Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Halloween Events in Orlando offer Spooktacular Fun

Each year, Central Florida's theme parks put their scariest foot forward for Halloween with everything from a headless horseman to haunted houses.

Two of the parks present family friendly parties. At two others -- call them "scream parks" -- it's never too soon to panic with nightmarish events fit only for the most fearless.

Here's what's on tap for 2008:

Horror Nights at Universal Orlando: Universal Orlando warns this event "may be too intense for young children" and rightly (and scarily) so. Now in its 18th year, visitors feel as if their worst nightmares are about to take shape during Horror Nights. No where is safe –in the houses, in the streets, ghastly, ghostly, ghoulish creatures make their presence felt and chilling haunted houses with bizarre themes dare the intrepid to go in.

Halloween Horror Nights are presented on Sept. 26-27; Oct. 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 22-26, 29-31; and Nov. 1.

Visitors are not allowed to wear costumes or masks.

Single night admission is $69.99 (a variety of other tickets are offered including Frequent Fear Passes for more economical multiple visits; and Stay and Scream tickets, which are upgraded tickets that have Horror Nights added to regular daytime Universal Orlando parks' admission). Halloween Horror Nights Packages including one or more nights of lodging in Orlando, tickets and other features are priced from $209 for two adults.

Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Blood-curdling and spine-tingling scares await the daring at this annual event that is a nightmare of inescapable fear with surprises that border on the psychotic. This year, Howl-O-Scream feat ures new haunted houses, scare zones and thrilling shows, as well as bone-chilling coasters in the dark to keep you screaming into the night.
Intended for adult audiences only, Howl-O-Scream is presented on 17 select nights Oct. 2-Nov. 1 (a Freaky Preview is featured on Sept. 26-27). General admission is $64.95. A variety of Unlimited Fear passes is offered including the Recurring Nightmare: 10 nights for the price of one, $64.95; Freaky Preview tickets are $44.95.

Mickey's Not-So Scary Halloween Party: One of the not-to-be-missed attractions of this annual event in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is Mickey's Boo-To-You Halloween Parade featuring a spooky headless horseman and the Disney characters parading around in their costumes –so you can bring your costume too.

The family friendly party also offers opportunities to go trick-or-treating at a variety of locations in the park, and the Magic Kingdom's most popular attractions are open for the evening. The Happy HalloWishes Fireworks display, where Disney villains go trick-or-treating in the sky, is one of the evening's highlights.

"My daughters want to go trick-or-treating so I bring them here. I's fun, it's safe, and I don't have to worry," said Rachel Myers of Lakeland, who visited last year.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is presented on select evenings from Sept. 5 to Oct. 31. Advance tickets (available some evenings) are $42.95 (ages 3-9) and $48.95 (ages 10 and up). Day of event tickets cost $49.95 (ages 3-9) and $55.95 (ages 10 and up).

Spooktacular at Sea World Orlando: Halloween meets the sea during this park's "Spooktacular," a "Fantasea" that offers fun for the whole family on Oct. 4-5- 11-12, 18-19, 24-26 and 31. This annual event features the opportunity for costumed children to go trick-or-treating among friendly sea witches, mermaids, octopuses and pumpkin fish.

Celebrating Sea World's new partnership with Sesame Street, The Count joins in the fun with his own character breakfast.

Shamu's Happy Harbor area is transformed into an autumn festival, adorned with scarecrows and pumpkins. Strolling entertainment includes 35 fanciful sea creatures and at a Frozen Fun Zone an ice witch and DJ entertain with interactive activities. The Halloween festivities begin at 11 a.m. on the selected days and are included in regular admission to the park: $69.95 for adults; $59.95 for children ages 3 to 9.

Sea World Orlando also offers Spooky Spectacular Family Sleepovers. Participants may dress up in their favorite costume, come face to face with stealthy stingrays and those terrors of the deep: sharks. Kids can trick-or-treat around the park's spooktacular exhibits. Your final resting place is at the Shark Encounter pavilion.

