Experiencing Pandora – Wilderness Explorers Badges

Visits to Disney’s Animal Kingdom always include stops to earn Wilderness Explorers badges for my family, and I was really excited to find that in Pandora – The World of Avatar there were two new badges to earn!

The wilderness must be explored. Caw. Caw. Rawr!

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Pinterest

Experiencing Pandora – Wilderness Explorers Badges

The first thing that you will notice about the badge guides in Pandora – The World of Avatar is that they are in their typical uniforms and name tags instead of being a part of A.C.E. (Alpha Centauri Expeditions).

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Cast Member with handbook
Photo: Cheryl Perlmutter

This is because they are visiting Pandora – The World of Avatar like us, and are encouraging us to explore the area as we would a State Park back on Earth. (I thought it was a really a lovely way to encourage guests to explore and learn about their areas from a new perspective when they get home!)

As soon as you cross the bridge into the area, you will find your first of two Wilderness Explorers Badges!

Botany Badge – Plants help the planet!

At this badge location you will earn your Botany Badge by exploring the plants on Pandora (Page 11 of the Wilderness Explorers Handbook).

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Botany Badge Overview

A Wilderness Explorer understands that plants are an essential part of the ecosystem on Pandora just as they are back on Earth. They support life, provide oxygen, and create habitats for animals. Plants also have many special features that help them survive. If you look closely you will see that many of the plants here on Pandora are similar to plants back on Earth.

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Flaska Reclinata Large
Adult Flaska Reclinata

For this badge Wilderness Explorers will interact with the adult Flaska Reclinata that you can find at the entrance to the Valley of Mo’ara, their offspring along the river, and plants that we have on earth.

Ecology Badge – Pandoran Animals

The Ecology Badge (Pages 12 & 13 in the Wilderness Explorers Handbook) location is closer to the floating mountains and some interesting Pandoran Animals…the Pluropoda Saggitaria and Cerebellis Scapularis.

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Ecology Badge

Ecology is the study of relationships among plants, animals, and their environment. the Na’vi understand that the plants and animals of Pandora are connected to each other in unique ways. What can you learn about these connections?

To earn this badge you will first spend time learning the basics of relationships that can be found in ecology from the Badge Guide before you start your search for the Pluropoda Saggitaria and Cerebellis Scapularis in Pandora – The World of Avatar.

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Pluropoda Saggitaria
Pluropoda Saggitaria and Cerebellis Scapularis

We really had a great time earning the two new Wilderness Explorers Badges, and I really love the touch of Earth that has been brought to Pandora!

Family Tip! This is a great way for younger visitors to spend time while their family and friends are experiencing Avatar the Flight of Passage.

But with these new additions comes a little bit of bad news…Fans of the Wilderness Explorers program at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will notice that in the new handbook two older Wilderness Explorers Badges for Hand Washing and Currency have been retired.

We’ll be bringing you more information about Pandora – The World of Avatar over the next few weeks, so make sure you follow @onthegoinmco on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Check out my post on the Five Things You Should Do Before Visiting Pandora – The World of Avatar!

Five Things To Do Before Traveling To Pandora

Pandora – The World of Avatar opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom officially on May 27, 2017, but before you make the 4.4 light year journey to the Valley of Mo’ara here are five things you will want to do before you go!

Five Things To Do Before Traveling To Pandora - The World of Avatar - Pinterest

Five Things To Do Before Traveling To Pandora – The World of Avatar

1. Watch Avatar or read a synopsis

While it is not necessary to watch the almost 3 hour movie Avatar to enjoy your time in Pandora – The World of Avatar, knowing about the world will help you feel more at home in this new & beautiful land.

Over on icFlorida, you can find my short synopsis of the movie!

The year is 2154 and Jake Sully, a paralyzed former U.S. Marine, takes the place of his deceased brother in the Avatar Program on Pandora. After a six year flight, Jake awakens from cryrosleep and arrives at the Resources Development Administration (RDA) run colony who’s focus is mining the extremely valuable mineral called Unobtanium that is desperately needed on Earth and found in abundance on Pandora.

While Pandora is covered in lush rainforests, the air is poisonous for humans to breathe so the RDA has developed the Avatar Program that allows humans to control avatars, which are genetically engineered hybrids of humans and Na’vi the sentient race of tall, blue-skinned humanoids that are native to the planet.

After Jake learns to control his avatar body from Dr. Grace Augustine, he goes on to find out more about the Na’vi including their language and culture in hopes of furthering relationships with them…at least on the surface as he is also working under the orders of Colonel Miles Quaritch to get the Na’vi to move away from the Hometree so the large deposits of unobtanium can be mined.

Through a series of action-packed events Jake rides a Banshee, becomes accepted into the Omaticaya clan, and even earns the love and trust of a female Na’vi named Neytiri.

And of course as soon as that happens, things go sour as the RDA destroys the Hometree. Soon after Quaritch learns that several Na’vi clans are planning to meet at The Tree of Souls against the RDA mining on their planet, and he figures this is the best way to destroy all the Na’vi in one swoop…literally as Jake and the Na’vi ride Banshees as part of the attack and epic battle against the RDA.

The Na’vi win the battle, and exile most of the RDA back to Earth. At the end of the movie Jake returns to the Tree of Souls to undergo the consciousness transfer from his human body to his avatar form, and awakens to a new life as a Na’vi.

