Bigfire Restaurant Opening at Universal CityWalk

Universal Orlando CityWalk Bigfire Restaurant Announcement 2019

All-new restaurant to put modern twist on open-fire cooking, adding bold flavors to American classic dishes

ORLANDO, Fla. 

This summer, Universal Orlando Resort will debut its next original concept dining experience – Bigfire – an all-new, full-service restaurant that will bring a specially created menu and a highly-themed environment directly to guests at Universal CityWalk – and take open fire cooking to a whole new level.

Bigfire will feature unique theming designed to make guests feel as though they have stepped into a grand lakeside lodge, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of summers spent by the water.

Bigfire Restaurant Universal CityWalk Summer 2019
Rendering Universal Orlando Resort

The two-story venue will feature warm modern surroundings, from a cozy fireplace to cast iron and wood design elements mixed with nostalgic camp lanterns and oversized plaid blankets.

As guests step onto the outside patio, they will be greeted with twinkling lights, comfortable seating and lawn games for the entire family to enjoy. And guests will be able to enjoy one of the most popular fireside treats– s’mores – which they will be able to prepare themselves right at their table.

At the heart of the venue will be a custom wood fire grill that will allow guests to see their meal being prepared from anywhere in the restaurant. And for the first time at Universal Orlando, each dish will be expertly paired with the perfect type of wood to bring out the smoky goodness in each bite.

Bigfire Restaurant Universal CityWalk Summer 2019
Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast

From Cherrywood to Pecanwood and more, the pairings will add bold flavors to the American classic dishes and unique entrees, including a signature bison burger, coffee, chili and cocoa rubbed top sirloin, delectable freshwater trout, mouth-watering smoked salads and more.

Bigfire Restaurant Universal CityWalk Summer 2019
Bigfire Signature Bison Burger

Bigfire will be another example of what happens when the Universal Creative team that designs world-class theme park attractions partners with Universal’s award-winning culinary team to create incredible dining experiences for guests.

When it opens, Bigfire will become the next highly-themed, original concept restaurant at CityWalk, and join other popular experiences such as The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen, NBC Sports Grill & Brew, The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, VIVO Italian Kitchen and more.

The restaurant will be located between VIVO Italian Kitchen and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville on the edge of the lagoon – offering incredible views of Universal CityWalk.  

Bigfire Restaurant Universal CityWalk Summer 2019
Big Fire Baked Alaska

For more information on Bigfire and other CityWalk restaurants, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.

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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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Science of Wine at the Orlando Science Center

Science of Wine Orlando Science Center 2019

Ready your mind – and palate – for a night of wining, dining and learning at one of Orlando’s most unique food and wine events, the Science of Wine!

ORLANDO, Fla.

The 9th annual Science of Wine, presented by Southern Glazer’s Wines and Spirits, on April 27th is your chance to sip, savor, and support the mission of Orlando Science Center while you uncork your inner sommelier (and scientist!).

The Science of Wine is not just another wine tasting, but an oenological odyssey for adults only with presentations on multiple aspects of wine growing and wine tasting in addition to samples of more than 150 fine wines from the world’s most important wine regions and some of the best food from your favorite region, Central Florida!

Science of Wine 2019 Orlando Science Center
Orlando Science Center Facebook Page

The Science of Wine Culinary Partners Include: 

  • Barnie’s Coffee & Tea
  • BENTO asian kitchen + sushi
  • Black Rooster Taqueria
  • Bonefish Grill
  • BJ’s Restaurant Brewhouse
  • Cocktails Catering
  • Fresh Kitchen
  • Gezellig Cookies
  • Hard Rock Cafe
  • Keke’s Breakfast Cafe
  • Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream
  • Lucky’s Market
  • Millenia Event Catering
  • Nicole Macaron
  • Olde Hearth Bread Co.
  • The Pub
  • Sonny’s BBQ
  • SusHi Eatstation
  • Sweet by Holly
  • Swine & Son’s
  • Tamale Co.
  • Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen

There are also two add on experiences to take your night to the next level!

