Monday, December 19, 2011

Busch Gardens adds in-park App to Android

Tampa, Fla. (Dec. 19, 2011) – Over the summer, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay put the park in guests’ hands with the launch of its first-ever interactive iPhone application. In response to popular demand, the free app is now available in the Android Market as well.
The Busch Gardens app utilizes GPS technology to guide guests through the park. The free app is designed to make guests’ experience even better by giving them park details at their fingertips and helping them get the most out of their day.

The interactive map shows guests where they are located in the park and allows them to highlight the quickest real-time route to their next destination by clicking the “Take Me There” button on any destination page. Whether the destination is a restaurant, show, roller coaster or animal habitat, the app provides information on its location, menu, restrictions, wait times and more. Guests can also search for the nearest restrooms, lockers and ATMs.

It’s as easy as searching the word “Cheetah” to find a path to the new Cheetah Run habitat. Along the way guests are able to uncover fun facts about our animals. They can also connect to social media sites to share photos with friends and keep up with Busch Gardens’ Facebook and Twitter feeds.

New Busch Gardens App Features:
  • Interactive real-time map
  • Updated ride wait times and height requirements
  • Detailed information pages for all major shows, rides, animal habitats and restaurants
  • Important contact information to make reservations or schedule tours
  • Ways for guests to connect to social media sites
  • General park information and operating hours
  • Live local weather and forecast updates
To download the free app, search the keyword “Busch Gardens” in the Android Market and iTunes App Store.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fantasy of Flight 2012 symposium series

POLK CITY, Fla. (Nov. 17, 2011) - History cannot be rewritten, but Fantasy of Flight is bringing America's proud military history to life in an even more compelling and deeply personal way this year through its Fourth Annual Legends & Legacies Symposium Series, which features new and seldom explored aspects of World War II and for the first time, the Vietnam War.  

Each year, Central Florida's premier aviation attraction and home to the World's Greatest Aircraft Collection™, creates a forum for the public to hear firsthand about the experiences of some of America's most courageous aviators and military heroes through permanent and semi-permanent exhibits, real aircraft, and most importantly, their own personal stories, recollections from their family members, and interactions with guests. The multi-day events feature several open-forum/question-and-answer sessions as well as meet/greet autograph signings with the guest speakers.

"Each year, the Legends & Legacies experience is different from the last, with new guest speakers, new stories, new interactions with guests, and new topics to explore, including three all-new events this year," said Kim Long, General Manager of Fantasy of Flight. "The opportunity to hear firsthand from military veterans, especially those who fought in World War II and Vietnam, is a precious gift that we hope to share with as many guests as possible throughout the 2012 series."

The 2012 Legends & Legacies Symposium Series includes:

They Dared to Fly: Tuskegee Airmen, Feb. 9-11 - In honor of Black History Month, several of the nation's first African-American military aviators will share their personal stories of what it was like to serve as a World War II pilot in the military during segregated America. Fantasy of Flight's permanent multi-media Tuskegee Airmen exhibit and vintage aircraft collection, including the P-51C Mustang, provide the perfect backdrop for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the brave men who fought America's enemies abroad while enduring racism at home.

Breaking All Barriers: Amazing Women in American History, March 2-3 - In honor of National Women's History Month, Fantasy of Flight celebrates the barrier breaking women who took on non-traditional roles during WWII, including the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) ̶ the first women to fly military aircraft ̶ and all those entered the workforce for the first time in the spirit of "Rosie the Riveter."
WASP Standing by a plane
Bea Haydu, a featured WASP, reflects back at the AT-6 displayed at Fantasy of Flight
Unspoken Valor: The Bomber Crews of World War II, April 13-14 - New to the Legends & Legacies line up this year, the event promises harrowing tales from actual crewmen of WWII bomber planes such as the B-25 Mitchell, B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator - all incredible planes with amazing strengths but potentially catastrophic weaknesses. Fantasy of Flight's own bombers set the stage for this unforgettable weekend.

D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy, May 11-12 - Guests will relive the most complex military initiative in world history as the men who were there recount their experiences as part of this massive air, land, and sea attack. Months in the making, it required the coordination of thousands of Allied forces, who once set in motion, could not be called back.

Reflections of Vietnam, June 8-9 - For the first time, Fantasy of Flight's Legends & Legacies series will explore the Vietnam War, America's longest conflict and first military failure on foreign soil. Here, those who bravely stood up to serve will share their personal experiences about this complicated and emotional time in U.S. history.

Letters Home: Love, Courage & Survival, Oct. 12-13 - Fantasy of Flight delves into the WWII era like never before with the final event of the 2012 series, based on the deeply personal handwritten correspondence exchanged between the brave men who fought abroad and the women and loved ones they left behind. Whether they were high school sweethearts separated by the war or soldiers who met the love of their lives while serving overseas, their letters portray a wartime experience that can't be found in history books.

Symposium events are included in the price of Fantasy of Flight general admission and are free for annual pass holders. 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. Children five and under are free with full paying adult. Group rates are available for groups of 15 or more; for more information, call 863-984-3500, ext. 220. For general information, 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 $22 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, December 15, 2011

Disneyland for Vegetarians - kindle book (not mine) -

I dare not write another Disney restaurants/menu book; the first one (in 2007) died a quick death because I had to change its name due to trademark issues, and the revised one (in 2008) never got traction as a result. It's just how amazon works.

But someone's made a dining book for Disneyland. And not just dining, but specifically vegetarian. I haven't seen it yet, but it's good to know it's out there!

Personally, I only buy print books. I like knowing that if I pick it up in 25 years, the technology will still work (that is very unlikely with kindle).

Rosen Shingle Creek at New Year's for $149

ORLANDO (Dec. 7, 2011) - Orlando visitors are invited to count down the days 'til 2012 and count up the savings when they take advantage of Rosen Shingle Creek's "Countdown to Savings" New Year's Eve package. The AAA Four Diamond hotel is ringing in the New Year with deeply discounted room nights as well as countdown festivities in the Headwaters Lounge. But the ball isn't the only thing dropping on New Year's Eve   ̶   when guests buy the first night, it's just $149 and stay a second consecutive night (either Dec. 30 or Jan. 1) for just $212 for both nights.

The Rosen Shingle Creek "Countdown to Savings" New Year's Eve package is just $149 for Dec. 31, 2011, based on double occupancy, and includes:
  • Accommodations in a deluxe double queen guest room on New Year's Eve ̶ Dec. 31, 2011
  • A second consecutive night (either Dec. 30 or Jan. 1) for just $212 for both nights
  • Champagne toast for two at midnight
  • Live coverage of the ball dropping in Times Square in New York City
  • DJ and dancing at Headwaters Lounge
The Rosen Shingle Creek "Countdown to Savings" New Year's Eve package may be booked now through Dec. 31, 2011 subject to availability. Rates do not include tax or gratuities. To book, call 866-996-6338 or visit

Prior to the festivities, guests may enjoy a relaxing New Year's Eve dinner at any of Rosen Shingle Creek's 14 restaurants and lounges, including A Land Remembered, which proudly serves Harris Ranch All Natural Black Angus Beef, and the upscale Cala Bella, or "Beautiful Creek," Italian bistro, which offers a presentation bar for "ringside" views of its culinary artists at work. The hotel also features two new casual dining options: Banrai Sushi bar and Tobias Flats & Watering Hole, serving a variety of flatbread-based dishes.

For some relaxing downtime away from Orlando's theme parks, guests may enjoy 18 holes of championship golf at Shingle Creek Golf Club or indulge in an afternoon of pampering at The Spa at Shingle Creek. Four swimming pools, a game room and a host of other amenities offer something for every member of the family.

About Rosen Shingle Creek
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. Among the many honors the hotel has been awarded are Meetings & Conventions (M&C) magazine's Gold Platter Award, a "best of the best" award which is given only to the top catering departments at convention properties across the country. 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

New Year's party and hotel room option at Rosen Plaza Hotel

ORLANDO (Dec. 9, 2011) - The pressure to plan a perfect New Year's Eve is over. Orlando's award-winning Rosen Plaza hotel has planned the ultimate New Year's Eve celebration complete with two nights accommodations, breakfast and dinner for two, and a spectacular New Year's Eve party with live entertainment and plenty of excitement flowing into 2012.

The Rosen Plaza New Year's Eve package is just $349 and includes:
  • Two nights accommodations for two in a deluxe guest room: New Year's Eve, Dec. 31 as well as one additional night, Dec. 30 or Jan. 1.
  • A four-course New Year's Eve dinner for two at the acclaimed Jack's Place 
For reservations and information, visit or call 1-800-627-8258. Additional room nights are available upon request. The rate is based on double occupancy, subject to hotel availability; tax and gratuity are extra. This offer cannot be combined with other promotions or offers or for group rates.

Guests will be able to ring in the New Year with a champagne toast, balloon drop, drink specials, go-go dancers, DJ LaPause and the live music from Airplay. A photographer will capture special moments throughout the evening so guests can purchase souvenir photographs online after their visit.

Elements of Rosen Plaza's New Year's Eve party also may be purchased individually. The four-course New Year's Eve dinner at Jack's Place is available for $49.95 per person plus tax and gratuity and includes a ticket to the party at Backstage Nightclub & Sports Bar. Tickets to the party at Backstage Nightclub & Sports Bar may be purchased separately for $20 per person. Café Matisse also offers a New Year's Eve dinner, featuring a Prime Rib buffet for $29.95 per person plus tax and gratuity. Hours of operation are: Jack's Place, 5:30-11 p.m.; Café Matisse, 5:00 -10 p.m.; and Backstage Nightclub & Sports Bar, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Café Matisse New Year's Eve Buffet offers an array of options highlighted by a carving station featuring Nebraska corn fed prime rib and additional entrees such as cilantro lime grilled flank steak, chicken al forno with buffalo mozzarella, spinach, butter poached grouper and cheese ravioli with sides to include smoked cheddar and white truffle mashed potatoes and lemon-black pepper grilled asparagus. A soup and salad bar offers fresh assorted greens and cheese display, sushi and sashimi, peel 'n eat shrimp and soups such as carrot and red curry and creamy asparagus and porcini.   A dessert station offers sweet endings from cakes like Italian rum, caramel banana and rustic apple torte to Malibu rum cheesecake and no-sugar added strawberry shortcake to key lime pie, assorted petite pastries and soft serve ice cream with toppings.

The New Year's Eve special at Jack's Place features a four-course meal for two, including soup, salad, main course and dessert. The hotel's executive chef Michael McMullen and his team have created a menu with "celebration" in mind starting with white asparagus bisque followed by a roast duck salad with fried goat cheese, sun-dried cherries, toasted macadamia nuts, pomegranate-balsamic dressing. The third course features a choice of either grilled filet of buffalo with bourbon glaze cippolini onions and rock shrimp risotto or prosciutto wrapped red snapper with warm spinach, white bean, feta and olive salad. A chocolate cabernet terrine with butterscotch and morello cherry preserve is a perfect ending to the start of a promising new year.    

Jack's Place is not only home to fresh seafood and prime steaks but also the world's largest collection of signed celebrity caricatures. Humorous drawings of Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Harry Houdini, Queen Elizabeth, Yogi Berra, Ronald Reagan and virtually every Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronaut, to name a few, have earned Jack's Place the nickname "Sardi's South." The stars provide the ambiance, but the real talent is in the kitchen, which is why Jack's Place has been named one of Florida Trend's top restaurants in Orlando and Orlando magazine's Best Restaurant on International Drive.  

The hotel is conveniently located on International Drive across the street from Pointe Orlando's incredible dining and entertainment complex. Other entertainment options include a 20-screen IMAX® stadium-seating theatre and popular retailers such as the Discovery Store, Brighton Collectibles and Artsy Abode. Rosen Plaza is only 15 minutes from the Orlando International Airport.   For more information, visit

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Legoland's First Christmas - activities

Celebrate LEGOLAND® Florida’s First Christmas
Christmas Bricktacular Makes the Holidays Come Alive

Winter Haven, FL (Nov. 15, 2011) -- LEGOLAND Florida is getting into the holiday spirit with the first annual Christmas Bricktacular.  Festive decorations and sounds of the season will fill The Beginning and Fun Town through the holidays, Dec. 8-31, followed by Kids’ New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31.  With more than 50 rides, shows and attractions all dedicated to families with children age 2 to 12 and one of the widest selections of LEGO® products available, LEGOLAND Florida is the best place to celebrate the season and pick up the Christmas gifts that are on every child’s wish list – LEGO!

The Beginning is home to a truly spectacular, Bricktacular sight - a more than 30-foot-tall LEGO Christmas tree made with a combination of 270,000 forest green LEGO and DUPLO® bricks.  The park’s first-ever tree lighting ceremony takes place on Dec. 5 with a special master of ceremonies.  Through Dec. 31, a special family will be chosen to help light the Bricktacular tree each night.

Santa Claus even makes special daily appearances in the historical botanical gardens making a picture perfect spot to capture family memories sure to be treasured for years to come.

Kids’ New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31 let’s kids rock out and watch the sky explode with LEGO fireworks at just the right time for them, midnight KST (Kid Standard Time) - otherwise known as 7 p.m. EST.

Holiday events are included in park admission. Tickets and Annual Passes for LEGOLAND Florida are available at

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Photo slideshow tour of Christmas decorations at Monorail hotels

Tour the holiday decorations at the Monorail Resorts, including the famous gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian, the big wreath at the Contemporary, and the smaller swags at the Polynesian. Do you already know where to find chestnuts roasting on an open fire?

SeaWorld's 25 days of Giveaways (currently underway, but there's still time!)

Win a Prize Every Day During SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s
“25 Days of Giveaways”

Orlando, Fla. (Dec. 1, 2011) -- This December 1 - 25, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (SEA) is celebrating the spirit of giving with an online consumer promotion that will feature 25 different prizes.
During the “25 Days of Giveaways,” a different prize will be awarded every day, culminating with a $25,000 giveaway on Christmas Day. Entrants can win behind-the scenes animal adventures at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens including a Serengeti Safari ride with animal expert Jack Hanna; a day of relaxation for four at Discovery Cove in Orlando; a set of Panama Jack beach bicycles; a home and garden makeover from Costa Farms; VIP tickets to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers home game; VIP tickets to a high-profile concert in San Diego (artist TBD); and seats to the “Live On Letterman” concert series held in New York City.
The ten parks are partnering with valued SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Corporate Sponsors such as Pepsi, CBS, Jack Hanna, Southwest Airlines, Panama Jack, Fathead and Costa Farms for prizes.
To enter, participants must fill out the online entry form at, or There is a limit of one online entry per valid e-mail address. The consumer promotion officially begins December 1 at 9 a.m. EST and concludes December 25 at 5 p.m. EST.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday rates at Rosen hotels

The convention-grade Rosen hotels on International Drive are cheaper for the holidays; until December 23, rooms are $59.99 at the luxury properties and $45.99 at the leisure properties. 
To book a stay, visitors will need to visit

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Expansion for Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando

Warner Bros. and Universal Parks and Resorts to bring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Universal Studios Hollywood

Significant Expansion Also Planned for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort

Hollywood, CA (Dec. 6, 2011) - Warner Bros. Entertainment and Universal Parks and Resorts today announced a partnership to bring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – the enormously popular themed entertainment environment which debuted in Orlando in June 2010 – to Universal Studios Hollywood.

The two companies also announced their plans to significantly expand The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood will be as impressive as what has been created in Orlando – and is expected to transform tourism in Los Angeles for decades to come. It will be a fully immersive environment for the entire family that brings the stories of Harry Potter to life and is faithful to the visual landscape of the films, including a majestic Hogwarts castle to serve as the centerpiece of the themed environment. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood will be created with the same commitment to authenticity and the same level of talent and resources as its Orlando counterpart.

