rsz_2014_golden_ticket_new_logoOrlando theme parks have once again been honored with numerous accolades from Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards. The prestigious awards honor the “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry, with Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld all recognized. Eager to see how your favorite park rated? Read on.

 

Calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, the Golden Ticket Awards are the results of a detailed survey is sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world – in balanced geographical regions – asking them to rate the “bests” in 25 categories.  They are the equivalent of the Academy Awards for the amusement industry.  Awards are presented to the “Best of the Best” in the amusement industry in such categories as “amusement parks,” “roller coasters,” “water rides,” “shows” and “food.”


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

The Epcot Candlelight Processional is a highlight  of the holiday season at Walt Disney World Orlando.  A tradition for many, the event features a celebrity narrator retelling the traditional Christmas story accompanied by a mass choir and 50-piece orchestra. The event is located at the America Gardens Theatre and is performed three times nightly, at 5:00pm and 6:45pm and 8:15pm.  You can watch a performance of Candlelight Processional at Epcot for free as it is included with the purchase of a Disney ticket.  We recommend arriving early, though, as the event is popular and seats fill up fast.

Some of the narrator’s for the Candlelight Processional 2014 have already been announced:
  • 11/28 – 11/29: Jodi Benson
  • 11/30 – 12/2: Neil Patrick Harris
  • 12/03 – 12/04: Jonathan Groff
  • 12/05 – 12/06: Whoopi Goldberg
  • 12/07 – 12/09: LeVar Burton (no 5:00 show on 12/07)
  • 12/10- 12/11: Edward James Olmos
  • 12/12 – 12/14: Joe Morton
  • 12/15 – 12/17: Chita Riviera
  • 12/18 – 12/20: Ana Gasteyer
  • 12/21 – 12/23: Marlee Matlin
  • 12/24 – 12/25: Isabella Rossellini
  • 12/26 – 12/27: Blair Underwood
  • 12/28 – 12/30: Steven Curtis Chapman

 

As noted above, seating fills up fast for this holiday performance.  One of the ways you can ensure to have seats for your family is to reserve a Candlelight Processional dining package.  They allow you to enjoy a meal at one of Epcot’s restaurants, while guaranteeing you a seat for the show and a special viewing area for IllumiNations.  For pricing on these packages, click here.

It’s never too early to start planning your Disney World Christmas Vacation.  All of the parks get in the spirit of the holidays.  It’s an extravaganza of merriment and good cheer, with all of your Disney characters in the festive spirit too!


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Attention Frozen fans! Disney World has announced a Frozen themed ride will be opening at Epcot. So far, details are scarce. However, we’ve got a few tidbits to share with you:

  • The new Frozen ride will replace Maelstrom, the water-based dark ride located in the Norway pavilion at Disney World’s Epcot.
  • The ride will take guests to Arendelle and take them through their favorite moments and music from the hit film.
  • A spring 2016 opening is planned, although that is a rumor at best right now.
  • In addition to the new ride, there will be a meet-and-greet area at the Norway Pavilion for Anna and Elsa, the stars of Frozen.

 

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Photo Credit: Disney

Frozen has been a mega-hit for Disney and they’ve added experiences throughout the theme park to meet fan demand. Currently, visitors can meet and greet Anna and Else at Princess Fairytale Hall at Fantasyland inside the Magic Kingdom. All summer long, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been presenting Frozen Summer Fun Live. During the event, a sing-along show, special merchandise and even a play area with real snow was featured. For the holiday season, Queen Elsa will transform Cinderella’s Castle into an ice palace every night starting in November and Frozen characters Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf will be featured in “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.” Plus, Anna & Elsa’s boutique is set to open in Downtown Disney October 6 so fans can purchase plenty of coveted Frozen merchandise.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.
Reserve one of the hotels in Orlando FL with outdoor pools during your vacation in the sunny state. When you stay at a hotel with an amenity like an outdoor pool going for a swim or watching the kids splash and play is an added bonus.  From large, sprawling outdoor pool complexes to smaller, private pools, hotels with outdoor pools in Orlando are the perfect complement to a vacation in Florida.
Star Island Resort
A few of the Orlando hotels with outdoor pool we recommend include:
  • Blue Heron Beach Resort
  • Disney Resorts
  • FantasyWorld Resort
  • Holiday Inn Main Gate East Hotel
  • Melia Orlando Suite Hotel
  • Star Island Resort
  • WorldQuest Resort
Book your room today to get the guaranteed lowest rate on one of Reserve Orlando’s hotels with outdoor pool.

BG_Falcons FuryAre you brave enough to ride Falcon’s Fury? The all-new attraction recently debuted at Busch Gardens Tampa, and packs an adrenaline punch! It is the tallest freestanding drop tower in North America, standing at 335 feet. At the ride’s highest point, riders pivot 90 degrees in midair into a face-down dive position. Moments later, they plunge 60 mph straight down. All of the dynamic drops and pivots mimic the movements of the rides namesake – the falcon.

