SeaWorld Orlando Helps Girls Dreams Come True

SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando is a park that holds a lot of special memories of my childhood and of my own child’s experiences over the years.

And while I see these stories often, this one really touched my heart.

I hope that you enjoy a little dose of awesome this Monday Afternoon!!!

An Inspirational Story About an Amazing Girl and How SeaWorld Orlando is Helping Her Dreams Come True

13-year-old Paralympic swimmer and philanthropist, McClain Hermes, is suffering from progressive vision loss. After being told by doctors that she had less than two years before losing her sight entirely, Hermes has been on a quest to create lasting, visual memories.

On her “visual bucket list” before she loses her sight, Hermes has listed National landmarks, including the Grand Canyon and The District of Columbia, and up close animal connections as her must “sees.”

SeaWorld Orlando

Hermes recently met Maple and Aurek, two beluga whales at SeaWorld Orlando’s Wild Arctic attraction. She also swam with dolphins at Discovery Cove. In her words, “It’s been a great thing to check off my bucket list because now whenever my brother and sister say, “oh look there’s a whale or dolphin,” I can remember how they look, feel, and sound, and how I was able to interact with beluga whales and other animals at SeaWorld. Maple and Aurek were soft and felt like marshmallows and I loved hearing them make different noises through their blowholes” said Hermes.


“It was incredible to share this experience with McClain and help her touch, feel and hear the beluga whales before she loses her eyesight completely.   At SeaWorld, guests are able to connect with animals every day, but knowing that McClain is losing her eye sight made her visit even more inspiring,” said Kim Downs, animal care specialist who led Hermes’ interaction.

SeaWorld Orlando

There’s more to McClain than an impressive visual bucket list. She’s a swimmer ranked in the top ten nationally in her division. Starting next year she’ll attempt to qualify for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she aspires to be the number one Paralympic swimmer in the world.

In 2009, after reading an article about recycling shoes, she was inspired to help her local community. McClain founded Shoes for the Souls, a non-profit organization that collects shoes for residents at Atlanta Mission, a local Georgia shelter. In five years, Hermes and her Shoes for the Souls have collected nearly 10,000 pairs of shoes for those in need.

For more information about Hermes Shoes for the Souls visit


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Christmas at Gaylord Palms News!

Gaylord Palms Christmas Christmas at Gaylord Palms

Christmas at Gaylord Palms: ICE! at Gaylord Palms, Ice Tubing, and returning favorites!


Christmas at Gaylord Palms is an event that my whole family (especially Zoe) looks forward to every year, and this year’s ICE! at the Gaylord Palms keeps getting better!


The Christmas season at the Gaylord Palms Resort begins on November 15, 2014 and comes to a close on January 4, 2015 with some new additions and returning favorites!


Christmas at Gaylord Palms: ICE! Featuring The Nutcracker

Christmas at Gaylord Palms Ice! at the Gaylord Palms Hotel Nutcracker 2014

Dreams of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Mouse King will come to life in a full-on frozen wonderland this winter during Christmas at Gaylord Palms.

Experience the magic of The Nutcracker in ICE! Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince for a magical adventure in more than TWO MILLION pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures and four thrilling slides! Relive your favorite scenes from the classic ballet, accompanied by the original Tchaikovsky score.

Christmas at Gaylord Palms

ICE! will again showcase live carving stations inside of the Artisans in Action Frostbite Factory, which was absolutely mesmerizing. We stood and watched the artisans from Harbin, China work for as long as we could!

Christmas at Gaylord Palms

As always, the ICE! experience concludes with the wonder and majesty of the Nativity scene in ice that is beautiful!

Christmas at Gaylord Palms


Here is the pricing information for ICE! at the Gaylord Palms (and some early discounts):

Online & Advance

Box Office

$28.99 Adults

$29.99 Adults

$26.99 Seniors (ages 55+)

$28.99 Seniors (ages 55+)

$14.99 Children (ages 4 – 12)

$16.99 Children (ages 4 – 12)

Florida Residents Offer

Save an additional $4 per ticket for advance tickets and save $3 on regular ticket sales. Use promo code FLR14 when you book your tickets to save!

Marriott Rewards Member Offer — Discount on ICE! Tickets*

Save 30% prior to November 1 -OR- Save 20% after November 1.

Use promo code MRICE14 when you book your tickets.

The discount is available:

  • November 23 – December 18
  • Sunday – Thursday

*Not valid with any other offers or discounts.

Chill Pass

Priority Access plus one (1) cup of hot cocoa

Price: $9.99*/person (add-on above regular ticket price)

Dates: Any day of the week

Available for purchase at the ICE! Box Office.

 Christmas at Gaylord Palms

It is important to keep in mind that all prices are subject to sales tax plus $2.00 facility fee per ticket, ICE! ticket payment is also non-refundabl, and children ages 3 and under are free

There are other opportunities to attend ICE! at the Gaylord Palms that benefit some great charities that we will let you know about once we get more information!


ICE! is open daily from Nov. 15, 2014 to Jan. 4, 2015, including holidays. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to

Christmas at Gaylord Palms: New in 2014

That’s not the only exciting happening during this year’s annual Christmas at Gaylord Palms.  Guests can now experience the rush – Alpine Rush Snow Tubing – an 18’ 8-lane giant snow hill created with 1.5 million pounds of real Florida snow. Children and adults of all ages will frolic with delight as they speed down these snow covered hills.

 Christmas at Gaylord Palms

Christmas at Gaylord Palms: The Christmas Experience

Christmas at Gaylord Palms is a mystical and fun for the whole family experience that boasts the true nature of the season all under a glass enclosed atrium. 

