Disney Ecpot Cpyright 1ReserveDirect provides some of the best ways to save money on your Orlando, Florida vacation. Their website, ReserveOrlando.com, is home to some of the best Orlando discounts out there and is a reliable, secure and convenient way to reserve your Orlando vacation. Orlando Vacation Packages are also available on ReserveOrlando.com, and are an easy way to outline your time in Orlando.

The Orlando Vacation Packages we offer are completely customizable and can be tailored to fit your dream Orlando adventure or to fit a vacationer on a budget. Our Disney World Resort packages, for example, allow guests to choose if they would like to visit the park for a few days or an extended period of up to ten days. Plus, you get the choice of Park Hopper, Waterpark Fun and More! and No Expiration options if you would like to upgrade. Tuscana Resort, WorldQuest and Mona Lisa Suite Hotel are the three main properties featured with our Disney World packages, but other preferred lodging options are available.

Universal Resort Orlando is also an Orlando visitor favorite, and is a wonderful way to spend your time in Central Florida. Tuscana Resort, WorldQuest and Mona Lisa are featured on these packages as well, and the same great options are available as well. With our Universal Resort Orlando packages you have your choice of ticket type including One Day, Two Day and Two Park Unlimited Tickets options. Then, select the number of nights that fits your vacation. It’s just that easy! Other hotel options are available.

Other Orlando vacation packages feature Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show, Gatorland from WorldQuest and Wet ‘n Wild from WorldQuest and Wet ‘n Wild from Mona Lisa Suite Hotel. You can also always create your own personalized vacation package by logging on to our website and choosing which shows, attractions and lodging your family find most desirable.

Over the next year, the 120-acre entertainment-shopping-dining complex known as Pleasure Island will add a number of one-of-a-kind, immersive experiences for guests. Downtown Disney will even get its own iconic attraction, in the form of a giant, tethered balloon that will take guests 300 feet into the air to view the amazing vistas of Walt Disney World Resort. Other new experiences include:

In fall 2008, guests will enter a world of prehistoric creatures at T-Rex: A Prehistoric Family Adventure. The dinosaur-themed family eatery will serve up pizzas, pastas, seafood and more, and will feature life-size animated dinosaurs that dwell among bubbling geysers, waterfalls and a fossil dig site.

Also this fall, a design-your-own t-shirt store from Hanes will add to the growing collection of merchandise guests can personalize at Downtown Disney.

– E-brands Restaurants, an Orlando-based, multi-concept restaurant group, will premier its newest concept at Downtown Disney in spring 2009. The high-energy, casual eatery will feature authentic Central and South American cuisine, specialty drinks and live music along the waterfront.
– Guests also will enjoy a brand new mix of shopping and dining experiences at Pleasure Island as it is transformed over the next two years. To complement these new experiences, many popular Downtown Disney locations will undergo enhancements.
– Beginning this summer, Portobello Yacht Club will be transformed into a Tuscan Country Trattoria. The refreshed menu features authentic Italian dishes and signature favorites and a re-designed interior along with an outdoor dining space.
– This fall, Goofy’s Candy Company will add a special new room that will enable families to host one-of-a-kind birthday parties at Downtown Disney.
– The Marketplace Stage will be completely replaced with a larger, covered stage this fall to welcome even more entertainment to Downtown Disney and serve as a new premier venue for Disney Magic Music Days.
Fulton’s Crab House will update its interior fixtures and furnishing and exterior in Spring 2009. The enhancements include a refreshed third floor deck dining area to offer additional Disney guests and larger private parties the traditional Fulton’s experience.
– Next year, Wolfgang Puck Café will update its interior fixtures and furnishings and will feature an enclosed glass patio offering guests a year-round outdoor dining experience.
– These efforts come on the heels of recent enhancements at World of Disney, Wolfgang Puck Express, Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop, Earl of Sandwich and Cap’n Jack’s Restaurant.
Information courtesy of DISBoards.com
Image courtesy of Orlando Sentinel

A dollar may not go as far as it did in the past but in the International Drive Resort Area in Orlando it provides convenient access to all of the world-famous attractions, accommodations, entertainment, dining and fun along Orlando’s tourist corridor.

Since it began in 1997, the I-Ride Trolley has been one of the most popular attractions among millions of visitors to the I-Drive area. It allows guests to park their car and ride stress-free to the accommodations and attractions in the world’s most popular vacation destination. And at $1.00 for a single adult ride, it is the best bargain in the area.

Luann Brooks, Executive Director of the International Drive Master Transit & Improvement District which operates the Trolley System, says the District consistently looks for ways to improve the transportation system to make the guest experience a positive one.

“As travelers look for ways to stretch their budgets and eliminate the stress that has become such a part of the travel experience, the Trolley is more than a way to get from point to point. It allows our guests a chance to park the car and save money on gas. It also gives them a chance to relax and leave the driving to us. They can enjoy the ride and not have to think about missing a turn into their favorite attraction!”

Brooks also says that as tourists look for creative ways to save money, the Trolley System has always been a favorite of those staying on I-Drive.

