Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fantasy of Flight Announces Florida Resident Buy One/Get One Free Admission July 1 - Sept. 30

POLK CITY, Fla. (June 28, 2011) - Fantasy of Flight, Central Florida's Premier Aviation Attraction, salutes its Florida fans this summer with an affordable staycation adventure with a Buy One/Get One Free offer on adult and children's general admission.

Florida Residents are invited to enjoy the incredible savings July 1 - Sept. 30, 2011. Proof of residency is required.

While Fantasy of Flight provides more than enough for a day-long excursion with themed immersion experiences, backlot and restoration tours, special hands-on exhibits, vintage aircraft from the world's largest private collection and more, the attraction has planned special children's activities this summer in its Fun with Flight center - all included in the price of general admission. Guests may refer to a published daily schedule available at the attraction for more information.

The Florida Resident BOGO Free offer is good on both adult and children's general admission tickets. Fantasy of Flight general admission is $28.95 for adults and $14.95 for children ages 6-15, plus 7 percent sales tax. Children 5 and younger are free. The offer cannot be combined with any other offer, promotion or discount.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, Fantasy of Flight opened to the public on November 21, 1995, and quickly became Central Florida's Premier Aviation Attraction. The venue offered visitors a chance to experience something new - a place that merged the wonders of flight with aviation history, real-life aircraft displays and real flight experiences. Fantasy of Flight is believed to be the only attraction in the world that offers daily aerial demonstrations featuring rare, vintage aircraft. It also features daily tours of the restoration shops where craftsmen work to restore and rebuild aircraft to flyable condition.

Special events on the calendar this Fall include the inaugural Boy Scouts American Heritage Camporee, Sept. 23-25, and the "Legends & Legacies Symposium Series" final symposium, "The Great Escape: Heroes Underground," Oct. 14-15. In addition, the 5th Annual Roar n" Soar All American signature two-day extravaganza of the world's finest classic land, sea and air racing machines ever built returns Nov. 12-13.

For details, call 863-984-3500 or go to for more information.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Halloween Horror Nights - packages announced

Halloween Horror Nights Offers

Gory Getaway Vacation

Package ~ Entire package starts at $325
per adult, tax inclusive
· 3-night accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel
· 2-day base ticket for admission to both Universal Orlando theme parks
· Early park admission to Universal’s Islands of Adventure
· 1-night admission to Halloween Horror Nights
· Admission to select live entertainment venues at Universal CityWalk
· One 5”x7” souvenir photograph
· On-site accommodations at one of Universal Orlando’s three AAA
Four-Diamond hotels are also available
Stay and Scream ~ Starts at $36.99
plus tax
· Guests visiting the parks can add Halloween Horror Nights 21 to any Universal Orlando theme park ticket
· Prices vary per night

Advance tickets for Halloween Horror Nights are now on sale for $81.99 plus tax.

Guests can purchase Halloween Horror Nights 21 tickets at or by calling 1-888-467-7677 (HORROR-7). Because of the event’s popularity, tickets for weekend nights are expected to sell out and should be purchased well in advance.

Event dates: September 23-24 and 29-30, October 1-2, 6-9, 13-16, 19-23 and 26-31

Friday, June 24, 2011

Santa and Mrs. Claus are hitting the beach this summer at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel

This July, Santa Claus might just earn the nickname “Sandy Claus” as he ventures to the white sandy beach at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel for a summer getaway with Mrs. Claus. Guests will have the opportunity to meet the couple decked out in their warm-weather attire and get a taste of Christmas this summer.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will make public appearances at the hotel the evenings of July 16-17 and 23-24. Guests can visit with the pair and take advantage of a unique opportunity to get a family photo with the big guy himself, well enough in time for this year’s holiday cards.

Last November and December, the Clauses left their humble North Pole abode for a vacation at the Orlando hotel before Santa’s big night. They enjoyed themselves so much, they decided to return for the summer as well.

“We had a blast last holiday season relaxing at our Tiki hut and driving around in our customized golf cart,” said Santa. “Mrs. Claus and I can’t wait to return. We’re looking forward to swimming, enjoying a steak at Shula’s Steak House and meeting all of the wonderful families at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel.”

Guests who would like to vacation with Santa at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel can take advantage of a special summer offer with rates starting at $139 per night. For details or to book, guests can visit or call 1-800-227-1500 and ask for rate code “SANTA”.

This winter, Santa and Mrs. Claus plan on returning once again for their pre Christmas Eve vacation where the hotel will roll out a full array of holiday activities and decor. They will include a life-sized sculpture of Santa constructed of 1,200 lbs. of chocolate on display in the lobby, an elf bedtime tuck-in service and personal Christmas tree guest room delivery.