Science of Wine 2019 Orlando Science Center
Orlando Science Center Facebook Page

Swine & Sons Cooking Demos

Demos at 7:30pm and 8:45pm

$20 per person with purchase of Science of Wine ticket

Have you ever wondered why your favorite Cabernet compliments a grilled steak so perfectly, or which white wine would be best with the seafood dish you’re preparing?

We’ll explore the science behind some classic food and wine pairings and discover what works, and why in this interactive food and wine tasting demo hosted by Swine & Sons Provisions. 

Cooking demos are $20 per person with the purchase of a Science of Wine ticket, and seats are limited.

Thank you to our partner, Swine and Son’s for leading guests on this cooking journey. 

Wine Seminar – How’d It Get There?

Demo at 6:30pm

$20 per person with purchase of Science of Wine ticket

Want to become the wine expert within your friend group? Look no further than this wine seminar hosted by Julie Pepi, CSW Director for Fine Wine in Florida for Trinchero Family Estates!

You’ll learn why certain grapes grow better in specific places, what tannin and oak flavors actually are, where the bubbles in your favorite Champagne come from and so much more!

Seats to the Wine Seminar are $20 per person with the purchase of a Science of Wine ticket.

Limited seating is available so reserve your spot today.

Tickets are available now for this amazing evening benefitting the Orlando Science Center, and cost $100 for Orlando Science Center Members and $125 for General Admission.

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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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Seven Seas Food Festival Returns to SeaWorld Orlando

Seven Seas Food Festival Returns to SeaWorld Orlando

The Seven Seas Food Festival invites guests to sip, sample, and savor their way around SeaWorld Orlando and enjoy live entertainment each Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday until May 5, 2019. 

The Seven Seas Food Festival showcases what SeaWorld Orlando does best, festivals that pack a punch that are included with theme park admission. 

Seven Seas Food Festival SeaWorld Orlando 2019

Seven Seas Food Festival Marketplaces

Chef Héctor Colón and his culinary team at SeaWorld Orlando have created over 180 unique eats that are paired with distinct beverages from around the world. 

Authentic Asian, Latin, European, Polynesian, and North Atlantic dishes can be found at Festival Markets located throughout the park.

Seven Seas Food Festival SeaWorld Orlando 2019

SeaWorld Orlando’s Seven Seas Food Festival takes place on Friday evenings from 4:00 pm to 9:00pm then on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 am with all locations in full operation by 12:00 pm.

Like all food served at SeaWorld Orlando, each item at the Seven Seas Food Festival reflects the park’s commitment to sustainable foods and farming crafted with organic ingredients, cage-free eggs, regional produce, and sustainable seafood.

Seven Seas Food Festival SeaWorld Orlando 2019

This year guests can also enjoy a diverse selection of beverages including over 50 wines, specialty cocktails, and over 70 local and international craft brews. 

Sampling Lanyards are a great way to experience the Seven Seas Food Festival, because it lets guests choose an assortment of flavors from the festival’s extensive food, beer, and wine line-up to fill their day. 

Seven Seas Food Festival SeaWorld Orlando 2019

Guests can purchase a sampling lanyard, either in-person at the park or in advance online, with 10 items for $50 plus tax or 15 items for $65 plus tax, and as a special perk SeaWorld Orlando Pass Members can enjoy 20 samples for the price of 15.

To help guests plan their culinary journey, a complete menu of the Seven Seas Food Festival dishes and drinks can be found online at SeaWorld.com/Orlando.

Seven Seas Food Festival Entertainment

In addition to delicious eats, guests visiting SeaWorld Orlando’s Seven Seas Food Festival can enjoy world-class entertainment. 

This year guests can rock out to more genres than ever before with 26 live performances taking the stage.

Concerts are held at Bayside Stadium each Saturday and Sunday and are included with park admission. It is important to note that show times vary by weekend and are subject to change.

