A brand-new family raft slide is splashing into Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark in spring 2018. Ray Rush promises to be a fully-loaded water adventure which will combine three unique slide elements, never before seen at Aquatica, into one action-packed attraction the entire family can enjoy together.
Ray Rush Coming to Aquatica Orlando in 2018
At nearly 60 feet tall, Ray Rush is where family and friends can take on three exciting thrills as they slide, splash and soar like never before. First, riders will be launched at 33 feet per second with water jets designed to propel rafts into the first of several enclosed tube sections. Next, riders will swirl into a colossal translucent sphere which spins the raft around the slide walls before entering another enclosed tube section. Finally, riders will drop into an open-air halfpipe that resembles the shape of a manta ray. Rafts will soar back and forth on the wings of the manta before entering the final enclosed tube section that ends with a splash.
“Ray Rush will offer a ride experience you won’t be able to get anywhere else in Florida. Aquatica will be the first waterpark in the state to combine these three unique elements into one attraction” said Cathy Valeriano, Aquatica Orlando vice president. “Ray Rush is the perfect addition to our attraction portfolio, complementing what is already one of the most family-friendly waterslide lineups in Orlando.”
Ray Rush will have a height requirement of 42” to appeal to families with children and will accommodate up to four riders per raft. The new slide will be located on the north side of the park next to Walkabout Waters.
In order to make way for the new attraction, HooRoo Run will close permanently on October 31, 2017. To accommodate construction, Walhalla Wave will temporarily close on this date and re-open in spring 2018 alongsideRay Rush. For a limited-time, Aquatica Pass Members will receive a one-time Quick Queue to ride both HooRoo Run and Walhalla Wave on select days in October before construction begins in November.
The best way to experience Aquatica is with an Aquatica Orlando Annual Pass. For a limited-time, Florida residents can purchase an Aquatica Orlando Annual Pass for only $10 per month with EZpay. Aquatica Pass Members enjoy unlimited admission and free parking as well as discounts and the opportunity to be among the first to ride Ray Rush when it opens in spring 2018. For more information, visit AquaticaOrlando.com.
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games is the newest premier entertainment and event destination featuring heart-pounding attractions, delicious cuisine and unique event spaces under one roof.
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games Orlando Preview Weekend
Orlando Preview Weekend will be held on Friday, September 29 through Sunday, October 1 during regular hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Friday – Saturday: 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Andretti Grill opens at 11 a.m. daily
All Central Florida residents with a valid ID will be treated to a complimentary $10 Play Card to enjoy arcade and non-redemption prize games (additional restrictions may apply).
10 Ways to Play Under One Roof
Located within walking distance of the Orlando/Orange County Convention Center, the highly anticipated Andretti Indoor Karting & Games entertainment complex features
• Multi-level indoor karting
• Full-service restaurant and bar
• 12 lanes of boutique bowling
• 120+ arcade and prize games
• Two-level laser tag
• Six virtual reality (VR) CXC racing simulators
• 7D HD dark ride motion theater
• Extreme ropes course and curved zip line
• 10,000 square feet of event space
• 100+ HD TVs for sports viewing
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games features high-speed electric SODI RTX Superkarts. The professionally designed multi-level, banked turn, modular track was created exclusively for the Orlando location by Kart360 with the most elevation changes and banked turns in the world. When the three tracks are combined, the Super Track is the largest indoor karting track in the United States.
Andretti Grill is a scratch-kitchen, full-service restaurant and bar featuring favorites such as Big Green Egg® slow-smoked ribs and wood-fired brick oven pizzas. Guests can catch all the action of their favorite games on more than 100 HD TVs and projection screens while enjoying refreshing libations at the Main Bar or the unique Sky Bar, with a 180° view of the track and LED illuminated domed roof.
No General Admission – Pay as You Play
· Single adult race is $21.95, Single junior race is $14.95
· Boutique Bowling: starting at $24.95 (shoes and socks extra)
· 7D HD dark ride motion theater: $9.95
· Extreme ropes course: $11.95
Memberships are $5.95 for a single guest and $14.95 for a family membership.
Memberships are valid for one year from date of purchase and are valid at any Andretti Indoor Karting & Games location. Members enjoy up to 20 percent off karting and attractions plus 15 percent off arcade play and 10 percent off bowling lane rental and meals in Andretti Grill.