In the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort, the award-winning Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel is the gateway to Central Florida’s greatest theme parks and attractions. The hotel is located between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and nearby Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and Magic Kingdom Park. Guests can discover 17 world-class restaurants and lounges, sophisticated guest rooms with Westin Heavenly Beds and the luxurious Mandara Spa. The hotel features five pools, two health clubs, tennis, nearby golf, complimentary transportation throughout the Walt Disney World Resort and the Extra Magic Hours benefit at the Walt Disney World Theme Parks. The hotel can be reached at 800-227-1500, or through Facebook at

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Medieval Times Offers "Train to be a knight" Family Fun Adventure

Orlando, Fl. – During the summer season, families traveling to Orlando must maintain a balance of outdoor adventures and beating the heat indoors with fun, educational outings for their children. Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Orlando, Florida, has the solution that is sure to please all the young lords and ladies, and create a memorable summer experience for the entire family.

Beginning June 26, Medieval Times’ Orlando Castle will offer a free adventure-filled "Train To Be A Knight" experience for children ages 5 to 12. This is a limited time offer with additional training dates available in July and August.

Date / Showtime

June 26 7 p.m.
July 3 7 p.m.
July 17 8:15 p.m.
July 24 7 p.m.
July 31 7 p.m.
Aug. 7 7 p.m.
Aug. 14 8:15 p.m.
Aug. 21 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 7 p.m.

This special program begins in advance of the nightly performance. Participants will enjoy an exclusive weapons demonstration by the knights and learn about the grueling training involved in becoming a knight. The fun-filled experience culminates as the children are "knighted" by his majesty King Philippe.

Space is limited and participation is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Closed toed and back shoes are required to participate. The "Train To Be A Knight" program begins an hour before show time. Tickets for the night’s performance are required, but there are no charges to participate in the "Train To Be A Knight" program.

Home to the only Medieval Life Village in North America, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament's Florida Castle is located at 4510 W. Vine St, minutes away from theme parks and resort attractions. For information, dates or reservations visit Medieval Times online at or call 1-888-WE-JOUST (888-935-6878).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Universal Orlando's new free app (Apple and Android) now available

WHAT: For the first time ever, Universal Orlando Resort is launching an official mobile application, designed to help guests effortlessly navigate its two theme parks and entertainment complex.

Available as a free download for iPhone and Android users, the app relies on GPS to provide detailed information relevant to your position – whether you’re in Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure or Universal CityWalk.

With the new app, you can…

· Pinpoint your exact location on the app’s highly-visual interactive maps
· Discover nearby attractions, dining locations, guest services and more using the application’s GPS-based carousel navigation
· Learn fun facts about the destination’s unique and exciting attractions as you get ready to experience them firsthand
· Update your friends and family about your adventures in real time on Facebook and Twitter using the app’s check-in feature
· Reserve a table at your favorite Universal Orlando restaurant with the click of a button

Guests can also play a check-in game that highlights some of Universal Orlando’s most popular attractions and gives guests the opportunity to “check-in to win” a savings guide worth up to $150.

Created by Universal Orlando in partnership with Geodelic, the Universal Orlando Resort Mobile Phone App Version 1.0 will be available as a free download in Apple and Android app stores beginning June 22. A Blackberry version of the app is currently being developed. For more information, visit

WHEN: Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WHERE: Apple and Android mobile app stores

Monday, June 20, 2011


BURBANK and ANAHEIM, Calif. – June 20, 2011 – Bursting with D23-themed merchandise and other specialty items from Disney Theme Park Merchandise, the Dream Store returns to D23 Expo 2011 with something magical for Disney fans of all ages. From Disney-inspired art and collectibles to classic character collections featuring such beloved characters as Mickey Mouse and Dumbo among others, the D23 Expo Dream Store is a Disney enthusiast’s dream come true. Highlights include:

D23 Expo Logo Merchandise will allow D23 fans to take home a piece of the magic from this year’s D23 Expo, with an assortment of merchandise including apparel, headwear, pins, and Vinylmation™. The heart of this collection is the official logo of the D23 Expo 2011.

Remember... it all started with a Mouse is a tribute to Walt’s legacy and visionary imagination. As part of this year’s D23 Expo, Disney Consumer Products commissioned local artist Noah to create an iconic graphic celebrating this year’s themes. In exquisite detail, Noah has captured the joy and laughter that come from Walt Disney’s ever-familiar and contagious smile. By carefully selecting a beautiful palette of colors, he cleverly reveals this year’s celebrated Disney film anniversaries, which include One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Alice in Wonderland, Dumbo and Beauty and the Beast.

For the past decade, Noah has continued to magically interpret Disney characters through his unique style, which has become a favorite among Disney collectors worldwide. For more information on Noah, visit

Disney Theme Park Merchandise debuts some of its newest releases, including the Disneyland Vintage Collection, which pays tribute to attractions from yesteryear, as well as the release of the much-anticipated, limited-edition TRON Monorail and the Disneyland Monorail play set. In addition, the latest releases from Disney licensees and artists, including Precious Moments, Robert Olszewski, Jim Shore, and more will be unveiled.

D23 Expo Anniversary Collection pays tribute to this year’s historical anniversaries of the beloved Disney classic films One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Alice in Wonderland, and Dumbo. Each day of the Expo, the Dream Store will release limited quantities of commemorative merchandise from each of these celebrated films.

