In 2019 at the LEGOLAND Florida Resort you will be able to fly on a triple decker couch, hang with Emmet, go “Cuckoo” with Unikitty, and eat tacos… everyday!
New LEGO Movie World Details Announced
The LEGO Movie World, LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s newest interactive, fully themed land, will feature three new rides, themed retail shops & eateries, a spaceship-themed play hub and character meet & greets.
The LEGO Movie World will feature THREE NEW RIDES:
THE LEGO MOVIE Masters of Flight is a flying theatre attraction where guests join Master Builders on an exciting, action-packed adventure. Emmet’s latest invention, The Triple Decker Flying Couch, transports riders all over THE LEGO MOVIE universe with a suspended, 180-degree ride & full-dome virtual screen, giving guests the sensational feeling of flying.
Unikitty’s Disco Drop is a family ride that elevates guests to the heights of Cloud Cuckoo land, then drops, spins and bounces them unexpectedly, creating a thrilling and fun experience.
In the Battle of Bricksburg, guests take a seat in construction vehicles, navigating the flooded streets of Bricksburg for an interactive water play attraction. Riders are challenged to stop DUPLO aliens from invading and stealing LEGO bricks by spraying water at targets. Meanwhile, onlookers join the splash battle experience by spraying water cannons located on the perimeter of the course.
Made completely out of LEGO, Downtown Bricksburg is home to SEVERAL ATTRACTIONS:
Guests can grab a quick bite to eat at Taco Everyday or visit The Awesome Shop to find special memorabilia and souvenirs.
In the heart of THE LEGO MOVIE WORLD, kids can climb and play inside Benny’s PLAYSHIP!, a space-themed playground structure.
Kids can visit Emmet’s Super Suite apartment for a true character experience to meet Emmet and friends, and even snag a picture! The character experience features a variety of scenes from THE LEGO MOVIE universe.
It was also announced that the LEGOLAND Florida Resort will also have THE LEGO MOVIE themed rooms. More details to be released at a future date.
We will be bringing you more details as the become available! This is AWESOME news!
October 11th is the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl, and you have the chance to help make a difference when you Dream Big, Princess!
The Disney “Dream Big, Princess” campaign encourages kids everywhere to dream big by highlighting key story moments and inspiring qualities that each Disney Princess showcases through her adventures, such as Merida’s bravery, Cinderella’s kindness or Tiana’s perseverance.
And today a new global #DreamBigPrincess video series launched that puts the next generation of female storytellers behind the camera to tell the stories of inspirational role models across technology, entertainment, medicine, law, sports, arts, science, fashion and politics.
This group of 21 talented young women from different corners of the globe captured the stories of these female trailblazers in videos that will be shared across Disney’s global media platforms as part of a campaign to unlock up to a $1 million donation to Girl Up, an initiative of the UN Foundation.
Dream Big, Princess Video with Leia Mi, art director at Shanghai Disney Resort
And here is how you can help!
Starting today and continuing through November 20th, each like or share of a public photo or video with #DreamBigPrincess on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter will unlock a US $1 donation from Disney Worldwide Services to Girl Up, the United Nations Foundation’s program supporting girls’ leadership and empowerment (minimum donation: $500,000/maximum donation: $1 million).
So get out there, and take part in the #DreamBigPrincess movement! Snap a picture of yourself Disney bounding as your favorite princess and share it on social media with the #DreamBigPrincess!
Lukas Nursery & Butterfly Encounter is keeping fall traditions alive in Oviedo with its 34th annual fall festival on October 13-14. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. You can ride tractor-pulled hayrides and hang out in the pumpkin patch.
2. Harvest Holler 950 Tavares Road, Polk City, 352-895-8687
About 45 minutes from Orlando is the picturesque pumpkin patch at Harvest Holler. Between now and November 12th, get your pick of pumpkins every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You can also check out the farm during the week, if you make a reservation.
3. Partin Ranch Corn Maze 5601 N. Canoe Creek Road, Kenansville, 407-709-7250
Starting October 13th each Saturday and Sunday in October, you can try to make your way through Partin Ranch’s 5-acre or mini corn mazes. Attendees can also enjoy hayrides, a kiddie zip line, a corn box, and play areas.
4. Long & Scott Farms 26216 CR 448A, Mount Dora, 352-383-6900
Don’t be afraid of the dark, hop on Uncle Donald’s Farm’s nocturnal hayride, where you’re sure to see owls and other nighttime creatures. Every Saturday in October you can also try the creepy barn crawl filled with reptiles, find your way through the hay maze and wander through the pumpkin patch.
6. CornFusion Maze 13444 Moore Road, Lakeland, 863-559-9952
The Smith Family Ranch in Lakeland offers all sorts of family weekend fun in October. In addition to an 8-acre crop maze and pumpkin patches, you can have fun with hayrides, bounce pillows and a variety of other activities.
