Here’s a short photo update from Disney’s Hollywood Studios taken during my visit this evening.
We arrived just in time to see the last performance of the brand new High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Right Here, Right Now! The performance runs the same as the last one, heading down Hollywood Boulevard a few times a day and stopping in front of the sorcerer’s hat for the show. The show itself is completely different but there are still a couple of times when members of the audience (kids and adults) can join in if chosen. [Read more...]
Click here to continue reading Photo Update: Hollywood Studios…
Cypress Gardens has decided to take the “not so scary” approach to Halloween this year by offering a kid friendly Fall Festival this Friday and Saturday. Children 9 and under will receive free admission after 3 p.m. and free ice cream if they come in costume (no masks). Adults will receive admission for $15 after 3 on Friday only.
There will be trick-or-treating on Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. and on Satuday from 4 to 6 p.m. On Friday, Natures Way will be having trick or treating for the animals. This allows the guests to watch the animals be fed pumpkin by the animal handlers. Normally, the animals are fed before or after park hours. The times for this are 11:30 a.m. (Jaguar and Wallabies) and 3:30 p.m. (Goats, Lemurs and Tortoises).
For those a bit daring, venture out on the Magnolia Mansion and Plantation Gardens Haunted Tour or visit the “Boo House” in Jubilee Junction.
Live entertainment is also on the agenda. Catch street performances in Jubilee Junction at various times on both days. In “Bad Bob the Bone Butcher,” Bad Bob the Bone Butcher comes back from the grave and it’s the deputy’s bones that the Butcher Man craves! Don’t miss the hilarious Halloween high-jinks at “ShenaniGuns! Comedy Wild West Show!” The silly scalawags of Cypress Cove get a slapstick scare when the hidden treasure they seek turns out to be haunted in “The Haunted Treasure of Cypress Cove”!
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville recently announced the completion of their 2nd floor bar and balcony renovation. This area, formerly the 12 Volt Bar and Balcony, is now a tropical tiki dining experience, complete with palm trees, tiki heads and torches, flat screen TV’s embedded in surf boards, wall murals, thatched roofs and more.
Joey Fatone visited Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay with family and friends Thursday night.
Best known as a member of ‘N Sync, a competitor on Dancing with the Stars and as the host of The Singing Bee and Celebrity Circus, Fatone found some new fans in Howl-O-Scream’s famous Naughty Nurses and the rest of the Fiends cast.
He was also sought out by the Raven Twins, Lara and Lana, as their next victim. Fortunately, the Twins spared Fatone the horrible fate most of their dates meet and let him go to enjoy an evening of haunted houses and world-class roller coasters in the dark.
Singer and actor Lance Bass and his “Dancing with the Stars” professional dance partner Lacey Schwimmer got into the Halloween spirit and kicked up their heels yesterday in the Magic Kingdom. The pair is one of seven couples remaining on the current season of the popular ABC-TV dance competition show.
Cypress Gardens will host Footin’ Fever, a barefoot endurance competition starting at 8 a.m. this Saturday. Competitors will go head-to-head around the Cypress Gardens show circle on Lake Eloise. Two competitors will go at a time and the first competitor to fall will be eliminated.
The entry fee for competitors is $50 and includes free parking in the main parking lot, entry to Cypress Gardens, a T-shirt and a cook-out following the competition. If you think you have what it takes to stay upright, skiers may register beginning at 7 a.m. at the Cypress Gardens main entrance. An awards ceremony will be held directly following the last ski show of the day. All USA Water Ski members must bring their membership cards. Depending on entries received, the competition could be extended to Sunday, Oct 26, to finish final rounds.
Small town southern boy Billy Currington will be performing his list of country hits at Cypress Gardens tomorrow starting at 7:30 p.m. The concert is included with park admission.
