Friday, September 30, 2011

Fantasy of Flights "Night Flights" Highlight the spooky

POLK CITY, Fla. (Sept. 29, 2011) - Those accustomed to dealing with concrete, easy-to-prove concepts, such as the mechanics of an aircraft, the physics of flight or the value of a rare vintage plane are invited to fine tune their sixth sense this October as Fantasy of Flight explores the unexplained, unidentified and unexpected aspects of its world-renowned collection of rare and vintage aircraft and reveals some of aviation's most puzzling mysteries.

Two unique events, the family-friendly Haunted Hangar Walking Tour and nightFlight: Phase Three of the Paranormal Investigation, a spine-tingling late night experience, offer guests a chance to celebrate Halloween like never before.

The "ghoulie"-guided, half-hour Haunted Hangar Walking Tour engages guests of all ages with little known-aviation tales and unsolved mysteries - from the famous Lost Squadron to Lindbergh's spectral companions - all guaranteed to cast a supernatural sheen over the "World's Greatest Aircraft Collection"™. The Haunted Hangar Walking Tour will be offered daily Oct. 1 - 31 and is included free with the price of general admission and is free for annual pass holders. Tour schedule is subject to change.

Back by popular demand, Fantasy of Flight invites guests to nightFlight: Phase Three of the Paranormal Investigation. Introduced in 2010 to sold-out audiences, the limited-attendance nighttime tours are guided by Florida's Apollo Paranormal Investigations (API), a non-profit team of paranormal investigators (sometimes referred to as "ghost hunters") who have rated Fantasy of Flight an "11" on a paranormal activity scale of 1 to 10. During their four-hour experience, visitors will learn of the aircraft collection's haunted history, explore the unexplained occurrences throughout the halls and hangars of Fantasy of Flight, visit locations where encounters have been recorded and engage in the hands-on use of the tools of the ghost hunting trade. The October 2011 investigations will further examine data collected by nightFlight participants during the initial programs in early 2011 and inspect unexplored areas and aspects of Fantasy of Flight operations including the mysterious female spirit "M" in the Officers' Club, the new approach in the Carrier Deck with the cluster of Naval carrier-based aircraft and the Restoration shop.

nightFlight: Phase Three of the Paranormal Investigation will be offered Saturday, Oct. 1 and Saturday, Oct. 29. The tours run from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and are $75 plus tax, per guest. Reservations are required. Participants are encouraged to bring a camera, voice recorder, video recorder and extra batteries. Recommended attire includes secure, flat-soled shoes, a watch and "quiet" clothing that doesn't have strings or glow in the dark. Due to the subject matter, this event is recommended for adults. Participants must be at least 16 years old; those under 21 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit or call 863-984-3500.

"From the fearless to the faint of heart, there's something new and mysterious awaiting all of our guests at Fantasy of Flight this Halloween season," said Kim Long, General Manager, Fantasy of Flight. "And best of all, as guests enjoy these very special events, they can also feel good about helping members of the community by donating to our food drive."

Any visitor who brings a donation of canned goods or non-perishable food items will receive $5 off the price of a single, regular admission from Oct. 1 through Nov. 10.All items collected will benefit The Mission of Winter Haven. Rice, pasta, canned fruits and vegetables are especially needed. The food drive discount is not valid with other offers or discounts.

Fantasy of Flight also hosts a number of other special events throughout the year. Remaining events include Roar n' Soar, which takes place Sat., Nov. 12 and Sun., Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (gates open at 9 a.m.) at the attraction's spacious lakefront grounds and airfield in Polk City, Fla., midway between Orlando and Tampa. For more information or to purchase Roar n' Soar tickets, call 863-984-3500 or visit

Fantasy of Flight is Central Florida's premier aviation-themed attraction showcasing vintage aircraft from the world's largest private collection; themed immersion experiences; interactive exhibits; a tram tour of aircraft maintenance areas; Restoration and Backlot tours; Fun with Flight center for families and the country's only Aerial Demonstration of the Day (weather permitting) featuring a vintage plane. General admission also includes The Tuskegee Airmen - They Dared to Fly exhibit; the multimedia tribute to the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) - A Passionate Pursuit, a walking audio tour and many special events throughout the year.