“It is fun, convenient and you cannot beat the price.”

And unlike the increasing price of gas and other rising costs of travel, the price will stay the same.

Costs: Single fare, $1.00 per ride; senior fare 65 and over, .25 cents per ride. Children under12 ride free when accompanied by a paying adult. Unlimited ride passes are available: (one-day pass, $3.00 per person); (three-day pass, $5.00 per person); (five-day pass, $7.00 per person); (seven-day pass, $9.00 per person) (14-day pass, $16.00 per person).

Combining the charm of the past with today’s modern comforts, this prototype destination transportation system has logged more than 17.5 million trips since it began service. Each I-Ride Trolley seats 54 riders plus two wheelchair positions and an ADA-specified hydraulic lift system. The system operates 15 trolleys with service from 8 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. daily.

The I-Ride Trolley Main Line route travels primarily along International Drive north and south, beginning at Prime Outlets International and traveling southbound on a circular route to Orlando Premium Outlets. In addition to the many dining and accommodation stops along the route, it also stops at Pointe Orlando, the Orange County Convention Center, SeaWorld Adventure Park Orlando and Aquatica.

The Green Line begins service in the Major Blvd. area and encompasses Kirkman Road and Universal Blvd., then shadows the Main Line route as it continues service down to Orlando Premium Outlets with stops that include Wet ‘n Wild, Pointe Orlando, the new Point Orlando Resort and the newly renovated Westgate Palace Resort, the Orange County Convention Center and Sea World Adventure Park Orlando.

If you are planning a trip to Orlando, utilize this fun, cost-saving transportation system. Park the car, hop onboard and leave the driving to us!

Information courtesy of International Drive Orlando

Universal Orlando has announced that its new ‘The Simpsons Ride’ has already reached the 1 million rider mark — making the ride the fastest to hit the mark in the resort’s history.

The ride had its millionth rider on the night of July 14. Since it opened on May 15 this year, it took just two months for the attraction to hit the seven figure rider mark.
‘The Simpsons Ride’ replaced the old ‘Back to the Future: The Ride’, which was at the resort for nearly 16 years. In the ride, patrons are shown characters and adventures from the popular TV show and taken to ‘Krustyland’ built by Krusty the Clown. However, riders must be on their toes as Sideshow Bob is loose from prison to get revenge on Krusty and the Simpson family.
Dion Fenderson, who was on vacation from Detroit with his wife and two sons, was the millionth rider.
Information & Image courtesy of TVShark.com

Grueling-hot summertime visits to theme parks can be alleviated with turns on one of their water-thrill rides. Take a whirl through this Orlando guide to H2O zones and discover which ones are worth getting soaked to the bone.

Kali River Rapids
Asia area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Water, water, everywhere: Its surrounding environment is incredibly green and gorgeous — with the exception of the ruins left by illegal loggers, which are impressive in their own way. Ride is divided just enough from park for an immersive experience. Serious drawback: visit too brief.
Vessel: Round raft, seats 12, seat belts strap in two people apiece. (Height requirement: 38 inches)

Splashdown lowdown: Hills are straightaway fun, contrasting with the tranquil flat stretches.

Saturation point: A drenching, equivalent to a bucket of water poured over you.

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
Toon Lagoon, Islands of Adventure

Water, water everywhere: Ride runs through classic cartoon settings with sound effects and sight gags. Early drops don’t get riders as wet as the following splash that comes over the sides and into laps.

Vessel: Log-flume style, seating five, single-file with lap bars — which upsets fans who want more hang time. It’s a snug fit, a challenge for the hippy and leggy. (Height requirement: 44 inches)

Splashdown lowdown: Dramatic drop looks just as steep from inside the log as it does from the sidelines. Brace yourself for a bounce at the end.

Saturation point: You’ll probably get good and wet, but if you escape reasonably dry, beware of onlookers who will pay 25 cents to fire a water cannon at your smug, dry self.

Jurassic Park River Adventure
Jurassic Park, Islands of Adventure

Water, water everywhere: Comprehensive theme successfully places guests in the movie setting. The soundtrack helps at start and finish. Dinosaurs craftily distract from impending drop.

Vessel: Boat with five rows of five seats and pull-down bar. (Height requirement: 42 inches)

Splashdown lowdown: Ride ends with a bang and a giant splash. Depending on your seat and the weight distribution, you might not get soaked. Heavier cargo (yeah, I’m talking about you) equals bigger waves.

Saturation point: Ranges from damp to dunked, especially in the face. A better guarantee is the splash zone that runs alongside the finale.

Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges
Toon Lagoon, Islands of Adventure

Water, water everywhere: Surprisingly steep ride with churning, side-to-side action and several opportunities for overhead waterings. Nice velocity in flat stretches.

Vessel: 12-seat round raft. (Height requirement: 42 inches)

Splashdown lowdown: Long lift through Bluto’s boat wash gives time to debate which rider will get wettest. It’s a bit futile.

Saturation point: Expect a thorough soaking.

Splash Mountain
Frontierland, Magic Kingdom

Water, water everywhere: Lengthy trip follows high jinks of “Song of the South” characters plus glimpses of the park from on high.

