Match Preview: Orlando Faces Tampa In First-Ever ‘I-4 Derby’ at Florida Citrus Bowl

Orlando Faces Tampa In First-Ever ‘I-4 Derby’ at Florida Citrus Bowl

Home leg this Saturday, March 9, at Florida Citrus Bowl with kickoff set for 7:30

Orlando, Fla.- Orlando City SC faces cross-state and 2012 NASL Champion Tampa Bay Rowdies this Saturday, March 9, at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.  In the inaugural ‘I-4 Derby’, a home-and-away series between the two clubs, Orlando looks to gain further traction heading into the 2013 USL PRO regular season.

The last time the two clubs met, the Lions defeated the Rowdies 2-0 in the conclusion of the 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic last Saturday. Goals from Midfielder Jamie Watson and Forward Dennis Chin led the way for Orlando. Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo and the City backline held their own against the Rowdies attack, keeping their first clean sheet in the PSC vs. cross-state Tampa.

The Lions have made roster moves since the last meeting against the Rowdies, adding Orlando City U23s Captain Jonathan Mendoza and University of Tampa standout Brian Fekete to the squad. Both had previously been on trial with Orlando before signing with the team. Defender Jerome Mechack was also signed by Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Sporting Kansas City after spending most of the 2013 preseason on trial.

Tampa Bay comes into the game led by Head Coach Ricky Hill, who heads into his second season with the club. Hill led Tampa Bay to a record of 12-9-7 in the 2012 regular season before making a run in the NASL playoffs, topping Minnesota Stars FC 3-2 on penalty kicks. Lion fans will remember Rowdies standout and Midfielder Luke Mulholland, who won USL PRO Rookie of the Year after notching nine goals and five assists for rival Wilmington Hammerheads in 2011.

The I-4 Derby was announced this past November after continuous fan suggestion of creating a strong rivalry between the two franchises. The Lions and Rowdies, both recent champions in the USL PRO and NASL, are both top-flight clubs that show the rapid growth of the beautiful game in the sunshine state.

Tickets for the first match in Orlando can be purchased now by calling (855) ORL-CITY, while tickets for the second match in Tampa Bay will go on sale at a later date and will be able to be purchased through Tickets for the Orlando match will not be included as a part of the OCSC season ticket package, but discounts will be available for season ticket holders.

The two sides will meet again on March 30 for the second leg of the derby in St. Petersburg, Fla. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium. The Lions will also continue their preseason against local college teams, including Stetson, Florida Gulf Coast and Rollins College. For the full preseason schedule, visit
Training Schedule:

Monday          Tuesday         Wednesday    Thursday       Friday

10-11:15**    10-11:15**    10-11:15**    10-11:15**    10-11:15**

*Practices are held at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford, Fla, and are open to media. Times are subject to change. Please contact Chris Jones ( on confirmed times before attending training.

**times a.m.

About Orlando City Soccer Club:

Orlando City Soccer Club (OCSC) is a premier professional soccer sports franchise in the United States and is a member of the USL PRO. The Lion’s pro team has won two regular season titles and one postseason championship during their short time in Orlando. Outside of the pro squad, OCSC also has their own youth club, Orlando City Youth Soccer (OCYS) and a U23s team that participates in the PDL. For more information on the pro and youth clubs, visit and

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Bruno Mars comes to Orlando for the Moonshine Jungle World Tour!






WHEN:          TUESDAY, AUGUST 27, 2013




ON SALE:     FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2013 | 10 A.M.


ORLANDO, FLORIDA [March 6, 2013] Atlantic recording artist Bruno Mars has unveiled details of his hugely anticipated world tour.  The North American leg of The Moonshine Jungle World Tour gets underway on June 22 and continues through August.  Special guests on select dates of the North American leg include Ellie Goulding and newly signed Elektra artist Fitz & The Tantrums.  Tickets for Bruno Mars at Amway Center in Orlando on August 27 go on sale March 15 at 10 a.m.


