Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dinosaur World animatronics museum opens Feb 29

[Press Release]
Dinosaur World in Plant City, Florida broke ground with a major new expansion in November of 2010. The unveiling of this new expansion will be on Wednesday, February 29th at 10:00 am.

The project includes a 12 acre expansion of everything dinosaur. The highlight of the expansion is a new 22,000 square foot addition housing the Prehistoric Museum with the new animatronics display. The over 150 life size dinosaurs were impressive in the past. And now with the new “live” exhibit, visitors can expect even more. Five animatronic dinosaurs have moved into Dinosaur World to make one scene including Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Brachiosaurus, Pterodactyl and of course T-Rex.

In addition to the new indoor Prehistoric Museum, the expansion covers even more prehistoric ground. Two new dinosaur themed playgrounds were added. A 5,000 square foot gift shop offering everything from stuffed dinosaurs to a huge selection of dinosaur books and educational items is now open. The Fossil Dig was a perennial favorite to guests because they could sift through sand in search of authentic fossils to take home. Now there is a new, larger fossil dig area with a paleontological feel about it. And of course new dinosaurs have moved in along the over one mile walk through the lush Florida landscape.

If you’ve visited in the past, you’ll notice the difference as soon as you approach. You’ll have to drive through huge new arches stacked with dinosaurs transporting you into a prehistoric journey into the past. Through these arches is an impressive new entry and plenty of new parking to accommodate the growing number of visitors and buses for educational groups.

Dinosaur World has remained open during the expansion with the new gift shop, playground and fossil dig already open to guests. The Prehistoric Museum housing the animatronics display has never been seen before. Other exhibits include the Dinosaur Walk, Fossil Dig, Boneyard, Prehistoric Museum with animatronics dinosaurs, Movie Cave, Carnivore Boardwalk, Deinonychus Island, playground, picnic area, gift shop and now, plenty of new dinosaurs.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


[press release]
New York and New England fans can celebrate their teams’ successful seasons with a free night at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel, while the residents of the champion’s state will be able to celebrate in style with a free room upgrade!
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – January 26, 2012 – Now that the match-up for the big game is set, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel, is once again rewarding fans with the “I’m off to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel!” deal for residents of each team’s state.

Residents of both New York and Massachusetts will receive a free night at the Orlando hotel when booking two nights at the standard price before Feb. 29 for stays through Feb. 6, 2013.

And there is even more for in store for the champion of the big game…residents of that team’s state will get to celebrate in upgraded accommodations, as they will receive a complimentary automatic room upgrade.

While staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel, fans will have access to many special Walt Disney World benefits, including complimentary transportation to Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Attractions, and the Extra Magic Hours benefit, where one of the four Walt Disney World Theme Parks opens one hour early or remains open up to three hours after regular Park closing time for hotel guests to enjoy select attractions. They also can enjoy a championship-caliber meal at any of the 17 restaurants and lounges located in the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel, including Shula’s Steak House, the restaurant of the NFL’s winningest coach, Don Shula.

There’s no better place to celebrate a team’s victory than the place known for championship celebrations.

For additional information or to make reservations guests can call 1-800-227-1500 and mention their home state - New York or Massachusetts. Details of the offer are also available online at Guests must have valid appropriate state identification to present upon check-in. Based on rate schedule availability. Offer is not valid Dec. 22 - 31.Taxes, resort services fee and gratuities not included. Not valid with any other special offers, promotions, or for existing reservations or groups.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Universal Orlando 2012 new attractions/shows lineup and dates

New at Universal Studios Florida®
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
Opening Summer 2012

Join Gru, Margo, Edith, Agnes—and of COURSE the mischievous minions—on an unforgettable 3-D ride experience! When Gru recruits you for his latest scheme, you'll become a minion! It's a hysterical mix of chaos and family fun for everyone!

Begin the adventure in Gru's super-villain home where you'll undergo "minion training." In typical Gru fashion things take a wacky twist, with you and your family landing in a laugh-out-loud adventure that ends with an interactive dance party where you can show off your best moves.

Universal's Cinematic Spectacular – 100 Years of Movie Memories
Opening Spring 2012

Relive Universal Pictures' most beloved films during this multi-media nighttime show that projects legendary movie clips onto cutting-edge waterfall screens. Narrated by award-winning actor Morgan Freeman, the experience will take you on a journey through epic cinematic moments filled with heroes, horror, laughter, good, evil and triumph.

