Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Wednesday, March 30, 2011 (Tampa, FL) – Busch Gardens’ hoof-stock care team is currently hand raising a baby female Thomson’s gazelle. The baby weighed just over four pounds at birth on February 25.
When the calf refused to take milk from its mother, the park’s animal care team started bottle-feeding the baby.  She is now receiving five bottle feedings each day and is weighed daily to monitor her health.  At  about four weeks old, she has already gained more than two pounds.
Thomson’s gazelles, also called “tommies,” are one of three migratory species that make up the vast Serengeti migration. Like the zebra and the wildebeest, the Tommie population can reach more than 500,000 per migration.
This baby will remain in the park’s back area until she is healthy enough to join the herd of Thomson’s gazelles on the 65-acre Serengeti Plain. Guests can view the herd from Nairobi Walkway and get close-up views of the animals on the Serengeti Express Railway.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"Modern Family" Jesse Tyler Ferguson at Universal Studios

Actor and star of the hit TV series, “Modern Family,” Jesse Tyler Ferguson joked around with Woody Woodpecker while being hosted with boyfriend Justin Mikita at Universal Orlando Resort on March 25, 2011. The couple experienced both of Universal Orlando’s theme parks while on vacation, stopping to ride the Incredible Hulk coaster and enjoy lunch at Three Broomsticks at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

( Photo © 2011 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved. Photo Credit: Roberto Gonzalez, Universal Orlando Resort )

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Frontierland Hoedown - Disney's version of a flash mob

The schedule for this tiny little character show isn't published. You have to get lucky.

Four or so characters (including Country Bears) show up to dance, as do a dozen FR cast members. Expect audience involvement in the hokey pokey too!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Commercial for Universal Orlando, Because

Universal Orlando Resort will debut a new commercial on Monday as part of its new 'Because' campaign.

Nice to see that Universal is not just resting on the incredible growth in attendance and continues to go out and attract new customers.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

10th Annual Florida Music Festival Industry Conference

Press release from the Florida Music Festival:

10th Annual Florida Music Festival Industry Conference

Welcomes Melvin Benn of Festival Republic as the 2011 Keynote Interview!
ORLANDO, FL – The Florida Music Festival & Conference celebrates a decade of introducing top tier music industry innovators to the aspiring music business students, regional industry and independent musicians. The 10th Annual edition welcomes a vital game changer in the international live music and event business, Melvin Benn of Festival Republic. Creating a successful event is one thing, but creating the blueprint for success is another, and Mr. Benn has demonstrated that with the oldest, most historic festival of it’s kind with READING & LEEDS in England. The dual festival weekend created the vision for such stateside events as Coachella and Bonnaroo, and witnessed everyone from Pink Floyd, to Nirvana, to more recently The Kings of Leon headlining the mainstage. Festival Republic’s eclectic portfolio also includes THE BIG CHILL(UK), ELECTRIC PICNIC(Ireland), HOVE(Norway) among other legendary events… and the recently announced ORLANDO CALLING coming to the Citrus Bowl in Downtown Orlando in Nov 2011! “I have been looking for new opportunities in the US,” Benn offered “and I am really pleased that this will see the Festival Republic family expand to the US for the first time.”

The historic Beacham Theatre hosts the Keynote Interview this year, with Allison Hagendorf of FUSE TV conducting the conversation. The Music Industry Educational Seminars have presented such innovaters as Monte Lipman & Avery Lipman (Founders & Co-Presidents of Universal Republic Records), John Janick (Founder: Fueled By Ramen/ President: Elektra Records), Steve Robertson (VP of A&R: Atlantic Records), Lou Pearlman (We apologize!), Richard Reines (Founder: Drive Thru Records), Rodney Jerkins (Producer: Michael Jackson/Beyonce), Richard Gottehrer (Founder: Orchard Distribution) and more.

All conference speakers will be available to all performing artists and registered music companies or aspiring music industry student, to network with post conference and throughout the weekend. Registration is open at and offers student and NARAS discounts. Don’t miss your chance at FMF2011 to further explore your career as an artist or aspiring industry representative! All submitting artists will receive passes to the Industry Conference(Performing artists receive one pass per member/Non-Performing artists receive two passes total). Industry Registration for music business representatives and students officially opens on March 7th, 2011!

WHEN: SATURDAY, APRIL 9th • 12pm – 6pm

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Universal's Grad Bash 2011

Disney may be ending Grad Nites after this year, but Universal will undoubtedly step up their own offerings as a result. Here is their 2011 lineup:


High School Seniors Can Also Enjoy Exclusive Access to
Two World-Class Theme Parks, Nonstop Entertainment and More

Tickets on Sale Now with High School Student Advisors for Orlando’s Hottest Grad Party

WHAT:                    Universal Orlando’s Grad Bash 2011 is Orlando’s hottest high school graduation event where graduates can celebrate with exclusive access to two world-class theme parks, street entertainment and live performances by some of today’s most popular musical artists.