The sleepovers are designed for families with children in kindergarten through the fifth grade and run from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. the following day. Included are a snack and continental breakfast.

Cost is $78 per person or $113 to include park admission. Sleepover dates are Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27.

Halloween at Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven: This year Cypress Gardens is celebrating Halloween with festivities that include trick-or-treating for the children on Oct. 31 and a concert on Nov. 1. The festivities are included in regular park admission.
Information courtesy of South Florida Sun-Sentinel

There's More to Explore in Orlando Than Just Theme Parks

Feel the wind in your hair as you cruise through Florida’s Everglades at speeds up to 45 mph, experience an equine fairy tale come to life or frolic amid a prehistoric playground. With so many exciting options, Orlando is filled with little-known gems sure to dazzle your whole family.

Arabian Nights
An incredible dinner show like no other, Arabian Nights blends expert horsemanship, glamorous costumes, 65 horse stars, 35 incredible performers, and a sumptuous meal into an experience unique to Orlando. Highlights of the show include dancing Arabian horses, bareback riding, chariot races, trick riding and even square dancing on horseback — all presented over 20 horse-themed acts woven together with a romantic story that will amaze and entertain.

Boggy Creek Airboat Rides
Located just 35 minutes from Orlando’s attractions, Boggy Creek Airboat Rides offers breathtaking tours of Lake Tohopekaliga, headwaters to the Florida Everglades. During this adventuresome ride, you’ll explore natural wetlands, cypress trees, and wildlife such as alligators, turtles and exotic birds in their natural habitat.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Educational Tours
Have a close encounter with majestic beluga whales, dive with over 30 sharks, feed playful dolphins, or learn about SeaWorld® Orlando’s animal rescue, rehabilitation and release program. With more than 10 tours and programs to choose from, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at marine life conservation efforts, and turn your vacation into a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience. For more information, call toll-free at 800-327-2424.

Orlando Sharks Professional Soccer
For an action-packed activity found only in Orlando, attend an Orlando Sharks professional soccer game. Part of the Major Indoor Soccer League, the Sharks play an exciting style of soccer known for high scores and fast-paced play, complete with music, cheerleaders and a fun-filled night of entertainment.

Orange County Regional History Center
Explore Orlando’s fascinating history with the Orange County Regional History Center’s new permanent exhibit, Destination Florida: Tourism Before Disney. Visitors will see how Orlando has grown from an Indian settlement to a small town surrounded by citrus groves and cattle ranches to today’s tourism wonderland. Step inside a replica tepee from Wigwam Village, an Orlando motel and popular tourist destination in the 1950s, or sit inside a replica Model T modified into a “tin-can camper” for an audiovisual trip on the roads tourists traveled before the advent of interstate highways. General admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors ages 60 and over, and $6 for children ages 5–12. For more information, call 407-836-8500.

Orlando Science Center
Using knowledge to entertain through engaging interactive exhibits, giant-screen films and live programming, the Orlando Science Center will delight and amaze your whole family, no matter their ages. You can discover re-creations of six Florida habitats at the NatureWorks exhibit, uncover “fossils” in the dig pit at the DinoDigs exhibit, experience hurricane-force winds in the TechWorks exhibit’s Hurricane Simulator and so much more. General admission is $21 for adults, $18 for children 13–17 and free for children ages two and under. For more information, call 407-514-2000.

Fantasy of Flight
A stunning art deco aviation museum, Fantasy of Flight is home to more than 40 rare and vintage aircrafts, a variety of guided tours and the Compass Rose diner. Tour the Tuskegee Airmen exhibit and learn about a compelling piece of American history, witness a daily aerial demonstration of vintage aircraft, and take your vacation to new heights when you fly in a real hot air balloon or ride in an open-cockpit vintage bi-plane.

Information courtesy of Orlando CVB

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pixie Hollow is Newest Tinkerbell Attraction at Disney World

Soon there will be something new and even more magical at the happiest place on earth.It's called "Pixie Hollow ", a meet and greet experience that your littlest one has never experienced before. Tinkerbell and her fairy friends, complete with pixie dust, will interact with guests at the Magic Kingdom's "Mickey's Toontown Fair."