Disney Dream Collection and D23-Exclusive Jewelry will captivate and dazzle audiences with new pieces of fine jewelry featuring classic Disney icons and characters, such as the Sleeping Beauty Castle, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Tinker Bell, among others.

Acme Archives Limited invites guests to make the magic come alive in your home with the latest releases from Disney•Pixar, Disney Studio Art, Disney Limited and Disney Underground.

Dream Store Autograph Sessions will give D23 fans the opportunity to meet and greet some of their favorite authors, artists, Disney Legends and other notable celebrities. Autograph sessions will be posted daily at the D23 Expo Autograph exhibition area.

Dream Store Showcase and Trading Area invites fans to find out more about what is “in store” from the world of Disney Theme Park Merchandise, including Disney Pins, Vinylmation™, Duffy the Disney Bear, limited-edition ear hats, and more. This special area is the place to trade, collect, and swap stories with fellow Disney fans.

D23 Expo 2011 Live and Silent Auction offers Disney enthusiasts the rare opportunity to bid on unique experiences, tours, artwork, props, and more—specially designed for Disney fans. The D23 Expo 2011 Live and Silent Auction takes place Saturday, August 20, 2011. Tickets for the Live and Silent Auction go on sale June 20, 2011, at 8:00 a.m. via Separate D23 Expo admission is required.

Please continue to watch as we release more details about Dream Store merchandise, offerings, live and silent auction lots, and more on and and on Facebook and Twitter at “DisneyD23”.

Tickets for D23 Expo 2011 are available at a discounted price through June 30, 2011. All D23 Members—both Gold level and Silver level—can take advantage of additional exclusive admission savings at

Saturday, June 18, 2011

New Brazilian steakhouse at Universal CityWalk

Universal Orlando Resort guests can now enjoy even more delicious dining options at CityWalk with the addition of churrascaria menu offerings at a brand new Brazilian steakhouse experience now open within Latin Quarter. The new savory main courses are served “rodizio” style, which means a continuous service of South-American rotisserie skewers full of exquisite meats brought directly from the grill and sliced tableside throughout the entire experience.

Conveniently located in the upper level of Latin Quarter, churrascaria dining is a totally new experience housed within the favorite, award-winning cantina and club. Not only can guests enjoy a variety of mouth-watering main courses, such as filet mignon, roast beef, short ribs, lamb, pork and the house specialty picanha (top sirloin), but there is also a decadent buffet and gourmet salad bar filled with American favorites and authentic Brazilian side dishes.
“The churrascaria offerings at Latin Quarter capture a piece of Brazilian culture by providing guests with an authentic rodizio dining experience here at Universal CityWalk,” said Ric Florell, General Manager and Senior Vice President of Resort Revenue Operations.

Whether enjoying the new churrascaria experience upstairs, or the main dining room, all guests to Latin Quarter will experience the delicious delicacies of Latin America amidst the restaurant’s unique décor of a star-filled sky near an ancient Mayan temple. Reservations for churrascaria dining are suggested. For more information or to make a reservation, please visit or call (407) 224-2691.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

SeaWorld: Amazing Sea Turtle Documentary Debuts in Orlando on June 24th

Turtle: The Incredible Journey, a family documentary directed by National Geographic Explorer’s Nick Stringer and distributed by SeaWorld Pictures, debuts Friday, June 24th in Orlando.

Turtle: The Incredible Journey is an award-winning film that follows the life and migration of a loggerhead turtle from hatching to maturity and a return to its original Florida nesting grounds. The loggerhead turtle, a threatened species, has one of the longest and most difficult migratory patterns of any marine animal: Sea turtles newly hatched on the East Coast of the United States (usually in Florida) make their way from the sand into the ocean, and then begin a voyage that can span the entire Atlantic Ocean, only to return decades later to that same beach.

The movie is playing at Pointe Orlando and Oviedo Marketplace. Check listings for show times.


BURBANK, Calif. – June 16, 2011 –Television icon Regis Philbin, Muppets creator Jim Henson, the extraordinary actresses who vocally brought to life many modern-day Disney Princesses including Jodi Benson (Ariel from The Little Mermaid), Paige O’Hara (Belle from Beauty and the Beast), Lea Salonga (singing voices of Jasmine from Aladdin and Mulan from Mulan), Linda Larkin (speaking voice of Jasmine from Aladdin), and Anika Noni Rose (Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog) plus other equally impressive contributors to the Disney legacy will be named and honored as official Disney Legends during the D23 EXPO at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 19, in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.
The Disney Legends Awards program is a 24-year tradition of The Walt Disney Company, and the three-day D23 EXPO provides a rare opportunity for the public to be a part of the always touching and memorable presentation. The awards ceremony will kick off the first day of the D23 EXPO, hosted by noted television personality Tom Bergeron (host of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and America’s Funniest Home Videos), and will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 19, in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

“From giving voice to some of our most iconic and beloved Disney princesses to bringing a smile to millions of television viewers every morning for two decades, we are proud to present these 12 men and women with our highest, most coveted honor, The Disney Legends Award," said Disney President and CEO Bob Iger. "Our newest honorees now join this unique and prestigious circle, which recognizes those whose incredible talents and outstanding contributions have had a lasting, meaningful impact on Disney's great legacy."

