Saturday, June 25, 2011

Candlelight Processional

Candle Light Choir
One of the highlights at the end of the year in Epcot is the “Candlelight Processional”. This is going to be the 41st edition of this wonderfully magical show.

Imagine, just for a moment, your favorite artist. The starry night as backdrop, at the American Gardens Theater in the American pavilion (some of the seats are covered, not climate control cause is outside). And, they will be doing a retelling of the Story of Christmas! If that’s not enough, a full orchestra and a mass choir. Live. In living colors!

Just to treat you with this incredible event, how about if we show you who the performers for this year will be:

-- November 25-27: Mira Sorvino ("Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion")
-- November 28–December 1: Michael W. Smith (Christian singer)
-- December 2-3: Whoopi Goldberg ("The View")
-- December 4-6: TBD
-- December 7-9: Isabella Rossellini ("Alias")
-- December 10-12: Neil Patrick Harris ("How I Met Your Mother")
-- December 13-15: TBD
-- December 16-18: TBD
-- December 19-21: Trace Adkins (country singer)
-- December 22-24: Susan Lucci ("All My Children")
-- December 25–27: Blair Underwood ("The Event")
-- December 28-30: Marlee Matlin ("Celebrity Apprentice")

Whichever the artist, you cannot go wrong, the whole ambience and the festive moment will make it a very special night. However, you certainly will be touched with Ms. Sorvino, Lucci, and Whoopi’s rendition. And Mr. Smith is also one regular that the ladies are swoon with. Plus, you’ll be with tears in your eyes and really amazingly uplifted with Ms. Matlin.

You may ask about the cost. The event is included in your ticket admission to Epcot. However, since Epcot has some of the best restaurant in Disney-area, you can combine eating at the restaurant and seating at the reserved area in the processional, of course, doing this will incur in extra charges.

This is an amazing event that surely is a delight of parents and children. Just the sheer magic of the Processional, seeing the invited artist, and the choir plus the orchestra, you’ll be totally touched. For all Christmas-time lovers, this is one that cannot be missed!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Men in Black: Alien Attack

Men in Black: Alien AttackNow I am a huge fan of Universal Studios, in fact I used to have an annual pass to the theme parks. But one of the rides at the Universal Studios stuck out to me the most and I would probably go so far as to say it’s my favorite ride. Located in the back of the theme park away from all the screaming and loud music you can find a large building which is the entrance for Men in Black: Alien Attack.

As soon as you walk through the doors you will be greeted by a large round room with a door on the far end. When a Man or Women in Black steps out to meet you she explains that you are about to go through your orientation. Then the door reopens and what had once been an elevator is now a hallway. You step through and begin your exploration of the base, passing by characters from the movies and surprises that sometimes make people jump. All in good fun.

Then you come to the loading bay where they explain that all new recruits are on their way to the shooting range. You hop in a vehicle that seats six, three up top and three down bottom. In front of each seat is a mounted sci-fi gun that lights up and flashes when you click the trigger. As you round the corner card board cut outs of aliens pop up and they have targets on them. I don’t think you need me to explain what you are supposed to do. Every target you hit raises your score, which is on a little display under your gun.

Suddenly the training mission is cut short and your burst out onto the streets of Manhattan. It appears as if an alien attack on the city is more than just the active field agents can handle, and all units… even recruits are called to the field. I won’t spoil the whole story for you, but you get to fight aliens for the best score in your cart, what could be cooler than that?

In short, Men in Black: Alien Attack is an awesome adventure, probably my favorite at the Universal Studios. If you visit the theme park this is a must ride!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sounds Like Summer at Epcot

Sounds Like Summer at EcpotNow I am a huge fan of Disney if you guys haven’t figured that out yet. I mean I am not that guy who has all the stuffed animals and murals of my favorite characters around my house. But, when it comes to the Disney theme parks in Orlando I am always up to date on the latest news and sometimes gossip. So when I saw Disney announce a month of concerts at the Epcot theme park I had to make it my business.

Sounds Like Summer is an event that will bring back classic hits from some of your favorite bands. They will have professional bands playing hits from U2, Janet Jackson, Bon Jovi, The Bee Gees, Journey and a lot more. There was a whole list but those are only the ones I can remember. Personally I will be out there enjoying the Tribute to Journey week, from July tenth to the sixteenth. In fact I already bought my tickets yesterday.

The shows will be at the America Gardens in Epcot’s World Showcase. If you have never been there than you don’t know what you are missing. The World Showcase is always an awesome place to stop at night to eat; they have so many options to choose from and a ton of exotic foods. But you might want to eat early, with an event this big its bound to be very crowded.

Anyway I am super excited, a chance to listen to some great music and enjoy all the rides at the theme park at the same time. I invite you to join me for this really cool event, its from June 12th to July 30th, so dates cant really hold you back, that’s a lot of time to get down there and enjoy one of the shows!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cheetah Hunt Part 2

The Cheetah HuntNow you feel that first push that makes the car moving and instead of that usual stop-and-wait you normally experience on the regular roller coasters, you experience that immediate thrust to the outside, not even giving you the time to set yourself into “roller coaster” mode, taking you totally by surprise, a really good surprise! This will be the beginning of this amazing roller coaster that is the longest in Florida, 4,429 feet-long. Immediately you’ll do a little curve and dropping you toward a narrow area where it will come the first of three magnetic sling-shots that will add to the speed. This one however will thrust you to the hill (at 30mph) that will immediately get you on top of what Busch Garden has called the Windcatcher’s Tower. Once on top (100 ft in the air), you’ll have a little nice ride that will give you a nice view of the park, but will prepare you to catch your breath from that awesome opening, cause more thrills will come.