7. Club Lake Plantation 3403 Rock Springs Road, Apopka, 407-703-2707
Six days a week in Apopka, you can wander the corn maze and pick from the pumpkin patch at Club Lake Plantation. Their Fall Festival runs from now until October 31st and includes hayrides, train rides, access to the country store and the chance to launch a pumpkin from an air cannon.
8. Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest 35317 Huff Road, Eustis, 352-357-9863
Christmas may be a few months away, but you can have fun at Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest this fall. A pumpkin patch, mazes, photo ops, unlimited hayrides, horse rides, ziplines, duck races and a petting zoo are open on weekends, from now until October 29th.
9. Stanley Pond Adventure Farm 15426 County Road 48, Astatula, 352-742-8180
Unprecedented Offer Gives Up To Six Months Free On Universal Orlando Resort Annual Passes
This special offer is valid for both new and current Passholders looking to renew
Universal Orlando Resort has launched a first-of-its-kind offer that gives Passholders more thrills and adventure than ever before.
Guests can now get up to six months FREE on Universal Orlando Resort Annual Passes. This special offer is valid on 2-Park and 3-Park Seasonal and Annual Passes and is available for purchase and activation through April 4, 2019.
That’s up to a year and a half to enjoy some of the world’s most exciting and immersive theme park experiences, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Fast & Furious – Supercharged and more, as well as two new spectacular nighttime shows – “Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration” and “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle.”
Passholders can also attend unforgettable events like the Holidays at Universal Orlando, returning November 17 through January 6, 2019, where guests can celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and watch some of their favorite characters in Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s. And, Florida’s biggest party kicks off February 9, 2019 with the annual Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Studios Florida.
With a variety of Pass options, Passholders can opt for a 3-Park Pass to experience Universal’s Volcano Bay, a tropical getaway where thrills and relaxation flow in perfect harmony. The revolutionary water theme park features more than 30 unique experiences and 19 different attractions, including a 125-foot drop on the Ko’okiri Body Plunge.
Passholders enjoy many benefits based on Pass type, including Universal Express access after 4 p.m., Early Park Admission, free self-parking, invites to exclusive events, special discounts on separately-ticketed events including Halloween Horror Nights, access to unique experiences at special events, additional discounts throughout Universal Orlando and more.
CLICK HEREfor more details about Universal Orlando’s Seasonal and Annual Pass options and to take advantage of this incredible offer today. This special offer is also valid for current Passholders looking to renew – CLICK HERE for more information and to renew your Pass today.
Epic fall lineup at Madame Tussauds Orlando and Sea Life Orlando Aquarium
Orlando’s top attractions are ALL IN with nonstop excitement, thrills and fun this fall
With a summer that saw shirtless Justin Bieber, fearlessly faced an uncaged Shark Month and introduced the world to Justice League: A Call for Heroes, Madame Tussauds Orlando and SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium are gearing up for even MORE excitement, thrills and fun this fall.
Mermaids vs. Super Heroes
You read that right! This fall, SEA LIFE Orlando welcomes the world-famous Mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park weekends from Sept. 28 to Oct. 21. Performing unbelievable underwater feats, the Mermaids will mesmerize guests as they swim amongst the creatures in Orlando’s only indoor aquarium. Performances will start on the top of every hour from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with meet and greets available all day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Not to be upstaged, the heroes of Justice League: A Call for Heroes are issuing a challenge to mermaid and super hero fans alike. Post a Halloween photo dressed as a mermaid or super hero on Instagram with #mermaidsvsheroes for a chance to win FREE tickets to Madame Tussauds Orlando and SEA LIFE Orlando. Details here.
Ready or Not…
David S. Pumpkins is BACK at Madame Tussauds Orlando to scare the hell out of you! From Oct. 1 to 31, see everyone’s favorite fright Tom Hanks as David S. Pumpkins doin’ his thang with the skeletons who are part of it – whatever “it” is. Dressed in his infamous pumpkin suit, the original Saturday Night Live character is one #HalloweenSelfie you won’t want to miss! Any questions?
What’s New and Coming Soon!
With a new, vibrant habitat SEA LIFE Orlando’s Giant Pacific Octopus is making waves this fall. The Giant Pacific Octopus is one of nature’s most enigmatic creatures, growing larger than any other species of octopus; and, its three hearts and nine brains beg the question – should you follow your head or your heart?
Follow @sealifeusa on Instagram to see Orlando’s Giant Pacific Octopus answering YOUR questions.
#TalkoTuesday: How To Save Money at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is an annual special after-hours and separately ticketed event that happens on select nights at the Magic Kingdom from August to October.
During Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party transforms the Magic Kingdom into a family-friendly Halloween party with exclusive entertainment, parades, characters, fireworks, treats (but not tricks), shopping, and more while still being able to enjoy most of the park’s attractions with shorter lines.
All of this fun does however come with a price tag, and one of my most asked questions over the years is how families can save money at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
So for today’s inaugural #TalkoTuesday I thought I would tackle this question!