2. Download the My Disney Experience App (iTunes and Google Play)

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go -
Walt Disney World

Let’s be honest…the My Disney Experience App can take up a good amount of valuable space on your device and the My Disney Experience website is fantastic to use when you are at home, BUT make sure that you reinstall the app before you arrive in the Valley of Mo’ara to take advantage of FastPass+, mobile ordering at the Satu’li Canteen (more on this soon), and to view your Disney PhotoPass pictures that can include exclusive magic shots in Pandora – The World of Avatar.

3. Check out the Menus at the Satu’li Canteen and Pongu Pongu

The food inside of Pandora – The World of Avatar is a new take on casual, quick-service dining at Walt Disney World.

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go

Inside the Satu’li Canteen, a former RDA mess hall that has been redecorated to include Na-vi art and cultural items, guests can dine all-day from a menu of healthy choices inspired by international cuisines and Pandora’s natural abundance.

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go
Vegetable Curry Pods with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw & Vegetable Chips

I haven’t had the chance to try breakfast yet, but I highly recommend both the cheeseburger and vegetable curry steamed pods that are served with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Vegetable Chips.

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go

Just outside of the Satu’li Canteen you can find Pongu Pongu, which is Na’vi for ‘Party Party’, offering a “bioluminescent” frozen cocktail called the Night Blossom that can be served with or without alcohol, the Mo’ara Margarita, two indigenous beers, and the most amazing sweet treat called Pongo Lumpia* with sweet pineapple and creamy filling.

*= I apologize for the lack of a photo of the Pongo Lumpia. I have no excuse other than I ordered it twice, and was so excited that I forgot to take a photo…again twice…but I feel like that’s much more of an endorsement than a photo!

4. Set a budget

After spending so much time in such an immersive atmosphere, you may find yourself inside Windtraders looking to bring a piece of Pandora- The World of Avatar home with you!

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go

The merchandise for this new land is awesome with a little something for everyone and every budget!

I went a little crazy with my shopping haul, but remember that Annual Passholders receive a discount on their purchases (except for Banshee adoptions).

5. Plan to take advantage of Extended Park Hours

When you are planning your time in Pandora – The World of Avatar, make sure to keep in mind that from opening day on May 27th until July 4th that Disney’s Animal Kingdom park will stay open from 8 am until 11 pm for all guests giving you ample time to really explore the Bioluminescent flora and fauna of the Valley of Mo’ara.

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go - Pandora at Night
Walt Disney World

However guests staying at select Walt Disney World Hotels will be able to take advantage of “Extra” Extra Magic Hours that will be offered exclusively in Pandora – The World of Avatar for a limited time from 11 pm to 1 am, May 27 to July 4, 2017!

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go

We’ll be bringing you more information about Pandora – The World of Avatar over the next few weeks, so make sure you follow @onthegoinmco on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Over on icFlorida you can check out the video of my first journey to Pandora – The World of Avatar!

Katy Perry Bringing Tour To Orlando

The Amway Center announced earlier this morning that Katy Perry will be brining her WITNESS: The Tour to Orlando on Sunday, December 17. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday, May 22 at 10 am EST.

Katy Perry Witness The Tour Amway Center Orlando Florida

Katy Perry announced the June 9 release of her new album, “Witness” (Capitol Records), and an extensive arena tour. With “Witness,” Perry reflects on the changes in her own life and in the world around her, delivering songs that both challenge and inspire. The singles released thus far – the platinum-certified, “Chained to the Rhythm” featuring Skip Marley and the follow-up single, “Bon Appétit” featuring Migos – hint at the breadth of the musical and thematic elements found on “Witness.”

The WITNESS: The Tour pre-sale, powered by Ticketmaster Verified Fan, begins Thursday, May 18th at 9 am EST. Tickets for the tour will be available through registration using Ticketmaster Verified Fan, an easy to use fan-first technology that helps artists combat bots and get tickets into the hands of fans. Registration is open now and continues until Tuesday, May 16 at 1 pm EST.

“Having just launched a new national advertising campaign with Katy, we’re thrilled to extend our relationship to encompass the upcoming Witness Tour,” said Jennifer Breithaupt, global consumer chief marketing officer, Citi. “Citi card members will have exclusive access to pre-sale tickets for what promises to be one of the biggest and most memorable tours of the year.”

Each ticket purchase for WITNESS: The Tour also includes a pre-order for “Witness: The Album.” All U.S. concerts on WITNESS: The Tour are presented by Xfinity. Additional sponsors are Citi, COVERGIRL and Katy Perry Parfums.

Citi is the official U.S. credit card of WITNESS: The Tour. Citi card members will have access to U.S. pre-sale tickets beginning Thursday, May 18 at 12 p.m. EST through Saturday, May 20 at 10 pm EST through Citi’s Private Pass® program. For complete pre-sale details visit citiprivatepass.com.

Katy Perry Witness The Tour Amway Center Orlando Florida

Katy Perry | WITNESS:  THE TOUR | Info At A Glance

WHEN:
Sunday, December 17, 2017 | 7 pm

WHERE:
Amway Center | Orlando, FL

On- Sale:

Monday, May 22, 2017 | 10 am

Tickets:

$47.50, $87.50, $147 & $197 (prices subject to change).