One of the most exciting elements of the Falcon’s Fury is its variable hold time. Riders never know how long they’ll be suspended at the top, creating even more of a pulse-pounding drop experience. When you do drop, you’ll free fall for about 5-6 seconds! It’s quite a rush and makes the wait for the ride to be completed well worth it!

Falcon’s Fury is located in the Pantopia section of Busch Gardens. This fully-remodeled land is home to thrilling rides and attractions, tasty food options, entertaining shows and unique shopping. Falcon’s Fury is the centerpiece of the renovated Pantopia, but there’s more to discover at this mystical land. You see, the legendary doors of Pantopia speak of a rich history of travelers present and past. Treasures of Pantopia can be found at the Painted Camel Bazaar, while other attractions include the Phoenix, Grand Caravan Carousel and The Scorpion.

Purchase your discount Busch Gardens tickets to experience Falcon’s Fury and so much more! This distinct Orlando theme park combines the animals of Africa with thrilling rides and attractions for a one-of-a-kind zoo and amusement park experience.

Find out more about visiting Busch Gardens »
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

An enchanting song sirens through the night. Once you hear you’re cursed forever. Try to survive the curse this fall as Howl-O-Scream returns to Busch Gardens Tampa. You may be the one to break the curse, or perhaps you’ll fall under its spell and spread its sinister song. Hundreds of undead creatures emerge from the shadows, lurking throughout Busch Gardens as terrors of the night take over. Venture into haunted houses, brave roaming slash mobs, signature shows and an all-new interactive experience sure to test your bravery. Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream is held on 18 select nights, starting September 26, 2014, with tormenting surprises around every corner and unexpected terrors.

BG Tampa Cursed

Some of Busch Gardens’ most eerie haunted houses are back by popular demand, albeit with new twists. Plus, other all-new houses are planned. Take a look:

Death Water Bayou: Deep in the bayou the Voodoo Queen mystically transforms lost wanderers into her minions of evil with black magic. Here, her night servants roam with a zombie-like hunger and seek to grow her collection. The darkest evils lurk in shadows. Get out before you fall victim to her spell.

The Basement:  From Momma’s secret ingredient to Granny’s bone-ground flour, Momma’s Meats’ award-winning recipe has always been a family affair that’s only created in the Basement.  Escape the depths of the Basement before she turns you in to the secret sauce! She always said it took blood, sweat and tears!

Circus of Superstition – The Final Act: You’ve tried to avoid black cats and sidewalk cracks, but all those years of bad luck caught up with you!  Surviving the terrorizing surprises of Circus of Superstition: The Show Must Go On will take more than luck as you try to escape this whole new dimension of fear.

Zombie Mortuary:  No one remembers how the epidemic started, but now, zombies live here. They infest this small town funeral home and feed on the fresh flesh and brains of mortuary mourners to satisfy their insatiable hunger. Avoid the walking dead or you may find yourself deeper than six feet under.

Dead Fall: The ghosts of long lost memories reach into the present and will NOT be forgotten! These spirits from the past lurk in the shadows of this Victorian garden and greenhouse, longing to drag unsuspecting guests into their world. Can you escape before becoming a permanent resident of Dead Fall?

Zombie Containment Unit: Three years after the undead invasion, there has been a containment failure in Z.C.U.15. Zombies have escaped in search of flesh, and you’re the next target. Armed with only a Z.E.D. (Zombie Eradication Device), it’s up to you to hold off an undead mob in this interactive zombie hunting experience.

The Basement: From Momma’s secret ingredient to Granny’s bone-ground flour, Momma’s Meats’ award-winning recipe has always been a family affair that’s only created in the BASEMENT. Escape the depths of the basement before she and Butcher turn you in to the secret sauce! She always said it took blood, sweat and tears!

Blood Asylum: As lightning rages and thunder crashes outside, “The Creature” escapes from his holding cell in a high-security asylum for the criminally insane. Now this sadistic deviant is running rampant, skinning his former cellmates and turning the mental hospital into his own torture chamber. This serial killer’s bloody playground will drive you out of your mind with fear.

The Experiment: Researchers challenge your fear tolerance and mental endurance in this interactive Experiment. “Test subjects” endure psychological tests in this exclusive study, pushing the limits of the human body and putting them face-to-face with their worst nightmares. How far is too far in study of fear? Will you survive The Experiment?

Keep the fun alive with Howl-O-Scream shows, clubs and shops:

Shop of Horrors: Find GOREgeous apparel and trendy tees featuring Howl-O-Scream favorites, including the infamous Naughty Nurses. You can also purchase or pick up your Front-Line Fear Passes here.

Howl-O-Scream Club: Drive yourself mad partying at Howl-O-Scream’s dance club at the Marrakesh Theater. This nighttime dance playground keeps the energy pumping all night long with all night with a DJ, non-stop music and appearances by Howl-O-Scream 2014’s most terrifying personalities.

The Bar at Club Cursed: Drive yourself mad partying at Howl-O-Scream’s dance club at the Marrakesh Theater. Sample Howl-O-Scream’s signature potions “Cursed,” “Contained,” and “Possessed,” along with craft brews at the full-service bar.

Fright Feast: Don’t wait to make your reservation for the most deranged dinner show in town. Devour monstrous main courses and “cursed” desserts from a buffet and witness Howl-O-Scream fan favorite Fiends at the Pantopia Grill. Then, be the first to brave the dark with a half-hour of early access to the haunted houses and front-of-the-line privileges until 8:30 pm.

Fiends: Is there a doctor in the house?  These captivating creatures of the night will infect you with dance fever and keep your pulse pounding with their deranged dance party. But when Dr. Freakenstein’s naughty nurses start operating, the diagnosis is always “code pink.”

Howl-O-Scream tickets are on sale now.  Freaky Preview is back and will open Howl-O-Scream 2014 on Friday, Sept. 26 and Saturday, Sept. 27. The event then runs Thursday through Saturday nights, Oct. 2-Nov. 1. Howl-O-Scream 2014 will also be open on Sunday, Oct. 19. Operating hours are 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. If you purchase tickets now, you can receive single-day admission for only $44.  Going with a group of friends?  Then, tickets are as low as $35.

Join the scare-a-bration at Busch Gardens this fall!

Find out more about Orlando Halloween events »
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

You’re invited to LEGOLAND Florida’s second annual Brick-or-Treat!  Ghouls, ghosts and goblins descend on Miniland USA transforming it into a haunted adventure with a scavenger hunt in search for scary creatures that have invaded LEGOLAND’s famous cities.  The family-friendly Orlando Halloween event will take place each Saturday and Sunday in October, adding to the fun activities already available at the Orlando theme park.  Plus, Brick-or-Treat is included in the price of LEGOLAND tickets so families get an added dose of Halloween fun for the same low price. 

Events you can look forward to during Brick-or-Treat include:
  • LEGO Ghost Build: Kids will learn how to build a ghost out of LEGOs and get to add it to the large ghost display.
  • LEGO Scary Scavenger Hunt in Miniland:  LEGO Scary minifigures will be hidden throughout Miniland USA along with LEGO Candy Corn featuring a letter. Children will need to find all 6 minifigs in order to unscramble the secret word.  All participants can enter for a chance to win LEGO prizes and tickets to LEGOLAND.
  • Brick-or-Treat Trail:  Children can trick-or-treat on the Brick-or-Treat Trail in the Enchanted Walk gathering goodies, delicious treats and other surprises. This kid-sized cul-de-sac trail features six LEGO-themed treat stations and offers a safe, fun and entertaining trick-or-treating experience.  The trail will be located adjacent to Miniland.
  • Costume Contest:  Costume contest will be held daily where kids can win LEGO prizes and tickets to LEGOLAND – LEGOLAND Costume Contest is grouped into the following categories:  0-3, 4-8, and 9-12 years.  Contests are held at 3pm, 4pm and 5pm respectively.
  • Dance Party in Miniland: Saturday’s only – Festive music and entertainment
  • Photo opportunity with largest LEGO pumpkin in the world!
Reserve your discount LEGOLAND tickets today and you can save over $20 per ticket!  That’s a steal of a deal that’s no trick – just a treat!

Find out more about visiting LEGOLAND »
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Check out these Orlando events planned for October 2014:RD_Calendar

October 1-26:  Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens
Explore haunted houses and see thrilling shows during Howl-O-Scream all month long.

October 1-31:  Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights
Don’t miss the premier Halloween event in Orlando. This year features all-new haunted houses, live shows, and scare zones.

October 1-31:  Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
During select nights in October, Magic Kingdom will have special Halloween-themed events planned. All ages are encouraged to dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating around the park.  Special tickets are required.

October 1-31:  Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Disney guests can taste their way around Epcot during the 18th annual International Food & Wine Festival.

October 4-26:  LEGOLAND Florida Brick-or-Treat
Every Saturday and Sunday in October enjoy Halloween activities like a LEGO pumpkin build, LEGO Monster Fighters Scavenger Hunt, Brick-or-Treat trail, and costume contest.

October 4-26:  SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular
From 12-8pm every weekend during October kids can trick-or-treat, see spooky shows, and create sea-themed arts and crafts during Halloween Spooktacular.

October 11-12:  Winter Park Autumn Art Festival
This annual art show features Florida artists exclusively along with live entertainment, children’s activities and more. The art festival is held in Central Park in downtown Winter Park from 9am-5pm both days. Admission is free.

