Epcot -- Epcot's "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" features a salute to the new year at 7 p.m. and 11:42 p.m. The park's December 31 operating hours are 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Epcot -- Epcot's "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" features a salute to the new year at 7 p.m. and 11:42 p.m. The park's December 31 operating hours are 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
The ride, based on the 1975 movie directed by Steven Spielberg, was one of the original attractions in Universal Studios when the park opened in 1990.
The Amity-themed area surrounding the attraction, named after the fictional resort island in the movie, will also be closed "to make room for what will be an exciting new attraction experience," Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said."We've got a couple of things planned to ensure we always remember and honor" Jaws," Universal said.
A big thank you to all the Guides who worked for Captian Jack and all the great memories that happened on that ride. Your skills saved us from doom every time. Thank you skipper J W you were great.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
New attractions sure to top Orlando’s “must-see” list for 2012 and 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. -- With three astounding new attractions featuring all-new ways to connect guests to the mysteries of the sea, SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove are once again sure to top the “must-see” list for upcoming Orlando vacations.
The new attractions represent the biggest attraction expansions in the history of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, the parks’ parent company.
Terry Prather, president of the company’s Orlando parks, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and Aquatica, said, “With TurtleTrek at SeaWorld Orlando and Freshwater Oasis at Discovery Cove, travelers will have all new reasons to visit Orlando. What we’re creating will take you places you’ve never been before, places only SeaWorld can take you.”
While creating TurtleTrek (opening at SeaWorld Orlando in spring 2012), designers stayed true to SeaWorld’s unique blend of nose-to-nose animal encounters and state-of-the art entertainment.
Guests first visit two massive naturalistic habitats, one filled with hundreds of freshwater fish and gentle manatees, the other home to more than 1,500 saltwater fish and more than a dozen sea turtles. Many of the manatees and sea turtles were rescued by the park’s animal team. Since SeaWorld Orlando’s rescue programs began, the team has cared for and returned to the wild nearly 240 manatees and more than 1,200 sea turtles.
Moving on from the habitat, guests enter a domed theater, and what happens next has never before been seen and is a first at any theme park in the world.
Coming to life is a first-of-its-kind 3-D/360-degree dome theater film that is completely immersive. The dome allows a hyper-realistic 3-D movie to be shown all around guests and even above them – not just in front them or on only one screen. It’s this unique and immersive way of showcasing a sea turtle’s epic and astounding journey that is the heart of TurtleTrek. And for the first time, SeaWorld guests are given a turtle’s eye view of the ocean’s wonders.
TurtleTrek is as inspirational as it is astounding. There’s a call-to-action at the end of the experience: SeaWorld calls on guests to join them in conserving the world we share. “Do a little, do a lot, but join us and do something to help the world and its animals,” said Brian Morrow, the attraction’s chief designer. “TurtleTrek is about the everyday heroes who can make a difference in nature.”
Just across the street from SeaWorld Orlando is Discovery Cove, a limited-admission, all-inclusive tropical resort where guests swim with dolphins, hand-feed tropical birds in a free-flight aviary, snorkel among thousands of colorful fish and rays and relax on pristine beaches.
Opening at Discovery Cove in spring 2012 is Freshwater Oasis, an all-new attraction featuring swimming and wading adventures and face-to-face encounters with playful otters and curious marmosets.
When guests participate with nature at Discovery Cove, they unlock discoveries that can be life-changing. Freshwater Oasis is an all-new opportunity to wade up-close with wildlife in a relaxing tropical setting. It’s an exhilarating tropical exhale.
Freshwater Oasis is included with admission to Discovery Cove, an all-inclusive tropical getaway and the only place to experience the most exciting animal encounters the world has to offer.
Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin
Also announced was SeaWorld Orlando’s biggest-ever attraction expansion, Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin, opening spring 2013.
Through the years, SeaWorld Orlando has taken guests to far-flung corners of the globe, immersing them in the character and feel of exotic places and introducing them to unique worlds of adventure.
