The SeaWorld Orlando Preschool Card is BACK!

SeaWorld Orlando is bringing back a popular offer that has Florida Moms jumping for joy…the SeaWorld Orlando Preschool Card!

What to know SeaWorld Orlando Preschool Card

Now through December 31, 2018, Florida kids ages five and younger can enjoy all the excitement of SeaWorld Orlando for free by registering for the SeaWorld Orlando Preschool Card.

Shamu Express SeaWorld Orlando Preschool Card 2018 Blog
SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld offers an ocean of experiences that are perfect for pint-sized guests, from up-close animal encounters to breathtaking live shows. The Preschool Card also includes popular SeaWorld events such as the Seven Seas Food Festival, Electric Ocean, Halloween Spooktacular, and the fan-favorite Christmas Celebration.

What you should know about the SeaWorld Orlando Preschool Card:

  • The 2018 Preschool Card ONLINE registration is exclusively for Florida residents,
  • Registration is open from now until May 13, 2018,
  • Advance registration must be completed ONLINE and cannot be done in person at the park, and
  • This offer is only valid for children ages five or younger at the time of redemption at the park.
SeaWorld Just For Kids - Imagination Movers Concert SeaWorld Orlando Preschool Card
Check out when Zoe was little at the Just for Kids concert! Where has time gone???

SeaWorld Orlando has fun celebrations for the entire family all year, but this spring preschoolers and their families can dive into Just For Kids, an event crafted especially with young guests in mind. From April 21 to May 13, families can spend their weekends dancing to the beat and learning together along with everybody’s favorite furry, finned and flippered friends during this special event.

SeaWorld Orlando Preschool Card Aquatica Orlando Add On
SeaWorld Orlando

Parents can add Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, to their child’s Preschool Card for only $59.99 to enjoy two parks all year. From Walkabout Waters to Kata’s Kookabura Cove, young guests can explore endlessly on interactive play structures, splash zones, and miniature slides designed just for them. With the upcoming opening of Ray Rush, a new family raft ride, the Preschool Card presents a great value for families with young children in 2018.

To learn more and to register for the Preschool Card, Florida residents can visit SeaWorldOrlando.com/PreschoolCard.

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The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle Debuting This Month

For the first time ever at Universal Orlando Resort, guests will be able to celebrate their Hogwarts house pride during an all-new, breathtaking experience –The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle – debuting on Wednesday, January 31, and running select nights throughout the remainder of the year. 

The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle Harry Potter Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal's Islands of Adventure Hogsmeade Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort

As night falls in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, state-of-the-art projection mapping, coupled with special effects and lighting, will wrap Hogwarts castle in a dazzling display celebrating the four houses of Hogwarts – Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. Guests will watch in awe as the spirit and iconic elements of each house are brought to life on the majestic castle – all set to incredible music based on the original scores from the Harry Potter films. 

This will be the second projection mapping experience that Universal Orlando has featured in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. Over the holiday season, Universal debuted “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle,” which brought incredible Christmas moments inspired by the Harry Potter series to life. Both experiences were also featured at Universal Studios Hollywood.

“The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” will make its official debut at Universal Orlando Resort on Wednesday, January 31, and run continuously each evening starting at dusk select nights throughout the year – but park guests can preview the new experience on January 27 and January 28 during “A Celebration of Harry Potter 2018.” 

And guests who’ve purchased A Celebration of Harry Potter vacation package can be among the first to see this experience at Universal Orlando during an exclusive preview event on Friday, January 26.  Event packages can still be purchased here.

“The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” is scheduled to run January 31 – February 5, and February 7 – February 12.  Additional dates will be announced at a later time onwww.universalorlando.com

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A New Character Breakfast Is Coming To Universal Orlando

Starting January 13th, the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort will host a new character breakfast in the outdoor Cayman Court covered pavilion where you can dine with friends from Despicable Me that include Gru, his daughters, and the Minions every Saturday with seatings at 9:00 am and 10:30 am.

Universal Orlando Despicable Me Character Breakfast Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Universal Orlando

Some of the dishes you will find on the all-you-care-to-eat buffet that include a fruit, cereals, baked goods, scrambled eggs, buttermilk pancakes, country pork sausage, Applewood-smoked bacon, and Yukon Gold breakfast potatoes. Your choice of a regular coffee, decaffeinated coffee, a variety of juices, soft drinks, and organic and herbal teas is also included included with the price of the breakfast.

Also included with the Despicable Me Character Breakfast is one digital photo taken during the breakfast (via My Universal Photos™).

Despicable Me Character Breakfast tickets must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance by calling (407) 503-DINE (3463) or online, and cost $34.99 plus tax and gratuity for adults (ages 10 and up) and $20.99 plus tax and gratuity for children (ages 3-9).

Here are few things to keep in mind before you book your Despicable Me Character Breakfast experience:

  • You’ll need to arrive 15 minutes prior to the reservation time.
  • Tickets are not refundable and not exchangeable.
  • Prices, dates, times, menu, and characters are subject to change without notice.
  • If you have special dietary needs, you will want to contact the Universal Orlando Resort to answer any questions you may have about the menu. They have a special  website that can help you find easy answers or contact information for further help.
  • To redeem your photo, the digital photo ticket must be exchanged for a My Universal Photos card at the Despicable Me Character Breakfast. Access to digital viewing is provided by Colorvision International, Inc. and is subject to additional terms and conditions. Data rates and other charges may apply. Please check with your carrier. Guest can visit myuniversalphotos.com to view and gain digital access to photo. Association of photos with My Universal Photos account is required. Additional restrictions may apply.
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Universal Orlando Resort Announces 2018 Mardi Gras Details

It’s almost time to let the good times roll at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras Celebration from February 3 until April 7 at Universal Studios Florida! 