#TalkoTuesday: How To Save Money at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Choose your Date Wisely: Tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party vary in price by date, so use the interactive calendar to find the best date and deal for your family
Purchase Your Tickets Online in Advance: This tip is actually what my Dad would call a ‘twofer’, because not only will you save $10 on your tickets compared to the day-of purchase price when you buy at least a day in advance but you’ll also not waste any time you could be partying it up waiting in line to purchase your ticket at the Ticket and Transportation Center.
Don’t Be Tardy To The Party: While Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party OFFICIALLY begins at 7pm, guests with party tickets can arrive as early as 4pm to receive their party wristband to enjoy time in the Magic Kingdom before the fun begins. This is a great time to ride attractions that are not open during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, to get some pre-party pictures, and to make a game plan for your evening in the park.
Make Sure To Eat Before You Arrive: Not all dining locations in the Magic Kingdom are open during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and you won’t want to dedicate too much of your time to finding food during the party, so my best advice is to eat a large lunch later in the afternoon.
BYOG – Bring Your Own Glow: When night falls and the glowing toy carts come out with a median price of $20 per item, be prepared by bringing your own glow in the dark necklaces and light up toys. I try to pick them up every time I go to the Dollar Tree or to Five Below.
Think outside the Costume Box: Let’s be real here…Most Halloween costumes aren’t made for the Florida heat as they usually have long sleeves and many layers. When Zoe was little we would buy a ‘fancy’ nightgown for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party from The Disney Store, because they were much lighter in weight and meant that we could put her right to bed when we got home instead of changing her out of her costume.
Be Prepared: A few Halloween’s ago, I wrote a detailed blog post with what I pack for a night at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party to cut down on unnecessary purchases…you should check it out!
Candy Hack: This one requires some planning, but I promise you it’s worth it! When you are packing your Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party bag, make sure you pack a gallon size zip top bag for each person attending. As you start filling up your provided candy bag, put some of your collected candy in your packed zip top bag. Not only will this cut down on little ones spilling candy, but you’ll find that you’ll be able to carry more candy easily.
Budget Using Disney Gift Cards: One easy way to budget for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is to buy a Disney Gift Card, and every week add a little bit more by following the directions on the back of the gift card. There are also several ways to save money on purchasing a Disney Gift Card…but more on that soon!
After much anticipation, SeaWorld Orlando has announced the Grand Opening of the world-class attraction, Infinity Falls, will take place on October 4 at 12:00 pm.
Infinity Falls features roaring rapids, soaking fountains and a record-setting 40-foot waterfall drop, all against the backdrop of a rainforest utopia. Guests will have the opportunity to take on the role of a conservationist on a journey through the rainforest and learn about the importance of freshwater conservation through interactive games and stories throughout the ride experience.
Opening Date Announced for Infinity Falls at SeaWorld Orlando
Here are a few things to know about SeaWorld Orlando’s newest addition!
Know Before You Go: Infinity Falls at SeaWorld Orlando
Infinity Falls will be the first attraction at SeaWorld Orlando to tell a story beyond the ocean and share a message of fresh water conservation through the adventure of a white-water river expedition.
Aboard the raft that seats 8 passengers, riders will embark on a five minute adventure through a lush rainforest environment inspired by some of the world’s most incredible freshwater ecosystems featuring the world’s tallest drop on a river raft ride and an innovative elevator lift designed to transport the rafts to the top of the ride’s 40-foot drop.
As part of the park’s new “Park to Planet” initiative, a mission to help guests understand some of the challenges facing the planet and inspiring them to help, the new attraction will be the centerpiece of a newly themed area designed to resemble the basecamp of explorers and scientists.
After riding Infinity Falls, the entire family can explore the village and take part in interactive experiences.
One of which is a location, just outside of the entrance to the attraction with carvings of animals native to South America, where SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Ambassadors will provide up-close encounters to guests throughout the day.
Another is an interactive play area that combines play with education to create a positive impact on freshwater ecosystems, reinforcing “Park to Planet” in real time.
In the village you will also find a gift shop with attraction merchandise with a unique design! The design of the building is patterned after modular buildings that were ‘air-dropped into the expedition camp’.
Part of the area is a new dining location with 14 new craft beer offerings that will seasonally rotate.
Mark Pauls, President of SeaWorld Orlando Parks said “From the excitement of the thrilling rapids, to the unique vertical lift element, Infinity Falls is an adventure that appeals to the entire family.”
The opening of Infinity Falls is the perfect addition to SeaWorld’s ever-growing ride portfolio. From the roller coaster thrills of Mako, Manta and Kraken to the water flume fun of Journey to Atlantis, Infinity Falls joins the park’s famed attractions as a must-do experience in Orlando.
We’ll be at the opening of Infinity Falls with a closer look at the attraction as well as a look at what to expect at SeaWorld Orlando in 2019!
