Staying Local

6 weeks into the year, and I’ve been on 11 flights and spent 19 nights in hotel rooms. With this being a long weekend we had planned to head towards Georgia to enjoy an extra 24-hours free of obligations. A few weeks ago half the residents at Chateau’ Relaxo began coming down with the flu so we decided to change plans and stay local for the long weekend. And after Fridays 5:00 AM flight home I’m glad we did, and yes I was away for Valentine’s Day.

Stay Local

I’m a huge Dave Matthews Band fan. My wife discovered that there was a DMB Tribute band playing at the Orlando House of Blues last Saturday night. I love live music and with the tickets priced at $21.00 these were right up my alley. If you’ve never been to the Orlando House of Blues it’s located in Disney Springs, more on that in a bit, here are a few HOB tips.

  • Most events are general admission, which means wear comfortable shoes you’ll be standing.
  • Think about spending an extra $20.00 per ticket for a reserved seat which includes a host/hostess, no waiting at the bar for your next drink.
  • If you’re prone to pregaming before a concert they did let us in carrying our own Red Solo cups.
  • The food is good. We loved the Carolina Mess – extra-crispy fries topped with pulled pork, pickled jalapeños, melted cheese, and brown gravy.

 

Stay Local

 

The DMB Tribute band was solid and ran through all the DMB classics and nailed my personal favorite, Grey Street.

There’s an emptiness inside her And she’d do anything to fill it in But all the colors mix together – to grey And it breaks her heart

How she wishes it was different She prays to God most every night And though she swears it doesn’t listen There’s still a hope in her it might

The sound and lighting setup was perfect for such an intimate venue.

House Of Blues is in Disney Springs, and I haven’t been there since they called it Downtown Disney. There have been some changes in the last few years. My favorites, Sosa Family Cigars and Raglan Road are still there, but there are new dining and shopping attractions to complete your experience. If you hated the parking situation in the past, they now offer a huge parking facility….. just bring your wallet.

Since the evening was going to involve alcohol that meant no diving for any of us. We needed a place to stay and a quick search on Hilton’s site produced the perfect result, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista.

On the website they list a few selling points:

  • Disney Extra Magic Hours benefit
  • Disney FastPass+ service
  • Walk to Disney Springs —— this is the one that sold us.
  • Free Disney Parks shuttle
  • Disney Character Breakfast

There’s a walking bridge to get you from the hotel to Disney Springs without having to cross the street.

The room rate was $230.00 per night, or in my case 50,000 Hilton points. Doing the math $230.00/50,000 is .46 cents per point, less than the average of .60 cents per point for Hilton. For perspective, my 19 nights in hotel rooms this year have netted me 41,000 points, so this was not a great deal.

Here’s the financial part of this post, and I remind you, again I’m not a finance person….. “My retirement plan is a fistful of lottery tickets and a case of beer….. No one’s making an infomercial based on my financial ideas“. Recently, I switched from the American Express card to Chase’s Rapid Reward card. In my case, Southwest’s companion pass holds the most value. Which means accumulating points for hotel nights is suffering a bit this year.

If you prefer traveling by car consider a hotel branded credit card. Hilton recently aligned with  American Express to offer four new credit cards.  These cards provide automatic Hilton silver or gold status and anywhere from 7 to 14 Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio of locations.

Even gold status at  Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista does provide some great benefits. Free DVD rental, yes each room has a DVD player. Two free Starbuck coffees and two free bottles of water, not earth shattering but free is free. The best value comes from the free breakfast, which is priced on the north side of $15.00 per person this saved us $30.00 minus the tip.

After a depressing week a single night away from kids, dogs and a lawn that needed to be mowed was welcome. There’s nothing wrong with staying local, this is a great city with plenty to do.

Here’s a capture of Grey Street and Ants Marching…… like I said they were solid.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Su9UNOtS4U

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