SeaWorld Orlando Tour Gives Up-Close Look at Park’s Killer Whales

SeaWorld Orlando Tour Gives Up-Close Look at Park’s Killer Whales

A new tour at SeaWorld Orlando invites guests to engage with the Park’s killer whales, including meeting trainers and participating in a unique interaction.

New Killer Whale Up-Close Tour at SeaWorld Orlando

Visitors to SeaWorld Orlando now have the opportunity to experience the park’s majestic killer whales in a brand-new way. The Killer Whale Up-Close Tour gives guests the opportunity to meet the park’s killer whales in ways never before offered at the park. The 45-minute tour includes learning from the park’s killer whale trainers, meeting the whales and understanding their unique personalities and even taking part in an interaction with one off the whales.

 A new tour at SeaWorld Orlando invites guests to engage with the Park’s killer whales, including meeting trainers and participating in a unique interaction.

During the tour, which takes place daily, SeaWorld’s trainers share stories and information about the killer whales, demonstrate how the whales take part in voluntary husbandry sessions and discuss their healthcare, feeding habits and more. The engaging and interactive tour also gives participants the chance to try their hand at a session with the whales alongside a trainer. Throughout the entire experience, guests can take photos to help forever preserve the memory of the one-of-a-kind experience.

 A new tour at SeaWorld Orlando invites guests to engage with the Park’s killer whales, including meeting trainers and participating in a unique interaction.

The Killer Whale Up-Close Tour is the latest in the SeaWorld’s collection of memorable, educational and inspirational tours. Popular guest experiences, including the Dolphin Up-Close Tour and Penguin Up-Close Tour provide hands-on interactions with some of the park’s most popular animals while encouraging guests to care about all of the animals found in the oceans. The Behind-the-Scenes Tour, a guest favorite, provides an inside look at the park’s amazing animal rescue operation and ends with the opportunity to touch a shark and meet a Magellanic penguin.

 A new tour at SeaWorld Orlando invites guests to engage with the Park’s killer whales, including meeting trainers and participating in a unique interaction.

The Killer Whale Up-Close Tour begins at 10:00 a.m. and lasts approximately 45 minutes. Space is limited, and guests are encouraged to make reservations online in advance. Prices start at $79 per person. For more information on SeaWorld’s tour programs, park hours and to purchase tickets, visitSeaWorldOrlando.com.

https://www.destinationsinflorida.com/blog/2017/07/12/seaworld-orlando-tour-killer-whales/


Swim with Sharks at Discovery Cove in Orlando Florida

Find out how guests can swim with sharks at Discovery Cove in Orlando in one of several all-new experiences that give guests up-close looks at animals.

Swim with Sharks at Discovery Cove in Orlando

In celebration of Shark Awareness Day on July 14, guests at Discovery Cove can now take part in exclusive new animal experiences at the park. Discovery Cove has always been known for its memorable dolphin interactions, and now guests can enhance their visit with one of-a-kind, hands-on encounters with sharks and stingrays.

Find out how guests can swim with sharks at Discovery Cove in Orlando in one of several all-new experiences that give guests up-close looks at animals.

The awe-inspiring Shark Swim program provides closer-than-ever encounters with legendary predators. While guests have always been able to view park’s sharks, the new program takes them on a daring next step – swimming freely among five species: Pacific blacktip, reef whitetip, nurse shark, zebra shark, and a spotted wobbegong.

The immersive session is divided into two unique interactions and begins as guests meet with the park’s shark team and head into the water. Through hands-on interaction, guests learn about shark anatomy and the threats the animals face in the wild. Guests can also join the sharks in the deeper part of their habitat and embark on an exhilarating snorkel experience.

Find out how guests can swim with sharks at Discovery Cove in Orlando in one of several all-new experiences that give guests up-close looks at animals.

Discovery Cove works to dispel myths about sharks and to inspire guests to learn more about these mysterious creatures. As top predators, sharks play an essential role in maintaining the balance of ocean ecosystems worldwide by monitoring fish populations. Sadly, shark finning and overfishing threaten many shark species and disrupt that natural balance. Guests who take part in the new Shark Swim program will walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for these fascinating ocean ambassadors.

The Shark Swim experience is available to Discovery Cove guests ages 10 and older. The cost is $85 per person. For every shark swim package purchased, SeaWorld will donate 5% of the proceeds to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) in support of shark conservation and research.