The search for the next American Idol is beginning once again at Walt Disney World, as the nationwide bus tour for the second season of ABC’s American Idol kicks off on August 25th at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
During the auditions, the 220-acre facility that annually hosts more than 100 events ranging from youth sports to professional sports will also have special appearances by ABC’s American Idol Season 1 winner Maddie Poppe, runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson, and finalist Catie Turner.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning to attend the American Idol auditions at the ESPN Wide World of Sports:
Early arrival is encouraged.
Parking will be available as early as 4 am, but not before.
Registration will begin at 7 a.m. with auditions starting at 9 a.m.
Overnight camping will not be permitted.
Celebrity judges will not be on site.
All singers must be at least 15 years old to audition.
Pre-registration is encouraged. To pre-register and for additional details, full eligibility requirements, submission forms, and terms and conditions, visit www.americanidol.com/auditions.
Those auditioning can bring one guest to accompany them and the guest must be over 5 years old.
In addition to appearing in person, hopefuls can submit audition videos online via www.americanidol.com/auditions or by showing off their talents via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Musical.ly using the hashtag #TheNextIdol.
American Idol returns for its second season on ABC (2018-2019) with all-star judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. Emmy-winning producer Ryan Seacrest will also return as host.
Don’t let the fact that it is almost Fall in Central Florida fool you, because staying cool in the theme parks should still be a priority!
These may seem like common sense tips, but there are the things that I like to keep in mind as I prepared for staying cool during a day in the parks with my family and friends.
Nine Tips for Staying Cool in the Theme Parks
Indoor Attractions are the best attractions
From 1 to 4 pm the heat is at its worst here in Central Florida, but can be oppressive at time until the sun goes down so you will want to find ways to try to stay inside as much as you can during your time in the parks.
In addition to attractions, these peak times are also great time to catch a show you haven’t seen in awhile. My absolute favorite is For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, because you aren’t living your best theme park life unless you’ve seen parents belting out these songs louder and prouder than their kids. Also Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show, inside Universal Studios Florida, is a fantastic show with very little gore. It’s also worth noting that all of the outdoor shows are SeaWorld Orlando have covered viewing ares or splash zones for some relief from the heat.
Find ways to wait indoors for attractions
At all the parks there are several attractions with indoor queues and experiences that are perfect for waiting without the heat. My favorites are Dumbo the Flying Elephant at the Magic Kingdom with it’s indoor play as you wait area, The Mummy at Universal Studios Florida with an intricate queue, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and The Hogwarts Express at the Universal Resort are three of my favorite rides with indoor queues.
Splurge on dining for a break from the heat
Dining in the parks can get quite pricey, but there are several quick service and restaurant locations that offer indoor seating to grab a bite to eat and cool down. If you are looking for a restaurant experience, make sure to get a dining reservation online on the Walt Disney World website or using Open Table for the Universal Orlando Resort and some Disney Springs restaurants.
Prepare for afternoon storms
We often have daily showers, and being prepared for these rainy days will help keep your day on track instead of having to stop everything to find cover, so head on over on icFlorida.com where you can find some of my best rainy day survival tips!
Also please learn from my experience…don’t be fooled by the ‘covering’ over Diagon Alley at Universal Studio Florida, because it has openings and you WILL get wet!
According to the CDC, it is important to drink fluids before you even begin to feel thirsty. Your body uses thirst to indicate that you are approaching dehydration. Rather than drinking to quench your thirst, it is healthier to continuously replenish fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty at all.
Some other easy things to always remember when it comes to staying hydrated is to avoid soft drinks & alcoholic beverages, cool fluids can help encourage you to drink more during activity in hot weather, and try to have water every 2 hours.
There’s no shame in visiting First Aid
If you are not feeling well or are in need of a more intense break from the heat, there is no shame in visiting the First Aid locations in the theme parks. Everyone from attraction attendants to members of the custodial teams will be able to direct you to the nearest and easiest way to help. Please don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help if you need it before it is too late.
A few years ago I created a video on icFlorida.com about beating the heat in the parks with nine key items to bring with you in your ultimate theme park bag, and to save you some time I am sharing that list (with some updates) with you!
1. Pack a Water Misting Fan.
Before we get started I know that it’s not glamorous, but these Water Misting Fans really do the trick! While you can purchase them in the parks, but you can also pick one up before you go at a fraction of the cost at Walmart or Target. A huge bonus is that they also help keep little ones happy while you are waiting or walking around.
2. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Sunscreen isn’t just for the pool, and you will want to follow the recommended directions to reapply for the best results. For everyone’s sake around you, please be careful when you are using an aerosol sunscreen.
3. Umbrellas are extremely useful!
Umbrellas are great for two reasons, they are great shade on the go and they are really useful when a storm pops up in the afternoon as they are wont to do in Orlando. I carry my umbrellas in a zip top bag, so if it does rain I can place my electronics in the bag and when I no longer need the umbrella I can put it in my theme park bag without getting everything else inside wet.