A year-and-a-half from opening at SeaWorld Orlando, details are few. For now, SeaWorld Orlando’s Antarctica will stay as mysterious as its namesake continent. “Only SeaWorld and its parks can take you on these journeys or bring these experiences to you,” said Prather. “We’re excited about what the future holds for our parks and our fans.”
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Behold spectacular displays of artistry in the Downtown Disney area during Festival of the Masters presented by Michaels®. From Disney-inspired designs to funky folk art to sidewalk chalk drawings, there's something to suit every style.
Artist Vinyl at D-Street
Check out new, one-of-a-kind artist vinyl from some of your favorite Disney artists.
Downtown Disney West Side hosts more than 150 artists during Festival of the Masters presented by Michaels.
House of Blues® Folk Art Festival
See grassroots and funk art at its finest, presented by approximately 35 local and national folk artists.
Disney Art Tent
View a variety of art styles featuring beloved Disney Characters, presented by creative feature artists.
Walt Disney World Artists—NEW!
Meet official Walt Disney World Resort artists and browse their fine art, which is available for purchase.
Irish Artwork at Raglan Road™ Irish Pub and Restaurant
Check out the designs of Graham Knuttle, a renowned Irish painter and sculptor.
Shoe Art at Curl™ by Sammy Duvall
Watch as an artist creates a masterpiece on a pair of TOMS® shoes!
Disney Artwork for the Red Chair Project
Peruse original Disney artwork, available for purchase. Proceeds benefit the Red Chair Project, an organization that supports the arts in Central Florida.
Florida Chalk Artists Association
More than 100 chalk artists will turn 3,000 square feet of sidewalk into a giant canvas for their creative visions.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
This life-sized Ford Explorer SUV, created by Ford for display at Legoland in Florida, was created by 22 designers using 380 000 Lego bricks. It weighs 1203kg and is supported by a 348kg aluminium base.
"We're less than a month from opening and the anticipation level is incredibly high," Legoland Florida General Manager Adrian Jones said in a press release. "This is the only park of its kind in the world built exclusively for kids ages 2 to 12, and it will be a total departure from anything families with young children have seen before. It's a completely immersive experience, engaging kids' imaginations and their sense of adventure through interactive play."Check out Kissimmee Guest Services for Legoland and other Orlando attraction tickets. www.Kgstickets.com be sure to check out the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PR0yggnTzI&feature=player_detailpage
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Dreamworks and their characters will be at ICE this year with over
20,000 square-feet of frosty 9-degree coolness played out in a winter wonderland of exciting hand-carved sculptures. There will be five 30-foot ice slides and an all new, awe inspiring tribute to DreamWorks' Animation TV classic Shrek the Halls™. You
may feel a chill in the air but you'll feel warmth in your heart as you create wonderful holiday memories that last a lifetime.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Discovery Cove, which opened in 2000, is a limited-admission park typically capped at about 1,000 guests per day. Visitors, who spend all day in the tropical setting, have the option of swimming with dolphins, snorkeling, and interacting with birds.
The new Grand Reef underwater walking tour called SeaVenture, where guests will don diving helmets for upclose adventures with some sealife Will be available later this summer.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
They’ve been used to create everything from sea serpents and soaring cathedrals to likenesses of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But when more than 50 million LEGO® bricks are fully assembled in Central Florida this October, they’ll produce the most stunning creation yet – LEGOLAND® Florida.
Inspired by the ubiquitous LEGO brick, dubbed “Toy of the Century” by Fortune Magazine, the new 150-acre theme park will cater to kids ages 2 to 12 with more than 50 family-focused rides, shows and attractions, and a breathtaking botanical garden.