The announcement of The Moonshine Jungle World Tour comes just as “When I Was Your Man,” the latest single from Mars’ just-released sophomore album “Unorthodox Jukebox” has exploded into the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100.  It joins the album’s blockbuster first single “Locked Out Of Heaven” which recently spent six consecutive weeks atop the Hot 100 chart.  The immediate success of “When I Was Your Man,” which also earned honors as the week’s top Streaming Gainer and Airplay Gainer, marks the Grammy® 10th consecutive single to hit the top 10.  Mars continues his already-established status as the male artist with the longest streak of top 10 hits as a performer since his debut.  Furthermore, the single’s chart ascension places Mars in the history books as the first male artist to simultaneously place two titles in the top 10 since his own “Grenade” and “Just The Way You Are” doubled up on the chart in December 2010/January 2011.
As its title suggests, “Unorthodox Jukebox” once again sees Mars melding a multitude of musical approaches to create his own distinctive sound.  Executive produced by The Smeezingtons, the hit-making production team comprised of Mars, Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine, the collection also features contributions from top producers such as Jeff Bhasker (fun., Kanye West, Jay-Z), Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse, Lil Wayne, Black Lips) and Diplo (M.I.A, Usher).


“Unorthodox Jukebox” made a stunning SoundScan/Billboard 200 debut upon its release last year, entering the chart at number two with sales in excess of 192,000; the singer/songwriter/producer/musician’s highest first week sales debut thus far.  In addition, the album exploded to the top spot on the British album charts, making history as the United Kingdom’s fastest selling solo album of 2012.  The phenomenal success of “Unorthodox Jukebox” follows the equivalent popularity of Mars’ now classic 2010 debut, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans,” which proved the United Kingdom’s third best-selling album of 2011 and also entered the charts at number one.


Mars is undoubtedly among contemporary pop’s most gifted and compelling artists.  And with global sales currently certified at 40x-platinum and over 50 million singles sold worldwide, the 14-time Grammy®Award nominee has fully proven himself as a true superstar.
For more news and information, please visit:,, and



The Orlando Magic served as the developer of the Amway Center, which hosts major national events, concerts and family shows.  Opened in the fall of 2010, the facility is owned and operated by the City of Orlando on behalf of the Central Florida community. The Amway Center was designed to reflect the character of the community, meet the goals of the users and build on the legacy of sports and entertainment in Orlando. The building’s exterior features a modern blend of glass and metal materials, along with ever-changing graphics via a monumental wall along one facade. A 180-foot tall tower serves as a beacon amid the downtown skyline. At 875,000 square feet, the new arena is almost triple the size of the old Amway Arena (367,000 square feet). The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified building features a sustainable, environmentally-friendly design and unmatched technology, featuring 1,100 digital monitors, the tallest high-definition video board in an NBA venue and multiple premium amenities available to all patrons in the building.  Awarded 2012 Sports Facility of the Year by SportsBusiness Journal. For more information about the Amway Center, visit



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Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort Now Accepting Reservations

Cabana Bay

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort Now Accepting Reservations

Universal Announces Room Rates, New Features for New 1,800 Room On-Site Hotel

Guests can now book reservations for Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the new, 1800-room hotel at Universal Orlando Resort that will feature value-priced guest rooms and moderately priced family suites.

The hotel is scheduled to open in early 2014 – with reservations now being accepted for stays beginning on March 31, 2014.

The new hotel is the fourth hotel within Universal Orlando Resort and will evoke the classic, retro-feel of iconic beach resorts from the 1950s and 60’s.  An area located around the North Courtyard will open first, followed later in 2014 by an area located around the South Courtyard.  Each area will have a unique look and feel.

Families will have two options for experiencing the hotel – a value-priced standard guest room or a moderately priced, 430-square-foot family suite that sleeps six.  From the moment they arrive, they will be surrounded by the hotel’s bold design, period colors, neon and retro feel.  When complete, there will be two pool complexes with sand beach and interactive features, a themed lazy river experience and 10-lane bowling alley.  Family suite rates will begin at $174 per-night; standard room rates will begin at $119 per-night.  Package rates are available with savings based on length-of-stay; a family of four can stay for seven nights for $47 per person, per-day – including accommodations and tickets to both Universal Orlando theme parks.

Cabana Bay

“We believe Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort will offer an experience unlike any other in Central Florida,” said Alice Norsworthy, executive vice president of marketing and sales at Universal Orlando Resort.  “And at the same time, it will create an entirely new, value-driven option for families that want to stay within the Universal Orlando Resort.”

