Florida’s newest theme park – Legoland – doesn’t open until October 2011, but tickets are already on sale. Located at the old Cypress Gardens location in Orlando, Florida, Legoland is slashing $10 off the price of admission on a one-day pass now through December 31, 2010. The current prices are $65 for adults, $55 for children ages 3-12, $55 for ages 60 and older, and free for children 3 and under. All prices increase by $10 on January 1, 2011. Two-day tickets and front-of-line passes will also be available, but prices have not been posted for those items yet.
The park is going to be divided into sections called The Beginning, Fun Town, Miniland USA, Castle Hill, Land of Adventure, XTreme, LEGO City, Imagination Zone, Pirate’s Cove and DUPLO Village. As with other Legoland parks, the attractions available will be very kid-centric and include lots of interactive, hands-on activities, including intricate Lego dioramas.
Here are a few highlights of each section:
- The Beginning will feature ticket sales, The Market, the Garden Restaurant and The Big Shop, a retail store with Lego merchandise.
- Fun Town will offer a 4-D theater, a Lego factory tour, a studio store with Lego products, and a Granny’s Apple Fries store.
- Miniland USA is the home of highly detailed dioramas, all made of Lego’s, of national and regional places. A few of the cities featured will be Washington D.C., New York City and Las Vegas. A pirate-themed area is also planned.
- Castle Hill features The Dragon, an indoor/outdoor roller coaster located within the Legoland Castle, as well as the Royal Joust, where kids ride Lego horses and compete in simulated jousts.
- Land of Adventure includes the Coasterasaurus junior coaster and Lost Kingdom Adventure, an interactive ride featuring laser guns.
- XTreme will feature the Lego Technic Test Track roller coaster plus the Aquazone Wave Racers.
- LEGO City will include a Driving School, Fun Town Fire Academy, Flight School, which is an inverted coaster.
- Imagination Zone is an educational area with video game stations, a Lego clubhouse, computerized Lego robots and Kid Power Towers.
- Pirate’s Cove is a water-stunt show that is still in the design stages.
- DUPLO Village will be an area designed specifically for toddlers.
More details will be released as they become available.
Celebrate the season at Universal Orlando Resort
, where nightly holiday music, an all-new holiday village, Grinchmas and the Macy’s Holiday Parade are featured. The holiday cheer begins December 4 and lasts through January 1st, 2011.
At Universal Studios
, guests can head to the streets of New York for Macy’s Holiday Parade. This seasonal favorite features authentic floats and balloons, including several brand new ones, direct from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City. Festive street performers and talented marching bands from around the country create the parade, which includes Santa himself. Afterwards, there is a beautiful tree lighting ceremony with music and a gorgeous display of lights.
The holiday concert series will feature Mannheim Steamroller on December 4th, 11th and 18th, while nightly a capella holiday music will be performed at the Music Plaza stage at Universal Studios. Guests can also explore the nearby holiday village, which features hand-blown glass ornaments, fresh roasted chestnuts, caramel apples and other holiday sweets.
At Islands of Adventure
at Universal Orlando Resort Seuss Landing is transformed into the wintry wonderland of Grinchmas. It features the popular live musical performance of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” which stars The Grinch and includes music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller. Guests are encouraged to stroll through the Whoville Wonky Tree Lot and take in the zany Wholiday decorations.
Holiday Breakfast with The Grinch is also available to park goers. The breakfast event includes a delicious breakfast buffet and appearances by The Grinch, Whos and The Cat in the Hat.
From December 26-31, Universal Studios presents Universal 360 – A Cinesphere Spectacular. Through unique technological innovations, guests can experience the sights and sounds of some of Hollywood’s biggest films projected onto huge spheres in the Universal Studios lagoon, accompanied by a dynamic laser display and dazzling pyrotechnic show.
All festivities – except Holiday Breakfast with The Grinch – are included in as part of admission to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
Forever Florida is hosting several fun events this season, including the 11th Annual Patrick Smith Day and a Holiday Zipline Adventure.
