Big Time Rush is set to perform at Universal Orlando Resort’s 2013 Summer Concert Series.  The popular group will take the stage of Music Plaza Saturday, June 8.

Before the concert at Universal Studios guests will be given a chance to interact with members of Big Time Rush in a live question and answer session.  When the show starts they’ll perform all of their signature songs including “Boyfriend,” “Windows Down,” “’Til I Forget About You” and “Worldwide.”

During the Summer Concert Series guests will be treated to some of the biggest stars performing their number one hits.  On Saturday nights from June 1 through July 6 these amazing concerts are included with the purchase of Universal Orlando tickets.    Spend the day enjoying the amazing entertainment experiences and world-class attractions at Universal Studios.  The new TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3D will be open in time for the Summer Concert Series so you can experience the intergalactic battle between the Autobots and Decepticons during your Orlando vacation.  Plus, all your favorite rides like The Simpsons, Revenge of the Mummy, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit will all be open as well creating a day of fun for the whole family. 

More music acts for Universal’s Summer Concert Series will be announced soon.

Critically-acclaimed performance art group DRIP is one of the newest shows in Orlando.  The energetic, in-your-face production is an explosion of color and movement, back by a live rock band.  Their location on International Drive puts them in the heart of Orlando’s entertainment districts.  Plus, their new 5,000 plus square-feet of space provides a new interactive environment for DRIP to explore.

DRIP is an engaging show, with raining liquids, flying powders and colored beers assaulting your senses.  Live music and dance combine, along with water, sand, paint and a few surprises, in an up-close, industrial setting.  Part rock concert, park performance art, DRIP has created an entirely new experience for Orlando visitors.  It’s sexy, adult fun with no one admitted under 21.  Drinks are served at the DRIP, where colored beers and delicious wines complement the stage production.

Performers in DRIP come from a variety of backgrounds.  Many have worked at Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group, House of Blues, and Hard Rock Live.  DRIP has performing as a group for the last five years, but just settled into a permanent home in Orlando in 2012.

Purchase DRIP tickets to see this amazing, multi-media show.   Tickets currently feature a $10 savings and are only $25.  Fair warning, though, you might get messy during this experience so don’t wear your Sunday best.  Do be prepared for an awesome time in Orlando!

Photo Credit: Orlando Science Center

The Orlando Science Center is adding plenty of new things to do in the month of May. The center is a must for your “things to do in Orlando” list. With four floors of exciting exhibits, amazing giant screen movies and engaging live programming, the Science Center is the perfect family destination. 

Take a look at the new things to do in May:
Third Annual Science of Wine
On May 11, from 7pm-10pm, you are invited to the Science of Wine – an event featuring one of the largest collections of wine of any Orlando event.  Learn about wine-growing and wine tasting and sample some of the more than 150 fine wines.  Tickets are $75 per person.
Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog
From May 4-September 8 guests can join Clifford, Emily Elizabeth and other residents of Birdwell Island in a new traveling exhibit.  Explore Clifford’s world first-hand with playful activities and interactive attractions as well as learn about Clifford’s Big Ideas – 10 simple life lessons all children can understand.
Blue Man Group – Making Waves
From May 25-September 2 a multisensory exploration of the science of sound is presented by the Blue Man Group.  The 1,500 square-foot exhibit encourages learning and understanding of light and sound, with different objects representing how sound would look if we could see it and unique Blue Man Group instruments teach guests how sound is created.
Meerkats 3D
Follow the story of meerkat Klinky and her clan as they take on the Kalahari Desert.  Meerkats 3D is featured May through spring 2014.

The Orlando Science Center is an affordable attraction, with science center tickets for adults costing $19 and $13 for children (ages 3-11).

Orlando Halloween Weekend 2011 147_1Disney’s Animal Kingdom is hosting a 15th Anniversary Celebration on April 22, 2013. The celebration will coincide with Earth Day, a perfect complement to a park dedicated to wildlife, conservation and the natural world.

Special events will be held at the Animal Kingdom to celebrate the anniversary and Earth Day. Visitors can look forward to:

  • Opening Ceremony at the Tree of Life: Set for 8:40am, the opening ceremony will feature speakers Josh D’Amaro, Vice President of Disney’s Animal Kingdom; Dr. Jackie Ogden, Vice President of Animals, Science and Environment; and Joe Rohde, Senior Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering Creative.
  • Party for the Planet: From 9am to 5pm interactive activities centered on animals and nature will be happening around the park.
  • Artists: In Africa and Discovery Island, guests can watch artists create unique art that will also be available for purchase.
  • Exclusive Merchandise: Limited 15th anniversary merchandise, food and beverages will be available for purchase.