The Beginning serves as the park’s entry and features the Island in the Sky, a 100-foot rotating platform ride that offers a 360° view of the entire p ark. Also found here are The Big Shop – one of the largest LEGO retail stores in the world – and The Market Restaurant, which includes a coffee shop with freshly baked pastries, espresso, milk, juice, fruit and yogurt, as well as freshly prepared, healthy family meals served throughout the day.
Fun Town offers families a firsthand look at how LEGO bricks are made from factory to finish. This zone is also the location of a two-story Grand Carousel with LEGO-themed horses and the Fun Town Theater, a 4D movie center that seats 700 and shows three different 4D movies throughout the day. Fun Town also features the Studio Store which sells licensed LEGO products.
Miniland USA is the heart of every LEGOLAND Park, and home to eight remarkably themed areas that represent miniature versions of landmarks found throughout the United States.
- Florida. This version of the Sunshine State spans the entire state from Mallory Square in Key West to antebellum mansions in the Panhandle. Miniland Florida also includes expanded areas for Kennedy Space Center and an interactive Daytona International Speedway® racing experience where guests can race LEGO brick cars;
- Las Vegas includes the world-famous Strip with casinos, a miniature wedding chapel, monorails and real-life sounds recorded in the city;
- Washington, D.C. features faithful re-creations of the White House (including the first family and “first dog”), as well as the U.S. Capitol building and Smithsonian museums;
- New York City, where a fleet of animated yellow taxicabs navigates the streets of Times Square, along with iconic landmarks like The Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station and a 21-foot Empire State Building;
- California showcases a San Francisco skyline complete with the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street and painted row houses, as well as famous southern California icons like Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Hollywood Bowl, the Hollywood sign and Madame Tussauds; and
- Pirates, a themed section that hosts a full-on swashbuckling pirate adventure and several large-scale ships.
Land of Adventure entices adventurers of all ages to explore this fun-filled zone. Major attractions include Coastersaurus, a wooden coaster that curves and dips in and around a lifesized LEGO brick dinosaur; Lost Kingdom Adventure, a spectacular, Egyptian-themed dark ride that lets guests fire laser blasters and navigate an ancient ruined temple in all-terrain roadsters; and Safari Trek which explores the wilds of Africa and features amazingly life-like LEGO animals.
Imagination Zone is the most hands-on section of the park, emphasizing exploration and creation. The zone is home to several of the most visually exciting LEGO models in the world, including a giant replica of Albert Einstein’s head. The Imagination Zone is where guests can build a LEGO car they can test against the competition on the digitally timed track; or build and program cutting-edge, computerized LEGO MINDSTORMS® robots. It’s also home to Kid Power Towers, where kids and parents hoist themselves up to the top of a tower to get a great view of the entire park, then enjoy a fun “free-fall” to the bottom.
DUPLO® Village is an ideal area for the youngest set who get to fly a plane, drive a car or explore a whole town designed with their height in mind. The little guys call all the shots here on Big Rig Rally, Granny’s Jalopies and the Junior Fire Brigade where tots become voluntary firemen and work together to extinguish “flames.”
Pirate’s Cove rests along the picturesque shores of Lake Eloise, but alas, has been taken over by a host of swashbuckling LEGO “mini-fig” pirates who star in a live-action, water-stunt show that will bring families nose to nose with all the action.
In addition to the 10 zones, LEGOLAND Florida has taken great care to preserve the soul of the park – the historic gardens established on the grounds of its Cypress Gardens predecessor more than 75 years ago. The setting has been restored to its pristine condition, and the collection of native plants, including azaleas and camellias, has been reclaimed and combined with a range of exotic species to create a horticultural masterpiece. And still standing sentinel in the garden is the vast Banyan tree that was planted as a seedling in 1939.
A full day of high-energy, memory-making fun awaits families at LEGOLAND Florida, the ideal family vacation getaway with plenty of heart-pounding rides and exhilarating attractions in quite possibly the world’s most charming theme park setting.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Based on the Star Wars films, Star Tours will take Walt Disney World Resort guests to multiple Star Wars destinations where they will interact with characters from throughout the Saga. And it will all be in 3-D.