New at Fantasy of Flight this year is Wing WalkAir, a thrilling outdoor attraction featuring a 600-foot zip line suspended four stories above water and a three-level ropes course complete with 33 midair challenges to be performed while tethered to an overhead line at heights of up to 45 feet. Ideal for families, couples, student/youth groups or corporate groups seeking teambuilding opportunities, Wing WalkAir is the first attraction of its kind in Polk County, located midway between Tampa and Orlando. Admission is $25 for the zip line and ropes course or $15 for the zip line and $12 for the ropes course when purchased separately. Group rates are available. Fantasy of Flight admission is not required for entry to Wing WalkAir.

Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. General admission is $28.95 for adults, $26.95 for seniors ages 55 and over and $14.95 for children, ages 6-12, plus 7 percent sales tax. Annual passes are available for $69.95 for adults, $39.95 for children ages 6-12, plus 7 percent sales tax, and are good for one year from the date of purchase. Biplane rides, through Waldo Wright's Flying Service, and hot air balloon rides are available for an extra charge. For more information about Fantasy of Flight, call 863-984-3500 or visit

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Orlando's Rosen Hotels Invite Guests to "Sleepover for the Cure"

ORLANDO (Sept. 29, 2011) - As a hospitality group known for its support of numerous healthy initiatives, Rosen Hotels & Resorts is offering a special nightly rate at each of its three award-winning convention hotels -- AAA Four Diamond Rosen Shingle Creek, Rosen Centre and Rosen Plaza - to support breast cancer research. Not only will guests receive an incredibly low rate on room nights at their choice of the three luxurious Orlando hotels, in addition, the company will donate three percent of each room night sold to the Central Florida Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation which is dedicated to education and research about breast cancer causes, treatment and the search for a cure.

"We at Rosen Hotels & Resorts value the gift of good health, as we know our guests and community do," said Harris Rosen, President/COO, Rosen Hotels & Resorts. "Realizing this, we were compelled to create a package that offered our guests an affordable respite at one of our beautiful hotels while making a contribution to a worthy cause."

The special "Sleepover for the Cure" package is available for select dates now through Dec. 31, 2011 and is $79 at Rosen Plaza, $89 at Rosen Centre and $99 at Rosen Shingle Creek, plus tax per night, double occupancy, based on date and rate availability and includes:
· Complimentary self parking
· Two for one golf at Shingle Creek Golf Club, named a Four Star Best Places to Play by Golf Digest
· Fifteen (15) percent off coupons valid at Rosen Shingle Creek, Rosen Centre and Rosen Plaza dining and lounging outlets including:

o "Dine around" restaurants including AAA Four Diamond A Land Remembered, AAA Four Diamond Cala Bella, Café Osceola, Tobias Flats and Banrai Sushi at Rosen Shingle Creek; Everglades Restaurant, Banshoo Sushi, 98Forty Tapas & Tequila and Café Gauguin at Rosen Centre; and Jack's Place and Café Matisse at Rosen Plaza
o Headwaters Lounge, Cala Bella quiet bar, A Land Remembered Bar and Osceola Bar at Rosen Shingle Creek; The Lobby Bar and Everglades Bar at Rosen Centre; and The Lobby Bar and Backstage Nightclub & Sports Bar at Rosen Plaza
o Coffee and pastries at Smoooth Java coffee bar at all three properties

To book this special rate, guests may call 866-996-6338 and ask for the "Sleepover for the Cure" available dates or find the dates and book online at The offer does not include taxes or gratuities and is not valid for groups or with any other discounts or offers. Reservations are recommended for golf and dining.

In addition to its support of breast cancer research, Rosen Hotels & Resorts has been lauded for its revolutionary in-house associate health care and insurance program, which provides low-cost insurance and prescriptions, as well as affordable and accessible healthcare and wellness programs to all Rosen Hotels associates. The hospitality group is also a leader in community philanthropy, having contributed greatly to local education projects through scholarships, donations and youth programs.