Universal's Superstar Parade
Opening Spring 2012

Sing, dance, and clap along with some of your favorite characters like the minions from Despicable Me, E.B. from Hop and Nickelodeon's Dora & Diego and SpongeBob SquarePants in this live, interactive parade! Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy performances and character meet and greets prior to the parade at select locations throughout the day.

New at Universal's Islands of Adventure®
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®
Re-opening March 2012

Get set to soar with Spidey like never before! The top-rated ride is getting a radical reboot, complete with all-new high-definition animation, new high-tech 3-D glasses, and upgrades to the audio and lighting making it feel like an all-new experience!

The reanimation of the ride film will include an entirely new level of detail for guests to discover, including a cameo by legendary comic book icon and Spider-Man co-creator, Stan Lee.

New at Universal CityWalk®
Blue Man Group, Grand Re-opening February 2012

This February, they're back with a new show. Experience the evolution of genius with incredible new performances, astounding new music, and a new stage. Forget what you know—that was then…this is wow!

Hollywood Drive-In Golf, Opening February 2012

It's mini golf as you've NEVER played it before! Enjoy 36 holes across two courses elaborately themed to remind you of classic 1950s drive-in movies. Choose your adventure: The Haunting of Ghostly Greens, or Invaders From Planet Putt!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Splash Mtn finale all effects broken (video): #FB

On 1/22/12, the showboat finale to Splash Mountain was in dire straits. The boat was rocking to and fro the way it should, but 100% of the robotics on the boat were turned off.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

LEGOLAND Florida’s Response to President Obama’s Tourism Executive Order

Attributed to Adrian Jones, General Manager - LEGOLAND Florida

“This development is a major game-changer for Florida. An improved visa process helps us roll out the welcome mat to our friends in Brazil and will result in record numbers of young families visiting Florida.
Cost and convenience historically are two of the biggest barriers in travel. By addressing the hassle factor and making the visa process less onerous, we’ve just substantially improved our chance of attracting additional guests.

As a brand new theme park that caters to young families this is of course very welcome news for LEGOLAND Florida. The Brazilians’ affection for America, love of theme parks and their affinity for the LEGO brand present the perfect opportunity for us in that market.

The fact that we’re already seeing large numbers from Latin America combined with today’s announcement is pushing us to seek out more Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking model citizens to better accommodate our guests from across this region.”


Winter Haven, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2012) – Central Florida’s newest family theme park is gearing up for an action-packed 2012 with special events specifically geared towards families with children age 2 to 12. From LEGO® Friends Weekend to Kids’ New Year’s Eve the first full year of LEGOLAND® Florida is sure provide many reasons for guests to return again and again. The best way to participate in all the events at LEGOLAND Florida is with an Annual Pass – starting at just $99.
• LEGO® Friends Weekend is a daytime party for girls that includes a LEGO Friends building event, entertainment, games, activities and much more. This first-ever event celebrates girls and their personal individuality, just like the LEGO Group’s newest line of construction toys. March 24 & 25, 2012
• Runners and walkers can play – or run – their part during the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation Citrus Classic 5K. This community-wide health event is designed for participants of all ages. April 14, 2012*

• Celebrate the 4th of July with a bang at LEGOLAND Florida’s first Independence Day event – Red, Brick & Boom. With special 3D glasses that turn ordinary fireworks into millions of exploding bricks, this July 4th celebration is sure to dazzle and delight. July 4, 2012

• Brick-or-Treat comes to LEGOLAND Florida every Saturday and Sunday in October. This spooky, kooky event features themed treat stations with candy, snacks and a few surprises along the way. October 2012

• Go LEGOLAND - it’s your birthday! Guests can celebrate LEGOLAND Florida’s first anniversary with a very special celebration. October 15, 2012

• ‘Tis the season for Christmas Bricktacular at LEGOLAND Florida with a 270,000 brick Christmas tree and festive decorations. Santa Claus makes daily appearances in the park. Weekends in December

• Countdown to Kids’ New Year’s Eve features nightly fireworks over Lake Eloise. Watch the spectacular fireworks explode into millions of tiny LEGO bricks with special 3D viewing glasses. December 26-30, 2012

• 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Happy Kids’ New Year’s Eve at LEGOLAND Florida where the giant LEGO brick drops at a very kid-friendly midnight KST (Kid Standard Time) – otherwise known as 7 p.m. EST. Other event elements include fireworks and a dance party DJ. December 31, 2012
All events (*except Citrus Classic 5K) are included with park admission and subject to change without notice. For the most current information on LEGOLAND Florida special events, visit

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Animal Care Center at Busch-Tampa (press release)

New State-of-the-Art Facility Educates Guests, Offers One-Of-A-Kind Access To Park’s World-Class Animal Care
TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 12, 2012) – Busch Gardens welcomes guests to closely observe and even take part in the animal care experience when the Tampa park opens its new Animal Care Center on Jan. 23, 2012. From nutrition to treatments, X-rays to surgeries, much of Busch Gardens’ animal care will be conducted in guest view in this new state-of-the-art facility.
“We are proud of the care we provide our animals,” said Mike Boos, vice president of zoological operations. “We welcome the opportunity to share our level of care with our guests, and to continue our mission of connecting guests to animals and the natural world. No other zoological facility can offer the unique, up-close experience that this new facility will provide.”
The major guest components of the new facility include a nutrition center, treatment rooms, a clinical lab and an interactive diagnostic activity. The nutrition center will feature a kitchen similar in set-up to a cooking show on television. Educators will lead demonstrations several times a day on the planning and preparation of animal diets.  Guests will even have the chance to assist in preparing and doling out the range of food the park provides its animals, from fruits and vegetables to crickets and mealworms. Nutrition demonstrations will take place during scheduled times each day.
The treatment center will allow guests to watch as Busch Gardens’ skilled vets do preventative checkups, treatments and surgeries on animals. Guests will be able to see into the rooms through glass walls, and audio capabilities will allow guests to talk to vets working behind the glass. Cameras placed over the exam table will show unique vantage points to guests who can watch on monitors. During treatments and surgeries, zoo educators will also be on hand to talk about what’s taking place. Since it is a working center, procedures will vary daily, and will not take place during all scheduled park hours due to field work, office work and other projects requiring the vets’ time and attention.  Daily schedules will be subject to change.
In the clinical lab, staff will perform tests on samples collected from the animals, such as blood, urine, and feces, using the same types of laboratory equipment used in human hospitals and veterinary clinics.  A camera connected to the laboratory’s microscope will allow guests to see exactly what the staff who are looking under the microscope see.   
Guests can also participate in a diagnostic exercise by scanning an interactive activity card at several stations as they follow an animal from diagnosis to treatment to blood and lab work to a final outcome.
In addition to the guest views, the new facility will also include animal recovery and holding rooms and vet offices. The new, nearly 16,000 square-foot facility replaced the rhino exhibit in the Nairobi area of the park. The park’s former animal care center was located behind the scenes.

Disney is making an "Into the Woods" movie (press release)

01.11.12 – Director Rob Marshall is set to helm a film adaptation of the acclaimed Broadway musical Into the Woods for The Walt Disney Studios.

Featuring Stephen Sondheim's original music, Into the Woods will be produced by Marshall and John DeLuca through their production company LUCAMAR Productions.

The Walt Disney Studios recently announced that Rob Marshall is set to direct a film adaptation of the acclaimed Broadway musical Into the Woods, featuring Stephen Sondheim’s original music. The film will be produced by Marshall and John DeLuca through their production company LUCAMAR Productions. James Lapine, who wrote the stage musical with Stephen Sondheim, will adapt for the screen. The project is in development under a new multi-year producing deal between Disney and LUCAMAR.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine on this extraordinary and inspiring work,” said Rob Marshall and John DeLuca. “We are greatly looking forward to continuing our creative and rewarding relationship with Rich Ross, Sean Bailey and the ever supportive team at Disney.”

“Rob Marshall brought his signature flair to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with tremendous results and he is the perfect person to bring Into the Woods to the screen,” Studio Chairman Rich Ross and President of Production Sean Bailey said in a statement. “We’ve loved working with Rob, and this is a great start to our collaboration with LUCAMAR.”

Rob Marshall most recently directed Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which earned over $1 billion at the global box office and is the #8 highest grossing film of all time, the #3 film of 2011, and Disney’s biggest overseas release ever. It was the first Pirates film to be shot in 3D and the first major production at any studio to be shot in 3D on location. Marshall’s critically acclaimed stage musical adaptation Chicago (2002) grossed over $300 million worldwide and was nominated for 13 Academy Awards, winning six including best picture, with Marshall earning a nomination for best director. It also won the Golden Globe for best comedy/musical. His other feature films include Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), winner of three Academy Awards, and Nine (2009), which was nominated for four Academy Awards and five Golden Globes. Marshall is a four-time Emmy Award winner and a six-time Tony Award nominee, including choreographing and co-directing the 1998 Broadway revival of Cabaret.

Into the Woods weaves together the story of several of the most beloved fairytales (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel) into the original story of a Baker and his wife who try to reverse a curse on their family in order to have a child, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests and their desire for “happily ever after.” With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book and direction by James Lapine, Into the Woods earned 10 nominations at the 1988 Tony Awards, winning three including best score and best book of a musical. The 2002 Broadway revival won a Tony for best revival of a musical.

Sondheim and Lapine’s other collaborations include 1984′s Tony-winning Sunday in the Park with George, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and 1994′s Passion, winner of four Tonys including best musical. Sondheim has won eight Tony Awards, more than any other composer, as well as several Grammy Awards and an Academy Award, while Lapine has earned seven Tony nominations for direction and is a three-time winner (out of four nominations) for best book of a musical.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Superstar Limo: Ten Year Anniversary (slideshow)

Did you know the Phantom Boats? They are infamous in Disneyland history. They were located in the Tomorrowland Lagoon, an area that would later be used for the submarines. In those early days, they were individual boats with the asthetic of Batman.. and outboard motors that would die constantly. Driving around with no tracks would have been fun, but not if the motor died. They lasted less than a year at Disneyland.

Disney's California Adventure had its own such orphan, a poor dark ride attraction called Superstar Limo. The building and vehicles are now used for Monsters Inc., but the Limo ride which occupied the building at first was legendary for its awfulness. Crass, unfunny, and in-your-face boring, this ride lasted just over a year and then was closed completely.

Here's a video slideshow I put together to honor its ten year anniversary of closing (Jan 11, 2002):

Don't you wish you had bought some of that merchandise back in 2001? You can't find any of it now!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Circus is coming to Orlando

Dragons, a new show from Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey is in Orlando from Jan 12-16, at the Amway Center.

From the website:
For the first time in circus history, myth and majesty will share the arena during this must-see family event that can only be witnessed at The Greatest Show On Earth®! Experience circus spectacles so incredible that once again you will believe in the unbelievable! Dragon tribes from the far reaches of the earth are brought together in a single performance, displaying their breathtaking skills in a circus tournament of champions. Each tribe must prove that they have virtues of Courage, Strength, Wisdom and Heart to arouse dragons which appear right before your very eyes! Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime family event when The Greatest Show On Earth brings the world together… to bring your family together!   

ONLINE: Click on the showtimes to the left to purchase tickets (Receive your tickets via e-mail through ticketFast -- learn more)
BY PHONE: Call 800-745-3000 to reserve your seats.
GROUP SALES INFO: Call (407) 849-2098 or 866-248-8740.
$85.00 (Circus Celebrity)
$65.00 (Front Row)
$40.00 (VIP)
$25.00 (Lower Level)
$20.00 (Loge, Club Seats and part of 100 level)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Free admission to SeaWorld/Busch for Florida kids 0-5, all year long!

The New SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Preschool Pass Offers Kids
Unlimited Admission With No Blackout Dates Through 2012

TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 4, 2012) – It’s an awesome time to be a preschooler! Children ages five and younger can now explore the wonders of Africa and the depths of the ocean for FREE with the new Busch Gardens & SeaWorld Preschool Pass. Little ones will experience kid-size thrills at Busch Gardens' Sesame Street Safari of Fun and SeaWorld's Shamu’s Happy Harbor play areas, get up close to their favorite furry and feathered friends, and see new shows brought to life.
The pass is valid for all of 2012 at both SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Kids are welcome to experience all there is to do for the preschool set, including seasonal events such as Summer Nights at Busch Gardens, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular and festive holiday events at both parks. New this year, Busch Gardens will delight guests with its biggest ice show ever, Iceploration, premiering Feb. 2. And SeaWorld is introducing an all-new festival this year, “Just for Kids!” featuring concerts by Lazy Town, Max & Ruby, the Doodlebops and Choo-Choo Soul, along with plenty of family-friendly fun and activities on Saturdays Jan. 14 through Feb. 4.
Parents and older kids can join in on all the excitement with a Fun Card, which invites guests to pay for a day and play all year through Dec. 31, 2012, with no blackout dates.