As with all Resort hotels, guests at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort will be just a brief walk from Universal Orlando’s theme parks and Universal CityWalk.  They will enjoy benefits that include Early Theme Park Admission, complimentary shuttle bus transportation to the theme parks and Universal CityWalk, complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to their hotel and resort-wide charging privileges with their room key.  Guests can upgrade to one of Universal Orlando’s three deluxe hotels for additional benefits – including complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access.  Those hotels are Loews Portofino Bay, the Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort.

Each of Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort’s Courtyards will have a unique design and atmosphere.  They will share a highly themed, two-story arrival building that will also be home to a food court serving traditional American classics along with an ever-changing selection of international cuisine, a 10-lane “retro” bowling alley, a game room and a fitness center.


Book now. 

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is accepting reservations.

Opening Dates: early 2014; reservations being accepted for stays beginning on March 31, 2014.
Style: Inspired by the iconic beach resorts of the 1950s and 60s, when the pool was the place to relax after the day’s road trip.
Rooms: 900 Guest Rooms and 900 Family Suites, each with colorful “retro” décor.
Pricing: Starting at $119 per night for guest rooms and $174 per night for family suites.  Guests who stay longer will save more with discounts up to 25 percent off per night.  Packages are available.
Unique Amenities: Highlights include a 10-lane, “retro” bowling alley; two main pools; and Universal Orlando’s first lazy river.
Dining: Food court serving American classics and international fare. The resort also offers light bites in the bowling alley and in the South Courtyard.
How to Book: Visit or call             888-273-1311      .


North Courtyard (Reservations Being Accepted for Stays Beginning March 31, 2014)

Cabana Bay

First to open, the North Courtyard and its 600 family suites will be inspired by the sweeping motor courts of the 1950s and 60s.  It will feature four-story buildings with open corridors and direct access to guest rooms.  Each of the 600, 430-square-foot suites will sleep up to six and include a fold-out foam bed, kitchenette, a sliding partition for privacy, two flat-screen TVs, and an extra-large bathroom with preparation spaces for three people at once.

The suite buildings will surround a more than 10,000-square-foot, zero-entry pool with a 100-foot water slide, waterfall features and 4,000-square-foot interactive play area.  Cabanas will be available to guests for rent, and lounge chairs will ring the deck, backed by zones for sunning, game playing, picnicking and relaxing on the grass.


South Courtyard (Opening Later in 2014)

Cabana Bay
Cabana Bay Beach Resort Pool

The South Courtyard will also be inspired by the 50s and 60s, but with an entirely different feel.  The South Courtyard will feature a colorful, tropical resort design with serpentine, seven-story towers flowing like waves around a massive pool and lazy-river complex.

A more than 8,000-square-foot, zero-entry pool with a 6,000-square-foot sand beach will offer plenty of entertainment options, including the first lazy river at Universal Orlando Resort, a 700-foot-long feature offering multiple interactive zones.  In addition to 300 suites, the towers will feature 900 guest rooms that are each 300-square-feet and that sleep four and include two queen beds and mini-fridge.

Rates begin at $119 per night for guest rooms and $174 per night for Family Suites (guests who stay longer will save more, with discounts up to 25 percent off per night.  Package rates are available with savings based on length-of-stay; a family of four can stay for seven nights for $47 per person, per-day – including accommodations and tickets to both Universal Orlando theme parks.

To book, visit or call 1-888-273-1311      .


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20th Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival Overview

The 20th Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival presented by HGTV blooms into action March 6-May 19, 2013 at Walt Disney World Resort. More than 100 topiaries, 240 floating mini-gardens, dozens of flower towers and sweeping beds of multi-colored blooms will add floral splendor to the park landscape.

Flower and Garden Festival

This year Disney’s favorite topiaries and beautiful garden landscapes create the perfect backdrop this year’s new crop of festival additions that include food-and-beverage Garden Marketplaces, new topiaries, a circus-like “Land of Oz” play area, and nighttime illuminated gardens.