With eye-popping 3-D digital filming, a dramatic musical score and motion simulator-based technology, guests will be immersed in the Star Wars galaxy like never before on a theme park attraction. Walt Disney Imagineering worked with Lucasfilm, Ltd. and Industrial Light & Magic – the groundbreaking visual effects division of Lucasfilm – to bring the out-of-this-world attraction to life.
Star Tours, which had thrilled Disney Parks guests since the 1980s, was “powered down” at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2010 so Imagineers could begin work on the new attraction.
In a new twist, guests may be able to enjoy the attraction multiple times without ever experiencing the same adventure. More than 50 story combinations are possible for guests to experience aboard Star Tours.
Just as the Star Wars films immerse movie-goers in storylines that keep them on the edge of their seats, Star Tours will feature multiple stories and scenarios that will hurtle park guests throughout the Star Wars galaxy. And all of the storyline’s twists and turns will be random, affording guests the chance to ride the attraction multiple times.
Whether it’s a battle with Darth Vader and his legion of stormtroopers or a plea from Princess Leia to help her save the Rebellion, guests will find themselves in the middle of the action – literally – in the 3-D, multi-sensory attraction.
Entering the attraction queue area, Star Tours guests walk into a bustling spaceport. The famed Star Wars droid duo, C-3PO and R2-D2, greet them as the Starspeeder 1000 is prepped for service. Anthony Daniels, the voice of C-3PO and the only actor to appear in every theatrical chapter of the Star Wars Saga, reprises his role as the golden protocol droid. Daniels worked with Walt Disney Imagineering to record new dialogue for the attraction. Guests also are introduced to AC-38, a hotshot droid pilot known simply as “Ace,” and Aly San San (voiced by actress Allison Janney), the “spokesbot” for the spaceport.
After winding through the spaceport, guests board the Starspeeder 1000 spacecraft and prepare for Star Tours Flight #1401. Through a series of mishaps, however, C-3PO finds himself in the pilot’s seat instead of Ace, and it’s up to him and R2-D2 to navigate their passengers through the galaxy. However, the tyrannical Empire is out to stop the Starspeeder at all costs. C-3PO and R2-D2 take the controls and try to outwit and outrun the Imperial forces and a galactic bounty hunter hired to pursue the spaceship and its passengers.
Utilizing the 50+ random story combinations, the Starspeeder then embarks on a wild trip through the galaxy, visiting several planets made famous in the Star Wars films. Among the locations that might provide haven from the Empire’s pursuit are the icy planet of Hoth, the lush jungles of Kashyyyk and the underwater Gungan world of Naboo. And along the way guests may encounter Star Wars characters that offer to help (or hinder) their journey, including Yoda, Admiral Ackbar, Darth Vader and Boba Fett. “Skytroopers,” a legion of stormtroopers created just for the Star Tours attraction story, might even join in the chase.
To purchase tickets for Disney's Hollywood studios or any other Central Florida Attraction please go to http://www.kgstickets.com/
Photo and article compliments of: starwars.com and Fl501st.com
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Once again, Jedi Mickey and Princess Leia Minnie will be joined by some of the brightest stars from the saga. Celebrity Hosts for the event this year are James Arnold Taylor (voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars). Ashley will host "Clone Wars: Behind the Force," a closer look inside the popular animated TV series. James will present another event-first: he will star in a one-man show that showcases some of the many voices he has performed throughout his career, including those from The Clone Wars.
Weekend I (May 20th-22nd)
Opening weekend will kick off the month-long event in grand fashion, as fan favorite Anthony Daniels, who brought C-3PO to life and is the only actor to appear in every theatrical chapter of the Star Wars saga, will make a golden return to the event. Daniel Logan, who played young Boba Fett in Episode II and The Clone Wars animated series will attend. Dave Filoni, the talented artist and supervising director of The Clone Wars, also will be a special celebrity guest for Weekend I.
