SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Returns Sea Turtle

SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue

SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team Returns Rehabilitated Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

After being medically cleared, SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team traveled to Washington Oaks Garden State Park in Palm Coast, Florida, just south of St. Augustine, to return a juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.

SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue

The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle was rescued in March by a University of Central Florida turtle monitoring group and was taken to SeaWorld Orlando for care and rehabilitation. Upon arrival, the turtle was underweight and lethargic. During its rehabilitation, the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team treated the sea turtle with antibiotics and fluids. Since arriving at SeaWorld, this sea turtle has gained weight and was medically cleared to be returned today.

So far in 2014, the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team has rescued 30 sea turtles and returned 20 sea turtles. Since 1980, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued more than 1,700 turtles and returned more than 1,100.

In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the waters. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 23,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than four decades.

For more information, visit

If you see an injured marine animal, you can help by calling the FWC hotline at (888) 404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.

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ESPN Wide World of Sports Custom Tee Center by Champion

 Custom Tee Center by Champion ESPN Wide World of Sports Walt Disney World

A Visit to the Custom Tee Center by Champion at ESPN Wide World of Sports

On our #ESPNatDisney tour of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Tour, we got the chance to stop into and try out the Custom Tee Center by Champion.

Custom Tee Center by Champion ESPN Wide World of Sports Walt Disney World

Custom Tee Center by Champion is located just inside the entrance to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill in the Jostens Center. And during larger events, the Custom Tee Center takes the field with a state of the art mobile location.

At the Custom Tee Center you can purchase ESPN Wide World of Sports Event shirts, create your own item to commemorate your trip, or personalize event shirts. They really pack a lot into their space!

Custom Tee Center by Champion ESPN Wide World of Sports Walt Disney World

We had a blast creating our own shirts at the Custom Tee Center by Champion, and as a bonus it was super easy!

The first thing to decide is what you want to customize! They have added a few new products, the cinch bag and can cooler, as well as added additional sports to their offerings.

Custom Tee Center by Champion ESPN Wide World of Sports Walt Disney World

And I found the prices for the shirts and two-sided customization to be extremely fair, considering that a ‘normal’ Walt Disney World t-shirt cost on average around $24.95.

Now the fun part is choosing what you would like your item to say! There are iPads around the area that show the different customization options!

Custom Tee Center by Champion ESPN Wide World of Sports Walt Disney World

The shirts, sweatshirts, cinch bags, and can coolers are created right there in the Custom Tee Center by Champion, they are ready in no time!

Custom Tee Center by Champion ESPN Wide World of Sports Walt Disney World

Even if your family isn’t competing in an event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, it’s a great way to show your #DisneySide while you play your favorite sport!

Custom Tee Center by Champion ESPN Wide World of Sports Walt Disney WorldCustom Tee Center by Champion ESPN Wide World of Sports Walt Disney World

Participants in events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex can not only create, but customize their sports event tee.

After purchasing an event tee-shirt at one of our retail locations located throughout the complex, athletes and thier supporters can then take their tee to the Custom Tee Center by Champion and choose from more than 50 designs that can be added to commemorate your accomplishment, like 1st Place, Champions, Team Captain, and many more.

Custom Tee Center by Champion ESPN Wide World of Sports Walt Disney World
The Custom Tee Center by Champion Mobile Center Rendering

Another cool thing about the Tee Center, is that if your are participating in an event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and the shirt is no longer available they can create one for you!

I couldn’t leave this post without a look at the shirt I created in the Custom Tee Center by Champion…

And yes, that does say Twirl. I was a baton twirler throughout Middle and High School and thought it would be a fun throwback to a time when I learned that bangs really weren’t my thing! LOL!

Custom Tee Center by Champion ESPN Wide World of Sports Walt Disney World

Then the number 13 has always been my lucky number, and is also mine and my daughter’s birthdays!

Custom Tee Center by Champion ESPN Wide World of Sports Walt Disney World

I hope that you enjoyed a look at one of my favorite Sports Solutions at the ESPN Wide World of Sports!

Keep looking for more #ESPNatDisney posts from my trip! If you missed it, my first post was about our Fun Run!

DISCLOSURE: I was a guest of the Walt Disney World Resort for the #ESPNatDisney tour, but all opinions are my own.

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LEGOLAND Florida Brick-or-Treat 2014

LEGOLAND Florida Brick or Treat 2014

Celebrate Halloween at the

LEGOLAND Florida 3rd Annual Brick-or-Treat!

LEGOLAND Florida Resort will be full of ghosts and goblins during their annual kid-friendly Halloween celebration of Brick-or-Treat presented by Wells Fargo this Fall.

LEGOLAND Florida Brick or Treat 2014
Photo: LEGOLAND Florida

Brick-or-Treat is a family friendly spooky event that takes place weekends in October, and features trick-or-treating along the brick-or-treat trail, super brick build activities, the largest LEGO Jack-O-Lantern in the world, Halloween entertainment, and an all-kids costume contest with brick-tastic prizes!

LEGOLAND Florida Brick or Treat 2014
Photo: LEGOLAND Florida

LEGOLAND Florida Brick-or-Treat Activities this year include:

  • LEGO Ghost Build – Kids can help build an 8’ tall super brick ghost model
LEGOLAND Florida Brick or Treat 2014
Photo: LEGOLAND Florida
  • LEGO Scary Scavenger Hunt in Miniland- Families can venture through Miniland searching for Ghost models to unscramble the secret word. All participants can enter for a chance to win LEGO prizes and tickets to LEGOLAND Florida!
LEGOLAND Florida Brick or Treat 2014
Photo: LEGOLAND Florida
  • Brick-or-Treat Trail– *New this year, limited quantities of a special commemorative  LEGO brick will be distributed on the Brick-or-Treat Trail! Children can trick-or-treat on the Brick-or-Treat Trail- gathering goodies, delicious treats and other surprises. This kid-sized cul-de-sac trail features several LEGO-themed treat stations and offers a safe, fun and entertaining trick-or-treating experience.
LEGOLAND Florida Brick or Treat 2014
Photo: LEGOLAND Florida
  • Emmet’s Everything is Awesome Costume Contest– The LEGO® Movie’s own Emmet will make a special appearance at the Wells Fargo 4D Theater for each contest. LEGOLAND Costume Contest is grouped into the following categories: 0-4 years | 5-7 years | 8-12 years. One winner from each age category will win a LEGO Prize Pack.
LEGOLAND Florida Brick or Treat 2014
Photo: LEGOLAND Florida
  • Meet & Greet with new LEGO Halloween Characters
  • Dance Party at the end of each night
  • Photo opportunities with the largest LEGO pumpkin in the world
LEGOLAND Florida Brick or Treat 2014
Photo: LEGOLAND Florida

We definitely can’t wait for LEGOLAND Florida Brick-or-Treat, and for more information on LEGOLAND Florida Brick-or-Treat you can always visit


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City of Kissimmee Unveils Project “Texas” and Welcomes Aviator College of Aeronautical Science & Technology

aviator-college-logoThe City of Kissimmee’s Economic Development Office announced that Aviator College of Aeronautical Science & Technology, will open a new campus at Kissimmee Gateway Airport, in early 2015. This Kissimmee facility will offer airframe and power plant (A&P) mechanics classes that go towards preparation of Federal Aviation Administration A&P certifications.

Aviator College currently has a campus in Fort Pierce, Florida whose primary focus is flight training with a small offering of A&P training. Their new Kissimmee campus will be the reverse – with a strong focus on the airframe and power plant classes.

Aviator College will not only offer classes towards A&P certification, they will also develop a college degree program as advanced as their Fort Pierce operation. “Given the expected shortage and the wide acceptance for FAA A&P certifications, this academic program will place Kissimmee in the forefront as a leading aviation training location,” said Terry Lloyd, Kissimmee Aviation Director.

Aviator College has committed to creating 60 jobs over the next three years, with a company average wage of $40,000 – which is 115% over the annual average wage in Osceola County. The company will begin immediate renovations to 606 Dyer Boulevard, and within three years expand their campus with another facility. Aviator College will invest over $7 Million in their Kissimmee campus.

City of Kissimmee Mayor Jim Swan stated, “We share great pride in Aviator College’s decision to expand their campus to Kissimmee Gateway Airport. This new company will fill an A&P shortage at our airport, and also significantly diversify our airport economic base.”

