Sponsored Post: Join Me In Orlando At The Tom Joyner Family Reunion!
One of my favorite childhood memories is when my mom allowed my sister and me to take a bus trip to Orlando with our congregation. I was probably eight or nine at the time; my sister was three years older. It seemed like it took forever to get there. But when we arrived, Orlando seemed like such a magical place to my young mind.
Since that visit (no need to mention how many years ago that was!), I've been able to experience Orlando as a child, an adult, a wife, a mother, and most recently, as a single mother.
And this weekend, I’ll get to experience even more at the annual “Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion” , where J-Hud is performing—whoo hooo!—along with Babyface, Keith Sweat, and many more. I'll be signing and giving away copies of my Mocha Manual books, and hosting a 1-1:30 p.m. workshop Friday where I’ll share insider tips on saving money and creating memorable vacations. The “Family Reunion” Exhibit Hall and seminars are free and open to the public Sept. 1-4, so bring your whole family to the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center and join me there.
With every visit I learn more about what makes Orlando special to both tourists and locals. On a recent visit sans children, I was able to re-experience the city’s great shopping. I got this fabulous designer bag at Orlando Premium Outlets on International Drive —one of the many upscale outlet centers in town—and I've been getting compliments on it all summer.(I'm holding it in the picture)
Anyone who knows me knows how excited I get about shopping and designer discounts. And Orlando has more malls, boutiques and outlets than even I could ask for. But there's still much more.
Do you want to walk in the footsteps of music greats like Ray Charles and Count Basie? Or spend a day with the kids at one of the many theme parks? You can even get your groove on with Orlando's energetic nightlife. Check out B.B. King’s Blues Club at Pointe Orlando, Universal CityWalk , or at the House of Blues Gospel Brunch. Laugh at the Orlando Improv comedy club’s Apollo Night.
And now through Sept. 30, you can take advantage of “2nd Summer.” It’s been an “insider’s secret” until now, but surprisingly, this is the best time to save up to 65 percent off on hotels—and get amazing savings on attractions, golf and more. Even better, dining in Orlando also is a deal during September, which is “Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month.” You can indulge in three-course meals at dozens of Orlando’s finest restaurants for only $30.
Not only is this deal season, but there are great events happening in Orlando this fall. Is your man a football fan? Are you? Why not head out to ESPN’s MEAC/SWAC Challenge on Labor Day Weekend, where two HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) kick off the football season and square off at the Citrus Bowl. Or come mid-November for the Florida Classic week of events (which includes the legendary “Battle of the Bands”) and celebrate the game between Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University , one of the biggest rivalries in black college football. Your guy can catch up on football while you enjoy one of Orlando’s many world class-spas. It’s a win-win!
Want something a little deeper? Uplift your soul during the annual “Faith and Fun Weekend” in Orlando in September, where Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios Florida host live concerts from your favorite Christian music artists.
What’s more, there are cultural events and sights galore that highlight Orlando’s rich, African-American heritage, such as the Wells’Built Museum of African American History or the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts () in historic Eatonville, the nation’s oldest African-American municipality. If that’s not enough, you can go off the beaten path on a black history tour through Orlando’s distinct neighborhoods.
I can't wait to get back down there for the “Tom Joyner Family Reunion” later this week. The kids are excited—and I'm hoping for a little Fall shopping.