Star Wars Weekends II, III and IV also will feature celebrities from the live-action feature films and voice artists from The Clone Wars. Here is the schedule as it stands. Please note this list and these dates are subject to change.
Weekend II (May 27th-29th)
Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) returns, joined by Bruce Spence (Tion Medon from Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith) and Dee Bradley Baker, the voice of Captain Rex and all the clones in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Weekend III (June 3rd-5th)
Ray Park (Darth Maul from Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace), Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett from Star Wars: Episodes V and VI and Captain Colton from Star Wars: Episode III) and Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker from The Clone Wars).
Weekend IV (June 10th-12th)
Ray Park returns, joined by Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from Star Wars: Episodes III, IV, V and VI) and Tom Kane, the voice of Yoda and Admiral Yularen from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
And while the stars shine, a galaxy-full of events, shows, parades and activities also take place throughout the park during the month.
An event highlight for many is meeting the Star Wars characters, and this year is no exception. More than 60 Star Wars characters will be roaming the theme park, posing for pictures and signing autographs.
Photo and article compliments of: starwars.com
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The newspaper asked its readers to vote in dozens of categories. Over 5,000 people cast a ballot in the contest and Treasure Tavern came in as the reader's choice in the Best Live Show category, topping such shows as Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil.
"We are impressed the readers chose Treasure Tavern as the show is still relatively new in the marketplace," says Imre Baross, vice president and general manager of Pirate's Dinner Adventure. "However, there is nothing else like Treasure Tavern in Central Florida, where you combine songs, comedy and entertainment acts from across the globe."
Treasure Tavern has repeatedly been praised in the media since opening in June 2010, being compared to the Ed Sullivan Show by Orlando Magazine, and being named as a reason for locals to visit the tourism corridor by the Orlando Weekly.
In addition, Treasure Tavern's sister show, Pirate's Dinner Adventure, was named the best dinner show in Central Florida.
Treasure Tavern is owned and operated by Odien, Inc., a partnership of Ramon and Antonio Riba and the parent company of Pirate's Dinner Adventure. Renowned for 15 years in the dinner theater industry for exemplary service, facilities and first-class entertainment, Pirate's Dinner Adventure and Treasure Tavern are located one block from world famous International Drive.
To purchase Treasure Tavern tickets or any other Central Florida tickets, please visit our website at KGSTickets.com.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
The newspaper asked its readers to vote in dozens of categories. Over 5,000 people cast a ballot in the contest and Pirate's came in as the reader's choice in the Best Dinner Show category.
"For 15 years, we've thrilled locals and tourists with our special show and it is fantastic that the readers of the Orlando Sentinel recognize what we have believed - that we are the best dinner show in Central Florida," says Imre Baross, vice president and general manager of Pirate's Dinner Adventure. "The Sentinel's readers can rest assured that we will not take this recognition lightly and will be showcasing new twists and turns to make our show even better."
The Sentinel designation dovetails a similar recognition in September, when the readers of Florida Monthly Magazine named Pirate's Dinner Adventure the best dinner show/theater in the state.
In addition, Pirate's sister show, Treasure Tavern, was named the best live show in Central Florida.
About Pirate's Dinner Adventure
Pirate's Dinner Adventure is owned and operated by Odien, Inc. and is the creation of artistic directors and brothers, Ramon and Antonio Riba of Spain. The main theater is comprised of tiered seating for 800 guests and the venue is available for private group events and functions. Renowned for 15 years in the dinner theater industry for exemplary service, facilities and first-class entertainment, the Orlando venue is located one block from world famous International Drive. This venue is the prototype for brand expansion. A second Pirate's Dinner Adventure opened in December 2005 in Buena Park, California; they are now celebrating their 5 year anniversary.
To purchase Pirates Dinner Show tickets or any other Central Florida attraction tickets, please visit our website at KGSTickets.com.