Buy tickets at amwaycenter.com, Chase Box Office at Amway Center, Ticketmaster retail locations, charge-by-phone at 800.745.3000 or at Ticketmaster.com.

All dates, act(s) and ticket prices are subject to change without notice.  All tickets are subject to applicable taxes, service, handling and facility fee charges.  For Amway Center box office and ticket information, visit amwaycenter.com (phone purchases are not available through the Amway Center box office).  The Amway Center is located at 400 West Church Street and the box office is located on the north side of the Amway Center, near the intersection of Church Street and Hughey Avenue.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort Honors Heroes With Special Offer

LEGOLAND Florida Resort May 2017 Real Life Hero PromotionAll this month the LEGOLAND Florida Resort is honoring real-life heroes dedicated to keeping our cities safe with FREE, single-day theme park admission. In addition, eligible personnel can purchase tickets for up to four additional guests at a 50% discount.

This promotion to recognize these heroes is open to active and retired law enforcement, fire and rescue, and EMT/EMS personnel working in the United States.

Eligible positions for this special offer include:

  • Fire and rescue first responders,
  • Emergency medical services employees (EMT/EMS),
  • Municipal and county police and sheriff’s officers,
  • Highway patrol officers,
  • Corrections officers,
  • State and federal law enforcement officers,
  • Fish and wildlife field officers,
  • U.S. Forest Service rangers,
  • National Park Service officers,
  • Homeland Security agents, and
  • Environmental protection officers.

LEGOLAND Water Park admission can be added to this special offer for a $20-per-ticket upgrade. Note that the water park is only open select dates in May.

To receive complimentary and discounted tickets, eligible personnel must visit the LEGOLAND Florida Resort ticket windows in person on the day of their visit and present their employee ID or professional organization membership card. This offer is not available online, by telephone or through ticket resellers, and is valid through Wednesday, May 31, 2017.

 

iFLY Orlando Reopening With VIP Party This Summer

As one of Orlando’s most popular non-theme park attractions for nearly two decades, iFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving announces the opening of a brand new, state-of-the-art facility featuring dual wind tunnels.

And to celebrate iFLY Orlando will host a unique simultaneous closing ceremony and VIP opening party at the new location on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017.
iFLY Orlando Rendering May 2017

Two all-glass flight chambers will stand side-by-side in the sleek, ultra-modern facility, ready to deliver the dream of flight to double the number of flyers each year. The tunnels are part of a building design with amenities to easily handle groups and parties of 150 or more.  iFLY also offers Science, Technology and Math (S.T.E.M) field trips along with other programs for kids.  The new facility will feature an open singlestory floorplan that will allow passersby easy viewing of the flight experience.

“We are making this significant investment in Orlando because it’s where iFLY started and where we continue to have an enormous and loyal fan base,” said Matt Ryan, iFLY President& COO. “Our goal is to deliver the dream of flight to everyone and by relocating to a new, expansive location we will be able to deliver this dream to even more people in the future.

The new facility, in close proximity to the Orange County Convention Center, will replace the original wind tunnel located on the south side of I-Drive, and the current wind tunnel located on the south side of I-Drive has been relocated to this new site at 8969 International Drive, next to WonderWorks, and is now open. 

To prepare for their flight experience, customers complete a training class guided by one of iFLY’s flight and safety instructors. They then are equipped with flight gear, including goggles, helmet and flight suit, and enter the flight chamber by leaning forward into a smooth cushion of air, with a flight instructor at their side.

All flight packages include training, flight gear, and flight time with an International Bodyflight Association (IBA) certified instructor. The IBA established the gold standard for training and safety standards for indoor skydiving instructors. All iFLYinstructors meet or exceed IBA standards. 

“Our new location is right in the middle of the exciting I-Drivecorridor and much more accessible to visitors in the area,” Matt Ryan said. “Our decision to relocate on I-Drive is indicative ofthe excitement we have about the Orlando tourism market and economic development in the area.” 

iFLY Orlando Corporate Logo

About the NEW iFLY Orlando:  iFLY’s new Orlando facility is the company’s first to feature two recirculating vertical wind tunnels in the same facility. The two wind tunnels  sit side-by-side in the facility and each features a 12-foot diameter flight chamber with wind flow powered by two quiet and clean running electric motors. All instructors at iFLY Orlando are IBAcertified as the best-trained and safest instructors in the sport of indoor skydiving. 

LEGO Star Wars Days At LEGOLAND Florida Announcement

As fans throughout the galaxy celebrate the Star Wars saga today, LEGOLAND Florida Resort is announcing an exciting new addition coming to its LEGO Star Wars MINILAND area in 2018 – an all-new LEGO display inspired by the worldwide blockbuster “Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens.”

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens MINILAND Model Display will feature several scenes re-created with thousands of LEGO bricks, including memorable movie moments with Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren and BB-8, enhanced with lights, sound effects and animation. More details about this 2018 expansion project will be shared in the coming months.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort LEGO Star Wars Days 2017 Logo

LEGO Star Wars Days Return This Weekend to LEGOLAND Florida for Double the Fun in 2017

Meanwhile, LEGO Star Wars Days returns for four days of fun at LEGOLAND Florida Resort starting this weekend! Authorized by Lucasfilm, the 2017 event doubles the fun on two weekends this year:

  • Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

It’s the only LEGO Star Wars theme park event in Central Florida!