During the celebration guests visiting the park can take in the sights, tastes, and the sounds of a real Mardi Gras experience.

Universal Orlando Resort Announces 2018 Mardi Gras Details

One of our favorite highlights is the Headliners Concerts that take place on 13 select nights on the Music Plaza stage, including GRAMMY Award-winning rapper, Macklemore, international superstar and recording artist, Sean Paul and award-winning, multiplatinum chart-toppers, Fifth Harmony.  

 

2018 Mardi Gras Headliners Concerts 

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2018 Headliner Concert

February 3 –  Sean Paul

February 10 – The Beach Boys

February  17 – Kelsea Ballerini

February 18 – Andy Grammer

February 24 -Macklemore

March 3 – 311

March 4 – Phillip Phillips

March 10 – To be announced

March 11 -Fitz and the Tantrums

March 17 – Foreigner

March 18 – Fifth Harmony

March 24 – To be announced

March 25 – BUSH

The musical stars won’t be the only ones on display as a constellation-themed Mardi Gras parade will keep the good times rolling every night throughout the streets of Universal Studios Florida with breathtakingly detailed floats, festive krewes of colorful dancers and stilt performers, and countless beads.  Six new celestial floats – including Taurus, Virgo, and Serpentarius – complete a lineup of 12 intricately hand-crafted floats engineered by Kern Studios, designer of the original New Orleans Mardi Gras floats for more than 50 years.  

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras 2018 New Parade Floats
Sketches for the new Universal Orlando Resort Mardi Gras Parade Floats

Guests will also enjoy mouthwatering shrimp po’boys, jambalaya, beignets and more at the French Quarter Courtyard while listening to authentic sounds of New Orleans straight from Bourbon Street. 

Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Food

2018 Mardi Gras New Orleans Bands

February 3 –  20: Free Agents Brass Band

February 21 – March 6: Naughty Professor Brass Band

March 7 – March 20: New Breed Brass Band

March 21 – March 31: Young Pinstripe Brass Band

April 1 – April 7: Dirty Bourbon River Show

The excitement of Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida or with an annual pass.  Florida Residents can get three months free on Power, Preferred and Premier Annual Passes with a UPC code from select Coca-Cola products.  For more information, visit www.universalorlando.com/mardigras.

2015 Memories On the Go
This was us a few years ago, before we got the opportunity to toss beads in the Mardi Gras Parade at Universal Studios Florida.

We look forward to Mardi Gras every year, and can’t wait for this year’s fun!!!

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Tips For Visiting the Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts With Kids

DISCLOSURE: I was invited by the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts to see a performance of ‘School of Rock’ with my daughter, but all opinions are my own

I have always loved going to the theatre, and I even majored in it and met my husband at the Theatre Arts program at Virginia Tech.

So when Zoe finally started expressing an interest in seeing a musical, I wanted to make sure that she was both able to fully enjoy the experience as well as respect the experience of others.

The Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, located in downtown Orlando, is a beautiful venue that is the perfect place for families in this same position since it is grand while not being intimidating and offers a diverse season of shows, concerts, and traveling productions.

Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Here are some of the ways that I prepared Zoe for our outing to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Tips For Visiting Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts With Kids

Pick the right show for your family

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has a variety of performances (you can see the schedule here), and the next FAIRWINDS Broadway in Orlando is Disney’s The Lion King that will have performances February 14 to March 11, 2018, and tickets start at $35.25.

Make sure that younger ones can stay up late

While most shows offer weekend matinee shows, most performances happen on the later side of the evening which means that dinner and bedtimes will need to be shifted some.

Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Courtesy of Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Familiarize your little ones with the show that they’ll be seeing

Kids tend to do better when they understand the premise of the show that they are going to go see, and a nice way to do that is by talking about the show that you will be seeing, watching a movie version of the show, or reading the book that the show is based on to give them an idea of what they can expect to happen during the show.

Don’t be afraid to also keep reviewing what they’ll be seeing and experiencing, especially when you are on your way to the theatre, so you can answer any additional questions they may have.

Talk about expected behavior at the theatre

While it can be overwhelming thinking of taking a child to the theatre to sit through two to three hours with a small break when they need to be able to sit relatively sit still while having good etiquette, but if you look at it theatre etiquette is really a lot like movie theater etiquette!

  • Pay attention to announcements that are made prior to many shows about the rules of the theater you are attending and the location of the fire exits.
  • Speaking during the performance impacts those around you, so make sure that if it is an emergency that you speak in a whisper.
  • Remember that the Overture (introductory music) in Musical Theater is part of the performance, so be quiet when it begins.
  • Pictures during the performance can be very distracting to the actors and can cause a mishap, so try to take them before/after the performance or during intermission.
  • Keep in mind that the seats are close, so please keep your feet on the floor and refrain from kicking the seats in front of you.
  • Do laugh and applaud when it is appropriate during the performance. While the lights on the stage are bright and the actors may not see you, they appreciate your interaction.
  • Make sure to applaud at the end of the show to let the performers and crew know that you appreciate their work, and you can even stand and applaud if you really thought the show was great.

Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Make going to the theatre an event!

Who doesn’t love getting gussied up to go to a fancy place?

Use your time at the theatre as an excuse to get dressed up to show that this is an important and special outing.