Vessel: Log with four rows of two seats, no harness or lap belt. (Height requirement: 40 inches)

Splashdown lowdown: Good air going down the mountain, briefly exhilarating.

Saturation point: Hit and miss, depending on seating.

Journey to Atlantis
SeaWorld Orlando

Water, water everywhere: Trek through the temple mixes wet and dry thrills.

Vessel: Boats with four rows of two seats, single lap bar. (Height requirement: 42 inches)

Splashdown lowdown: Public plunge looks like climactic ending — or is it?

Saturation point: Moderate dampness.

Maelstrom
Norway, Epcot

Water, water everywhere: Although signage indicates a “high-seas adventure,” it’s more like “it’s a small world” with puffins, polar bears and trolls.

Vessel: Viking ship of four rows, no restraints, no height requirement.

Splashdown lowdown: Although the ship briefly peeks outside the ride before diving into scream-filled darkness, it’s not nearly as harrowing as it sounds.

Saturation point: Relax. You’re more likely to get wet from heartfelt tears in the five-minute film that follows.

Information & Image courtesy of Orlando Sentinel

More than 75,000 votes have been cast and it is time to announce the winners in the 2008 Theme Park Insider Awards.

These awards are selected by you, ThemeParkInsider.com‘s readers, in year-long ratingsof the thousands of rides, shows, restaurants and hotels listed on the site. They represent the best of the best in the theme park industry, and stand among many close runners-up in providing outstanding value for a family theme park vacation.
Best Theme Park Hotel: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge reclaims this honor for the third time. “Every part of the hotel from the room, to the view, to the food, and the cast members made this resort one of a kind,” one Theme Park Insider reader wrote.
All “on-property” hotels at theme park resorts worldwide are eligible for the Best Theme Park Hotel Award. In addition to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Theme Park Insider readers highly rated two other hotels that stand among the Top Three Best Theme Park Hotels in the World:
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.
Best Theme Park: Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif.
The park that started the worldwide theme park craze reclaims its crown, winning Theme Park Insider readers’ top award for 2008. Disney’s always had the most loyal fans in the theme park business, but even casual fans are falling back in love with this park, thanks to recent renovations and fresh attractions. With Pirates of the Caribbean and the Indiana Jones Adventure, Disneyland had two of the top four rides in the country in Theme Park Insider’s recent “Best Ride in America” tournament, and qualified more attractions for that tournament than any other single theme park in the world.
In addition to Disneyland, Theme Park Insider readers honored two other parks as among Top Three Best Theme Parks in the World:
Busch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg, Va.
Thank you to all Theme Park Insider readers for another great year and… we’ll see you in the parks!
Information & Images courtesy of Theme Park Insider

More than 75,000 votes have been cast and it is time to announce the winners in the 2008 Theme Park Insider Awards.

These awards are selected by you, ThemeParkInsider.com‘s readers, in year-long ratings of the thousands of rides, shows, restaurants and hotels listed on the site. They represent the best of the best in the theme park industry, and stand among many close runners-up in providing outstanding value for a family theme park vacation.
So let’s get to it, starting with the one award that changes every year:
These twin rides debuted on consecutive days in May and wowed fans with their mix of irreverent humor and physical thrills. Theme Park Insider readers said that The Simpsons Ride is “hilarious, thrilling, and visually astounding” and that even “the waiting is enjoyable.”
Mark Woodbury, President, Universal Creative, Universal Parks & Resorts said of the honor, “The Simpsons Ride represents what Universal does best – which is to take pop culture’s blockbuster entertainment concepts and bring them to life in wildly entertaining theme park experiences. We appreciate the recognition and share it with our partners at Fox Licensing and Gracie Films, who helped us create a truly authentic Simpsons experience.”
Attractions that opened to the public in theme and amusement parks worldwide between June 1, 2007 and May 31, 2008 were eligible for the Best New Attraction award. In addition to The Simpsons Ride, Theme Park Insider readers highly two other rides that stand among the Top Three Best New Attractions of the Year:
Nights in White Satin at Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Best Theme Park Restaurant: Mythos at Universal Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Fla.
For the sixth consecutive year, Mythos wins Theme Park Insider’s honor as the world’s best theme park restaurant. Readers lauded Mythos for “great prices, great food and great service” as well as “wonderful atmosphere.”
Ric Florell, Senior Vice President/General Manager, Resort Revenue Operations at Universal Orlando said of the honor, “With Mythos, our team set out to create an entirely new level of theme park dining experience. It was to be an experience that blended extraordinary food with extraordinary atmosphere. The continued recognition Mythos receives shows we have been – and continue to be – successful. We’re grateful for the recognition. More importantly, our team is grateful for the opportunity to continue to thrill our guests.”
All table-service restaurants located within the gates of theme and amusement parks are eligible for the Best Theme Park Restaurant award. In addition to Mythos, Theme Park Insider readers highly rated two other restaurants that stand among the Top Three Best Theme Park Restaurants in the World:
Information courtesy of Theme Park Insider