By Suzannah Mitchell DiMarzio and Beci Mahnken
February is here and that means cold temperatures for most of the country, but warm and sunny weather is still the forecast here in Central Florida. Here are some of the great deals you can find in our part of the Sunshine state right now:
Orlando’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium is thanking Florida’s first responders and health care workers with half-off tickets throughout the month of February. Each emergency/health care worker can buy an additional three tickets for their guests at half price. Emergency/health care workers must show proof of employment along with a matching Florida photo ID when purchasing tickets. Eligible employees include:
• Police officers
• Sheriff’s deputies
• Highway patrol officers
• Hazmat workers
• Search and rescue crews
• Medical and dental staff
• Hospital employees
• Home health care workers
Universal Orlando Resort’s Mardi Gras 2013 is combining a stellar lineup of high-energy performances featuring some of the most sought-after names in music with the exciting spirit of the famed “N’awlins” celebration.
On select nights through April 20, guests can let the good times roll as they experience an authentic, family-friendly version of the Mardi Gras bash at Universal Studios Florida. The event couples theme park entertainment with a dazzling parade, authentic New Orleans musicians, mouth-watering Cajun cuisine, tons of glittering Mardi Gras beads and live concerts by high-profile artists.
This year’s talent features an incredible variety of music, ranging from Americana rock to soulful R&B to upbeat pop to Latin rhythms. Guests can return night after night to hear their favorite performers, Pitbull, Demi Lovato, Phillip Phillips, Matchbox Twenty, and more.
Before enjoying the live concerts, guests can dance along with dozens of energetic street performers and collect beads by the handful as the Mardi Gras parade winds through Universal Studios. This year’s parade celebrates “Colorful Cultures Around the World,” featuring all-new float additions inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead, Chinese New Year and Elegance of India. The parade’s elaborate, hand-crafted floats are built by Blaine Kern Artists – the same company that designs floats for the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.
And right now Florida residents can enjoy $25 off a 2-park annual pass:
• Power Pass – $154.99 after savings
• Preferred Pass – $199.99 after savings
• Premier Pass – $324.99 after savings
Offer is also available on FlexPay, Universal’s monthly payment option
This year, Quality Inn International, located in the heart of the attractions corridor on International Drive, greets 2013 with a fresh, updated look in its lobby, restaurant, lounge and gift shop, as well as a brand new meeting space, and complimentary Wi-Fi in all guest rooms, common areas and meeting space. In celebration of this makeover, the hotel is offering a “Ring in the New” package, offering guests the opportunity to experience these changes with an affordable Orlando getaway for family or friends for just $69 per night, double occupancy, including breakfast for two, valid through June 30, 2013.
The Quality Inn International offers 728 “semi-suite” guest rooms outfitted with two double beds. A swimming pool, video arcade and gift shop offer downtime from the theme parks, while a full-service buffet-style restaurant, sports bar and lounge and late night mini-market/deli offer plenty of onsite dining options. The hotel continues to offer its popular Kids Eat Free Program (children ages 9 and under receive complimentary breakfast and dinner buffets when accompanied by a paying adult).
Complimentary, scheduled shuttle service to Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and Wet N’ Wild is also available for guests (reservation required). Nearby, Rosen Hotels & Resort’s own Shingle Creek Golf Club is open for play, with complimentary transportation provided to and from the course. Be sure to ask for the “Ring in the New” package when booking.
• Suzannah Mitchell DiMarzio and Beci Mahnken work for MEI-Travel and Mouse Fan Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner featuring a team of more than 75 affiliate destination experts located across the U.S.A. They’ve been providing magical vacation experiences for over 12 years, specializing in vacation packages and cruises to all major vacation designations.
For Disney destinations, visit: MouseFanTravel.com or follow them on twitter @MouseFanTravel. For Universal Studios visit UniversalFanTravel.com and for vacation packages and cruises around the globe visit MEI-Travel.com or follow them on twitter @MEITravel.