Arrive early to the theatre

Since the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is located in Downtown Orlando (445 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801), so you will want to factor in time for traffic, parking and walking to the venue , and going through security so it is best to give yourself some extra time to cut out some of the stress of getting to the venue.

Once you arrive, I also suggest taking a few moments to take in the beautiful building and use the facilities.

For directions, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has great information on their website.

As for a little boost for shorter ones to see

If you are going to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts with a child on the shorter side, you can visit the information desk, located under the staircase towards the back left of the lobby, to receive a free booster for them to see the show better.

Take a walk around the lobby during intermission

A good way to get the jitters out from sitting still during the first act is to take a walk around the lobby during the intermission.

Intermission typically lasts 15 minutes, so keep an eye on the lines at the concessions area and the restrooms to make sure if you need to visit either you have time to do so without rushing too much.

If they have a blast, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts offers a large variety of classes.

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts offers classes for children as young as two, and you can find information here.

Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Zoe and I had an absolute blast at the fantastic performance of School of Rock,  but should I worry that I asked her to clean her room & she started blasting ‘Stick it to the Man’?

 

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All About The New LEGO NINJAGO DAYS At LEGOLAND Florida

For three weekends in January LEGO NINJAGO Days will fill LEGOLAND Florida with ninja-themed activities, new LEGO character meet-and-greets, delicious, kid-friendly treats and the debut of a 12-minute, “4D” theatrical attraction starring the heroes of Cartoon Network’s “LEGO NINJAGO: Masters of Spinjitzu”.

All About The New LEGO NINJAGO DAYS At LEGOLAND Florida 2018

Included with all forms of theme park admission, LEGO NINJAGO Days joins the park’s immersive land, LEGO NINJAGO World, nearly one year after it opened with a groundbreaking interactive ride the whole family can enjoy.

LEGO NINJAGO Days

LEGO NINJAGO Days LEGOLAND Florida

  • Jan. 20-21 (Saturday & Sunday10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Jan. 27-28 (Saturday & Sunday10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Feb. 3-4 (Saturday & Sunday10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

Event activities – included with theme park admission:

LEGO NINJAGO Days LEGOLAND Florida
LEGOLAND Florida
  • On Saturday, Jan. 20. the theme park will debut “LEGO NINJAGO: Master of the 4th Dimension,” an action-packed film that combines computer-generated 3D animation with 4D effects such as wind, water and fog in an original story in which Master Wu’s ninja students find themselves trapped in a mind-bending dimension. The short film will play six times daily at the Wells Fargo Fun Town Theater each day of the event and will join the theater’s other 4D films afterward.
LEGO NINJAGO Days LEGOLAND Florida
LEGOLAND Florida
  • For the first time ever, strike a ninja pose with the wise, all-knowing Master Wu, who joins ninja siblings Kai and Nya for daily meet-and-greets.
  • On event dates only, guests also can meet Lloyd Garmadon, the secret Green Ninja from “The LEGO NINJAGO Movie”.
  • Achieve a state of zen or show off your wacky ninja moves during the once-a-day “ninjoga” session – a yoga class just for kids.
LEGO NINJAGO Days LEGOLAND Florida
LEGOLAND Florida
  • Come dressed as your favorite LEGO NINJAGO hero or villain for a chance to win a LEGO prize.
  • Join Master Wu and his crew of ninjas to defend NINJAGO City from Lord Garmadon and his evil Shark Army in “THE LEGO NINJAGO Movie” video game.
  • Count every Master Wu hiding among the landmarks of MINILAND USA and drop off an entry form at LEGO Studio Store for a chance to win a LEGO prize pack.

Fuel your ninja

LEGO NINJAGO Days LEGOLAND Florida
LEGOLAND Florida
  • Visit Market Restaurant for delicious treats including kid-themed candy sushi, ham and cheese sandwich sushi, chocolate-dipped fortune cookies and ninja trail mix.Available for a limited time only.

Staying the night

  • LEGOLAND Hotel guests will enjoy a nightly Ninja Training School, a competition build, a scavenger hunt and guest appearances by different LEGO NINJAGO heroes.
  • LEGOLAND Beach Retreat will host a NINJAGO warrior obstacle course and nightly scavenger hunt.
LEGO NINJAGO Days LEGOLAND Florida
LEGOLAND Florida

The fun continues inside LEGO NINJAGO World, where kids can practice their martial arts skills in the Ninja Training Camp before becoming the ninja on LEGO NINJAGO The Ride as they blast fireballs, lightning and more at villains like Lord Garmadon and the Great Devourer while the vehicle keeps score. Shop like a ninja – and even dress like one – at Wu’s Warehouse, a themed retail shop filled with LEGO NINJAGO building sets, children’s apparel, costumes, books, souvenirs and more.

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Tips For Stepping Into THE VOID At Disney Springs

DISCLOSURE: I was invited guest of the Walt Disney World Resort to experience THE VOID on opening day, but all opinions are my own.

Tips THE VOID Disney Springs

Disney in collaboration with THE VOID, Lucasfilm and ILMxLAB has launched a new “hyper-reality” VR experience in Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort.   The Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire “hyper-reality” experience is an immersive virtual reality experience like no other.

THE VOID Disney Springs Indoor Sign

 

Part of legitimate Star Wars canon, the experience takes place around the time of Rogue One and features characters like Captain Cassian, Darth Vader, and K-2SO.  Part of a rebel team, your mission is to infiltrate a covert imperial base in search of the mysterious contents of a secret shipment.  Unlike other virtual reality experiences, as you make your way through THE VOID you truly feel like you are in an alternate reality.  You and your team, dressed as Imperial Stormtroopers, must fight your way through the base as the smells of sulfur permeate your nose and the heat of molten rock radiates beneath you.