Together, the Rosen convention hotels boast more than 3,600 luxurious guest rooms, more than 611,000 gross square feet of flexible meeting space including one of the nation's largest column-free ballrooms and the new Rosen Centre Skywalk pedestrian connector to the Orange County Convention Center. Each offers steps-away convenience to International Drive, the Pointe Orlando shopping, dining and entertainment complex, and Orlando's world-class theme parks and water parks. Rosen Hotels & Resorts guests may enjoy the amenities at any of the three hotels, including the award-winning championship 18-hole Shingle Creek Golf Club and Brad Brewer Golf Academy, two incredible day spas - The Spa at Shingle Creek and the Body & Sol Spa at Rosen Centre, nearly two dozen award-winning dining, entertainment and lounging options including Jack's Place which has been voted the best restaurant on International Drive, Backstage Nightclub & Sports Bar at Rosen Plaza, Everglades Restaurant featuring prime steaks and fresh seafood, the new 98Forty Tapas & Tequila at Rosen Centre, the new Tobias Flats and Banrai Sushi, as well as AAA Four Diamond A Land Remembered classic steakhouse and AAA Four Diamond Cala Bella Italian Bistro at Rosen Shingle Creek, as well as state-of-the-art fitness centers and a variety of tennis and sport courts, nature trails and seasonal fishing.

For more information about Rosen Hotels & Resorts, visit

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Busch Tampa Howl-O-Scream Preview/Review #hos

I had a chance to experience Busch Gardens Tampa's Howl O Scream last week, and it's a hoot. There are six Hauned Houses and an upcharge 7th one, called Alone, that is well worth the extra price ($40 for a group of four). We saw numerous hordes/gangs of scareactors roaming the streets and menacing other visitors.

Here are the two shows from the event, in full:

Midnight Hour:


Then, part of this Disney-focused slideshow video will also show more of Howl o Scream.


Monday, September 26, 2011

WDW Slideshow Update 9/26/11:parking lot signs at MK, Busch Gardens Tampa Howl-o-Scream, Universal (Ripsaw Falls).

• New names (and signage) for parking lot sections at the Transportation and Ticket Center. The sub-lots now combine for a big "heroes" lot and a big "villains" lot -- and each one has a dedicated tram

• Big tower outside PotC has speakers for Sorcerers game

• New railings outside Splash Mountain

• Crane is out installing castle Dreamlights

• Spotted: half-size ODV cart selling ice cream

• Splash Mtn final boat scene is fully fixed, even rocking back and forth

• Spotted: benches outside Mansion have always had "dogs" as handles on the end of the armrests... but the eyes are now painted red

• Spotted: new doll in the window outside Hall of Presidents. For Sorcerers?

• New dish: $11 salmon with couscous and broccoli, at Columbia Harbour House. Well worth the price.

• Osceola signs: all but one are fixed! (and the last one was being worked on late in the weekend; probably fixed now).

• Busch Gardens Tampa Howl-O-Scream: a rollickin good time, decent scare houses (6 of them), and one standout named "Alone" for a $40 upcharge (you can bring 3 others with you, so it's not truly alone). But the Alone house is not overrun with visitors; they only let groups go in every 5-10 minutes. Spectacular.

• At Howl-O-Scream, there are no scare zones -- everywhere is game! Instead, the scareactors roam in groups.

• The Midnight Hour show is campy fun with live singing (Obama, Palin, Sheen, Snookie as comic relief).

• The Fiends (naughty nurses) show is equally campy, more Monster Mash oriented.

• Construction photos of Universal mini golf. Still quite barren ground, some structures going up.

• Despicable Me signs are up at former Jimmy Neutron simulator

• Ripsaw Falls photo report: looking great!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


App is Available as a Free Download for Apple and Android Mobile Devices

WHAT: This year, guests can enhance their experience at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 21 with the first-ever official mobile application specifically designed for the event. Available as a free download for iPhone and Android users, the app offers an array of useful features to help attendees plan a terrifying and entertaining night they’ll never forget.
The all-new Halloween Horror Nights 21 mobile app will allow guests to:
o Pinpoint their exact location and the terrors that surround them using GPS navigation
o Plan which haunted houses they’ll dare to enter with the app’s interactive event map
o Learn more about each of the eight all-new haunted houses and six horrifying scarezones as they get ready to experience them first-hand
o Get updates and exclusive details on Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights by connecting with the event’s official Facebook and Twitter pages

