New Addition Coming To Fun Spot American Orlando

Fun Spot Orlando Splash Pad

Fun Spot America announces new Interactive Water Experience at the Orlando location. 

Fun Spot America announced a new interactive water feature that will be opening the Summer of 2019 at the Orlando, Florida location. The new interactive water feature is designed by Orlando’s locally headquartered firm Aquatic Design & Engineering. The new interactive water splash experience with over 30 interactive features that guests can immerse themselves into and will be included as part of the all-day armband pass that Fun Spot offers. 

“We are excited to begin this next phase of our development plan and adding this amazing interactive water feature is the first step we have been working towards for some time now. We have had some very productive planning meetings working towards this new attraction and our fans have been very engaged with us along this journey. Orlando and central Florida is an amazing and beautiful area and we are very thankful to be a part of such a great community.” said John Arie Jr, CEO/Owner at Fun Spot America. 

Fun Spot New Splashpad
Fun Spot America

“When we approached the design for the interactive water feature, we took Fun Spot’s motto of ‘Safe-Clean-Fun’ to heart,” said Josh Martin, President and Creative Director of Aquatic Design & Engineering. “Not only is this water feature a fun way to beat the heat for any member of the family, but it also exceeds the highest levels of safety and sanitation. The nearly 4,000-square-foot interactive water feature includes state-of-the-art slip-resistant soft flooring, and it uses environmentally-friendly, advanced UV Ray technology to disinfect the water without harsh chemicals.” 

  • The new interactive water feature also conserves water using detection sensors that only run the features when guests are present. 
  • All of the water toys and spraying elements have been proven to encourage child development and stimulate the brain through toys that move, twist, or spin.
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#ICYMI Rivers of Light: We Are One Coming to Animal Kingdom

Rivers of Light We Are One DAK Disney's Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World WDW
Walt Disney World

Rivers of Light: We Are One Show to debut this summer at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

A little over two years ago, the nighttime celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World, debuted featuring illuminated lantern floats, beautiful imagery inspired by nature, fascinating performers, a soaring musical score, and innovative special effects. 

And this summer, an updated and enhanced version of the show entitled Rivers of Light: We Are One will debut on the Discovery River Amphitheater at Disney’s Animal Kingdom starting May 24th in time for Memorial Day Weekend.

“Rivers of Light: We Are One introduces additional, stunning imagery and familiar animal characters from Disneynature films, along with a colorful tapestry of classic moments from Disney animation, to express our connection with animals and the emotions and milestones we all share in our journey through the great circle of life,” according to Shawn Slater on the Disney Parks Blog. “The music of “Rivers of Light: We Are One” weaves together the original musical score and familiar Disney themes to create a powerful arrangement that inspires and carries us through moments of discovery, fun, friendship, fear, love and family.”

If you aren’t familiar with the Rivers of Light nighttime show, here is a description:

Eastern festival traditions merge with innovative technology to make Rivers of Light a visual treat unlike any other.

The lush lagoon setting is a central character itself—an ever-changing canvas for the unveiling of an unforgettable tale. Discovery River comes alive with light as a thousand flickering fireflies lead a captivating procession across the water.

Giant floating flowers perform an intricate water ballet as glowing boats drift by. As the story unfolds, original video projections and choreographed laser animation combine to illuminate moments of the celebration like living pixie dust.

Before your eyes, clusters of lantern light shift and shape into stunning animal spirit forms—the Tiger, Turtle, Elephant and Owl. Spellbound, you’re transported across Asian jungles and tropical oceans to African savannas and North American mountains.

Your dreamlike journey culminates in a triumphant finale of song, light, color and earthly elements that leaves you with a profound sense of peace and oneness with nature.

Know Before You Go – Rivers of Light
  • As seating is limited, please plan to arrive early. FastPass+ selections or dining packages are recommended.
  • This show is performed on select nights and runs for approximately 15 minutes. Be sure to check the Entertainment Schedule, the My Disney Experience app, or pick up the Times Guide in the park for the most up-to-date schedule.
  • Due to the nearby animal residents, the enchanting show does not include fireworks.
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KareKare Curl at Aquatica Orlando

KareKare Curl Aquatica Orlando

For the second year in a row, Aquatica Orlando has opened a new attraction – KareKare Curl – brining a new thrill to my favorite waterpark!

In case you were wondering where the attraction gets its name, let me tell you!

“KareKare” means “waves” in the Maori language and when combined with “Curl” meaning in a curved shape, this new ride could be described as a “curve shaped wave” which riders will experience when climbing the vertical wave wall in a high-adrenaline experience full of moments of weightlessness. 