SeaWorld Orlando Seven Seas Food Festival 2017 Bayside Stadium Concert
SeaWorld Orlando

Here are the concerts you’ll be able to see at the Seven Seas Food Festival:

  • April 6 – Olga Tañon
  • April 7 – Roots & Boots 90’s Electric Throwdown – Featuring Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin & Collin Raye
  • April 13 – Jay Leno
  • April 14 – Andy Grammer
  • April 20 –  Collective Soul
  • April 21 – Tenth Avenue North
  • April 27 – Postmodern Jukebox
  • April 28 – Willie Colón
  • May 4 – Macy Gray
  • May 5 – Earth, Wind & Fire

While the concerts are included with theme park admission to SeaWorld Orlando, guests can choose to purchase reserved seating for the concerts to help minimize their wait. 

The reserved seating is guaranteed and prices start at $10 plus tax, and can be purchased in-person at the park or in advance online.

Best Way to Play

The best way for guests to experience the Seven Sea’s Food Festival and all of the events at SeaWorld Orlando throughout the year is with an Annual Pass, starting as low as $10.99 a month for Florida residents. 

Special members-only benefits such as discounts on parking, dining, and shopping make the Annual Pass especially valuable.

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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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Inside Look takes you behind-the-scenes at SeaWorld Orlando

Inside Look at SeaWorld Orlando 2019

Get a peek behind-the-scenes during SeaWorld Orlando’s Inside Look

First-time-ever access features some of the least seen and most interesting portions of the park weekends January 12-27 with special guests Guy Harvey, Chris Fischer and Jack Hanna

ORLANDO, Fla.

At SeaWorld Orlando’s Inside Look, hear and see, firsthand, what goes into providing world-class animal care from the people who do it every day.  Guests that visit on January weekends 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27 can go behind-the-scenes for an “inside look” at what it takes to maintain a premier zoological institution like SeaWorld Orlando.

Inside Look at SeaWorld Orlando 2019
Photo: SeaWorld Orlando

This truly first-time-ever access features six of the least seen and most interesting portions of the park.  Guests are invited to visit all six locations, collecting stamps to earn an exclusive Expert Explorer’s Pin.  Inside Look tours are available at each location at various times throughout the day.

Inside Look at SeaWorld Orlando 2019
Photo: SeaWorld Orlando

Special Guest appearance on the weekends will feature Guy Harvey (January 12-13), OCEARCH founder Chris Fischer (January 19-20) and Jack Hanna (January 26-27).

  • SeaWorld Rescue Center –  Visit the home base of the SeaWorld Rescue Team to meet and hear from the dedicated team of filtration experts, animal care personnel, lab technicians and veterinarians who work around the clock to deliver life-saving care to animals in need.  While behind-the-scenes, visitors will get to see some of the many facilities that help SeaWorld provide top-quality care to the animals that call SeaWorld home, as well as the hundreds of rescued animals that receive care at SeaWorld annually.
  • Fish House – Step behind-the-scenes into an area rarely seen by park guests to meet the dedicated team of ambassadors who start their day before sunrise in order to provide the best of diets for every fish, sea turtle, sea lion, penguin, dolphin, or killer whale in the park.
  • Sea Lion & Otter Primary Housing – For the first time ever, visit the home of the talented group of California sea lions, Pacific walrus and Asian small-clawed otters from Clyde & Seamore’s Sea Lion High. Hear stories and gain insight from the team of trainers who perform with these animals on a daily basis and learn what goes into making a live performance look seamless.Animal Ambassador Hamlet – This historic facility has a rich history of providing a loving home to a variety of animals at SeaWorld Orlando, including our Animal Ambassador team. Comprised of an eclectic collection of small mammals, exotic birds and a handful of well-trained reptiles, the Animal Ambassadors make surprise visits out in the park, appear at local community events, news stations and travel far and wide making appearances on network television programs and events.

Inside Look at SeaWorld Orlando 2019
Photo: SeaWorld Orlando

  • Beluga & Seal Primary Housing – Step into the maze of back hallways that provide service access to the residents of Wild Arctic starting with the food prep area for the beluga whales, seals and walruses. Proceeding further in, guests will get to see a variety of beluga toys followed by a chance to step outside and see the back beluga pool and scales on which the whales are weighed.  Finally, guests will see the harbor seal holding pools where the seals spend time relaxing when they are not on exhibit.
  • Manta Aquarium – Go above the surface and discover what it looks like towering over the depths of Manta’s main aquarium.  In a location few have ever seen, uncover what goes into caring for the wide array of fish, rays, sea dragons, live corals and giant Pacific octopus that call Manta home. Meet the team of divers and aquarists who maintain the habitat and feed the wide range of fish within.  

