The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival blossoms at Disney World this spring, from March 2nd through May 15th. The special event features a colorful array of flowers, gardens, topiaries, live music and educational events. Whether you’re a gardening pro or just like to admire the beauty of nature, a visit to Epcot during this festival is fun for everyone.Each year Disney presents an array of blooming flowers and an amazing collection of Disney-themed topiaries. . This year’s event will showcase the characters from Toy Story 3, including Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Lotso the Teddy Bear. The popular Disney-Pixar Characters will be recreated as seven and eight-foot-tall topiaries at the Epcot front entrance, which will also feature a sand castle, strawberry-scented field and playground toys. This is the first time the Toy Story characters have been showcased at the festival. The event will feature more than 100 total topiaries, seminars and gardening demonstrations, gardens bursting with blooms, “flower power” concerts and more.

Another show-stopping topiary will be the brand-new Cars 2 display at the World Showcase Plaza. Large floral topiaries of Cars characters Mater and Lightning McQueen will be created beneath a black-and-white checkered arch. The scene will be completed with floral flag creations representing Japan, France, Italy and the United Kingdom, all of which are destination featured in the Cars sequel.

Other additions to the Epcot Flower Festival include:

• Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and pals topiary among a Hundred Acre Wood wildflower display near Future World and World Showcase.

• A larger Bambi’s Butterfly House with more butterflies than ever before. Located along Imagination Walkway in Future World.

• Rapunzel will let down her hair at Rapunzels Tower in the Tangled Magical Garden inspired by the Disney animated film Tangled. This display will be located between the Germany and Italy pavilions.

On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays guests will want to stick around for the Flower Power Concert Series. Concerts will be held at the America Gardens Theatre. Showtimes are 5:15pm, 6:30pm and 7:45pm:

March 4 – 6: Jose Feliciano – “Light My Fire”
March 11 – 13: The Guess Who – “These Eyes”
March 18 – 20: Chubby Checker & The Wildcats – “The Twist”
March 25 – 27: Melissa Manchester (New for 2011) – “Don’t Cry Outloud”
April 1 – 3: Starship Starring Mickey Thomas – “We Built This City”
April 8 – 10: Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. (New for 2011) – “You Don’t Have to be a Star”
April 15 – 17: Juice Newton (New for 2011) – “Playing with the Queen of Hearts”
April 22 – 24: Ricky Nelson Remembered featuring The Nelsons – “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection”
April 29 – May 1: Paul Revere and the Raiders – “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone”
May 6 – 8: Davy Jones – “Daydream Believer”
May 13 – 15 Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone – “Henry the VIII”

All of the exciting events held during Epcot’s Flower Festival are include with your purchase of Disney tickets.

Disney World Theme Parks is currently in the midst of the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history, with the new expansion at Fantasyland. The Magic Kingdom’s goal with Fantasyland is to provide guests a new way to interact with their favorite characters and immerse themselves in the Disney experience like never before.Fantasyland experiences will includes fun attractions like Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid. This ride-through adventure features Ariel, her friends and the popular songs from The Little Mermaid.

Construction is underway on Beast’s Castle, located on hill to create an even more majestic experience. Guests will cross over a stone bridge before arriving at Be Our Guest Restaurant, which ties in well with the Beauty and the Beast theme. Located within the Beast’s Castle, the restaurant will have a 550 person capacity and offer delicious fast food items by day and full table service dinging by night. The area home to the restaurant will be known as Belle’s Village, which will feature Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts. Belle’s Cottage will feature a new experience where Belle, Lumiere and guests participate in “Enchanted Tales with Belle.”

Storybook Circus is an elaborate addition that includes adding another carousel to Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Guests in queue for the ride will be able to join the circus and step inside the Big Top for interactive experiences that make waiting in line fun. The existing Barnstormer ride, located near Dumbo the Flying Elephant, is also getting a makeover. Goofy will be remade as The Great Goofini and the attraction will take guests on a roller-coaster flight above the Big Top.

Disney Princesses will be highlighted at the new Princess Fairytale Hall. Aurora, Cinderella and other Disney princesses such as Rapunzel with greet guests at the royal court and guests will be able to interact with the princesses. The Princess Fairytale Hall will be located where Snow White’s Scary Adventures is currently.One of the most exciting additions is a Snow White-themed family mine coaster. Called “The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train,” the ride features onboard music and animated figures from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The coaster features a unique ride system with a train of ride vehicles that swing back and forth as they travel along the track.