THE VOID Disney Springs Official Photo
THE VOID

Here are my 5 tips for a successful mission inside THE VOID:

  • Take extra time with the fit and securing of your pack to ensure that you feel all the haptic feedback from laser blasts and explosions.

THE VOID Disney Springs Backpack

  • Guests must be 10 years old and at least 48” tall, and the pack weighs more than 15 pounds, so ensure your children are ok carrying the weight.
  • When you get into the staging room, make sure the volume on your helmet is turned up, so you can hear the experience as well as your teammates.

THE VOID Disney Springs Warnings

  • Wear close-toed shoes to keep from tripping or getting your feet stepped on by your teammates.
  • Teamwork is critical, so make sure you communicate with your fellow rebels throughout the mission.

You begin your experience in a briefing room where you verify your identity, choose your storm trooper uniform, and have your missing briefing from Captain Cassian.  Once you are clear on your mission you move into the equipment room to get your pack and helmet before boarding your hijacked imperial shuttle.  Once you arrive at the imperial base, K-2SO will help guide you through the mission.  This is a completely immersive experience, so make sure you look and feel around your environment to see everything.  You will have to interact with physical objects like blasters, door locks, and computer panels to complete your mission.

THE VOID Exterior Disney Springs

I recommend purchasing tickets for THE VOID Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire in advance on their official website.

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A Step Behind The Walls At Disney Springs

DISCLOSURE: I was an invited guest of guest of The Patina Restaurant Group and Walt Disney World to tour the four new dining venues opening at Disney Springs, but all opinions (and exclamation points) are my own.

2017 Behind the Walls at Disney Springs 2017

It is always an exciting experience to step behind a construction wall at Walt Disney World, and I had the chance to peek in at the four new dining locations opening soon at Disney Springs.

Let’s take a step back to October 2017 when Nick Valenti, CEO of Patina Restaurant Group, shared a glimpse at how each location will tie into the Disney Springs storyline of a restored Florida Waterfront town.

“…we will be opening a trattoria named Maria & Enzo’s, as well as Enzo’s Hideaway, a separate restaurant in what were said to be rum-running tunnels, which is destined to become a local favorite,” said Valenti. “They are inspired by the cuisines of Sicily and Rome, the Italian family, and the best of Italian modern cooking.”

What is really great about this connecting group of restaurants is that each location will have its own distinct menu as well as price point. This is sure to become a ‘one-stop’ dining destination at Disney Springs!

Pizza Ponte Disney Springs Logo
PRG

Pizza Ponte, now in soft openings, is a fast-casual concept and the perfect place for a quick bite serving pastries, pizza, Italian sandwiches, and espresso. Pastry specialties include Bomboloni (Italian doughnuts) Sfoglia di Riso (pastry with rice cream) and Tiramisu. Savory items include signature Triangolo (stuffed pizza bread) sandwiches, Porchetta (roast pork) and Pizza al Taglio, Sicilian-style pizza by the slice. There is dining available inside of this location, but it is also a great place to pop in to take your food to enjoy outdoors.

Maria and Enzos Disney Springs Mural and Globe
PRG

Maria & Enzo’s is an Italian trattoria set in the town’s storied abandoned airline terminal from the 1930s, now transformed into a restaurant. The dining room is open and airy, featuring 50-foot ceilings with views of Lake Buena Vista. The restaurant interiors showcase artifacts that reference air travel of the time, with maps and historic flight paths. The menu is inspired by Sicily, with a range of family-friendly dishes – Arancini di Carne (rice balls stuffed with meat), Melanzane Parmigiana (eggplant Parmesan) – and handmade pastas – Busiate con Granchio (spiral pasta with crab), ‘Ncasciata al Forno (Sicilian baked pasta) – served tableside. Other highlights include fresh fish, richly flavored steaks and chops. Guests will also be treated to stunning views of Lake Buena Vista under a fantastic mural as they dine.

Disney Springs Enzos Hideaway Grafiti Wall
PRG

Then under Maria & Enzo’s, in the actual tunnels under Disney Springs, is Enzo’s Hideaway which is a speakeasy inspired by Roman aperitivo bars, located in the storied rum-runner tunnels that adjoin Maria & Enzo’s. Inspired by Florida’s true history of rum running, Enzo’s Hideaway will pour Prohibition-era cocktails at its Tunnel Bar and serve a casual menu of hearty Roman dishes, such as the city’s legendary Bucatini alla Carbonara (hollow spaghetti with creamy egg and pancetta sauce) and Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe (square-cut spaghetti with pecorino and black pepper). I could spend all day taking in every detail of the graffiti wall!

The Edison Mural Disney Springs
PRG

The shining gem of this group of dining locations can be found either with its main entrance or a secret tunnel passageway from Enzo’s Hideaway, which is The Edison, which will be opening with a sold out New Year’s Eve Bash. The Edison is a lavish “Industrial Gothic” –style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination, The Edison is famous for exceptionally good classic American food, craft cocktails and live entertainment including cabaret and music. With multiple levels and a performance space, The Edison will be open for lunch and dinner. The menu is executed by Chef PJ Finneran, and consists of contemporary American fare such as Pork Belly Pops with a chile-brown sugar glaze, Crispy Fried Chicken with cast iron buttermilk biscuits and its signature The Edison Burger, a juicy combination of house-ground sirloin, shortrib and brisket, topped with Cabot cloth-bound cheddar, onion rings, smoked bacon, house pickles, lettuce, tomato, special sauce and served with hand-cut fries. The Edison’s beverage program places a huge focus on artfully crafted cocktails, interesting beer and wines and house-made punches, made to serve from two to 10 guests. The main room features a dance floor and stage, where each night The Edison will feature an eclectic lineup of live entertainment including musicians, aerialists and dancers.