Find out how guests can swim with sharks at Discovery Cove in Orlando in one of several all-new experiences that give guests up-close looks at animals.

In addition to the Shark Swim program, Discovery Cove has launched a new Ray Feeding experience. This exclusive opportunity gives guests the chance to feed the stingrays during a private tour of the Grand Reef. Guided by one of the park’s aquarists, guests ages 6 and older spend their session in the Grand Reef learning all about the species of rays as they hand-feed the incredible creatures. The Ray Feeding program is $50 per person.

The new interaction programs require a Dolphin Swim or Day Resort reservation at Discovery Cove to participate. Space for each program is limited and guests are encouraged to book in advance.

Beginning August 1, Florida residents who book a day at Discovery Cove will also receive unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s water park, through January 2018 – including SeaWorld’s special holiday events.

http://www.destinationsinflorida.com/blog/2017/07/17/swim-sharks-discovery-cove-orlando-florida/


Top 9 Disney World Timesaver Hacks

Your vacation time is precious. Unfortunately it seems like our vacation days are too few and far between. When you choose a destination like Disney World for your vacation, with so many different things to see, do and experience, you want to make sure that you are able to maximize your time. Here are my top 9 timesaver hacks when visiting Disney World.

Top 9 Disney World Timesaver Hacks

Resorts

#9 Stay at a Disney Resort Hotel

You will save a ton of commuting time by simply staying onsite at one of Disney Resort. The transportation comes on a regular basis (average 15-25 minutes) and you are just closer to the parks than off-site options. You can even select a Disney Deluxe Resort (Disney’s Contemporary Resort) that allow you to walk right into Magic Kingdom. There a lot of advantages to staying on site, but the convenience of location is high on the list.

#8 Online Check-In

I don’t always recommend this, particularly if you have specific requests that you want honored by the resort, but it can save you a little time when you arrive. By checking in online everything is ready to go for you once you arrive at the resort. During the day, you may be greeted at the front entrance of the resort by a Disney Cast Member to just get your room number.  You will then go right to your room.

If it is after hours, there is a separate line for online check-ins that moves a little faster and everything should be set when you get to the counter.

Dining

disney world hacks

#7 Make Dining Reservations

You should always book your sit down reservations, before arriving to Disney World.  This will save you hours waiting for a table!  In addition, you want to make sure you pre-book your favorites.  You do not want to show up to Disney World to find out your favorite restaurant is booked up.  Book your dining reservations as far in advance as possible.

Another new dining tip is the advance ordering on your My Disney Experience app.  This is another great idea to save time for the counter service restaurants.

#6 Eat Breakfast in Your Room

This is a big time saver! While one person is in the shower, someone else can eat their Cheerios (or muffin, Danish, etc.) It maximizes time and minimizes waiting in line for a Disney breakfast. I highly recommend packing some breakfast items if you can or having a grocery delivery. You can also pick up cereal and other breakfast items in most resort food courts, but they are just a little more expensive than a “normal” grocery store.

#5 Ask for Your Check Early

If you are dining at an all-you-care-to-eat buffet or set-price table service restaurant, this is particularly convenient. When we attend a character buffet, I always ask for the check as we order our drinks. This way I can have that taken care of and as soon as we finish eating or see our last character we are ready to leave.

Theme Parks

disney world hack

#4 Minimize your Park Bags

There is a security bag check at the entry to every park. While they normally move fairly quickly, if you show up at a peak time at Epcot and the monorail and tram just let out a swarm of guests you may have to wait longer than you would like. There are a few things you can do here. If you can travel lightly, just don’t take a bag. If you only need a few things, try to put them in your pockets (and those of other family members) along with a folded up drawstring style backpack. Once you’re in the park you can unload their pockets into the bag. These two options allow you to bypass the bag check line. If you must carry a bag, have all of the compartments open as you approach the security guard and try to carry as few bags as possible.

#3 Drive or Walk

Although the Disney transportation system is more convenient than most, it can still be frustrating when you are in a hurry. If you drive to WDW or if you rent a car once you arrive, you can drive to Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The parking is convenient and you don’t have to wait on a bus to arrive. Magic Kingdom is easier to do on a bus, since the parking lot still requires a ferry or monorail ride to get over to the entrance.