The 2011 Disney Legends Award honorees (listed alphabetically) are:

JODI BENSON is an acclaimed voice actress and soprano singer who provided both the singing and speaking voices for Disney’s Princess Ariel in The Little Mermaid and its sequels. For more than 20 years, Benson has voiced Ariel in film, television, video games, toys and at Disney Parks. She also starred as Sam in Disney’s Enchanted and voiced Barbie in the hit Disney/Pixar films Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, plus Weebo in the film comedy Flubber.

BARTON “BO” BOYD began his career at Disney 1968 as an Assistant Merchandise Supervisor at Disneyland. Continually advancing over the course of his 33-years with the company, Boyd was an integral part of the team creating merchandise specifically for Disneyland and Walt Disney World and held positions including Merchandise Division Director and Vice President, Retail Merchandising. In 1997, he was named Chairman of Disney Consumer Products where he oversaw one of the longest periods of sustained growth in the history of Disney merchandising with such initiatives as Licensed Merchandise, Walt Disney Records, the start of Hyperion Press, the entire line of Disney magazine products, Disney Catalog, Disney Interactive for computer games and educational software, ESPN—The Store, Walt Disney Classics Collection, Walt Disney Collectors Society and the establishment of the first Disney Store outside the grounds of the Disney Parks.

JIM HENSON, an Emmy Award-winning television producer and Oscar-nominated film director, was an American puppeteer and the creator of global phenomenon, The Muppets. The cross-cultural appeal of The Muppets propelled television shows like Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock to new heights. The success of these series led Henson to explore feature films including The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan, as well as the technologically ground-breaking fantasy classics The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. The Muppet legacy continued with popular Disney films such as The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island, as well as the upcoming The Muppets, premiering this November.

LINDA LARKIN is a celebrated actress and popular voice performer best known for providing the voice of Princess Jasmine in the Disney animated feature Aladdin, its sequels, spin-offs and television specials. She has also been vocally featured in the Disney animated television series House of Mouse and the popular Kingdom Hearts video game.

PAIGE O’HARA is a Broadway actress and singer best known for providing the voice of Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, its sequels, series and games. She also starred as Angela in the Disney film hit Enchanted. O’Hara has also been vocally featured in the Disney video game Kingdom Hearts and as Belle on the 64th Annual Academy Awards.

REGIS PHILBIN is an Emmy Award-winning, cultural icon who has entertained millions of people through talk shows, game shows, books and albums for more than 50 years. For the past 23 years, Americans have woken up to Philbin, thanks to the nationally syndicated hit talk show LIVE! with Regis and Kelly which originated in 1983 when Philbin created The Morning Show for WABC in New York. In addition to his daytime success, Philbin launched ABC’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire into a primetime powerhouse and hosted a variety of shows including NBC’s America’s Got Talent, CBS’ Million Dollar Password, and the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.

JACK AND BONITA WRATHER struck a deal with their friend Walt Disney in 1954 to build a luxury family hotel on property adjacent to Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Ground was broken on March 18, 1955, and the hotel opened six and a half months later—104 rooms in five two-story buildings at a starting room rate of $15. The Disneyland Hotel, originally conceived as simply lodging, presaged future developments in how Americans entertained themselves, pioneering, as Jack’s son Chris wrote, “new forms of dining as entertainment, shopping as entertainment and the use of a waterfront setting” in an urban environment. The Disneyland Hotel has since played host to kings, queens, presidents, entertainment and sports legends and families from around the world.

ANIKA NONI ROSE is a renowned actress and singer who provided the voice of Princess Tiana in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. In addition, some of her Broadway, television and film credits include her Tony Award-winning performance in Caroline, or Change, the blockbuster feature film Dreamgirls, and television series including The Starter Wife and The Good Wife.

LEA SALONGA is a celebrated actress and singer who provided the singing voice for two Disney Princesses: Jasmine in Aladdin, and Fa Mulan in Mulan and Mulan II. In addition to her recording and television career, Salonga’s vast Broadway credits are highlighted by her performance as Kim in Miss Saigon which garnered her numerous awards including a Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle and Theater World Awards.

RAY WATSON was President of The Irvine Company when he was asked to join the Board of Directors for Walt Disney Productions in 1973. Watson’s early tenure on the Board saw the expansion of Walt Disney World, the 1976 opening of River Country—Disney’s first water park, and the opening of EPCOT Center, in 1982, which at a cost of $1 billion was the largest private land development project ever at that time. In 1983, Watson was elected as Chairman of the Board and after stepping down as chairman 1984, remained on the Board until he retired in 2004 after serving the Company for 30 years and establishing a worldwide reputation as a real estate development visionary.