Reservations are currently not available for these three dining locations at Disney Springs, but we expect them to be available soon.

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Three Kings Celebration Begins Today At SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando is kicking off their all-new Three Kings Celebration  today where families are invited to help commemorate the arrival of the Three Wise Men with authentic festive cuisine and celebratory experiences held in honor of the cherished tradition of Latin cultures.

The new event, happening from now until January 6th, features guest favorites from SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration along with several new experiences centered around the Epiphany.

Three Kings Celebration SeaWorld Orlando 2017 Logo

SeaWorld Orlando Three Kings Celebration events include:

  •  Three Kings Processional- Welcome the Three Wise Men to a live nativity scene depicting the arrival of the Three Kings. A storyteller will share the tale of their journey and the traditions of the Three Kings holiday to park guests. The processional, featuring live animals, will take place several times throughout the day and offer a truly special photo opportunity for park guests.
  • Special Holiday Feast at Sharks Underwater Grill- Guests can enjoy a traditional Latin holiday dish at SeaWorld’s premier full-service restaurant, Sharks Underwater Grill. The event-exclusive menu features roasted pork with onion mojo arroz con gandules, pasteles and fried tostones garnished with mayoquetchup. For dessert, the restaurant will feature a house-made flan drizzled with caramel.
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration O Wondrous Night
SeaWorld Orlando – O Wondrous Night
  • Festive Food and Drinks- Food connoisseurs can enjoy Latin-inspired dishes and drinks prepared exclusively for SeaWorld’s Three Kings Celebration. Menu items include miniature papas rellenas (fried stuffed potatoes), empanadas (cheese, chicken or beef), bacalaitos (codfish fritters) and authentic pinchos. Libations include frozen coquitos and frozen sangria.
  •  Live Musical Entertainment- While new holiday flavors tempt guests’ taste buds; live musical street acts will have the family singing along to a variety of Latin holiday favorites.
  • Rudolph’s Christmas Town – Guests can immerse themselves into the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Rudolph’s Christmas Town. As guests stroll past life-size story book vignettes featuring the classic tale, they’ll have the opportunity to meet their favorite characters: Rudolph, Clarice, Bumble and Yukon Cornelius.
SeaWorld Orlando Christmas Celebration Sea of Trees
SeaWorld Orlando – Sea of Trees
  • O Wondrous Night – Experience a live nativity only SeaWorld can bring to life, complete with more than 30 carols, life-sized puppets, and animals in a spectacular Christmas favorite based on The Christmas Story. Told through the eyes of the animals that were there, O Wondrous Night is a touching, light-hearted, and glorious celebration with a host of angels, animals, and the true glory of Christmas. Guests can also enjoy a special sing-along before the show.
  • Sea of Trees – Families will end their evening immersed in a sea of glistening holiday trees that sparkle to music as they light up the water. Dazzling images come to life on over 100 trees, including a giant glistening centerpiece that towers 70-feet above the water.

Three Kings Celebration SeaWorld Orlando 2017 Logo

The best part of the SeaWorld Orlando Three Kings Celebration is that it is included with park admission and begins at 11 am daily, January 1 – 6, continuing through park close.

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D23 Announces 2018 Gold Member Gift

DISCLOSURE: I am a member of D23 and passing along some great information in case you wanted to know about the 2018 member gift!

D23: The Official Disney Fan Club was established in 2009 for passionate Disney fans to celebrate their love of the Disney Parks to the legendary Walt Disney Animation Studios with special events, publications, online content, tours, and more.

D23 disney twenty-three Fanniversary D23 Destination D Disney D23 Expo

D23 was established to bring Disney fans closer to the “magic” through one-of-a-kind experiences, special events, unique merchandise offerings, quarterly publications, exclusive online content, and opportunities to meet others who share the same affection for Disney. D23 offers fans an insider look at every corner of Disney, from the parks, animation, television and film to the treasures of the legendary Walt Disney Archives.

There are several levels of D23 memberships, you can find them all here, and every year for those opting to purchase a Gold Membership they offer a special gift.

And just this week D23 has announced that its 2018 Gold Member Gift will center around Mickey Mouse in honor of his upcoming 90th birthday, on November 18, 2018. The D23 Team worked with the Walt Disney Archives to curate this collectible box set of 23 items, and it looks awesome!