If you are able to stay in a location where you can walk to a park that is even better. My family loves Epcot, so Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club top our list of resorts because it is so easy to walk over to Epcot and even Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Boardwalk and the Swan and Dolphin are in the same location. The Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower have a path to Magic Kingdom if you spend most of your time there. Of course, being on the monorail is super convenient when it is operating at full hours.

 #2 Arrive to the Parks at Opening

The amount of time you will save waiting in line from opening to 11 AM is amazing. That is the very best time to be in the park, before the lines start to form. There are some exceptions with the particularly popular rides where the queues build quickly, but just use #1 for that and arrive early for the other stuff.

#1 Use FastPass+

Everyone with tickets to Disney World, now has the privilege of FastPass+. It is free, and everyone should take advantage of it. Being able to skip some of the crazy standby lines at attractions like the new 7 Dwarfs Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom or Soarin at Epcot will save you a ton of time.

Planning a visit to Universal Orlando while you are in Orlando.  Check out some Universal Orlando hacks! What are your favorite time saving strategies for your Disney World vacation?

Top 9 Disney World Timesaver Hacks


Disney Vacation Club Opens Copper Creek Villas & Cabins

Disney Vacation Club Opens Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, including studios, villas and waterfront cabins.

New Disney World Copper Creek Opens for Disney Vacation Club

Today, Disney Vacation Club welcomes its 14th resort with the opening of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the latest vacation ownership property in its growing portfolio. Offering one of the widest ranges of accommodation types at Walt Disney World Resort, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins features 184 rustically elegant accommodation options, including Deluxe Studios, one- and two-bedroom Villas, three-bedroom Grand Villas and unique Waterfront Cabins.

Disney Vacation Club Opens Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, including studios, villas and waterfront cabins.

(Rafael Tongol, photographer)

“Copper Creek Villas & Cabins offers members and guests a uniquely designed and exquisitely appointed home base for their Walt Disney World vacation, and it is truly a gem in the growing Disney Vacation Club portfolio,” said Ken Potrock, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Vacation Club. “This resort offers the best of everything, including immersive theming, accommodations in a variety of sizes to suit any type of family, high-quality amenities, and the ideal waterfront location that is just around the river bend from Magic Kingdom Park.”

Inspired by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the resort features natural elements, such as wood and stone, in its design, as well as subtle nods to the American transcontinental railroad. The Deluxe Studios offer room for up to four guests, while the larger one- and two-bedroom Villas and three-bedroom Grand Villas seamlessly blend the comforts of home with the wonders of the wilderness to create a tranquil retreat for families of any size. Each Villa is thoughtfully designed with today’s families in mind offering full kitchens, expanded storage space for belongings, and private patios or balconies with scenic views.

The 26 all-new luxurious waterfront Cascade Cabins are the centerpiece of the resort. These two-bedroom, two-bath cabins sleep up to eight, offering modern luxuries with a homey, yet upscale feel. Large dining and living room spaces, along with a screened-in wraparound porch, allow for plenty of space for families. Amenities throughout the cabins include a full kitchen, flat panel televisions, a washer and dryer, a hidden pull-down bed featuring artwork of Chip and Dale, a built-in hot tub on the porch, an indoor/outdoor fireplace and a number of special Disney touches.

Disney Vacation Club Opens Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, including studios, villas and waterfront cabins.

(Rafael Tongol, photographer)

The resort is a short water taxi ride away from Magic Kingdom Park, and offers easy bus access to the rest of the Walt Disney World Resort, making it the ideal home base for families looking to explore a wide range of new Disney attractions, including the recently opened Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and the reimagined Disney Springs retail, dining and entertainment district.

While staying at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins, guests have shared access to all of the amenities and activities available just steps away at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Geyser Point Bar & Grill, which opened earlier this year, offers picturesque views of Bay Lake, as well as explorer-worthy feasts and trails-end spirits in an open-air lounge. Roaring Fork, the resort’s original quick-service restaurant, has recently reopened featuring a refreshed look and expanded outdoor seating.

The resort’s new leisure pool, Boulder Ridge Cove Pool, is themed to the legendary mining history of the Northwest featuring a zero-depth entry pool, a whirlpool spa and first-come, first-served cabanas. Additionally, a brand-new sports court, BBQ pavilions and a refurbished fire pit and movie area have all joined the lineup of resort amenities. Those in search of extra pampering will want to stop by Salon by the Springs, opening later this year, for pool-side manicures, pedicures and hair services.