As with any new attraction, there are a few things know about before you board your raft to take on. KareKare Curl.

Know Before You Go – KareKare Curl

On KareKare, there are no single riders allowed and the ride requires two riders per raft.

weight KareKare Curl Aquatica Orlando

The maximum weight combined of both riders is 400 lbs (182 kgs) with an individual maximum weight of 250 lbs (113 kgs).

KareKare Curl Aquatica Orlando
First off…sorry for the feet pic… You and your ride buddy will have to step on a scale to check that you meet weight requirements. This may seem awkward at first, but just remember that it is for your safety and that rider groups are switched often.

Riders must be 48 inches tall to ride KareKare Curl.

KareKare Curl Aquatica Orlando

There is a new raft design for KareKare Curl where you ride face to face with your ride buddy.

KareKare Curl Aquatica Orlando

More timid riders are able to wear a life vest, and they’re free to use and can be found just outside of the entrance to the attraction,

KareKare Curl Aquatica Orlando

Currently, KareKare Curl is not part of their Quick Queue program…but it looks like it will be later this year!

KareKare Curl Aquatica Orlando

You can take a look at the full list of Safety Instructions below…

KareKare Curl Aquatica Orlando

Will you be taking a ride on KareKare Curl at Aquatica? I know I will!!!

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FIRST LOOK WEEK: Friday’s Magical Creatures

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter

All week the Universal Orlando Resort has given guests a first-ever look at the magical creatures they’ll encounter inside the most highly themed, immersive coaster experience yet – Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure when it opens on June 13th at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

#ICYMI: Check out the other Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Reveals!

With that being said let’s take a look at today’s Magical Creatures…Blast-Ended Skrewts

For the first time ever, you’ll be able to come face-to-face (or face-to-rear) with a Blast-Ended Skrewt on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

Described as a cross between scorpions and elongated crabs, Skrewts aren’t afraid to attack other Skrewts they encounter and have incredibly strong armor that can’t be penetrated by spells – proving to be a challenge for Hagrid since they hatched.

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter
Universal Orlando Resort

On your journey through the Forbidden Forest during Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, you’ll encounter Blast-Ended Skrewts up to 8 feet long with tails up to ten-feet high and topped with a massive stinger.

The Blast-Ended Skrewt is the main lesson for the day but, as with all adventures with Hagrid, things don’t always go to plan…

Here are some Fun Fact that the Universal Orlando Blog shared about Blast-Ended Skrewts:
  • Blast-Ended Skrewts were first introduced in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and also mentioned in Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • As you may have read in the book, Hagrid created these unique creatures by crossbreeding Fire Crabs and Manticores – fierce creatures in their own right
  • Skrewts create actual fire from their ‘blasting-ends,’ igniting at random intervals – so be wary during your encounter
  • Even if you’re far enough to avoid their fire, watch out as you may still catch a whiff of their powerful scent… known to smell like rotting fish
Fluffy Three-Headed Dog Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter and the Sorecerers Stone

The epic new addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be an immersive experience unlike any other, combining a new level of storytelling and innovative coaster technology with elaborate environments – including an actual forest with more than 1,200 live trees – to bring an all-new wizarding world adventure to life.

Guests will embark on a journey with Hagrid – one of the most beloved characters in theHarry Potter films – into the Forbidden Forest to discover some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures.

Thanks for joining me this week! I can’t wait for the opening of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventures! Do you have a creature that you’re looking forward to seeing the most?

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FIRST LOOK WEEK: Thursday’s Magical Creatures

Universal Orlando Resort Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Centaurs Thursday

All week the Universal Orlando Resort is giving guests a first-ever look at the magical creatures they’ll encounter inside the most highly themed, immersive coaster experience yet – Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure when it opens on June 13th at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

#ICYMI: Check out the other Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Reveals!

With that being said let’s take a look at today’s Magical Creatures…Centaurs!

A Centaur is a magical creature with a human head, torso and arms, joined to a horse’s body. They are, however, their own species and should be treated with great respect.

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter
Universal Orlando Resort

As you make your way into the dark forest on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, look out for this mysterious archer in the distance ready to strike. He stands at 8 ft. tall, which would probably make him a great athlete in the Muggle world.

Here are some Fun Fact that the Universal Orlando Blog shared about Centaurs.

