The power of the Force and the magic of Disney have combined to create “Star Tours – The Adventures Continue.” The new 3-D attraction opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park on May 20, 2011.
Based on the Star Wars films, Star Tour takes Walt Disney World Resort guests to multiple Star Wars destinations where they interact with characters from throughout the Saga. And it’s all in 3-D.
With an eye-popping digital presentation leveraging Dolby 3-D to deliver a vivid and realistic experience, a dramatic musical score and motion simulator-based technology, guests are immersed in the Star Wars galaxy like never before on a theme park attraction.
For more on Disney's Star Tours, click here go to: Star Tours
A SCULPTURE FIT FOR A KING: Disney Imagineer Joni Van Buren sculpts a model of King Triton from Disney's animated classic "The Little Mermaid." King Triton, in his final form, will be 35-feet-tall and tower over guests at Disney Parks newest resort hotel, "Disney's Art of Animation Resort." The new resort at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. will feature themed building exteriors and room interiors that bring to life famous Disney and Disney-Pixar animated feature films like "The Lion King," "Cars," "Finding Nemo" and "The Little Mermaid." Disney's Art of Animation Resort is expected to open by the end of 2012.
Walt Disney World Resort at Holiday time Unwraps Festive Traditions, Glistening Ice Castle and Seasonal Spectacles
Magic Kingdom - Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will have its longest-ever run with 20 magical nights from November 9-December 21. For a quarter century, Walt Disney World guests have been mesmerized by this must-see event, a grandly festive tradition immersing families in the holiday spirit.
Epcot - Candlelight Processional is a timeless holiday offering at Epcot that combines seasonal music with the poignant reading of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a mass choir performing seasonal melodies, and a 50-piece live orchestra nightly November 23 – December 30, at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios - The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights: This massive seasonal display features millions of dancing lights, plus animated displays and 3-D effects perfectly synchronized to electrifying holiday tunes amidst snowfall. The rich tradition takes place on the Streets of America, dazzling guests from Nov. 9, 2012 to Jan. 6, 2013.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom - Celebrate safari style as Disney’s Animal Kingdom is wilder than ever this winter season. Mickey and his pals rejoice in traditional holiday music with a world beat twist during the daily “Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade.”
Universal Orlando Resort's Holidays Celebration of Heartwarming Holiday Traditions Return with Grinchmas, Macy's Holiday Parade and Holiday Music Sensation Mannheim Steamroller
Universal's Islands of Adventure - Families will be filled with holiday cheer as Grinchmas comes to life throughout Seuss Landing. Guests can watch the heartwarming live show, "Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular," featuring The Grinch and the Whos from Who-ville accompanied by an original musical score by Mannheim Steamroller.
Universal Studios Florida - The Macy's Holiday Parade will fill the streets every evening with the same larger-than-life balloons seen in the famous New York City parade. This year, the parade will include all-new Nutcracker and Mouse King "trycaloons" – tandem tricycles that appear to be pedaled by whimsical balloon characters from the popular holiday tale.
Gaylord Palms' annual holiday events are back and better than ever!
Gaylord Palms - The awe-inspiring ICE!™ attraction — carved from 2 million pounds of ice — will for the first time showcase DreamWorks' Merry Madagascar! Additionally, Christmas at Gaylord Palms will provide dozens of lavish holiday displays with more than two million twinkling lights, an amazing 54-foot-tall Christmas tree, and exclusive holiday events and attractions for you and your entire family.
2012 GMA Dove Award Winners Chris Tomlin and NEEDTOBREATHE – along with Contemporary Christian megastars Casting Crowns, Third Day, MercyMe and Kutless – will headline one of the most-decorated lineups in the 30-year history of Disney's Night of Joy Sept. 7-8, 2012. Filling the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort with the sound of contemporary Christian music will be 16 artists with a legacy of accolades, personal triumphs and thrilling testimonies.
2012's GMA Dove Awards saw NEEDTOBREATHE take home awards in three categories ("Group of the Year," "Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year" and Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year); Hip-hop-Gospel artist Lecrae also receive awards for "Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year" and “Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year” and Chris Tomlin win for "Praise and Worship Album of the Year." Members of Casting Crowns, MercyMe, Third Day and artists Chris Tomlin, Francesca Battistelli, Brandon Heath and Lecrae also were recognized in the "Special Event Album of the Year" category for their contributions to "The Story," an all-star CD and DVD project based on the Nativity.
Here's the night-by-night Night of Joy 2012 lineup (entertainment subject to change):
Night of Joy is an after-hours event that requires a special ticket. Event hours are 7:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. each evening. While artists perform at several stages, many popular Magic Kingdom attractions also are available for guests
One- and two-night Night of Joy tickets are offered. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $52.95 plus tax per ticket and on the days of the event (if available) for $62.95 plus tax. In addition, there are special benefits for groups of 10 or more. Guests can purchase tickets or learn more about the event by calling 407-W-DISNEY or at www.nightofjoy.com.
TurtleTrek, SeaWorld Orlando's newest attraction, comes to life with SeaWorld's unique blend of up-close encounters with manatees and sea turtles and state-of-the art entertainment, making for a real adventure and a first-of-its-kind 3D 360 degree dome theater film that is completely surrounding and immersive.
Guests first visit two massive naturalistic habitats, home to gentle manatees and gliding sea turtles, learning what makes each species so precious. Families then enter a domed theater and what happens next has never before been seen and is a first at any theme park in the world.
Inside the dome, they'll be surrounded by a hyper-realistic, 3D 360 degree film that takes them on the amazing life journey of a special sea turtle named Nyah. The experience is all around guests and even above them - not just in front of them or only on one screen. It's this all-new and immersive way of showcasing a sea turtle's epic adventure that is the heart of TurtleTrek. And for the first time, SeaWorld guests are given a turtle's eye view of the ocean's wonders.
TurtleTrek is as inspirational as it is astounding. There's a call-to-action at the end of the experience: SeaWorld urges guests to join in conserving the world we share. "Do a little, do a lot, but join us and do something to help the world and its animals," said Brian Morrow, the attraction's chief designer. "TurtleTrek is about the everyday heroes who can make a difference in nature."
And there's even more at TurtleTrek: Families will love competing on the fun (and educational) "Race for the Beach" video game that plays out on massive video screens at the new attraction. And TurtleTrek's gift shop is unique in the way it continues the attraction's inspiration and guests will see exactly how a portion of each dollar spent benefits in-the-field research to help save animals.
Starting at TurtleTrek, SeaWorld and all its parks are eliminating plastic gift bags within the next year. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment will be the largest theme park operator to make this commitment. The eco-friendly move will save an estimated 4 million plastic bags per year from both entering landfills and impacting wildlife. SeaWorld routinely rescues marine wildlife such as endangered sea turtles that sometimes mistake plastic bags for a favorite food such as jellyfish.
Disney's Art of Animation Resort--Walt Disney World Resort will open the doors to its newest resort hotel with Disney's Art of Animation Resort, a value property consisting primarily of family suites that immerse guests into the magical worlds of classic Disney and Disney Pixar films. The rooms will be twice the size of standard rooms and can accommodate up to six guests. The Little Mermaid standard rooms will sleep up to four guests.The Finding Nemo wings of the resort will open May 31; Cars will open June 18, and The Lion King will open August 10. The value rooms at The Little Mermaid wings will open on September 15.
Star Wars Weekends returns to the Walt Disney World Resort during May and June 2012, as Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park celebrates the Star Wars film saga and the hit animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The power of the Force and magic of Disney combine as more than 60 Star Wars characters - including Wookiees, droids, Rodians, Ewoks, bounty hunters and Jedi - roam the streets of Disney's Hollywood Studios for meet-and-greet opportunities with guests. Star Wars celebrities highlight the event, appearing in themed parades, talk shows, star conversations, behind-the-scenes presentations and autograph sessions. The annual special event, included in regular theme park admission, will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 18-June 10, 2012.
Fantasyland Expansion Openings Announced - This July and "Holidays 2012" are the next two milestones for openings in the multi-year expansion of the New Fantasyland which when complete will nearly double the size of Fantasyland, the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history.
"Fantasyland is a place where a very special kind of memory is made: where children just old enough to understand the moment come in contact with princesses and heroes and meet their most beloved friends," said Meg Crofton, president, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France. "We are excited about sharing our treasured stories in new ways and giving guests the opportunity to interact with their favorite characters like never before."
In April, the New Fantasyland unwrapped its first openings with one of two Dumbos planned for Storybook Circus, a new train station and The Barnstormer family coaster whimsically re-themed to The Great Goofini .
Also announced were next phases:
Openings "In time for Holidays 2012″ were also announced
For more information go to DisneyWorld.Disney.Go.com or call 407-939-7675
Construction is finishing up with less than two months until the LEGOLAND® Water Park opens on May 26, and the attraction is getting its middle name - water! More than a half a million gallons of H20 were pumped into the LEGO® Wave Pool by a friend of the LEGO® City Volunteer Fire Department. The first wave pool in any LEGOLAND® Water Park will be home to gently rolling waves sure to please splashers young and old. Meanwhile, the rest of the water park attraction is currently under construction from DUPLO® Splash Safari to Joker Soaker.
"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."
Key areas of LEGOLAND® Water Park attraction include:
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 for just $179 for adults and $149 for child/senior. 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 florida.legoland.com or AAA Auto Group branches.
*All prices subject to change without notice and subject to all applicable taxes.
Universal Orlando Resort officially opened central Florida's newest and most outrageously-themed miniature golf experience- Hollywood Drive-In Golf at Universal CityWalk. Featuring two 18-hole courses based on classic drive-in era horror and sci-fi movies, this all-new venue is the only place where the entire family can enjoy teeing off through the open mouth of a giant space worm or the basement laboratory of a towering haunted house.
Inspired by the classic drive-in movie era, guests are whisked into an elaborately-themed environment based on the vintage horror flicks and “little green men” science fiction films of the 1950s. As they experience two family friendly courses, “The Haunting of Ghostly Greens” and “Invaders From Planet Putt,” guests can putt their way through elaborate movie-style scenes, passing through a cemetery, under a giant spider, through a flying saucer and into the basement lab in a haunted house. Cutting-edge interactive elements and special effects will immerse guests further into the “double feature,” and with LED course edge-lighting they can play day, night and late night.
To celebrate the grand opening, some of Universal Orlando's iconic characters "hit the links." Universal's classic monsters - including Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein's Monster and the Bride of Frankenstein - putted their way through a creepy cemetery on "The Haunting of Ghostly Greens" course. On the opposite side, Men In Black agents and Frank the Pug played "Invaders from Planet Putt" - a course themed after the "little green men" science fiction films of the 1950s.
Situated just below the first level of CityWalk and next to the AMC Cineplex, guests will see the miniature golfcourses as they are entering CityWalk from the parking garages.
Hollywood Drive-In Golf is now open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Admission rates to play one course are $13.99* plus tax for adults and $11.99* plus tax for children (ages 3 to 9). For more information on Hollywood Drive-In Golf, visit www.CityWalkOrlando.com.
*Prices of admission and hours of operation are subject to change.
Tsintaosaurus spinorhinus sometimes called the unicorn dinosaur was a duck billed herbivore
The much anticipated Grand Opening of the Dinosaur World expansion took place on February 29th to the enjoyment of many. Real Florida Vacations was on hand for the ribbon cutting by Plant City mayor Daniel Raulerson and members of the Plant City Chamber of Commerce.
When guests enter the Dinosaur World property, they are greeted by the new arched entrance topped with dinosaurs hearkening you back to a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth. As you approach the main complex you come upon the parking area which was part of the expansion and includes a larger lot and expanded bus parking.
The entrance to park is through the new 5000 square foot Gift Shop which offers a wide variety gifts ranging from stuffed dinosaurs to actual fossils you can purchase. As you enter the park you are greeted by the first of many life size dinosaurs you will come upon. The vastness of their size is really quite amazing, towering above the rooftops and trees, these lifelike replicas give you an opportunity to really imagine what it was like when these behemoths roamed the earth.
The 12 acre expansion includes the gift shop and parking lot, but also 2 new dinosaur themed playgrounds, picnic areas and of course the 22,000 square foot Dinosaur Museum. The Museum includes a wonderful collection of fossil displays and five animatronic dinosaurs that bring these creatures to life.
A leisurely stroll along the one mile long Dinosaur Walk takes guests into a rolling cypress hammock where over 150 life size dinosaurs are on display. Each dinosaur is set into a unique and natural back drop creating the look and feel of a prehistoric jungle. Also not to be missed is the Movie Cave, the Boneyard, Carnivore Boardwalk, Deinonychus Island and of course the Fossil Dig. For the amateur paleontologist, the Fossil Dig offers the opportunity to excavate some fossils and even take some home.
If you are an aspiring paleontologist or just a fan of the extinct giants, Dinosaur World is a fun time for the entire family or terrific for a school outing.
Strawberries are everywhere at 77thannual
Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City
"Growing Sweet Memories" at the 77th Annual Florida Strawberry Festival, March 1-11, 2012. This year the theme was chosen to reflect on the many memories that have been made through the years. At the 77th Annual Florida Strawberry Festival, think back to your first concert, that delicious strawberry shortcake or the many laughs you had with friends and family on the midway. This year, the Festival will help you make new memories as they are planning an exciting headline entertainment line-up, competitive contests, youth events, free on-grounds entertainment, thrilling rides, and of course delicious strawberries; so come out and make new memories with them!
Each spring, the Florida Strawberry Festival® rolls out the red carpet to welcome visitors from throughout the Sunshine State and the world. Guests come from near and far to enjoy exhibits of agriculture, commerce, industry, livestock, fine arts, horticulture, and crafts. The fabric of American life is woven into the Festival through social events, contests, youth developmental programs, top-name entertainment, and parades with glorious floats and high-stepping marching bands.
The Florida Strawberry Festival represents a piece of Americana, a time in American history when fairs and festivals brought communities together through celebrations of their harvests. It has continued to grow in popularity year after year through the preservation of this heritage. Central to its focus, the Festival continues to preserve and enhance the agricultural and historical legacy of the Florida strawberry.
For all the 24 headline acts that will be featured on the Wish Farm Soundstage -- which take place at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. each day - there are about 3,000 free seats available for all shows. Those seats are filled on a first-come, first-seated basis as part of your paid gate admission. Reserve seat tickets are available for $10 and up (varies by show), while supplies last. There are also a few changes around the Festival grounds that you won't want to miss when you visit the 2012 Florida Strawberry Festival. For starters, the Wish Farm Soundstage isn't just country this year; it's a little rock-n-roll and a little southern rock. Suite Caroline, sponsored by Fantastic Sams, willhave a FREE concert on Saturday, March 3 at 1 p.m. Since this is Kid's Day and kids through high school age are admitted free to the Festival, load up the car and bring'em to the concert. What a sweet treat that will be!
The Belle City Amusements Midway at the 2012 Florida Strawberry Festival will be nothing short of a thrill seekers dream. With 85 rides, some of which are the only one of its kind, get ready for an exciting ride on the midway. There are several special entertainment values on the midway with Ride-A-Thon Days and Moonlight Magic. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are Ride-A-Thon Days from 3:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m., where guests can purchase a wristband to ride most mechanical rides for one low price. Both Fridays nights are Moonlight Magic from 11 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., where guests purchase a wristband to ride most mechanical rides for one low price. Both Sundays are Mountain Dew Family Days where guests bring a Mountain Dew can to receive a voucher for $5 off the $25 wristband and ride all day.
Make plans now and mark your calendars for the 77th annual Florida Strawberry Festival, March 1-11, 2012 where we will be "Growing Sweet Memories" in beautiful Plant City, Florida. Please follow the Florida Strawberry Festival at flstrawberryfestival.com, Facebook and Twitter, or call 813-752-9194 for further details.
The New arched Entrance greets guests as they make their way into a hugely expanded Dinosaur World
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. Come join Real Florida Vacations as we celebrate the Grand Opening of the Dinosaur World Expansion.
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 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, and Prehistoric Museum with animatronics dinosaurs, Movie Cave, Carnivore Boardwalk, Deinonychus Island, playground, picnic area, gift shop and now, plenty of new dinosaurs.
The park opens at 9:00 am, so come join the fun and celebration of this exciting new addition to this terrific attraction and make it part of your Real Florida Vacation.
Dinosaur World is located at 5145 Harvey Tew Road in Plant City Google Map; parking is free and the park is pet friendly. They can be found on the web at www.dinosaurworld.com/Plant City or by phone at 813-717-9865.
Put the Petal to the Metal - Lightning McQueen and Mater
from "Cars" and "Cars 2" will park at the Japan showcase March 7-May 20, 2012, during the
19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World.
A little gardening magic will go a long way when an eight-foot-tall floral Sorcerer Mickey topiary holds court at the entrance to the 19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 7-May 20 at Walt Disney World Resort. Standing atop a 12-foot-tall floral mountain cliff and towering above the park's front-entrance topiary bed, the commanding Sorcerer Mickey will direct a riot of color in the manicured shapes of dancing broomsticks, buckets, mushrooms, hippos, alligators and elephants straight from the classic Disney film, "Fantasia."
For 75 festival days, Epcot guests can explore topiaries and gardens; learn planting, style and design techniques and rock to the tunes of popular Flower Power concerts:
Blooms Aplenty -- Richly-hued flowers adorn the
Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV.
More Festival Fun
More Magical Experiences
Butterflies and Topiaries Galore -- Bambi's Butterfly House
* Guests must meet minimum age requirement for tour. Some tours are only offered seasonally, Valid Theme Park admission required and there is an additional fee for each tour. For more information Call (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687
More information about the 19th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is available by calling 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or by visiting disneyworld.com/flower when festival time approaches. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.
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