GUY WILLIAMS was an acclaimed actor who starred in the hit Disney television series Zorro and two feature films, The Sign of Zorro and Zorro the Avenger. Williams’ charming portrayal of Zorro helped galvanized the character in the public’s imagination and made the series a favorite among the Baby Boomer generation and beyond. His other popular television credits include the hit series Bonanza and Lost in Space.

Each honoree receives a two-foot-tall bronze Disney Legends sculpture that signifies the imagination, creativity and magic they have brought to the Company. Disney Legends Award recipients also participate in a handprint ceremony, and their bronzed prints will be displayed in the Disney Legends Plaza at the Company’s Burbank headquarters.

The first Disney Legend, actor Fred MacMurray (The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Happiest Millionaire), was named in 1987. Including this year’s honorees, a total of 237 Disney Legends have been named. Past Disney Legends include Tim Allen, Robin Williams, Julie Andrews, Howard Ashman, Annette Funicello, Peter Jennings, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Alan Menken, Hayley Mills, Fess Parker, Sir Tim Rice, Dick Van Dyke and Barbara Walters. At the inaugural D23 Expo in 2009, the Legends Awards ceremony, which honored Robin Williams, Beatrice Arthur, Estelle Getty, Rue McLanahan, Betty White, Tony Anselmo, Bill Farmer, Harry Archinal, Don Iwerks and Leota Toombs Thomas, was presented to thousands of Disney fans for the first time.

Tickets to the D23 EXPO are available at Admission includes access to all experiences and entertainment at the D23 EXPO, including the Disney Legends Ceremony, and can be purchased for single days or for the full three days of festivities. Admission is $42 for a one-day adult ticket and $32 for children 3-12. Three-day passes are $121 for adults and $91 for children. Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will receive a discount for up to four admissions, as well as early entry to each day of the D23 EXPO for themselves and their guests.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hip Hop Artist Nelly on stage this Saturday at Universal Studios


Event Continues June 18 and Runs Every Saturday through July 16

WHAT: Universal Orlando Resort’s Summer Concert Series continues this weekend with Grammy-award winning hip hop and rap artist Nelly. With more than 21 million albums sold in the United States and more than 20 hit singles, Nelly has been one of the best-selling artists and one of the most influential in the hip hop and rap genre since his solo career debut in 2000. His hits include early classics such as, “Ride Wit Me,” “Hot in Herre,” and “Shake Ya Tailfeather,” as well as his most recent hits “Just a Dream” and “Gone.”

With a combined total of 30 platinum albums, this year’s concert lineup features artists who have each led the U.S. music charts and continue to be some of the most popular names in music today. The celebration features the most dynamic musical lineup in the event’s history with six chart-topping recording artists taking center stage every Saturday night through July 16. The full lineup can be viewed below.


Summer Concert Series Dates
Saturday, June 18

Saturday, June 25
Third Eye Blind

Saturday, July 2
Trey Songz

Saturday, July 9
Boys Like Girls

Saturday, July 16

Currently in its third year, Universal Orlando’s Summer Concert Series is included in regular admission to Universal Studios Florida, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy world-class thrills by day, and a concert by a chart-topping artist by night. For more information, visit

WHERE: Universal Studios Florida; Music Plaza stage

INFORMATION: Summer Concert Series Site:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Orlando's Rosen Shingle Creek Announces First-Ever Three-Part "Summer Spirits" Dining Series

ORLANDO (June 8, 2011) - Summertime is cause for celebration, and the award-winning Rosen Shingle Creek is helping patrons celebrate good times throughout the summer with its first-ever "Rosen Shingle Creek Summer Spirits Series." The three-part dining series will offer something for every taste, from simple to sophisticated, with each event highlighting a different spirit and style of cuisine from Rosen Shingle Creek's award-winning AAA Four Diamond restaurants:

· Saturday, June 11: "Scotch. Cigars. Seven Course Tasting." at A Land Remembered

· Saturday, July 9: "Microbrews and Gourmet Burgers Night" at A Land Remembered

· Saturday, Aug. 13: "Andiamo Italia" at Cala Bella Italian bistro, featuring six courses of Italian cuisines and wines

Each Summer Spirits event is $55 plus tax and gratuity per person, or patrons may reserve seating for the entire three-part series for a discounted rate of $150 plus tax and gratuity per person. Discounted rooms of $99 plus tax on the night of each dinner only for event guests, based on availability. Guests receive complimentary valet parking when dining at any Rosen Shingle Creek restaurant. For more information, call (407) 996-FOOD (3663).

The Rosen Shingle Creek Summer Spirits Series kicks off Saturday, June 11 with "Scotch. Cigars. Seven Course Tasting." at A Land Remembered classic steakhouse. According to the website,, "No other spirit has been associated with manhood like scotch whisky. Whether it's the hooking punch in the mouth or just the raw and earthy process by which it is brought forth from barley and water, scotch has held a prominent place in the lives of men from kings to authors to titans of industry."