October 17-18:  Oktoberfest at Celebration
Celebration Town Center transforms before your very eyes as the falling leaves of the season drop on Market Street in the Fall Festival known as Oktoberfest. Listen for the rustling of leaves, relax by the lakeside and rock your troubles away, and enjoy the live music with family and friends in this one-of-a-kind themed extravaganza.

October 18-19, 25-26:  ZOO Boo Bash
Trick-or-treat in the wildest neighborhood in town during ZOO Boo Bash. It’s safe, fun, and not-too-scary event for young and old alike. Kids are invited to bring goodie bags and wear costumes for trick or treat stations. If you forget your costume, face painting will be available for an additional charge. Walk on Water Balls will also be available for an additional charge. Take a haunted hayride or learn about the myths and realities of some misunderstood animals.  Held from 9am-3pm. Costume contest held each day at 1pm.

Attention LEGOLAND Florida fans! The LEGOLAND Hotel is officially accepting reservations for summer 2015. With less than a year to go before the grand opening of the hotel, the new resort is allowing parents to get a head start on their vacation plans in Orlando. Want to learn more about the LEGOLAND Florida Hotel? Read on.

LEGOLAND_Hotel_Premium-Pirate-Adult-Sleeping-Area

The resort will feature over 150 themed guest rooms and suites. Your family can choose from one of three popular LEGO lines – Pirate, Kingdom or Adventure. All rooms include two separate sleeping areas, with a king-sized bed for adults and a separate area for up to three little ones, complete with a bunk bed, pull-out trundle bed and television. This makes relaxing that much easier for parents, which is a nice bonus!

In addition, all rooms include:

  • Welcome Treasure Hunt with LEGO prize
  • LEGO brick to build with during your stay
  • Two high-definition flat panel televisions
  • Free Wi-Fi access
  • Mini-Fridge and coffee maker
  • Early Entry to LEGOLAND Florida
  • Nightly LEGOLAND entertainment

Located at the entrance to LEGOLAND, the new hotel also includes a pool, restaurant with kid-size buffet, and interactive paly areas to inspire imaginations and creativity.

To make your reservation for summer 2015, visit LEGOLAND Hotel.

Find out more about the LEGOLAND experience »
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

 

Visit SeaWorld Orlando this Halloween season for a Spooktacular family-friendly event featuring an underwater “fantasea” of Halloween activities.  On weekends in October children can trick-or-treat, dance with sea creatures, learn from a school of fish and play with a sea fairy.  Offering more than two million pieces of trick-or-treat sweets, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is a sweet festival for all.

Even better, all of the SeaWorld Spooktacular events and activities are included with the purchase of discount SeaWorld tickets.  Take a look at what is planned:

Penelope’s Party Zone: This lively underwater environment immerses children in the wonders of the sea through family-friendly music, crafts, games, and colorful characters. Located at SeaWorld® Bayside Stadium, this zone comes to life when families dance and play along to the spooky sound waves broadcasted by a live DJ. With countless bubbles floating overhead and colorful pumpkinfish gliding beside, this Halloween party is sure to provide non-stop fun for all ages. 

Cookie Decorating: Kids and parents alike can have a “splash” creating their own sweet treats at this new cookie decorating station. Kids will be able to decorate and devour their spooky cookie when they purchase a kit that comes equipped with a cookie, frosting and toppings.

Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween: Join Count von Count, Elmo and everyone’s favorite friends from Sesame Street for the kookiest, funniest Halloween hullabaloo ever! For fuzzy fun with lots of laughs, get to Seaport Theater for this treat of a musical stage show.

Trick-or-Treat Sweets: SeaWorld offers children the ultimate in safe and exciting trick-or-treat fun. Kids can follow their special Halloween Spooktacular® maps to many different stations throughout the event, each featuring treats galore. With multiple candy stations and a wide array of sweets and treats, kids will be swimming in Halloween Spooktacular goodies.

Strolling Entertainment: Fun-loving sea witches Gummy Worm Wanda, Salt Water Taffy, Swedish Fish Suzy, along with over 35 other fanciful sea creatures, greet, mingle, and play with guests making their way through the event.

Seven Seas Railway: It’s “all aboard” with Otto the Octopus as our youngest guests enjoy a whimsical train ride in Shamu’s Happy Harbor®.

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place every weekend in October: 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, and 25-26, 2014.  This daytime event runs from 12pm to 8pm, leaving the littlest of trick-or-treaters wide-eyed for the fun-filled activities.

For fantastic value, purchase a money-saving SeaWorld Vacation Package which includes great deals on Sea World tickets and the guaranteed lowest rates on Orlando hotels near SeaWorld.

Find out more about visiting SeaWorld »
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.