2018 D23 Gold Member Gift

D23 Gold Member Gift 2018
D23
1 – Steamboat Willie Original Script Pages (1928)
A star is born as Mickey dazzles audiences with antics set to animation’s first synchronized soundtrack. Predating the invention of the storyboard, this illustrated continuity becomes a treasured memento that Walt Disney keeps in his desk.
2 – Mickey Mouse Comic Strip Fan Card (1931)
Newspaper “funny pages” bring Mickey into homes, and millions follow his serialized adventures. When Mickey poses for a formal photograph, readers are encouraged to write in to see the finished result… and find tag-along pal Butch making a surprise appearance!
3 – Miniature Cel from Parade of the Award Nominees (1932)
Created for one showing at the 1932 Academy Awards dinner, Mickey appears in color for the first time on screen. Comic caricatures of the year’s Oscar nominees process alongside Minnie Mouse, Clarabelle Cow, and Pluto.
4 – Mickey and Minnie Doll—McCall Printed Pattern No. 91 (1932)
Huggable Mickey and Minnie toys become a national craze, and when official doll maker Charlotte Clark cannot accommodate the overwhelming demand, Disney authorizes a home-use pattern so mothers can make mice for their eager little ones.
5 – Hyperion Studio “Ickymay Ousmay” Crest (ca. 1933)
As the Disney Studio on Hyperion Avenue prospers and expands, a whimsical coat of arms appears on an interior door. With faux formality, a banner device in Pig Latin glorifies the source behind the success: Mickey Mouse!
6 – Carl Laemmle Scrapbook Page Art (ca. 1935)
Hollywood pioneer Carl Laemmle’s Universal Pictures once distributed Disney Oswald cartoons and, later, Mickey’s as well. In tribute to Laemmle, Walt sends this historic greeting—likely the only time Mickey and Oswald will “meet” until the lucky rabbit’s 2006 “homecoming.”
7 – Walt Disney Productions Logo (1940s)
The new, purpose-built Disney campus in Burbank allows increased productivity and possibilities. This elegant logo art appears on everything from electrical generators and location vehicles to mailroom bicycles and matchbooks.
8 – The Nifty Nineties Animation Drawing (1941)
Mickey is not only “taken by surprise” by a coquettish Minnie in this nostalgic cartoon short, but also drawn with enormous appeal by Disney Legend Fred Moore.
9 – Aircraft Worker Insignia Sticker (ca. 1942) 
With his wrench and propeller forming a “V” for victory, Mickey represents the “can-do” spirit of the American home front. Ultimately, Disney provides mascot and insignia art, buoying the resolve of thousands serving in military and civilian groups.
10 – “Walt Disney and Staff” Christmas Card (1947) 
For Walt’s traditional holiday greeting, artist Hank Porter depicts Mickey as another beloved joy-giver: Santa Claus! Inside, a galaxy of Disney characters toasts the new year, including Mickey’s feature co-stars from Fun and Fancy Free.
11 – Television Prop “Book” (1954) and Portrait Enclosure (1953)
In his first weekly television broadcast, Walt Disney not only introduces his innovative theme park concept but pays tribute to the mouse that started it all. Walt’s on-screen scrapbook contains Mickey’s portrait in oil by Disney Legend John Hench.
12 – Television Commercial Model Sheet (1954)
For a brief time, Disney creates animated television commercials featuring simplified “modern” stylings of characters designed to read clearly on early TV screens. Artist Tom Oreb is the first to re-think Mickey in these geometric, contemporary terms.
13- The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Record Cover (Disneyland Records, ca. 1957) 
Dramatic art by Disney Legend Al Dempster shows Mickey at his magical best, accompanying the original Fantasia recording of Paul Dukas’ classical composition. To make sure young listeners can follow along, clever narration by Sterling Holloway is added.
14 – “Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club” Mouseketeers Fan Card (1957)
Featuring five themed days, catchy music, educational outreach, and unforgettable headwear, the Mickey Mouse Club is a broadcasting sensation. This card shows its young stars ready for their third season, along with “Mooseketeers” Jimmie Dodd and Roy Williams.
15 – Walt Disney World Mickey Mouse Revue Attraction Poster (1971)
Mickey conquers a new medium of animation—as an Audio-Animatronics figure—headlining his own show in the new Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Hollywood designers John DeCuir Sr. and David Negron’s dynamic poster has motion in mind (plus a few hidden friends)!
16 – Disneyland Backstage Cast Magazine—Commemorative Issue (Summer 1978)
Parodying Norman Rockwell’s famous Saturday Evening Post cover, Charles Boyer’s “Triple Self Portrait” fronts a celebration of both Walt and Mickey, including Mickey’s “own story,” a photo timeline, and a look at the wristwatch that became a generational icon.
17 – “Happy Birthday, Mickey” Button (1978)
This jubilant logo honors the 50th anniversary of Mickey’s debut. Inspired by familiar cartoon title card art, legendary Disney animator Ward Kimball sports his pinback throughout a commemorative “whistle stop” train tour and for many years thereafter.
18 – “We Are Doing It” WED/MAPO Poster (ca. 1981)
Based on art created for a Library of Congress exhibit, Disney Imagineers use this poster for inspiration as they hurry to build both EPCOT Center and Tokyo Disneyland. The original heading is optimistically overprinted as the projects near completion.
19 – “Oh, What a Merry Christmas Day” Vocal Lead Sheet (1982)
After a 30-year absence, Mickey returns to the big screen in Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983). Disney greets Dickens with this song, by Disney Legend Irwin Kostal (Mary Poppins) and Frederick Searles, seen here in its nascent pre-production form.
20 – Tron Film Print (Hidden Mickey) (1982)
Only the sharpest eyes catch Mickey’s image as Flynn and Yori ride a “Solar Sailer” beyond the game grid of Tron. Within the electronic terrain, Mickey is on hand as computer animation makes magic that was unimaginable in the Steamboat Willie days.
21 – Tokyo Disneyland Souvenir Gift Bag (1983)
A colorful array of classic attractions beckons visitors to explore the new “Kingdom of Family Dreams” in Japan. Mickey welcomes the world and ushers in an era of international Disney entertainment experiences that extend beyond movie and television screens.
22 – Disney Channel Launch Party Napkin (1983)
When Disney inaugurates its premium cable service in April 1983, one of the first images broadcast is a mouse-shaped satellite—“ears” poised to beam entertainment to all. Launch parties celebrate another milestone (and medium) for Mickey.
23 – Shanghai Disneyland Mickey Avenue Seal (2016)
Flanked by pals Donald Duck and Goofy, Mickey greets the sunshine of new horizons on Mickey Avenue. The cartoon-themed thoroughfare transports visitors to a “one-reel town” that’s also a gateway to the newest in Disney wonders.
D23 2018 Gold Member Gift Cluster
D23
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You can find out more about the benefits of joining here.
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Gatorland Opens New Off-Road Adventure