Monday, April 11, 2011
The Lunabotics Mining Competition is included in the Kennedy Space Center general admission ticket. To puchase Kennedy Space Center tickets or any other Central Florida attraction tickets, please visit click here.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
In these images, taken at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay each color represents a different temperature, so we can see what parts or areas of animals and their environments are cooler, or warmer, than others.
That helps us to learn about how animals regulate their body temperature.
Elephants don’t sweat or pant the way that many mammals do. They are “heat-storers,” whose core body temperatures can rise as much as 11 degrees Farenheit in a day.
What do these Infrared photos show us?
By watching how our elephants shed excess heat into the environment at night, and how they cool-down by trunk-bathing, dusting, shade-seeking, swimming, or ear-flapping during the day, we’re gaining valuable insight into this important aspect of mammalian behavior and biology.
With our research collaborators, Dr. Esther Finegan and her graduate students from the University of Guelph (Ontario), we currently have several research projects at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay well underway with elephants, rhinos, and hippos, which should soon yield important scientific publications. In addition to increasing our knowledge of these species, there may be insights pertinent to zoo exhibit design and animal management strategies.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Since SeaWorld Orlando's sea turtle rescue program began in 1980, more than 1,530 sea turtles have been cared for by the park's vets and animal team. Each sea turtle was rescued by the staff or brought to the park due to cold stress, injuries from nets, fishing line and hooks, ingestion of trash such as plastic bags, boat strikes, natural causes and most recently, oil contamination.
What should you do if you find an injured, orphaned or ill animal?
First, don’t approach the animal – be safe and keep your distance. Next, contact your local wildlife agency and be prepared to detail the animal’s exact location and its condition.
In Florida, contact FWC, 24/7, at 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922). In other states contact your local wildlife agency.
SeaWorld is a global leader in the rescue and rehabilitation of sea turtles. The park’s Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation Team is in on call 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to care for all kinds of marine animals including sea turtles -- like "Mr. 1,000" -- dolphins, manatees and whales.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The giant observation wheel planned for International Drive is supposed to rival the world-famous London Eye. But will the view from an Orlando Eye rival the well-known panorama provided by its English counterpart?
Turns out you can see almost everything in Central Florida from 425 feet up in the air above I-Drive — from a tiny version of Spaceship Earth in Epcot to the downtown skyline to the OUC power plant partway to the Space Coast.
But you can't see any of it particularly well.
The iconic images that visitors associate with Orlando — Walt Disney World's Cinderella Castle, for example, or Universal's roller coasters — are mere points on a flat horizon when viewed from high above the site chosen for the Orlando Eye, a vacant lot that once held the Mercado shopping-and-dining complex.
An Orlando Sentinel reporter and photographer took a helicopter flight recently to gauge the view from above the Mercado property on a blue-sky day.
The trip revealed pleasant views of nearby lakes and a surprising amount of greenery. From the sky, the highways and main roads clogged with tourists day and night look a bit more picturesque. And there's a postcard-perfect view of the Orange County Convention Center's newer, North-South Building — the more striking north end that most tourists miss from International Drive.
But there are also lots of big, flat, dull rooftops and parking lots, such as the sprawling Lockheed Martin Corp. complex that predates the arrival of Disney and the development of a tourist corridor.
The Orlando Eye is part of a proposed retail-and-entertainment development, to be called "I-Walk Orlando," that is supposed to rise from the Mercado's ashes about a mile north of the convention center.
It's not the first giant wheel proposed for the I-Drive area.
In 2008, a company called Great Wheel Corp. announced plans for a similar attraction just south of the county-run center, near the intersection of Interstate 4 and the BeachLine Expressway. But that project never got off the ground.
This time, the planned wheel has a powerful partner: the world's second-largest attractions operator, Merlin Entertainments Group. Merlin already operates the London Eye, which, perched on the banks of the River Thames in the heart of England's famed capital city, provides those who ride its giant cars a bird's eye view of such landmarks as Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster.
"They're the rising star in our industry right now," said John Gerner, managing director of Leisure Business Advisors, an attractions-consulting company in Richmond, Va. "That's a plus in the situation."
When it comes to observation platforms, location is key, Gerner said. Generally speaking, he said, a successful attraction offers views of a natural wonder such as Niagara Falls, which can be viewed from several different towers, or a human achievement such as New York City, best viewed from the Empire State Building in midtown Manhattan. Some attractions offer visitors both, such Seattle's Space Needle, which has sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Mount Rainier as well as the city's striking downtown and waterfront.
Those climbing aboard an observation wheel in Orlando, Gerner said, are "going to be looking for the manmade attractions that they're familiar with, starting with Disney and Universal."
"In addition to that, you have some nice scenic beauty," he said.
But seeing Orlando's key attractions from 425 feet above the heart of International Drive is a bit deflating, at least without the use of binoculars. The Epcot dome is recognizable but unimpressive at such a distance, and with just a slight haze on the horizon, the Magic Kingdom's castle is all but indistinguishable.
Merlin said it is in the early stages of planning the attraction and still has "a lot of work to do" on the final experience, including mapping the view. But the company said it expects the I-Walk location to be a great one for an Orlando Eye.
"At 425 feet high, it will be almost as high as the London Eye and will give magnificent views of the area surrounding Orlando — we will be detailing this nearer the time of opening," Sally Ann Wilkinson, a Merlin spokeswoman, said via e-mail. "As well as the view itself, the attraction will, for example, almost certainly include interactive capsules that will bring the viewing experience alive through film/facts and images for the millions of guests we expect to welcome each year."
In addition to Disney and Universal, famous landmarks will include Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building, one of the largest buildings in the world, said Chuck Whittall, president of Unicorp National Developments, one of three companies involved in the observation-wheel venture.
Gerner said that judging such views, and balancing them against the price of admission, is a subjective experience.
"It's in the eye of the beholder as far as the 'wow' factor," he said after looking at aerial photographs taken by the Sentinel during its helicopter flight. "At least you can see Disney in some way, and that's a definite plus."
Article compliments of the Orlando Sentinel.
The Blackstone Group, which owns 50 percent of the park, is offering up its stake. Blackstone first offered its share to NBC Universal, which owns the other half of the park.
If NBC Universal does not accept the offer, Blackstone could market the theme park to other companies. NBC Universal has until mid-June to decide whether or not to buy out Blackstone.
If the parks were to come under ownership other than by NBC Universal, it could bring some of the theme parks' licensing agreements into question.
Financial documents reveal that Universal Orlando has taken steps to ensure that licensing for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter would continue even if the park is no longer owned in part by NBC. However, if a new owner were not to follow specific rules, the license could be terminated by Warner Bros., which owns the Harry Potter franchise.
Universal Orlando also said this week that park attendance skyrocketed again in the final quarter of last year, increasing by 46 percent. Year-to-year, the parks said attendance was up more than 50 percent.
Robert Niles, editor of Theme Park Insider, said Universal Orlando is as valuable as its ever been.
"Blackstone kind of has Universal in a barrel here," Niles said. "Harry Potter's really boosted the attendance and the profit and the visibility of the Orlando resort."
Niles said it isn't likely that NBC Universal would let Blackstone start shopping with park to third parties.
"Universal Orlando has become too valuable to NBC Universal to have any risk of losing control of the property. They've really to to step up to the plate here and find way to accommodate Blackstone."
Niles said it is likely that NBC Universal will either try to buy out Blackstone completely, or provide them with a better incentive to stay.
"This is an opportunity for Universal to claim complete control of the resort…something they've not had up until this point," Niles said.
With the increased attendance from 2010 also came a big raise for the CEO of Universal City Development Partners, the name for the corporation that operates the parks.
In 2009, John Sprouls made $282,000, SEC documents show. But in 2010, Sprouls received $1,258,355. The increase was largely to more than $1 million in incentive pay, based on the parks' long-term growth plan.
Article Compliments of WESH.com
Monday, February 28, 2011
See some of your Disney Character favorites now as topiaries, including Disney·Pixar's Buzz, Woody and Lotso from Toy Story 3. Plus, don't miss Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars 2.
Let the nation's top designers help you plan everything to enhance your home's curb appeal. With opinions from HGTV stars like Vern Yip and Genevieve Gorder-plus Epcot's own gardening experts-you'll have new ideas blooming around your home in no time!
And don't miss music from the '60s and '70s during the Flower Power Concert Series. It's where you'll find a different artist (like Melissa Manchester, Davy Jones and Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone) every weekend during the Festival at America Gardens Theatre.
Epcot theme park admission is required. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival events are included with admission to Epcot theme park. Availability is limited for some events. Events may be cancelled at any time.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
|Date: Friday, February 18, 2011|
Stitching: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Flag Raising: 4:00 p.m.
Destroyed in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001 and stitched back together seven years later by tornado survivors in Greensburg, Kansas, The National 9/11 Flag is a living testament to the resilience and compassion of the American people. It is the modern day version of The Star Spangled Banner. The New York Says Thank You Foundation is currently taking The National 9/11 Flag on a journey across America where local service heroes in all 50 states will be given the historic privilege of stitching the flag back to its original 13-stripe format using pieces of fabric from American flags destined for retirement in each state.
Once the flag is restored and made whole again by the 10th Year Anniversary of 9/11, The National 9/11 Flag will become a part of the permanent collection of the National September 11 Memorial Museum being built at the World Trade Cente
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Nationally renowned musical acts combine with an authentic Mardi Gras parade, dozens of colorfully costumed performers, authentic Cajun cooking, and hand-picked New Orleans bands to capture the look, feel and fun of New Orleans – all inside Universal Studios Florida.
Universal Orlando has been creating its special Mardi Gras celebration for more than 15 years – bringing the perfect combination of the Big Easy and spectacular theme park entertainment to its guests all for the price of regular admission.
“If you can’t be in New Orleans or if you can’t get enough of Mardi Gras, then Universal Orlando is the place to be,” said Jim Timon, senior vice president of entertainment for Universal Orlando Resort. “We bring all of what makes Mardi Gras great together with national-level musical artists to create a family-friendly celebration that fills the entire theme park.”
This year’s special Mardi Gras concert line-up features some of the biggest names in Rock, Country, Pop and R&B. Together, the headliners have had more than 100 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart and more than 20 Grammy nominations. Performers include Pitbull, also known as “Mr. 305,” who will perform songs from his hit album, “Rebelution,” Neon Trees, who will perform their hit “Animal,” One Republic and country-super-star Blake Shelton. Also performing will be Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Beach Boys and Ne-Yo. For a complete list of this year’s performers and dates, see below.
Along with top-name talent comes the world-famous parade - straight from the streets of New Orleans. One-dozen elaborate, hand-crafted floats designed and built by Blaine Kern Artists – the same company that creates floats for New Orleans Mardi Gras – will make their way through the streets of Universal Studios along with dozens of colorfully costumed performers and hundreds of float riders – all of whom throw beads to eager guests. The parade, with its Fire, Air, Water, Earth theme, also features music and a nightly King and Queen of Mardi Gras.
Nearby, in the Universal Studios “French Quarter Courtyard,” the celebration continues. This area will feature New Orleans-inspired food creations by Universal’s chefs – including jambalaya, Po Boy sandwiches and more. And nearly one-dozen hand-picked, authentic New Orleans bands will perform the best of The Big Easy’s Blues, Jazz and Zydeco.
To Pucrchase tickets to Universal Orlando theme park tickets, please click here!
*Mardi Gras is included as part of regular admission to Universal Studios.