The app also offers a check-in game that challenges guests to explore each all-new haunted house at Halloween Horror Nights 21. If they survive each house, guests can “check in to win” a Universal CityWalk savings guide worth up to $50.
For 25 nights beginning September 23, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights returns as the nation’s best and most intense Halloween event. Guests will confront extreme Halloween entertainment that cannot be experienced anywhere else. This year, they will scream as they become prey to fiendish creatures, panic as they come face-to-face with a horrifying “thing,” feel chills as they are haunted by deceased souls – and watch in paralyzing fear as Lady Luck transforms from a tempting seductress to a bloodthirsty beast.
For more information about Halloween Horror Nights 21 or to purchase tickets, visit
WHEN: The application is available as of Wednesday, September 21
WHERE: Apple and Android mobile app stores

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rosen Centre Vine & Dine Oct 28

On Friday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m., Rosen Centre presents its final Vine & Dine wine pairing dinner of the 2011 series, a "Vine & Dine Spooktacular" featuring the culinary wizardry of six creative chefs preparing five gourmet courses, as well as a high-end wine selection that will be announced just a few days before the dinner, long after the event is sold out. In keeping with the spooktacular theme, patrons are invited to dress in costume for the opportunity to win wines, wine-related items or hotel stays.

The wine selections are guaranteed to include some of the most expensive wines in the Rosen Centre cellar. In past years, these wines included selections from acclaimed Napa Valley wineries, including Quintessa. The only confirmed wine is a 2001 Opus One, which sells for $250-350 per bottle. This very special wine will be reserved for the main course. Guests wanting to be the first to hear about the wine selections should follow Rosen Centre on Facebook for wine announcements and other exciting offers.

Throughout the dinner, patrons will be able to "trick or treat" or sample from Rosen Centre's diverse restaurants without leaving the comfort of their seats. Each of the evening's courses will be overseen by Rosen Centre's Executive Chef Michael Rumplik, whose team has earned numerous Gold Platter awards from Meetings & Conventions magazine based on the hotel's outstanding reputation for food and beverage.

The first course will be presented by Chef Tadayoshi "Yoshi" Kohazame of Banshoo Sushi Bar. Known for his passion for seafood, an unwavering commitment to fresh, quality ingredients and a gift for artistic presentation, Chef Yoshi will serve a Banshoo Trio of Hotate Scallop Seaweed Salad, Ika Sansai Squid and Seared Yellow Fin Ahi Tuna with Garlic Ponzu.

Emeterio "Telo" Luna of 98Forty Tapas & Tequila will follow with a Tapas Trio including Mango Gazpacho with a splash of Patron Tequila, Chicken Arepa with Guajilo & Queso Fresco and a Roasted Pork Tamale with Mole and Tomatillo Sauce. Every item Chef Telo creates, from his signature ceviches, salsas and guacamoles to his quesadillas, nachos and tapas, is made from scratch using fresh ingredients, including imported Mexican spices, ground by hand using the carjeta, or stone method, to unlock their true flavors just moments before arriving at the table.

Chef Tony Novoa of Café Gauguin provides the third course of the evening. Chef Tony is known not only for his culinary skills but also for his incredibly creative presentations, including his stunning ice sculptures and elaborate carvings from fruits, vegetables and cheeses. He will present a Trio of Rigatoni stuffed with Jumbo Lump Crab, Sweet Sausage and Carmelized Onion, and Grilled Portobello and Spinach.

The main course will be prepared by none other than the head chef of the Everglades Restaurant, Chef Fred Vlachos, who is known for his prime steaks, wild game and fresh seafood, as well as his inventive use of classic Florida flavors ̶ key lime, mango, sweet plantains, rock shrimp, crab, and even alligator ̶ to create a mouthwatering selection that is unique to the Sunshine State and to Everglades Restaurant. Chef Fred will treat guests to a Beef Tenderloin stuffed with Spinach, Pancetta and Wild Mushrooms, drizzled with Cognac Cream Sauce and served with an Onion and Gruyere Potato Tartlet.

The final treat of the night comes from Pastry Chef Stephan Schmid at Smoooth Java coffee bar, who will provide a Coffee Delight Trio with Starbucks Tiramisu, Cappuccino Cheesecake and Espresso Mousse.