The Disney World Fantasyland area is being constructed in phases, with the entire project scheduled to be completed by 2013.

Disney World is presenting “The Magic, Memories and You” on select nights in 2011 at the Magic Kingdom. The Orlando theme park has called the event a “dramatic projection show” starring park guests.DW LOGO

“The Magic, Memories and You” will feature photographs of guests taken by the Disney Photo Pass Photographers. The photos will appear on the towers, spires and face of Cinderella Castle each evening. Photos are selected a few hours before the program begins, and then a computer will populate them into the after-dark production.

The production uses a plethora of projectors, which help make the images look three dimensional. Video segments will also be used during the new show. The area just above the main entrance to the castle has a drop down screen where the videos will appear.

“The Magic, Memories and You” focuses on the Disney experience and concludes with the traditional Magic Kingdom fireworks show. New music was created for the show and is called “Let the Memories Begin.” A dozen other Disney songs are featured throughout the show.  The show is expected to run for two years at the Orlando theme park.

Discount Disney tickets are on sale now.

Old Town’s Friday and Saturday Night Band Schedule:

February 2011
4th Reunion
5th Shout
11th Earth Beat
12th Earth Beat
18th Sleep Till Noon
19th Close Quarters
25th Clyde Harris & Street Talk
26th Blue Suede Revue

March 2011
4th The Peanut Butter Co
5th The Peanut Butter Co
11th The Blue Suede Revue
12th The Dukes
18th The Mob
19th The Mob
25th The T-Birds
26th The T-Birds

April 2011
1st Earth Beat
2nd Earth Beat
8th Shout
9th Shout
15th The Repeatles
16th The Repeatles
22nd Showstoppers
23rd Reunion
29th Sleep Till Noon
30th The Dukes

May 2011
6th The Peanut Butter Co.
7th The Peanut Butter Co.
13th The Mob
14th The Mob
20th The T-Birds
21st The T-Birds
27th Close Quarters
28th Close Quarters

June 2011
3rd Clyde Harris & Street Talk
4th The Dukes
10th Reunion
11th Earth Beat
17th Shout
18th Shout
24th Sleep Till Noon
25th The Repeatles

July 2011
1st The Mob
2nd The Mob
8th The Showstoppers
9th The Showstoppers
15th Blue Suede Revue
16th Reunion
22nd Sleep Till Noon
23rd The Dukes
29th Close Quarters
30th Close Quarters

Universal Orlando Resort celebrates Mardi Gras with the biggest and best party east of New Orleans. Scheduled for February 12 through April 23, Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando is included with your regular Universal Studios tickets.
The event features nationally renowned musical acts, an authentic Mardi Gras parade, dozens of costumed performers, delicious Cajun cooking, and New Orleans bands that capture the spirit and sound of New Orleans, all at Universal Theme Parks in Orlando.
This year’s entertainment line-up includes some of the biggest names in rock, country, pop and R&B.; With a combined 100 songs on the Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart, the headliners at Mardi Gras are sure to amaze the crowds and get the party started. Some of the highlights include performances by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Neon Trees, The Beach Boys, Ne-Yo and Blake Shelton.
The world-famous parade at Mardi Gras Universal Orlando is highlighted by a dozen elaborate floats, hand-crafted and designed by Blaine Kern Artists, the same company that creates the floats for the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade. The parade will make its way through the streets of Universal Studios, along with costumed performers and float riders, all of whom throw beads along the way. The parade theme is Fire, Air, Water and Earth and will crown a nightly King and Queen of Mardi Gras.
The celebration continues in the French Quarter Courtyard where New Orleans inspired food and almost a dozen authentic New Orleans bands will perform the best in blues and jazz.
The full concert line-up at Mardi Gras is as follows:
Feb. 12: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Feb. 19: The B-52s
Feb. 20: KC & The Sunshine Band
Feb. 26: Pitbull
March 5: Lynyrd Skynyrd
March 12: Foreigner
March 18: Neon Trees
March 19: Thirty Seconds to Mars
March 25: OneRepublic
March 26: Blake Shelton
April 1: Sean Kingston
April 2: Ne-Yo
April 9: Lifehouse
April 16: The Beach Boys
All performances listed above are held at the Music Plaza. Some of the bands scheduled to perform at the French Quarter include Lil Malcolm & the House Rockets, J.J. Caillier & The Zydeco Knockouts, and Lil Briand & The Zydeco Travelers.
SeaWorld has announced plans to restart its “Dine with Shamu” killer whale show, which was suspended last year.
The show will resume on February 26 in San Antonio, and some this spring at the Orlando and San Diego locations.
The limited admission performances includes a buffet meal for guests while trainers work with one of the park’s orcas. Sitting poolside, guests get an up close look and the trainers and whales interacting as they have their meal. The event is one of the most popular things to do at SeaWorld.
Purchase SeaWorld tickets today to experience all the park has to offer.

The Ripley’s Museum has acquired two sculptures made of Florida driftwood by Palm Coast Artists Paul Baliker. Baliker’s work strives to illustrate man’s relationship with nature and his stunning sculptures accomplish that goal.
His two pieces are called Oceans 11th Hour and A Matter of Time. Oceans 11th Hour is designed to draw attention to the pollution and overfishing of the world’s oceans. The piece is 8 feet high and 10 feet wide and is made from Florida cedar found on islands along the gulf coast. It will open as a special exhibit on January 19th at the Ripley’s Museum Orlando.
A Matter of Time, which represents the relationship between man and the ecosystem, will first be displayed at the Ripley’s Museum in Mexico City, before being sent to Ripley’s attractions throughout the world.
Ripley Entertainment Inc. has over 80 attractions in 11 countries. In addition to their famous museums, the entertainment company also features Ripley Aquariums attractions in destinations like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, as well as other attractions that include mini-golf, haunted houses, mirror mazes and more.

Fun Spot Action Park in Orlando, Florida is planning on tripling its size during its 2011 expansion. The amusement park has purchased 10 acres behind their existing location, just off of International Drive.

Expansion plans include the possibilities of adding more rides, go-kart tracks and other attractions, as well as adding to their staff. Fun Spot is also considering adding water rides and a SkyCoaster. Currently, Fun Spot features a multi-level go-kart track and midway-style rides. Paint ball and batting cages could also be part of the new Fun Spot, though a final plan has not been constructed as of yet.
Fun Spot also has another location in Kissimmee, near Disney World.
Universal Orlando Resort recently sold its one-millionth butterbeer, a milestone they marked by celebrating with the crowd in attendance that day by sharing 1,00 butterbeers with guests on the streets of Hogsmeade, located within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Butterbeer is a favorite drink in the Harry Potter novels. It is a non-alcoholic drink with shortbread and butterscotch flavors, and is served cold or frozen. The recipe for butterbeer, which is served only at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, is a closely kept secret.Many guests order a butterbeer not just to quench their thirst, but to fully engage in the Harry Potter experience. The beverage has been a huge success; so much so that executives added a fourth butterbeer location within the park.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the only place in the world where the wonder and excitement of the Harry Potter books come to life. The only way to experience it is to visit Universal Orlando.

Purchase your Universal tickets today!

Busch Gardens Tampa, just a short drive south of Orlando, has announced some big thrills and big names for its 2011 season. The theme park will feature bigger concert series, an all-new attraction plus a new extreme sports series.

Busch Gardens’ new mega-attraction brings the world’s fastest land animal to life with an all-new, one-of-a-kind launch coaster. The coaster – known as Cheetah Hunt – 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. Cheetah Hunt will be located at the Crown Colony Plaza section of the park.
The Real Music Concert Series presents music from notable eras such as big band and the rockin’ 50s. The 2011 line-up, scheduled to appear Thursday-Saturday from January 19 through March 26, include Debbie Reynolds, The 5th Dimension, The Osmond Brothers, Tony Orlando, Charo and more. All performances take place at the Stanleyville Theater.

Bands, Brew & BBQ, a tradition at Busch Gardens, will feature an even bigger music line-up in 2011. Guests will be able to enjoy four weekends of hot live performances from award-winning country and classic rock artists, as well as sample some delicious beer and BBQ. Bands, Brew & BBQ is scheduled for February 2011.

March 13-April 2, join the fiesta at Busch Gardens during Viva La Musica, an event featuring Grammy and Latin-Grammy-award winning artists who will perform salsa, meringue, reggae and more.
The excitement at Busch Gardens gets extreme in April as ASA Action Sports World Tour rides into the theme park. The event will feature the world’s best pro skateboarders, BMX riders and inline skaters. Live local bands, food and the latest in sports fear will be available. The Ramp Jam event is scheduled for April 9-10 and April 16-17.
Glory at the Gardens will also return to the theme park in 2011. The top acts in Christian, Gospel and Christian Rock will take the stage to bring music and fellowship to park-goers. This festival, scheduled for May 2011, is on the parks’ premier events.
Busch Gardens tickets are on sale now!