  • In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Hagrid is friendly with the Centaur herds as he regularly enters the Forbidden Forest to help injured creatures
  • According to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, these forest-dwelling beings usually live in herds of between 10 and 50 and are well-versed in magical healing, divination, archery and astronomy
  • Centaurs made their first appearance in the films during Harry Potter’s detention in the Forbidden Forest in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Fluffy Three-Headed Dog Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter and the Sorecerers Stone
Universal Orlando Resort

The epic new addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be an immersive experience unlike any other, combining a new level of storytelling and innovative coaster technology with elaborate environments – including an actual forest with more than 1,200 live trees – to bring an all-new wizarding world adventure to life. Guests will embark on a journey with Hagrid – one of the most beloved characters in theHarry Potter films – into the Forbidden Forest to discover some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures.

next up is the final creature – not seen before in the films. Careful, you may want to approach from the front….

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter
Universal Orlando Resort
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FIRST LOOK WEEK: Wednesday’s (Sort Of) Magical Creatures Reveal

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter

All week the Universal Orlando Resort is giving guests a first-ever look at the magical creatures they’ll encounter inside the most highly themed, immersive coaster experience yet – Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure when it opens on June 13th at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

#ICYMI: Check out the other Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Monday & Tuesday Reveals!

With that being said let’s take a look at today’s (sort of) Magical Creatures…Devil’s Snare!

While Devil’s Snare isn’t a creature, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to mention this perilous plant from the wizarding world – often strangling people who touch it with its dexterous vines. Devil’s Snare flourishes in damp, dark environments and it has a strong dislike of light and fire – remember that for your journey!

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter
Universal Orlando Resort

Speaking of your journey, Devil’s Snare is one of the many challenges you’ll face on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. You may even find yourself entangled in a thicket of this dangerous plant but remember to remain calm! If you don’t, you may end up entangled in hundreds of its vines…

And fun fact about Devil’s Snare, it made its first film appearance in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when the brave Hermione told her friends how to defeat this dangerous force.

Here are some Fun Fact that the Universal Orlando Blog shared about Devil’s Snare. 

  • A fun fact about Devil’s Snare, it made its first film appearance in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when the brave Hermione told her friends how to defeat this dangerous force.
Fluffy Three-Headed Dog Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter and the Sorecerers Stone

The epic new addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be an immersive experience unlike any other, combining a new level of storytelling and innovative coaster technology with elaborate environments – including an actual forest with more than 1,200 live trees – to bring an all-new wizarding world adventure to life. Guests will embark on a journey with Hagrid – one of the most beloved characters in theHarry Potter films – into the Forbidden Forest to discover some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures.

next up is a majestic being not to be confused with a horse or human.

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter
Universal Orlando Resort
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FIRST LOOK WEEK: Tuesday’s Magical Creatures

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter

All week the Universal Orlando Resort is giving guests a first-ever look at the magical creatures they’ll encounter inside the most highly themed, immersive coaster experience yet – Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure when it opens on June 13th at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

#ICYMI: Check out yesterday’s Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure creatures feature!

Fluffy Three-Headed Dog in Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter and the Sorecerers Stone
Universal Orlando Resort

Today’s Magical Creature reveal features…Cornish Pixies!

Cornish pixies are electric blue tricksters who love to create mischief – often at the expense of others. These mischievous creatures fly, and have also been known to seize unwary humans by the ears and deposit them at the tops of tall trees and buildings – poor Neville Longbottom…

In Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, you’ll see these troublesome creatures wreaking havoc on an infamous blue car… and in places you may not expect.

They’re about 13 inches tall and you’ll find more than 20 pixies throughout your adventure. Happy hunting!

Here are some Fun Facts that the Universal Orlando Blog shared about Cornish Pixies. 

Magical Creature Cornish Pixies Fun Facts:

  • According to Pottermore, Cornish pixies can produce a high-pitched jabbering that’s only comprehensible to other pixies
  • Cornish pixies made their first film appearance in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets during Gilderoy Lockhart’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class
Fluffy Three-Headed Dog Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter and the Sorecerers Stone

The epic new addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be an immersive experience unlike any other, combining a new level of storytelling and innovative coaster technology with elaborate environments – including an actual forest with more than 1,200 live trees – to bring an all-new wizarding world adventure to life. Guests will embark on a journey with Hagrid – one of the most beloved characters in theHarry Potter films – into the Forbidden Forest to discover some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures.

Next up is an extraordinary plant with constricting magical abilities. WARNING – STRUGGLING WILL ONLY CAUSE IT TO TIGHTEN ITS GRIP.

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter
Universal Orlando Resort
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FIRST LOOK WEEK: Magical Creatures coming to Universal Orlando

Fluffy Three-Headed Dog Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter and the Sorecerers Stone

Universal Orlando Resort Releases First-Ever Look At Magical Creatures That Await In Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure During Week-Long Reveal

The epic new addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens June 13

Starting today through April 19th, the Universal Orlando Resort is giving guests a first-ever look at the magical creatures they’ll encounter inside the most highly themed, immersive coaster experience yet – Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure when it opens on June 13th at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

The epic new addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be an immersive experience unlike any other, combining a new level of storytelling and innovative coaster technology with elaborate environments – including an actual forest with more than 1,200 live trees – to bring an all-new wizarding world adventure to life. Guests will embark on a journey with Hagrid – one of the most beloved characters in theHarry Potter films – into the Forbidden Forest to discover some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures.

Every day through April 19, guests can visit the Universal Orlando Blog at 11 a.m. EDT to get a first look at the creatures – from familiar fan-favorites in the Harry Potter film series to a creature that’s never been seen in the films – and where they can be found in the new experience. 

Here are some Fun Facts that the Universal Orlando Blog shared about Fluffy.  

Fluffy Three-Headed Dog in Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter and the Sorecerers Stone
Universal Orlando Resort

Fun Facts:

  • Fluffy is a giant three-headed dog that’s known for being the trusted guard dog of the Sorcerer’s Stone. And, as many of you know, Fluffy has a weakness – he falls asleep to the sound of music.
  • In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Fluffy belongs to Hagrid, who adopted him from a “Greek chappie” he met in a pub
  • Experts on Pottermore say Fluffy was inspired by Cerberus – the dog that in Greek mythology guarded the gates of the Underworld – and, just like Fluffy, he fell asleep to the sound of music
  • Fluffy made his first and only appearance in the film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • In Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, you’ll confront this gigantic, beloved creature deep in the Forbidden Forest. Proceed with caution – he’s a guard dog first and foremost. And in this new adventure, Fluffy weighs 8,000 Ibs., which is roughly as big as two standard Muggle cars.

The Universal Orlando Blog also shared a hint about tomorrow’s creature reveal….

Our next creature of the week is a swarm of mischief-makers who love their tricks.

GUYS! I can’t tell you how much I love this idea, and I can’t wait to share the information with you all!

Fluffy Three-Headed Dog Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Universal Orlando Resort Universal's Islands of Adventure Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade Harry Potter and the Sorecerers Stone

When it opens on June 13, 2019, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventurewill join the lineup of award-winning entertainment experiences in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort and bring an all-new adventure inspired by J.K. Rowling’s beloved stories to life. Guests will join Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class and fly deep into the Forbidden Forest aboard magical motorbikes to brave the mysteries and thrills beyond the grounds of Hogwarts castle. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will be located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. 

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom hosts a wild Party for the Planet

Party for the Planet 2019 Disneys Animal Kingdom

Today Jennifer Fickley-Baker shared the following details about the Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the Disney Parks Blog

Who’s ready to celebrate? In just a few weeks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be hosting its annual Earth Day celebration, Party for the Planet, April 20-22. During this special three-day event, guests are invited to explore, engage and connect with the magic of nature through family-friendly experiences and specialty offerings.

Party for the Planet kicks off the moment you enter the park, as no Guest will be able to miss a larger-than-life marine debris sculpture celebrating Disneynature Penguins on display in the Oasis.

Party for the Planet 2019 Disneys Animal Kingdom Debris Sculpture
Walt Disney World

The fun continues throughout the park with unique character appearances, special entertainment, and commemorative photo opportunities available with Disney PhotoPass photographers.

Throughout this special weekend event you can meet some of our amazing animal care experts, animal educators and conservation experts to see first-hand how Disney cares for animals and works to save endangered species worldwide.

Party for the Planet 2019 Disneys Animal Kingdom Birds flying
Walt Disney World

Watch animal feedings and training experiences, specially planned for Party for the Planet, to learn how our keepers care for some of your favorite animals.

Looking for a unique experience during Party for the Planet? Take a journey through tales of adventure and cuisine during Tiffins Talks, a special dining experience April 20-22 from 1-3 p.m., featuring the beloved creative force behind the concept, design and buildout of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney Imagineer and Portfolio Executive Joe Rohde. Join Joe for a unique conversation as he regales you with stories from his travels through a delectable 4-course lunch featuring global dishes, desserts and specialty beverages. Space is limited. Pricing for this dining package is $199 plus tax and gratuity and requires separate park admission. Reservations can be made beginning today by calling 407 WDW-DINE (407 939-3463).