Currington’s southern country sound has been described as “blues tinged” and “soulful.” Although Currington started writing songs and playing the guitar as a teenager, his debut CD didn’t hit the shelves until 2003. His second album, “Doin’ Somethin’ Right” achieved the number two spot on the Billboard’s Current Country Albums Chart after being release in 2005. “Walk a Little Straighter,” “I Got a Feelin’,” “Party for Two,” and “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right,” are some of his hits. In 2006 “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” won the “Hottest Video of the Year” award from the fan-voted, CMT Music Awards. He is slated to release a new album this Fall.
A huge accomplishment for Currington was being chosen to record “Party of Two” with country star Shania Twain. Other bragging rights include being named one of the 20 Sexiest Southern Men by CMT, one of Nashville’s “25 Most Beautiful People” by Nashville Lifestyles’ magazine (which he has also graced the cover of), an “On the Verge” artist by USA Today and has also appeared in People’s “Sexiest Man Issue.”
Guests are invited to bring their lawn chairs or enjoy complimentary bench seating. Reserved seating is also available for $10, $15 and $25 but does not include park admission, which must be purchased separately. Guests can order both reserved seats and park admission online by visiting www.cypressgardens.com or by calling 863- 324-2111, option 2.
Motocross champion and co-owner of Hart & Huntington tattoo shops Carey Hart tries to talk his way out of a creepy encounter with a scareactor at Halloween Horror Nights 18 during a visit to Universal Orlando Resort on Oct. 18.
Latin singer, songwriter and multiple Grammy Award-winner Gloria Estefan came face to face with a creature of the night at Halloween Horror Nights 18 when she visited Universal Orlando Resort with her family on Oct. 18.
SeaWorld Orlando welcomed 14-year-old British Olympic diver Tom Daley this week. Daley wowed guests yesterday in a special performance of his Olympic dives prior to SeaWorld’s Blue Horizons show. Daley, who competed in Beijing this summer, was the youngest British Olympic competitor in 60 years.
Update: Video added
Cypress Gardens will be hosting a car and truck show this Sunday, organized by Premium Productions Car Shows. Registration for the show takes places from 8 a.m. to noon. The fee is $25 to pre-register and $30 at the door. You can register online today at www.premiumcarshows.com or by calling 727-547-8082.
Judging starts at 11 a.m. and there are a total of 124 awards up for grabs, including 95 Best of Show and 29 Overall Best of Show. Awards will be presented at 3 p.m. in the concert area. All vehicles are invited to participate in the show. Each entrant will receive two free park passes per vehicle. The show is limited to the first 225 entrants. The car show will take place at the concert area inside Cypress Gardens. The show will be professionally judged by Bayside Auto Enthusiasts.
Cypress Gardens is located in Winter Haven, four miles west of SR 27 on Cypress Gardens Boulevard. Regular admission is $39.95, plus tax for ages 10-59, Children admission is $34.95 plus tax for ages 3-9 and Senior admission is $34.95, plus tax for 60+. For more details visit www.cypressgardens.com or call 863-324-2111.
Blog entry by Julie Saunders
The east coast leg of Disney’s new marketing campaign, “What Will You Celebrate?” rolled into Charlotte, N.C. on Oct. 15. Local-area College Program cast members, clad in red windbreakers with the new campaign’s slogan on the back, handed out Mickey Mouse shaped balloons promoting the new campaign, which offers a free one-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort on the visitors birthday.
Passers-by could also register their birthdays online using Hewlett-Packard computers set up at the campaign stop. Cards attached to balloons include a code for a free digital gift available from www.disneyparkscelebrations.com.
Explaining the campaign, tour manager Alex Ruiz said, “What we’ve done with ‘What Will You Celebrate?’ is bucketed existing services and made them selectable at the time of booking through our central reservations office. Depending on guests’ needs, and budget, they can add on a private fireworks cruise or order a cake for delivery at a specific table service restaurant.”
Birthdays aside, Ruiz described other aspects of the campaign, “In addition to a free one-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland on guests’ birthdays, we can help them celebrate other life events like anniversaries or graduations. Personalization is the key and the sky is the limit.”