Inside Look at SeaWorld Orlando 2019
Photo: SeaWorld Orlando

Best Way to Play

The best way for guests to experience all of the events at SeaWorld Orlando is with an Annual Pass, starting at $10.99 a month for Florida residents. Special members-only benefits such as discounts on dining and shopping make the Annual Pass especially valuable to enjoy SeaWorld’s events throughout the year.

For additional behind the scenes experiences, visit SeaWorld during any Inside Look day to buy one tour and get one free. Offer is only available at SeaWorld in the SeaWorld Rescue Store, the Information and Reservation Counter, or Guest Services.

For more information, park hours and to purchase tickets, visit SeaWorld.com/Orlando.

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Rock The Universe 2019

Rock the Universe 2019

Universal Orlando Resort reveals new dates and headlining acts for Rock The Universe 2019

Florida’s biggest christian music festival returns to Universal Studios Florida in February 2019

ORLANDO, Fla.

Rock the Universe 2019 will feature the same great content – with better dates. The event, which is popular with youth groups, will take place on February 1 and 2, 2019 – well after the start of school in most cities – allowing guests to enjoy a faith-filled weekend of live music, worship and theme park thrills.

rock the universe universal Orlando 2019 - Music Plaza Stage
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

This year’s event will feature performances by GRAMMY-nominated Christian rock band, Skillet, GRAMMY award-winning hip-hop artist, Lecrae, chart-topping artists of Bethel Music, Dove Award-winner, Matthew West and more.

 rock the universe universal Orlando 2019 - February

  • Lecrae
  • Matthew West
  • Big Daddy Weave
  • Colton Dixon
  • Matt Mahar
  • Rhett Walker Band

 rock the universe universal Orlando 2019 - February

  • Skillet
  • Bethel Music
  • Crowder
  • Francesca Battistelli
  • Micah Tyler
  • LEDGER

Rock the Universe guests will also enjoy autograph sessions with the genre’s top artists and access to the FanZone presented by Coca-Cola, which features more live performances by up-and-coming acts.

FanZone Presented by Coca-Cola

rock the universe universal Orlando 2019 - FanZone
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Features Austin French, David Dunn and Carmen Justice on Friday plus Apollo LTD, Tiger Drive and PEABOD on Saturday. You’ll also have a chance to meet select Rock the Universe artists at autograph sessions each night.

Keep in mind that autograph sessions are not guaranteed and are subject to change without notice. Space is limited and open on a first-come-first-served basis.

Saturday Candlelighting Ceremony

rock the universe universal Orlando 2019 - Candlelight
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Join with other faithful for a touching ceremony with a special message and moving music performed live by one of our headliners. Saturday evening at the Music Plaza Stage, 11:45 pm.

Sunday Morning Worship Service

Wrap up your weekend praising God with youth from around the country at a powerful non-denominational worship service located inside Universal Studios Florida™ at 9:30 am and 10:45 am. Admission is included with any 2019 Rock the Universe™ Ticket. Space is limited so advance registration is required. Check back soon to reserve your group.

rock the universe universal Orlando 2019 - Logo

Experience mind-blowing rides at Universal Studios Florida, included with your event ticket. Get a Rock Your Weekend ticket and you can also head next door to Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Plus, with a 3-Park Rock Your Weekend Ticket, you can enjoy Universal’s Volcano Bay.

It’s an unforgettable weekend of faith and fun.

Rock the Universe is a separately ticketed special event.

For more information about Rock the Universe 2019, visit www.RockTheUniverse.com.

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January 2019 Theme Park Ticket Offers

January 2019 Theme Park Ticket Offers

January 2019 Theme Park Ticket Offers

Right now there are some FANTASTIC ticket and annual pass offers available for the theme parks of Central Florida!