LEGOLAND Florida Resort LEGO Star Wars Days 2017 MINILAND USA Star Wars millennium falcon
Photo/Chip Litherland for Merlin Entertainments Group/LEGOLAND Florida Resort

In MINILAND USA, kids can explore some of the most famous scenes from the Star Wars saga made out of 1.5 million LEGO bricks, including detailed displays inspired by the first six blockbuster films, plus life-size LEGO models of Darth Vader, Darth Maul and R2-D2.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort LEGO Star Wars Days 2017 Zoe LEGO Darth Maul

Kids also can:

  • Create a giant LEGO Star Wars mural, brick by brick
  • Build their own LEGO Star Wars model
  • Search for LEGO droids throughout MINILAND USA
  • Learn tips and tricks from our LEGO Master Model Builders
  • Build the world’s largest LEGO Yoda model
  • Meet LEGO Darth Vader
  • Dress up as their favorite LEGO Star Wars character and participate in our intergalactic costume parade (ages 12 and under)

…and much, much more, including giveaways, fun photo ops, opportunities to win LEGO Star Wars prizes and exclusive retail offers.

New this year: Are you more rookie or Wookiee? Test your family’s Star Wars knowledge and LEGO building skills against other families during a just-for-fun competition!

All activities will take place both weekends and are included with all forms of park admission. No extra ticket or Jedi mind tricks required!

For more information, including savings on advance purchase of admission tickets, on-site accommodations, multi-tier annual passes, special events, educational programs, services for guests with disabilities, VIP experiences, military discounts and much more, visit www.LEGOLAND.com/florida, or call (877) 350-5346.

May 2017 Deals And Events At I-Drive 360

I love a great deal, and this month there are great offers and special events taking place at the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando and SEA LIFE Orlando at I-Drive 360!

May 2017 Deals And Events At I-Drive 360

Mother’s Day BOGO I-Drive 360 Attraction Offer

The Orlando Eye I-Drive 360

In honor of Mother’s Day on May 13th & 14th the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando, and SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium will be offering Mothers free admission with the purchase of an adult ticket!

This offer is valid for walk-up ticket purchases at the admissions desk when purchasing a single adult attraction ticket for the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando or SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium

I-Drive 360 Brunch Event

May 2017 Brunch I-Drive 360
Image: Orlando Weekly

On Saturday, May 20th from 11 am until 3 pm I-Drive 360, home of the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, is hosting its first ticketed brunch event at the dining and entertainment complex on International Drive.

Brunch 360 offers guests the opportunity to sip on unlimited mimosas and Bloody Mary cocktails, as well as savor a variety of brunch menu offerings from the Sugar Factory, Tin Roof, Tapa Toro, Paramount, Carrabba’s and Outback Steakhouse.

Brunch 360 tickets include complimentary parking and a flight on the 400-foot observation wheel. Advanced tickets are available now at OfficialOrlandoEye.com for $36 (plus tax). Brunch 360 attendees must be 21 and up.

May First Responders Month Deal at I-Drive 360

Frostival The Orlando Eye

Until May 31st, First Responders will receive free admission to the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando, and SEA LIFE Orlando.

In addition to the First Responder, up to four additional guests (family members or friends) can receive a 50% discount on single-attraction tickets to the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando, and SEA LIFE Orlando

The discount is valid for police officers, fire fighters, and EMS employees working in the U.S. Active, former and retired personnel with identification are also eligible.

Personnel must present valid employment UD or professional organization membership card at admissions, and is only valid on walk-up ticket purchases.

Toddler Tuesdays at SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium

Sea Life Orlando Young Environmentalist I-Drive 360

Each Tuesday at 9:30am, parents can join an immersive and engaging morning activity with their toddlers at the aquarium.

Toddler Tuesdays provides interactive and age-appropriate programming such as coloring, story time, animal feedings, sing-alongs, and more.

Tickets are $15 for adults (12 and up); $12 for children (3-12) and free for toddlers (ages 2 and under), and SEA LIFE Orlando Annual Pass Members receive complimentary entry to this event.

For tickets or information, go to VisitSeaLife.com/Orlando

Walt Disney Family Museum Tips for Visiting

Walt Disney Family Museum
Walt Disney Family Museum

I finally made my way to the Walt Disney Family Museum located in the Presidio of San Francisco, California. I had been wanting to return to San Francisco since I first visited there in 2009, and the museum was a big part of why. It was not open yet when I went previously, so I thought this was a great cornerstone of a second trip to the City by the Bay.

Before I went to the Walt Disney Family Museum, I did very little research in the way of planning my trip. The one thing I did do ahead of time was to order my tickets. This is by no means necessary, but if you are a member of the free Disney Movie Rewards program (where you get points for Disney movie tickets purchased, movies on dvd and blu ray, as well as soundtracks and other cds), they have the tickets for 1,000 for adults, and 800 points for kids. Basically, you are getting your tickets for free if you have enough points, but keep in mind it can take 2 – 4 weeks for them to be delivered by mail. I’d recommend ordering them a couple of months before your trip and then you’ve got plenty of time.