Just keep in mind that if you do use the umbrella for shade that theme park etiquette is that you should put it down before parades and outdoor shows.
4. Think of the children!
Little ones in a stroller will have shade, but they will also overheat easily. You can purchase a battery operated clip fan that will fit on most strollers in the theme parks or at Wal*Mart, Target, or online before you arrive at the park.
5. Stop to splash in the parks.
At all of the parks as well as Disney Springs and Universal’s CityWalk you can find splash pad play areas that are a really fun way to cool off while you are walking around. If this is something you are considering doing the day make sure you come prepared with bathing suits, swim diapers (if necessary), and a towel to make things a lot smoother for the rest of your day.
6. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Don’t worry about packing a million water bottles in your theme park bag, because anywhere that sells fountain drinks can also provide you with a free glass of ice water. I also like to carry an empty water bottle that can be filled as I need it during the day. Staying hydrated is extremely important!!!
7. Take advantage of cooling towels.
Along the same lines as the misting fan is the cooling towels. Now these have become extremely popular in the parks, but to save some money you can pick one up before arriving at the park. Again, this is something I pack in a plastic bag so I can store it in my backpack without getting everything else soaked.
8. Bring items that make you feel more comfortable.
I always bring what I call my ‘Bag of Necessities’ that I fill with anything from bandaids to chapstick, but making one of your own should really have what makes you feel comfortable in the park!
Download a weather app to your device.
Now this one might not be physical, but having a weather app is a major must. My favorite weather app, of course, is the WFTV Channel 9 Weather app, available for android and apple devices. It’s great to have to keep up to date on any weather information, storm warnings, and to keep track of how close lightning is for attraction closures.
Pick the best location for a fun day with the weather in mind
When you are planning your day, be realistic about your destination. If you and your family don’t do well in the heat, skip parks where there is limited shade or consider visiting a water park.
These are just some of my favorite tips for staying cool in the theme parks, but I would love to hear some of yours in the comments below!
Dollywood is making their largest capital investment in their 32-year history with the Wildwood Grove expansion set to open in 2019. The total cost for the expansion is $37 million, meeting The Dollywood Company’s 2013 commitment of $300 million in investments over a 10 year period four years ahead of schedule.
Dolly Parton was joined by park officials to talk about this new land that will feature 11 themed experiences, comprised of six new ride attractions, live entertainment, various indoor and outdoor play areas, a new restaurant, nighttime experiences, and the lands icon – the 55 ft. tall Wildwood Tree.
Wildwood Grove is inspired by Dolly’s experiences as a child playing in the forests of the Smoky Mountains.
“I’ve told you before about how I’d let my imagination roam free when I’d be out exploring in the hills around our home in the Smoky Mountains,” Parton said. “I’d pretend that the frogs and butterflies were my friends. I’d imagine about what it’d be like to fly with a dragonfly or to follow a bear family through the woods. Now all these things are coming true for our guests to experience in Wildwood Grove; it may be my new favorite part of Dollywood!
“This area is going to give families a place to explore, play and imagine together—but more importantly—it’s a place where they can spend more time together,” she explained. “I believe everyone has a song in their heart that needs to be set free. Wildwood Grove will be a place where families can learn together about what their heart song truly is.”
The new Wildwood Grove will provide an adventurous journey for guests to explore, imagine and play together as a family which begins as soon as guests enter the area, located near the Mystery Mine roller coaster, through the massive hollow trunk of a fallen tree.
As soon as guests enter the area their eyes are drawn to the Wildwood Tree—a tree unlike any other— that serves as the centerpiece of the area. It grows from a cluster of natural rock and boulders, and offers a natural platform for performances throughout the day and night. The green, leafy canopy is adorned with thousands of butterflies that dance playfully in the breeze.
Six new ride attractions will also call Wildwood Grove home that are designed for families to enjoy together.
The Dragonflier— This thrilling suspended roller coaster lets guests soar with a dragonfly as it dips and darts along the gushing geysers and lush landscape of Wildwood Grove.
Black Bear Trail— Riders hop on the back of these friendly bears for a spirited trek through their natural habitat. Families will enjoy meandering through the woods of this unique Smoky Mountain experience.
Sycamore Swing— Guests aboard this thrilling “leaf boat” swing back and forth just like a leaf falling from a giant sycamore tree.
Treetop Tower— This family tower gives guests a sky-high view of Wildwood Grove as they soar nearly 40 feet in the air. Riders, seated inside giant acorns, spin around the top of a tall oak tree before gently drifting back to the grove floor.
The Mad Mockingbird— Tennessee’s state bird—the mockingbird—gives visitors a lift as it flies in a high speed circle around a tall tree. Riders control their ride experience by moving a sail as the birds rush above the ground.
Frogs and Fireflies—These friendly frogs hop up and down as they chase each other around the lily pad trying to catch the flickering fireflies fluttering from the tall reeds and grasses. Adventurous guests can hop aboard for this riveting race.