Let’s take a look at them all!

SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica Orlando Preschool Card

January 2019 Theme Park  Ticket Offers

The 2019 SeaWorld/Aquatica Preschool Card is now available for registration exclusively for Florida Residents offering an ocean of experiences that are perfect for pint-sized guests, from up-close animal encounters to breathtaking live shows.

SeaWorld and Aquatica Orlando will offer kids ages 5 and younger a FREE Preschool Card valid for visits through December 31, 2019 for unlimited admission to both SeaWorld and Aquatica Orlando.

Advance registration must be completed online and is only valid for children ages 5 or younger at the time of redemption at the park.

Please note registration is required by January 27, 2019 and ticket redemption is by February 28, 2019.

To redeem your Preschool Card visit a SeaWorld Orlando or Aquatica Orlando ticket window and present all of these:

  • Your Preschool Card online registration confirmation
  • Your child’s birth certificate or travel passport
  • Your Florida resident ID

Also keep in mind that the Preschool Card does not include taxes, service fees, free parking, separately-ticketed events, or other discounts.

To learn more and to register for the Preschool Card, Florida residents can visit https://seaworld.com/orlando/tickets/preschool-free-admission/.

Busch Gardens Tampa and Adventure Island Preschool Card

January 2019 Theme Park  Ticket Offers

The 2019 Busch Gardens Tampa/Adventure Island Card is now available for registration exclusively for Florida Residents offering an ocean of experiences that are perfect for guests 5 and under.

Busch Gardens Tampa and Adventure Island will offer kids ages 5 and younger a FREE Preschool Card valid for visits through December 31, 2019 for unlimited admission to both Busch Gardens Tampa and Adventure Island.

Advance registration must be completed online and is only valid for children ages 5 or younger at the time of redemption at the park.

Please note registration is required by January 27, 2019 and ticket redemption is by February 28, 2019.

To redeem your Preschool Card visit a Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Adventure Island ticket window and present all of these:

  • Your Preschool Card online registration confirmation
  • Your child’s birth certificate or travel passport
  • Your Florida resident ID

Also keep in mind that the Preschool Card does not include taxes, service fees, free parking, separately-ticketed events, or other discounts.

To learn more and to register for the Preschool Card, Florida residents can visit https://buschgardens.com/tampa/tickets/preschool-free-admission/.

Busch Gardens Tampa and Adventure Island BOGO Fun Cards

January 2019 Theme Park  Ticket Offers

For a limited time, buy a 2019 Busch Gardens Fun Card and get an Adventure Island Fun Card FREE. Blockout dates apply.

Valid at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay through December 31, 2019.
2019 Blockout Dates: Mar. 30 | Apr. 6 & 13-27 | May 25-26 | July 1-7 | Nov. 23-24 & 29-30 | Dec. 21-22 & 28-30.
Valid at Adventure Island March 15 through October 27, 2019.
2019 Blockout Dates: April 14 & 20-27 | May 25-27 | July 4-7, 13-14 & 20.

Keep in mind that a Busch Gardens Tampa Bay / Adventure Island Fun Card

  • Does not include admission to select special events (including Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens), parking, or discounts on food and merchandise.
  • Only valid for residents of the US, Canada and Puerto Rico.
  • Non-transferable and non-refundable. Not valid with other discounts or special offers.
  • Other restrictions apply.
  • Subject to change without prior notice.
  • Adventure Island is a seasonal park.

For more information on the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay / Adventure Island Fun Card visit https://buschgardens.com/tampa/tickets/fun-card/.

LEGOLAND Florida Preschool Pass

January 2019 Theme Park  Ticket Offers LEGOLAND Florida Preschool Pass

LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s FREE Preschooler Pass, available from January 10 through February 18, 2019,  will grant Florida Resident children ages 3-years-old and 4-years-old 12 months of unlimited admission to both LEGOLAND Florida Theme Park and Water Park.

As the theme park built for kids, LEGOLAND Florida Resort offers more than 60 percent of its rides and attractions for guests 40 inches or taller. The one-time offer pass includes all seasonal events including Brick or Treat and early spring visits when THE LEGO® MOVIE™ WORLD opens. Taking guests from the theater to the theme park, the newest theme park addition will feature three attractions, inspired by the characters and themes of the worldwide blockbuster THE LEGO® MOVIE and the upcoming THE LEGO® MOVIE 2: The Second Part.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s Preschooler Pass will be available for a limited time at the admission ticket window only. Guests purchasing the pass must bring a copy of their child’s birth certificate or travel passport for proof of age. Children must be aged 3-years-old or 4-years-old at the time of receiving the Preschooler Pass to qualify. Guests ages 2-years-old and under will continue to receive free admission.

Annual Passes are none refundable, however if you have purchased a LEGOLAND Florida Resort Annual Pass for your 3 or 4-year- old, you can choose to extend the validity of that pass by 12 months or transfer the purchased pass to an immediate family member. (Transfers are limited to one per person).

Learn more about the Preschooler Pass at https://www.legoland.com/preschooler-pass/.

Universal Orlando Resort Annual Pass

January 2019 Theme Park  Ticket Offers

Universal Orlando Resort has launched a first-of-its-kind offer that gives Passholders more thrills and adventure than ever before. Starting today, guests can get up to six months FREE on Universal Orlando Resort Annual Passes depending on what tier they choose.

This special offer is valid on 2-Park (Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure) and 3-Park (Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay) Seasonal and Annual Passes and is available for purchase and activation through April 4, 2019.

Here’s a look at the different Universal Orlando Annual Passes:

  • Seasonal Pass
    • $269.99 for two park, $368.99 for three park
    • Three months free
    • Doesn’t include any parking or merchandise discounts,
    • Includes blackout dates
  • Power Pass
    • $354.99 for two park, $463.99 for three park
    • Three months free
    • 50% off regular daytime self-parking after your first visit
    • Limited discounts at CityWalk, Blue Man Group, and resort hotels
    • Includes blackout dates
  • Preferred Pass
    • $394.99 for two park, $503.99 for three park
    • Six months free
    • Free self-parking and discounted rates for normal and Red Carpet valet parking after your first visit
    • 10% Discount at Universal-owned stores and restaurants (not carts), CityWalk, Blue Man Group, and resort hotels
    • No blackout dates
    • Early park admission without having to be a resort guest
  • Premier Pass
    • $559.99 for two park, $733.99 for three park
    • Six months free
    • Free prime self-parking and normal valet parking, with a large discount for Red Carpet valet parking
    • 15% Discount at Universal-owned stores and restaurants (not carts), CityWalk, Blue Man Group, and resort hotels
    • No blackout dates
    • Early park admission without having to be a resort guest
    • Free Express Pass after 4pm

For more information and to purchase Universal Orlando Resort Annual Passes visit their website.

Walt Disney World Florida Resident ‘Discover Disney’ Ticket

January 2019 Theme Park  Ticket Offers

For a limited time, Florida residents can take advantage of a special ticket offer and purchase a 3-day Discover Disney Ticket for only $175 plus tax—valid for admission to one theme park per day! Plus, add a 4th day for just $20 more plus tax! These tickets can be used on non-consecutive days through June 30, 2019 with no blockout dates.

Visit multiple theme parks on the same day by upgrading your ticket to include the Park Hopper Option for just $32.50 plus tax more for a 3-day ticket or $37.50 more plus tax for a 4-day ticket.

For an additional $57.50 plus tax, add the Park Hopper Plus Option to a 3-day Discover Disney Ticket—or for an additional $62.50 plus tax, add the Park Hopper Plus Option to a 4 -day Discover Disney Ticket. If you add the Park Hopper Plus Option to your Discover Disney Ticket, you get all the benefits of the Park Hopper Option, plus you can enjoy 3 visits with the 3-day Discover Disney ticket or 4 visits with the 4-Day Discover Disney ticket to the Disney Water Parks, select Disney golf courses and more Walt Disney World fun.

