Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Join the Rebellion at Disney World's Star Wars Weekends

Attention all Star Wars fans!  Dates for Disney World’s Star Wars Weekends have been announced!  The special event attracts legions of fans from across the nation.  Held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the annual event celebrates all things Star Wars.  This year’s event will take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 4 through June 15, 2014.  The theme for this year’s Star Wars Weekends is “Join the Rebellion.”  Read on to find out more about this special Disney event.

With the Rebel Alliance fighting for freedom in the Star Wars Galaxy, those at Disney World Orlando felt a 5th Star Wars Weekend was in order to convince more guests to join the Rebellion. 
Dates for Star Wars Weekends:
  • Weekend I: May 16 – 18
  • Weekend II: May 23 – 25
  • Weekend III: May 30 – June 1
  • Weekend IV: June 6 – 8
  • Weekend V: June 13 – 15
Special events and activities planned for Star Wars Weekends include:

Celebrity Autographs:  Get your favorite Star Wars character to sign a memento during your visit to Star Wars Weekends.  One autograph per guest.  Book a FastPass for this event, as a FastPass ticket ensures your place in line at the celebrity autograph kiosk outside the Front Gate entrance.
Jedi Training Academy:  Kids under 12 can hone their Lightsaber skills at the Jedi Training Academy.  They can test their wits before the Jedi Council in the Padawan Mind Challenge—and even prepare to battle Darth Vader himself.
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue: This attraction takes Jedi from Tatooine to Coruscant and beyond, with destinations, characters and adventures presented in brilliant digital 3D! Board a Starspeeder 1000 for a thrilling journey where a galaxy of trouble awaits.
Symphony in the Stars: Replacing Hyperspace Hoopla, Symphony in the Stars is the perfect way to cap off your day in a galaxy far, far away with a finale celebration featuring Star Wars characters and a frenzy of fireworks, complete with Glow with the Show effects.

James Arnold Taylor (Voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi on “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) will return as the official celebrity host.  Plus, for the first time in event history Mark Hamill, the actor who portrayed Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars films, will appear at Disney’s Star Wars Weekends.  Hamill will ONLY appear the weekend of June 6-8, 2014.  Attendees will be able to see him daily in a featured talk show and in the “Legends of the Force” motorcade.
This year Star Wars Character Dining Experiences are also planned.  Two options are available:

Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast: Start your day of right at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant.  Enjoy a delicious meal while iconic moments from the Star Wars saga plays on screen.  Darth Vader, Jawa, Boba Fett, Stormtroopers and other Stars Wars characters will also be on hand for a meet and greet.  Price: $47.99/adult, $29.99 child.
Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine:  During Star Wars Weekends, the Fantasmic! Dinner experience at Hollywood and Vine is transformed for Jedi Mickey and friends.  Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goody, and Chip & Dale will dress as their favorite Star Wars characters (such as Jedi Mickey, Princess Leia Minnie and Darth Goofy) and meet and greet guests throughout the evening.  Price: $55.99/adult, $32.99 child. 
Both experiences run daily and include a free digital photo.

Learn about special events planned in Orlando this May.
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Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know. Before you pack your bags, get the latest scoop on Orlando vacations from Ashley.

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Frozen" Characters Anna & Elsa featured at Disney's Princess Fairytale Hall

If you’re like the rest of the world, you’ve fallen in love with the movie Frozen.  The characters in the movie, sisters Anna and Elsa, have quickly became the coveted characters visitors seek out for meet and greets at Walt Disney World.  Currently greeting guests at Epcot’s Norway Pavilion, the demand has been such that lines can stretch for several hours.  Luckily, though, Disney has confirmed Anna and Elsa will be moving to Princess Fairytale Hall on April 20, 2014.

The new meet and greet area will be able to accommodate more guests, as well as allow for guests to use FastPass+ for the experience.  I highly recommend reserving a time with the princesses via FastPass+ as the lines are sure to be at least an hour or more otherwise.  You can easily add the FastPass+ experience to your Magic Band via My Disney Experience or you can grab a FastPass once you arrive at the park. 
The Magic Kingdom Princess Fairytale Hall location will be open to greet guests from 8am-5pm, every day.  Anna and Elsa join Cinderella and Rapunzel at Princess Fairytale Hall.  While all four princesses will meet with guests during the day, after 5pm Anna and Elsa will retire for their beauty sleep while other Disney Princesses, such as Jasmine and Aurora greet guests in their place.

Learn more about Disney’s Princess Fairytale Hall at Fantasyland.
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Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know. Before you pack your bags, get the latest scoop on Orlando vacations from Ashley.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spice up your SeaWorld Visit with Viva La Musica

SeaWorld is spicing up the music scene at the Orlando theme park with Viva La Musica, a Latin festival featuring hot Latin music and authentic Latin cuisine. Dance to the beat April 26 – May 17, 2014.

Every Saturday in April Sea World Orlando is hosting Festive Saturdays. The festival will start at 12pm & concerts begin at 3pm.

Visitors can look forward to:

Hot Latin concerts:  Live performances from award-winning Latin artists and a side stage showcasing local Latin bands heat up the atmosphere of Viva La Musica.  The concert line-up for the event has not been announced yet.  However, past performers include Daddy Yankee, Willie Collon, Grupo Niche and Gilberto Santa Rosa, among many others.  We’ll let you know this year’s entertainers as soon as the information is available

Savory Latin cuisine: With more than 20 years experience – and a lifetime enjoying countless Caribbean and Latin dishes – SeaWorld’s own Executive Chef Héctor Colόn is a well respected culinary master who will bring Latin flavors to the forefront of menu selections.
Festive Saturdays are included with the purchase of SeaWorld tickets.  This is just one of the many festivals SeaWorld Orlando hosts throughout the year.  SeaWorld Summer Nights follows this festival, with an opening date of June 21.    

Learn more about SeaWorld festivals planned for 2014.
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Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know. Before you pack your bags, get the latest scoop on Orlando vacations from Ashley.

Monday, April 7, 2014

May 2014 Events in Orlando

May 1-17: Viva La Musica at SeaWorld
Celebrate the food, fun, sights and sounds of Latin culture at this annual Hispanic festival for the entire family, featuring live concerts by internationally renowned Latin musical artists and savory Latin cuisine – only at SeaWorld Orlando.

May 1-18: Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival
Epcot’s 21st annual Epcot International Flower &Garden Festival features plenty of new things to see in 2014. Throughout the festival, which began March 5, Epcot guests will be treated to new topiaries, garden displays, seminars by celebrity HGTV designers, a stellar line-up for the Flower Power Concert Series and a gorgeous butterfly house.


May 2: Universal Grad Bash
Graduating High School Seniors are invited to celebrate their accomplishment at Universal Orlando’s Grad Bash.  Highlights include street entertainment, karaoke, DJs, dance parties and live performances by some of today’s hottest artists. Attendees also get exclusive access to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
May 3: Waves of Glory at Wet ‘n Wild
Wet n’ Wild’s premiere contemporary Christian music event features a Battle of the Bands where Christian rock bands, praise bands, singers, rappers, and choirs compete for cash prizes.
May 3-4: Jazz on the Vineyard Green
Lakeridge Winery will be hosting jazz musicians on their outdoor stage all weekend. Food, beer, and wine will be available along with complimentary winery tours and tastings.
May 14-27:  22nd Annual Orlando International Fringe Festival
This 13-day festival offers theatre, music, dance, and art to all ages. 100% of box office sales go directly back to the artists within The Fringe. The cost and venue of shows vary. See the Fringe website for more details.


May 16-June 15:  Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This annual event celebrates the Star Wars saga Friday-Sundays each weekend. Join celebrities and Star Wars characters for specials shows, panels, and presentations.
 
 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Wet 'n Wild Waves of Glory Performers Announced

The line-up of performers for Waves of Glory at Wet ‘n Wild Orlando has been announced.  Attendees can expect a day of fun, faith, and fellowship with the next big names in Christian music.  Mark your calendars for May 3, 2014.

Headlining this year’s event is two-time Dove award-winning artists Tenth Avenue North.
The full schedule of performers/events includes:
  • 7th Surrender
  • B. Andrews
  • Liber8te
  • Crystal Padilla Music
  • Eva Kroon Pike
  • Heirs in Exile
  • Jericho
  • Lady at the Well
  • Laura Figueroa
  • Revive
  • The Band Justice

All of the performers, except Tenth Avenue North, are competing in Waves of Glory's battle of the bands.  The musicians will perform on a stage set up on the park's lakeside beach.  Bands compete for cash prizes, half of which goes to charity. First prize is $1,000 plus, for the first time, the opportunity to appear at Universal Studios' Rock the Universe event this fall. 
Waves of Glory tickets are on sale now.  The park's water slides and attractions stay open during the event.  Hours for Waves of Glory are 10am-7pm. 

Find out about the all-new ride debuting at Wet ‘n Wild Orlando this summer.
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Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know. Before you pack your bags, get the latest scoop on Orlando vacations from Ashley.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Make a Splash with Spectacular Savings on SeaWorld Tickets

Ready to see Shamu and his friends at SeaWorld?  It just got a lot easier with special discount SeaWorld tickets being offered on regular tickets and combo tickets. 

Check out these great offers:
SeaWorld Tickets: See all SeaWorld has to offer with this value-based offer.   This ticket type currently has a savings of $10 on adult and kids tickets.