The evening begins at 7 p.m. with a "Pre-Party Party" in Everglades Bar where guests can mingle and unwind with the evening's first selection of wine. The group then adjourns to Everglades Restaurant, offering a comfortable, yet refined setting that evokes the natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere of the Florida Everglades, for a five-course, gourmet dinner highlighted by fresh, seasonal ingredients and wines expertly selected to complement the cuisine. During dinner, guests may engage in casual conversation about wines with an experienced wine maker or knowledgeable sommelier chosen for each event. Guests can also enter to win exciting raffle prizes, such as bottles of wine, wine-related items or hotel stays. An intimate dining experience, each Vine & Dine event is limited to no more than 40 guests, ensuring personal attention for each attendee.

The cost of the "Vine & Dine Spooktacular" is $75 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Diners may make their evenings even more special by spending the night in a deluxe guest room for a special rate of only $89 plus tax. As with all Rosen Centre dining experiences, valet parking is complimentary.

For Vine & Dine reservations and more details, call 407-996-8560. For more information, visit or

Vine & Dine dinners can be customized for private group events. The Everglades Restaurant's extensive wine list, which features an array of wines from all regions, winemaking styles and price points, allows the culinary team to work with event and meeting planners to arrange unique experiences within any budget. The restaurant also offers an extensive selection of organic wines from wineries that share the hotel's passion for protecting the environment and creating quality products in a sustainable manner.


ORLANDO, Fla. (September 23, 2011) – Screams will fill the darkness tonight as Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 21 officially opens at Universal Studios Florida. Starting tonight and running select nights through October 31, guests will confront extreme Halloween entertainment that cannot be experienced anywhere else.

Recently named “the country’s best Halloween event” for the fourth consecutive year by Amusement Today, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights is not your typical Halloween event. Each year, the bar is raised as Universal Orlando creates original, horrifying experiences to entertain thousands of guests from all over the world.


Nevermore: The Madness of Poe
The madness of Edgar Allen Poe’s greatest works has come to life. Step into the mind of the iconic writer, where every turn of the page takes you closer to the brink of insanity.

The Forsaken
Four ships began Columbus’s fateful voyage, only three became legend. Condemned to a watery grave, the mutinous and cursed crew of that fourth ship has returned with a vengeance. For within the walls of a Spanish fort, a maelstrom has brought from the depths....death itself.

H.R. Bloodengutz Presents: Holidays of Horror
Join creature feature host, H.R. Bloodengutz, in his final televised broadcast as he presents a SCARE-athon of holiday-based horror that is guaranteed to cleave you screaming for more.

The Thing
Paranoia spreads like an epidemic among a group of researchers in an isolated Antarctic outpost as they are infected, one by one, by a horrifying creature from another planet. In a place where there is nothing, they found something.

Saws N’ Steam: Into the Machine
Spinning blades and massive, crushing pistons await you around every corner as you are forced deeper into the bowels of a mechanical nightmare. Give yourself to “The Machine.”

The In-Between
An ominous portal reveals a 3rd dimension where all is not what it seems: a realm where our world and another collide. Surrounded by fiendish creatures, your eyes will deceive you with every step through this phantasm of terror.

Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery
As snow falls on this normally serene gothic cemetery, the deceased souls that occupy its confines have their sights set upon you, insuring that the chill you feel up your spine is more than just the cold of night.

Nightingales: Blood Prey
Within every war, the Nightingales have appeared. Able to transform themselves to fit any setting, these savage banshees feed on the weak and the helpless. Patrolling WWI era trenches, you discover that you are more than just at war…you’re being hunted.


Acid Assault
For decades now the city has been degrading from the effects of Acid Rain that still falls today, caused by factories which sprung up on the city’s edges during the 20th century. Those that have lived and survived the blistering decay are all alone in the city. Survivors have stripped the city of all life to sustain their own…dare to enter the ACID ASSAULT.

Canyon of Dark Souls
Upon entering into the Canyon of Dark Souls, you will feel like a small spec of humanity as the overwhelming sense of death surrounds you. Creatures that dwell within the Canyon are not welcoming so walk slowly as to not disturb them.

Grown Evil
Enter, if you dare, into our garden where Evil grows. Nature has taken this once well manicured sanctuary back from the humans who once kept it. Now the creatures that inhabit the garden are making any human that enters their prey.