The Halloween party #BuiltForKids returns to LEGOLAND Florida Resort on seven dates in October, featuring a uniquely LEGO lineup of spooky, kooky, brick-tacular activities. With new entertainment joining the fun this year, Brick or Treat Presented by Shutterfly is a can’t-miss event included with all forms of park admission — no extra ticket required!
2017 LEGOLAND Florida Brick or Treat Presented by Shutterfly Dates
October 14-15 (Saturday & Sunday, 10 am-8 pm)
October 21-22 (Saturday & Sunday, 10 am-8 pm)
October 28-29 (Saturday & Sunday, 10 am-8 pm)
October 31 (Tuesday, 10 am-7 pm)
Now in its sixth year, Brick or Treat includes a special Halloween-themed fireworks spectacular each event date (except October 31), trick-or-treating in the theme park, exclusive character meet-and-greets, several hands-on LEGO building activities and giant LEGO models perfect for scary selfies and spooky snapshots. The theme park will be cloaked in boo-tiful Halloween décor with fun activities around every creepy corner.
What’s New at LEGOLAND Florida Brick or Treat?
LEGOLAND Model Citizens will roam the park looking for guests in awesome costumes, with LEGO prizes awarded on the spot to the most creatively dressed
Catch mysterious gravediggers grooving to haunted drums in an all-new show at the Wells Fargo Fun Town Theater
A trio of large LEGO jack-o’-lanterns will come alive each evening for an “animated” performance of spooky tunes
Gather family and friends for a frightful photo opportunity inside a giant LEGO Halloween globe
Master Model Builders will treat kids to LEGO building tricks during a special spider activity in Fun Town, with their creepy crawly creations displayed in a tangled web alongside a fearsome LEGO spider
Watch a vampire magician perform extraordinary magic in LEGO Kingdoms
Be a LEGO Minifigure
The Be-A-Minifigure Costume Shop is now open in Fun Town for a limited run, offering more than 20 LEGO minifigure outfits for boys and girls based on popular themes including LEGO Iconic, LEGO NEXO KNIGHTS, THE LEGO NINJAGO Movie, and The LEGO Batman Movie.
LEGO fans can pick up two spooky sets available for a limited time – Halloween Haunt (#40260) and Vampire and Bat (#40203).
What’s Back at LEGOLAND Florida Brick or Treat?
Photo opportunities with the world’s largest LEGO pumpkin and the 13-foot Vampyre Hearse, a life-size replica of a real LEGO set from the 2014 Monster Fighters line made out of thousands of LEGO and DUPLO® bricks
Exclusive meet-and-greets with LEGO Halloween characters Lord Vampyre, the Mummy, the Mad Scientist, the Witch and Frankenstein
Fistfuls of candy for kids 12 and under while traveling the Brick or Treat Trail
A scavenger hunt in MINILAND USA for a chance to win a LEGO prize pack
A vampire-themed takeover of the LEGO Kingdoms area
Ghoulish goodies, including a pumpkin spice variety of Granny’s Apple Fries and “Worms in Dirt,” a squirmy, wormy dessert kids will love
Except for Tuesday, Oct. 31 (it’s a school night!), each Brick or Treat date will conclude with a ghostly new show featuring the “Tale of Pirates’ Cove” and a Halloween fireworks spectacular in the skies above Lake Eloise. Pick up a complimentary pair of viewing glasses before the show for a brick-tastic LEGO twist.
We all look forward to Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND Florida, and with all the new additions you can find this is sure to be the best year ever!
Halloween at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is more than intense scares, because the Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends are back in October and are perfect for the entire family!
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay extends Sesame Street Halloween Event through October
Family-Friendly Halloween Event Features Popular Sesame Street Friends, Crafts and Fun Fall Activities Every Saturday and Sunday in October
Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends are back at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay with an extended four weeks of Halloween fun each Saturday and Sunday from 11 am until 3:30 pm in October featuring beloved Sesame Street characters, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, Rosita, and other popular friends in their own special Halloween costumes!
