Sea World’s Viva La Musica

Viva La Musica
Viva La Musica

Last week I was able to visit Sea World to experience some new attractions and special events for me. Viva La Musica is a Latin music festival that takes place in the spring at both Sea World and Busch Gardens. Last year I went to Busch Gardens and got to try some great food, but missed out on the concerts. I made a point when this year’s schedule came out to make sure that I caught at least one concert between the two parks. I was beyond ecstatic when I discovered my favorite salsa band, El Gran Combo, was going to be playing at Sea World and Busch Gardens for Viva La Musica this year!

I scheduled my entire weekend around attending the El Gran Combo concert at Sea World on May 4th. The weather wasn’t exactly gorgeous when I arrived at the park, so I decided to see if I could do a few rides before grabbing lunch and waiting for the concert to start at 3pm. I really hadn’t done any of the rides at Sea World before and had mostly focused on the animals and shows on my previous visits over the past year and a half. It was far past time, so I made a beeline for Manta hoping the dreary and drizzly weather was scaring off the tourists. To my luck I was able to walk on to Manta, Kraken and Journey to Atlantis all in less than an hour. I had never been in the aquarium at the exit of Journey to Atlantis and loved it!

Jellyfish
Jellyfish
Moray eel
Moray eel
Fish
Fish
Tropical fish
Tropical fish

Like most special events at Sea World, Viva La Musica is focused around the Bayside Pathway between the entrance and Bayside Stadium, where the concerts are. Vendors setup booths with Latin American and Hispanic artwork and merchandise. Then there is my favorite part: the food and drinks! I love the variety of options for food that are different than the normal park food. I opted for a fantastic grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce and sweet plaintains along with a tamarind flavored shaved ice treat for dessert. The food was great and I loved sitting and listening to the warmup salsa band on the secondary stage and watching all the guests getting out on the dancefloor. You even had the opportunity to get your picture taken with Shamu and his friends in their Salsa outfits!

Skirt steak with chimichurri and sweet plantains
Skirt steak with chimichurri and sweet plantains
Shamu
Shamu
Me
Me
Salsa dancers
Salsa dancers
Grandma dancing
Grandma dancing
Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders
Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders
El Gran Combo
El Gran Combo

Since I know from experience the concerts at Sea World special events like Viva La Musica fill up early, I went directly to Bayside Stadium to get a seat as soon as I finished lunch. I got there about an hour and a half early, which is way earlier than I would usually, but when I noticed the steady flow of guests heading that way, I was glad I did. I have never seen the stadium as full as this for any events before. It was amazing! El Gran Combo took the stage after a warm up act by the Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders. The concert was one of the best I’ve been to in a theme park and it was fantastic performance by my favorite salsa band. I’ve never seen as many guests up and dancing in the aisles at any of the dozens of concerts I’ve been to in my life.

Bayside Stadium panorama
Bayside Stadium panorama
Dolphin Cheerleaders
Dolphin Cheerleaders
El Gran Combo at Viva La Musica
El Gran Combo at Viva La Musica
Fountains salsa dancing to the music
Fountains salsa dancing to the music
Couples dancing
Couples dancing

On the way out of the park I had to swing by the Dolphin Nursery, which is one of my absolute must dos each trip to Sea World. I had a great afternoon experiencing Viva La Musica. This special event is over for the season, but when next spring rolls around, make sure you don’t miss Viva La Musica, which takes place at Sea World and Busch Gardens! Have you been to Viva La Musica before? Which bands have you seen?

Dolphin Nursery
Dolphin Nursery
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Spring into Adventures

Spring is in the air. Hopefully the pollen and my allergies will clear up soon and it is heating up and starting to feel like summer here in Florida. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of the things I’m most looking forward to over the next couple of months instead of doing that spring cleaning that I probably should be doing. Now that I’ve found out my schedule for the rest of the spring and beginning of summer, I thought I’d start planning some weekend adventures. The parks across the area have some fantastic special events this time of year, and before the kids are out of school it is a great time to get away while the crowds are lower.

Spring in bloom at Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival
Spring in bloom at Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival

At Epcot we are already more than halfway through the International Flower & Garden Festival. I love this event each year and have been attending since 1998! I dearly miss Davy Jones of the Monkees, as his was always my go to concert for the Flower Power Concert Series. The thing I think I am most excited about (aside from the newly added food and beverage kiosks) is that my favorite HGTV celebrity, David Bromstad, is going to be hosting presentations May 17 – 19 and I’m now off that weekend!