Hyperion Studio
Hyperion Studio

Regular ticket prices are currently $25 for adults, $20 for seniors (65+) or students (w/ id), $15 for children (6 – 17), and children ages 5 and under are free with a paying adult. If you don’t have Disney Movie Rewards, there are still other ways to get discounts on your tickets. Gold Members of Disney’s fan club D23 can get $3 off one day admission for up to four guests per member. Tickets are good for any days, so you don’t need to pick a specific date when your purchase tickets to the Walt Disney Family Museum. You can also occasionally find coupons for $3 off on sites like Bay City Guide, or in coupon books around the city of San Francisco. The Museum also offers free admission for active duty and retired military and their spouses and dependents with valid id.

Parking at the Walt Disney Family Museum is paid on street, but you can use credit cards or cash. You go to a machine and pay for a certain amount of time, and then it prints a receipt which you put on your windshield to designate you’ve paid for the parking. Museum hours are Wednesday through Monday from 10am – 6pm with closures on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. Please note that last entry is at 4:45pm, and that some of the special exhibits can close 30 – 60 minutes before the rest of the museum (I found this out the hard way, but it worked out in the end). Pictures are allowed throughout much of the museum (unless otherwise indicated), but this certainly adds to your time if you try to get pictures of everything like I did.

Walt Disney Family Museum
Mickey merchandise
Walt's Los Angeles
Walt’s Los Angeles
Walt's bench
Walt’s bench
Walt
Walt

Try to get to the Museum as early as you can. Rope drop it if possible. On the two days I went, one in the early afternoon, and the other first thing when they opened at 10, the morning was much quieter. I almost had the Museum to myself for a good hour, which was heavenly. The Walt Disney Family Museum is set up to chronologically follow Walt Disney’s lifespan from 1901 up until even after his death in 1966. Wear comfortable shoes. Even though it isn’t a huge museum, it snakes back and forth with over a dozen gallery rooms plus the special exhibits. There are benches and seating along the way, as well as an elevator at the halfway point to return to the lobby for a refreshing break in the cafe if you need it.

Give yourself plenty of time. I thought half a day was going to be enough, but ended up returning for another two hours the next day to finish the exhibits I did not get to the day before. The Walt Disney Family Museum is made up of lots of pictures, video clips, and audio clips. Allow yourself to play and explore. If you aren’t particularly interested in Walt’s life as a child, then move on to his adult years. If you love Disneyland, make sure you take your time exploring the huge diorama from all angles and the binder that goes with it.

Disneyland diorama
Disneyland diorama

The Walt Disney Family Museum shop has some fantastic books, movies, artwork, and typical gift shop offerings. Don’t forget to factor in shopping time into your schedule and your budget. The Museum Cafe has a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, baked goods, snacks, and drinks. We took a breather here and were very happy with our snacks and refreshing sodas.

Know that this is a bit of a trek from Disneyland and Southern California to get to the Walt Disney Family Museum. Not everyone will be like me and want to drive from San Francisco to Anaheim, so either plan two trips, or maybe look at flying between the two. The drive down the interstate can be done in about 6 hours depending on traffic. We took our time and split up the drive down through Big Sur, stopping in Solvang, visiting Santa Barbara, Ventura, Hollywood, and then on to Disneyland. It was a once in a lifetime amazing ten day trip, but I don’t know that I want to drive it ever again. In the future I’d probably stick to separate trips for San Francisco and Disneyland, however it was awesome to do … once.

For any Disney fans, I highly recommend a trip to the Walt Disney Family Museum. It has a ton of great information compiled by Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller and her family. It covers Walt’s family life, his various animation studios, tv shows, movies, war time efforts, involvement in the Olympics, Disneyland, and more. I could have spent a week in there easily if I was by myself to experience every video clip, audio clip, and picture. Enjoy it and try to check the calendar ahead of time for any special exhibits or events like movie screenings.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Walt Disney Family Museum
View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Walt Disney Family Museum

Shopkins Live! Comes To Dr. Phillips Center

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Koba Entertainment and Moose Toys announced that Shopkins Live!, the first live theatrical production based on the phenomenally successful Shopkins toy brand, will arrive in Dr. Phillips Center’s Walt Disney Theater on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 1 p.m.

Shopkins Live Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Logo 2018

Based on America’s #1 toy brand, YouTube sensation and the international toy phenomenon created in Australia by Moose Toys, Shopkins Live! will feature the Shoppies and Shopkins characters taking the stage with an all-new storyline, original pop music and video highlights as “Jessicake,” “Bubbleisha,” “Peppa-Mint” and friends prepare for Shopville’s annual “Funtastic Food and Fashion Fair.”

“Shopkins is literally on every child’s wish list,” commented Paquin, who also serves as executive producer of Shopkins Live!. “Koba Entertainment’s partnership with an innovative and leading toy manufacturer like Moose Toys allows us to bring one of the most successful toy brands in history to life on stage.”

Since its launch in 2014, the Shopkins brand continues to be a hot ticket item for children worldwide. Shoppies dolls consistently rank as the #1 kids toy in the United States, the first-ever Shopkins movie, “Shopkins Chef Club,” was released last year by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and numerous dedicated apps continue to expand the brand’s ever-growing world.

