2018 Disney Parks Moms Panel Search Announced

Are you the person your friends and colleagues always seek out for heartfelt advice on planning a Disney vacation? Have you put together more amazing Disney trips than you can count, and do you want to help others do the same?

Disney Parks Moms Panel 2018 Search

If so, then you may want to apply for a spot on the 2018 Disney Parks Moms Panel, the go-to online resource for guests seeking honest and relatable Disney vacation tips from likeminded parents.

From September 6-13, 2017, the search is on for everyday moms, dads and trusted family members to serve on the wildly popular forum. Applications can be submitted online at www.momspanelsearch.com.

Applicants will be selected based on their personal experience exploring various Disney destinations and their ability to communicate their Disney knowledge to prospective guests in easy-to-understand and friendly ways. The selection committee is eager to hear from parents from a variety of backgrounds and experiences who can lend diverse trip-planning insights, including moms, dads, grandparents, military service members, and more.

Heading into its 11th search, the Disney Parks Moms Panel has grown to be one of the most popular and trusted Disney vacation planning tools. It offers tailored parent-to-parent vacation advice in a convenient question-and-answer format. Additionally, the panel is available in four languages – English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese – to meet the unique needs of every type of Disney traveler and Disney hopes to welcome even more bilingual panelists to the 2018 panel.

“There is something so genuine in the exchange of trusted advice among neighbors. That’s what inspired the first Disney Parks Moms Panel in 2008 and why it continues to grow and serve travelers throughout the world 10 years later,” said Leanne O’Regan, Director of Public Relations for Disney Parks. “The panel is filled with personal, heartfelt advice based on panelists’ real experiences in Disney theme parks, resorts & hotels, and cruises. We know this year’s search will bring out another impressive group of applicants who know the ins and outs of planning a Disney vacation. We can’t wait to hear from them and see who will be selected to join the 2018 panel!”

Disney Parks Moms Panel Fact Sheet
Disney

Accessible at home or on-the-go, the Disney Parks Moms Panel offers firsthand insights into a myriad of topics like how to maximize time in the parks with preschoolers and how Disney Cruise Line can accommodate families with special needs. Advice comes from real-life moms and dads who have been there before, providing instant connections to fellow parents.

New questions are posted daily, and visitors can explore ‘Trending Topics’ and ‘Most Useful Questions’ to uncover valuable trip planning advice they may have not considered to ask. Of course, the Disney Parks Moms Panel is also the source for tips on new Disney attractions and entertainment like the latest groundbreaking experiences: Pandora – The World of Avatar at Walt Disney World Resort and Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disneyland Resort.

How to Apply for the Disney Parks Moms Panel

Applications for the 2018 Disney Parks Moms Panel will be accepted from noon EDT on September 6, 2017, through noon EDT on September 13, 2017. To apply, visit www.momspanelsearch.com. The application process follows the below format, though subject to change if needed: a series of short- answer questions in the first round, additional short-answer questions and submission of a brief video in Round 2, and phone interviews for applicants making it to the final round. The 2018 Disney Parks Moms Panel will be announced in January. Applicants selected must be available to attend a training session at Walt Disney World Resort from November 29 to December 3, 2017.

About the Disney Parks Moms Panel

The Disney Parks Moms Panel is the official online forum where guests can get tips and insights from real moms, dads and grandparents who have mastered the art of planning Disney vacations. Guests can pose questions to the panelists in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese, as well as gain access to other tools for planning and booking a Disney vacation. Featuring just 12 members in its inaugural year in 2008, the panel now boasts 40 park-savvy panelists as a result of the popularity of the site and the ever-growing number of questions submitted by curious Guests. Serving as independent contractors, the panelists receive a rewards trip to one Disney Destination for themselves and up to three family members for their participation on the Disney Parks Moms Panel. For more information and to meet the current panelists, visit www.DisneyParksMomsPanel.com.

Screamin Gator Zip Line Experience Special Offer

Gatorland, the “Alligator Capital of The World,” has announced a special offer for their Screamin Gator Zip Line experience for a limited time!

Screamin Gator Zip Line Gatorland
Gatorland

The Screamin Gator Zip Line has been rated Top Zip Line in the USA by AOL Travel and features a breathtaking journey along 1,200 feet of high flying adventure from platforms designed to replicate the Breeding Marsh Tower. At heights up to 56 feet, guests will fly at speeds near 30 miles per hour through the park.

The Screamin Gator Zip Line at Gatorland carries riders in length from 230 feet to more than 500 feet over some of the most exciting exhibits.   On just the second leg of the journey, adventurers soar above the theme park’s collection of jumping Cuban Crocodiles. Next is a bird’s eye view of the Alligator Breeding Marsh with more than 150 giant alligators.  The 45-minute experience includes a brief orientation session, a nature walk through the swamp, five breath-taking zips and an exciting 150-foot swinging suspension bridge.

The Screamin Gator Zip Line offer is for $49.99 per person when booked online, online payment must be made at time of booking, on its website by August 27, 2017 for reservation dates through Dec. 15, 2017.  That’s a $20 savings off the regular price of $69.99 per person!

