vacation with you!

One of the first things that come to mind when planning a vacation for pet owners is “What about my animals?” Well, here in Central Florida, there are options for you if you prefer to bring your pets along.

Following are a few of the best pet-friendly accommodations or hotels in Orlando, FL. These are nearer to the attraction areas. If you will not be spending time at the theme parks, you have many, many other options.

Pet-friendly Accommodations

PLEASE NOTE: Hotel policies and prices vary and can change without notice. Contact the hotels directly to learn more about their pet policies (refers to dogs and cats, not exotic animals) and of any pricing/fees involved. Guests must provide recent proof of vaccinations.

  • Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando Resort. This Pet-Friendly Resort is just a short walk, or a complimentary water taxi or shuttle ride away from the Universal CityWalk entertainment complex and both Universal Orlando theme parks. 407.503.ROCK. Cleaning fees are charged for pets.
  • Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando. This luxurious hotel is celebrated as “an experience in art and music.” Amenities include 4-Star dining, a heated outdoor swimming pool, whirlpool, in-room spa and 24-hour fitness center. Dogs under 40 lbs. allowed, with $150 fee. 407-313-9000.
  • Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando. Hotel amenities include three themed swimming pools, full-service Mandara Spa, fine dining, fitness center and special exclusive benefits at local attractions. Pets get the royal treatment at this first-class hotel. 407-503-1000.
  • Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. Hotel features a Lagoon-style swimming pool with interactive water play area, children’s activity center, fitness center, luaus with authentic food and entertainment, business center and exclusive benefits at Universal Theme Parks. Pets get the royal treatment. 407-503-3000.
  • Holiday Inn Sun Spree Resort. Amenities include an over-sized swimming pool, two whirlpools, a fitness center, high-speed internet access, karaoke, poolside games for children, and more. Pets up to 30 pounds welcome. 407-239-4500.
  • Sheraton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Resort. Unique themed pet-friendly accommodations at the Sheraton Orlando hotel is located 1/8 mile from the Walt Disney World Resort. Amenities include 2 spectacular pools (one designed for children), cascading waterfall, hot tub, fitness facility, game room, restaurant and poolside Tiki Bar. Pet friendly, under 40 lbs. 407-239-0444.
  • Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista. This hotel is located just minutes from popular attractions. The family-friendly hotel features amenities including free continental breakfast, internet access, an outdoor heated swimming pool and a restaurant. Pet-friendly hotel. $15.00 per night/pet under 50 lbs. 407-996-7300.

Kennels & Pet Boarding at Theme Parks

While these hotels are great for your pet, you cannot leave pets unattended during the day. However, these local theme parks offer boarding while you are enjoying their park: Disney Kennels and Universal Orlando. Please let us know if you find others that offer daily kennel service.

Vacation Home Rentals

Another option for bringing your pet(s) with you while staying in Orlando includes vacation home rentals. Since this usually pertains to families that will be staying for more than a few days, you may want to see our vacation home rental directory. Renting a home can be the best pet-friendly accommodation for your pet, especially if it can acclimate itself quickly to new surroundings.

If you know of other pet-friendly accommodations or have had any experience with any of the hotels listed above, please leave a comment. We want your Central Florida vacation to be a great experience for you and the furry ones in your family!

Capone’s Dinner & Show does not allow pets into the theater, however, we do allow certified service dogs – if we must. Please note that during the shoot out, loud noises and raucous activity can scare service animals. Please don’t put them through this. If at all possible, make other arrangements and leave them at home or with a friend. To make you more comfortable during the show, please let us know about any disability at the time of your reservation. Thank you for your understanding.

Shrek the Halls at Gaylord Palms ICE! Attraction

Several months ago the Gaylord Palms Resort announced the new partnership with Dreamworks animated films, such as Shrek and the penguins from “Madagascar.” Starting Wednesday, November 16, ICE! begins, but not as usual. This cool attraction will have you basking in the dazzling lights of the magnificent Christmas décor as well as ‘Shreking’ the halls.

This frigid Christmas tradition in Florida features over 20,000 square-feet of frosty 9-degree bliss played out in a winter wonderland of exciting hand-carved sculptures. This year, however, you’ll be joined by DreamWorks’ Animation TV classic Shrek the Halls™ as you slide down one of five 30-foot ice slides creating wonderful holiday memories.  Great family vacation programming and world class entertainment can be enjoyed by all. Prices range from $13.99 to $27.99 depending upon peak and non-peak times. When you order online, you can generally save $1-$2/adult ticket. Be sure to check the schedule as some time slots sell out. For more information, or to purchase your tickets by phone, call (407) 586-4423 or visit

The award-winning ICE! attraction is carved by a team of 40 artisans from Harbin, China. The talented artisans spend more than a month in Kissimmee/Orlando creating this one-of-a-kind attraction. The attraction is kept at 9° Fahrenheit. Be sure to dress appropriately: closed-toe shoes and long pants are required. Hooded winter coats are provided for your warmth and comfort inside the attraction and are available in a variety of sizes, including sizes for children. Hats and gloves are strongly recommended and may be purchased on site at the ICE! house gift shop.

With the addition of the “Dreamworks Experience” guests are now enjoying character breakfasts, parades, special activities during the summer and the holidays and, of course, merchandise, at Gaylord’s four resorts. These special vacation packages featuring the “DreamWorks Experience at Gaylord Hotels” went on sale in July 2011 and are still selling like “hot cakes.” Now that the partnership is in full gear, tourists will have another great reason to vacation in Central Florida. If you stay at the Gaylord Palms, you may not want to leave! Especially if you like being cold AND looking at beautiful palm trees (and of course, having Shrek around).

Central Florida’s Vacation Home Managers Enjoy Capone’s

Vacation Homes are a great way to stay in the Central Florida area

The Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association (CFVRMA) provides valuable and often hard to come by information for property managers to use while growing their business. They also help provide visitors planning to stay in Central Florida with options of vacation homes in a safe venue so that they can book their vacation worry free. The trade group represents a rising number of business owners who market fully furnished homes to tourists and business travelers coming to this region. The homes typically appeal to larger families that want multiple bedrooms, a kitchen, private pool and game room, rather than a hotel room.

The CFVRMA uses resources from membership dues to market Central Florida vacation rental management companies to the public and provide an excellent source of services for property management companies. The CFVRMA holds meetings regularly for members and associate members at various Central Florida attractions. Colin Young, president of the CFVRMA, said “Members like to get out and visit the region’s attractions so they feel confident recommending them to their guests. “

Recently they held their meeting at Capone’s Dinner & Show. While not well-known as a meeting space for businesses in the Central Florida area, Capone’s is reaching out to local businesses with a very unique offer. “We are rolling out a new program that can help vacation home managers make a little extra money,” John Kucik said. Capone’s has cards available that offer 50% off tickets to the show and offer the vacation home company a customized display on the back of the card. These cards are distributed to tourists and business guests staying in their properties. Not only will their guests get a great deal, but the vacation home representative “…can make $8 for every time one of those is cashed in,” Kucik said.

Also included in this great business partnership is the opportunity for any vacation home company that signs up, a feature article, right here, on Al’s blog! It will allow our readers a great resource when trying to find a trusted vacation home rental. It’s a win/win/WIN situation! Capone’s get the referral, the vacation home gets exposure and guests staying in a vacation home get a great discount to a fabulous Orlando dinner show!

Vacation homes have been one of the fastest growing industries across Central Florida in the past decade. By working with various businesses in our area, we hope to remain the #1 vacation destination and help each other out. If you are planning to stay in the Orlando/Kissimmee area, be sure to visit this section of Capone’s web site for updates on local vacation homes. With ‘advice you can’t refuse’ also comes recommendations you can trust. Just one more way of keeping it all in “the family business.”

If you’d like to team up with Capone’s and join their referral program, contact Capone’s Dinner & Show.

How to Improve a Stay in a Bad Hotel

As a former hotelier, I can offer advice that can help you deal with the hotels staff and general hotel policies. Often before you realize you have issues, it is time for a shower or climb into bed. Take some time after you get access to your room and follow these steps to insure a pleasurable stay. If you have issues call the front desk as soon as you possibly can.

  1. Trust but verify…. check cleanliness as soon as you get in your room as it is the number one hotel complaint. If you are satisfied with the cleanliness of your room then I suggest pulling the sheets back from the bed for a quick inspection. Bed bugs have recently become problematic in hotels and you really do not want to take home that souvenir.
  2. Try to be as nice as possible. Human nature is an element everyone must deal with regardless of your complaint. The staff is less likely to “hear” you if you are screaming at them. Be prepared with a list of issues you have with your room and give the hotel a chance to fix them.
  3. If the situation cannot be fixed then ask to be moved to another room of comparable value. Should the hotel not have your room type available ask for a complimentary upgrade.
  4. You should be reasonable of your requests of staff, but also in your expectations. They obviously can’t control city sounds or nature (gotta love the roosters in Key West – they get you up bright and early). If it is another guest causing the noise, call the front desk and ask them to intercede so you can enjoy a restful night’s sleep. Try to rectify the things the hotel can control, and remember that many of the annoyances can be caused by elements beyond the hotel’s control (like fluctuating water pressure, minimally hot water or other such issues). You are more likely to have these issues when you book at older hotels; keep this in mind when booking your reservations.
  5. Should the front line staff not be able to satisfy you ask to speak to the manager since they usually can help with upgrades and changes that the front line staff cannot do.  Just make sure you’ve been polite and reasonable to everyone you’ve talked to before then — if you’ve already been labeled as “the crazy guest who’s screaming in the lobby,” it might be harder to make your case.
  6. If the manager is not being cooperative with your problems then it is time to pull out the big guns. If the hotel is part of a chain call the 800# and ask to speak to someone in guest relations. Another card you can play with the manager is to let them know you are documenting your experience and will be posting a review on your experience at the hotel on and if you booked on a site like Expedia they now typically offer an option to review the hotel. The last thing that manager wants is a bad review that can cost them future bookings. One more thing, it is a good idea to check out reviews for the hotel you are booking before you book your reservation.

My final piece of advice is to be proactive. The worst thing you can do is wait to complain until you are checking out or after you get home. Wishing you happy travels and hopefully this advice will come in handy on a vacation in the future.