Shopkins Live! will run approximately 90 minutes with one 15-minute intermission.

For the ultimate Shopkins collectors, The Shopkins Live! VIP Party package gives Shopkins fans exclusive access to the after-show VIP Party, where they will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with some of the Shoppies from the show.

Each VIP Package includes:

  • One (1) premium ticket in the first ten rows of the theatre
  • One (1) meet and greet photo opportunity
  • One (1) exclusive Shopkins Live! merchandise item
  • One (1) exclusive Shopkins Live! VIP lanyard
  • Access to an exclusive Shopkins Live! themed after-show party room, which includes fun activities for Shopkins fans.

All patrons – adults and children – require a VIP ticket to attend the VIP Party. All children must be accompanied by an adult with a VIP ticket – unaccompanied children will not be permitted into the VIP Party.

Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, April 28, 2017 at 10 a.m. Tickets start at $30.00 and may be purchased online at drphillipscenter.org, by calling 844.513.2014 or by visiting the Dr. Phillips Center Box Office at 445 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday. Online and phone ticket purchases are subject to handling fees.

For more information on Shopkins Live!, visit their official website.

Wild Florida Hosts First Gator Week In May

It’s no secret Wild Florida knows a thing or two about alligators. To share this knowledge and passion with visitors, Wild Florida will host Gator Week May 1-6 and offer free admission to its Gator and Wildlife Park throughout the week.

To many, alligators are simply fierce carnivores on the hunt, but that’s not actually the case. Like many misunderstood creatures, myths develop based on a lack of knowledge.

Wild Florida Gator Week Gators March 2017

It is because of this Wild Florida decided to dedicate an entire week to educating and debunking many common myths surrounding these reptiles through live demonstrations and interactive experiences. There will also be plenty of fun photo-ops and guest appearances made by some popular inhabitants of the Gator and Wildlife Park (hint: sloths).

Ranier Munns, co-owner and co-founder of Wild Florida, says, “Alligators are the stars of the show out here at Wild Florida and it is our job, as experts, to educate our guests on these fascinating reptiles. We dedicate much of what we do to gators all year long, so why not celebrate these animals with a week dedicated to them?”

Wild Florida’s mission has always been to provide an unforgettable Everglades experience that promotes a connection with animals while inspiring education and conservation.

Wild Florida Gator Week 2017 Logo

Wild Florida Gator Week Schedule: 

May 1: Alligators have one of the strongest jaws of all living animals, with a bite force of 16,460 newtons (that’s A LOT). Experience this power with a live demonstration of alligators smashing watermelons between those jaws.

May 2: Live Radio Broadcast by 103.1 The Wolf and Gator Jump-a-thon. Demonstrations throughout the day will show off the true power of these animals, and just how high they can jump to catch their prey.

May 3: Fox 35’s David Martin will be live on-air interacting with alligators.

May 4:May the 4th” be with the alligators at Wild Florida. Come decked out in your Star Wars gear and Darth Gator costumes!  Grand prize awarded to the best costume!

May 5: It’s Cinco de Mayo! Come prepared to photograph animals throughout the park in their festive gear and share your animal memes on social media for a chance to win prizes.

May 6: FREE gator photos holding Fluffy, our superstar alligator!

In addition to the Gator Week activities, Wild Florida will offer a daily buffet in the Cypress Ballroom for $24.99 per person from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm and the showing of Lake Placid (edited for all ages) every day in the ballroom from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm.

Be sure to follow Wild Florida on social media for updates, fun polls, educational tidbits and giveaways throughout the week.  Also, check out www.GatorWeek.com for a full schedule of activities.

Touring The Copper Creek Villas And Cabins

The Disney Vacation Club will welcome its 14th Resort when Disney’s Copper Creek Villas and Cabins opens July 17, 2017.

While construction is still under way, we were invited to take a look at the progress and to learn more about Walt Disney World’s newest Resort that will offer Deluxe Studio, 1- or 2- Bedroom Villa, 3-Bedroom Grand Villa or a private waterfront Cabin accommodations.

DVC Copper Creek Villas and Cabins

Disney’s Copper Creek Villas and Cabins’ design is based on the Early Settlements and the railway exploration of the Northwest, and in all of the rooms you will find nods to this time period with stainless steel appliances, rail spikes used as hooks for hanging items, and dove tail features on the furniture. The artwork in the room features Brother Bear, the Carolwood Pacific trains, and totems which are reminiscent of the Wilderness Lodge.

DVC Copper Creek Villas and Cabins Deluxe Studio
Deluxe Studio

In the 1 and 2 bedrooms you will find a fully equipped kitchen, stacked washer and dryer, and a sleek bubble-jet tub.

DVC Copper Creek Villas and Cabins One-Bedroom Villa
One-Bedroom Villa
DVC Copper Creek Villas and CabinsOne-Bedroom Villa Interior
One-Bedroom Villa Interior

In the 3 bedroom Grand Villa your master bathroom is fitted with a bubble-jet tub and an in-mirror TV.

DVC Copper Creek Villas and Cabins Grand Villa Interior Living Room Rendering
Grand Villa Interior Living Room Rendering

The Cabins will make you feel that you are in the Northwest, featuring unique chandeliers, woods for the door Frames and furniture and the counters are exquisite.