Screamin Gator Zip Line Requirements:

  • Participants must wear closed toe shoes. Skirts, dresses, and short shorts are discouraged.
  • Participants must be at least 37″ tall and weigh no more than 275 lbs, and must fit safely into the zip line harnesses (Guests may be required to weigh in at time of participation).
  • The Screamin Gator Zip Line traverses numerous public walkways and animal exhibits. For the safety of the animals and park guests below the zip lines, cameras, cell phones, video equipment including GoPro™ HD cameras and other personal items may not be taken on your adventure. Secure lockers will be available for storing your belongings.
  • Guests will be required to sign a Release, Liability Waiver, and Consent Agreement prior to their launch.  Minors under the age of 18 MUST have a Liability Waiver and Consent Agreement executed and signed by a parent or natural guardian.  To book your Screamin Gator Zip Line adventure today, go to http://www.gatorland.com/

For more Gatorland information, visit  http://www.gatorland.com or call 800-393-JAWS.  Find us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

 

SeaWorld Orlando Killer Whale Up-Close Tour

Visitors to SeaWorld Orlando now have the opportunity to experience the park’s majestic killer whales in a brand-new way with the new Killer Whale Up-Close Tour.

During this tour guests will have the opportunity to meet the park’s killer whales in ways never before offered at the park.

SeaWorld Orlando Killer Whale Up Close Tour

The 45-minute in-depth tour includes learning from the park’s killer whale trainers, meeting the whales and understanding their unique personalities, and even taking part in an interaction with one off the whales.

During the tour, which takes place daily, SeaWorld Orlando trainers share stories and information about the killer whales, demonstrate how the whales take part in voluntary husbandry sessions and discuss their healthcare, feeding habits and more.

The engaging and interactive tour also gives participants a once in a lifetime chance to try their hand at a session with the whales alongside a trainer. Throughout the entire experience, guests are encouraged to take as many photos as they would like to help forever preserve the memory of the one-of-a-kind experience.

SeaWorld Orlando Killer Whale Up Close Tour

The Killer Whale Up-Close Tour is the latest in the SeaWorld Orlando line-up of memorable, educational and inspirational tours. Popular guest experiences, including the Dolphin Up-Close Tour and Penguin Up-Close Tour provide hands-on interactions with some of the park’s most popular animals while encouraging guests to care about all of the animals found in the oceans. The Behind-the-Scenes Tour, a guest favorite, provides an inside look at the park’s amazing animal rescue operation and ends with the opportunity to touch a shark and meet a Magellanic penguin.

The Killer Whale Up-Close Tour begins at 10:00 a.m. and lasts approximately 45 minutes. Space is limited, and guests are encouraged to make reservations online in advance. Prices start at $79 per person. For more information on SeaWorld’s tour programs, park hours and to purchase tickets, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.

D23 Expo 2017 News: Star Wars Land Model Unveiled

Star Wars Land Model D23 Expo 2017

During a special preview of D23 Expo 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek unveiled a first look at the epic, richly detailed model of the Star Wars-themed lands under development at Disneyland park in Anaheim, California, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. This stunning exhibition, on display in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ “A Galaxy of Stories” pavilion at D23 Expo, is yet another example of the breathtaking new worlds, immersive storytelling and transformational guest experiences that set Disney apart.

FIRST LOOK! Star Wars Land Model – Walt Disney World – Disneyland

“To say we are excited for the Star Wars-themed lands to open in 2019 is an understatement,” Chapek said. “All along, we have said this will be game-changing, and through the model we can begin to see how truly epic these immersive new worlds will be.”

Chapek plans to share exciting new details about the project during the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Hall D23 Presentation on Saturday. The model will remain on display at the pavilion throughout the weekend to give visitors an up-close look at what’s to come on this never-before seen planet. In addition, the pavilion will display models, artwork and media that provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that guests will encounter when they visit this new planet.

Swim With Sharks At Discovery Cove

In celebration of Shark Awareness Day on July 14, guests at Discovery Cove can now take part in exclusive new animal experiences at the park. Discovery Cove has always been known for its memorable dolphin interactions, and now guests can enhance their visit with one of-a-kind, hands-on encounters with sharks and stingrays.

Swim with Sharks at Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove Shark Swim

The awe-inspiring Shark Swim program provides closer-than-ever encounters with legendary predators. While guests have always been able to view park’s sharks, the new program takes them on a daring next step – swimming freely among five species: Pacific blacktip, reef whitetip, nurse shark, zebra shark, and a spotted wobbegong.

The immersive session is divided into two unique interactions and begins as guests meet with the park’s shark team and head into the water. Through hands-on interaction, guests learn about shark anatomy and the threats the animals face in the wild. Guests can also join the sharks in the deeper part of their habitat and embark on an exhilarating snorkel experience.

Discovery Cove works to dispel myths about sharks and to inspire guests to learn more about these mysterious creatures. As top predators, sharks play an essential role in maintaining the balance of ocean ecosystems worldwide by monitoring fish populations. Sadly, shark finning and overfishing threaten many shark species and disrupt that natural balance. Guests who take part in the new Shark Swim program will walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for these fascinating ocean ambassadors.