Play options abound inside Wildwood Grove. Hidden Hollow, a 4,000 sq. ft. indoor play space, provides a climate-controlled area for families looking to recharge before their next big adventure. With climbing structures, slides and multiple games, play time here is full of exploration. Another refreshing stop for play is at Wildwood Creek where numerous pop jets, splashing pools and more await. There, guests also can discover their musical side thanks to the various “instruments” available to play.
For the first time at Dollywood, several new friends await guests to the area. In the tradition of the Wildwood butterflies before them, Flit and Flutter—Wildwood Grove’s butterfly ambassadors of beauty and grace—dutifully watch over the Wildwood Tree. While each has their own distinct personality, both Flit and Flutter enjoy interacting with visitors to Wildwood Grove. Guests also can meet Benjamin Bear, a playful friend who loves to explore the grove with new visitors.
Wildwood Grove’s featured dining establishment, named Till & Harvest, offers another great option from Dollywood’s award-winning foods team. Visitors can order from a selection of Southwest fresh favorites, including burritos, salads and more, all with a Southern twist. In addition to traditional entrees and a topping bar with assorted salsas, guests can add items like pulled pork and fresh coleslaw to their selections. A walk-up window provides sweet treats like churros and ice cream.
As with most areas of Dollywood, Wildwood Grove takes advantage of the natural beauty of the surrounding Smoky Mountains. Nearly $1 million has been planned for landscaping the area, with more than 400 trees and 1,000 shrubs helping transform this space into a lush and relaxing spot hidden within the foothills of the Smokies.
What makes Wildwood Grove so special is that as the sun sinks in the sky, the area will glow warmly as lanterns and lights glimmer like cheerful fireflies. Once darkness falls, the area sparkles as the Wildwood Tree comes to life each evening in a unique nighttime show that features the butterflies glowing in a kaleidoscope of spectacular color under the canopy of fireworks.
The new expansion is an exciting addition to Dollywood, and I am excited to bring you more information as it becomes available so make sure you follow @onthegoinmco on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
The Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine selects 100 high school students for an all-expenses-paid mentoring experience of a lifetime annually, and applications are being accepted now through October 31, 2018.
For more than a decade, the Disney Dreamers Academy has inspired young people, ages 13-19, from across the country by fueling their dreams and showing them a world of possibilities as they prepare for the future, and this year the program is scheduled for March 21-24, 2019.
Each year, students participate in hands-on, immersive career seminars in a wide range of disciplines found at Walt Disney World. Participants learn how to improve their communication skills, what it means to be a leader and networking strategies, among other skills. They are also inspired by celebrity speakers and other special guests who share their stories and provide insights on how to achieve their life goals.
I have had the distinct privilege of attending some pop these outside-the-classroom programs which turn Walt Disney World into a virtual classroom, and to see the students growth over the period of a few days is life changing!
During their time at Walt Disney World students participate in a series of sessions and workshops designed to help them imagine bright futures, make exciting discoveries, and learn how to put their goals into action while working side by side with celebrities, community and industry leaders and Disney cast members.
As the Disney Dreamers Academy moves into their second decade, the organization is focused on challenging young people to relentlessly pursue their dreams through the “Be 100” campaign. This promotional push is inspired by the powerful impact Disney Dreamers Academy has made on graduates, who have gone on to become doctors, nurses, engineers, pilots, journalists and more. Some have started their own public relations firms, while others have worked with national political leaders.
The application process is made to inspire creativity without being intimidating, as applicants must answer essay questions about their personal journeys and dreams for the future. Students are selected based on a combination of attributes, including strong character, positive attitude and determination to achieve their dreams.
When applying to the Disney Dreamers Academy, families should keep in mind that a parent or guardian is required to accompany each student on the trip.
While the summers in the theme parks of Central Florida may bring images of crazy crowds to your mind, for me this summer was full of amazing special events and offers.
Today I thought I would take a moment to talk about the five that I will miss the most when summer ends in just a few short weeks.
Theme Parks Thoughts: Five Things I Will Miss When Summer Ends
SeaWorld Orlando is offering free beer to park guests ages 21 and up through September 2, 2018.
Guests can visit Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen Patio and receive up to two complimentary 7-ounce beers per visit from 10:30 a.m. to one hour before park close.
The park will rotate beer offerings throughout the summer starting off with SeaWorld’s very own Mako Red Ale. Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Light, Yuengling, and more will also be featured throughout the summer.
Walt Disney World
Incredible Tomorrowland Expo at Magic Kingdom
Until September 3 Disney•Pixar Super Heroes will take over Tomorrowland, as part of an Incredible Tomorrowland Expo that celebrates “all things super.”
Meet Mr. Incredible, Frozone, and other supers including Edna Mode for the first time from Disney•Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and upcoming “Incredibles 2.
Tomorrowland is also be decked out with Incredibles décor and sounds from the film, and it would be a celebration without a dance party on the Rocket Tower Stage.