                        This year’s talent lineup includes Jason DeRulo – the artist behind smash hits like “Whatcha Say” and “In My Head;” Reggaeton rapper Pitbull, also known as “Mr. 305;” five-time 2011 Grammy award nominee B.o.B.; and BET’s 2008 “DJ of the Year,” DJ Khaled. Together, this dynamic group of acts lays claim to 11 platinum and multi-platinum singles and will be performing live for high school graduates on the Music Plaza Stage at Universal Studios Florida. Performance dates are listed below.
Performing at Universal Studios’ Music Plaza Stage
Grad Bash Event Dates
Live Talent Performances By:
Friday, April 15
·         Jason DeRulo
·         B.o.B.
·         DJ Khaled
Saturday, April 30
·         Jason DeRulo
·         B.o.B.
·         DJ Khaled
Friday, May 6
·         Pitbull
·         B.o.B.
·         DJ Khaled
Saturday, May 7
·         Pitbull
·         B.o.B.
·         DJ Khaled

Students also get late-night access to pulse-pounding rides and attractions at both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. They can soar above Hogwarts on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, speed through darkness on Revenge of the Mummy and rock out at 65 mph on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.

High school seniors are encouraged to book their spot at Universal Orlando’s Grad Bash with their student advisor. For more information on the event, visit
WHEN:                    April 15, April 30, May 6, May 7
                                 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

INFORMATION:    Grad Bash Site:

Characters now out for Universal's new movie "Hop"

From Universal's press release on 3/16:

HOP Caption:

Now through April 5, guests at Universal Studios Florida can be among the first to meet the characters from “Hop,” Universal Pictures’ new animated film about candy, chicks, and rock ‘n’ roll. They’re performing live at the French Quarter stage within the New York area of the theme park, followed by a meet-and-greet where guests can snap photos with the characters. Universal Studios is one of two amazing theme parks within Universal Orlando Resort featuring cutting-edge attractions and some of the most revolutionary rides ever created.

** Performance schedule is subject to change without notice. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Universal Orlando's Jimmy Neutron ride to close on April 1 (mostly)

From a mailing by Universal Orlando,

[begin quote]

On April 1, Universal Orlando® Resort will close the Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast attraction at Universal Studios Florida® and immediately begin work on an all-new experience based on an amazing concept. The new attraction will be a natural fit for Universal Orlando and is just one of many exciting things planned for the next couple of years. We can't wait to share more details with you in the future.

Meanwhile, Boy Genius fans will be excited to know that the attraction will re-open for limited periods during the spring and summer before closing permanently on August 18.

[end quote]

Sounds like they won't be building anything new in that same spot, if the attraction can re-open for the summer months.

New at SeaWorld Orlando - 2011

New at SeaWorld Orlando - 2011
Below is the press release from SeaWorld. Of particular note is the new killer whale show and the fact that guests at the official hotels now get perks (just like at Universal... and soon at Disney?)

[begin quote]

“One Ocean” features SeaWorld’s majestic killer whales as ambassadors of the sea, and the ocean as the center of our natural world, sharing a message that both animals and humans are part of one world, with one ocean, and its future is in our hands to cherish and protect. Shamu Stadium’s three-story set, panoramic LED screens and hundreds of surround-sound speakers envelop guests in the show experience. Brilliantly colored lights, soaring fountains, stunning underwater imagery are set to an original, contemporary musical score with global rhythms. “One Ocean” opens late April.

Summer Nights at SeaWorld is a nighttime spectacular and the only place to celebrate when the sun sets over Central Florida’s theme parks. The park’s daytime favorites change to nighttime spectacles, showcasing the park in a whole new light with Shamu Rocks, a Shamu show driven by a larger-than-life, rock-n-roll beat. Summer Nights also includes a sky-filling fireworks finale, an all-new, uproarious sea lion show and hottest of all, Manta, Orlando’s most unique roller coaster, under the stars. Catch “Summer Nights at SeaWorld” every evening, June 25 – August 14.

New at Discovery Cove

The new Grand Reef takes a day at Discovery Cove – an all-inclusive tropical retreat in the heart of Orlando where guests swim with dolphins, hand-feed exotic birds in a free-flight aviary and relax on pristine beaches - to another level. The all-new saltwater reef is filled with thousands of tropical fish in shallow and deeper waters leaving guests to explore where they feel most comfortable. Snorkeling takes place among canyons inspired by reefs from around the world and guarantees sights of amazing exotic sea life ranging from spotted eagle rays and zebra sharks to lionfish and eels. For the daring, SeaVenture is an innovative, underwater walking tour where guests – wearing dive helmets – will feel right at home under the sea, getting up close to sharks and lionfish (safely behind glass), velvety rays and even star fish or sea urchins.