Discovery Cove Shark Swim

The Shark Swim experience is available to Discovery Cove guests ages 10 and older. The cost is $85 per person. For every shark swim package purchased, SeaWorld will donate 5% of the proceeds to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) in support of shark conservation and research.

In addition to the Shark Swim program, Discovery Cove has launched a new Ray Feeding experience. This exclusive opportunity gives guests the chance to feed the stingrays during a private tour of the Grand Reef. Guided by one of the park’s aquarists, guests ages 6 and older spend their session in the Grand Reef learning all about the species of rays as they hand-feed the incredible creatures. The Ray Feeding program is $50 per person.

The new interaction programs require a Dolphin Swim or Day Resort reservation at Discovery Cove to participate. Space for each program is limited and guests are encouraged to book in advance. For additional program and booking details guests can visit their official website.

Beginning August 1, Florida residents who book a day at Discovery Cove will also receive unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s water park, through January 2018 – including SeaWorld’s special holiday events.

Sam Bailey Visits LEGOLAND Florida Resort

UK pop star Sam Bailey, who recently wrapped her “Sing My Heart Out” tour in support of her second album, visited LEGOLAND Florida Resort on July 8 with husband Craig, their three children, Tommy, Brooke and Miley, mum Jackie and several close friends during a weeks-long Florida holiday celebrating her 40th birthday.

Sam Bailey Visits LEGOLAND Florida Resort   Sam Bailey Visits LEGOLAND Florida Resort   Sam Bailey Visits LEGOLAND Florida Resort

The “X Factor” winner enjoyed a stay in the popular LEGOLAND Hotel’s LEGO Friends suite, plus a private tour of the resort’s Model Shop, where Master Model Builders create and repair the many elaborate LEGO models on display throughout the theme park.

Sam autographed a star made of LEGO bricks for the hotel’s wall of fame, which includes autographs from celebrities such as singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow, actress-singer Jennifer Hudson and broadcaster Megyn Kelly. In appreciation of her visit, the Florida resort presented Sam with a mosaic of her 2013 debut single, “Skyscraper,” made out of more than 600 LEGO pieces.

Sam Bailey Visits LEGOLAND Florida Resort   Sam Bailey Visits LEGOLAND Florida Resort   Sam Bailey Visits LEGOLAND Florida Resort

Sam and friends ended the evening at the Winter Haven, Fla., vacation destination as special guests of LEGOLAND Knight Lights, the park’s exclusive summertime special event.

 

Seminole State College of Florida Summer Programs

Seminole State College of Florida enhances the educational, economic, and cultural vitality of the region by providing exemplary learning opportunities for a diverse community. This mission embraces the general public through enrichment and quality of life programming and production of lifelong learning and cultural events to include fine arts, theater, speaker series and planetarium shows. All events are family-friendly, open to the public and free to attend (unless noted with a nominal ticket price).

Seminole State College of Florida Planetarium
Seminole State College: Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium

Located onSeminole State College of Florida Sanford/Lake Mary Campus, the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College of Florida offers live, interactive shows and full-dome video presentations. For more information on the Buehler Planetarium visit https://www.seminolestate.edu/planet/, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @seminoleplanet.

Planetarium Events at Seminole State College of Florida

The Space Times * July 6, 7pm – 8pm * FREE

Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium, 100 Weldon Blvd., B, Sanford, FL 32773

The Space Times: What’s going on up there, down here. Join us for “The Space Times,” a monthly exploration of breaking news from our Solar System and beyond. We’ll showcase the Universe as only the planetarium can, with our immensely powerful fulldome video system taking center stage. As a public talk, there is no admission fee to “The Space Times” presentation, but due to the size of the planetarium, we are limiting the number of guests to 65. Seating is first-come, first-served, and we will open the doors for the presentation at 6:45 p.m.

 Summer Laser Extravaganza

We celebrate the start of the planetarium year with a weekend of laser shows — the Summer Laser Extravaganza! Ten shows over three nights covering the entire musical spectrum, from classic rock to electronica and everything in-between! For full show descriptions, please visit http://www.av-imagineering.com/index.php/laser-shows/. $10 for adults, $8 for students and adults 55+, $5 for Seminole State faculty, staff  and students with College ID. Ticketing for each show will begin 10 minutes prior to the presentation. A valid ticket stub from a previous laser showing will be good for $2 off any admission level.

July 6

8:30 p.m. Laser Show: Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”

9:30 p.m. Laser Show: Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”

July 7

7 p.m. Laser Show: “ElectroPop”

8 p.m. Laser Show: “Laser U2”

9 p.m. Laser Show: “LaseRetro”

10 p.m. Laser Show: “Hypnotica”

July 8

7 p.m. Laser Show: “Laser Vinyl”

8 p.m. Laser Show: “Laser Beatles”

9 p.m. Laser Show: “Laser Zeppelin”

10 p.m. Laser Show: “Laser Metallica”

Summer Watch * July 8, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m. * FREE

Join the Planetarium for an evening of planet watching. Telescopes will be available for up-close views of the moon, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn. To help everyone cool down after a long summer’s day, we’re proud to host Jeremiah’s Italian Ice and their Ice Truck for delicious treats from 8-10 p.m. Please note: the planetarium’s Summer Laser Extravaganza will be occurring simultaneously in the planetarium dome. The laser presentations do require paid admission, but admission is not required for the Summer Planet Watch.