Aspiring royals, "titans of industry" and other manly men and their companions are encouraged to indulge in Rosen Shingle Creek's seven-course tasting of fine Scotches and Scotch-inspired cuisines, including: Confit of Duck served with Mushroom Ragout and Port Wine Glaze paired with a 15-year-old Dalwhinnie; a Lobster Bisque Shot with White Truffle Crème Fraiche paired with a 10-year old Glenkinchie; a Hydroponic Bibb and Red Oak Salad with Maytag Blue Cheese, Peppered Applewood Bacon, Toasted Walnuts and Roasted Vidalia Vinaigrette accompanied by a Cragganmore 12-year; Herbed Lamb Loin Pan Jus served with Stewed Northern Beans and Butter Poached Asparagus along with a very rare 18-year-old Glenmorangie; Chilean Sea Bass with Smoked Chili Sauce and Fried Potato Sticks paired with Glenmorangie Finalta; Smoked Blue Cheese and Cheddar Chocolate Stout with Wild Strawberries in Balsamic with a 10-year Ardberg. The grand finale is Chef David's Exotic Chocolate with Glenmorangie La Santa, followed by a complimentary Don Tomas Allegro Cigar.

The series continues Saturday, July 9 with "Microbrews and Gourmet Burgers," a celebration of craft beers, including Rosen Hotels & Resorts' own home-brew, Alligator Drool, served with a variety of gourmet mini-burgers or "sliders."

On Saturday, Aug. 13, the Summer Spirits Series concludes with "Andiamo Italia" meaning "Let's go to Italy!" at Cala Bella Italian bistro. The six-course Italian meal will be paired with six premium Italian wines.

Rosen Shingle Creek is noted by locals, visitors and those in the meetings industry for its award-winning cuisine. The four-year-old hotel recently earned its second prestigious Gold Platter award from the readers of Meetings & Conventions (M&C) magazine for its all-around excellence in food and beverage. It was one of only 23 hotels in the United States, Puerto Rico and Bahamas to earn the coveted Gold Platter award this year.

The hotel recently brought its total in-house dining and lounge options to 14 with the opening of two new eateries this spring. Banrai Sushi, a 30-seat sushi bar and restaurant named for the Japanese word for "rest" serves signature rolls such as the Shingle Creek Roll as well as more than a dozen traditional sushi offerings, 16 Nigiri sushi/sashimi choices, various appetizers, entrees, sakes and martinis. The new Tobias Flats & Watering Hole serves a variety of flatbread-based dishes, from starters and salads, to pizzas and sandwiches, themed for the characters in Patrick Smith's Florida-themed novel, "A Land Remembered," from which the hotel's classic steakhouse also borrows its name.

Two of the hotel's restaurants have earned the prestigious AAA Four Diamond rating: A Land Remembered which proudly serves Harris Ranch All Natural Black Angus Beef, and the upscale Cala Bella "Beautiful Creek" Italian bistro, which offers a Kitchen Presentation Bar for "ringside" views of its culinary artists at work. The hotel also boasts Café Osceola, featuring freshly prepared buffets and chef cooking stations; the adjacent Osceola Bar; Headwaters Lounge, a great place to network and mingle; the intimate Bella's Bar with live piano music; Cat-Tails Pool Bar & Grille with light bites perfect for poolside; Creek Ice Creamery serving Haagen-Dazs; Smoooth Java coffee bar serving coffee, smoothies and fresh pastries; 18 Monroe Street Market, a 24-hour deli with both made-to-order items and snacks; as well as 24-hour room service.

The AAA Four Diamond, 1,500-room Rosen Shingle Creek is conveniently located at 9939 Universal Blvd., just off the International Drive tourist district and ten minutes from the Orlando International Airport. To book a room, guests may call the Rosen Shingle Creek reservations line at (866) 996-6338. For more information, visit or call (866) 996-9939. For more information about Rosen Hotels & Resorts, visit

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wizarding World website wins a "Webby" Award

Universal Orlando Resort Brings Home Two of the Internet’s Highest Honors

ORLANDO, Fla. (June 13, 2011) – Universal Orlando Resort’s website for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has received two of the highest honors for excellence on the Internet – The Webby Award and the People’s Voice Award for “Best Tourism Website.”

The website, found at, has helped guests around the world learn more about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where the wonder, excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter books and films come to life. The site features ground-breaking interactive elements, including:
· A photo-realistic, fly-through tour of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts castle
· The Wizarding World News, where you can learn more about this spectacularly themed environment through news articles, video and other multimedia tools
· A virtual Owl Post, where you can send e-cards to friends and family
· An augmented reality map, which appeared online throughout 2010 and allowed guests to explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in a unique way by blending real-life environments with computer animation

“From the very beginning, our Interactive and Creative teams strived to imagine beyond normal boundaries and assume anything was possible with this website,” said Al Callier, vice president of interactive development and web production. “These awards are an outstanding honor and a testament to the hard work of many extraordinary creative minds.”

This year marks the 15th Annual WEBBY Awards, and the leading international award association received more than 10,000 entries worldwide in more than 100 categories. Two awards are presented in each category – The Webby Award and the People’s Voice Award.