“Must-see” preschool attractions at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Preschoolers will delight in Sesame Street Safari of Fun, a sunny, funny play land, filled with moments that your family can share for the first time — like a first coaster experience aboard Air Grover. And everyday smiles can be repeated again and again: clapping along to original shows, splashing in an expansive water play area and enjoying kid-size rides.
Also available in Sesame Street Safari of Fun, families can Dine with Elmo and Friends on select days and enjoy special event dining experiences with the characters to mark holidays, character birthdays and more. Beginning in March, opt for the Family Fun Buffet, offered on select days. It’s the perfect way to feed your hungry family during your busy day and not miss out on any of the fun! Enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet along with the chance to meet beloved Sesame Street characters between 12 and 4 p.m. on select days in the Sesame Street Safari of Fun Dining Pavilion. Reservations are not required.
In February, children’s imaginations will go wild when Iceploration takes the ice. The all-new, 30-minute show combines ethereal ice skating, larger-than-life puppets, amazing costumes and even animal stars. Iceploration opens Feb. 2, 2012 with shows daily in the Moroccan Palace Theatre. Another family favorite at Busch Gardens is “Critter Castaways,” in which a cast of unlikely characters – including dogs, cats, parrots and exotic animals –  come together to create a side-splitting show with surprise twists that will have the whole family laughing.
There are plenty of animal encounters and pint-sized rides for families with young children to enjoy as well. In Jungala, families can connect with the jungle through a three-story play land, enjoy a water play zone and come face to face with exotic and endangered animals. At Jambo Junction, guests can have up-close interactions with animals such as flamingos, lemurs and sloths. And in Timbuktu, a carousel and other junior rides will delight those not ready for the major coasters. And what preschooler doesn’t enjoy a train ride? You and your little one can journey across the Serengeti Plains to view zebra, rhino and giraffes aboard the Serengeti Express.
Some additional features that Busch Gardens offers families with young kids include stroller parking and reduced prices on kids’ meals in 2012.  Parking spots are available within our preferred parking area designated strictly for guests with strollers, so they can bypass the tram. No additional fee is required, and spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis to guests who request them at the parking tollbooths. At the park’s restaurants, kids’ meals are now just $5.99, including a drink, making it even more affordable to not only entertain, but also feed your little ones at Busch Gardens.

SeaWorld loves kids, too

And don’t forget that this awesome new FREE Preschool Pass also includes admission to SeaWorld Orlando. Just a short hour’s drive away, SeaWorld’s littlest guests can enjoy the wildly popular 4-acre play area, Shamu’s Happy Harbor.  It’s a kid’s dream come true, complete with kid-size rides, a 4-story net climb, and a great place for parents to relax in the shade. The park’s first family-oriented roller coaster, Shamu Express, can be found here, along with many other kiddie rides to explore. 
And that’s in addition to all the wondrous animal encounters at SeaWorld. Your family can meet penguins, dolphins, fish, rays, sharks, and, of course, Shamu!

Sign up today!

The Free SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Preschool Pass is an online-only offer, available at or It is exclusively for Florida residents ages 5 and younger and is valid for unlimited admission – with no blackout dates – through Dec. 31, 2012 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and SeaWorld Orlando. The Preschool Pass does not include parking or Premium Passport discounts or benefits.
After registering through either park’s website, registrants can pick up the Preschool Pass for their child by bringing a printed confirmation and a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate to any ticket window at Busch Gardens’ or SeaWorld’s front gate.
For more information on the Free SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Preschool Pass, visit or

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Swan and Dolphin special meals before marathon Jan 6 and 7

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel to Offer
Special Pre-Race Meals at Restaurants Jan. 6 and 7

What:             Disney Marathoners and Half-Marathoners looking to carbo-load prior to their race can find a selection of special meals designed specifically for them at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel the nights before both races.  The special meals will be offered at a variety of different restaurants throughout the property Jan. 6 and Jan . 7. 

When:            Jan. 6 and 7

Where:          Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel
        • Todd English’s bluezoo
        • Picabu
        • Il Mulino New York Trattoria
        • Garden Grove

Todd English’s bluezoo
(reservations recommended)

Roasted Chicken Penne….
whole wheat penne pasta, charred broccolini, tomato, roasted garlic, focaccia breadcrumbs, olive oil

Carbohydrates ….54.2g


Baked Ziti Bolognaise,
Mozzarella Cheese


Il Mulino
(reservations recommended)

Parpadelle Pasta
Chicken Ragout, Crushed Tomato, Porcini

Carbohydrates …..53.6g

Garden Grove

Jan. 6th
Seafood Risotto (6 ounce portion)
Shrimp, Clams, Calamari, Arborio Rice


Chef Carved Prime Rib (4 ounce portion)
Horseradish Cream, Au Jus


Jan. 7th 
Create Your Own Whole Wheat Pasta (5 ounce portion)
Whole Wheat Linguine Pasta, Italian Sausage, Pancetta, Zucchini, Squash, Marinara Sauce, Basil


Contact:        For reservations call (407) 934-1609. For more information on the restaurants at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin visit