Flower and Garden Festival Additions Debuting This Year:

  • Garden Marketplace culinary creations ranging from smokehouse barbecue and shrimp with grits and Zellwood corn to sweet “frushi” made with fresh fruits and coconut rice.  Chefs are perfecting menus for marketplaces that will include Florida Fresh at World Showcase Promenade, Smokehouse Barbecue and Brew at American Adventure courtyard, Primavera Kitchen at Italy showcase, Hanami at Japan showcase and eight others.  Around the World Showcase promenade

Flower and Garden Festival

  • Garden Marketplace refreshing libations with a kick like Hot Sun Tomato Wine from Florida Orange Groves Winery and Dole Whip with Spiced Rum, as well as non-alcoholic drinks like Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade and Wild Berry Slush.  Beverage specialists will feature brews and beverages at food marketplaces and at Fruits by the Glass andPineapple PromenadeAround the World Showcase promenade
  • The Land of Oz Garden circus-like play area, based on the Disney fantastical film adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful” to be released March 8, 2013. The interactive children’s play zone will feature play systems adorned with giant flowers and designed to stretch kids’ imaginations and muscles. Midway-style games, circus-themed game tents and the “Oz Movie Garden” of intriguing plants will capture the spirit of the upcoming film.  Also on tap: photo opportunities and the “great and powerful Oz’s” crashed hot-air balloon. Imagination Walkway
Flower and Garden Festival
I am in love with these glass poppies outside of the Land of Oz play area.
  • Larger-than-life Fab Five Disney character topiary.  Floral versions of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck (with Daisy Duck in a cameo) star in a celebratory cookout scene in living topiary color. The 14-foot-tall Goofy topiary will bobble an anniversary cake while Donald and Daisy play badminton, Mickey fires up the grill, Pluto swipes a link of hot dogs and Minnie chills out on a colorful blanket of blossoms. Epcot Front Entrance

Flower and Garden Festival

  • Illuminated Gardens in the park’s Future World and World Showcase will twinkle and glow over the festival’s world-famous Disney gardens and topiaries each festival evening. Epcot Future World and World Showcase


When you travel World Showcase, you’ll find each pavilion features its own nation-themed Garden Marketplace (they may even look familiar) featuring great food and drink options for theFlower and Garden Festival! Here’s just a taste of what’s in store:

International Pavilions

  • The Smokehouse – Barbeque and Brews: Get into some finger-lickin’ barbecue—pulled pork and smoked brisket—and ice-cold craft beers at The American Adventure.
  • Lotus House: Delicacies with Far Eastern flair await you at China: a savory spring pancake, taro-bacon puff pastry, bubble tea and more.
  • L’Orangerie: France presents a rustic ratatouille tart, country pâté with cherry compote and, of course, a selection of French wines.
  • Bauernmarkt – Farmer’s Market: Visit Germany, for spring pea and mushroom bread pudding, potato pancakes and a variety of beers.
  • Primavera Kitchen: Italy will be serving lobster with asparagus, spring vegetable lasagna, panna cotta, fruity cocktails and Italian wines.
  • Hanami: Named after the nation’s custom of viewing spring flowers, this location in Japan will feature “frushi,” or fruit sushi, grilled seafood sticks and sake.
  • Jardin de Fiestas: Join the party in Mexico with crab tostadas, pork tacos, the strawberry-infused Rosita margarita and tequila flights.
  • Taste of Marrakesh: Enjoy Morocco’s lamb kebabs and couscous, harissa chicken drumettes with chermoula, desert rose cocktail and more.
  • The Cottage – Savories, Trifles and Tea: Stop by the United Kingdom for tea and delectable dainties, including a salmon tartare-topped cheddar biscuit, an ultra-gourmet Caprese and a trio of trifles.
  • Pineapple Promenade: Take a delicious break in your day, indulging in spiced rum Dole Whip, pineapple upside down cake, fruit cups and more.
  • Florida Fresh: Taste the Sunshine State with watermelon and feta salad, shrimp and grits, and tomato and carrot wines!
  • Fruits by the Glass: Toast to Spring with mango and blueberry wines, nonalcoholic wild berry slush and gluten-free raspberry ale, among others.

Throughout the 75-day garden party, guests will discover festival surprises around every corner including new topiary triumphs, a butterfly bounty, whimsical children’s play areas, HGTV celebrity designers, daily hands-on gardening seminars and a Festival Center packed with events that offer innovative ideas, gardening know-how and design tips.  Weekends, top Flower Power rockers of the 1960s and ’70s will perform.