Party for the Planet 2019 Disneys Animal Kingdom Tiffins Talks
Walt Disney World

Guests are also invited to meet Joe Rohde at Mombasa Marketplace, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. April 20 and 22, where he will be on hand to sign his own unique artwork, a commemorative lion print that will be on sale throughout the event while supplies last. A wristband is required to meet Joe Rohde. For further details visit the Party for the Planet webpage.

Party for the Planet 2019 Disneys Animal Kingdom Joe Rhode
Walt Disney World

As if all the fun activities happening for Party for the Planet weren’t enough, on Earth Day, April 22, there will be a full assortment of “The Lion King” merchandise available at Mombasa Marketplace!  You can feel the love and take home so many fun souvenirs like this adorable Simba mug, Hakuna Matata Spirit Jersey, this “roaringly” cute Simba youth baseball hat or one of the many new items recently added to this collection. #LionKingCelebration

Party for the Planet 2019 Disneys Animal Kingdom Lion King Spirit Jersey
Walt Disney World

There are so many incredible ways to celebrate nature and the place we all call home at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We hope to see you there!

Visit Disneyworld.com/partyfortheplanet for the latest information about the celebration. #PartyforthePlanet

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Orlando Science Center Seeking Community Partners

Pompeii exhibit Orland Science Center

Submissions are being accepted to help bring the story of this ancient city to life as part of the Pompeii: The Immortal City exhibition

ORLANDO, Fla. 

Next year the Orlando Science Center will welcome Pompeii: The Immortal City exhibition, and they are inviting artists and cultural organizations from around Central Florida to help bring the ancient city of Pompeii to life with complimentary art exhibits, educational lectures, and artistic performances.

As part of the exhibition coming to the Orlando Science Center will be allocating $75,000 to support partnership programs and collaborations leading up to and coinciding with the run of the exhibition Pompeii: The Immortal City, opening summer 2020. 

Selected program partners will develop engaging opportunities tied to the rich and influential culture of ancient Pompeii and the Roman world.

“A critical aspect of our mission is to support the creative and educational community,” says Orlando Science Center President & CEO JoAnn Newman. “Orlando is well known for its arts and sciences and we’re excited to bring them together in anticipation of this new exhibition.”

Pompeii: The Immortal City exhibition brings to light the extraordinary achievements of this ancient culture through artworks, interactive mechanical devices and multimedia experiences. The media-rich exhibition takes visitors on a journey through time into the daily life of the first-century Roman town, and places them at the center of events, as they hear and feel the roar of the volcano erupting before their eyes. 

Submissions for proposals are being accepted now through April 30, 2019. Applicants can register at www.osc.org/pompeii. Partnership events and programs should have the goal of appealing to diverse and broad audiences. No proposal is too small, and collaborations with other institutions are highly encouraged.

Orlando Science Center is one of only four locations in the United States to host this exhibit, thanks to generous support from the Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs Blockbuster Fund.

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Busch Gardens Tampa Announces Tigris Opening

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Tigris
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Triple-launch coaster Tigris to officially open Friday, April 19 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla. 

Just in time for the holiday weekend, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay will officially open Tigrisa triple-launch steel roller coaster, on Friday, April 19, 2019.

The new attraction is Florida’s tallest launch coaster and the ninth coaster in the park’s collection, solidifying Busch Gardens Tampa Bay as Florida’s thrill ride leader.

Tigris will catapult riders through an exhilarating array of looping twists with forward and backward motion, breath-taking drops, a 150-foot skyward surge, and an inverted heartline roll, reaching a top speed of more than 60 miles per hour. 

Riders will race riders along more than 1,800 feet of steel track designed to mimic the awe-inspiring agility of the world’s largest and most powerful cat –the tiger.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Tigris
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Tigris joins a top-rated list of favorites for coaster enthusiasts, including Cheetah Hunt, the park’s longest coaster, SheiKra, a 200-foot tall floorless dive coaster, Falcon’s Fury, a 335-foot freestanding drop tower, Montu, an inverted coaster, Kumba, and Cobra’s Curse, to name a few.

The best way to experience Tigris and all of the attractions at Busch Gardens as well as more than a dozen seasonal events throughout the year is with an Annual Pass. 

Guests can choose from four unique passes for the benefits and value they want most. Pass Members will also enjoy exclusive ride time on Tigris for the first two weekends in May before the ride opens for the day to general guests.

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2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Overview

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2019
Walt Disney World – Matt Stroshane, photographer

The 26th Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival has burst into bloom at the Walt Disney World Resort filling the park with the sights, sounds, and flavors of Spring daily until June 3, 2019. 

Lush Gardens

During the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival breathtaking flower beds, plots of plant life, and wildlife habitats can be found in every area of the park.

From Bonsai trees to butterflies, there’s a bounty of displays ready to capture your family’s attention and imagination.

Topiaries with character

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2019
Walt Disney World – Matt Stroshane, photographer

This year scattered around the park, 70 Disney-crafted topiaries have been created by the talented crew of Disney horticulturists.

Interactive Play Scapes

Step off the beaten Festival path to experience two new whimsical play gardens with fun, hands-on activities and interactive play scapes.

Bo Peep’s Playtime Training Grounds, located near Test Track, is a playful playground and garden inspired by Bo Peep and the rest of your Toy Story pals.

The Play Full Garden, located on the Imagination Walkway, will inspire the entire family to gather for interactive activities that focus on nutrition and wellness.

Outdoor Kitchens

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2019
Walt Disney World – Harrison Cooney

As festival-goers take in all the floral wonders of the Festival, they can also find culinary delights at over a dozen Outdoor Kitchens around Epcot’s World Showcase. 

The Outdoor Kitchens open at 11am, and just outside of each location a garden offers inspiration for learning to grow healthy ingredients. 

Garden Rocks Concert Series

The popular Garden Rocks Concert Series will rock every evening of the festival with three performances by chart-topping artists on the America Gardens Theatre Stage.

Here are the performers you’ll see:

  • April 3 through 4 – Christopher Cross – NEW to Garden Rocks!
  • April 5 through 7 – The Spinners
  • April 8 through 9 – Dennis DeYoung, original member of the group Styx
  • April 10 through 11 – John Michael Montgomery – NEW!
  • April 12 through 13 – Sister Sledge – NEW to Garden Rocks!
  • April 14 through 16 – Night Ranger
  • April 17 through 19 – Sister Hazel – NEW to Garden Rocks!
  • April 20 through 21 – Steven Curtis Chapman – NEW!
  • April 22 through 23 – TobyMac – NEW!
  • April 24 through 26 – Lonestar
  • April 27 through 30 – The Orchestra, starring former members of ELO
  • May 1 through 4 – Herman’s Hermits, starring Peter Noone
  • May 5 through 7 – Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles
  • May 8 through 9 – A Flock of Seagulls – NEW!
  • May 10 through 11 – Marshall Tucker Band – NEW to Garden Rocks! 
  • May 12 through 13 – Peabo Bryson – NEW!
  • May 14 through 15 – Richard Marx – NEW to Garden Rocks!
  • May 16 through 19 – Starship, starring Mickey Thomas
  • May 20 through 21 – Colin Hay of Men at Work – NEW!
  • May 22 through 23 – War – NEW!
  • May 24 through 27 – The Guess Who
  • May 28 through 29 – Jon Secada
  • May 30 through June 1 – Blood, Sweat and Tears
  • June 2 through June 3 – Eddie Palmieri – NEW!

Additionally, guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at 15 popular Epcot restaurants with guaranteed seating for a nightly concert with a Garden Rocks Dining Package. Dining packages can be booked by calling (407) WDW-DINE.

Festival Exclusive Guided Tours

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 2019
Walt Disney World – Matt Stroshane, photographer

Guided tours are available for guests interested in learning more about nature’s magic exclusively during the Festival. 

The Royal Tea Garden Tour, presented by Twinings, takes place each festival morning at the United Kingdom Pavilion, and guides guests through the tranquil tea garden to learn the history and artistry behind growing and blending tea.

The Gardens of the World tour, offered on select days, lets guests join a Disney horticulturist for a three-hour walking tour to explore the festival gardens and topiaries discovering new plant materials and gardening techniques to use in their home gardens.

Epcot admission and a fee are required to join these tours. To make a reservation, call (407) WDW-TOUR.

Family Scavenger Hunts

Gardeners of all ages are invited to participate in Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration family scavenger hunt through the garden pollination trail on a search for Spike’s best blooms as he pollinates flower beds across Epcot. 

The botanical-happy hunt begins by purchasing a map at Port of Entry for $6.99 plus tax, then continues with a visit to each World Showcase pavilion.

The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, including all gardens and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

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Monster Jam World Finals XX

DISCLOSURE: This post was created in partnership with the Monster Jam World Finals XX to help spread the word about this event. All opinions and thoughts are 100% my own.

Monster Jam World Finals Orlando 2019

Monster Jam, the unexpected, unscripted and unforgettable larger-than-life sport, is proud to announce Orlando, Florida as the first host city in Monster Jam World Finals new schedule. 

ORLANDO, Fla.

The Monster Jam World Finals XX will be held at Camping World Stadium May 10–11, 2019 featuring all-new competition formats, including an elevated starting line above the seats, and seven championship crowning moments. 

Monster Jam World Finals Orlando 2019
Feld Motor Sports

As in previous World Finals events, there will be the following competitions:

  • Racing
  • Freestyle
  • Showdown (World Finals Qualifier)

And World Finals XX will see the debut of the following competitions:

  • High Jump
  • Two-Wheel Skills
  • ATV Racing
  • Speedster Racing
  • Speedster Obstacle Course

At the end of the two-day event, a total of 7 World Finals Champions will be crowned. 

Monster Jam World Finals Orlando 2019
2018 Monster Jam World Finals Winner Adam Anderson – Feld Motor Sports

“We are thrilled to announce the next step in the evolution of the Monster Jam franchise as we embark on a new chapter. Like other major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl and the NCAA Final Four, Feld Entertainment will bring our marquee event to world class destinations across the U.S., starting here in Orlando with our 20th Anniversary Monster Jam World Finals,” said Kenneth Feld, Chairman & CEO, Feld Entertainment. “Orlando is a city that is not only a premier sports destination, but it’s a city synonymous with family entertainment.  We’re excited to make Monster Jam World Finals accessible to even more fans, with the anticipation of over 50,000 fans from around the world converging on “The City Beautiful.”

The championship weekend will deliver unprecedented access to the most Monster Jam athletes and the larger-than-life Monster Jam trucks they drive with a free Pit Party from 11am – 5:30pm with your same day event ticket.

Monster Jam World Finals Orlando 2019
Feld Motor Sports

“On behalf of our board of directors and community partners, we are looking forward to hosting Monster Jam World Finals in 2019 and 2020,” said Jason Siegel, CEO of the Central Florida Sports Commission. “We want to thank the Feld family for the opportunity to welcome one of their premier events to Camping World Stadium, and we know their fans and athletes will have a tremendous experience here in Central Florida.“

Tickets to Monster Jam World Finals XX are on sale now, and you can receive 20% off select seats with code BLOG20. Not valid on VIP seating. Hurry for the best available seats! Code expires May 9, 2019.

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NBA Experience Opening Date Announced

NBA Experience Disney Springs West Side Walt Disney World

Guests can personalize their experience at this all new destination, bringing NBA in WNBA moments to life at Disney Springs 

The Walt Disney World Resort just announced that the NBA Experience, a brand new destination coming to Disney Springs, will officially open on August 12, 2019.

The NBA experience will give guests a chance to feel like a basketball superstar in one-of-a-kind environment packed with 13 interactive elements and hands on activities across 44,000 feet and two floors.

NBA Experience Disney Springs West Side Walt Disney World
Rendering: Walt Disney World

The design of the NBA Experience at Disney Springs was created in collaboration with the NBA, and will include immersive environments such as an entryway designed to make guests feel as if they’re walking through the players tunnel at an NBA or WNBA arena.

A ticket to the NBA experience grants guess access to every activity, in any order they choose with the ability to return to stations to improve performances or learn even more about the game, players, and the teams they love.

In addition to all of the experiences you can have, there will also be a retail store featuring NBA themed merchandise.

NBA Experience Disney Springs West Side Walt Disney World
Rendering: Walt Disney World

Here are a few of the elements that you will find inside of the NBA experience at Disney Springs:

  • A Slam Dunk Challenge, where guests can change the height of the standard 10-foot hoop to as low as 7-feet to perform their own superstar moves – captured by burst photography.
  • An activity that tests shooting skills with spots on a court that light up as guests move from one location to another attempting to sink as many shots as possible in 15 seconds.
  • A way for guests to see how they stack up to some of the world’s best basketball players by measuring their vertical leap, wingspan, shooting, and dribbling.
  • Personalization for various activities with guests names and associating me activity with their favorite NBA or WNBA teams.
  • Real-time technology to aggregate statistics of NBA and WNBA games and players for continuous updates, while leader boards will track top NBA experience performers throughout each day.
NBA Experience Disney Springs West Side Walt Disney World
Rendering: Walt Disney World
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2019 Epcot International Festival of Arts Must Do’s

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2019 - Entrance

DISCLOSURE: I was invited by Walt Disney World to preview the Epcot International Festival of Arts, however all opinions are my own.

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is back to kick off 2019 with an even larger celebration of the visual, culinary, and performing arts until February 25th.

During the 39 day Festival, you will find a large selection of activities that are included with your admission, concerts featuring Broadway stars, and food that is both beautiful and tasty.

With so much to choose from, I thought that I would share my top picks for a day at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts!

2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts Must Do’s

1. Disney on Broadway Concert Series

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2019 - Disney on Broadway Concert Series

My number one choice should come as no surprise! 

The Disney on Broadway Concert Series, with performances at the American Gardens Theatre, features Disney on Broadway stars singing a selection of songs from award-winning Disney on Broadway productions

New this year, the Disney on Broadway Concert Series has expanded to seven days a week during the festival, providing more opportunities than ever before to bask in live Disney magic.

The lineup of performers and songs will rotate regularly, and you can find more information on both on the official Epcot International Festival of the Arts website.

The concert series is included with park admission with shows at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. nightly.

The Disney on Broadway Concert Series is INCREDIBLY popular, and lines form well before the shows begin. However dining packages are available at participating Epcot restaurants and guarantee show seating, and reservations can be made by calling (407) WDW-DINE.

2. Find a picture perfect snack at the Festival Food Studios

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts will feature 13 Food Studios, plus additional creative food and beverage offerings, scattered around Epcot, with an expanded selection of delicious new tastes to savor.

My favorites this year from the preview were:

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2019 - Beef Wellington

Beef wellington with mushroom bordelaise, fennel cream and roasted baby vegetables that can be found at The Artist’s Table.

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2019 - Salmon

Smoked salmon and cream gâteau with egg yolk cream, paddlefish caviar and micro-herbs is sure to be a new favorite at The Painter’s Palate.

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2019 - Strawberry

Almond frangipane cake with raspberry and chocolate at Pop Eats!.

3. Find fun photo stops

Another one of my favorite things to do during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts is to step inside works of art and take fun photos.

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2019 - Photo Ops

These fun photo ops are scattered around the park, and at each one you will find a Disney PhotoPass photographer to help capture your iconic pose.

4. Learn something new at a complimentary Festival Seminar

Epcot International Festival of the Arts - Seminar

Experience a 30-minute seminar led by artists giving helpful instruction for producing your own artwork at home.

These seminars take place in the Odyssey Festival Center from 11:30am until noon and are available on a first-come,-first-serve basis.

All events are subject to cancellation or change, so you will want to check your Epcot International Festival of the Arts times guide. A full list of the Seminars can be found online.

5. Revisit the Animation Academy

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2019 - Animation Academy

During the Epcot International Festival of the Arts you can once again pick up your pencil at the Animation Academy where you can learn how to draw some of your favorite Disney characters at the Odyssey Events Pavilion.

6. Make your own masterpiece at Festival Workshops

A variety of workshops led by professionals will teach guests to create their own masterpiece using a variety of artistic techniques Friday-Monday for $39 per participant plus tax at the Odyssey Events Pavilion.

The workshops take place from 1:30pm until 2:45pm, and must be booked in advance by calling (407) WDW-TOUR. If you are an Annual Passholders and/or Disney Vacation Club member, you will receive a 15% discount.

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2019 - Odyssey Festival Event Center

All events are subject to cancellation or change, so you will want to check your Epcot International Festival of the Arts times guide. A full list of the Workshops can be found online.

7. Become a Festival Artist

You don’t just get to see the art at the Epcot International Festival of Arts, because you can grab a paintbrush and help create a wall mural along World Showcase Plaza.

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2019 - Mural

After you finish your squares, make sure to visit the mural throughout the day to watch it come to life!

8. Take part in an artful scavenger hunt

Help Figment learn about art on this scavenger hunt around World Showcase with Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt.

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2019 - Scavenger Hunt

To get started, purchase your map and stickers at Pin Central, Disney Traders, or World Traveler. Then, search for Figment hiding inside famous works of art at each World Showcase pavilion (Here’s a hint… look for the Figment-themed picture frame). Every time you find Figment, add the corresponding sticker to the pavilion on your map.

Once your journey is complete, return your map to Disney Traders for an artful surprise.

9. Don’t forget to exit through the Gift Shop

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2019 - Festival Merchandise

You won’t want to miss the chance to take home a piece of artwork or a souvenir from your time at the Epcot International Festival of Arts.

Art collectors and Disney enthusiasts alike will find artwork for sale throughout the entire park, from the Art of Disney store to Festival Markets.

In addition, special merchandise will be available at Mouse Gear and other Epcot locations featuring the festival’s logo adorning shirts, mugs, totes and other charming items.

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