Commenting on possible future use of the exclusive, custom suite inside Cinderella’s castle, Ruiz said, “The castle suite will be used for extended promotional purposes by Disney and possibly third parties.” Ruiz denied that the castle suite would become reserveable saying, “At this time there are no plans to put a price on the castle suite.”
The “What Will You Celebrate?” tour stops in 30 cities coast-to-coast. Check the schedule for dates and locations.
While not at all theme park related, the Barack Obama rally (with Hillary Clinton) outside the Amway Arena yesterday attracted about 50,000 people. I went to my first political rally just for the experience and to try to get some good pictures. Below is my story in pictures. To see all 25 pictures, visit the Events section of our Photo Gallery.
FYI: This coverage does not mean Orlando Attractions Magazine is endorsing Obama (or McCain). [Read more...]
Click here to continue reading Pictures from the Obama rally in Orlando…
Spooky Empire started their Ultimate Horror Weekend today with a Zombie Walk down International Drive to the Wyndam Hotel where the weekend’s events take place. The Raven Twins from Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream were the special guests and led the walk.
In addition to the walk, they also held a screaming contest, a dead celebrity impersonation contest, a three-legged zombie crawl/race, and a brain eating contest.
To see all of the brain munching fun in more than 50 pictures, visit our photo gallery. But a warning before continuing for children and those with queasy stomachs, some of the costumes were very well done and very gruesome.
Some of my favorite photos are below.
Click here to continue reading Zombie Walk invades I-Drive (pics)…
In a special ceremony this morning in the Premiere Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the 2009 Ambassador team was announced. Cast members Clay Shoemaker of the Magic Kingdom Dream Squad, and Vanessa Rosas of Industrial Engineering were named the 2009 Walt Disney World Ambassador team.
Clay began his career with Disney in 1994 at The Disney Store in Palm Beach Gardens. Two years later, during the 25th Anniversary Celebration, he joined the cast of Walt Disney World, greeting guests on Main Street. Clay has also worked in operations, sales, marketing and merchandise.
Vanessa, an industrial engineer originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, was hired in 2000. In her eight years with Industrial Engineering, Vanessa has worked in many areas including child care, photo imaging, the college program, merchandise and food and beverage. She most recently worked in theme park operations.
For the full story and a behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s Ambassador program, be sure to read the upcoming Dec./Jan. issue of Orlando Attractions Magazine.
Celebrating 50 Years of NASA, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex kicks off the anniversary celebration at 7 p.m. this Saturday. Enjoy a performance by the Grammy Award winning band Survivor, followed by a spectacular fireworks show – live in the Rocket Garden.
Upcoming concerts include:
The Guess Who – Saturday, Oct. 25 at 5 p.m.
Rick Springfield – Saturday, Nov. 1 at 5 p.m.
Click Here for tickets.
Busch Gardens will help kick off Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Horror Weekend in Orlando tomorrow with a special appearance by their Howl-O-Scream icons, the Raven Twins. The actresses who originated the roles of Lara and Lana Raven for the advertising campaign will take part in the Zombie Walk opening ceremony, which kicks off the annual three-day horror convention.
The twins will be available for photos and autograph signings from 3 to 4 p.m. at the pre-walk “Hearse Show,” taking place at 8126 International Boulevard in the T.G.I. Friday’s parking lot across the street from the Wyndham Hotel. Then, at 4 p.m., the twins will join representatives from The Deadite Empire to kick off the second annual Zombie Walk, which features hundreds of costumed volunteers lurching across I-Drive to celebrate the Ultimate Horror Weekend’s opening night. (Even though the twins are not really zombies.)
Howl-O-Scream representatives will be at the convention all weekend, with giveaways and ticket drawings to share information about Busch Gardens’ nationally ranked Halloween event, which takes place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night through Nov. 1.