DVC Copper Creek Villas and Cabins Waterfront Cabins Exterior Rendering

The open style kitchen, and the double sided stone hearth fireplace will make you feel at home. For Relaxation there is  screened in wraparound porch with a built in hot tub.

DVC Copper Creek Villas and Cabins Waterfront Cabin Interior Rendering
Waterfront Cabin Interior Rendering

Two other areas that you won’t want to miss checking out at Copper Creek Villas and Cabins are located just outside of the rooms!

The pool is based upon a Rock Quarry and there will be 4 Cabanas. There will also be table side food service available in the pool area.

DVC Copper Creek Villas and Cabins Geyser Point Exterior

For dining you can visit the newly opened Geyser Point Bar and Grill that has spectacular views of Bay Lake and delicious food and crafted cocktails based on the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest.

DVC Copper Creek Villas and Cabins Geyser Point Food Collage

Earlier this year the Disney Parks Blog shared a video that shows how this new resort will work in harmony with the other resorts at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and it’s really amazing the level of detail that they’ve put into the Copper Creek Villas and Cabins!

Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

 

Inaugural KIDZ BOP Weekend At LEGOLAND Florida

LEGOLAND Florida will be hosting three days of high-energy fun, music, and meet & greets during the inaugural KIDZ BOP Weekend April 28-30, 2017 that is #BuiltForKids.

Kidz Bop Weekend LEGOLAND Florida Weekends 2017 Best Time Ever

The KIDZ BOP Kids will kick off their 2017 Best Time Ever tour with two live concerts daily at the newly-renamed KIDZ BOP Stadium, an outdoor venue within the LEGOLAND theme park on the shore of Lake Eloise. The family-friendly shows will include songs from their latest album, “KIDZ BOP 34,” and other favorite pop hits that will get kids and parents dancing along. Meet-and-greet opportunities* with The KIDZ BOP Kids – Ahnya, Cooper, Freddy, Isaiah, Julianna and Sierra – will follow each concert.

All activities during KIDZ BOP Weekend, including the concerts and meet-and-greets*, are included with all forms of park admission. No extra ticket required!

KIDZ BOP Weekend

LEGOLAND Florida Resort

Friday, April 28

Saturday, April 29

Sunday, April 30

The KIDZ BOP Kids Live in Concert, 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., The KIDZ BOP Stadium, Pirates’ Cove The KIDZ BOP Kids Live in Concert, noon and 4 p.m., The KIDZ BOP Stadium, Pirates’ Cove The KIDZ BOP Kids Live in Concert, noon and 4 p.m., The KIDZ BOP Stadium, Pirates’ Cove
The KIDZ BOP Kids Meet-and-Greet*, 12:30 and 4:30 p.m., next to Lakeside Sandwich Co. The KIDZ BOP Kids Meet-and-Greet*, 1 and 5 p.m., next to Lakeside Sandwich Co. The KIDZ BOP Kids Meet-and-Greet*, 1 and 5 p.m., next to Lakeside Sandwich Co.

Concerts and meet-and-greets* included with all forms of park admission

* Space is limited. First come, first served

According to Victor Zaraya, president of KIDZ BOP, fans can look forward to an entirely new KIDZ BOP experience at the 2017 show. The ultimate family-friendly live concert will feature brand-new songs and choreography, plus several fun surprises. The tour is headlined by the newest group of KIDZ BOP Kids, who were introduced in January with the release of “KIDZ BOP 34.” The KIDZ BOP Kids have been named Billboard Magazine’s “No. 1 Kids’ Artist” for the past seven consecutive years.

Kidz Bop LEGOLAND Florida Weekends 2017 Best Time Ever

“[This] is our biggest show yet,” Zaraya said. “KIDZ BOP’s Best Time Ever tour provides returning fans with many fun surprises and new fans with their very first concert experience.”

In December 2016, KIDZ BOP and LEGOLAND Florida Resort announced a multi-year alliance making KIDZ BOP the official music partner for the popular Central Florida vacation destination. In their music video for “The Weekend Whip,” the theme song for the “LEGO® NINJAGO®: Masters of Spinjitzu” TV show, The KIDZ BOP Kids demonstrate five “signature” ninja hand moves guests can use to defeat villains and capture a high score on LEGO NINJAGO The Ride, a groundbreaking new attraction that anchors the theme park’s recently opened LEGO NINJAGO World expansion.

Kidz Bop LEGOLAND Florida Weekends 2017 Best Time Ever

For more information about visiting LEGOLAND Florida Resort, including savings on advance purchase of admission tickets, on-site accommodations, multi-tier annual passes, special events, educational programs, services for guests with disabilities, VIP experiences, military discounts and much more, visit www.LEGOLAND.com/florida, or call (877) 350-5346.

Bowling & Bazaar At Boardwalk Bowl

The Daily City’s Orlando Food Truck Bazaar and Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment Center are partnering to create the Bowling & Bazaar. Starting April 26, this family-friendly food truck event will be held at Boardwalk Bowl every fourth Wednesday of the month.
Bowling & Bazaar Logo

 

Six food trucks will make an appearance at the popular Orlando bowling center from 6 to 9 p.m. in this new monthly event. Guests will enjoy great food and receive one free game of bowling with their purchase. The Bowling & Bazaar will also have a full cash bar for guests to enjoy.
“The Orlando Food Truck Bazaar is an iconic local tradition,” said Kendra Gaines, the general manager at Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment Center. “At Boardwalk Bowl, we love being part of the Orlando community, and we’re excited to provide a fun twist to this event.”
The food truck lineup for the first three Bowling & Bazaar events has already been announced, though trucks may change.