Once you reach the end of this leisurely ride, you’ll get to the edge of a 130 ft drop, one that will make you feel those G4 forces that are a trademark of this attraction. You’ll get into a succession of ups and downs that are going around the hanging cables of the Skyride, which is pretty cool specially when a Skyride bucket is coming along. It is what Busch Gardens calls a heartline roll.

After that, you get to the second sling shot (this one clocking at 60mph) thru a nifty riverbank design that reminiscent one of those African savannah type of riverbank. That look and the zigzagging at that speed will give you that wow-effect. Here you can feel one of the nicest things I enjoyed in this ride and is how amazingly smooth it is. In regular roller coasters you can feel the clacking of going from one stretch of track to another, but here is the soft humming as if you are totally gliding thru the tracks, which is a totally amazing feeling!

After you get out of this riverbank, you reach the third and last of the sling-shots that reaches 45mph as you go up a hill and then coming back down, giving you some awesome airtime. After a few more turns and curves, you will reach the end.

Once you get out, you can have your picture with that awesome look for the posterity! Or you can buy many of the merchandises ranging from Cheetah Hunt T-Shirts to the lovable Kasi the Baby Cheetah plush toy (My sister loved those big huge eyes, she said it was “soo adorably cute”).

Had an amazing time, and if you ever find yourself here in Orlando, definitely you have to take a trip to Tampa and go into Busch Gardens and enjoy this roller coaster. It is worth it and definitely a great addition to this roller coaster Mecca!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cheetah Hunt Part 1

One of the things I love about Busch Gardens in Florida is their love for all things roller coasters. Every time, they try to push the envelope when it comes to new coasters tailor-made for the thrill seekers. I considered myself one trying everything that will make me release that energy and adrenaline.

So, it was with great anticipation that I was heading to Busch Gardens to try out their new offering, Cheetah Hunt. They have fusion going to the roller coaster with the exhibition of those beautiful animals. At certain times of the day, they have a little show where they put into a run stripped the cheetah, and sent out a bait thru the runway, immediately, you can see why these are the fastest animals in the world. You can see their lean bodies, all muscle no body fat. One thing is to see them thru the TV set in those animal documentaries; another completely is to see them live. This are simply put beautiful animals. The spots are their personal fingerprint that sets them apart from each other. They have a badass look but once you see them bathing under the sun or taking a nap under the shades, you can see a little bit of their docility and playfulness.

After you have seen this animals, you can see the two cheetahs standing tall as columns sort of welcoming you to this amazing new ride. Once you start rounding out the line, you can see a huge rock formation type of design with the form of a huge cheetah, pretty cool. As you walk thru the line, in the columns, you’ll see little tablets with some nifty information about this incredible creature and also this ride. One that I thought was interesting was that its claws don’t retract and sort of makes on its paws a cleats effect and that helps him reach out those amazing speeds and stability. As we reach the portion where you can see the carts, you can choose either going to the very front of the car or the back, depending which one you chose the line can be a little faster or slow.

So, now you are right there in front of the car and one thing you’ll notice is the harness, it is a little bit different from the usual roller coasters like Montu or Kumba and the likes. They have added a grab-handler right there in the front, a little under the chest area. You’ll see signals and other tags that tells you not to grab the harness by the shoulder portion for security reasons. This will be a different type of rush you’ll feel! Their slogan “A New Breed of Speed” is indeed really true!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Aquatica, Texas

I opened my local newspaper to read the headline “Aquatica in Texas,” so naturally I had to do some digging and find out just what all the excitement is about. So I read the article and then checked online to find out that the Sea World in San Antonio Texas is preparing to open another Aquatica theme park. But this isn’t going to be the same theme park as the one here, it’s not a duplicate or a replication, it is going to be like a whole new park. Now my wife has family up there and I am greedily hoping I can steal some time to take the family next time we visit.

The article read that Sea World’s Park Chief the Executive Officer Jim Atchison spoke saying “Aquatica here in Orlando has been a home run for us.” So I guess they are making plans to expand Aquatica not only to Texas but also more destinations in the future. If they keep making them unique and different parks than I am not complaining at all.

Aquatica, Texas is supposed to feature an icon ride like the dolphin slides here in Florida that will feature a stingray tank. Supposedly it’s a family sized raft ride that will take you down and even under a stingray lagoon. The ride is supposed to be called “Stingray Falls,” kind of ironic because I don’t know any stingrays that spend their time at waterfalls. Regardless this ride looks really fun; they say there will be concept art for the theme park soon, so you can get an early glimpse.

I am anxiously awaiting the final opening date, but for now they just stated it will be sometime in 2012. I know that Aquatica here is my favorite water park and if there is a “sequel” then I definitely have to go see it!