Gatorland has just completed their largest expansion since the park’s opening in 1949, and it features a brand new (and super fun) off-road adventure that  Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure ride and Gator Joe’s Adventure Outpost.

For the Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure, guest climb aboard one of three, 12-foot-high custom-made, off-road monster vehicles for a 15-minute rugged and hilarious adventure like no other theme park ride anywhere. This exciting ride is chocked full of wacky new Gatorland characters, singing tour guides, swampy adventure, and, of course, lots of alligators.  Each vehicle is specially branded and named after iconic real alligators and crocodiles at Gatorland, including Bonecrusher, Cannibal Jake, and Swamp Ghost.

' Gator Gatorland Bonecrusher on hill 2
Gatorland

Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure’s story line is a journey into the world of Gator Gardens, a fictional rival park that takes over a swamp buggy business from a new Gatorland character named Swampy Sal. Tour guides take riders off-road for a very different adventure of unexpected twists and turns, including an alligator graveyard and a plunge through a pond of hungry alligators.  A comedic plot played out between monster vehicle drivers and on-board personal guides is played out in the wild search for Swampy Sal.

“This is great entertainment and loads of fun,” said Gatorland President & CEO Mark McHugh.  “Our new ride is a perfect addition to all our featured adventure activities throughout the park.  The fact is, there’s not another ride like this anywhere.  We showcase beautiful Florida swamps, piney woods, and alligators with a rough, bouncy ride featuring our very own style of country humor.  This is a great ride.”

Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure vehicles depart from the brand new Gator Joe’s Adventure Outpost building, home base for all of Gatorland’s add-on adventures such as Screamin’ Gator Zip Line, Gator Night Shine, Adventure Hour, Trainer For The Day and more.  It also serves as a second gift shop for the park, selling Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure exclusive merchandise, snacks and beverages.

' Gator Gatorland guests look at Graveyard
Gatorland

Gator Joe’s Adventure Outpost is named after Ernest “Gator Joe” Brown, who was hired by Owen Godwin Sr., Gatorland’s founder, to work at the park.  Brown was known all over Central Florida, especially throughout Kissimmee and Osceola County, as Gator Joe because of his great love and expertise with alligators.  Gator Joe raised thousands and thousands of baby gators at Gatorland.  He had a special knack for getting them to eat and grown quickly.  When he hollered “GATOR! GATOR BOY!” across the lakes, every gator would swim as fast as they could to meet him.  Gator Joe worked at Gatorland from 1958 until shortly before he passed away in 2013. For almost 60 years, Gator Joe and his family’s influence on Gatorland has run long and deep, with some of his family still working at Gatorland today.

Cost for adults and children to ride Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure is $10, in addition to park admission.  Minimum height of 36 inches is required to ride.   Tickets can be purchased at the park admission gate or at Gator Joe’s Adventure Outpost.

 For more Gatorland information visit their official website, by calling 800-393-JAWS, Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram .

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Aloma Bowling Centers Winter All Access Pass

Aloma Bowling Centers offer savings, fun with Winter All Access Pass

Guests can save up to 40% off retail prices
The kids are out of school. Parents are off work. Family is in town. Luckily for them, Aloma Bowling Centers have the solution for Central Floridians looking for something to keep their crew entertained this winter.
Aloma Bowl, Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment Center, and Airport Lanes are offering huge savings on all things entertainment with the Winter All Access Pass.

Aloma Bowling Centers

For just $15 plus tax per person, guests will receive two games of bowling and shoe rental and a $10 arcade card or arcade tokens. That is up to 40 percent off retail prices.
Boardwalk Bowl is offering the pass in December and January, with Aloma Bowl and Airport Lanesjoining in to offer the pass in January.
The deal is the perfect way for families and groups to experience all the entertainment centers have to offer, and it’s a great way to keep everyone entertained this winter break.
In addition to entertainment, all of the Aloma Bowling Centers offer a full bar with delicious drinks and food options, including fresh sandwiches, pizza, salads and more.

Aloma Bowl is located at 2530 Aloma Avenue in Winter Park. Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment Center is located at 10748 E. Colonial Drive in Orlando. Airport Lanes is located at 190 E. Airport Boulevard in Sanford.

For more information, visit AlomaBowlingCenters.com.
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New Cirque du Soleil Show Coming To Disney Springs

In 1998 Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts teamed up for the first to bring La Nouba to life on stage, and twenty years later Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts have announced that they are working together on a new project to take the stage in the iconic building located on the West Side of Disney Springs.

Cirque du Soleil and Walt Disney World Logo
Cirque du Soleil / Walt Disney World

The new show will be created by Cirque du Soleil in collaboration with Disney, and will draw its inspiration from Disney’s heritage of animation. It will celebrate Disney’s legacy of storytelling in Cirque du Soleil’s signature way, with a tribute to the one-of a kind craftsmanship that makes Disney so extraordinary.