Also, don’t forget to take time to spend time with the ‘Cosplay Supers’ who are attending the Tomorrowland Expo!
The Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live! Concert Series at Epcot
Star-Lord and Gamora from “Guardians of the Galaxy” host a show that takes a musical journey through the cosmos in The Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live! concert series.
The show features tunes from Star-Lord’s Awesome Mixtapes, the soundtrack from the two movies.
The show is super high energy, full of tons of fun, and is performed five times daily through August 19th.
Disney H20 Glow Party Nights
When the sun goes down, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon transforms on select evenings until August 11 into a massive glow party from 8 pm until 11 pm.
Guests can enjoy special entertainment, Disney PIXAR character meet and greets, exclusive menu items and beverages, and tons of glow-in-the-dark fun.
This is an especially awesome way to visit Typhoon Lagoon, because the lines are really short with fantastically fun entertainment and delightful menu & bar additions. Plus the event gets extra bonus points for not having to worry about sunscreen!
Tickets $55 per person plus tax for adults and $50 per person plus tax for children ages 3-9. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (407) 939-1872.
Brews and BBQ Trail
Until September 3, you can take a culinary exploration of Brews and BBQ at Disney Springs.
Discover a whole new host of tasty and unique food and beverage pairings as you stroll through the many restaurants and shops throughout the area to visit the 23 different locations across Disney Springs.
And what’s more? For guests ages 21 and older, each of these dishes can be paired with a crisp, craft-brewed beer!
To make the most of your visit, make sure to pick up a map of the participating restaurants and kiosks at the Disney Springs Welcome Center, located in Town Center.
You can find the menus for all the stops on my post over on icFlorida.com!
With every ending comes a new beginning, and tomorrow I will be sharing what I can’t wait to experience this Fall in the theme parks of Central Florida!
Altamonte Springs set to host 23rd Annual Red Hot & Boom
Altamonte Springs’ 23rd annual festival brings hot acts, family fun and dazzling fireworks for Independence Day
The Red Hot & Boom Festival in Altamonte Springs is set to deliver a day of music from the hottest artists, family fun, and of course, one of the best firework displays in the South.
More than two decades since it first began, the event has grown into an anticipated family-friendly tradition, drawing more than 175,000 spectators celebrating the spirit of summer.
Red Hot & Boom will take place on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 at Cranes Roost Park in Uptown Altamonte.
The event is known for featuring up-and-coming talent for a FREE show which starts at 4 p.m. and continues after the fireworks.
This year’s artists include:
Echosmith – This sibling trio stormed onto the scene with the hit “Cool Kids,” but the new release, “Over My Head” is already climbing the Billboard charts.
Lauv – Singer-songwriter Lauv has a collaboration with Demi Lovato and a tour with Ed Sheeran under his belt, but his breakout song “I Like Me Better” made him a star in his own right.
MAX – The 25-year-old model, actor and musician is known for his single “Lights Down Low.” The aspiring singer has also worked with the likes of Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and Pharrell.
Jack & Jack – This rap-pop duo got their start on the social media platform Vine, but have since taken on music professionally, recently releasing the single “Beg.”
In Real Life – The winners of the reality show “Boy Band” have already released the single “Tattoo” and are touring this summer.
Alyssa Raghu – The Lake Nona High School sophomore is fresh off her stint on “American Idol,” where she graced the Top 24.
Logan Henderson – Known for his role on the TV show “Big Time Rush” and the band by the same name, Henderson is now taking on a solo career with several recent singles, including “Sleepwalker.”
The hottest act of the night is the show-stopping fireworks, lighting up the sky with a splash of color starting at 9:30 p.m., weather permitting.
The firework display is perfectly choreographed and synchronized to today’s hits and old-time favorites for the dazzling 25-minute show over Cranes Roost Lake.
“Red Hot & Boom has become a tradition for families throughout the south east. We want to create a happy and energetic environment for all who attend this event,” said Jerry Sullivan, deputy director of Leisure Services for the City of Altamonte Springs. “We’re incredibly proud of this celebration, and we work hard to make sure this event is fun and memorable every year.”
Red Hot & Boom starts at 4 p.m. The event is rain or shine.
It is a happy day for Disney Cruise Line enthusiasts, because new renderings have been releases of the three newest vessels setting sail in 2021, 2022 and 2023 will be no exception.
This first, early rendering depicts the magnificent exterior of the newest Disney ships that will elevate family cruise vacations to a whole new level.
In keeping with the distinct Disney Cruise Line style, the new ships will embody the elegance and romance of the golden age of ocean cruising with unique touches all their own. The new vessels will offer more innovation, new technologies, spectacular entertainment and more Disney stories and characters than ever before.
Ingenuity and innovation from stem to stern will amaze and delight Disney Cruise Line guests of all ages. Each new ship will be approximately 140,000 gross tons and each is currently planned to include about 1,250 guest staterooms.
We CANNOT WAIT to bring you more information about these new ships!