Kissimmee Gateway Airport is owned and operated by the City of Kissimmee, with administrative offices located at 301 North Dyer Boulevard. For more information about the Airport, please visit To learn more about Aviator College of Aeronautical Science & Technology, please visit

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Orlando City SC Creates Fan Advisory Council

Orlando City SC to Create Fan Advisory Council

Orlando City SC Fan Advisory

Council will advise Club on various topics to enhance the match day experience


Orlando City SC announced it will form a Fan Advisory Council consisting of representatives from all segments of the Club’s fan base.  The council will be tasked with providing feedback and input on a variety of topics to ensure the best possible fan experience throughout the remainder of 2014 and beyond.

“As we look ahead to the remainder of 2014 and toward our Major League Soccer debut in 2015, the Fan Advisory Council will play an integral role in helping our Club continue to defy expectations,” said Orlando City President Phil Rawlins.  “They will represent a thorough cross-section of our fan base – from seating section to demographics – ensuring we have proper representation to help us test innovations, provide feedback and maintain a fluid dialogue to ensure we continue to provide the best possible experience each and every match.”

Orlando City fans age 18 years or older interested in applying for the Council will be able to do so online at  Applicants will be screened and notified of their status in the following weeks.  The Club intends to host Fan Advisory Council meetings on a regular basis.

In addition to the announcement of the Fan Advisory Council, Orlando City today issued a letter to season ticket holders as a follow up to the recently established Fan Code of Conduct.  The letter, in its entirety, can be found online at

Orlando City SC Stadium Layout

For more information on Orlando City SC, 2015 MLS Season Tickets or tickets to the Club’s remaining USL Pro home games, visit or call 855-ORL-CITY.  Also, follow the latest Orlando City news and updates via FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.


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Play Misty For Me At The Enzian This Tuesday


Cult Classics

Play Misty for Me


Clint Eastwood made his directorial debut with this contemporary thriller about psychotic obsession. Eastwood also takes the lead in the starring role as Dave Garver, a popular radio disc jockey who repeatedly receives on-air phone requests from a sexy female fan to “play Misty for me.” When the woman, Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter), orchestrates a rendezvous with Dave at his favorite nightspot, the two begin a torrid affair. But when Dave decides to end the relationship, Evelyn’s obsession turns to violence. Soon everything and everyone in Dave’s life becomes a target for Evelyn’s increasingly deadly campaign of terror. Beautifully photographed on location in Eastwood’s hometown of Carmel, California, PLAY MISTY FOR ME continues to be considered one of the great modern-day thrillers.

Click Here For More Information

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Souvenir Shopping on a Budget: Gifts for Boys

Souvenir shopping on a budget can be quite tricky at Walt Disney World, but if you are on the hunt for some fun gifts for your little dudes I found a couple of finds at the Zawadi Marketplace located in Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House.

So my rules for this post were to find gifts that were under $10 (I counted $9.95), these were items that had to be found all over property, are easy to travel with, and would be age appropriate for boys ages 3 and up.

What are we waiting for…let’s get shopping!

Souvenir Shopping on a Budget: Gifts for Boys

Souvenir shopping on a Budget - Boys

The Disney Racers at $5.95 are my first choice for an inexpensive souvenir, because they have designs specific to so many interests and characters that you are sure to find one that is perfect for you little guy!

Souvenir shopping on a Budget - Boys

Perfect for the summer is this battery operated Mickey Mouse fan at $7.95. The soft blades make the fan super safe and useful on those hot Florida days!

Souvenir shopping on a Budget - Boys

I am a sucker for a Magic Towel, and at $4.95 this Sorcerer Mickey Magic Towel is a great find. Also, you can sometimes grab them at a special price!

Souvenir shopping on a Budget - Boys

Zoe is a BIG fan of these small plush characters that are on keychains! She loves to put them on her backpack at school, and at $8.95 they are a great way to bring home a little bit of the magic.

Souvenir shopping on a Budget - Boys

We are always looking for ways to encourage Zoe to read, and for $4.95 this Mickey Mouse and Pluto Bookmark is a fun way to add a touch of Disney fun to reading!

Souvenir shopping on a Budget - Boys

And finally, this Matchbox airplane at $9.95 is decorated with characters and the year as a way to commemorate a trip!