Copper Creek Villas & Cabins is the second Disney Vacation Club resort at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. For more information about Copper Creek Villas & Cabins and Disney Vacation Club, visit DisneyCopperCreek.com.

http://www.destinationsinflorida.com/blog/2017/07/25/disney-vacation-club-dvc-copper-creek-villas-cabins/


Disney Riviera Resort and Skyway Gondolas Coming to Disney World

At the recent D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif., Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, announced the next planned development for Disney Vacation Club will be an entirely new resort near Epcot called Disney Riviera Resort and that a new skyway transportation system will connect the new resort to other areas on Walt Disney World property.

Disney Vacation Club announces next planned developments for Disney World, including a new resort and skyway gondola connecting the Parks to resorts.

“We’re thrilled to announce plans for a new Disney Vacation Club property called Disney Riviera Resort coming to Walt Disney World Resort,” Chapek said. “Our Vacation Club Members are among our most loyal fans, and we think that they will love what we have planned, especially the rooftop restaurant that will offer unbelievable views of nighttime spectaculars at both Epcot and Hollywood Studios.”

In addition, Chapek announced that a whole new transportation system of gondolas is planned, called the Disney Skyliner, to give guests a never-before-seen birds-eye view of Walt Disney World and connect the new Disney Vacation Club property, Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach resorts with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot.

Disney Vacation Club announces next planned developments for Disney World, including a new resort and skyway gondola connecting the Parks to resorts.

Estimated to open in fall 2019, this new resort experience is slated to be the 15th Disney Vacation Club property with approximately 300 units spread across a variety of accommodation types.

On July 17, Disney Vacation Club will welcome its 14th resort with the opening of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, featuring 184 rustically elegant vacation accommodations including Deluxe Studios, one- and two-bedroom Villas, three-bedroom Grand Villas and unique waterfront cabins.

Disney Vacation Club announces next planned developments for Disney World, including a new resort and skyway gondola connecting the Parks to resorts.

Ken Potrock, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Disney Vacation Club, said, “The opening of Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in just a few days and the announcement of our next planned development, Disney Riviera Resort, demonstrate the incredible momentum underway at Disney Vacation Club. Our members tell us over and over again how much they love the outstanding accommodations and the value and flexibility of a Disney Vacation Club Membership, as well as the unique location to our growing and evolving theme parks and the exclusive member experiences and benefits they get from our Membership Extras program.”

http://www.destinationsinflorida.com/blog/2017/07/26/disney-world-riviera-resort-skyway-gondolas/


Two Exciting New Ways to Get Around at Disney World

There's a few new ways to get around at Walt Disney World! These Disney World transportation changes will get guests moving around the resorts.

Looking for ways to get around at Disney? Here are a few ideas (including one that’s coming soon!)

Minnie Van Service Now Available Resort Wide

A new transportation service featuring vans themed to the oneand-only Minnie Mouse will soon be taking you everywhere you want to go at the Walt Disney World Resort. Just arrange a Minnie van and a Disney cast member will arrive and drive you anywhere you wish at the Resort in a magical way that only Disney can do. Through collaboration with the US’ fastest growing rideshare service, Lyft, guests at these resorts can arrange their own private Disney vehicle right from the Lyft app on their smartphone.

There's a few new ways to get around at Walt Disney World! These Disney World transportation changes will get guests moving around the resorts.

With Minnie Van service, Disney cast members will then whisk you away to wherever you want to be at Walt Disney World Resort. This service accommodates up to six guests and provides two versatile car seats so even the tiniest of passengers can travel in style! Minnie Van service will be available between 6:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. (subject to change). Guests staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts can learn more by visiting their Bell Services desk.

Disney Skyliner Transportation Announced

A brand new transportation system is coming to the Walt Disney World Resort to add even more magic to your future vacation experiences. Disney Skyliner will soon give guests a bird’seye view of Walt Disney World Resort. The transportation system will connect Disney’s Art of Animation, Pop Century and Caribbean Beach resorts and other locations with Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot. And many of the gondolas with Disney Skyliner will feature favorite Disney characters.

Disney Vacation Club announces next planned developments for Disney World, including a new resort and skyway gondola connecting the Parks to resorts.

http://www.destinationsinflorida.com/blog/2017/08/03/get-around-disney-world/


What to expect as Christmas swings into Disney Springs on Nov 8

Disney Springs readies itself for the holiday season and offers its own brand of holiday magic and seasonal entertainment, yuletide decor, and delightful treats for you to explore. This year there’s also a newly reimagined World of Disney Store that makes finding that perfect Disney souvenir easier than ever.