All events are included with the purchase of Animal Kingdom tickets.

Orlando theme parks have plenty to keep visitors entertained, and this tradition continues with the unveiling of new attractions.
Some of the new attractions at Orlando theme parks in 2013 include:

  • SeaWorld Orlando welcomes its biggest expansion to date across all parks with the opening of Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin on May 24. A state-of-the-art, interactive ride will take guests on an exciting journey through the dangers and wondrous beauty of the Antarctic as they follow and mimic a young penguin’s adventures. More than just a new ride, the new “realm” will be the coldest theme park attraction in the world and will include a variety of new experiences for guests.
  • Universal Orlando Resort is gearing up for the summer opening of TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D with in-park appearances by Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, and Bumblebee. Towering at more than nine feet tall, the characters will appear daily at Universal Studios to meet, interact and photos with guests. Guests can also stock up on battle gear at the Supply Vault, the official merchandise store for TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D.
  • Walt Disney World Resort unveiled New Fantasyland, the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history, at the end of 2012. The new area features Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, a musical showcase featuring Ariel and friends, as well as Enchanted Tales with Belle, where guests of all ages reenact “the tale as old as time” alongside Belle. Other new areas include Be Our Guest Restaurant and Gaston’s Tavern, both inspired by Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” story.
  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will unveil the 90,000-square-foot home for the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which retired in 2011. Opening June 29, the $100 million exhibit will provide views of the vehicle up close. Interactive features reflect major accomplishments of the Space Shuttle program, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station. In addition, Angry Birds Space Encounter recently opened to guests offering seven interactive exhibits featuring the characters of the wildly popular game.
  • Fun Spot Action Park will open its 10-acre expansion on June 8, with a wide range of family-friendly go-kart tracks, rides and food options. The expansion includes White Lightning, a wooden roller coaster, and Vekoma, a suspended family coaster, as well as the world’s biggest SkyCoaster.

Disney World has officially announced plans to revamp Downtown Disney.  The area will be renamed Disney Springs and feature different themed neighborhoods – The Town Center, The Landing, The West Side and The Marketplace.  Each neighborhood will have its own distinct charm and atmosphere, with a total of 150 stores, restaurants and entertainment venues spread throughout.

There is a story, of course, behind Disney Springs.  Legend has it settlers were first attracted to the area because of its bubbling natural springs. From there, the town grew into what it is today.  The spring is what connects the neighborhoods along the waterfront.  The Town Center will be home to shopping and dining and a central promenade, while The Landing will be the main commercial district as well as feature character dining.  The Marketplace and West Side will retain their layouts, but will be upgraded. 
Construction on Disney Springs began in April 2013.  The expansion will open in phases and is expected to be complete in 2016. 
All photos/concept art ©Disney.

May 3, 4: Universal Grad Bash

Graduating High School Seniors are invited to celebrate their accomplishment at Universal Orlando’s Grad Bash.  Highlights include street entertainment, karaoke, DJs, dance parties and live performances by some of today’s hottest artists. Attendees also get exclusive access to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
May 4-5  Jazz on the Vineyard Green
Lakeridge Winery will be hosting jazz musicians on their outdoor stage all weekend. Food, beer, and wine will be available along with complimentary winery tours and tastings.
May 1-19: Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot’s 20th Annual Epcot International Flower &Garden; Festival features plenty of new things to see in 2013. Throughout the 75-day festival, which began March 6, Epcot guests will be treated to new topiaries, garden displays, seminars by celebrity HGTV designers, a stellar line-up for the Flower Power Concert Series and a gorgeous butterfly house.

May 16-28:  21st Annual Orlando International Fringe Festival
This 13-day festival offers theatre, music, dance, and art to all ages. 100% of box office sales go directly back to the artists within The Fringe. The cost and venue of shows vary. See the Fringe website for more details.

May 17-June 9:  Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This annual event celebrates the Star Wars saga Friday-Sundays each weekend. Join celebrities and Star Wars characters for specials shows, panels, and presentations.
May 18:  Florida International Beer Festival
Come to Heritage Square in downtown Orlando for the 20th annual beer festival. Sample the world’s greatest beers and food from area restaurants and listen to live entertainment.
May 18-19: Jack Hannah at Busch Gardens
Join “Jungle Jack” Hanna for a day of wild animal shows, autograph signings and special meet and greets when he visits Busch Gardens Tampa Bay on May 18 and 19, 2013. Show times are 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. each day.
May 27: Memorial Day Carillion Concerts
Bok Tower Gardens presents a musical salute of gratitude to our nation’s veterans and current members of America’s armed forces. Free admission will be offered to all branches of the military, active, retired and disabled veterans with valid ID. Concerts included with general admission.

LEGOLAND Florida has announced a major park expansion, set to open in summer 2013.  Based on the new product line, LEGO® Legends of ChimaTM, LEGOLAND Florida will bring this fantastical world to life with The World of Chima presented by Cartoon Network. Families will embark on a journey in search of a mystical energy source through a highly-interactive water ride experience, the Quest for CHI. Guests can also try their hand at an action-packed SpeedorzTM Arena, meet the beloved Chima characters and be transported to the Land of Chima with a new 4D movie, which are all part of the family-friendly Chima experience.

This expansion will be one of the centerpieces of the new LEGO Chima brand, which already includes a major LEGO product line, a stunningly animated television series to air on Cartoon Network and multiple interactive video games and apps. LEGOLAND Florida is the only place in the world that LEGO fans can go to unleash the power and be fully immersed in The World of Chima, providing an experience like no other.  
LEGO Legends of Chima is the highest tested new LEGO theme in the last 12 years, and LEGO fans across the nation and around the world are embracing this new storyline of powerful tribes of animal warriors entwined in a struggle between good and evil in a mystical land.
The Quest for Chi
As the presenting partner, Cartoon Network will have a major presence in the park during the summer months, and beyond. In addition, Cartoon Network will have screens placed around the park that will consist of other content from the network including the hit original series, Adventure Time.
The Legends of Chima series will focus on the highly-advanced animals that live in the magical land of Chima. The stories of those who understand the true nature of the Chi, as well as those who try to conquer it, will be told throughout the season.
The centerpiece of the new World of Chima at LEGOLAND Florida is an interactive, family-friendly water ride, The Quest for CHI. Guests will enter The World of Chima through a fantastical stone and moss covered entrance which leads to the Lion Temple at the base of the majestic 45-foot tall floating Mount Cavora. There, guests will explore a diverse landscape setting and join the Lion Tribe in an epic battle to recover the stolen CHI orbs. Guests will board a watercraft which will take them on an interactive experience using water cannons to help their hero, Laval the Lion Prince, defeat Cragger the Crocodile King as he attempts to steal the precious supply of CHI. The journey will take them through the land of Chima where they will meet some of the highly advanced animal tribal habitats, including the Rhino Quarry, Raven’s Roost, Eagle’s Nest, Wolves Encampment, Gorilla Forest and Crocodile Swamp among other imaginative settings.
The World of Chima also features a super-charged, super-fast SpeedorzTM Arena where multiple players build their LEGO Speedorz and compete to win the precious supply of CHI by participating in group challenges and competing in a series of obstacles. A new 4D movie, the LEGO Chima 4D Movie Xperience, will further immerse families into The World of Chima by bringing the characters to life on the big screen. Kids will also get to meet their hero Laval the Lion Prince and Cragger the Crocodile King at daily character meet and greet sessions. Plus, with the largest supply of LEGO products in Central Florida, guests can find their favorite LEGO Legends of Chima sets and Speedorz.

This new area adds to the parks already exciting line-up of more than 50 rides, shows and attractions designed specifically kids ages 2-12. 

New details are emerging regarding Universal Orlando Resort’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The popular Islands of Adventure attraction is set to expand into Universal Studios, connecting the two areas with a train – The Hogwarts Express.  Guests will need to purchase a park-to-park ticket to enjoy both portions of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Park.  A ticket location will be set up near the train station so guests can also upgrade their ticket at that time if needed.

Diagon Alley, the street where Hogwarts students purchase their wizarding supplies, will be the theme of the second Harry Potter Attraction.  Hidden from the rest of the park with facades of London landmarks, guests will enter through a secret entrance in a train station next to the with The Leaky Cauldron on-site restaurant.  The main attraction in Diagon Alley will be a Gringotts roller coaster, which will end in a gift shop, Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions and Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment. The coaster will have 12-person ride vehicles that will move on a track very similar to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction.
Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, a joke shop operated by the Weasley twins, is also planned, as is a larger version of the popular Ollivander’s Wand Shop.  Knockturn Alley and its store, Borgin and Burkes, will also be featured at the new portion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Knockturn Alley features shops devoted to the Dark Arts.
The rumored date for Diagon Alley to open is July 2014, although no official statement has been released by Universal Orlando Resort yet.