What are some of your favorite souvenirs shopping items when you are on a budget for little guys from Walt Disney World?


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Le Chef At The Enzian Through Thursday


“Ceaselessly charming! It gets sweeter and more delicious by the frame.”
– Jeffrey Lyons, LYONS DEN RADIO

Audience Award for Best International Feature,
2014 Florida Film Festival

Toss together a veteran three-star chef, a new CEO who wants him out, a molecular gastronomist whom the CEO wants in, and an incredibly talented and obsessive young chef. Throw in a dash of Japanese high farce. Sauté with the flawless charm and great timing of French comedy and voila! LE CHEF. Jacky is a young chef who keeps getting fired from his jobs at ordinary restaurants where he expects extraordinary gastronomes. Béatrice is Jacky’s very pregnant girlfriend. Alexandre Lagarde (played by the fabulous Jean Reno, Leon the Professional) is a three-star living legend past his prime. Sweating his contract (that depends on his three stars), Chef Lagarde pits his wits against a new CEO who wants his traditional French cuisine replaced by molecular gastronomy. Sacré bleu! Jacky has been reduced to washing windows at a nursing home when the two meet and begin a brilliant collaboration. French, funny, food, love, LE CHEF has it all.


TUES 7/22

 WED 7/23 & THURS 7/24
6:30PM   9:00PM

Click Here For More Information


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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


Stay connected with SeaWorld on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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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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Walt Disney World: A Pictorial Souvenir

Photo Jul 16, 10 53 58 PMThe other day I came across this book from my childhood, Walt Disney World: A Pictorial Souvenir. The book is from 1986 and has some fantastic pictures from the Disney parks. At that time, the World was much smaller. We only had two theme parks, one water park, four resorts, and not much more. This is a far cry from the four parks, two water parks, 29 resorts and so much more that we have today. So, I thought I’d take a few moments to share some of the pictures and reflect back on how the World used to be.

The book starts with an introduction to Walt Disney World and then breaks it down into subsections. Starting with the Magic Kingdom, the six different lands (this was before Mickey’s Birthdayland/Starland/Toontown) each get their own focus. Several pages with pictures and a brief overview of each land are featured. Walt Disney World has changed quite a bit in the past almost 30 years since the book was released, but it is still cool to see how some attractions are almost exactly the same.

Photo Jul 16, 11 29 25 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 30 23 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 30 54 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 31 08 PMPhoto Jul 12, 12 21 38 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 31 23 PM

After the Magic Kingdom came EPCOT CENTER. Instead of being broken down into Future World and World Showcase, most all Future World attractions/pavilions get their own section. Likewise, each of the ten countries (prior to Norway’s arrival in 1988) gets their own spread. Most definitely, Future World is where the most notable changes are visible. Attractions of the past like Horizons, World of Motion, Communicore and the Living Seas are neat to see. I didn’t have my first trip to Epcot until April of 1993, so I enjoy that I can look back on some of those things I didn’t get to experience.

Photo Jul 12, 12 28 10 PMPhoto Jul 12, 12 28 20 PMPhoto Jul 12, 12 28 43 PMPhoto Jul 12, 12 28 59 PMPhoto Jul 12, 12 29 06 PMPhoto Jul 12, 12 29 31 PMPhoto Jul 12, 12 29 49 PMPhoto Jul 12, 12 30 17 PMPhoto Jul 12, 12 30 37 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 31 47 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 31 54 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 32 31 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 32 53 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 33 03 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 33 15 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 33 28 PM

Next up is the resort and recreation section of the book, which shows the original and now renamed Polynesian Village, the Contemporary Resort, Discovery Island, River Country, Fort Wilderness, the Disney Inn (now Shades of Green), Walt Disney World Lake Buena Vista, and Walt Disney World Village. The Polynesian, Contemporary and Fort Wilderness each get a two page spread, with the others getting a single page of combined pictures and text.

Photo Jul 16, 11 34 57 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 35 13 PMPhoto Jul 17, 12 39 48 AMPhoto Jul 16, 11 35 24 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 35 49 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 35 55 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 36 11 PMPhoto Jul 16, 11 36 18 PM

If you want a copy of the Walt Disney World: A Pictorial Souvenir, I’ve seen a few for sale on Amazon and eBay, but just make sure to pay attention to the year of publication. The pictures and information are great to see for anyone who is nostalgic or someone who wants to see what they weren’t able to themselves.