Not convinced, here’s a new bit of sizzle from Disney’s marketing department that hopes you’ll find Disney Springs your favorite destination for holiday shopping and dining:

Here’s more of what awaits you at Disney Springs this holiday season:

  • Christmas Tree Trail – Guests will enjoy a walk-through wonderland filled with Christmas trees decorated with Disney imagery and characters. This year’s trail features 27 unique holiday trees with new additions inspired by Toy Story, The Haunted Mansion, vintage Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and Star Wars.
  • Santa’s Chalet – Guests can meet Santa Claus and take photos with him at this location inside the Christmas Tree Trail. Santa will welcome guests each day from Nov. 8 through Dec. 24.
  • Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt – Stitch, from the hit Disney film “Lilo and Stitch,” has lost items around Disney Springs and will need guests’ help finding them. Those who complete this festive seasonal scavenger hunt will earn a fun surprise!

Holiday Shopping for the Whole Family

There’s something for everyone at Disney Springs, with gift ideas from top-name brands to trendy and exclusive Disney-themed items and more.

Disney fans will find a treasure trove of gift ideas at the newly reimagined World of Disney, which features an entire section dedicated to holiday merchandise, as well as the largest collection of Disney Parks merchandise in the world. Trendsetters will love the apparel and accessories at shops such as DisneyStyle, Ever After Jewelry, Marketplace Co-Op, Coach, Tumi, Pandora, Alex & Ani and UNIQLO. And kids will especially love gifts from shops like The LEGO Store and Once Upon a Toy.

Delicious Meals and Festive Treats

At Disney Springs, options for sharing a meal with family and friends range from on-the-go quick bites to a sophisticated lunch or dinner at a renowned restaurant created by a famous chef.

Options range from steak and seafood to international cuisine; Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Morimoto Asia, Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill (planned for a late fall 2018 opening) and Jaleo by Jose Andres (planned for a late fall 2018 opening) are just some of the exciting restaurants by celebrity chefs. Call (407) WDW-DINE for dining information and reservations. Shoppers on the go will find plenty of quick and delicious options including Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy!, Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza, D-Luxe Burger and more.

Your sweet tooth will be satisfied with indulgent treats from Amorette’s Patisserie, Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, Goofy’s Candy Company and more.

Complimentary self-parking is available at all Disney Springs garages and surface lots. Walt Disney World Resort guests can also enjoy complimentary transportation between their Disney resort hotels and Disney Springs.

All this magic arrives November 8, 2018.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheDisneyBlog/~3/d-e7KlF0KfI/


6 Insider Tips for Experiencing Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

Best Tips to Make the Most of Holidays at Universal

It’s that time of year – the time for Christmas trees, an endless amount of cookies, hot chocolate and quality time with family and friends. If you’re in the Orlando area and looking for a fun holiday activity, look no further than Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort running now through January 6.

From beloved classics like Grinchmas and Mannheim Steamroller to exciting new experiences like Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s – there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.

Since the parks do get busy during the holiday season, it’s best to come with a plan so you can see and do everything you want to do. To help with your planning, here are 6 insider tips to help maximize your visit.

1. Watch The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle Later in The Evening

Instead of rushing to Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure to see the first showing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, head over for a later viewing before the park closes for the day. The first official showing is at 6:30 PM now through Dec. 17 and then 7 PM Dec. 18 – Jan. 6.

Fireworks at Universal Orlando

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle runs intermittently until park close – so take your time, enjoy the new decor throughout the parks and grab a Hot Butterbeer (my favorite type of Butterbeer).

Entrance to Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

2. Take the Scenic Route to Universal’s Islands of Adventure

I know what you’re thinking – “you want me to walk?” Just trust me! Although boarding The Hogwarts Express is popular route, by walking to Islands of Adventure from Universal Studios Florida, you’ll be sure to reach your daily step goal.

Once inside Islands of Adventure, hang a right and head through Lost Continent to the main entrance of Hogsmeade. This is the quickest way in, not to mention, you’ll be able to walk through Grinchmas in Seuss Landing where you’ll see beautiful Christmas decorations from the bingle balls to whofoo fluff.

3. Arrive Early and Grab a Hot Chocolate for the New Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s

Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's

What is the holiday season without a parade? And the new Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s is one that you really don’t want to miss. With 16 new balloons and 15 floats, the parade is truly larger-than-life.

