Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Disney's Halloween Part One

Disney's Not So Scary Halloween PartyChildren across the globe and across the nation await the month of October. During this month many countries celebrate what many calls: All Saint's Day, Noche de Brujas/Dia das Bruxas (Spanish and Portuguese for Night of the Witches), Yue Lan (Chinese for Festival of the Hungry Ghosts); something interesting is that the Norfolk islands doesn't celebrate Christmas but they do celebrate the second Tuesday of December the party that in North America receives the name of Halloween.

In this party children dresses up and utter the familiar "Trick or Treat!" phrase in which the house-holder gives many candies to the kids, if not kids will be playing tricks! Another staple of this party is that many houses are decorated with effigies of ghosts or witches or cemetery with headstones baring interesting and often funny quotes. this has created an industry that during this month spends approximately $6.9 billion annually!

This hasn’t escape the sights of one of the biggest brands for family entertainment, Walt Disney World. In Magic Kingdom, the number one theme park visited in the world, Disney has its special event that celebrate this party. they have called it "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party"!

This year, like in many past ones, the park has added touches here and there to make the entire party be extra special and one treat of a lifetime for the many who will enjoy this annual event. The event will take place between Tuesday September 13th - Tuesday November 1st on selected nights.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cheetah Hunt

Never saw it coming ..

You can't escape ..

A new breed of speed killers ..

She lives for the hunt ..

One of the fastest predators on land ..

Now you can join the hunt as Busch celebrates a centuries old ritual of the Cheetah Hunt. Just inches from wild animals, brave the first of its kind attraction that will launch you up to 60 mph. Venture aboard the high-speed coaster designed for the hunt.

Hang on for this white-knuckled ride as your educated at the crossroads of cultures. and learn firsthand why the Cheetah is the most dangerous predators afoot.

Aboard this machine, get the adranline rush of a lifetime as you enjoy a new vantage point behind three differnet launch stages.

Majestic, but ferocious and shrewd, climb aboard nature's fastest most agile predator as you race across the Serengeti plains.

Climb above the African landscape, dive some 130 feet to an underground trench, take a deep breath for the over-banked turns, be exhilerated in the Air Time parabolas, and hold ;your breath for the Heartline roll inversion.

An amazing 4,429 foot track of mind-numbing, jaw-dropping, adrenaline-pumping, hair-raising, 4G, action-packed thrills for an eternal 3 1/2 minutes.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Typhoon Lagoon

What better way to spend the dog days of summer than to go to one of my favorite water parks!Typhoon Lagoon has everything for the entire family. No matter the ages or if you are a thrill-seeker, this water park is an awesome way to refresh yourself.

Let me start by pointing out that this has been the most visited water park in the world. This past year, 2,038,000 visitors enjoy this amazing water park!

It has 56-acres of fun areas to really dip in the water. It doesn’t matter what you are looking for in terms of cooling from the summer heat, or just contemplating reading your book-of-the-day, or just plain and simply you wanna relax, this park offers everything in spade.

Let’s see, for the relaxing crowd, there’s the Castaway Creek. This lazy river runs along the outer rims of the park (you can compare it to the little train that runs around magic kingdom). This river of 2100-foot in length will relax you in its gentle waters. Circling the park while passing thru caves, grottos, waterfalls, and sections with a rainforest look will certainly be a delight to everyone.

For the “I just wanna read my book” or the “I wanna feel like I am at the beach”, there’s the centerpiece to this water park, and also many people’s favorite area! A 109,000-square foot area called Surf Pool. It holds 3-million gallons of water. But the most unique thing about it is that it feels like if you are in a secluded island. Waves crashing by every 30min, it definitely feels as if you were at the sea, you’ll be checking just to see that you are really in a pool. And those who will stay at the shores, there’s sandy “beaches” around to just bath in the sun rays and toning down your bronze tan!

For those thrill-seekers in the family, there’s the Mayday Falls, which happens to be the longest slide in the park, passing thru caves and waterfalls. Also, Humunga Kowabunga shoots you down at triple speed slide to a splashing end! But if that is not enough, consider this, Crush ‘n Gusher is the equivalent of a roller-coaster or should I say water-coaster, making uphill and drops that will make you scream of delight! What about an encounter with sharks and tropical fishes in a coral-reef like environment with a sunken tanker that is also an observation deck area? That is exactly what Shark Reef is, so don’t let the opportunity pass you by!

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon hasn’t forgotten about the little ones. Ketchakiddee Creek has ten different playful areas that include slides, floating boats, waterfalls, and squirting animals. A small sandy beach is also in this area! Definitely made for the little ones in the family!

The “Cinderella Castle” of this water park is Mount Mayday, which raises the Miss Tilly boat 95-feet at the top. And that little horn you hear will tell you that a tidal wave of fun is about to come your way!

Don’t forget to enjoy the summer days in this amazing water park. Typhoon Lagoon is the place; don’t go from Orlando without visiting it!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pirates Dinner Adventure New Show!