Legends of the Night Sky Children’s Laser Shows

We invite kids of all ages to join us for some family-friendly laser fun at the Planetarium! We’re presenting a double-helping of planetarium double features: “Legends of the Night Sky’,” one of the most well-received children’s laser shows ever produced, and a guided tour of our Solar System utilizing the planetarium’s immensely powerful fulldome video system. While the event is open to everyone, the laser shows are most appropriate for ages 12 and under. $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 3-17 and Free for children under three years of age.

July 11

1:30 p.m. Laser Show: “Legends of the Night Sky: Orion”

2:30 p.m. Laser Show: “Legends of the Night Sky: Perseus”

July 12

1:30 p.m. Laser Show: “Legends of the Night Sky” Double-Feature

2:30 p.m. Laser Show: “ElectroPop” Matinee 

July 13

1:30 p.m. Laser Show: “Legends of the Night Sky: Orion”

2:30 p.m. Laser Show: “Legends of the Night Sky: Perseus”

“Stories of the Night Sky” * July 14 and July 28, 8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

“Stories of the Night Sky” is a five-episode series of presentations that explore the myths, legends and facts surrounding some of the most famous and important constellations in the sky. Part of the planetarium’s cultural astronomy series, “Stories of the Night Sky” showcases constellations currently visible, and guests will hear these stories as they were told many years ago – underneath a dark, star-filled sky. Most appropriate for ages nine and up. Episodes are live presentations, so content can be modified for age appropriateness. $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 3-17 and 55+ and free for Seminole State students, faculty, and staff.

Central Florida Nights * July 21: 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. * FREE

Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium

100 Weldon Blvd., B, Sanford, FL 32773

Central Florida Nights is the flagship show of the Buehler Planetarium at Seminole State, shown more times each year than any other show. Offering a guided tour of the current night sky, it is updated every two weeks to match the slow march of constellations we see as Earth revolves around the sun. During each presentation, guests will learn how to locate seven or eight prominent constellations. The locations of the visible planets, upcoming meteor showers, bright comets and other notable celestial happenings will also be explored. Skies permitting, guests can go outside afterward to identify many of the objects seen during the show. They can also take a look at the night sky through the planetarium’s telescopes. Please note that the planetarium will not hold telescope viewings during the months of May-August.

Appropriate for all ages. “Central Florida Nights” is shown the first and third Friday of each month. Seminole State College Logo

Planetarium Parking Update

Seminole State College of Florida facilities department will be working on parking and roadway improvements through August 8, 2017. A section of College Drive will be closed, along with the parking lot between the planetarium and the new student services building.  Click here for a map for parking information.

Summer Additions At Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This Summer you can find two new additions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to help add some pep to your evenings after a day in the park.

Summer Additions At Disney’s Hollywood Studios

's Hollywood Studios 2017 Pinterest

The Music of Pixar Live! A Symphony of Characters

Three times a night The Music of Pixar Live! takes to the Theater of the Stars Stage to celebrate 20 years of unforgettable soundtrack favorites from some of your Pixar favorites including Cars, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story, and UP performed by a live orchestra.

's Hollywood Studios Summer Additions 2017 - Pixar Live in Concert Cars

As you listen to your favorite, heartfelt songs you get to watch movie montages, outtakes, and interview excerpts with the folks behind Pixar’s captivating music.

Also, don’t be surprised if you find that several friends join in the fun along the way.

The finale of this 45 minute show stars YOU! You and your family get to join with the orchestra and some of your Pixar pals for an onscreen sing-along to Randy Newman’s Academy Award-nominated, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”

Insider Tips – The Music of Pixar Live! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

* If you aren’t able to grab a FastPass+ or are not doing a Music of Pixar Live! Dining package, don’t worry too much about being able to grab a seat because the Theater of the Stars is rather large. I would suggest arriving early on traditionally busy days and weekends.

* Guests can enter the Theater of the Stars 20 minutes prior to showtime, and for your timeliness you will be rewarded with some preshow fun with the Green Army Men from Toy Story.

's Hollywood Studios Summer 2017 Additions - Pixar Live in Concert Final Sing Along

* If you have little ones in your traveling party and you are concerned about them sitting through a 45 minute show, try sitting towards the front to keep them engaged with the characters.

* While the center screen behind the orchestra is large, there are two smaller screens on either side of the stage that show the same images if you are seated on the side or back of the theater.

The Music of Pixar Live! has shows until August 27, 2017, so don’t forget to add this show to your summer plans in the park!

Disney Movie Magic

Thirty minutes before the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can take in a 10 minute trip down movie memory lane that includes footage from movies from Mary Poppins to Pirates of the Caribbean movies to Tron that ends with an awesome montage of live-action comedies, adventures, musicals, and more!