The Patrick Smith Day event celebrates acclaimed author Patrick Smith, who is heralded as “The Greatest Living Floridian” by the Florida Historical Society. Every member of the family will enjoy the fun-filled day, which features activities such as storytelling, arts and crafts vendors, musical performances and special cracker cattle and horse demonstrations. There will also be a special “A Land Remembered” Coach Safari through the Florida wilderness, the setting for so many of Smith’s literary works.
Musical performances will start at 1pm and run into the evening. It will spotlight some of the best local folk and bluegrass musicians.
General admission to the vent is $5 per person. The event runs from 9am-9pm. It’s also a great time to go on a Forever Florida EcoSafari, including a Coach Safari, Horseback Safari and Zipline Safari.
For the holiday season, Florida EcoSafaris at Forever Florida
are presenting a family holiday adventure like none other. The Holiday Lights Zipline Safari
takes guests on a wild show of colorful lights and music while zipping thought the Forever Florida Wildlife Conservation area. The adventure includes seven different ziplines, nine aerial observation platforms and two bouncing sky bridges. The Holiday Zipline Adventure is available Friday and Saturday nights in December.
Fantasy Surf at FantasyWorld Resort is now open to the public. This new Orlando attraction offers an incredible experience that makes guests feel as if they are surfing in the ocean while being in landlocked Kissimmee.
The $4 million indoor aquatic recreation venue features the patented FlowRider system – specifically the FlowRider Double – which is 32 feet wide, 49 feet long and can accommodate 25-30 riders per hours. The padded walls, floor and beach is covered by a three-inch sheet of water that creates a surfable wave. With its cushioned surface, the ride was designed for wipeouts and is a great place to hone your surfing skills. Plus, family and friends can watch from the viewing gallery as well as from multiple screens located around the complex.
In addition to the indoor surfing experience, visitors can also grab a quick bite to eat at The Lull, which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, as well as pick up some new surfing gear at the Offshore Surf Shop.
offers 30 minute sessions on the patented double FlowRider® systems.
Ticket prices are as follows:
One FlowRider session: $25/adult; $20/child (ages 5-9)
Two single-session ticket $47/adult; $37/child (ages 5-9)
You must be at least 42” to body board on the FlowRider and 52” to flow board.
The 5th Annual Orlando Film Festival returns to the downtown area November 3 -7, 2010. The event coordinators have made the event absolutely free in order in the hopes that they can increase everyone’s appreciation if independent cinema while also promoting the arts and cultures present in the downtown Orlando area.
All of the films will be showcased at Orlando’s Plaza Cinema Café, a state of the art movie theater that offers many amenities like its cutting edge contemporary design, 12 auditoriums with luxury leather, stadium seating, digital surround sound and expanded concessions featuring beer/wine and a full menu.
At the end of the film festival, awards are given in several categories, including Best Feature Film, Best Documentary and Best Direction.
The tentative schedule for this year’s event is as follows:
November 3: An Opening Night Party is scheduled for 6pm-8pm at Ember, with the Opening Night Film (TBA) scheduled to premiere at 8:30pm. An Opening night VIP Party will take place from 10pm-1pm.
November 4: Films will screen at the Plaza Cinema Café from noon to midnight, with a VIP Chillers After Party scheduled from 10pm-2am.
November 5: A Special VIP Luncheon is being held to honor an Oscar winning actress, along with an Antigua Happy Hour from 4pm-7pm, a Friday Night Feature Films showing at 8pm and a VIP After Party at Latitudes from 10pm-2am.
November 6: Plaza Cinema Café hosts the Budweiser Stage Music Day plus there is a Young Actors Panel, featuring some of Hollywood’s hottest young actors. The 2010 Award Winners are announced Saturday night, with a Wrap Party scheduled from 10pm-2am at Ember.
November 7: On Encore Sunday, there is a Best of Fest Screen all day long as well as a specula closing night event.
Reserve from our selection of Orlando hotels
now for the best available rates.