“I am delighted that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been so popular with fans since the opening in Orlando last year and I am sure that the teams at Universal and Warner Bros. will bring their expertise and attention to detail to Hollywood to make this new experience equally as exciting,” said J.K. Rowling.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort opened in June 2010 and immediately captured global attention. It is a spectacularly themed land that includes Hogwarts castle, Hogsmeade and multiple themed attractions. Specific details of its expansion will be announced over time.

“The announcement of our partnership with Universal to bring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Hollywood and expand what already exists in Orlando is probably the best holiday gift we could give to the legions of Harry Potter fans worldwide,” said Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. “Everyone involved with these projects is committed to continuing the enchantment of J.K. Rowling’s masterful books as they were brought to life on screen in our eight films and dedicated to extending the magic of the experience for generations of fans to come.”

“This is an incredible moment for Universal Studios and the millions of guests who visit our theme parks,” said Ron Meyer, President & COO, Universal Studios. “The Harry Potter stories are some of the most powerful of our time and we are honored to expand our Orlando experience and bring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Hollywood, forever changing family tourism in Los Angeles.”

“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an entirely new level of themed entertainment that brings the stories of Harry Potter to life in incredible ways,” said Tom Williams, Chairman and CEO, Universal Parks and Resorts. “We are thrilled to be able to share this experience with our guests in Hollywood. And we are thrilled to take what has been created in Orlando to even greater levels.”

Monday, December 05, 2011

Legoland Florida to add water park in summer 2012

LEGOLAND® Florida – Just Add Water!
Central Florida’s Newest Theme Park Announces Water Park Details and
Unveils All-New Premium Annual Pass

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (November, 28, 2011)Just six weeks after its official grand opening, LEGOLAND® Florida today released details of its first expansion – LEGOLAND Water Park. Scheduled to open in time for summer 2012, the water park will feature a wave pool, Build-A-Raft lazy river, tube slides, body slides and an interactive water-play structure - DUPLO® Safari. 

“We’re very excited to share plans for this amazing new attraction,” said LEGOLAND Florida General Manager Adrian Jones.  “True to our mission, the water park attraction has been designed for families with children ages 2 to 12 and will add hours of water play to an already full day and move LEGOLAND Florida into a multi-day experience for vacationers.  The additional also adds another great value proposition for our Annual Pass members.”

Admission to the water park attraction is included with an all-new LEGOLAND Premium Pass, which offers 12 months admission to LEGOLAND Florida and seasonal access to the LEGOLAND Water Park.  Single-day LEGOLAND Florida guests may upgrade to a water park attraction ticket for an additional $12 per person (children under 3 are $3).  The Premium Pass is now available for purchase at or select AAA Auto Club Group branches.

Key areas of LEGOLAND Water Park attraction include:
·         LEGO Wave Pool – Families can catch a gentle wave or simply cool off in this perfectly sized wave pool where the waves are just big enough for all ages to enjoy
·         Twin Chasers – Friends ride tubes 375 feet down an intertwining pair of enclosed water slides before plunging into a refreshing pool below
·         Splash Out – The thrill seekers of the family can ascend to the tallest point of the water park attraction and choose from one of three unique slides, then speed down a 60-foot drop  and “splash out” into the water below
·         Joker Soaker - A fun, interactive playground with various lengths, heights and types of slides that offer something different for every member of the family.  Guests can wade in the surrounding pool and be surprised with a torrential spill from a 300-gallon bucket
·         Build-A-Raft River - Families can imagine, design and build a unique LEGO vessel and set afloat on a maiden voyage around the 1000-foot-long lazy river, set amongst  playful LEGO Friends, flowering vegetation and palm trees
·         DUPLO® Splash Safari – Toddlers will rule at this  water play area with shorter slides and interactive, larger-than-life DUPLO creatures

“This newest attraction is just one of many ways we will continue to evolve LEGOLAND Florida over the next several years,” said Jones.  “Creating a multi-visit proposition for families adds another dimension to the LEGOLAND Florida offering.  Adding the water park attraction will fulfill this criteria as well as offering a unique attraction in Central Florida. ”