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Hemingway Birthday Bash at Old Key West


image copyright Disney
image copyright Disney

Disney’s Old Key West Resort will be paying tribute to one of America’s greatest writers, Ernest Hemingway, with a birthday bash in his honor on Sunday, July 20th. This weekend the resort will host several activities throughout the afternoon and evening to celebrate Hemingway and his influence on Key West.

Most of the events will take place around the main theme pool and at Community Hall. Information comes from the recreation calendar at the resort. As always, all activities are subject to change. Please contact Disney’s Old Key West Resort directly regarding any questions about the Hemingway Birthday Bash and the activities themed after his works.

1:00pm To Have And Have Not

2:00pm Farewell To Arms – Join us at the main pool deck and say “Farewell to Arms during this cupcake eating contest.

2:30pm In Our Time

3:00pm Pool Party

4:00pm Dance Party

4:15pm Old Man And The Sea

5:00pm A Moveable Feast

7:30pm The Sun Also Rises

The Movie Under the Stars is A Goofy Movie at 9:00pm

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Be Our Guest Dining Review

be our guestOne of the most sought after dining reservations at Walt Disney World is the Be Our Guest restaurant at the Magic Kingdom. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a Disney Parks Blog meet up before Be Our Guest officially opened, which you can read about here. It has been over a year and a half since I had dinner at the restaurant, but I have had lunch there a few times over the past couple of years. Fortunately, I was able to snag a last minute reservation less than a week before the holiday weekend, so I was very excited to enjoy a nice meal with a friend at the park.

Our reservation was for 7:45pm, but we arrived at the Magic Kingdom a bit earlier than we expected, so we headed back to see if we could get in to Be Our Guest a bit early. The host said that since we were a party of two it looked like they could squeeze us in. The magic was definitely in our favor that night! We were instructed to wait for our pager to light up and then check in with the cast member at the gates to the Beast’s castle.

Once the pager illuminated, we were escorted into the castle and given a brief tour, eventually being led into the ballroom where we would be eating. Shelley and I had eaten there before for lunch, but never for dinner since Be Our Guest officially opened in late 2012. I don’t know if you are aware or not, but it can be a bit challenging to get a reservation at this very popular restaurant. 😉

Melissa was our server, who I actually remembered from the Parks Blog Meet Up as our server then, so it is nice to see the cast members sticking around from opening still. Since we have some allergies, the chef was called to come and review the menus with us to make sure we didn’t have any issues. This gave us an opportunity to just soak in the environment of the magnificent ballroom setting of Be Our Guest. I am still blown away by how gorgeous the details are, especially the ceiling chandeliers, and how much the restaurant reflects the beauty of Beauty and the Beast.

For the first time, I enjoyed a nice glass of wine with my meal in the Magic Kingdom. I think this was a nice addition to a French-inspired meal. Several French and California wines and select beers are available to be served with your meal at Be Our Guest. For our first course, I ordered the potato leek soup, which I have had several times before and enjoy quite a bit. The taste is fantastic, but this time the consistency seemed a bit off, like the soup needed to go through a strain or puree a bit more. I would still order this again every time. The entree I have heard the most about from friends and other guests is the sauteed shrimp and scallops with seasonal vegetables and mushrooms served in puff pastry with a creamy lobster sauce. Despite having had shrimp and scallops earlier in the week, I could not resist ordering this dish.


Even though Be Our Guest is not considered a character meal, the Beast is often known to parade through the castle waving at guests to welcome them to his home. He also frequently will meet with guests to pose for a picture with them in his library before they depart. We had a great time, the food was enjoyable and I’d definitely order what I had again. I also am anxious to go back and try the salmon I had before to see if it holds up to what I recall from before. The experience is so fun and the food is some of the best in the Magic Kingdom.


As we left the restaurant, we stopped on the bridge on the way out to get a few pictures of the gorgeous sky after the storms cleared for a bit. Have you been to the Be Our Guest restaurant recently? What were your thoughts? Did you order one of the desserts? We skipped out this time since we were full from our meal, but we’ve tried them all before.


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