The Webby Award-winner is selected by members of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which includes more than 750 of the world’s leading Web experts, business professionals and creative celebrities. The People’s Voice Award is determined by the online community, and the winners receive hundreds of thousands of votes.

To experience the award-winning website and learn more about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Discovery Cove opens expansion area - The Grand Reef

SeaWorld Orlando's boutique all-inclusive water park Discovery Cove just opened their newest area -- The Grand Reef. Here's a quick highlight video.

Read the rest of my review over on The Disney Blog.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Phelps Twins Return to Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Oliver and James Phelps, who portray the mischievous Weasley brothers, George and Fred respectively, in the Harry Potter films – stopped to greet fans and take photos with eager guests in Hogsmeade at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter while visiting Universal Orlando Resort on Thursday, June 9, 2011. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which celebrated its grand opening nearly one year ago, is the most spectacular-themed environment ever created.

The Phelps twins, while not looking quite so ginger as in the films, did have some trademark Weasley fun while invading Zonkos and exploring other parts of Hogsmeade. They were in Islands of Adventure doing some filming, probably for a DVD extra for the final movie.

Looks like fun was had by all.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Star Tours - Inside Jokes, Tributes, Remnants, Homages

Part of what makes the new Star Tours so awesome, for me at least, is the incredible level of inside jokes, remnants, and homages. Probably this is because I publish a book of such tributes.

Here’s what we’ve been able to find so far, listed “chronologically” as we progress through the queue and ride. It should be noted that numerous posters on a couple Disney fan sites helped me by adding to my initial list with new items, that are now folded in:


THX1138. On the terminal boarding announcements, watch the bottom of the screen for Flight 1138 to Chandrila. There's also a verbal announcement for landspeeder THX1138, an echo (though a new recording) of a similar announcement pre-rehab.

Fantasy in the Sky fireworks. One video on the large viewscreen mentions Fantasy in the Sky, a reference to the longtime fireworks show at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.

George Lucas. One verbal terminal announcement pages Egroeg Sacul (George Lucas), a holdover announcement from the ride's previous incarnation.

Tom Morrow. Another verbal announcement mentions Mot Worrom (Tom Morrow backwards), which honors an Audio-Animatronics figure from Tomorrowland's past (at Disneyland, more than one!)

NCC-1701. Just before reaching the large overhead screen, look to your right for white circle designs in the wall. One is labeled in red font with N1C7C01 - an 'every other letter' cipher for the number designation of Star Trek's Enterprise, NCC-1701.

C3PO and R2D2. Another circle design in this same location uses a backward cipher for the droid names.

Tony Baxter. In the corner just below (just after) the overhead screen, look for lettering in dim light saying TWB3000. This is in deference to Senior Vice President of Creative Development at WDI Tony Wayne Baxter, and the old Star Tours flight number 3000.

Captain Rex. As you cross into the second queue room, look to one side to spot Rex, our former pilot. He’s now marked “defective” and is being sent back for repairs. Listen for a while and you’ll hear some audio from the original ride. I love this tribute, but I’m aware that it’s anachronistic. We’re in the time frame between Episode 3 and Episode 4, so the Rex pilot we know and love hasn’t even been installed yet—having a joke about him is a bit “out of time.” I suppose this is an “even earlier” version of Rex we’re looking at?
Robot Birds. In the original Orlando queue, robotic birds sat atop the entry door just after the second G2 droid—they looked a bit like Salacious Crumb, the lackey “monkey” near Jabba in the movies. They are now encased in a cage near Rex, no longer animated.

TK-421. The Stormtrooper who “wasn’t at his post” in the original Star Wars movie is honored here with a sign just above Rex and the other droids. Note: TK421 is again referenced by the luggage droid, who sees a stormtrooper helmet in the scanner and wonders why he's not at his post.

America Sings. The two droids in the second queue room were remodeled slightly in the rehab, but you can still see their webbed feet and wagging tails - these animatronics began life as oversized geese in America Sings (later the Innoventions building) in Anaheim's Tomorrowland. You can see identical geese - their brethren - who were later moved from American Sings to the first indoor scene of Splash Mountain in Anaheim (the whole thing was reproduced here in Orlando, even though the "history" is referential rather than direct).

Star Tours-Anaheim’s Opening Date. Star Tours in Anaheim opened on January 9, 1987 (I was there!), so the mention of 109.87 is no accident! This number appears on the front side of the “suitcase tube” behind G2-9T (the “take a picture it will last longer” droid).

Luggage scanner jokes (movie and character references). The suitcase scanner looks inside baggage to illuminate what’s inside, and there’s often a joke here, like a stormtrooper helmet, Madame Leota, C3PO’s head, Wall-E’s eyes, the Aladdin lamp, Mouse ears (with the name "Luke" on them), Major and Minor Domo from Captain EO, Chip and Dale, or the Incredibles outfit. Also visible at one point is the old logo for the Living Seas pavilion at Epcot.

Ellen's Energy Adventure. G2-9T (the luggage droid) says "you just think about that!" in a way reminiscent of Ellen's preshow.

Fix broken droids. G2-9T (the luggage droid) says "this job is a lot better than, say, fixing broken droids all day" - which was his job prior to the refurbishment (and he even sang "I've been working on the same droid / all my livelong day."

Han Solo's Detention Center banter. G2-9T (the luggage droid) says "boring conversation anyway," echoing language used by Han Solo on the Death Star intercom while breaking Leia out of the detention center.

Hidden Mickey R2. The shadow figures at the bend in the upramp include an R2 with Mickey ears (also known as R2-MK).

K-DROID. In the original Star Tours queue in Anaheim, a radio sat opposite G2-9T on the first upramp, displaying “107.9” (it was different in Orlando) with the announcer calling it K-DROID every few moments. In the new queue, wait until you are on the second platform, looking down at G2-9T, and you’ll spot a panel labeled KDRD 107.9.

Soarin. The second droid (who constantly urges us to move along) is voiced by Disney veteran (and Soarin' host) Patrick Warburton. This droid quotes the Soarin' safety video with phrases like "place all carryons in the overhead comPARTments" and "nice work, pal."

Safety video

Alison Janney. Ali San San’s name can be traced to its voice: actress Alison Janney (the ‘sound’ of the name is similar).

Delta Airlines. A prominent safety spiel on Delta airlines uses a coy tone of voice and wagging finger to say "smoking is never allowed on Delta flights", and Ali San San uses much the same phrase (also including photography) in a clear homage.

Inappropriate flash photo. In the 1987 safety video, a little boy turns around to the row behind him and takes a flash photo of Chewbacca, causing Chewie growl in protest while a nearby Calamarian threatens the boy with a backhand. In the 2011 safety video, a different little child does the same move, and again Chewie reacts while the Calamarian threatens a backhand (a little more subtly than in 1987).

Crazy haired safety spiel lady. The lady with the wacky hairdo in the old ride's preshow is still around, as party of the group getting onto the speeder in the safety video, though she doesn't have a speaking role. Look to the second row of the speeder, wearing a purple cloak (she will be on the right side of the screen).

WDI Street Address. We’re on Flight 1401. Sound familiar? WDI is located at 1401 Flower St in Glendale, CA.

PeopleMover. Vehicles at the start of the Stormtrooper opening (moving luggage) are shaped like Orlando’s PeopleMover TTA cars, but they are colored white (with a blue stripe) like Anaheim’s PeopleMover. These luggage cars are also visible on the preshow video if you get there early enough.

Kashyyyk sequence

Wilhelm Scream. The speeder bike clone trooper who crashes into a tree (just after the wookie slides off the viewscreen) gives the famous Wilhelm scream.

Hoth sequence

Restricted Combat Zone. "Star Tours - What are you doing here? This is a combat zone. It's restricted. Ease off on your main thruster." This phrase is largely kept in the new movie during the Hoth scene: "Star Tours - This is a restricted area. What are you doing here? Stay clear of the combat zone."

Mission Space homage. The finale of the Mission Space ride at Epcot includes a moment where the spaceship teeters at the edge of an icy canyon, and our host Gary Sinise says “Don’t move a muscle.” A similar phrase is used when our Starspeeder-1000 teeters on the edge of an icy canyon on Hoth.

Tatooine sequence

Rex’s Death Star run. In the original movie, Rex claims “I’ve always wanted to do this! We’re going in!” In the new movie, C3PO says something similar in Tatooine: “Oh a podrace! I’ve always wanted to do this!”

Transmission sequences

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Leia’s famous phrase is here relayed as “Help me, Star Tours. You’re my only hope.”

What message? C3PO’s famous phrase is also repeated here as "What transmission?" (and Threepio is still talking to R2D2!)

Naboo sequence

Rex’s lack of brakes. In the original movie, Rex screams “Brakes! Brakes! Where are the brakes?!” near the beginning of that movie. C3PO says the same exact phrase at the end of the Naboo sequence.

Mustafar sequence

I have a bad feeling about this. As we approach the Death Star, C3PO utters the phrase used in all Star Wars movies.

Mighty Microscope. Inside the Death Star (Mustafar/asteroid scene) is hidden the Mighty Microscope, on the left side of the screen in the tunnel as we exit the Death Star. The Mighty Microscope was a prop/element in Adventure Thru Inner Space, an Omnimover ride that preceded Star Tours in Anaheim. When Star Tours moved in (1987), the Microscope showed up as a prop in the hangar of the movie (also true of the Orlando attraction, which used the same film).

Coruscant sequence

Tomorrowland-T. One of the electronic billboards we fly past includes the "T" logo from Disneyland's 1998 Tomorrowland re-do.

FUEL Truck. We almost crashed into a truck labeled FUEL (all caps) in the original movie, and a similarly-named truck can be seen at the end of the Coruscant sequence.

Hidden Mickeys. Look to the back wall in the last scene of Coruscant for a whole row of Hidden Mickeys.