Take advantage of these great prices:

3-Day Discover Disney Ticket – $175 plus tax

3-Day Discover Disney Ticket with Park Hopper Option – $207.50 plus tax

3-Day Discover Disney Ticket with Park Hopper Plus Option – $232.50 plus tax

4-Day Discover Disney Ticket – $195 plus tax

4-Day Discover Disney Ticket with Park Hopper Option – $232.50 plus tax

4-Day Discover Disney Ticket with Park Hopper Plus Option – $257.50 plus tax

Purchase through June 27, 2019. Discover Disney Tickets are valid for use through June 30, 2019 and can be used on non-consecutive days—with no blockout dates.

Tickets and options are nontransferable and nonrefundable and exclude activities/events separately priced. Discover Disney 3- and 4-Day Tickets and add-on Options expire on June 30, 2019.

To learn more and to purchase the Walt Disney World Florida Residents Discovery Tickets visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/special-offers/resident-discover or to book by phone, call (407) 939-4290 and speak with a vacation planning expert, or call your travel agent.

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Gaylord Palms Resort hosts new Three Kings Festival

Gaylord Palms Resort Three Kings Festival 2019

Cap off the holiday season of Christmas at the Gaylord Palms with new shows and activities to celebrate Three Kings Day from January 1-6, 2019.

KISSIMMEE, Fla.

For the first time ever, Christmas at Gaylord Palms will offer the Three Kings Festival, a special commemoration of the extended holiday season celebrated by many Christians in Spain and Latin America.

The resort will add additional shows and activities as part of the festival to highlight Three Kings’ Day, a holiday that honors the Three Wise Men and their visit to the meet baby Jesus as told in the Gospel of Matthew. The event will run from January 1- 6, 2019, also allowing guests one last chance to experience the other activities of Christmas at Gaylord Palms.

Gaylord Palms Three Kings Festival 2019

FESTIVE FUN AND FLAVORS

Twice daily, guests can enjoy the all-new show, The Journey of Los Tres Reyes Magos.

This free stage show showcases the Three Kings in a musical celebration as they retell the Christmas story and the celebrations surrounding it, including Las Posadas and el Día de los Reyes, all on stage in Emerald Plaza inside the grand St. Augustine Atrium.

Gaylord Palms Three Kings Festival 2019

The origin of Christmas is also celebrated inside the resort’s signature holiday attraction ICE!. This true winter wonderland attraction, kept at a chilly 9 degrees, features hand-carved ice sculptures made from 2 million pounds of ice. Featuring colorful, life-sized ice sculptures and five two-story ice slides, the experience ends with the majestic Nativity carved from crystal-clear ice, watched over by a towering frozen angel sculpture that is sure to leave guests in awe.

Gaylord Palms Three Kings Festival 2019

The resort’s popular snow sliding attraction gets a hot, new twist for Three Kings Festival, becoming Snow Tubing Latin Nights. During the evening hours, guests will zoom down our eight-lane tubing hill accompanied by high-energy Latin music. Guests may enjoy unlimited runs on their ticket date. Double riding tubes are available for parents with small children. (Snow Tubing will close on January 5, 2019.)

Gaylord Palms Three Kings Festival 2019

In celebration of Three Kings Day, Gaylord Palms’ award-winning restaurants will feature the traditional Coquito cocktail plus some Latin-inspired favorites:

  • MOOR: Beef or Chicken Empanadas with Chipotle Aioli
  • Socio: Ham Croquettes with Garlic Mustard
  • Wreckers Sports Bar: Mojo Pork Tacos with Cilantro Slaw
  • Villa de Flora: Three Kings Cake on the dessert buffet

FREE AND INEXPENSIVE FAMILY FUN

Christmas at Gaylord Palms 2015 ICE! Gaylord Palms Three Kings Festival 2019

While visiting the resort for Christmas at Gaylord Palms and the Three Kings Festival, guests are encouraged to also enjoy these complimentary experiences:

  • CIRQUE DREAMS UNWRAPPED – “Holiday thrills” take on a whole new meaning during Cirque Dreams Unwrapped, a 25-minute, action-packed experience, featuring soaring acrobatics, theatricality and imagination that will have guests on the edge of their seats. Cirque Dreams Unwrapped features new acts and performers each year to bring to life a magical and timeless Christmas wonderland, all imagined by Broadway director and renowned Cirque Dreams founder Neil Goldberg.
  • DREAMS OF CHRISTMAS LIGHT SHOW –  Gaylord Palms’ St. Augustine atrium is home to a brand-new, dazzling light show called Dreams of Christmas. This multisensory experience features a new musical score accompanied with millions of dancing, choreographed lights all around the resort’s six-story Christmas tree during nightly shows.
  • CHRISTMAS TREE TRAIL – Guests exploring the meandering paths inside the resort’s Everglades atrium will find the Christmas Tree Trail, a display of nine magnificent trees provided by Balsam HillTM.  Sparkle the Elf, Santa’s chief Christmas Tree Decorator, has personally prepared these for display at Gaylord Palms.  From snowmen and candy canes to reindeer and nutcrackers, each tree represents one of Sparkle’s favorite things about Christmas, with one even honoring the Florida-themed resort!
  • ACRES OF DÉCOR AND FUN SIGHTS TO SEE – All ages enjoy wandering the 4.5 acres of indoor gardens found inside Gaylord Palms Resort, but during the Christmas season, there is even more to discover with unique and fun photo opportunities that are totally Christmas card-worthy! Guests can discover native Florida wildlife in each atrium locale that range from Florida’s most famous reptile, the American Alligator, to huge snapper and tarpon in the Key West lagoon.

Guests can learn more about the Three Kings Festival and other activities at Gaylord Palms at www.gaylordhotelsnews.com/ThreeKingsFestival.

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Make a runDisney Goal – My runDisney 5K Story

Conversations with Cheryl: Make a runDisney Goal – My runDisney 5K Story

I never thought I could achieve a 5k.  My friends were in participating in the runDisney 5K, and at over 310 pounds I was scared but excited to join them.

Conversations with Cheryl Make a runDisney Goal - My runDisney 5K Story 

How I started slowly…

The idea of training for my first 5k was daunting at first, but once I became more comfortable with the idea that a 5K was 3.1 miles which I typically walked during a day in the parks I was ready to get started.

My favorite (and easy) practice walk was to go to Epcot and walk around World Showcase, which is 1.2 miles.

After I got  comfortable walking for longer periods of time, I found that I wanted to keep going so I would walk at night around my neighborhood or I would hop on the treadmill.

runDisney Conversations with Cheryl 5K runkeeper

Do you need a buddy for a runDisney 5k?

I like to walk with friends, but it is not completely necessary.

If you think you would like to have a buddy, don’t be shy about asking your friends. Who knows…you could inspire them to give it a try, too!

Also if you look on Facebook it is easy to find running groups, charity runners, and running events in your local area.

You can also find a runDisney practice program online and Motivation Tips at Cigna.

runDisney Conversations with Cheryl 5K with Shelley
Getting ready for a runDisney 5K with Shelley

You can do it, too!

I wear my 5k T Shirts and people say “I could never do a 5k”.  My response is If I can walk a 5k at my weight, they should be able to walk one as well.

One thing that helped keep me motived and focused was Cigna Coaching!

Part of my insurance with Cigna involves Cigna coaching for those that don’t meet their BMI.  My coach is friendly  and it is incredibly convenient for me to meet my coach at his mobile office.

httpv://youtu.be/zP5JJARGhDk

My biggest piece of advice? Don’t be scared about meeting with a coach!

One of the first things you will do with your coach is to set goals together.

Your goals can be as simple as:

Do you have Cigna as your health insurance?  You may be able to get voice coaching.

Cigna also offers assistance with Achilles International, they will have some athletes in the races and some Cigna Employees.

What if I don’t have Cigna Insurance?

Coach by Cigna Logo runDisney

Cigna offers a free coaching app which is accessible to everyone on the Apple app store or the Android Google Play Store.

How to register for a runDisney 5K

Registration for the Run Disney 5k fills up quickly, plan to register now.

If your event is full, consider running for Charity listed at the end of the event page.

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