SeaWorld/Aquatica – 2 Park Unlimited Tickets: The savings continue with this SeaWorld combo ticket.  Guests save $10 on adult and kids tickets on this SeaWorld/Aquatica Combo ticket which allows visitors to experience both parks at their leisure. The unique Two Parks Unlimited Ticket allows unlimited admission during your vacation so you can come and go as you please, at no extra charge. The tickets expire 14 days after first use.
SeaWorld/Busch Gardens – 2 Park Unlimited Tickets: Adults and kids save $10 on this combo ticket, giving guests access to aquatic fun and safari adventures.  The SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Combo ticket allows visitors to experience both parks at their leisure. The unique Two Parks Unlimited Ticket allows unlimited admission during your vacation so you can come and go as you please, at no extra charge. The tickets expire 14 days after first use.

SeaWorld/Busch Gardens/Aquatica – 3 Park Unlimited Ticket: The SeaWorld + Aquatica + Busch Gardens Combo ticket allows visitors to experience all three parks at their leisure. The unique Three Parks Unlimited Ticket allows unlimited admission during your vacation so you can come and go as you please, at no extra charge.  Save $10 on tickets for all ages. 
With great SeaWorld discounts like these, planning your day at the park just a got a lot easier.  Book a money-saving SeaWorld vacation for even more savings.

Discover the plans for SeaWorld’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.
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Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know. Before you pack your bags, get the latest scoop on Orlando vacations from Ashley.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rock Your Disney Side at 24-Hour Magic Kingdom Event

You’re invited to an unforgettable 24-hour party at Disney World and Disney Land.  The coast-to-coast parties will feature non-stop Disney magic, memories and experiences. 

From 6:00am to 6:00am, May 23 to May 24, 2014, Disney is hosting 24 hours of fun.  No matter which park you visit, be prepared to “Rock Your Disney Side.” You’re invited to dress up for the occasion, so become the princess, hero, or villain you hold favorite.  If you plan on staying for the entirety of the event, keep comfort in mind when choosing (or creating) a costume.  My go-to pick for a girl is Minnie Mouse.  A red and white polka-dot dress, black ballet flats, and mouse ears are all you need.  That said, many costumes will be elaborate, complex and completely amazing and are key to the festive atmosphere.  Whatever rocks your Disney side, wear it!  Dressing up is half the fun!  To see a list of rules regarding costumes, click here

In Orlando, the Magic Kingdom will be headquarters for Rock Your Disney Side: A 24-Hour Event.  Even though this event is one-of-a-kind, a special ticket is not required.  All you need is a single day Magic Kingdom ticket to gain access to the 24-hour party.  Arrive early, though, as I’m sure the park will reach full capacity. 

Attending this unique Disney event is not to be missed.  When else can you ride Space Mountain at 2:00am?  Or take pictures of Cinderella’s Castle at sunrise?  Restaurants and eateries will even be open, serving up unique concoctions created just for these 24 hours. 

Join the fun and plan to party at Disney!  It’ll be an experience you’ll never forget. 

Learn more about visiting the Magic Kingdom.
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Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know. Before you pack your bags, get the latest scoop on Orlando vacations from Ashley.

Monday, March 24, 2014

SeaWorld's 50th Anniversary a Sea of Surprises

Join SeaWorld as they celebrate 50 years of family fun!  The Orlando aquatic park is throwing an 18th month long celebration in honor of their anniversary, bringing a wave of entertainment with them!  Read on to find out more about SeaWorld’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.

An all-new Shamu Show will deliver a splash of excitement this summer.  Debuting June 21, "Shamu's Celebration: Light Up the Night" will replace Shamu Rocks.  A Surprise Squad will handout prizes and surprises throughout the park.  Visitors will be randomly awarded prizes ranging from free front-of-the-line ride passes and Shamu plush toys to beluga-whale interactions.  Animal encounters are getting the spotlight during the event, too.  The park is providing even more ways for guests to interact with aquatic life.  Animal ambassadors are a key element of SeaWorld, and during the anniversary event guests will be able to meet more multi-generational ambassadors.  Seasonal spectaculars like firework finales will also be amped up for the celebration.

Finding your way around SeaWorld Orlando will be even more fun, with paths throughout the park filled with bubbles.   Yes, bubbles!  A mobile lab vehicle, manned by an eccentric inventor, creates the bubbles and will be popping up all over the park.  A Splash Dance is also taking over the streets of SeaWorld.  Featuring slapstick comedy, juggling and more, it will have you smiling throughout your day in Orlando.

Be a part of the fun at SeaWorld this year!  With discount SeaWorld tickets, it’s easier than ever before to join Shamu and Friends in Orlando. 

Learn more about SeaWorld festivals.
Read More »
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know. Before you pack your bags, get the latest scoop on Orlando vacations from Ashley.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Disney World Debuts Festival of Fantasy Parade

Walt Disney World Orlando has debuted an all-new parade at the Magic Kingdom – the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.  The entertainment spectacular is a first in a new generation of parades for Disney Parks.  Incorporating never-before-used technology, animatronics and vibrant costumes, the Festival of Fantasy Parade comes to life in a bigger and better fashion than any other. 

Photo courtesy of Disney World Theme Parks
 
Characters from more than a dozen fairytales appear at the Festival of Fantasy Parade, which is themed to pay tribute to the magic of Fantasyland.  The elaborate procession features nearly 100 performers and Disney characters.  Colorful, three-foot high parade floats, energetic choreography, enchanting straight-out-of-the-movies costuming and an all-new musical score bring this parade to life as it tells the stories of popular fairy tales and movies.  Look forward to floats from “Tangled,” “Peter Pan,” “Brave,” and “Sleeping Beauty,” among others. 

One of the fan favorites so far include Maleficent appearing as a fire-breathing dragon, ensconced in Prince Phillip for the Sword of Truth.  Another is the Disney Princess Garden Float, with Anna, Elsa and Olaf, from Frozen, as well as Cinderella, Belle and Tiana appearing.   Of course, there is so much more to see during this engaging 12-minutes production.  See the Festival of Fantasy Parade for yourself daily at 3pm at the Magic Kingdom inside Disney World.
 
Get a sneak peak of the parade here:
 


Learn about my favorite Magic Kingdom rides.
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Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know. Before you pack your bags, get the latest scoop on Orlando vacations from Ashley.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Explore Florida's Space Coast for Beachside Adventure

Just a short drive from Orlando you’ll find Florida’s Space Coast.  What exactly is the Space Coast?  Glad you asked!  It’s a region surrounding Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.  There are 72 miles of beaches to bask on, offering sunny spots to getaway for your next vacation.  Cities in the area include Titusville, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Palm Bay and Merritt Island.  Want to find out about what there is to see and do on the Space Coast? Read on.

No visit to the area is complete without a tour of Kennedy Space Center.  Even though shuttle launches are no longer planned, you can still view rocket launches.  Plan your visit around launch times with this helpful launch schedule.  On top of that, you Kennedy Space Center is the only place on Earth where you can tour launch areas, meet a veteran astronaut, see giant rockets and train in spaceflight simulators.     
Two new attractions for 2014 provide interactive fun for families.  Treetop Trek at the Brevard Zoo is an outdoor adventure filled with zip lines.  The all-new section features bigger and better challenges including a vertical climb, ultimate monkey bars and a vertical zip descent.  Over at the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, opening soon, you can explore the ancient lives of dinosaurs.  See how your stature compares to these giant creatures!

Festivals are a big draw on the eastern shores of Florida.  The Runaway Country Music Festival, slated for March 21-23at Wickham Park in Melbourne is a top country music event.  Headliners include Keith Urban, Toby Keith, The Band Perry, Joe Nichols, Rodney Atkins, Chris Cagle, Charlie Daniels and Colt Ford.  The Brevard Wildlife Corridor Expedition, scheduled for April 3-12, is a 12-day festival for the adventurer of all levels to get outdoors and experience what Florida's Space Coast has to offer. Activities include hiking cycling, kayaking, horseback riding, paddle boarding, and more.  Another popular festival is the Ron Jon Easter Surfing Festival.  Celebrating its 50th anniversary Easter Weekend at Cocoa Beach Pier, this popular event includes a short board pro-am and a junior co-ed short board, the co-ed open, Boy's 14 and under short board, the Girl's under 12 divisions, and the co-ed S.U.P event. Spectators will also have a chance to learn surfing and skim boarding via onsite clinics, participate in celebrity signings, attend an Easter egg hunt and enjoy live entertainment. All for free! 
There are plenty of places to eat along the Space Coast.  In fact, there are more than 1,400 restaurants at which to dine, among which are waterfront spots, upscale restaurant and casual cafes.  The seafood here is fresh and delicious, and comes highly recommended, as do some favorite mom and pop places like the Yellow Dog Café.   Foodies can find a new favorite cuisine during Palm Bay’s Food Truck Wars and competition on May 3.  Over 40 gourmet food trucks roll into town and you can sample their unique menu items while you listen to live music. 
This is just a sample of the activities found on the Space Coast.  Connect with this beachside getaway for fun under the Florida sun! 

Want to learn more about visiting Kennedy Space Center?
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Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know. Before you pack your bags, get the latest scoop on Orlando vacations from Ashley.