The food at Pirates Dinner AdventureSo not a lot of information about this is out yet, but rumor has it that the Pirates Dinner Adventure in the Orlando area is changing their show! Now I have taken the kids to this great dinner show in the past, and we always enjoyed. So, I can’t wait to see what the newest additions or changes are! Pirates Dinner Adventure is one of the few shows in the area that really gets the kids involved.

In fact I can’t tell you how many times my kids have spent their week pretending to be pirates after spend a night at the show. The rumors were verified for me when I visited their website. Their show page says “Now in celebration of our fifteenth year anniversary in Orlando we’ve brought you a brand new show – The Curse of Poseidon’s Treasure!” This is exciting; I have to get the kids together for another visit!

What sets the Pirates Dinner Show aside from the other shows in the area is stage… or ocean? Let me explain. In the center of the room is a massive 300,000 gallon pool, the perfect ocean for this high seas adventure. In the center of the pool is one of the biggest ships I have ever seen, the perfect stage for awesome sword fights and action! But what people want to really know is whether or not the food is good. Well you can rest assured that you will not be disappointed. We really like the food here; they serve gourmet chicken and pork as well as all that great American food for the kids!

If you are looking for a dinner show to visit in the Central Florida area then this is a great choice. If you get there before me you have to tell me how good the new show is. I plan on getting down there soon and seeing The Curse of Poseidon’s Treasure!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Scorpion at Busch Gardens

The Scorpion at Busch GardensSo I was recently reading about a new roller coaster that was just put up over seas when I read that its one of three of its kind. So naturally they listed where the other ones were located and it just so happens that one of the roller coasters was in Tampa at the Busch Gardens theme park. The coaster is the Scorpion, and even though I can’t thoroughly explain what sets it aside from other roller coasters I just had to go back and try it.

The Scorpion has this really unique design between the cart and the track that keep it from shaking. Very few people realize that a cart shakes as you go down the track because their often thinking about the giant loops coming up or the inversions they just whipped through. So when it comes to how smooth a coaster is it usually doesn’t end up at the top of someone’s list. But since it isn’t like I ride a roller coaster every day I had to do a little experiment.

Since Busch Gardens is home to over twelve separate roller coasters I decided I would take the family and enjoy a day at the park. At the end of the day, after riding all the other roller coasters, we would go on the Scorpion. By that time I would be able to tell the difference and compare. So we road both the Gwazi coasters, the Kumba, the Montu, the SheiKra and even the new Cheetah Hunt… which was awesome! Finally at the end of the day we headed over the Scorpion, which had a very short line. I noticed almost instantly as we rounded the first bend the difference. You have to pay attention the Scorpion feels like riding a wave, it is smooth and sleek!

So my little experiment got me a full day of roller coasters at the theme park. If it wasn’t for these discounted tickets we wouldn’t be able to visit the parks as often as we do! Even though Busch Gardens is in Tampa and about an hour away from the Orlando area it’s a definite investment. Then you can tell me what you think of the Scorpion!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tiki Room Reopening!

Walt Disney in the Tiki room when it first opened.If any of you have been to the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort and went to the Tiki Room to see some talking birds you know that this is a big deal. The Tiki room as been close for years now because it was falling apart. Every once and awhile it would reopen for a short time after receiving some fixes, before it would close again for remodeling. In fact the name of the show even changed at once to the “Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management.” I guess that’s just Disney’s sense of humor.

Anyway it looks like it is opened for good now, and the show has totally changed! It used to feature a ton of talking birds, but the main characters were Lago from Aladdin and Zazu from the Lion King. Now they brought over a theme from Disney Land in California, a place I have never been. So, this whole thing is going to be an entirely new experience for me!

The new characters are four birds that are apparently a hit over in California. The birds are Jose, Fritz, Miachael and Pierre. These four parrots are supposed to be a collage of humor and fun, and with over 200 birds to sing along with them I am really excited. The new ride is going to be named Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, so it’s only dropping the “Under new Management” part. I am really looking forward to the new song addition to the show called “Lets All Sing Like the Birdies Sing.”

I am going to have to grab the kids some weekend and head out there. I might wait a little while because the ride is a theatre style “show.” So after the first few weeks I think I can avoid the large crowds. This is a nice little treat before they add the other additions to the Magic Kingdom Theme Park!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wild Florida Airboat Tours

An alligator on our tour!So my parents visited this week and the first thing they wanted to do was go see the alligators. We offered to take them to Gatorland but they were more interested in seeing them in the wild. So we went down to the lake front at night with a flashlight and looked around for some eyes. The only thing we found was a duck and mosquitoes. So we decided we would go on an airboat tour to ensure they got to see their Florida gator before they left.

We decided to go with Wild Florida for the airboat tour, since we had never been on this tour before. It’s the first time I have seen Cypress Lake before, so it was kind of a treat for me as well. If you don’t know what an airboat is let me explain. It’s this big, flat boat that has a massive fan on the back. Because it has no propeller in the water so it won’t get tangled in the weeds. It is the preferred method of getting around the thickly brushed Florida lakes. The best part is you can fit a ton of people on these things; some of them have room for fifteen or twenty.

Anyway, Wild Florida was great! These guys knew just where to look for the alligators. I am sure they know these alligators on a personal level… I mean they take visitors out to see them every day. But, the way these guys navigate the weeds is just awesome, they are definitely skilled. Best of all the guide answered all my fathers questions that I was probably supposed to know… after living here for so long.

If you want to tour the lakes this is the best place to go. I have been on a bunch of airboat tours and never seen a guide stop the boat so quickly to show us a snake any other passenger would have missed. Plus they had a really cool aviary that my mother was fond of!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space CenterSo it has been awhile since I visited the Kennedy Space Center. In fact I was trying to figure it out last week and I came to the conclusion that it had been almost five or six years. So with the great rates on line I decided to go. I mean it’s really inexpensive and last I remember it was really great. Plus I have been hearing a lot of good feedback about all the updates to the Space Center I was kind of excited.

Now the last time I visited I got to be honest with you, I really enjoyed all the exhibits and the rockets they showcased but it seemed like there was a thick layer of dust over everything I found. But this time it was totally different. I don’t know if they hired new staff or if they stepped up there game, but the place was full of new stuff and everything seemed brand new!

From the massive rocket shuttles to recent pieces of debris from the unfortunate Challenger incident, this place has everything. One of the things that interested me most was the full exhibit on the new James Webb Space Telescope, something planned to be launched in 2018. The exhibits here are just limitless; I mean there is interesting fact after interesting fact.

The truth is I could sit here for days telling you about what I saw, there is just so much. If you plan on visiting Kennedy Space Center while in Orlando… which you should, look for a tour. I really wish someone was guiding me the entire time I was there, especially someone who could answer my questions.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fantasy Land Hidden Concept Art

An early concept art of Fantasy LandSo if you are a fan of the Magic Kingdom theme park or if you have visited in the last couple of years you know that they are planning a huge expansion of the Fantasyland section of the park. They are planning to add rides and attractions that will nearly double the size of Fantasyland as we know it. Rumor has it that the new rides and attractions are going to utilized the massive courtyard to Cinderella’s Castle that is currently only occupied by a large field of grass. A large field of grass that never gets used except for special events.

Anyway this would probably be old news to you… since they have been talking about it since early 2010. In fact there are small sections of the park where you can already see them making preparations for the big renovation project. But something recently just came out in a neighboring theme park that secretly slipped under the radar. I’m not sure how long it has been there or if Disney was the one to “leak” the information, but there has been a large addition to one of the minor attractions at the Hollywood Studios theme park.

Hollywood Studios has what most would call a museum of Walt Disney’s dreams, all pieced together in a time line. It’s located in the back of the park and is known as “One Man’s Dream.” Well apparently in the last few weeks they added a whole new exhibit over night featuring all the compiled information and concept art on the new and upcoming Fantasy Land. But not only that, they went and added a whole new set of concept art that shows rides and attractions that were previously only known by name. They even have a monitor showing three dimensional images of what their construction efforts are going to look like!

It is like an in depth look or even a revealing of the new rides that will be coming out. It is really exciting, I can’t wait to get over to Hollywood Studios and check it out! I wonder why they didn’t make a big deal about this; it seems like something we would want to know!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Discovery Cove's Dolphin Swim

Discovery Cove's Dolphin SwimSo I have visited SeaWorld twice in the last few months and every time I went I kept thinking about the Discovery Cove right next door. Believe it or not with all the time I have lived here I have never been there. The big deal with Discovery Cove is that you get to swim with bottle nosed dolphins, something I was pretty excited about when I decided me and my wife should go. Now the thing about getting discounted tickets to Discovery Cove is that you have to do it in advance, because they only let so many people into the water on certain dates. Otherwise there would be five hundred people in the water and only three dolphins.

So we got up bright and early and drove out to Discovery Cove for our big day. Now the dolphin swim is a half hour experience, so there is more to do at the park when you are done. But for this blog, I am going to tell you about the dolphins. When you first arrive they fit you a wet suit, because the water is freezing cold and trust me, you want the wet suit. If you didn’t bring a wetsuit they let you buy one from the gift shop, which probably costs more than I make in a year.

Anyway once you get out to the water they instruct you on what you can and can’t do. Then you wade into the water and they call the dolphins over. You get to spend some time rubbing them and touching them before they tell you that you can swim out further. From there the trainers help you interact with the dolphins while in the water. Probably the coolest part is when they let you grab hold of a dolphin’s dorsal fin for a ride back to shore. Just a neat little trick they taught the animals.

At the end we bought a picture of us with the dolphins, just something to prove we had been in the water with them. The Dolphin Swim is definitely something I would suggest for people visiting the area. It’s a great vacation experience; I would definitely do it again if I had the chance.