Howl-O-Scream 2008 is a separate-ticketed event, and the general admission price is $64.95. Savings are available on advance ticket purchases for Passport Members, Florida Residents and with a coupon from participating Muvico Theaters or Budweiser retailers throughout the state. Click here for more information.
Click here for more information on Howl-O-Scream.
Click here for photos from Howl-O-Scream.
Click here for more information on Ultimate Horror Weekend.
Hundreds of Walt Disney World cast members completed a wellness walk around Epcot just in time to help officially open the Center for Living Well, an on-site health and wellness center that will provide eligible cast members and their families with a “one-stop shop” for primary medical care and related services, including a pharmacy, lab, basic radiology, and wellness and behavioral health resources.
“The opening of the Center for Living Well is a significant milestone in our journey to help cast members and their families lead healthier lives,” said Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton. “This special place will inspire cast members to take a proactive approach to their health and provide resources that will make it easier than ever before for them to take advantage of the many health and wellness resources Disney offers.”
Disney selected Take Care Health Systems (formerly CHD Meridian Healthcare) to operate and provide medical and pharmacy services at the $6 million, 15,000-square-foot facility. As the operator of the Center for Living Well, Take Care Health has committed to providing cast members and their dependents who participate in the company’s health plans with:
• High-quality, personalized care facilitated by a multi-lingual staff of credentialed medical professionals.
• Coordinated treatment made possible by relationships with specialists and other facilities throughout the region, referral scheduling support and the latest in medical technology, including electronic medical records and prescriptions and digital radiology.
• Privacy and confidentiality, through special facility design features, such as a sophisticated white noise system that enables private conversations, the use of pagers to facilitate efficient and discreet communication between patients and staff, and a unique exam room design that prevents others from seeing who is inside the room when the door is open.
“Across our organization, cast members at all levels have been taking ‘one simple step’ toward a healthier lifestyle using the resources provided by our company,” said Al Weiss, president of worldwide operations for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. “There is a lot of momentum around our wellness journey, and we will continue to engage our cast members in new and innovative health and wellness opportunities.”
For more photos from the opening, visit our Photo Gallery.
T-Rex: A Prehistoric Family Adventure, A Place to Eat, Shop, Explore and Discover opened it doors at Downtown Disney this afternoon at 4 p.m.
Download a high-resolution version of the above video on our Videos page.
T-Rex, developed by Schussler Creative and operated by Landry’s Restaurants, features dining and retail in a 30,000-square-foot, 600-seat family-friendly interactive prehistoric environment. The concept is built around water, fire and ice: Guests are greeted with life-size animatronic dinosaurs among cascading waterfalls, a fossil dig site, Build-A-Dino (by Build-A Bear) in the gift shop, and more.
Schussler Creative Chairman Steve Schussler, the founder of Rainforest Café and the T-Rex restaurant, depicts the experience as “edutainment,” noting that this “treat for all five senses” includes artifacts such as fossils – all carefully labeled – that are hundreds of millions of years old, carefully crafted animatronic dinosaurs, and even a meteorite found in Argentina. A full-size skeleton replica of Argentinosaurus, one of the largest of the dinosaurs and copied from a museum specimen about 125 feet in length, looms over the entrance, joined by a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton.
The theme carries over to the menu, which features items with names such as Caesarsaurus (Caesar salad), Raptor Ribs (Asian BBQ ribs), Pterodactyl Wings (Buffalo chicken wings), Triassic Tortellini (tri-colored cheese tortellini) and Gigantosaurus Burger (think really big hamburger).
For the full story on T-Rex, check out the upcoming Dec./Jan. 2009 issue of Orlando Attractions Magazine. In the meantime, visit our photo gallery for an inside look at the restaurant.
Our current issue features a story by Deborah Brauser on the Adventures Club and its closing. The article features interviews with some of the cast and fans. But we didn’t have room for all of the photos and information in the print edition, so here are the leftovers. [Read more...]
Click here to continue reading Extra photos, information from our Adventures Club story…