Journey through the ever changing maze of darkness. This all black maze will morph and change as you walk through it. You will not be scared the same way twice.

As daylight shines upon our Temptresses, their appearance, though evil, allows you the spectacle of beauty. As night falls, these 7 temptresses will show their true colors and take on their true Fatal Evil forms. Beware of your own temptations.

Your Luck Has Run Out
Enter if you dare into the lair of the LUCKY! Your choices will determine if you make it out alive. Witness luck’s deadly wrath, will she choose you to be her next victim?


Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure
Party on as those two most excellent dudes return to skewer the biggest names in entertainment and pop culture.

Death Drums
A seductive, hard-hitting and raw extreme drumming experience.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grand Tour Gala - Rosen College Hall of Fame on Oct 1

Saturday, Oct 1 will be the inductions to the Hospitality Hall of Fame, benefitting UCF. For information and tickets, see

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

News: Magic Kingdom 40th birthday (Oct 1 ) celebration will be 10am stage show, cupcakes for everyone, and a special Wishes finale. That's it.

News: Magic Kingdom 40th birthday (Oct 1 ) celebration will be 10am stage show, cupcakes for everyone, and a special Wishes finale. That's it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Discovery Cove Offers Fall Dates for Special Florida Resident Rate

Discovery Cove Offers Fall Dates for Special Florida Resident Rate
Includes Unlimited SeaWorld Pass Through January 2012

WHAT: There's never been a better time than now for Florida residents to experience an exciting fall getaway. With Discovery Cove special savings now available through December 31, 2011, Florida residents can enjoy a perfect day for $199 plus tax per person for Dolphin Swim Day Resort admission and $129 plus tax for Day Resort admission. Offer includes an unlimited admission pass (no 14-day restriction) to SeaWorld Orlando valid through January 31, 2012 (pass is only valid after Discovery Cove visit).

With SeaWorld’s unlimited admission pass, guests can experience two incredible, family-friendly events: SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular and SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is an ocean of Halloween fun featuring trick-or-treating, dancing with whimsical sea creatures, catching silly and spooky shows and creating sea-themed arts and crafts. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is sure to light up this year’s holiday season with a sparkling sea of trees and everything from elves to Elmo and from Santa to Shamu. Discovery Cove is the perfect place for guests to enjoy an all-inclusive adventure and one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, hand-feed exotic birds and relax on pristine beaches. Plus, The Grand Reef is all new, where guests can snorkel with dozens of rays and thousands of tropical fish on multiple levels, from shallow waters to deeper canyons.

DETAILS: Admission includes a freshly prepared breakfast and lunch, snacks and beverages throughout the day, (including alcoholic beverages for those at least 21 years of age), dolphin-safe sunscreen, snorkel equipment, locker rental, wetsuits and towels. At Discovery Cove, guests experience a full day of exciting animal encounters in a 30-acre tropical oasis. Discovery Cove is a paradise of rocky lagoons surrounded by lush landscaping, coral reef, tropical river, and a resort-style pool complete with waterfalls and pristine, white sand beaches.

Proof of valid Florida residency for reach adult is required upon check-in at guest reception.

HOW: Visit or call 1-877-434-7268 for more information.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Iceploration show to start at Busch-Tampa on Feb 2


Busch Gardens’ Biggest Ice Show To Date Will Take the Ice on February 2 TAMPA (September 8, 2011)

For more than five decades, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has set the industry’s standard for delivering unforgettable entertainment experiences, with Broadway-style stage spectaculars like KaTonga: Musical Tales From the Jungle and innovative ice shows like World Rhythms on Ice. This winter, the park will combine some of the most amazing aspects of its entertainment history and debut its biggest ice show to date: Iceploration takes the stage on Feb. 2, 2012. Starting February 2, a cast of 20 brings to life an all-new adventure filled with world-class skaters, amazing aerial performances, master puppetry and live animal stars, with shows daily in the Moroccan Palace. “The grand scale of Iceploration sets a new standard of entertainment that further solidifies Busch Gardens as one of Florida’s premier theme parks,” said Busch Gardens Park President Jim Dean. “This show reintroduces the ice show to our most loyal fans while bringing together the things Busch Gardens stage productions do best: world-class entertainment with top-notch skaters, amazing costumes, original music, larger-than-life puppets and even animal stars.”