To get the best view, my tip is to hunker down along the streets of New York or Hollywood Blvd. at Universal Studios at least a half hour to 45 minutes before the start time of the parade. That way you’ll be up front and center in the streets of New York, where it snows! Can you imagine snow in Florida? Let me tell you – it’s magical.

4. Take a Closer Look at the Details

Decor in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

When enjoying Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, make sure you take a close look at the decor throughout the lands. The decor on the individual storefronts are specially themed for each shop. For example, the garland on Spindlewarps Wool Shop in Diagon Alley includes balls of yarn!

In addition, if you look at the Santa float during Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, you’ll see a wish list wrapped around the globe that includes items that our Entertainment Team Members want for Christmas this year.

5. Dress Up For Grinchmas

And by dress up, I mean transform into a lean, mean, green machine. Grab your Grinch hat, gloves, shirt and frown before you make your way to the live retelling of Dr. Seuss’ Holiday classic in the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular. That way you’ll feel in character when you sing along with the holiday music you know and love.

Grinch Merchandise

6. Rock Out to Mannheim Steamroller

If you’re a fan of live Christmas music with a rockin twist, you need to see Mannheim Steamroller. Make sure to plan your visit on a night when they are performing at Universal Studios Florida.

BONUS TIP FOR FLORIDA RESIDENTS:

For all my fellow Floridians, I have a bonus tip just for you.

7. Best Time to Experience it All is Before or Right After the Holidays

Yes, you read that right. Even theme parks experience the holiday rush, so I recommend planning a day trip (or staycation at one of our amazing on-site hotels!) either before or after Christmas and New Year’s. Our holiday celebration runs now through Jan. 6.

Universal's Holiday Parade

I hope these tips help you have the best holiday season ever at Universal Orlando Resort. If you have any insights from visiting yourself, comment below. Be sure to grab your tickets to join in on the fun and have a wonderful holiday season.

6 Insider Tips for Experiencing Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort


Enjoy Your R/V Adventure Along The Mighty Suwannee River

There are more options than just parking your R/V or setting up camp along the shores of the mighty Suwannee River.  Florida’s longest unobstructed (no dams or locks) river begins its journey in the Okefenokee Swamp in south Georgia and flows over 200 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. For the most part, the river is deep and wide and well suited to cruising, fishing or just watching.  Several of the campgrounds along the river’s banks offer boat rentals, and others have launching facilities for visitors who choose to travel with their own powerboats, kayaks or canoes.

 

Yellow Jacket R/V Campground, between Old Town and the town of Suwannee, offers boat rentals to their guests

As one travels alongside the Suwannee River, starting at White Springs, there are a number of private and public R/V parks with a variety of services.  Some, like public Stephen Foster State Park, at White Springs, offer all sorts of camping options.  Other parks, like Hart Springs and Otter Springs , are county maintained.  And many, like Yellow Jacket and Suwannee River Rendezvous, are family operated and privately maintained.

 

R/V’ers and tent campers are welcome at the Spirit of the Suwannee Park, near Live Oak, in Suwannee County

 

Enjoy Paddling in one of the our campgrounds with spring-fed river runs.

 

Be sure to bring your bike. Many of our parks offer bike trails, or convenient access to some of our Natural North Florida bike trails.

 

Don’t stay inside your R/V when our weather is spectacularly beautiful. Get outside and have a picnic in one of our many public parks. This grove of trees at Manatee Springs State Park is cool, even on hot days!

There’s an excellent tool on the NaturalNorthFlorida.com website that will allow you to search for campgrounds an to learn about their amenities.

 

 

The post Enjoy Your R/V Adventure Along The Mighty Suwannee River appeared first on Visit Natural North Florida.

https://www.naturalnorthflorida.com/blog/enjoy-your-r-v-adventure-along-the-mighty-suwannee-river/


‘Newsies’ on a Mission: The Island Theater’s Take on a Broadway Classic Delights and Entertains Theatergoers of All Ages

'Newsies' on a Mission: The Island Theater’s Take on a Broadway Classic Delights and Entertains Theatergoers of All Ages

With high-energy songs by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman, an uplifting underdog story, and a rousing local cast, Disney’s Newsies- The Broadway Musical is utterly delightful.

Based on a 1992 Disney movie starring Christian Bale as well as the real-life Newsboy Strike of 1899, Newsies runs at The Island Theater from October 4-14th (Fri. & Sat. 7:30 PM; Sat. & Sun. 2 PM). Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. Admissions cost $15/ adult and $10/ student. Plan ahead, because shows are popular and sell out.

If you’re not familiar with the plot, Newsies is the ultimate David and Goliath tale. Jack Kelly, played by Jack Billman, is an orphaned New York City paperboy who barely gets by selling papers. Powerful publisher Joseph Pulitzer (Shelvin Lamb) raises newspaper prices at the newsboys’ expense.  Jack unites a rag-tag band of paperboys, including Crutchie (Alexander Lawless), Davey (Jared Kiep), and Les (Cash Belcher), into a union and organizes a strike. Word spreads to other boroughs and the Newsies of New York band together to fight for their rights.

'Newsies' on a Mission: The Island Theater’s Take on a Broadway Classic Delights and Entertains Theatergoers of All Ages

Unlikely friendships arise along the journey, including that of Newsie Jack and Reporter Katherine Plumber (Savannah Lawless). Katherine hopes the newsie strike will provide her with an exclusive story for the Sun. “Shut down a paper like The World,” she says, “You’re going to be on the front page.” The idea works and the newsie’s cause seems unstoppable … until peril and impossible obstacles put a serious damper on their plans. Despite the danger, the kids resolve to tell the citizens of New York about the terrible plight all child laborers face and organize a citywide strike.  United, they just might be able to forge a brighter future.

This powerful tale of friendship, determination, and overcoming the odds will bring a smile to your face. Whether this is your first time seeing Newsies or it’s an old favorite, the cast at The Island Theater does not disappoint.

Sunday’s performance was truly enjoyable and the performers’ hard work and hours of practice were evident.  Supportive family members, retirees, and scores of local students packed the small theater to bursting. The colorful flower lei necklaces on each seat—a testament to the theater’s name— were delightful, and the theater’s laid-back atmosphere made guests feel welcome and at home.

'Newsies' on a Mission: The Island Theater’s Take on a Broadway Classic Delights and Entertains Theatergoers of All Ages, Photos by Gabby Blasco

For the multigenerational cast, this production has been a tireless journey several months in the making. “The production of Newsies is double cast but every one of our 56 performers are in almost every show,” says Managing Director Tricia Williams, “Our second cast is led by Landon Amburgey, who also plays a Delancy brother. Katherine is played by Jodi Jernigan, who is also a featured dancer. All the parts are double cast so our actors are versatile and incredibly supportive of each other.”

The Island Theater opened in March 2018 with a production of Annie. “Our founding members created this theater to provide accessible access to the arts in Clay County,” Williams says, “Our mission is theater education for all ages as well as cultural outreach for the community. The cast, crew, and families of this production are the heart of our theater. Community theaters thrive on volunteerism and community support and this production has delivered both.”

If you didn’t make it to opening weekend, no need to fret. There are several more showings of Newsies this coming weekend.  But don’t worry if your plans are already made. The 2018 Season at The Island Theater is not yet through, with some seriously great shows on the way: The Rocky Horror Show (Oct. 26- 31), The Crucible (Nov. 3- 11), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Nov. 29- Dec. 2), and The Ultimate Christmas Show (Dec. 8-16). The 2019 Season is jam-packed with musical classics and new favorites too, among them Little Women, Footloose, Mulan, and The Sound of Music.  The theater also offers kids clinics for young musical theater enthusiasts.

If you’re in the mood for a foot-tapping good time and excellent local theater without pretension, head out to Fleming Island’s The Island Theater this weekend and catch a rousing performance of Newsies before its gone.

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/10/10/newsies-the-island-theater-broadway/


Five Ways to Transform from a Landlubber to a Swashbucklin’ Pirate on a Disney Cruise

Yo ho, yo ho! In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, I’m sharing how you can become a swashbucklin’ pirate for your Disney Cruise. Pirate Night is one of the things Disney cruisers look forward to most about their vacation with us, and for good reason. Your cruise ship transforms into a pirate vessel. Pirates rappel from atop the ship’s funnel during a thrilling live-action deck show. And the evening sky lights up with a dazzling display of sound and color.

'Buccaneer Blast!' Fireworks at Sea

Avast ye, mateys! Follow these tips, and ye be transformed from a landlubber to a swashbucklin’ pirate in no time …

1. Learn the lingo. There’s no better time than the present. Ask your fellow buccaneers celebrating today their favorite pirate speak, and work on perfecting your “ahoy, matey,” along with a really menacing “aaargh!”

