Stephanie Tantillo


Stephanie Tantillo

Travel is a huge part of my life. If I'm not just coming back from a trip, you'll probably find me planning one. I have the travel bug for sure. Now that I have the means to travel more often, I thought an online journal would be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends while I'm on the road.

North America » United States » Florida » Orlando » Disney World May 14th 2016

Our adventure at Animal Kingdom and a semi-private 3-hour tour, Wild Africa Trek. Best day ever! I was the first one in the park! Mark wrangled another set of tickets to Disney World, and I knew exactly what to plan for our day. I have always wanted to go on the Wild Africa Trek, a 3-hour tour for a group of 12 guests through the back pathways of the savanna. Knowing the afternoon would be too warm, Mark and I signed up for the earliest tour. We checked in with our guides in front of the turnstiles at 7:30 am; there were already 100 guests waiting in line for early magic hours. Once half the group was present, we were escorted into the park, and I was the first one in! Gearing up The tour meeting ... read more
Wild Africa Trek
Wild Africa Trek
Wild Africa Trek

North America » United States » Florida » Orlando » Disney World April 23rd 2016

Mark and I had reached a defining moment in our relationship – we were planning a day at Disney World. Through his work connections, Mark scored a pair of Disney park hopper tickets. Within an hour, I had dinner reservations made in the park. This was going to be awesome. Part One – Hollywood Studios Donning Star Wars t-shirts, Mark and I headed off to Hollywood Studios. Since he’s not too much of a ride guy, I thought Mark would enjoy the shows and character experiences in HS. Our first stop, however, was just for me. Like a gentleman, Mark walked with me through the queue of my favorite HS ride, the Tower of Terror. I love the lobby, expertly covered in dust and cobwebs. We parted at the loading platform, where he was escorted down ... read more
Tower of Terror
Kylo Ren greeting
Star Wars Launch Bay

North America » United States » Florida » Orlando December 25th 2015

After the chaos and expense of moving across the country, Mark and I decided to take it easy and spend Christmas in Orlando. My sister, Jennifer, determined to spend the holidays together, would brook no refusal and spent Christmas week with us. During her visit, we all enjoyed a few adventures around central Florida. My Gift to You is Disney Visiting a theme park during Christmas week is madness – and despite my sister’s pleas to go, I was firm that there would be no theme park visits. Jennifer made her disappointment known. How could we be so close to the Magic Kingdom and NOT visit? I offered a to visit the Grand Floridian hotel instead, where we could dress up and get our photo in front of the giant Christmas tree that would be in ... read more
Grand Floridian
Grand Floridian
Grand Floridian

North America » United States » Florida » Orlando December 19th 2015

I either love or fear corporate Christmas parties. Mark’s company, being in the hospitality industry, always has awesome Christmas parties. This year was no exception – a private party in Universal Studios with an overnight stay at the super elegant Protofino hotel. Party, Party! Since we were in a theme park, which requires a lot of walking, most folks dressed down for the evening. I passed up my usual short cocktail dress in favor of pants and a blouse, although others were comfortable in their jeans. A buffet dinner was hosted in Sound Stage 33, a building located between the Mummy ride and the big roller coaster. I noticed there was not a dessert bar. Hmmm. The group was ushered to King’s Cross station and we took the train to Hogsmead. By this point the park ... read more
Mark and Steph on Hogwarts Express

North America » United States » Florida » Orlando » Winter Garden November 14th 2015

Moving to a new city can either be daunting or thrilling. We chose the latter and set out to explore our new town. Our adventures took us all over the city and surrounding neighborhoods, and within a couple months, we felt at home. Amusingly, all of the places we visited seemed to have a Washington counterpart. Downtown and Thornton Park – Downtown Orlando is clustered around Lake Eola, a pretty spot of water with a fountain, swan paddle boats, and a mile-long walking path surrounding it. Sunday farmers markets bring an eclectic crowd, mostly selling chachtkies and food. It is exquisite for people watching. Within a couple blocks are the public library and history museum. The library reminded Mark of buildings in his old neighborhood in Yonkers, NY. We attended a wine tasting at the history ... read more
History Center
Corn Maze

North America » United States » Florida » Ocala November 7th 2015

After moving to Florida, Mark and I were eager to get back into our camping routine. We discovered Ocala National Forest, just a couple hours north of Orlando, and a couple very established campgrounds. Juniper Springs - November 2015 Our first camping trip as Florida residents was to Juniper Springs. As a recreation area, there are both day use and overnight activities. They have a swimming hole, canoe rentals, the Florida trail*, campground with flushing facilities, and a little convenience store. We were going for the experience of being removed, and did not check out the store at all. It was a well-maintained campground, and I would visit here again. We saw a couple signs of large wildlife – there was a deer grazing just beyond the campground, and a pile of bear poo on the ... read more
Juniper Springs
Juniper Springs
Juniper Springs

North America » United States » New York » Catskill October 24th 2015

Thanks to Tom Hanks, I always equate bouquets of sharpened pencils with autumn in New York. "It makes me want to go out and buy school supplies." Mark and I traveled north to celebrate his sister’s wedding. We were not yet acclimated to the heat and humidity in our new homebase of Orlando, and the crisp fall weather was a welcome reprieve. On our drive to the Catskill Mountains, we took the scenic drive to Sunnyside and stopped at the historic home of Washington Irving (“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”). The tour was delightful. All employees wore historic-looking garments and the tour leader spoke about the history of the house and famous author in the present tense, “At this time, Irving travels to France…” and such. There were fewer Halloween decorations than I expected, but the ... read more
View from the wedding venue, Catskills
Washington Irving's House

North America » United States » Florida » Orlando October 18th 2015

For the first time ever, I became a theme park Annual Passholder! Living in Orlando, I have tons of theme park options. After a heavy cost analysis, I decided the best choice for me was the Universal Studios Preferred Pass – no blackout dates and free parking. And the park is literally 10 minutes from my house. Win! My partner in crime today was Ronald, an experienced Universal guest. It was a very casual day – something I had never experienced in a theme park. On vacation, you have to cram as much park time in as possible because you will be leaving at some point. Not for a passholder. We have the luxury of coming back whenever we please, and are not required to spend 12 hours zig-zagging through rides. Our day began with the ... read more

North America » United States » Florida » Orlando August 1st 2015

We made it! A four hour drive, half of which was spent in a rainstorm, brought us to our final destination - Orlando. What a relief! Four and a half days in a truck was fun but exhausting. Even though I had never been in the apartment before, it was home and I couldn't be happier to be there. Take away points This was the second big move for both Mark and me, and a huge lesson in priorities and trust. If I could go back and tell myself one thing, it would be to start preparations earlier. The last minute rush to get out the door felt like mayhem to me, along with the hurried Craigslist sales and needing to dump replaceable, but useful, items to save room on the truck. As for the rest ... read more
On our way home!
Boxes everywhere!
Callie's Corner

North America July 31st 2015

Nothing whatsoever It was a long day where nothing happened. We drove through Mississippi, Alabama, and ended in our destination state of Florida. The challenge to find non-religious radio stations increased. Once in Tallahassee, we found a Thai/Sushi restaurant and treated ourselves to some comfort food.... read more
You may kiss my paw
Welcome to Ala-fucking-bama!
Welcome to Florida!

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