Iceploration inspires audiences to “explore the world” on a 30-minute journey to the four corners of the earth. This multi-sensory story, told through theatrical skating and an all-new original score, is the collaboration of an award-winning creative team with Broadway credentials, including Tony Award-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes (The Drowsy Chaperone, Best Costume Design Tony winner 2007; Legally Blonde the Musical, Best Costume Design Tony nominee 2007).

The 30-minute show opens with Austin, a digital-savvy preteen, explaining how technology has made his generation more connected to the world than ever before. But his grandfather – and old-world explorer – argues that the boy is more disconnected than he realizes, and takes him on an adventure around the globe. Through their travels they visit the African Serengeti, Great Barrier Reef, the Arctic and the Amazon rainforest. The adventure unfolds as they arrive in the African Serengeti. Here, larger-than-life puppets and spectacular set design bring elephants and other awe-inspiring animals to life at a watering hole. Solo and chorus skating performances accompanied by acrobatics tell an anecdote of an agile cheetah stalking graceful gazelles and meerkats. Austin and Grandpa then dive into the Great Barrier Reef to explore the harmony of life on the ocean floor. An amazing black light transition and never-before-seen helium-filled puppets immerse the audience in the wonders of the sea, filled with parrotfish and lionfish, sea urchins, turtles and a moray eel. In the Arctic, majestic skaters become striking snow flurries as a winter storm threatens the travelers. Austin and Grandpa witness even more beauty as they encounter the Aurora Borealis phenomenon, represented with theatrical lighting and projections. Then, they share the stage with amazing live animal stars, including a Siberian lynx and a sled of Siberian huskies as they continue to traverse the tundra. Austin and Grandpa wrap up their adventure around the globe immersed in the lush, tropical Amazon Rainforest. Squirrel monkeys, sun conures and colorful macaws fill the air as playful frogs and a graceful dragonfly skate into the grand finale: a new signature song called “Meet the World.”

Construction has already begun to transform the Moroccan Palace into the icy new site for this ground-breaking show, as well as an exciting version of Busch Gardens’ classic holiday ice show. This holiday season, the Moroccan Palace will host Christmas on Ice with several shows daily from November 21 to January 1.

Iceploration performances are included with any daily park admission or annual Pass. For more information, visit Over the next few months, Busch Gardens will be sharing more details about this amazing new show. If you’re not already a fan, “like” Busch Gardens Tampa Bay at to get all of the latest updates. Or check out the park blog at to follow the progress up through the opening next year.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place every weekend in October: 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, and 28-30

ORLANDO, Fla. – (August 30, 2011) – Halloween meets the sea during SeaWorld Orlando's Halloween Spooktacular, the ultimate family-friendly event featuring an ocean of Halloween fun where children can trick-or-treat, dance with whimsical sea creatures, catch silly and spooky shows and create sea-themed arts and crafts.

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place every weekend in October: 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, and 28-30. This daytime event runs from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., leaving the littlest of trick-or-treaters wide-eyed for the fun-filled activities.  For all of the “spooktacular” savings, visit 

Spooktacular Highlights Include: 

New! Penelope’s Party Zone
New this year, a lively underwater environment immerses children in the wonders of the sea through kid-friendly music, games, and colorful characters. Located at SeaWorld’s Bayside area, this zone comes to life when guests dance and play along to the spooky sound waves broadcast by a live DJ. With countless bubbles floating overhead and colorful pumpkin fish gliding beside you, this Halloween party is sure to provide non-stop fun for all ages.  

New! Apple Decorating Post
Kids and parents alike can have a “splash” creating their own sweet treats at this new decorating station. Tasty apples can be dipped – for a nominal fee – with the decadently-flavored sauce of choice: white chocolate, fudge, or caramel, and then topped with sprinkles to finish them off. Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween Show

Don’t miss Count Van Count on a quest to find his friends, Elmo, Zoe and Telly in this live musical stage show. Along the way, The Count meets dancing skeletons who will have everyone in SeaPort Theatre shaking, rattling and rolling.

