Universal Orlando Resort’s Holidays Celebration

Universal Orlando

 

‘TIS THE SEASON TO CREATE LASTING FAMILY MEMORIES AT

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT’S HOLIDAYS CELEBRATION

 

Heartwarming Holiday Traditions Return Dec. 7 with Grinchmas, Macy’s Holiday ParadeTM

and Electrifying Holiday Concerts by Mannheim Steamroller

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2013) – It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Universal Orlando Resort. From Dec. 7 through Jan. 4, families can create lifelong memories during Universal Orlando’s Holidays celebration. Kids from one to 92 can come face-to-face with The Grinch at Grinchmas, watch larger-than-life balloons float through the streets during the Macy’s Holiday ParadeTM and hear Christmas music sensation, Mannheim Steamroller, perform beloved holiday classics with a modern twist.

 

At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, guests will smile from ear-to-ear during the heartwarming live show, “Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular,” featuring The Grinch and the Whos from Who-ville, accompanied by an original musical score by Mannheim Steamroller. Guests can meet the mean, green one himself and the Whos daily and, on select dates, enjoy a special breakfast with the characters.
At Universal Studios Florida, the Macy’s Holiday Parade will fill the streets with the same larger-than-life balloons seen in the famous New York City parade. Guests will be immersed in the spirit of the season with holiday characters, fantasy-filled floats and a tree-lighting ceremony with the big man himself, Santa Claus. This year, there is a brand new addition to the line-up of timeless holiday parade icons. Happy the Hippo, a recreation of a 1940s Macy’s Parade balloon, will make her debut in New York City this Thanksgiving before heading to Orlando to appear in the Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios Florida.

 

Macy's Holiday Parade at UOR

 

Following the parade, the acclaimed musical group Mannheim Steamroller will take to the Music Plaza stage in Universal Studios six nights this year to perform memorable holiday hits on Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22.

 

All theme park holiday entertainment – including Mannheim Steamroller concerts – is included as part of park-to-park or multi-day admission to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. For a memorable getaway, guests can take advantage of the following vacation packages:

 

Make Your Season Bright with Incredible Offers from Universal Orlando

OFFER

DETAILS

Florida Resident 2-Park Preferred Annual Pass

 

**Available on FlexPay

 

 

  • 2-Park Preferred Annual Pass for less than $12* per month
  • Admission to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • Free self-parking after first visit
  • No blockout dates

*Down payment and restrictions apply.

Florida Resident 2-Park Getaway  

 

**Starting at $149+ per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • 2 night stay at one of three AAA Four Diamond Award deluxe on-site hotels at Universal Orlando Resort
  • Florida Resident 2-day base ticket to both theme parks
  • Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day
  • PLUS early park admission to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter before the rest of the general public

**Must be booked by Dec. 15, 2013 with travel occurring by Dec. 19, 2013.


New Year’s Eve at Universal CityWalk

On December 31, guests can experience the epic sophistication of EVE 2013, Orlando’s boldest New Year’s party at Universal CityWalk. This year’sall-new event features six unique entertainment zones, access to seven of CityWalk’s high-energy nightclubs, unlimited gourmet cuisine and amidnight champagne toast.

 

This is a separately ticketed event. More information on EVE 2013 will be available soon at www.UniversalOrlando.com/Hholidays.


Holiday Festivities at the Three Deluxe On-Site Hotels at Universal Orlando

The celebration continues at the three deluxe on-site hotels at Universal Orlando – Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort – all of which will glisten with holiday decorations. Hotel guests will be immersed in the spirit of the season with holiday buffets and dining events, tree-lighting ceremonies, visits from Santa, and holiday poolside “dive-in” movie presentations.

 

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel features the Gather Together Thanksgiving feast with Pilgrims and Indians on Thanksgiving Day, then kicks off the holiday season on Friday, November 29 with ‘Holiday Harbor Nights,’ a wine, food, music and tree lighting celebration on the Harbor Piazza.  On select nights in December at Portofino, guests can enjoy Holiday in the Harbor featuring carolers, storytelling and visits with Santa. Hard Rock Hotel features special Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve buffets and Santa stops by The Kitchen restaurant every Friday in December.  Loews Royal Pacific Resort offers holiday buffets for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, plus a special New Year’s Eve luau to ring in 2014.

