Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dolphin Calf born at SeaWorld Orlando (pic)

A dolphin calf was born Tuesday morning at 9:36 a.m. at SeaWorld Orlando. The calf weighs 35 pounds and is 40 inches long, with the sex unknown at this time.  It was seen nursing and bonding with its mom, both a good indication that the calf is doing well. Park guests can see the pair at SeaWorld’s Dolphin Nursery. In the nursery pregnant dolphins, new mothers, their calves and experienced moms live together.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New e-book by Robert Niles: Stories from a Theme Park Insider

New Disneyland Cast Member book (collection of stories) from Robert Niles. It's an e-Book only, alas (I like paper), but the premise sounds great! Only $4.

Stories from a Theme Park Insider

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Evanna Lynch, aka Luna Lovegood, visits Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Irish actress Evanna Lynch, known for her role as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter film series, stopped to admire the Quibbler display and try on a pair of Spectrespecs at Dervish and Banges, a magical supplies and equipment shop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on Monday, July 18, 2011. Lynch was hosted by Universal Orlando Resort, spending some time at the theme parks while attending a Harry Potter fan conference in Orlando. Lynch played a role in the final installment of the Harry Potter film series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2,” which debuted on Friday.

Orlando Attractions has an interview with Lynch.

Photo courtesy Roberto Gonzalez, Universal Orlando Resort

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Busch Gardens Tampa starts Grad Nite in 2012

So when Disney World ends Grad Nite, their competitors smelled an opportunity. Busch Gardens Tampa seized it, and now they will host Grad Nites starting in April 2012. Good for them. Tickets will be $55 for a park that stays open until 2am (not all night).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Disney all but admits that Pleasure Island plans are in flux (and on hold)

From DisneyParks blog,

Over on Pleasure Island, we’ve completed removing some of the buildings that aren’t part of our future plans. During the course of this site work, we identified opportunities to further refine our master plan and are pausing to evaluate them. What does this mean for you? While we’re moving quickly, it will admittedly cause a delay in construction. But we’re willing to bet that any delay will be worth the wait once we’re able to share details about the exciting work we’ve been doing.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Legoland 100 Days Away - Photos

Legoland Orlando has released some more construction photos.

Winter Haven, FL (July 7, 2011) -- Look how far we’ve come!  With just 100 days until Grand Opening on October 15, LEGOLAND® Florida has released a new batch of photographs as rides begin to appear at the park.  From The Royal Joust to LEGO® Technic Test Track Coaster, construction crews are hard at work transforming the property into the interactive theme park geared toward families with children ages 2-12. The Royal Joust, where kids ride LEGO-themed horses through a number of medieval scenes where they encounter other riders in a simulated joust. LEGO TECHNIC® Test Track is a “wild mouse-style roller coaster where brave guests feel the power of acceleration, braking and maneuverability as they race a life-size LEGO TECHNIC vehicle along a wildly twisting track.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

M. Night Shyamalan finds his Magic Wand at Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The internationally acclaimed screenwriter, film director and producer M. Night Shyamalan was hosted by Universal Orlando Resort today and experienced the most spectacularly themed environment ever created – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Best known for films such as “The Sixth Sense,” “The Village” and “Signs,” Shyamalan enjoyed browsing the unique merchandise found in Hogsmeade before soaring above Hogwarts on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. Photo Credit: Sheri Lowen, Universal Orlando Resort

Baby Cheetah at Busch wins national poll for cuteness

Busch Gardens is thrilled to announce that Kasi is the winner of the national Budget Poll for Cutest Zoo Baby. Thank you very much to all our fans and friends who voted for the adorable, four-month old baby cheetah. We agree, this zoo baby is about as cute as you can get!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Universal annual passes cheap for residents

I just bought Florida resident preferred pass renewals for Universal (two parks, no blackout, includes parking). Care to guess the price?

The similar Disney Premium includes all four parks and two water parks... it costs over $500 for renewal.

Universal? Try $159 per person (admittedly, there is no child discount). One you factor in parking, it takes LESS than two visits for the pass to pay for itself.


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"Boys Like Girls" to play at Universal on Saturday

Universal Orlando Resort’s Summer Concert Series is going to rock this weekend as platinum punk band Boys Like Girls takes the stage at Universal Studios Florida on Saturday, July 9. Originally from Massachusetts, Boys Like Girls has recorded hit singles such as “The Great Escape,” “Love Drunk” and their most recent hit, “Two is Better Than One” featuring country superstar Taylor Swift. The band participated in the first-ever MTV World Stage Live concert held in Malaysia and has toured with other hit acts like Good Charlotte, 3OH!3 and Third Eye Blind. They are currently working on a third album.
Event Continues July 9 and Runs Every Saturday through July 16

Friday, July 01, 2011

Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel's Summer Spirits Dining Series

ORLANDO (June 28, 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 second in the three-part dining series, "Craft Beer and Gourmet Burgers" takes place Saturday, July 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the hotel's classic steakhouse, A Land Remembered, and features five courses of burgers grilled to perfection and accompanied by a variety of craft beers.

The series concludes on Saturday, Aug. 13 with "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. Guest rooms are available at a discounted rate 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 "Craft Beer and Gourmet Burgers" night begins with a Black Angus Classic Burger topped with Vermont White Cheddar, Vidalia Onions, Slab Bacon and House Ketchup on a Classic Kaiser Roll. The second course offers a more exotic choice ̶ the Peppercorn Crusted Bison Burger, prepared with Smoky Rogue Blue Cheese, Truffle Fried Onions and Dijoinnaise on a Ciabatta Roll. Next is a sweet and spicy combination ̶ Barbeque Angus Short Rib Sliders topped with Fried Jalapenos, Sweet Summer Slaw and Queso Fresca served on a Mini Broiche. But that's not all. The fourth burger course consists of an All Natural Herbed Turkey Burger generously layered with Avocado, Heirloom Tomato, Baby Arugula and Lavender Honey Mustard on a Five Grain Roll. The grill-fest concludes with a Flat Seared Portabella Burger topped with Goat Cheese, Sun Dried Tomato Hummus and Organic Romaine served on Tandoori Flatbread.

Of course, what would gourmet burgers be without gourmet fries? Guests may choose from the following side item to complement their five course feast: Shoe String Fries, Sweet Potato Sticks, Seasoned Wedges or House Made Truffled Potato Chips. Each burger course will be accompanied by a different style of craft brew, including Rosen Hotels & Resorts' own home-brew, Alligator Drool.

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 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; aswell 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