Swashbuckling Activities on the Disney Magic

2. Grab your gear. Pack your boots, pants and your favorite striped shirt (preferably one with black, red or navy stripes) for rugged pirate look, or step it up a notch with a flowy white top, dark vest and pirate hat.

3. Leave your former identity behind. Once onboard, head over to The Pirate’s League to get your official pirate name and complete your transformation. On Pirate Night, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique becomes The Pirate’s League—the place to prepare for the pirate life—and scoundrels can walk away with a beard and scars, a bandana, earrings, eye patch and even a sword.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – Pirate’s League

4. Fuel up. Now that you have the look and lingo down, you’ll need to boost your energy for the adventures that lie ahead. At the start of the night, fill your belly from our special pirate dinner menu, and then go back for more delicious pirate grub at our late-night pirate buffet.

5. Stick with your band of savvy scallywags. With your family by your side, show off your swashbucklin’ transformation at the evening’s pirate-themed festivities. Rock out to pirate-themed tunes with Mickey’s pirate crew, be part of the “Hunt Fer Jack” pirate showdown and watch the sky light up with a spectacular display of piratical pyrotechnics.

Pirates IN the Caribbean Deck Party

What are the ways your crew has a raucous good time during Pirate Night on a Disney cruise?

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DisneyParks/~3/J0hHWWUrZpU/


St. Marks Stone Crab Festival, October 27, 2018–Great Things To Eat in Wakulla County

The annual St. Marks Stone Crab Festival is planned for October 27, 2018.  St. Marks is the southernmost town in Wakulla County, just a few miles south of Florida’s capital, Tallahassee.  St. Marks, and neighboring Panacea, have long been vibrant commercial fishing hubs, specializing in both crabs and fin fish.

Here are a few words about the festival from VisitWakulla:

Enjoy fresh crab claws prepared by local culinary experts

There is plenty to see and do at the festival, but it is a stone crab festival after all. You’ll have the opportunity to taste many different stone crab preparations using fresh crab claws prepared by talented local chefs who know their crab. The flavor of the meat in the crab claws is mild and slightly sweet, and it pairs perfectly with a variety of different flavor profiles. These crabs have been caught fresh from the Gulf of Mexico, so there’s no better way to experience them than this!

Participate in a full day of family fall fun outdoors

Now you know all about the crabs, but there’s so much more going on at the St. Marks Stone Crab Festival that makes it a must-see event. There will be live music and entertainment taking place all day long, and many different local vendors will be selling arts and crafts to commemorate the arrival of stone crab season. There are a variety of activities, games, and educational opportunities for kids, and because the festival is so close to Halloween there will likely be plenty of people donning their costumes as well.”

Image result for stone crab festival photos st marks

Florida’s stone crab season begins on October 15, and this year’s crop will likely be a blockbuster.  That might mean that normally very expensive stone crab claws are a bit cheaper, but to many Floridians, they’re worth any price.  Stone crabs are harvested all along Florida’s coastline.  There’s a significant amount of effort to get the claws to market and to your table.  First, only one claw can be taken from crabs, mostly caught in baited crab traps.  Then, claws are sorted by size and steamed within just a few hours of arriving at port.  Claws are always sold cooked, and can be eaten immediately or heated by a quick trip into boiling water.  Stone crab claws also freeze well for a few months.  While large, jumbo and colossal size claws look great, I recommend medium claws as the best value.

There’s no finer meal in Natural North Florida than a plate of steamed stone crab claws — served simply, with drawn butter.

With 12,000 visitors, last year was a banner year for this signature event. The weather was perfect, as it usually is towards the end of October. There were plenty of fresh-from-the-Gulf Stone Crabs, all kinds of local delicacies, and vendors selling everything from custom jewelry to handcrafted furniture. Come and enjoy the live music and fun for the whole family! Sorry, no pets allowed on festival grounds.

 

  .

The post St. Marks Stone Crab Festival, October 27, 2018–Great Things To Eat in Wakulla County appeared first on Visit Natural North Florida.

https://www.naturalnorthflorida.com/blog/st-marks-stone-crab-festival-october-27-2018-great-things-to-eat-in-wakulla-county/


Upcoming Events

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0

Upcoming Events

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0

Join our Fun Network

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0