 

About Universal Orlando Resort
Vacation like you mean it at Universal Orlando Resort – where every heart pounding, jaw-dropping, goose-bumping second counts.  With two incredible theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex, Universal Orlando is the only place where you can turn spending time with your family into spending time as a family.  Together, you can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, become a Minion in the hilarious and heartwarming Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, and join Optimus Prime in the fight to save mankind on the new mega-attraction, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D.
Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company.  Follow Universal Orlando Resort on FacebookTwitterInstagram andYouTube.

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LEGOLAND Florida Hotel

LEGOLAND Florida Announces 

LEGOLAND Florida Hotel Opening in 2015

LEGOLAND Florida got even better after their brickbreaking announcement!

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The LEGOLAND Florida Hotel!

LEGOLAND Florida Hotel

Once the hotel opens in 2015, guests of LEGOLAND Florida will not have to leave the property for accommodations making the park a multi-day destination!

Play, eat, and sleep all in the same place…Yes, please!

With the hotel located so close to LEGOLAND Florida’s Main Entrance, it will add a lot to the energy and flow of the park. Not to mention the view you’ll have as a guest of the hotel!

LEGOLAND Florida Hotel
Plans for the LEGOLAND Florida Hotel

I can not WAIT for 2015 to get here so I can check out the LEGOLAND Florida Hotel!!!

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LEGOLAND Florida General Manager Adrian Jones officially announced the park’s much anticipated LEGOLAND Hotel will open in 2015. The announcement was made alongside community leaders with a ceremonial groundbreaking moment at the site where the hotel will be built, directly to the left of LEGOLAND Florida’s entrance, just steps from Lake Eloise.

 

“The opening of a LEGOLAND Hotel will transition LEGOLAND Florida from a single-day visit theme park to a multi-day resort destination,” said Jones. “This will serve as a catalyst for future economic development in Polk County.”

 

Welcoming guests with a multicolored exterior and entrance, the four-story LEGOLAND Hotel will immerse families with young children in the world of LEGO®, as an extension of the vibrant and interactive theme park experience. Created to bring children’s imaginations to life, the LEGO-themed hotel will feature 152 brightly colored and highly themed rooms and suites, LEGO décor; interactive play areas; a pool and a restaurant.

 

LEGOLAND Florida Hotel will add 250 construction-related jobs during the construction, and another 250 jobs to its employee base to staff the new hotel upon completion.

 

This will be the fifth LEGOLAND Hotel in the world joining LEGOLAND California, LEGOLAND Windsor and LEGOLAND Billund hotels. LEGOLAND Malaysia Hotel will soon open its doors.

 

At LEGOLAND Florida, families enjoy more than 50 rides, shows, attractions, a water park and the all-new LEGO World of Chima presented by Cartoon Network. At the World of Chima, the whole family can board an interactive splash battle ride, The Quest for CHI, and kid’s can splash and play in Cragger’s Swamp and race handheld rip-chord powered vehicles at the SpeedorzTM Arena.

Make sure you keep up with all the LEGOLAND Florida news by following them on Facebook and Twitter!

LEGOLAND Florida Hotel

LEGOLAND® Florida is a 150-acre interactive theme park dedicated to families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. With more than 50 rides, shows and attractions and a water park, LEGOLAND is geared towards family fun! There are currently five other LEGOLAND Parks in the world – LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad, LEGOLAND Billund in Denmark, LEGOLAND Deutschland near Günzburg, Germany and LEGOLAND Windsor outside of London and just opened LEGOLAND Malaysia —the sixth LEGOLAND Park and first in Asia. The LEGOLAND theme parks are a part of Merlin Entertainments Group, the second largest attractions operator in the world. For the most current information, log on to www.LEGOLAND.com.

 

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Festival of Trees at the Orlando Museum of Art

The 27th Annual Festival of Trees has started and I’m pretty sure that means the holidays are upon us!

Last week I got a chance to take a sneak peek at 2013’s “All That Glitters” trees and decorations. And oh my goodness, there is LOTS of glitter around the the Orlando Museum of Art!

Festival of Trees runs until November 24th, 2013 and features all different styles of trees…

There are trees for EVERYONE’s taste!

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I thought this Cinderella inspired tree was very well thought out – she’s ready for the ball on one side of the tree and dirtied with soot on the other.

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Deck the Halls, where you can view and purchase various handmade wreathes…

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Gingerbread Village…

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The Sweet Shoppe (in the PERFECT location – with all the gingerbread houses)…

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toy shop…

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boutique shop…

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tabletop designs…

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and so much more!

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And I heard a rumor that a certain jolly man will be there in his cozy corner!

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There are various galas and events happening throughout the Festival of Trees as well a scavenger hunt for the little ones!

You can purchase tickets here.

For more information on this and other events, check out the Orlando Museum of Art website!

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MARVEL ous Movie Adventures

Marvel
all images copyright Marvel.com

So, I just came home from watching Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World, and I wanted to take this opportunity to take a look back at my adventure through the Marvel movies released to date. Just to be clear, this is going to focus primarily on the Marvel Cinematic Universe put out by Marvel Studios, but will also cover other Marvel movies. First off, I have never once in my life picked up a comic book or graphic novel, so everything I am basing my opinions on came from my impressions from films. I’ll try to keep it spoiler free, but there may be some included, so if you haven’t seen any of these films and wish to, you’ve been warned.

Wolverine
Wolverine

I’ve never really been a huge fan of the superhero genre generally speaking, and if asked, I’d probably say my favorite superhero was Batman (of the Adam West variety of course), but that’s DC, however I have seen all those movies. I think my introduction to Marvel films came by way of the first X-Men film. I didn’t see any of the first three in the theater, but own all three after discovering my affinity for the characters through renting the movies. My love of Logan/Wolverine is deep seeded, and probably isn’t hindered by the fact he is played by the gorgeous Hugh Jackman. Having said that, the only X-Men film I had the misfortune to choose to see in the theater was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I rebounded from that catching the far superior First Class on tv, and still haven’t seen what I’ve heard is decent in the new The Wolverine film. I prefer the first film, then the second, then First Class, and I’d forget about Last Stand and Origins. I’ll be interested to see where The Wolverine falls within these.

Between the X-Men films I watched the first two of the Spiderman films with Tobey Maguire. I wasn’t all that into it and haven’t to this day seen the third film or the reboot with Andrew Garfield. Also falling in the category of I really wasn’t impressed with it so I didn’t see the sequel is Daredevil (loosely referring to Elektra as the follow up). I vaguely recollect the highlight of Daredevil for me being the appearance of Colin Farrell as a baddie, Bullseye. Not much else about the movie stuck in my memory. Just this year did I get around to watching the Fantastic Four movie, partially because I heard Chris Evans was in it. Are you sensing a trend here? Hot guys are sometimes enough to get me to watch a movie. There, I said it. Feel free to judge away.

Along with these movies, there are several others that I didn’t even realize were Marvel until I did a little research for this post. Among these include the Ghost Rider series starring Nicolas Cage, Blade series with Wesley Snipes, the Punisher (two movies?), the Man-Thing (never heard of it), and Howard the Duck?!?!?!? I have not seen any of these films, but as I do tend to be a completionist, I may have to go back and watch them along with Elektra, the two Spiderman movies, the second Fantastic Four, and the new Wolverine movie.

Tony
Tony

Now we come to the beginning of what is referred to as the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the first film to be released in this series was Iron Man. For whatever reason, I must have been living under a rock for a bit, or maybe I still wasn’t sold on this superhero business, I didn’t see Iron Man in the theater. I caught it on dvd through Netflix in the following months and really enjoyed it. I don’t know why, but I didn’t rush out and buy it right away. Much like my feelings for Tony Stark himself, it is a love/hate slow burn to a crescendo kind of feeling. He is a bad boy, an antihero, but like a moth to a flame, you are drawn to him eventually. Part of his charm is his snarkiness, but also his superior intelligence, oh, and being played by Robert Downey, Jr. doesn’t hurt either. Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist indeed.