Scheduled trucks for the inaugural event are Little Blue Donut Co., Up in Smoke BBQ Orlando, Tamale Co. Food Truck, Philly’s Best Cheesesteaks, La Empanada Food Truck and The Burger Lab.

This event will occur rain or shine. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs.
More information is available on the event Facebook page.

Seven Seas Food Festival Adds Latin Foods And Fun

The Seven Seas Food Festival at SeaWorld Orlando is debuting new Latin-inspired dishes and concerts starting this weekend, and I was invited to give you a sneak peek of what you will find!

SeaWorld Orlando Seven Seas Food Festival Latin American Additions 2017

Seven Seas Food Festival Latin American Eats

SeaWorld Orlando’s Executive Chef Hector Colon and his team have created eight new dishes that are inspired by Latin American flavors and traditions to join the existing line-up of 11 global markets that can be found throughout the park!

SeaWorld Orlando Seven Seas Food Festival Latin American Additions 2017

The new dishes that can be found at the Cocina Criolla Marketplace, on the Festival’s Pathway, are:

  • Churrasco- Skirt steak marinated in house-made chimichurri, then grilled over an open flame
  • Lechón Asado- Traditional, roasted pork rubbed with Caribbean seasonings
  • Pincho con Tostones- Skewered, flame-grilled chicken or pork with a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce and served with fried plantains
  • Tripleta Sandwich- roast pork, chicken, steak and cheese, served with potato sticks and SeaWorld’s special sauce on a fresh baguette
  • Empanadilla de Pizza- Pastry filled with mozzarella cheese and zesty tomato sauce
  • Empanadilla de Carne- Pastry filled with savory ground beef
  • Empanadilla de Pollo- Pastry filled with seasoned pulled chicken
  • Bacalaítos- Thin, crispy salted codfish pancake.

I had the opportunity to try several of these dishes, and these are some of the best dishes I have had at SeaWorld!

If you love skewers, and who doesn’t really, definitely give the Pincho con Tostones a try! I suggest asking for the chicken and extra sauce on your fried plantains!

SeaWorld Orlando Seven Seas Food Festival Latin American Additions 2017

But if you are looking for what Chef Colon is best known for, order the Churrasco! I look forward to his chimichurri sauce every time I see it on the menu!

SeaWorld Orlando Seven Seas Food Festival Latin American Additions 2017

Seven Seas Food Festival Headline Entertainment:

To compliment the sizzling latin flavors, popular reggaeton, salsa, Latin pop and merengue concerts will take place each weekend at SeaWorld Orlando’s Bayside Stadium.

To complement the Saturday schedule, the event has added performances on Sundays May 7 and May 14, and all concerts begin at 3 p.m. and are included park admission.

SeaWorld Orlando Seven Seas Food Festival Latin American Additions 2017

Here is the concert line-up:

  • Oscar D’León – Saturday, April 22  
  • Olga Tanon – Saturday, April 29        
  • Grupo Mania – Saturday, May 6
  • El Gran Combo – Sunday, May 7
  • Zion y Lennox – Saturday, May 13
  • Grupo Niche – Sunday, May 14       

SeaWorld Orlando Seven Seas Food Festival Latin American Additions 2017

The addition of these Latin American inspired dishes and entertainment definitely bring a new sizzle to the Seven Seas Food Festival, and you won’t want to miss the chance to try these new eats and to dance to the fun beats.

If you are looking for a great deal on a SeaWorld Orlando Annual Pass, for a limited time, guests who purchase a SeaWorld Orlando Annual Pass also receive Aquatica Orlando included for free. SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica Orlando Annual Pass Members enjoy unlimited admission and free general parking for 12 months with no blockout dates for as low as $14 /month.

Loews Royal Pacific April Jake’s Beer Dinner

Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando invites craft beer enthusiasts near and far to experience the next Jake’s Beer Dinner, featuring fresh island brews from Kona Brewing Company crafted on Hawaii’s Big Island on Friday, April 28, 2017 at 6:30pm.

Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando Jake's Beer Dinner Kona Brewing CompanyPut on your favorite Hawaiian-style shirt and come savor the adventure of Jake’s Beer Dinner at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. Taking place only a handful of times each year, this popular event features a five-course dinner paired with specialty craft beer pairings from Kona Brewing Company, each expertly selected by the hotel’s award-winning chefs.

For guests 21 and up, Jake’s Beer Dinner takes place in the private Clipper Room located in Jake’s American Bar — the perfect place to meet for drinks, food and lively conversation.

Tickets to Jake’s Beer Dinner at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando on April 28th cost $55, and to purchase your tickets log onto JakesBeer.eventbrite.com.

Guests to the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando
(6300 Hollywood Way, Orlando, Florida 32819) can enjoy complimentary self parking or $5 valet parking.

For more information, call 407-503-3200 or email royalpacificconcierge@loewshotels.com.