 Christmas at Gaylord Palms

The lush gardens are sprinkled with poinsettias, grand holiday displays, and more than 2 million twinkling lights.

 Christmas at Gaylord Palms

And how could I forget to mention the 54-foot-tall majestic Christmas tree, character dining and meet and greets, delectable holiday dining, Cookies with Mrs. Claus, and awe-inspiring live entertainment that crowds have grown to love including the rhythmic Luminescence show.

 Christmas at Gaylord Palms

I am also hoping that Betsy and I will have the chance to make Gingerbread houses again!!!


There really is soooo much to see and do during Christmas at the Gaylord Palms! It is a great way to spend a staycation to get wrapped up in the magic of the holidays!

Christmas at Gaylord Palms

The Christmas experience begins Nov. 21, 2014, however Christmas at Gaylord Palms packages are now on sale!To book or for more information, email the Gaylord Palms team at





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Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Adds New Partnership

From Dusk Till Dawn Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Logo

Universal Orlando Resort  Partner with

Syfy’s ‘Face Off’ to Bring Gruesome Character Creations to Life at

Halloween Horror Nights


The most twisted and gruesome character creations featured on Syfy’s hit competition series “Face Off” will be live and “In the Flesh” at both Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Halloween Horror Nights” events, beginningFriday, September 19.  Nightmarish creatures will surround guests on both coasts as the macabre visions of some of the most talented up-and-coming make-up artists’ from the show are brought to life.

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will feature an all new street experience with ten different character creations inspired by the acclaimed Syfy series, including a look designed by season 5 “Face Off” winner and Universal Orlando make-up artist, Laura Tyler. The hair-raising, horrifying characters will inhabit five unique and immersive environments within the scare zone, from eerie scarecrows that go to great lengths to protect a spine-chilling farmland to ghoulish brutes that haunt dilapidated castle ruins.

Syfy's 'Face Off' at Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Studios Hollywood’s all-new “Halloween Horror Nights” maze, “Face Off:  In the Flesh,” will recreate the morbidly disturbing inventions masterminded by visionary make-up special effects artists over the course of the show’s past six seasons.  Twenty-two original “Face Off” designs – from human-insect hybrids to horror villains, ancient mummies and zombies – will cascade throughout the dark corridors of the terrifying new maze bringing to life multiple incarnations of these select characters and adding to the cast of characters designed to scare the life out of every guest.  “Face Off:  In the Flesh” will also feature new sounds from acclaimed electro house artist “Figure,” who returns to Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Halloween Horror Nights” with a haunting mix of electronica-inspired dance music.

Syfy's 'Face Off' at Halloween Horror Nights

“Face Off” is a competition/elimination series exploring the world of special-effects make-up artists and the unlimited imagination that allows them to create amazing works of living art. As a member of the multi-generational family dynasty whose name is synonymous with the make-up effects field, actress McKenzie Westmore brings expertise to her role as host of the series.

Some of SFX world’s most celebrated figures judge the competition – multiple Academy-Award winner Ve Neill (“The Hunger Games,” “Pirates of the Caribbean”), industry veteran Glenn Hetrick (“CSI: New York,” “Heroes,” “Legion”), and creature designer Neville Page (“Avatar,” “Prometheus”). World-renowned Hollywood makeup artist Michael Westmore (“Star Trek”) serves as the contestant mentor. Stepping in to complete the judging panel for season 7 while Ve Neill is working on “The Hunger Games” is Lois Burwell, an Academy-Award winning artist known for “Lincoln,” “Bravheart,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “War Horse” and “War of the Worlds.” Season 7 of “Face Off” premieres on Syfy on July 22.

The series will feature Universal Studios Hollywood for an episode airing September 9, in which the artists must create an original horror villain inspired by evocative titles and vivid graphics from a movie poster. The winning makeup from this challenge will be featured at the 2014 Halloween Horror Nights.


“We’re excited that some of Face Off’s most memorable and visually stunning creatures ever will be brought back to life for Universal Studios’ ‘Halloween Horror Nights,’” said Bill McGoldrick, EVP, Original Content, Syfy Original Programming.  “Over the years, the talented artists of Face Off have dreamed up some amazing creatures that we know will make terrifying additions to the ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ experience.”

“The gruesome creatures imagined on Face Off are the perfect fit for the streets of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights,” said Michael Aiello, Director of Entertainment – Creative Development, Universal Orlando Resort.  “Our goal is to bring to life the macabre artistry displayed in the characters seen week after week. We are also very excited to be featured in a season 7 episode of Face Off, and to include that episode’s winning makeup in the maze. For our guests, I know it will be a uniquely terrifying opportunity to come face to face with these creations for the very first time now “In the Flesh.”

“‘Face Off’s’ inspiration to create original movie-quality creatures makes for very compelling television,” said John Murdy, Universal Studios Hollywood’s Creative Director for and Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.” Collaborating with the show’s creative team, however, gave us a unique way to extend the life of these exceptional characters that make-up artists have poured blood, sweat and tears into creating.  We’re excited to put these incredible works of art to the test and see just how scared our guests will become when they are face to face with live versions of these nightmarish characters.”

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” events have a more than 20-year history of creating incredibly entertaining, horrifying Halloween experiences that are consistently rated the nation’s best. The events on each coast feature highly-themed, disturbingly real, haunted mazes based on everything from films to nightmares – and streets filled with hundreds of specially trained “scareactors.” Other announced experiences include “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “The Walking Dead:  The End of the Line” haunted mazes.

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