Parks & Entertainment has unveiled a new addition for its Orlando
theme park. A saltwater environment dubbed “Grand Reef” is planned for Discovery Cove in Orlando. This is the first significant expansion at Discovery Cove
, a 10-year old boutique park that specializes in marine life and interactive experiences. Discovery Cove caps its attendance at about 1,000 people per day, allowing it to offer resort-style pampering and personalized encounters with animals. The park gets a lot of repeat visitors, and this expansion will give them something new to explore.
The 2.5 acre Grand Reef will be a lush tropical environment with a white sand beach, underwater grottos and a palm-tree lined island. It will be built around an aquarium filled with more than 1 million gallons of water and 125 species of fish, rays and sharks. Guests will be able to wade and snorkel with the tropical fish, cross a rope bridge over a shark-filled lagoon and relax on the island’s hammocks.
There will also be an underwater walking tour name “Sea Venture” in which guests will wear dive helmets and follow a submerged path 10 feet below the surface. The “Sea Venture” experience will cost an additional $59 on top of Discovery Cove admission. The underwater tour will last about an hour.
Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, just south of Orlando, has revealed the name of its newest coaster – Cheetah Hunt – along with details regarding the new roller coaster ride. Busch Gardens draws inspiration from animals and nature when it comes to designing to new rides for its African-theme amusement park. Cheetah Hunt is no exception, as it embraces the spirit and speed of the cheetah, in the same manner as Kumba, Gwazi and Sheikra, other popular Busch Gardens coasters.
The new attractions is a linear synchronous motor launch coaster that uses the force of repelling magnets to launch riders from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds. This will happen not once, but three times. The first launch will propel the train out of its station and into the grasslands that surround the new coaster area. Moments later, a second burst of speed accelerates riders to 60mph and into the ride’s signature tower element that climbs more than 10 stories before plunging 130 feet into a subterranean trench. At the far end of the coaster, a third burst of speed rockets the train back across the plain toward the station. Cheetah Hunt will be located at the Crown Colony Plaza section of the park.
Combining thrills with immersive animal encounters is key to the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
experience. Therefore, the new Cheetah Hunt ride will also feature Cheetah Run, an expansive new habitat that will give visitors the opportunity to get closer to cheetahs than ever before with elevated, glass-paneled viewing areas. Busch Gardens trainers will conduct daily sprints with cheetahs for a wonderful opportunity to see one of nature’s fastest creatures in full form. Cheetah Run
will be located in the area that formerly housed the Budweiser Clydesdales.
Both of the new attractions are scheduled to open in spring 2011.
A new theme park is being considered for Orlando. The Baker Leisure Group, which specializes in building theme parks, is aiding a group of investors with the project to build “The Orlando Thrill Park.” Developers want to build an amusement park dedicated to roller coasters and the proposed location in a 77 acre lot on International Drive, near Festival Bay Mall and Prime Outlets.
The park could feature as many as 15 rides, according to a rendering provided to the city of Orlando as part of an application for zoning and land-use changes. Also included were photos of extreme-design roller coasters, with interlocking loops and vertical drops. The group is interested in building roller coasters so tall they would require Federal Aviation Administration approval. The tallest ride, according to the submitted sketch, would be 425 feet tall, just shy of the 441-foot tall SunTrust Center in downtown Orlando.
As stated earlier, this project is in the early stages of development but it sounds like a promising start. An Orlando theme park dedicated to thrills sounds like a popular plan. More details will be released as they are made available.
The Haunted Hanger Storytelling Tour is available now through October 31, and it highlights entertaining yarns that are a little eerie and also quite inspiring. Some of the stories include Lindbergh’s companion spirits, the ghost of the Red Baron and The Lady Be Good. The Haunted Hanger Tour is free with admission and takes place at noon daily.
Phase II of NightFlight: Paranormal Investigation takes place October 16 & 30. This after-hours event is led by Apollo Paranormal Investigations. Participants will embark on a four-hour adventure to search between this world and the next for signs of supernatural activity using tools of the ghost hunting trade. Reservations are required.
Orlando, Florida features a variety of restaurants to tempt your palate. Here is just a sampling of what is available.