Orlando (Southern), Florida, USA

3/25/16
WRITTEN BY: Samantha Arceneaux
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As a leading family destination across the world, Lake Buena Vista has a lot to offer adults and children alike.

Living in the region allows my family, including my T1 4-year-old daughter, to explore at a leisurely pace. Although outlet centers and theme parks abound, there are some spectacular experiences that make this area truly shine and continue to make this region a top pick for tourists and Floridians alike.

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Undoubtedly one of the best experiences for lodging is the Savanna rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge (Disney). Imagine looking down from your balcony and seeing giraffes and zebras. Kids will be ecstatic that they are able to see these magnificent animals for longer than short rides can allot for. 

iFly Orlando is one of the better non-theme park activities to be found along International Drive (I-Drive), that endless street of tourist attractions. Indoor skydiving takes the fear out of jumping out of a plane by placing you in a tank, where you are propelled upwards using a massive amount of air. Kids and grandparents alike can participate in this, and it is a nice experience if you need a break from the exhausting days at the many theme parks. 

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Texas de Brazil is a Brazilian steakhouse where it is pretty easy to calculate carbs. 15 different varieties of meat are brought to the table upon demand and a salad bar helps round out a semblance of a balanced meal. This is an all-you-can-eat experience, so bring your appetite and make a reservation. 

If you prefer a touch of the exotic, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop (pronounced chop-chop) is a divine Asian-Polynesian fusion restaurant located at the sumptuous Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios. Portions are on the smaller side and the chef uses only fresh ingredients delivered daily. The menu is seasonally rotating, but typically features fish items (such as Mahi Mahi), sushi, and at least a few turf options. Reservations recommended.

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Runners can delight in participating in one of the many Half Marathon & Marathons that Disney hosts. Book early though because these events are popular. Themes range in concept, including Disney Princess and Star Wars. Runners are encouraged to dress to theme when possible so you will see anything from tutus and tiaras to Chewbacca running the course. The race activities are staggered throughout two to four days to allow for maximum fun and participation. Kids’ events are available as well, so it is something the entire family can partake in.

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Rosen Shingle Creek is a favorite area resort that is able to boast both a top notch spa and golf-course. Try to master the scenic David Harman designed 18-hole course while avoiding the numerous water hazards. Before taking in the beautiful wildlife while exploring the course, practice at the 70,000 sq. ft. driving range. Afterwards, clients 16 and older should settle down for an Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage and Citrus Signature pedicure in The Spa at Rosen Shingle Creek.

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Many know of Cirque du Soleil from their Las Vegas shows, but fewer know that Orlando has a resident show, La Nouba, and it is very good. Since this is permanent show, viewers will be treated to better stunts, graphics, and overall accommodations versus a traveling show. My favorite is the Diabolos act, a breathtaking display of dexterity and concentration by four young girls, where they essentially reverse yo-yo using a string to catch hourglass shaped items. Sounds easy enough … until you see them flip, twist, and throw them into the air only to catch them flawlessly and in sync.

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Orlando is home to a large contingent of adult and pediatric hospitals. Downtown Orlando features two top hospitals within miles of each other: 

Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children: 92 W Miller St, Orlando, FL 32806 (407) 649-9111

Florida Hospital Orlando: 601 East Rollins Street Orlando, Florida 32803 (407) 303-5600

24 HOUR PHARMACY

Walgreens: 408 E Michigan St, Orlando, FL 32806 (407) 843-0956

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DIABETES HELPERS by HelpAround is a smart phone app (download HERE) that connects you with other users who either have diabetes or are a parent of a child with diabetes.  Working with your location on your phone’s GPS, you will be instantly connected to someone in the trusted diabetes community, who can help when you are short on supplies or if you need recommendations, advice or have an emergency.



Samantha Arceneaux

Samantha is a native Floridian and holds two Bachelor’s degrees from UCF. Her oldest daughter Mikayla was diagnosed at age 1 with Type 1 and Samantha has several cousins with it as well. Besides working part-time in marketing for Universal Solar Services, she dedicates her time helping other parents fight insurance companies for insulin pump and CGM coverage. After her two small children are tucked in for the night, she enjoys crafting, puzzles, reading, and Moscato. Read more about Samantha and her family at http://arceneauxfamily.blogspot.com