Each fun-filled weekend will feature trick-or-treating and fall festival activities including a hay bale maze, dance parties, games and character parades throughout the day as well as very special surprises for each theme including:
Monsters & Fairies – Oct. 7 & 8
Crafts that transform kids into a magical fairy like Abby Cadabby or a loveable monster like Elmo.
Super Grover – Oct. 14 & 15
Unique superhero-inspired crafts and character parades led by Super Grover himself.
Spooky Safari – Oct. 21 & 22
A scavenger hunt with Bert and Ernie, animal ambassadors and safari-inspired Halloween crafts
Rosita’s Halloween Fiesta – Oct. 28 & 29
Fiesta-inspired Halloween crafts and character parades led by Rosita throughout the Safari of Fun area.
Children are welcome to wear Halloween costumes and every weekend is jam-packed with brand-new events and activities, including:
NEW! Fall Festival Activities
Located at Gwazi Field, visitors can participate in a wide variety of fall-inspired activities. Families can enjoy games and events every weekend including a hay-bale maze, pumpkin ring toss and so much more. Show off your family costumes and join us for parades and dance parties with our favorite Sesame Street pals. No reservations are necessary.
NEW! Paint With Me
Every Saturday morning, starting on October 14th, from 10 – 11:30 a.m., parents and kids are invited to an exclusive painting session during Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends. The experience kicks off with a meet-and-greets with one of your favorite Sesame Street friends followed by a 45-minute kid-friendly painting session led by an instructor. Reservations are required, space is limited. Book here.
NEW! Sesame Street Character Dining
Make lunch more than just delicious by sharing it with Elmo and friends. Everyone in the family will find something to savor in our delicious Sesame Street Character Dining lunch buffet every Saturday and Sunday of the Halloween weekends. Enjoy hugs and high fives during a Halloween-themed lunch and enjoy character story time, sing-a-longs, dance parties, and special photo opportunities. Reservations are required, space is limited. Book here.
You can find out more information about Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends in October by visiting BuschGardens.com!
Summer is almost over and school will soon be in session. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! wants to thank Florida K-12, College, Homeschool, Preschool educators, and school support staff during Educator Days by offering extended summer fun with the return of Educator Days.
Ripley’s attractions in Orlando, St. Augustine, Panama City Beach, and Key West will offer FREE admission for in-state educators from September 5 – October 15, 2017.
“We appreciate all the hard work our teachers do throughout the school year. This is one small way for us to give back and show our gratitude,” says Kim Kiff, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Regional Manager.
Teachers, administrators, counselors, and support staff are also eligible for free admission when they show a current pay stub and photo ID. Additionally, up to three guests will receive 50% off admission.
Educator Days At Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Location Details:
Educator Days: Free admission for educators + 50% off for up to three guests.
Florida K-12, College, Homeschool, Preschool educators, administrators, counselors, and support staff
Disclosure: I was invited by Aquatica Orlando to spend a day in the park with my family and to experience a family cabana, but all opinions are my own.
Aquatica Orlando, a water park owned and operated by SeaWorld Orlando, is truly a gem in the Orlando line-up of theme parks.
Themed to the South Pacific, this water park that opened in 2008 is home to eight water slides, two lazy rivers, side-by-side wave pools, two children’s water play areas, animal habitats and conservation stations, as well as several restaurants and shops.
Aquatica Orlando has a wide variety of attractions and activities making it a great place to visit for the entire family, and here are some of the best things to experience on your next visit to the park.
The Best Of…Aquatica Orlando
The best attraction for families…Loggerhead Lane
Loggerhead Lane is a traditional Lazy River with a fun extra. As you are floating along you will find that there are two different paths you can take, and depending on which you choose you will find yourself floating past the Fish Grotto or the Commerson’s Dolphins viewing area.
The best attraction for toddlers…Kata’s Kukaburra Cove
For toddlers, the Kata Kookaburra Cove play area located near the wave pools and beach is chocked full of slides, sprays, and water obstacles for kids to play in and on for hours with their parents.
The best attraction for children…Walkabout Waters
Walkabout Waters, closely located to Roa’s Rapids and Taumata Racers, is home to a gigantic multi-level water play areas with dump buckets, slides, and water sprays perfect for younger kids to play in with their parents while older kids experience the more thrilling slides in the area.
What is really nice about both play areas is that they are almost over-staffed with Aquatica lifeguards with lot of areas for parents to supervise and stay cool.