's Hollywood Studios Summer 2017 Additions - Disney Movie Magic Tron

Insider Tips – Disney Movie Magic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

* Guests start grabbing prime spots up to an hour before Disney Movie Magic begins, so make sure you pay attention to where designated areas are located (usually with masking tape) so you won’t have to find a new spot late in the game.

* If you can’t  get close to the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (The Great Movie Ride) for a sweet spot, trying staying as center as possible and go back a little further than you think so you can see all of the buildings around the Theatre as they also have projections.

's Hollywood Studios Summer 2017 Additions - Disney Movie Magic Pirates

* My favorite spot to watch Disney Movie Magic from is to the left (as you are facing Grauman’s Chinese Theatre) near the large projection booth, because you get to see all of the projections and laser effects.

* Disney Movie Magic is presented rain or shine, so be prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store!

There is no current end date listed for Disney Movie Magic, so I have my fingers crossed that it will be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for awhile!

Both The Music of Pixar Live! and Disney Movie Magic are really great ways to wind down your Summer day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! I really enjoyed both shows, and can’t wait to watch them with Zoe & Dave!

Busch Gardens Summer Nights Kick Off Next Week

Party louder and play later at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay during the reimagined Summer Nights event, featuring park-wide party zones, summer cuisine, thrill rides in the dark and an all-new summer ice show at the Moroccan Palace, Turn It Up!

The event is free with park admission and kicks off June 16 running through August 6. Summer Nights is open until 9 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays, and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

NEW!  Turn It Up! Ice Show 

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Summer Nights 2017
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

The Moroccan Palace is now home to the hottest show on ice, Turn It Up! This all-new ice show vibrantly celebrates summer with electric performances set to today’s hottest hits.

NEW! Party Zones

Summer Nights will feature three uniquely themed party zones at Cheetah Hunt® Plaza,Pantopia®, and Stanleyville. Guests can dance into the night at each location and indulge in spectacular summer fare inspired by the party zone itself.

¡Fiesta Festa!

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Summer Nights 2017
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Cheetah Hunt Plaza transforms into the ¡Fiesta Festa! party zone, complete with an immersive and authentic Latin experience including lively entertainment and a flavor-packed menu, including slow roasted mojo pork, jerk chicken empanadas, and chicharróns. The party zone will also feature several drink options including sangria, margaritas and international and domestic beer selections.

Luau

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Summer Nights 2017
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Pantopia becomes the Luau party zone with entertainment inspired by the islands, and a Hawaiian-inspired menu, including huli huli chicken, Hawaiian barbecue ribs, and pineapple cheesecake parfait as well as tropical cocktails, craft brews and much more!

Vibin’ Village

The Vibin’ Village party zone takes over Stanleyville and will transport guests to Africa with an immersive experience of tribal entertainment and an authentic cuisine featuring craft beers, artesian wines and cocktails, chicken mafi with peanut sauce, tamarind shrimp watermelon cooler and a smoked chicken pocket with harissa.

NEW! Summer Nights Sampler Lanyards

The best way to savor sensational Summer Nights cuisine is with Busch Gardens convenient 8-item Summer Nights sampler lanyard, modeled after the guest-favorite Food & Wine Festival lanyards. Guests can enjoy park-wide summer samples from themed party zones and select food locations throughout the park, including Twisted Tails, Garden Gate Café, Serengeti Overlook™ Pub and more. The Summer Nights lanyards are $34.99 each with Pass Member discounts available.

Thrill Rides in the Dark

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Summer Nights 2017
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

It’s not summer at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay without thrill rides in the dark. Florida’s top thrill rides will be open during Summer Nights, including favorites like Falcon’s Fury®, Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra® and Busch Gardens’ newest spin coaster, Cobra’s Curse™.

The Alfond Inn At Rollins Hosts Tesla Test Drive Event

Have you ever wanted to test drive a Tesla? (I know I have!)  Well this weekend you can get your chance as The Alfond Inn at Rollins in Winter Park hosts an exclusive Tesla Test Drive Event.

The Alfond Inn at Rollins Winter Park Tesla Test Drive Event June 2 2017

The Alfond Inn at Rollins in Winter Park will be connecting itself to the growing Destination Charging Network of Tesla, celebrating  the advent of sustainable energy with an exclusive test drive event featuring the award-winning Model S and Model X vehicles from the recognized American Electric Vehicles company.

The event will be on Friday, June 2 through Sunday, June 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The specialized vehicles will be parked at the hotel for viewing and test drives, with tours also of The Alfond Inn’s featured charging location.

Tesla’s electric battery vehicles are gasoline independent, emit no pollution and have a range of up to 265 miles.  The Tesla Model X is the safest, quickest, most capable sport utility vehicle in history while the Model S, Tesla’s flagship premium sedan, is the most exhilarating car on the road, capable of accelerating from zero to 60 mph in as little as 2.5 seconds.