New for 2011 -- Official hotels include free benefits

For the first time ever, staying at one of SeaWorld’s official hotels includes incredible benefits for free.
* Complimentary transportation to SeaWorld, Aquatica, Discovery Cove and Universal Orlando
* Complimentary front-of-the-line access to SeaWorld’s thrill rides
* Early entry to SeaWorld and Aquatica and exclusive access to the SeaWorld Rescue Tour on select days during peak seasons
* Discounts on select food and gift purchases at SeaWorld and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s waterpark

All guests staying at an official SeaWorld hotel have access to the exclusive benefits. Families need only visit the hotel’s guest service desk – staffed by knowledgeable staff from Expedia Local Expert – for details.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Official Hotels represent a broad spectrum of lodging types, from affordable “select service” brands, to full-service resorts and even fully furnished vacation villas. Each of the six Official Hotels will offer the exclusive benefits and each hotel is within walking distance of SeaWorld. SeaWorld Orlando’s Official Hotels include the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, Doubletree Orlando by Hilton at SeaWorld, Hilton Grand Vacations Club at SeaWorld, Hilton Garden Inn at SeaWorld, SpringHill Suites Orlando at SeaWorld and the Fairfield Inn Orlando at SeaWorld.
Book a getaway package and eat for free, all day is the one-stop vacation shop to find out what’s new, book hotel rooms and purchase theme park tickets. For a limited time only, each trip booked through with any of 25 hotel partners includes free all-day dining deals at SeaWorld and an opportunity to buy admission to Aquatica and/or Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for only $39 each. And, guests buying admission to those parks eat free all-day, too. Guests also can find more information on the special benefits and the entire collection of SeaWorld Hotel Partners (25 in total).

For more information, to see a complete list of SeaWorld Orlando’s official hotels and to book a getaway, go to To learn more about The Grand Reef and to make a reservation, go to

Monday, March 07, 2011

Foreigner playing this Saturday at Universal's Mardi Gras

British-American band Foreigner is set to perform at Universal Orlando Resort’s Mardi Gras celebration this Saturday. You know the hits: “Jukebox Hero,” “Hot Blooded,” “Cold as Ice,” and the timeless, gospel-inspired rock ballad, “I Want to Know What Love Is.”


5 p.m. – 8 p.m.: Honey Island Swamp Band (New Orleans Band)
8:00 p.m.: Mardi Gras Parade Starts
8:30 p.m.: Foreigner

Here are other upcoming bands in this concert series at Universal:

Friday, March 18
Neon Trees

Saturday, March 19
The Roots

Friday, March 25

Saturday, March 26
Blake Shelton

Friday, April 1
Sean Kingston

Saturday, April 2

Saturday, April 9

Saturday, April 16
The Beach Boys

Saturday, April 23
Thirty Seconds To Mars

The concerts are free with regular Universal admission (and take place inside the park)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

WASP Women of WWII at Fantasy of Flight this weekend

Tomorrow Fantasy of Flight starts its second installment of the "Legends & Legacies Symposium Series" featuring the WASP women of WWII as well as real-life Rosie the Riveters in honor of Women's History Month. The symposiums will take place at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Madame Tussaud's and a giant Ferris Wheel coming to Orlando

Merlin Entertainment, the owner of Madame Tussauds and the London Eye Ferris wheel, wants to bring both attractions to I-Drive in Orlando. Merlin's already coming to Central Florida - they own the upcoming Legoland. And, wouldn't you know it, parent of Merlin (Blackstone) has large stakes in both Universal Studios and Busch Gardens/SeaWorld, too. Looks like Mickey has a real competitor in town. And the pressure is only now starting to ramp up.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Orlando Magic player Nick Anderson at Universal Orlando

Orlando Magic’s Community Ambassador and former player, Nick Anderson, was all smiles at Universal Orlando Resort while reading Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat” to local schoolchildren in celebration of the National Education Association’s Read Across America day on March 2, 2011. As part of NEA’s 16th annual reading party and Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Universal Orlando hosted two elementary classes from a local school to Seuss Landing in Universal’s Islands of Adventure for a day of Seussian storytelling and celebrations.

© 2011 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.
Photo Credit: Kevin Kolczynski, Universal Orlando Resort

Disney parks exec Al Weiss getting divorced

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Avalon Park Yard Sale returns March 12

Orlando's biggest yard sale is back (it's twice a year now, with up to 200 families). It will be March 12, from 8-4: