Tuesday, May 24, 2011

LEGOLAND set to open October 15, 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.

Just 45 minutes west of Disney and a 45-minute drive east from Tampa, LEGOLAND Florida rests along the shores of Lake Eloise in the city of Winter Haven. Guests will experience 10 easy-to-navigate and highly-themed zones:

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.

Castle Hill is inspired by all things medieval and takes kids back to a time of knights, princesses and dragons. Major attractions include The Dragon, an indoor/outdoor steel roller coaster that offers a hilarious, behind-the-scenes view of life within the enchanted LEGOLAND Castle; and The Royal Joust where kids can storm the castle riding LEGO-themed horses and challenge other riders in a simulated joust.

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.

XTreme is the most “intense” zone in the park. Here courageous youngsters and daring adults will brave the LEGO TECHNIC® Test Track Coaster where they’ll harness the power of acceleration, braking and maneuverability as they race a life-size LEGO TECHNIC vehicle along a wildly twisting track. This area is also home to AQUAZONE® Wave Racers, which lets riders zip in and out of waves as they dodge kid-powered water blasters on their own LEGO jet skis.

LEGO City is the perfect place for youngsters to live out their dreams in a scaled-down town created just for them. At Driving School (and its counterpart Jr. Driving School), youngsters from ages 3 to 13 get to drive their own car, navigate roads and earn a commemorative driver’s license. Other major attractions include Boating School, a fun-filled ride that allows kids to captain their own mini-vessels; Flight School, a suspended rollercoaster that simulates the thrill of flight; and the LEGO City Rescue Academy, where families compete with one another in fire and police vehicles to be the first to put out a simulated “blaze” and save the day.

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

Star Wars Weekends 2011

The 501st Garrison will be participating in SWW at Disney's Hollywood Studios on May 20-22 & 27-29, June 3-5 & 10-12. They have also extended the invitation to the Rebel Legion who will also be participating. Members from both groups will be coming not only from all over the United States but around the globe as well. It is a time to celebrate the story of one of the most popular Sagas of all time. This is definitely one not to be missed with the re-opening of the new and improved Star Tours ride. Be sure to show your support to the Light and the Dark Sides of Force.

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

Star Wars Weekends

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.

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