Trick-or-Treating Under the Sea
Offering more than 1 million pieces of trick-or-treat goodies, costumed youngsters can search for hidden “sea” treasures using their Spooktacular maps at more than a dozen different locations. Each station features an assortment of sweet treats, including a variety of candies and healthy-choice options.

Spooky Sand Art Station
Another new element this year, children (and adults too) can make a multi-colored sand souvenir at this interactive arts and craft area where sea-themed glass bottles -- in the shape of dolphins, turtles, starfish and more -- are filled with an array of vibrantly-colored sands.

Strolling Entertainment
Penelope Pumpkin fish, Shamu, Dolly Dolphin, Shivers the Polar Bear, Pete and Penny Penguin, a mermaid, and a walking-talking spider-crab are among the many fanciful sea creatures that will join the colorful, playful schools of pumpkin fish welcoming trick-or-treaters as they stroll through the park. Photo opportunities with these “spook-tastic” characters create lasting memories! 

More SeaWorld Halloween Fun: Count Von Count’s Spooktacular Breakfast “Booffet”
One of Sesame Street’s favorite residents, The Count, gets into the Halloween spirit with his friends from Sesame Street at Count Von Count’s Spooktacular Breakfast.  Little ones will sing, groove and mingle side-by-side with Sesame Street characters, while listening to Halloween-themed music and enjoying a special breakfast “booffet.”  Following the breakfast, kids can get their photos taken with the characters for memories that will last forever. Reservations can be made online, at the Information Counter or by calling 1-888-800-5447.

SeaWorld’s Holiday Family Sleepovers (6 p.m. – 9 a.m. on Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29) 
Families can snuggle into a spooky slumber surrounded by exotic fish, rays, and sea dragons inside the floor-to-ceiling aquariums at Manta. Cost is $78 per person or $103 (includes next-day park admission). A pizza dinner and breakfast are included.  Program is for children in grades K-5 and their families.  Sleepover reservations can be made by calling 1-800-406-2244

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Cheat Sheet for Starting a General Partnership in Florida

Each time I go through the steps in creating a business in Florida, I have to remind myself of the exact tasks, so I thought the world might benefit from the cheat sheet I eventually created for myself.

The first step is ordering the $10 Florida Business Guide: This will guide you through different kinds of companies, and is much more comprehensive than my little cheat sheet here. It comes in the mail to you.

My cheat sheet below refers to a General Partnership between two individuals living in Orange County, Florida (but not within Orlando city limits), in a book publishing business run out of a personal dwelling. The individual forms YOU need to fill out will be different based on all the variables mentioned in that previous sentence.

That said, here is my cheat sheet. These items are meant to be done in this order:

1. Check for fictitious name (also corporation name, also partnership name)

2. Check for existing trademarks at  (click Search Marks)

3. Get EIN from IRS –,,id=102767,00.html

4. Create general partnership on sunbiz:  (form must be printed, signed, then mailed in with check for $50) – only the link for partnership registration statement is needed.

5. After Document Number received from sunbiz, register fictitious name here: Need credit card for another $50.

6. Obtain Occupational license (Orange County; no need for city of Orlando) in person at the Business Tax Department located on the 2nd Floor, 201 South Rosalind Ave. Orlando, Florida. Use the form here: – technically called "application for payment of local business tax." Signatures need to be notarized in advance. See rules here:

7. Register with the Florida Dept of Revenue (DOR) to pay Florida taxes (such as sales tax). You will need this even if your business is Internet-based; you have to at least file $0 returns quarterly. (click on “start a new registration”) for the online version of Form DR-1.

Your mileage will definitely vary - do not copy line by line what I did unless your circumstances match mine precisely! But this should give any aspiring business a starting point, at least. I still advise buying the $10 Guide linked at the top - it answered all my questions almost before they occurred to me.

Chime in with comments below if you've got additional tips and tricks!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Lawsuit against SeaWorld tossed -

ORLANDO, Fla. -- An Orange County judge has dismissed a lawsuit against SeaWorld just as a new legal fight over the death of a killer whale trainer last year arises. Dawn Brancheau was killed in February 2010 when a 6-ton killer whale named Tilikum pulled the trainer into the water. A New Hampshire family later sued the park, saying the incident was deeply traumatic.

Read more: