Downtown Disney will host the 38th Festival of the MastersNovember 8-10, 2013.  Over 150 juried fine artists and over 40 emerging masters are featured during this outdoor festival.  World-renowned for its award winning artists, this is a highly anticipated event that is fun for the entire family.  The outdoor Orlando arts festival will also feature live entertainment, hands-on activities for visitors and unique food selections.

To qualify for the Festival of the Masters, artists must have earned a primary award in a juried art festival within the last three years. Verification and samples of work is submitted, and then artists are selected from a jury of experts, ensuring those that are display at Festival of the Masters are some of the finest in the country.

Artwork featured during Disney’s Festival of the Masters:

  • Photography
  • Glass Work
  • Paintings
  • Sculptures
  • Prints
  • Drawings
  • Jewelry
  • Leather
  • Wood
  • Mixed Media
  • Digital Art
Best of all, admission to Downtown Disney’s Festival of the Masters is completely free!
Inside Princes Fairytale Hall.  Photo Credit: Disney

Every little girl who dreams of being a princess will be excited to visit the new Princess Fairytale Hall at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.   The new attraction will be located inside Fantasyland, a new area of the Magic Kingdom dedicated to the fantasy and magic of films such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Snow White. 

Princess Fairytale Hall will be the new home for Disney princesses to meet their loyal subjects in the Magic Kingdom.  The castle-like entrance will feature walls of stone and stained glass windows opening into a large gallery where elegant portraits of Disney Princess adorn the walls.  Guests entering Princess Fairytale Hall will choose one of two lines, each leading to two Disney princesses. Signs will tell guests which princesses are currently meeting so they can plan accordingly, but two visits (and two passes through lines) will be required to meet all of them.   After passing through an elaborately decorated entry area and queue, guests proceed to one of four chambers to meet the Disney princesses. Each chamber accommodates up to two Disney princesses.

Cinderella and Rapunzel are set to be the featured princesses, each in separate chambers.  They will be joined by a rotating cast of friends who could include Snow White, Jasmine and other familiar faces. 

Reserve your discount Magic Kingdom tickets today to be one of the first to explore Princess Fairytale Hall.

Curious about how I-Drive Live is coming along?  Reserve Orlando has the inside scoop for you!  Construction is well underway on the new International Drive attraction, with components such as Kings Bowl Orlando already open. 

Kings Bowl Orlando is a 30,000-square-foot entertainment venue featuring:

  • 22 Ten Pin Bowling Lanes
  • Four Full-Size billiards tables
  • Regulation size, outdoor Bocce ball court
  • Full-service, executive chef driven restaurant serving award-winning food
  • Two premium bars serving fun and innovative cocktails
  • Customizable private space for parties of 10-800 people including corporate/team-building events, birthdays, bachelor(ette) parties, kids parties and more
  • Over 60 giant HDTV’s and HD projector screens
  • Industry best sound, lighting and music environment
  • Regulation Shuffleboard Table

The new shopping and entertainment complex already has buildings in place for two of its central tenants, the 25,000sq ft. Madame Tussauds wax museum and the 25,000sq ft. SeaLife Aquarium.  Footers for the Orlando Wheel are in place while components for the Orlando Eye are finished being constructed in Switzerland.  When the Orlando Eye is complete it will be the tallest structure in Central Florida at 425 feet.  The Orlando Eye will include 30 gondolas that 15 people each.  A ride aboard the Orlando Eye will last 20 minutes and provide fantastic views of the Orlando area.  Developers are planning to open the Orlando Eye, as well as Madame Tussauds and SeaLife Aquarium, on New Year’s Eve.

Restaurants planned to open at I-Drive Live include:

  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Seafood Republic
  • Yard House
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Metropolitan and urban in design, I-Drive Live will also add several indoor and outdoor entertainment venues as well as a country and western bar. 

More I-Drive Live updates will be released as they become available.

A new Festival of Fantasy Parade is coming to Disney World Orlando.  Set to march into the Magic Kingdom in the spring of 2014, the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade will bring a celebration of new Fantasyland to Main Street U.S.A.  Innovative new parade floats, vibrant costumes and an original soundtrack featuring beloved songs from favorite Disney films plus a parade theme song will delight park goers. 