Alfond Inn hotel guest Jonathan Eisenberg drives his Tesla vehicle from Boca Raton, Fla. to Winter Park for work each month.  “I’ve been doing this for the last 6 months, soon after the delivery of my car.  It’s a huge bonus that the hotel is close to my company’s Winter Park office and has a charging station which enables me to drive rather than fly,” Eisenberg explained.  “And I don’t have to rent a regular car which would be a lot more expensive.  The hotel is amazing and I would only stay at a hotel with a charging station.”

The Tesla team will be on hand at The Alfond Inn June 2, 3, and 4 to answer any questions and schedule test drives.

For more Tesla information, contact Tesla Orlando by calling (407) 998-2060, and for more information on The Alfond Inn, go to www.thealfondinn.com.

Experiencing Pandora – Wilderness Explorers Badges

Visits to Disney’s Animal Kingdom always include stops to earn Wilderness Explorers badges for my family, and I was really excited to find that in Pandora – The World of Avatar there were two new badges to earn!

The wilderness must be explored. Caw. Caw. Rawr!

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Pinterest

Experiencing Pandora – Wilderness Explorers Badges

The first thing that you will notice about the badge guides in Pandora – The World of Avatar is that they are in their typical uniforms and name tags instead of being a part of A.C.E. (Alpha Centauri Expeditions).

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Cast Member with handbook
Photo: Cheryl Perlmutter

This is because they are visiting Pandora – The World of Avatar like us, and are encouraging us to explore the area as we would a State Park back on Earth. (I thought it was a really a lovely way to encourage guests to explore and learn about their areas from a new perspective when they get home!)

As soon as you cross the bridge into the area, you will find your first of two Wilderness Explorers Badges!

Botany Badge – Plants help the planet!

At this badge location you will earn your Botany Badge by exploring the plants on Pandora (Page 11 of the Wilderness Explorers Handbook).

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Botany Badge Overview

A Wilderness Explorer understands that plants are an essential part of the ecosystem on Pandora just as they are back on Earth. They support life, provide oxygen, and create habitats for animals. Plants also have many special features that help them survive. If you look closely you will see that many of the plants here on Pandora are similar to plants back on Earth.

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Flaska Reclinata Large
Adult Flaska Reclinata

For this badge Wilderness Explorers will interact with the adult Flaska Reclinata that you can find at the entrance to the Valley of Mo’ara, their offspring along the river, and plants that we have on earth.

Ecology Badge – Pandoran Animals

The Ecology Badge (Pages 12 & 13 in the Wilderness Explorers Handbook) location is closer to the floating mountains and some interesting Pandoran Animals…the Pluropoda Saggitaria and Cerebellis Scapularis.

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Ecology Badge

Ecology is the study of relationships among plants, animals, and their environment. the Na’vi understand that the plants and animals of Pandora are connected to each other in unique ways. What can you learn about these connections?

To earn this badge you will first spend time learning the basics of relationships that can be found in ecology from the Badge Guide before you start your search for the Pluropoda Saggitaria and Cerebellis Scapularis in Pandora – The World of Avatar.

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Pluropoda Saggitaria
Pluropoda Saggitaria and Cerebellis Scapularis

We really had a great time earning the two new Wilderness Explorers Badges, and I really love the touch of Earth that has been brought to Pandora!

Family Tip! This is a great way for younger visitors to spend time while their family and friends are experiencing Avatar the Flight of Passage.

But with these new additions comes a little bit of bad news…Fans of the Wilderness Explorers program at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will notice that in the new handbook two older Wilderness Explorers Badges for Hand Washing and Currency have been retired.

We’ll be bringing you more information about Pandora – The World of Avatar over the next few weeks, so make sure you follow @onthegoinmco on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Check out my post on the Five Things You Should Do Before Visiting Pandora – The World of Avatar!

Five Things To Do Before Traveling To Pandora

Pandora – The World of Avatar opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom officially on May 27, 2017, but before you make the 4.4 light year journey to the Valley of Mo’ara here are five things you will want to do before you go!

Five Things To Do Before Traveling To Pandora - The World of Avatar - Pinterest

Five Things To Do Before Traveling To Pandora – The World of Avatar

1. Watch Avatar or read a synopsis

While it is not necessary to watch the almost 3 hour movie Avatar to enjoy your time in Pandora – The World of Avatar, knowing about the world will help you feel more at home in this new & beautiful land.

Over on icFlorida, you can find my short synopsis of the movie!

The year is 2154 and Jake Sully, a paralyzed former U.S. Marine, takes the place of his deceased brother in the Avatar Program on Pandora. After a six year flight, Jake awakens from cryrosleep and arrives at the Resources Development Administration (RDA) run colony who’s focus is mining the extremely valuable mineral called Unobtanium that is desperately needed on Earth and found in abundance on Pandora.

While Pandora is covered in lush rainforests, the air is poisonous for humans to breathe so the RDA has developed the Avatar Program that allows humans to control avatars, which are genetically engineered hybrids of humans and Na’vi the sentient race of tall, blue-skinned humanoids that are native to the planet.

After Jake learns to control his avatar body from Dr. Grace Augustine, he goes on to find out more about the Na’vi including their language and culture in hopes of furthering relationships with them…at least on the surface as he is also working under the orders of Colonel Miles Quaritch to get the Na’vi to move away from the Hometree so the large deposits of unobtanium can be mined.