Star Wars Weekends
Star Wars Weekends

Another of my favorite things that I will get to do for the third year in a row is Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This fabulous event has quickly become a must do for me! I still have so many things I haven’t done yet that are on my to do list. I need to get up early enough and get to the park to see the Stormtroopers on top of the entrance to the park above the turnstiles. Also, I really want to get my picture taken with as many of the characters as possible and go to some of the presentations and shows. And then, of course, there is Hyperspace Hoopla, my favorite of all! My apologies to anyone who now has that song stuck in their head (Hoooooooopla, Hyperspace Hoopla…).

Viva la Música
Viva la Música

Busch Gardens and Sea World are playing host to an awesome special event that I got to experience last year for the first time: Viva la Mύsica! This great offering is one that features Latin American food, merchandise, cuture, and of course, music. I got to go just for an hour or so to Busch Gardens after work last year and got to try to some amazing food, but was too late for the concert. This year I was hoping to catch at least one weekend at Busch Gardens and Sea World each. I was so excited when I found out that my favorite salsa band, El Gran Combo, was going to be playing at both parks. I know where I’ll be that weekend!

One of the greatest things about these three events is that they are all included in park admission. Food and beverages of course are extra, but the entertainment and most of the presentations are free of charge with your ticket. These add tremendous value to your vacation or even just a day in the park for us locals.

Water parks are definitely on my list for the next few months. I’ve lived in Florida for almost 20 years and I’ve only been to Typhoon Lagoon for a couple hours and did the lazy river and snorkled with the sharks before the park closed due to weather. This needs to be rectified. I’ve visited Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach for functions, but haven’t done a single water slide. This is a travesty! I also would love to check out some of the other area water parks like Sea World’s Aquatica and Adventure Island in Tampa.

Now we all know that sometimes with the spring come those showers that we need for those pretty flowers. What to do when it isn’t exactly park weather? Why not catch a film? Two movies I am ridiculously excited to see this spring are Marvel’s Iron Man 3 and Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University (visit this site if you haven’t already – it is hilarious!). I am a huge Avengers fan and loved the first Iron Man movie, enjoyed the second one, and adored the Avengers, so I cannot wait to see what they have in store for Tony Stark in this next installment. Monsters Inc was a great, feel good family flick and I think that this will be very entertaining to see some of Mike and Sulley’s adventures before they were best buds.

What are you looking forward to this spring? Did I miss any of your favorite spring special events? Have you been to any of these before? What are some of your favorite things to do in spring when the weather doesn’t cooperate? Hit us up and let us know.

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Viva La Música Heats Up SeaWorld Orlando

Viva la Música
Viva La Música Heats Up SeaWorld Orlando
 
Saturdays are hotter than ever at SeaWorld Orlando during Viva la Música, Central Florida’s can’t-miss Latin food and concert festival, April 13 through May 4.
Come celebrate the food, fun, sights and sounds of Latin culture at this annual festival, featuring live concerts by internationally renowned Latin musical artists, all included with park admission.
Viva la Música
Enjoy savory Latin cuisine prepared by SeaWorld Orlando’s Executive Chef, Héctor Colón. With more than 20 years experience – and a lifetime enjoying countless Caribbean and Latin dishes – Chef Héctor Colόn has added his touch to the traditional Latin favorites such as arroz con gandules, arroz con pollo, habichuelas rojas y maduros, churrasco, ceviche, alcapurrias and bacalaítos.
Viva la Música
As with all SeaWorld special events, performances are included with daily admission, Fun Card or annual pass. Viva la Música festival activities begin at 12 p.m. each Saturday, with concerts starting at 3 p.m. at Bayside Stadium:
 
  • Saturday, April 13 – Daddy Yankee (reggaeton)
  • Saturday, April 20 – Willie Colón  (salsa)
  • Saturday, April 27 – Grupománia (merengue)
  • Saturday, May 4 – El Gran Combo (salsa)
Viva la Música
El Gran Combo
 
Concerts are general seating. However, reserved seating for your favorite concerts is available with the Viva la Música VIP Package. Starting at $24, this special package includes a meal (entrée and any one item from a selection of side salads, side dishes or desserts, plus a regular-sized non-alcoholic beverage) at any Viva la Música food sampling area or SeaWorld cafeteria-style restaurant, plus reserved seating — Center Stage! VIP seating can be purchased separately starting at $14. Both packages are available at SeaWorldOrlando.com.
 
The best way to experience Viva la Música is with a 2013 SeaWorld Fun Card – you can pay for a day and come back all year through Dec. 31, 2013, to enjoy unlimited admission to all SeaWorld Orlando special events. Plus, with a Fun Card, you can experience Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, SeaWorld Orlando’s newest, must-see attraction opening May 24, as many times as you’d like! SeaWorld’s Antarctica will transport families into a rarely seen, icy world. You’ll feel the majestic grandeur of the South Pole and see it through the penguins’ eyes on an exhilarating, first-of-its-kind family ride.
For more information, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.  Viva la Música event dates, times and artists are subject to change.
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