Highlights of the new Festival of Fantasy parade include:
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Dumbo
  • Pinocchio
  • Peter Pan
  • Tangled
  • Brave
The thrill of seeing Disney characters in person, up-close and even betting a personal wave makes Disney parades a magical, can’t miss experience.  This parade will replace “Celebrate A Dream Come True” at some point.  More details will be released as they become available.

Downtown Disney is hosting The Great Irish Hooley Labor Day Weekend, August 30 – September 2, 2013.  As the event was such a success in 2012 it is returning for four-days of non-stop days of delicious Irish food, live music and old-fashioned fun.  The Hooley, which is Irish slang for party or celebration, will be held at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant.

Photo Credit: Raglan Road/Disney

Traditional, folk and rock music will perform on the restaurant stage and outside on the pub patio.  Young and old alike can learn a new jig at Irish dance workshops led by renowned Irish dancer and choreographer Ronan McCormack.  Irish music workshops with Dublin-born instrumentalist Declan Masterson will be available to festival goers, too.  Join in the fun of the Ceili, an Irish dance, get your face painted and eat some classic Irish food at The Hooley.

The Great Irish Hooley performance line-up includes:  
  • Elevation: Elevation is without question the most successful U2 tribute band in the world and are the only band to call when you want to bring the most authentic sights and sounds of U2 to your audience without actually having to bring in U2 themselves.
  • Scythian: Take a trio of classically trained dueling fiddlers, toss in a rhythm guitar, a banjo and the occasional funky accordion, then power it with the driving rhythm of a world percussionist, and you’ve got the ingredients for a show you won’t soon forget.
  • Lisa Canny: Lisa Canny is a musician from Co. Mayo, on the West Coast of Ireland. With her roots in traditional and folk music, combined with her contemporary flare she has been compared to the wide range of artists: from Kate Bush and Sinead O’Connor to Sarah McLachlan.
  • Creel: The fantastically talented House Band at Raglan Road. They wow guests 6 nights a week with their endless repertoire of traditional Irish music & ballads, jigs & reels, modern Irish and country music.
  • The Raglan Rebels: Ireland’s best upcoming young band. Prepare to be blown away by the energy, excitement and incredible musical ability of these 4 young Dublin guys.
  • The Farrell Brothers:  This multi-talented Irish duo perform on our patio stage every night putting their own spin on traditional Irish and modern music.
A full festival schedule will be released soon.  Reservations are currently open if you’d like to dine at Ragland Road during The Great Irish Hooley.  Authentic fare by Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon will tempt your palate and you can cheer your mates with Irish beer.

Reserve your table for Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Disney World Orlando.  The event, which showcases flavors from across the globe, begins September 27, 2013.  However, you can make reservations for special culinary events starting August 13.  Don’t wait, though!  These premium events fill up fast. 

The 46-day Disney World festival highlights food, wine, beer and cocktails from over 10 countries.  Choose from a variety of special culinary and beverage programs that tempt your taste buds and sense of culture. 
Epcot International Food and Wine premium events include: 
  • New Scotland, Land of Food And Drink (Sept. 28), $95 or $115
  • New Spirits Confidential (Nov. 1), $80 or $95
  • New Parisian Breakfast (Saturdays), $37
  • New Hibachi Experience (Oct. 8, 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5), $120
  • “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery (Oct. 4, 11 and 25), $55 or $90
  • Epcot Wine Schools (Sept. 29, Oct. 27, Nov. 3), $135 per person
  • Culinary Adventures in Signature Dining (more than 25 dinners throughout the festival; prices vary)
  • Mixology Series: Taste, Shake and Indulge Like the French (Saturdays), $65
  • Kitchen Memories (Sept. 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1, 8), from $110-$170
  • Cheese Seminars (Sept. 28, Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26, Nov. 2, 9), $80
  • Party for the Senses (Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26 and Nov. 2), $145, $180 or $285
  • Food & Wine Pairings (Tuesdays, Thursdays), $55
  • Sweet Sundays (Sept. 29, Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27, Nov. 3, 10), $99
  • The Discovery of Chocolate (Oct. 13 and 27), $75
Additional events include Italian and French pairings and lunches, and a Mexican tequila lunch. Guests also can book special festival experiences including daily Culinary Demonstrations ($14), Mixology Seminars ($15) and Wine, Beer or Spirit Seminars ($14). Inside-the-park festival dining experiences as well as culinary and beverage programs require park admission fees.
Aside from these special programs, most of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival experiences are included with your Epcot tickets.

To make reservations, call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378).

LEGOLAND Florida has officially opened The LEGO World of Chima! Presented by Cartoon Network, the new World of Chima is a highly-themed area with thrilling and interactive rides and attractions for visitors of all ages.  World of Chima adds to the Orlando theme park’s more than 50 rides, shows and attractions.

World of Chima opened on July 3, 2014.  The centerpiece of the LEGOLAND Orlando attraction is The Quest for Chi.  Featuring an interactive water ride where guests set off on an otherworldly and super-soaking adventure, the rides is geared towards family fun.  Riders board a watercraft, and then use water cannons to activate the story in each of the scenes along their journey as well as have a change to battle other bats and guests along the shore line.  Want to experience even more splashtastic fun?  Head to Cragger’s Swamp, a play area with bubbles, water spouts and interactive elements that trigger swamp water effects. 

Looking to go fast?  The Speedorz Area lets kids enjoy a super-charged, super-fast competition where multiple players battle against each other using rip cord powered LEGO vehicles.  You can also meet some of your favorite World of Chima characters at the new section of the park.  Plus, you can watch the park’s 4D movie experience, The LEGO Chima Movie Experience, an exclusive LEGOLAND production. 

The World of Chima features:
  •  2 million LEGO bricks, (bringing the total of LEGO bricks found in LEGOLAND Florida to an astounding 58 million)
  • Nearly 150 LEGO models
  • 219,000 gallons of water in The Quest for CHI
  • Capacity for approximately 1,200 guests per hour to experience The Quest
    for CHI ride
  • Mount Cavora which stands 55 feet from the ground
  • Mount Cavora itself is 23 feet high and 40 feet in diameter
  • Weighs 7,500 lbs.
  • Rushes 1,000 gallons of water every minute
Ready to see The World of Chima at LEGOLAND Orlando?  Purchase discount LEGOLAND tickets to explore all the park has to offer.  Tickets currently have a savings of up to $25!

August 1-August 11:  Summer Nights at SeaWorld
See a nighttime spectacular every evening at SeaWorld Orlando during Summer Nights. There will be special night shows like Shamu Rocks and Sea Lions Tonite, capped off by a fireworks spectacular.

August 1-August 18:  Summer Nights at Busch Gardens Tampa
Stay after dark for a music and acrobatics show every night at Busch Gardens. An amazing fireworks display will end each night.
August 1:  Date Night at Leu Gardens

Enjoy an outdoor movie in beautiful Leu Gardens in Orlando. Alcohol and picnic baskets are allowed. Don’t forget a blanket or chair. Admission is $5 plus tax for adults. The featured film will be The Vow. 

August 8:  Popcorn Flicks in the Park

The City of Winter Park and Enzian Theater will be showing a free film in Central Park at 8pm. Bring snacks, drinks, and a blanket. Central Park is located at 251 S. Park Avenue in Winter Park. Shrek will be the featured film for August 8th. 

August 17-18:  18th Annual Harvest Grape Stomp

This family-friendly event at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards will have grape stomping competitions, live music, food, and wine. Event will be held 10-5 on Saturday and 11-5 on Sunday. A $2 donation to benefit The Boys & Girls Club is requested.

August 30 – September 2: Dream Cars Weekend

This will be the largest car event ever held at the Walt Disney World Resort.  Set for Labor Day Weekend, attendees can look forward to themed nightly parties with live entertainment and all-you-can-eat buffets, a NASCAR simulator, micro racing, Florida Nationals Model Car Show and much more. 

Want to avoid paying to park on your Orlando vacation?  Then choose one of the hotels in Orlando FL with free parking.  Hotels with free parking are an added bonus to any Florida vacation.  Those pesky fees can add up quickly and take away from money spent on souvenirs and fun things to do in the area, like going to theme parks and other family attractions! 

Orlando hotels with free parking include:

  •  Blue Heron Beach Resort
  • Caribe Cove Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
  • Enclave Suites
  • FantasyWorld Resort
  • Lake Eve Resort
Save your money when you stay at one of these Orlando hotels with free parking.  It’s the easiest way to get the most out of your Orlando vacation.  Plus, you can easily access your vehicle when you say at these properties.  You won’t have to deal with parking garages located a block away or having to walk, for what seems like miles, to access your parking space.