Disney Cruise Line offers new sailings from Rome and seven new ports in Europe, plus Alaska and Caribbean sailings take center stage
In summer 2019, Disney Cruise Line will sail on new itineraries and to seven new ports in Europe, including a first-ever round-trip cruise from Rome and first-time visits to destinations in Sweden, France, Spain, Denmark and Northern Ireland. Disney Cruise Line takes guests on a grand tour of Europe with visits to the Mediterranean in early summer and northern Europe in late summer. Plus, adventures continue with sailings to Alaska, the Caribbean and the Bahamas, including new cruise lengths aboard the Disney Fantasy.
Bookings open to the public on March 8, 2018. More details on 2019 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2019 page of disneycruise.com.
New round-trip sailing from Rome
For the first time, Disney Cruise Line guests can experience the rich history of Rome as a bookend experience in a single cruise.
In Rome, families can explore the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Vatican, and sample authentic local cuisine.
On June 14, 2019, the Disney Magic will sail an eight-night cruise from Civitavecchia (Rome). Ports of call include Salerno (Positano, Amalfi, Pompeii) and La Spezia (Florence, Pisa), Italy; Villefranche (Monte Carlo, Cannes, Nice) and Marseilles, France; and Barcelona, Spain.
First-time visits to seven new ports in Europe
Disney Cruise Line will call on seven new ports in Europe for the first time in 2019, including Gothenburg and Nynashamn (Stockholm), Sweden; Toulon (Provence) and Brest, France; Cartagena, Spain; Fredericia, Denmark; and Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Belfast is a new destination on a seven-night British Isles cruise departing from Dover, England, near London, on Sept. 8, 2019. In Belfast, Disney Cruise Line guests can explore the stunning Giant’s Causeway, one of the most impressive natural wonders in the United Kingdom, and enjoy breathtaking vistas along the Antrim Coast, including the dramatic cliff-side ruins of the medieval Dunluce Castle.
Throughout the summer, the Disney Magic’s tour of Europe includes engagements in the Baltic, Norwegian fjords, Iceland, British Isles and the Mediterranean.
Return to Alaska
In 2019, the Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for the summer season, opening up a world of breathtaking natural vistas, magnificent glaciers and awe-inspiring wildlife. A variety of five-, seven- and nine-night itineraries will depart from Vancouver, Canada, with stops in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Sitka, Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska, plus Victoria, Canada.
Special Disney Fantasy itineraries to the Caribbean and Bahamas
In addition to seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, near Orlando, Florida, the Disney Fantasy will embark on a variety of special itineraries to the Caribbean and Bahamas throughout the summer of 2019.
The special itineraries include a three-night Bahamian cruise departing Aug. 7, a six-night western Caribbean cruise departing June 30, an eight-night southern Caribbean cruise departing June 22, and an 11-night southern Caribbean cruise departing July 27.
All cruises aboard the Disney Fantasy in the summer of 2019 include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, in addition to multiple tropical destinations where Disney Cruise Line guests can dive into charming island cultures, sunbathe on golden beaches and revel in local marketplaces.
Castaway Cay: More opportunities to explore Disney’s exclusive private island
In 2019, the Disney Dream will sail a series of cruises that include two stops at Castaway Cay so guests can have twice the fun in the sun and enjoy even more of Disney’s award-winning pristine island paradise.
On June 19, July 3 and July 17, 2019, the Disney Dream will sail from Port Canaveral on four-night Bahamian cruises to Nassau, plus two stops at Castaway Cay.
On June 14, June 23, June 28, July 7, July 12 and July 21, 2019, the Disney Dream will sail from Port Canaveral on five-night Bahamian cruises to Nassau, plus two stops at Castaway Cay.
These special itineraries are in addition to three- and four-night Bahamian cruises from Port Canaveral that visit Nassau and Castaway Cay.
Guided Experiences with Adventures by Disney
In the summer of 2019, Disney Cruise Line guests can enrich their experience by combining a Europe or Alaska cruise with a package from Adventures by Disney, a leader in family guided group vacations.
New pre-cruise Short Escapes
New in 2019, Adventures by Disney will offer pre-cruise guided experiences in Rome and Vancouver. These three-night Short Escapes, also offered in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Barcelona, allow families to experience memorable icons in ways that few can, such as a private, after-hours visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel in Rome. Plus, activities like ziplining, flamenco dancing and preparing local cuisine immerse families in the culture of the region.
Guided group excursion packages for select Europe cruises
Families can also enhance select European sailings with an Adventures by Disney package during the cruise. Knowledgeable Adventure Guides lead travelers to experience the best of each port, helping them unlock the wonders of the destination through immersive excursions and off-the-beaten-path adventures. In addition, guests will enjoy exclusive receptions onboard and have access to concierge service from these dedicated guides throughout the voyage.
These Adventures by Disney offerings open for booking beginning March 8, 2018, with the exception of the Vancouver Short Escape, which will open for booking later this year.
To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact a travel agent.