Through a series of action-packed events Jake rides a Banshee, becomes accepted into the Omaticaya clan, and even earns the love and trust of a female Na’vi named Neytiri.

And of course as soon as that happens, things go sour as the RDA destroys the Hometree. Soon after Quaritch learns that several Na’vi clans are planning to meet at The Tree of Souls against the RDA mining on their planet, and he figures this is the best way to destroy all the Na’vi in one swoop…literally as Jake and the Na’vi ride Banshees as part of the attack and epic battle against the RDA.

The Na’vi win the battle, and exile most of the RDA back to Earth. At the end of the movie Jake returns to the Tree of Souls to undergo the consciousness transfer from his human body to his avatar form, and awakens to a new life as a Na’vi.

2. Download the My Disney Experience App (iTunes and Google Play)

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go -
Walt Disney World

Let’s be honest…the My Disney Experience App can take up a good amount of valuable space on your device and the My Disney Experience website is fantastic to use when you are at home, BUT make sure that you reinstall the app before you arrive in the Valley of Mo’ara to take advantage of FastPass+, mobile ordering at the Satu’li Canteen (more on this soon), and to view your Disney PhotoPass pictures that can include exclusive magic shots in Pandora – The World of Avatar.

3. Check out the Menus at the Satu’li Canteen and Pongu Pongu

The food inside of Pandora – The World of Avatar is a new take on casual, quick-service dining at Walt Disney World.

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go

Inside the Satu’li Canteen, a former RDA mess hall that has been redecorated to include Na-vi art and cultural items, guests can dine all-day from a menu of healthy choices inspired by international cuisines and Pandora’s natural abundance.

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go
Vegetable Curry Pods with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw & Vegetable Chips

I haven’t had the chance to try breakfast yet, but I highly recommend both the cheeseburger and vegetable curry steamed pods that are served with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Vegetable Chips.

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go

Just outside of the Satu’li Canteen you can find Pongu Pongu, which is Na’vi for ‘Party Party’, offering a “bioluminescent” frozen cocktail called the Night Blossom that can be served with or without alcohol, the Mo’ara Margarita, two indigenous beers, and the most amazing sweet treat called Pongo Lumpia* with sweet pineapple and creamy filling.

*= I apologize for the lack of a photo of the Pongo Lumpia. I have no excuse other than I ordered it twice, and was so excited that I forgot to take a photo…again twice…but I feel like that’s much more of an endorsement than a photo!

4. Set a budget

After spending so much time in such an immersive atmosphere, you may find yourself inside Windtraders looking to bring a piece of Pandora- The World of Avatar home with you!

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go

The merchandise for this new land is awesome with a little something for everyone and every budget!

I went a little crazy with my shopping haul, but remember that Annual Passholders receive a discount on their purchases (except for Banshee adoptions).

5. Plan to take advantage of Extended Park Hours

When you are planning your time in Pandora – The World of Avatar, make sure to keep in mind that from opening day on May 27th until July 4th that Disney’s Animal Kingdom park will stay open from 8 am until 11 pm for all guests giving you ample time to really explore the Bioluminescent flora and fauna of the Valley of Mo’ara.

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go - Pandora at Night
Walt Disney World

However guests staying at select Walt Disney World Hotels will be able to take advantage of “Extra” Extra Magic Hours that will be offered exclusively in Pandora – The World of Avatar for a limited time from 11 pm to 1 am, May 27 to July 4, 2017!

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go

We’ll be bringing you more information about Pandora – The World of Avatar over the next few weeks, so make sure you follow @onthegoinmco on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Over on icFlorida you can check out the video of my first journey to Pandora – The World of Avatar!

LEGOLAND Florida Resort Honors Heroes With Special Offer

LEGOLAND Florida Resort May 2017 Real Life Hero PromotionAll this month the LEGOLAND Florida Resort is honoring real-life heroes dedicated to keeping our cities safe with FREE, single-day theme park admission. In addition, eligible personnel can purchase tickets for up to four additional guests at a 50% discount.

This promotion to recognize these heroes is open to active and retired law enforcement, fire and rescue, and EMT/EMS personnel working in the United States.

Eligible positions for this special offer include:

  • Fire and rescue first responders,
  • Emergency medical services employees (EMT/EMS),
  • Municipal and county police and sheriff’s officers,
  • Highway patrol officers,
  • Corrections officers,
  • State and federal law enforcement officers,
  • Fish and wildlife field officers,
  • U.S. Forest Service rangers,
  • National Park Service officers,
  • Homeland Security agents, and
  • Environmental protection officers.

LEGOLAND Water Park admission can be added to this special offer for a $20-per-ticket upgrade. Note that the water park is only open select dates in May.

To receive complimentary and discounted tickets, eligible personnel must visit the LEGOLAND Florida Resort ticket windows in person on the day of their visit and present their employee ID or professional organization membership card. This offer is not available online, by telephone or through ticket resellers, and is valid through Wednesday, May 31, 2017.

 

iFLY Orlando Reopening With VIP Party This Summer

As one of Orlando’s most popular non-theme park attractions for nearly two decades, iFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving announces the opening of a brand new, state-of-the-art facility featuring dual wind tunnels.

And to celebrate iFLY Orlando will host a unique simultaneous closing ceremony and VIP opening party at the new location on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017.
iFLY Orlando Rendering May 2017

Two all-glass flight chambers will stand side-by-side in the sleek, ultra-modern facility, ready to deliver the dream of flight to double the number of flyers each year. The tunnels are part of a building design with amenities to easily handle groups and parties of 150 or more.  iFLY also offers Science, Technology and Math (S.T.E.M) field trips along with other programs for kids.  The new facility will feature an open singlestory floorplan that will allow passersby easy viewing of the flight experience.

“We are making this significant investment in Orlando because it’s where iFLY started and where we continue to have an enormous and loyal fan base,” said Matt Ryan, iFLY President& COO. “Our goal is to deliver the dream of flight to everyone and by relocating to a new, expansive location we will be able to deliver this dream to even more people in the future.

The new facility, in close proximity to the Orange County Convention Center, will replace the original wind tunnel located on the south side of I-Drive, and the current wind tunnel located on the south side of I-Drive has been relocated to this new site at 8969 International Drive, next to WonderWorks, and is now open. 

To prepare for their flight experience, customers complete a training class guided by one of iFLY’s flight and safety instructors. They then are equipped with flight gear, including goggles, helmet and flight suit, and enter the flight chamber by leaning forward into a smooth cushion of air, with a flight instructor at their side.

All flight packages include training, flight gear, and flight time with an International Bodyflight Association (IBA) certified instructor. The IBA established the gold standard for training and safety standards for indoor skydiving instructors. All iFLYinstructors meet or exceed IBA standards. 

“Our new location is right in the middle of the exciting I-Drivecorridor and much more accessible to visitors in the area,” Matt Ryan said. “Our decision to relocate on I-Drive is indicative ofthe excitement we have about the Orlando tourism market and economic development in the area.” 

iFLY Orlando Corporate Logo

About the NEW iFLY Orlando:  iFLY’s new Orlando facility is the company’s first to feature two recirculating vertical wind tunnels in the same facility. The two wind tunnels  sit side-by-side in the facility and each features a 12-foot diameter flight chamber with wind flow powered by two quiet and clean running electric motors. All instructors at iFLY Orlando are IBAcertified as the best-trained and safest instructors in the sport of indoor skydiving. 

LEGO Star Wars Days At LEGOLAND Florida Announcement

As fans throughout the galaxy celebrate the Star Wars saga today, LEGOLAND Florida Resort is announcing an exciting new addition coming to its LEGO Star Wars MINILAND area in 2018 – an all-new LEGO display inspired by the worldwide blockbuster “Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens.”

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens MINILAND Model Display will feature several scenes re-created with thousands of LEGO bricks, including memorable movie moments with Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren and BB-8, enhanced with lights, sound effects and animation. More details about this 2018 expansion project will be shared in the coming months.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort LEGO Star Wars Days 2017 Logo

LEGO Star Wars Days Return This Weekend to LEGOLAND Florida for Double the Fun in 2017

Meanwhile, LEGO Star Wars Days returns for four days of fun at LEGOLAND Florida Resort starting this weekend! Authorized by Lucasfilm, the 2017 event doubles the fun on two weekends this year:

  • Saturday, May 6 and Sunday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

It’s the only LEGO Star Wars theme park event in Central Florida!

LEGOLAND Florida Resort LEGO Star Wars Days 2017 MINILAND USA Star Wars millennium falcon
Photo/Chip Litherland for Merlin Entertainments Group/LEGOLAND Florida Resort

In MINILAND USA, kids can explore some of the most famous scenes from the Star Wars saga made out of 1.5 million LEGO bricks, including detailed displays inspired by the first six blockbuster films, plus life-size LEGO models of Darth Vader, Darth Maul and R2-D2.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort LEGO Star Wars Days 2017 Zoe LEGO Darth Maul

Kids also can:

  • Create a giant LEGO Star Wars mural, brick by brick
  • Build their own LEGO Star Wars model
  • Search for LEGO droids throughout MINILAND USA
  • Learn tips and tricks from our LEGO Master Model Builders
  • Build the world’s largest LEGO Yoda model
  • Meet LEGO Darth Vader
  • Dress up as their favorite LEGO Star Wars character and participate in our intergalactic costume parade (ages 12 and under)

…and much, much more, including giveaways, fun photo ops, opportunities to win LEGO Star Wars prizes and exclusive retail offers.

New this year: Are you more rookie or Wookiee? Test your family’s Star Wars knowledge and LEGO building skills against other families during a just-for-fun competition!

All activities will take place both weekends and are included with all forms of park admission. No extra ticket or Jedi mind tricks required!

For more information, including savings on advance purchase of admission tickets, on-site accommodations, multi-tier annual passes, special events, educational programs, services for guests with disabilities, VIP experiences, military discounts and much more, visit www.LEGOLAND.com/florida, or call (877) 350-5346.