Every Friday through Sunday, HGTV design celebrities will host Festival Center seminars in the Flower and Garden Festival Center. This is one of my favorite parts of theFlower and Garden Festival, and I absolutely suggest checking it out! If you do plan on attending one of these seminars, you’re going to want to grab a seat early.

Flower and Garden Festival

  • NEW! Chris Lambton of HGTV’s Going Yard
    March 8 – 10
  • NEW! Chris Grundy of DIY Network’s Cool Tools
    March 15 – 17
  • NEW! Egypt Sherrod of HGTV’s Property Virgins
    March 22 – 24
  • Brandon Johnson of HGTV’s My Yard Goes Disney
    March 29 – 31
  • Meg Caswell of HGTV’s Meg’s Great Rooms
    April 5 – 7
  • Jason Cameron of DIY Network’s Desperate Landscapes and Man Caves
    April 12 – 14
  • NEW! Sara Peterson of Editor-in-Chief, HGTV Magazine
    April 19 – 21
  • Carter Oosterhouse of HGTV’s Million Dollar Rooms
    April 26 – 28
  • NEW! Casey Noble of HGTV’s Design on a Dime
    May 3 – 5
  • Dan Faires of HGTV’s Design Star and’sDanMade
    May 10 – 12
  • NEW! David Bromstad of HGTV Design Star, Color Splash, Design Star All-Stars
    May 17 – 19


MoreFlower and Garden Festival  Family Highlights Include:

Flower and Garden Festival

  • “Monsters University” topiary:  Floral representations of Mike and Sully from the hit Disney-Pixar film “Monsters, Inc.” and stars of Disney-Pixar’s June 2013 release, “Monsters University,” will join the festivities as new topiary family members.  On the Future World Walkway
  • Phineas and Ferb topiary:  The popular Disney Channel animated celebs limit their shenanigans to go green for a family photo-op.  Behind Spaceship Earth
  • “Radiator Springs” interactive play zone:  Race car Lightning McQueen and tow truck “Mater” of the Disney-Pixar film “Cars 2″ will be the well-maintained topiary stars of this play area.  On the Test Track Walkway
  • Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House: Eight fanciful fairy topiaries of Pixie Hollow, including Tinker Bell, Fawn, Vidia and Terrence, take over the Butterfly House this year where hundreds of colorful winged beauties flit to life.  On the Imagination Walkway

Another really fun addition to theFlower and Garden Festival is the Flower Power Concert Series, which kicks off March 8-10 with Micky Dolenz (“I’m a Believer”), and continues each weekend with pop favorites including:

March 15-17:            Chubby Checker & The Wildcats
March 22-24:            The Guess Who
March 29-31:            Nelson
April 5-7:                  The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie
April 12-14:               Paul Revere & the Raiders
April 19-21:               Village People (new!)
April 26-28:               The Orchestra, Featuring Former Members of ELO and ELO II
May 3-5:                  Tommy Roe (new!)
May 10-12:               Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
May 17-19:               Starship starring Mickey Thomas.

Flower and Garden Festival

You’ll notice that there are two really groovy additions to the Flower Power Concert Series this year! The 1970s top disco band the Village People (April 19-21) and 1960s singer-songwriter Tommy Roe (May 3-5) bring on the Flower Power beat when they take the concert stage for the first time.

If you are planning on attending one of the Flower Power Concerts, make sure that you get there early! Seats tend to go quickly and they are always a blast!

While you’ll find a lot of great exhibits and topiaries in Epcot’s Future World, the Flower and Garden Festival keeps growing as you travel around World Showcase, where the spotlight will shine on topiaries of Disney princesses, storybook characters and even pandas and trolls, guests will discover the attractions, shops and restaurants that represent cultures and cuisine of 11 countries.


For more information about the 20th Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639), check out the Flower and Garden Festival Guide, or visit

The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission. Availability is limited for some events. Events may be rescheduled or cancelled at any time.


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Wordless Wednesday – Glass Flowers

Wordless Wednesday – March 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
I am absolutely in love with these glass poppies by Craig Mitchell Smith that are alongside of the Oz the Great and Powerful Play Area for this year’s Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival.



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