“This long-standing relationship is built on mutual esteem and the success achieved by our two creative businesses throughout the past two decades with La Nouba,” said Tiffany Rende, Senior Vice President, Corporate Alliances and Operating Participants, The Walt Disney Corporation. “We look forward to our continued collaboration with Cirque du Soleil in developing this new show that will honor Disney animation’s rich history.”

After paying homage to some of entertainment’s greatest artists, such as The Beatles and Michael Jackson, Cirque du Soleil will leap into the iconic world of Disney.

Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, added “We are incredibly inspired by Disney’s immense creative universe. We are convinced that bringing Disney’s magic to life on stage will touch audiences and bring them back to their childhood.”

The curtain falls on La Nouba for their final performance on December 31, 2017, but its impact on the Walt Disney World has left an impressive legacy. Since its première, La Nouba has entertained more than 11 million guests, has performed close to 9,000 shows, have flipped 2.8 million times in the PowerTrack act, and the wardrobe department has handled over 21 million costumes and headpieces. Tickets are still available for your chance to watch the show one more time before it takes its final bow.

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Vice President Joe Biden Brings American Promise Tour to Orlando

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and Bill Blumenreich Presents announced that Vice President Joe Biden: American Promise Tour will be at the venue’s Walt Disney Theater on Monday, January 29, 2018 at 7 pm.

Vice President Joe Biden Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Official White House Photo by David Lienemann

During his American Promise Tour events, Vice President Biden has discussed the big political moments of his career, the life-altering choices he made, and the key traits that have helped him persevere through challenges often with guest moderators.

PROMISE ME, DAD chronicles 2015, the most momentous and challenging year in Vice President Biden’s extraordinary life and career. For twelve months, the vice president balanced the twin imperatives of living up to his responsibilities to his country and his family while his son Beau battled brain cancer. Never far away was the insistent question of whether he should seek the presidency in 2016. Writing with poignancy and immediacy, Vice President Biden allows readers to feel the urgency of each moment, to experience the days when he felt unable to move forward, as well as the days when he felt like he could not afford to stop.

Tickets start at $68 and go on sale to the general public on Friday, December 22, 2017 at 10 am and include a copy of his new book, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose (on sale now, $27, Flatiron Books). VIP Meet & Greet tickets are also available. General audience tickets and VIP tickets 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 between 10 am and 4 pm. Monday through Friday, or 12 pm and 4 pm Saturday. Online and phone ticket purchases are subject to handling fees.

“Over the last month I’ve traveled around the country to share the story of my son Beau. I have been incredibly touched by countless stories of resilience and hope that so many people have shared with me – stories of enormous loss, and yet, in defiance of that loss, they get up every morning and summon the strength to live a life of purpose. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to continue this tour and hear from so many more people,” says Vice President Biden.

Vice President Joe Biden is represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which developed and will continue to oversee the American Promise Tour.

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SeaWorld Orlando Announces 2018 Praise Wave Artists

Christian music fans can kick off their year in high gear with a day of fellowship and fun at SeaWorld Orlando’s Praise Wave. The live concert event series takes place every Saturday from January 20 to February 10, 2018.

Guests can enjoy live musical performances by some of the hottest names in Christian music and celebrate in an atmosphere filled with Christian friendship, thrilling rides and inspiring animal attractions.

SeaWorld Orlando 2018 Praise Wave Artists

2018 Praise Wave musical performances include:

SeaWorld Orlando 2018 Praise Wave Artists Steven Curtis Chapman
SeaWorld Orlando
  • Saturday, January 20 Steven Curtis Chapman: In a career that has spanned 30 years, Steven Curtis Chapman is the most awarded artist in Christian music history with 58 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, five Grammys, an American Music Award, 48 No. 1 singles, selling over 11 million albums, with ten RIAA-certified gold and platinum albums to his credit.
SeaWorld Orlando 2018 Praise Wave Artists LECRAE
SeaWorld Orlando
  • Saturday, January 27 – Lecrae: Lecrae is a two-time Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist whose 2014 album, “Anomaly,” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, Rap, Digital, Christian, Gospel, and Independent charts. His seven studio albums and mixtapes have sold more than 1.9 million copies and he has co-headlined some of the best-selling tours in the U.S.
  • Saturday, February 3 – TBA
SeaWorld Orlando 2018 Praise Wave Artists Mercy Me
SeaWorld Orlando
  • Saturday, February 10 – MercyMe:  Grammy-nominated, multiple American Music Award and Dove Award winners MercyMe have sold more than 8.5 million units in CD, single and DVD sales, garnered 27 No. 1 multi-format Christian radio singles and four consecutive mainstream radio hits with “I Can Only Imagine,” “Here With Me,” “Homesick” and “So Long Self.”

Live concerts take place at 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. each Saturday in the park’s Nautilus Theater and are included with park admission. Reserved seating packages for all performances are available online at SeaWorldOrlando.com and start at $19.

Live musical performances at the park continue in February with the return of SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival. As guests sip and sample their way through the park, they will discover globally-inspired flavors while enjoying local craft beers and culinary marketplaces. The fun goes beyond the food with live performances from top country, rock and Latin music artists for 9 consecutive weekends, February 17 – April 15.

The best deal for guests to experience Praise Wave, and all of SeaWorld’s special events throughout the year, is with a SeaWorld Fun Card which includes unlimited admission with no blockout dates thru December 31, 2018. For more information and to purchase tickets visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.

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