If you’re planning a trip from the UK to Florida this year, then you’ll undoubtedly be going for the warm weather, amazing food, and of course the thrilling theme parks.

Florida is easy to get to from the UK, with a range of flights on offer from many of the UK’s airports. Flights to Florida typically take eight and a half hours from London Gatwick to Sanford International or Orlando International, both offering easy access to the theme parks.

Every year the various parks get updated, and this year is no exception with several parks welcoming new additions.

Universal Studios Rollercoaster, Orlando
Photo: rollercoasterphilosophy, Flickr.com

Universal Studios Orlando

This film-themed park is home to a number of thrilling attractions, including the ‘Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit’ rollercoaster and ‘Revenge of the Mummy’ ride. This year another exciting ride will be added to the mix.

‘Transformers: The Ride 3D’ opens in summer 2013, and is similar to the ‘Amazing Adventures of Spiderman’ ride that’s in sister park, Islands of Adventure. It promises a 3D adventure, where guests enter a moving ride vehicle equipped with 3D glasses, before then getting transported through the world of the Transformers, turning through 360 degrees and going through a bumpy thrill ride.

Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

Throughout 2012, the Fantasyland area of the park was partially closed to make way for New Fantasyland, which will feature new rides and attractions. It opened in December 2012, with a few new rides and restaurants, however there are still two new attractions that are yet to open.

In 2013, a new meet and greet area, ‘Princess Fairytale Hall’, will open on the site of the old ‘Snow White’ ride, and a new rollercoaster is scheduled to open in 2014. The ‘Seven Dwarves Mine Train’ will be an exciting family-friendly rollercoaster taking you through the dwarves’ mine, but further details are yet to be revealed.

SeaWorld Orlando

In 2012, SeaWorld received a new attraction in the form of ‘Turtle Trek’, which is an exhibit featuring turtles and manatees, ending with a 3D experience in a 360 degree cinema. This May, the biggest expansion in several years is coming, with the addition of the new Antarctic themed zone. The flagship ride of the new area will be ‘Empire of the Penguin’ which takes visitors through live penguin exhibits and enables guests to experience what life is like as a penguin chick.

Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World

An expansion in the Animal Kingdom theme park has been in the works for a couple of years now, and in 2011 a deal was signed with James Cameron to create an Avatar-themed area of the park. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2013, but won’t officially be completed for three to five years.

Lifecruiser Love Florida


There are lots of parallels between one’s career and a nice ocean cruise. There’s the planning, the navigation, the smooth seas and rough currents. And then at the end, there’s a return to port for rest.

retirement gift silver wrapped
Photo by Pete/comedy_nose, Flickr.com

The waning days of one’s working career are filled with special events and kind farewells. If you’ve been on the receiving end of retirement recognition, you know how special it is to receive something that commemorates the dedication you’ve shown to your employer and the work you’ve done there.

Of course, what makes it even more special is when that memento came from a group of your co-workers and you know that everyone chipped in on the gift.

If you’re on the giving end of that retirement gift, there are a number of things to keep in mind to make it meaningful.

Share the Love…

Getting together with other co-workers allows you to buy a nicer, larger item rather than a number of small items. Depending on your budget, this could run anywhere from a cruise to a beautiful item for the home. What’s most important is to make sure that loyal ol’ John or devoted Susan gets something enjoyable and thoughtful.


Just avoid the pitfalls common to group giving. Make sure you contact everyone who might be interested, make plans to receive payment up front, and be diplomatic in choosing the item. You might do better to go with a tasteful co-worker or two to select the item, then return to the rest of the group for approval and money. Too many cooks spoil the broth!

Go Personal

It doesn’t have to be a solid gold plaque illustrating the key times in the retiree’s career, but when you can find an item that is associated with the type of work you do or the places the job has taken the honoree, it becomes far more meaningful and is more likely to achieve what you want, which is to give the retiree some special memories of the people with whom he or she worked.

Watch the Calendar

We’re on a schedule here. Bob’s last day is coming, and don’t count on him dropping back in for a tardy gift. Coordinate with those who may be putting together a retirement party and make sure that whatever you have chosen as your gift will be available and complete by that date.

You will also want to make time allowances for the vendor to deal with errors, damage, or shipping problems. All the good reasons for a late gift won’t fill the empty space on the gift table, so be smart.

This falls back to the gift-giving committee and requires them to get on the job ahead of time. It also illustrates the need to have that committee, because it is nearly impossible for fifteen people to settle on a gift in a timely fashion.

It’s a lot of fun to provide a retiree with a gift that truly touches them. A little advance work and smart planning will make it happen.

Lifecruiser Love Giving Gifts


If you are desperate to visit Australia, but are intimidated by the heat during the country’s summer, why not look into what is on offer during the beautiful Australian autumn. Not only does this season offer more manageable temperatures, but it also plays host to some wonderful festivals.

Festivals rarely fail to bring out an atmosphere of community spirit and infectious fun, regardless of what they’re about. You’re pretty much guaranteed to find a festival related to your interests, whether you love food or music or something else, and Australia is home to some amazing examples. It might be a vast country, but you’re guaranteed that just a cheap flight away is a festival to explore in a location where good cheer is all around. You can easily escape for the weekend and explore another part of this beautiful country. Let’s take a look at the festivals which are on offer in Australia in the autumn season.

The colours of autumn

For a seasonal sensation, the Bright Autumn Festival, held in the Alpine High Country of the state of Victoria, is a must-see. From a northern hemisphere perspective, this event takes place in the months of April and May, and is a wonderful opportunity to experience the autumn colours and produce of the Aussie landscape. Tourism which focuses around the colours of autumn is becoming an increasingly popular family activity throughout the world, and the Bright Autumn Festival has plenty to offer. From skiing to rock climbing and art exhibitions to brewery trails, there is an attraction for every member of the family.

Up in the air

The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is a hot air balloon festival which takes place in front of Parliament House in the country’s capital. Dozens of unusually shaped balloons take off each day for a period of just over a week and float across the city skyline, taking in all of the principal landmarks of Canberra. However, the most spectacular views can be seen from the ground, with a plethora of themed hot balloons, from nationalities to nature and from culinary masterpieces to works of art.

Foodie fantasy

Food fans need not despair – there are plenty of mouth-watering culinary events in the autumn calendar. F.O.O.D (Food of Orange) week is held in New South Wales and showcases the freshest and best produce from local chefs and farmers. Replete with cooking demonstrations, mass dining events and a cider festival, tourists of all culinary persuasions will find something delicious to get their teeth into.

Autumn music

WOMADelaide is an extravaganza of world music, dance and arts which has been running for the past twenty years in autumn in the city‘s Botanic Park. The festival is welcoming towards family groups and entry is free to children aged twelve and under, so combined with a cheap flight out to Australia, Adelaide could be the perfect location for a budget-friendly family break. There are performances spanning across seven stages and practical workshops for people of various levels of musical ability. Children are catered for in a specially designed KidZone whilst their parents are spoilt for choice with hundreds of food and retail stalls.

If this article has whetted your appetite for an Australian autumn getaway, then you can compare flights on a site such as Cheapflights.co.uk.

Lifecruiser Love Festivals