The best attraction for tweens…Taumata Racer
Taumata Racers is a racing slide with a twist. This eight lane racing slide with mats has both enclosed and open areas to add an extra thrill to the slide’s intense speed. And to help settle any disputes, at the bottom of the lanes are timers that show which racer went the fastest.
The best attraction for thrills…Ihu’s Breakaway Falls
At nearly 80 feet tall, Ihu’s Breakaway Falls is Orlando’s tallest, steepest and only multi-drop tower slide of its kind. Offering four unique slide paths, you’ll step into one of three “breakaway boxes” and watch each other fall one-by-one or test your bravery on a fourth open slide for a different but just as thrilling experience. This is definitely a set of slides for the brave of heart!
The best attraction for family thrills…Walhala Wave
Walhalla Wave is a family raft ride that require riders to be 42” tall to ride, because it is an intense and dark experience. A huge bonus of this slide is that you don’t have to worry about lugging a large tube up stairs while watching your children. Walhalla Wave is extremely thrilling at six stories tall with zooming twists, turns, and tunnels.
The BEST attraction…Roa’s Rapids
Roa’s Rapids is a Not-So-Lazy River that is really long and has powerful jets that move you through the ‘river‘that I could stay on all day!!! Our first time around Roa’s Rapids we chose not to grab life vests since we are all strong swimmers, but on our second trip around we decided to wear one and it was a much more enjoyable experience.
Getting out of the current can be a tad difficult for younger ones, so make sure you communicate early about when you are looking to exit Roa’s Rapids.
The best annual passholder perk…Pass Member Pavilion
The all-new Pass Member Pavilion is a place exclusively for Pass Holders with concierge services, complimentary sunscreen, private chairs, charging centers, a private entrance to Banana Beach Cook-Out, and a place to find exclusive offers. And now for a Limited Time, Pass Members should stop by to pick up an Aquatica Pass Member reusable tote that is available while supplies last.
The best place to eat…Banana Beach Cook-Out
There are a wide variety of food and bar options at Aquatica, but we chose to get all-day wristbands for the Banana Beach Cookout where we got to eat, drink, and snack all day. It was great to be able to pop in and grab a drink or slice of pizza or BBQ sandwich! And if you only want to visit once, there is a single visit option as well. Pass Members can save 10% by showing their pass and photo ID.
The best add-on to your day…Quick Queue
If slides are your thing, adding quick queue to your day will make conquering all the thrills easier. There are two Quick Queue options that allow front-of-the-line access to six of your favorite water-slides including:
Whanau Way – Must be able to maintain proper riding position unassisted. Sliders under 48” must wear a life jacket.
Omaka Rocka– Minimum height requirement is 48”.
Ihu’s Breakaway Falls– Minimum height requirement is 48”.
Taumata Racer– Minimum height requirement is 42”
Walhalla Wave – Minimum height requirement is 42”
HooRoo Run – Minimum height requirement is 42”.
Pricing and inventory vary by season, so check specific dates for actual price and availability. Aquatica Orlando Pass Members save 10% on the purchase of Quick Queue.
The MUST add-on to your day…Locker Rental
When I am at the water park, I tend to drop my stuff and go so having a locker for my valuables is a MUST! The locker rentals are centrally located, reasonably priced, and are available in three different sizes.
The best add-on luxury…Cabana
I will have to say that the biggest luxury at any water park is a cabana, and at Aquatica Orlando they have a wide variety of cabanas available for most budgets. You can check out the different levels and areas of the park that you can find cabanas and what each include here.
For more information about Aquatica Orlando and the latest ticket deals, make sure to visit their official website.
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?
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!”
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.
Gatorland, the “Alligator Capital of The World,” has announced a special offer for their Screamin Gator Zip Line experience for a limited time!
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/
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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).
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: 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.
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”
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”
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.
1:30 p.m. Laser Show: “Legends of the Night Sky: Orion”
2:30 p.m. Laser Show: “Legends of the Night Sky: Perseus”
1:30 p.m. Laser Show: “Legends of the Night Sky” Double-Feature
2:30 p.m. Laser Show: “ElectroPop” Matinee
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
* 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!
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.
* 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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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™.