I found myself enjoying Iron Man enough to catch the second installation in the theater. Again, I pick the wrong times to catch on to thing (much like computer operating systems) and this was no exception. Although Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury does deliver one of my favorite lines (re: donut), and I like the introduction of the Black Widow, this film was lacking the energy and cohesiveness of the first one. I liked the flashbacks to Howard Stark, but I didn’t connect with this as much as I had the previous movie.

Thor
Thor

Next up in my Marvel movie adventure came the discovery of Thor. Like Iron Man, I found a lot of humor in this movie, much more than I expected from something directed by Kenneth Branagh. This brought in more of a sci-fi/fantasy element than Iron Man, which was more Earth-based. Sure, Chris Hemsworth is all muscle-y and such. Despite science fiction not being one of my favorite genres of film, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would, but not as much as Iron Man.

And then came Cap. Ah, Captain America, Steve Rogers, my favorite Avenger (albeit after some deliberation). I do like bad boys, a habit I think I’ve broken now in my mid 30s, but I can appreciate the chivalry and boy next door charm and gentility of Cap. He is the quintessential good guy, maybe why he’s been given the nickname boy scout? A man displaced in time, who has experienced so much, but is still so innocent. Part of what I love from the film is the WWII era setting. The rest is all about the man and his journey, and Chris Evans. 🙂

Marvel
Cap

After this, I forced myself to watch the Incredible Hulk in preparation for the Avengers. My knowledge of the Hulk came from growing up watching Lou Ferrigno in the early 80s. This was a very different, darker monster than what we had seen on tv previously. I thought Edward Norton did a passable job as Bruce Banner, but I struggled to get through this one.

May 4th, 2012. A day emblazoned in my memory by the fine folks at the Disney Film Project Podcast. It became a mantra. The day arrived. I had to wait since I was working until a couple of days later, but caught a matinee at Downtown Disney by myself and absolutely loved it! I could not wait to see it again. This is the film that brought them all together, with the introduction of Mark Ruffalo now as Dr. Banner/Hulk. Before this movie, I had never paid to see a movie more than once in the theater. This one got my money three weekends in a row. I could not get enough. There was action, adventure, humor, and it was larger than life!

This year introduced us to the second round of Marvel films since Disney acquired the Marvel Studios. Loving Iron Man as I do, I had really high hopes for Iron Man 3, and I wasn’t disappointed. The film falls between 1 and 2 for me, but is definitely closer in quality to the first film than the second. I liked the humor and the action and Tony’s reaction to the events of the Avengers film. It is nice to know the man inside the machine is still human and has feelings.

That brings us to tonight’s viewing, Thor: The Dark World. I didn’t realize there was going to be as much sci-fi/fantasy (I feel there was way more than the first one), but still really liked it. I laughed out loud (literally) at several points in the movie, but, like Captain America and the Avengers, it also made me cry. I saw some things telegraphed before they occurred, others, not so much. As a whole, it was a very enjoyable film, which I will definitely be adding to my collection. Plus, Tom Hiddleston as Loki is hilarious, and there is a cameo that had me clapping and laughing so hard, I was glad the theater was almost empty.

From here, what’s next you ask? The next date to remember is 4/4/14 when Captain America: The Winter Soldier is released and man does it look good. It will be interesting to see more introspection from Cap on the happenings of the Avengers and also being displaced in time. This reminds me I also need to watch the short on the Iron Man 3 Blu Ray of Agent Carter. Speaking of agents, I would be remiss to not mention the wonderful Son of Coul, Agent Phil Coulson (his first name is not Agent despite Tony Stark’s insistence). I am really liking the new Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tv series on ABC. It is a nice combination of superhero/sci-fi/spy genres.

So, as far as my collection of movies goes at this point in time, I currently own the first three X-Men films, all three Iron Man movies, Thor, Captain America, and the Avengers. I will definitely be adding Thor 2 to that list when it comes out ostensibly in the spring. I am already counting down the days til we get the next Captain America film, but in the meantime, make sure you check out the latest trailer.

httpv://youtu.be/NLWsK1ZFunA

Have you seen any or all of the Marvel films I mentioned? What are your favorites so far? Who is your favorite character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Who would you like to be? I wouldn’t mind growing up to be a kick ass babe like Sith from Thor, or Agent Romanov aka Black Widow.

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