"When you're in their world, you're able to understand what they speak, which is different, and you remember the movie Peter Pan ? well only peter pan could understand what they said, well when you're in pixie hollow, you're like peter pan, and you can understand when they talk," said Francois Leroux from Walt Disney World EntertainmentPixie Hollow opens October 24th and will become a permanent experience at Disney World . It also ties in with the release of Tinker Bell the movie on DVD October 28.

Information courtesy of My Fox Orlando

Disney Announces New Attraction, Sports Venue

Buoyed by surging attendance and other growth markers for its Central Florida theme parks, executives of Walt Disney World Co. outlined several new projects and initiatives Wednesday tailored to sustain momentum during tough economic times.

Not that everything's sunshine and buttercups - Disney's Pleasure Island nightclub venue, part of its Downtown Disney entertainment complex, is shutting down after Saturday night's performances.

Disney officials remain mum on what will replace the six nightclubs that debuted in 1989, but they insist the closing is more about a fresh change than the economic downturn.

"Guests tell us they're looking for a different experience," said Michael Griffin, vice president of communications for Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney World's attendance figures shot up 7 percent and per-guest spending was up a more modest 3 percent during its fiscal second quarter, which ended March 29, the Orlando Sentinel reported in May. The attendance figure was a year-over-year comparison.

Wednesday's mood was decidedly upbeat as officials enumerated plans for opening a new Magic Kingdom attraction to coincide with the Oct. 28 DVD release of "Tinker Bell." The attraction, set to open Oct. 24, will target young girls.

Coming sometime in 2010 is a 100-lane bowling alley to attract professional-level tournaments at the popular Disney's Wide World of Sports complex - soon to be rebranded ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

A recent addition to the complex, the 80,000-square-foot Jostens Center, features six full-size basketball courts.

Already the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves, the complex attracts 250,000 athletes a year, mostly youths, along with 1.2 million spectators, mostly relatives, said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises.

Beefing up its sports venues makes sense, Potrock said, given considerable growth in youth sports, "Eighty-five percent of the people that compete would not have come to Disney or Central Florida without this business," he said.

Information courtesy of Orlando Sentinel

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

October Events in Orlando Offer Exciting Options

OCTOBER CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR ORLANDO

Through November 09, 2008
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Disney's premier fall event held at Epcot. Savor the flavors, sights and sounds from around the world. The daily "Eat to the Beat" concert series includes favorite performers from the 60's & 70's. Included with general admission.

October 02, 2008
1st Thursday's
Themed happy hour on the first Thursday of each month at the Orlando Museum of Art from 6pm - 9pm. For more info: 407-896-4231 x 260. Admission charge.

October 03, 2008
Date Night at Leu Gardens
Bring a picnic basket and a blanket to enjoy a family-friendly movie under the stars at beautiful Leu Gardens. Admission charge.

October 04 - 05, 2008
Town of Celebration Sidewalk Sale
The community of Celebration is having their annual Porch and Yard Sale. Free admission.

October 04 - 05, 2008
Vintage Venture at Lakeridge Winery
Central Florida's popular winery features live 50's & 60's music along with food, wine and a vintage car show. For more info: 1-800-768-WINE. Admission charge of $2.00.

October 04, 2008
1st Saturdays at OMA
Creative Programs for children held the first Saturday of every month from 10am till noon at the Orlando Museum of Art. For more info: 407- 896-4231 x 262. Admission charge.

October 10, 2008
The Mount Dora Art Stroll
A festive evening of art, music and hors d'oeuvres designed to showcase regional art at several walkable venues through out Downtown Mount Dora. For more info: 352-383-2165. Free admission.

October 10 - 11, 2008
Ocktoberfest
Celebrate Ocktoberfest with the community of Celebration. Free admission.

October 10 - 12, 2008
Mount Dora Annual Bicycle Festival
Attracting 1,500 cyclists; this is Florida's oldest and largest bicycling event! With rides of varying lengths and skill levels, cyclists of all ages. For more info: 352-383-2165.

October 10 - 13, 2008
New Smyrna Beach Food & Wine Festival
Details coming!

October 11, 2008
Fall Festival
Enjoy fun activities, from dancers featuring music from each decade, food vendors, an old-timer athletic event and a classic car show at the St. Cloud Civic Center. For more info: 407-892-3671. Free admission.

October 11, 2008
Viva Osceola
At Kissimmee's Lakefront Park, this Latin festival known for it's cultural musicians and artists also features a large selection of Spanish cuisine. For more info: 407-847-3174. Free admission.

October 09 - 12, 2008
Southern Women's Show
Held at the Orange County Convention Center. Take a day off to recharge and refresh. Tips and ideas for cooking, healthy living, savvy shopping and current fashion. Admission charge.

October 13, 2008
Taste of Altamonte
Annual event held at Cranes Roost Park in Uptown Altamonte. Samplings from some on Altamonte's best restaurants. One price includes food, music and entertainment. For more info: 407-262-2773. Admission charge.

October 16 - 19, 2008
Biketoberfest
During Biketoberfest, thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts head to Daytona Beach for this international award-winning motorcycle festival. For more info: 386-255-0415.

October 17, 2008
Ghost Stories at Leu Gardens
Bring a blanket or chair and hear some spooky stories under the start. Food and treats will be available for purchase. For more info: 407-246-2620. Admission charge.

October 17, 2008
Cinema in the Park
Free family movies on the third Friday of each month at Centennial Park in Sanford. Bring the family and a blanket or chairs for the 7:30pm showing of this month’s movie. For more info: 407-302-5815. Free admission.

October 17, 2008
Mount Dora At Nite
Celebrate the third Friday of each month with live entertainment, great food and shopping in Downtown Mount Dora. For more info: 352-383-5451. Free admission.

October 17, 2008
Cocktails & the Cosmos
Enjoy a night of relaxation and entertainment as the Orlando Science Center celebrates the premiere of its newest addition to the Dr. Phillips Cinedome, Grand Canyon. Relax on the SunTrust terrace with specialty drinks, food, and charming company all within a casual and friendly atmosphere. For more info: 407-514-2000. Admission Charge.

October 20, 2008
Storytelling at Leu Gardens
Stories at 3 times for different aged children on the third Monday of the month. For more info: 407-246-2620. Free admission.

October 24, 2008
Harbor Nights Wine Tasting & Jazz
Universal Orlando's Portofino Bay Hotel is host to a wine tasting and jazz event that captures the spirit of the Mediterranean. The event includes select wines, food samples, live jazz and hand-rolled cigars at the hotel's Harbor Piazza. For more info: 407-503-1200. Admission charge.

October 25 - 26, 2008
Mount Dora Annual Craft Fair
Nationally ranked juried event attracts over 250,000 visitors and over 350 of the best crafters in the county. For more info: 352-735-1191. Free admission.

October 30, 2008
Velvet Sessions
Rock & Roll Happy Hour held the last Thursday of the month. Cover charge varies according to the month's theme.

October 31, 2008
Halloween
Universal Orlando Resort is celebrating with Halloween Horror Nights, while Disney World gears activities towards family with Mickey’s Not- So Scary Halloween Party. SeaWorld is hosting Halloween Spooktacular, a family-friendly event combing Halloween and Sea Creatures.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Treat Yourself to Universal Orlando's Character Breakfast

Breakfast is not just the most important meal of the day — now it’s the most fun. Start off your morning at Universal Orlando Resort with a delicious and entertaining breakfast with some of your favorite characters. Bring the whole family and dine with such popular characters as Spider-Man and The Cat in the Hat at Universal’s Islands of Adventure’s Confisco Grille each Thursday through Sunday morning from park opening until 10:30 a.m.

The hearty buffet breakfast features a delicious assortment of items created by Universal’s award-winning chefs, including scrambled eggs, French toast, sausage, biscuits and gravy, potatoes, bacon, fresh fruit and assorted breakfast pastries (items subject to change). The breakfast is $17.95 for adults and $11.95 for children, plus tax and gratuity. Theme park admission is separate. For reservations, call 407-224-4012.

There’s no better way to begin your day of excitement at Universal Orlando than by meeting some of your favorite heroes for breakfast at Islands of Adventure. It’s fun for the whole family. Universal’s Islands of Adventure is just one of two amazing theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort. It’s located right next door to Universal Studios, and adjacent to the Universal CityWalk entertainment complex, which sits between the entrances to both parks.

Information courtesy of Orlando CVB

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Disney Theme Park's Announce "What Will You Celebrate?" Campaign

Next year everyone will be able to come to a Walt Disney World's theme parks on their birthdays and get in free.

That's the cornerstone of the 2009 national promotional campaign, "What will you celebrate?" announced today by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Anyone showing up with a valid ID including proof of birthdate will get a free ticket on that day in 2009 for one of the theme parks at Disney World or at Disneyland in California.

Disney officials announced the promotion as their effort to cash in on what they described as a growing trend called "celebration vacations" -- trips to vacation spots that people take to celebrate big birthdays, big anniversaries, honeymoons and other momentous personal occasions.

Disney World probably already gets a lions' share of such vacations, according to a Ypartnership marketing survey that Disney commissioned. But until now the company has never put together a unified marketing campaign to attract such celebrations on a large scale.

Even though a free ticket -- essentially $75 discount -- might seem almost insignificant in a family vacation budget that might run several thousand dollars, Disney's goal is to get more people at least considering bringing their birthdays to Disney World.

The promotion also will give Disney a new tool to help assure that its theme-park turnstiles keep moving in the next year even if the teetering national economy starts dragging down the tourism business.

While the promotion was announced in New York City, with the aim of attracting national and international visitors, Central Floridians may cash in most easily and most often.

"We not only open up the opportunity, we hope they'll take the opportunity, " said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "The flip side of that is, nobody celebrates their birthday by themselves. They bring their family, their friends and their kids with them."

Information courtesy of Orlando Sentinel

Halloween Horror Nights invades Universal Orlando Resort

Halloween is a time when kids can dress as their favorite cartoon character, trick or treat endlessly and stuff themselves with mammoth amounts of candy. But, Halloween is also a time when adults can embrace the scarier side of life, like haunted houses, ghosts and goblins and scream-inducing events. Universal Resort in Orlando, Florida welcomes the holiday of Halloween more so than any other Orlando Theme Park, transforming into a fright-fest of park created for only the bravest of the brave.

From September 26 through November 1, on select nights, Universal Orlando Resort will celebrate its 18th Annual Halloween Horror Nights. This year, the theme for Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights Orlando is Urban Legends, and Bloody Mary herself is serving as the scare-inducing host of this bone-chilling event. Promising to bring the most frightening urban legends to life, Universal Resort is the place to be for Halloween. There are more scare zones, scare actors, the most haunted houses ever and all new fear-filled live shows.

The transformation of Universal Resort into a horrifying Halloween haunt requires a lot of work on behalf of the park staff, but for Halloween revelers who love nothing more than to be scared out of their mind this time of year, there is no better place to be. From the nightmarish labyrinths of haunted houses to the mutants and monsters crawling the street, this Orlando Theme Park takes the horror of Halloween to an all new level. In fact, the event is so impressive in its scope it was voted “The Country’s Best Halloween Event” by Amusement Today.

Universal Orlando Resort Halloween Horror Night Packages are available for those who seek the terror of Halloween. With option one, guest can choose to attend just the Halloween Horror Nights event. Option two offers guests the chance to spend the day at the park enjoying Universal Studios or Universal’s Islands of Adventure while capping of their night admission to the Halloween Horror Night event. Both packages are a great deal, and provide a great way for revelers to enjoy this October holiday.

Universal Orlando Resort will be overtaken by Bloody Mary, Zombies and Monsters for Halloween Horror Nights on these select dates:

September 26-27

October 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 22-26, 29-31

November 1

Prepare yourself for blood-curdling scares, spine-chilling screams and an event you won’t soon forget…because it will haunt your dreams!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

SeaWorld Celebrates Halloween Spooktacular Style

From pumpkin fishes to friendly sea witches, Halloween meets the sea this October during SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular, carving an underwater “fantasea” where children can dance with an ice DJ, learn from a school of fish, and play with a sea fairy. Offering more than 2 million pieces of trick-or-treat sweets, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular uniquely brings children’s “fantaseas” to life with enchanted pathways and charming sea creatures, providing the utmost in family-friendly trick-or-treating.

One of Sesame Street’s favorite residents, The Count, along with his friends from Sesame Street even gets into the Halloween spirit, with Count Von Count’s Spooktacular character breakfast. Little ones will sing, groove and mingle side-by-side with Sesame Street characters, while listening to Halloween-themed music and enjoying a special breakfast “boo”-ffet.

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place October 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 24-26 and 31, and is included in a single day’s park admission. The event begins each day at 11 a.m., leaving the littlest of trick-or-treaters wide-eyed for the day’s activities ahead.

Spooktacular Highlights Include:

Trick-or-Treat Sea Sweets – Using their Spooktacular maps, costumed youngsters can search for hidden “fantasea” treasures at more than a dozen different stations, all featuring an array of sweet treats. New for this year is a healthy choice: Chiquita® Mini’s ™ - a sweeter tasting banana that's just the right size!

Frozen Fun Zone – An ice DJ will melt the ice during a Spooktacular celebration sure to heat up the area with interactive games and activities.

Strolling Entertainment – Gummy Worm Wanda, Salt Water Taffy, and Swedish Fish Suzy are among the 35 fanciful sea creatures that will once again join the “Spook-tastic” fun, welcoming trick-or-treaters as they stroll through colorful, playful schools of pumpkin fish.

Wild Things at Seafire Inn – In this show, guest will gain a new appreciation for nature's most misunderstood creepy creatures as they take center stage at Seafire Inn.

More SeaWorld Halloween Fun:

SeaWorld’s Spooky Spectacular Sleepover (Oct. 17, 18, 24 and 25, from 7 p.m. – 9 a.m.) Family members and their trick-or-treaters can end their night coming face-to-face with predatory polar bears and stealthy stingrays, before snuggling into a spooky slumber at Shark Encounter - just sleeping bags away from those terrors of the deep, sharks. An evening snack and breakfast also are included. Cost is $78 per person or $113 to include park admission; program is for children in grades K-5 and their families.

SeaWorld Orlando is the world’s premier marine adventure park with 200 acres of world-class shows, thrilling rides and unforgettable animal encounters. Millions of visitors have explored the mysteries of the sea with up-close animal interactions and exhilarating experiences. State-of-the-art rides give guests unprecedented thrills, while amazing animal encounters include killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, sharks and more.

Information courtesy of ThrillNetwork

StuntWars Comes to Orlando this October

StuntWars, Inc., the original and best sanctioning entertainment company in the sport of stunt riding, announced today that it is moving its annual October event from Lakeland to the Orlando Speed World. The move was made due to the sudden closing of Lakeland's USA International Speedway, which had been home to the event for the past three years.

"When selecting a new location, it was important to us that we stay as close as possible to our hometown of Lakeland and all of our fans who have supported us over the years," said Todd Colbert, President of StuntWars. "The Orlando Speed World is the closest venue able to provide the resources we need to put on an exciting show for our fans, and it puts us in the heart of a big sport bike, university and entertainment town."

More than 100 competitors and over 15,000 spectators are expected for the three-day, extreme sports event being held on October 3 - 5, 2008. Circle Wheelies, 360-degree Stoppies, the Leap of Faith, Tank Insane and the Apehanger are just a few of gravity defying stunts that will be on display.

Other entertainment will include FMX freestyle, car drifting and street bike freestyle, as well as a Bikini Bike Wash, a Custom Bike Show and live music from Underground Sound. Fans will also have the opportunity to meet the riders during activities each and every day.

This year's StuntWars will feature some of the sport's highest profile riders, including Bill Dixon, Dan Jackson, Aaron Colton, Nick Apex, and Teach McNeil.

Tickets, ranging in price from $5 for practice rounds to $20 for the main event and entertainment on Sunday, October 5, can be purchased by calling 877-stunt83, or purchased at the gate. Tickets should also be available online at STUNTWARS.COM by midweek. Discounts are available to StuntWars Association members.

The gates open at 9 a.m. daily with practice, qualifying and competition throughout the day until 5 p.m. More than 40 vendors offering the latest in gear, apparel and accessories will be on site daily.

Stunt bike riders from around the world will be competing for over $12,000 in cash and prizes at this event, while providing spectators with adrenaline- charged events that amateurs should not try at home. This event is round four in the StuntWars 2008 point series where the top-three riders compete to win $25,000 at the end of the season.

This StuntWars event is just one of the many initiatives strategically and financially fueled by the new management team at StuntWars. Since StuntWars was purchased by Dorsch Acquisitions in June of 2008, the company has launched a new Web site, created the StuntWars Rider Association, and engaged in active negotiations with several new sponsors and entertainment and sports venues to aggressively expand StuntWars event dates and locations.

Information courtesy of StuntWars

Friday, September 12, 2008

Big-Name Performers Coming to Orlando

Musical tastes of all kinds can be satisfied in the coming months. Big-name performers of country, alternative, top 40, smooth jazz, Latin music and other genres are coming to Central Florida. Many are performing in both Tampa and Orlando, so the chances to see a favorite entertainer are at least doubled.

Allen Johnson, executive director of the Orlando Venues, the department that oversees the Amway Arena, Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre and other venues, said tickets are almost sold out for the British band Coldplay, which will be performing at the Amway Arena on Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

"The Coldplay show is within about a thousand tickets of being sold out," Johnson said. "Tina Turner and Neil Diamond are both getting close to being sold out as well."

In addition Diamond, Enrique Iglesias is one of the artists who will be on stage at least twice in Central Florida. Also performing at the Amway Arena, Iglesias will be melting hearts with his Latin voice and looks on Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. The Iglesias show is about halfway to being sold out, with about 3,000 sold of the 6,000 seats still up for grabs, Johnson said.

If there weren't enough hearts melted with Iglesias, maybe the performance of Luis Miguel will do the trick on Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. The Grammy award winner will be performing only one night only in Orlando as part of his "Complices" tour.

Johnson said the booking of these major shows sometimes is done a year in advance, and sometimes they are added to the lineup only six weeks in advance of the show date.
"But I'd say the average is probably six months out," Johnson said.

That's enough time to build excitement about the coming big name. Johnson said he and the Orlando Venues staff is excited about a few of the big acts coming to town. He said Coldplay, one of today's hottest bands, puts on a good show.

"Tina Turner coming out of retirement to do a tour is also exciting," Johnson said. "She always does a high-energy show for someone who's 60 years old plus."

He said tickets for certain shows will be going on sale in January and February, but he cannot release the performers' names.

"There are pretty big names that are coming around," Johnson said.

Tickets to the shows at Amway Arena or the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre can be purchased online at http://www.orlandovenues.net/.

The House of Blues in Orlando will play host to some big alternative names such as Pepper, Reverend Horton Heat, The Black Crowes and Anberlin. The wildly popular boy band of the '90s, Hanson, will bring "The Walk Around the World" tour to Orlando for a show on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. Hanson is best known for the 1997 hit song "MMMBop."

Located in Downtown Disney, the House of Blues has one or more performers nearly every night. Many local bands get to stretch their wings there. Oftentimes, the lesser-known bands can be heard at no charge. Tickets to any House of Blues event can be purchased online at http://www.hob.com/.

The Hard Rock Café Orlando, located at Universal Studios Orlando in the CityWalk entertainment complex, will set the stage for Alanis Morissette, who will perform Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. Hard Rock also will ready its 3,000-person concert venue for Classic Albums Live, a tribute band that will perform the tunes of Boston on Sept. 20 at 8:30 p.m. and then the tunes of Led Zeppelin on Nov. 22 at 8:30 p.m. For details or to save a seat to any of the shows, visit the Web site http://www.hardrock.com/.

Crowds will gather at the new UCF (University of Central Florida) Arena in Orlando, built near The Venue at UCF, to see Tony Bennett on Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Dolly Parton will bring her southern charm to the arena on Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m., and Nine Inch Nails will bring its "Lights in the Sky over North America 2008" tour on Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. Sarah Brightman and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra also will perform at the UCF Arena. Complete information can be found at http://www.ucfarena.com/.

The Venue at UCF, located at Gemini Boulevard North in Orlando, will play host to Blue Oyster Cult, on Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m., and George Jones a few days later, on Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Those tickets can be purchased on Ticketmaster.com.

Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, which will be celebrating its 25th-anniversary season, will host Enrique Iglesias, Lyle Lovett, Alanis Morissette and John Tesh.

In addition to musical acts, a few big-name comedians, such as Cedric the Entertainer and Gallagher, will be on stage.

Tickets to most shows go on sale an average of two months in advance of each show. However, sometimes the lead time is very slim, such as was the case with the Enrique Iglesias tour, which will be performing on Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. The tour gave only six weeks' advance notice to sell tickets.

Other acts coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall through December include Meat Loaf, Dolly Parton, Peter Frampton, Vince Gill and The Black Crowes. For more details on the 2008-09 performance season or to purchase tickets for any show, visit http://www.rutheckerdhall.com/.

The Ford Amphitheatre, a Live Nation venue, is located at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. On Sept. 19, Brad Paisley and Jewel will perform at 7:30. In October alone, the sounds of Maroon 5, Counting Crows, Martina McBride and Mary J. Blige will be heard in the amphitheater. Tickets for these events can be purchased on the Web site http://www.livenation.com/.

Live audiences in St. Petersburg will be treated to the legendary Neil Diamond in concert on Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. at the St. Pete Times Forum. A blast from the past, New Kids on the Block, will be back together for the first time in nearly a decade and a half. Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood will perform on Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra will perform on Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. Polk County resident Paul O'Neill is a composer, lyricist and producer with The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Known for his rock operas, O'Neill has produced albums for the likes of Aerosmith and promoted the tours of Madonna and Sting.

Former "Phantom of the Opera" stage star Sarah Brightman will delight audiences with her soprano melodies on Nov. 16 at 8 p.m., and the 2005 winner of American Idol, Carrie Underwood, will bring her country crooning tunes to the St. Pete Forum on Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for any of the shows at the St. Pete Times Forum can be purchased at http://www.sptimesforum.com/.

Those who go for the alternative sounds will flock to Jannus Landing Courtyard, located at 16 Second St. N. in St. Petersburg. Touted as Florida's oldest and largest outdoor concert venue, the likes of Blues Traveler, Everlast, The Misfits and Presidents of the United States of America, among others, will be performing through December. Dates, times and prices can be found on the venue's Web site at http://www.jannuslandingconcerts.com/.

The Tampa and Orlando venues don't get to have all the fun. At least two big acts will come to Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, located at 1875 Silver Spur Lane. Sugarland, a country duo and winner of the CMT Music Awards' Duo Video of the Year Award in 2007 and 2008, will be at the Silver Spurs Arena on Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Taking the same stage on Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. will be a Beatles tribute band called 1964…The Tribute "The #1 Beatles Show in the World." Tickets for those and other events at the Osceola Heritage Park can be purchased at http://www.ohpark.com/.

Closer to home, audiences at The Lakeland Center, located at 701 W. Lime St. in Lakeland, will be treated to Classic Albums Live's tributes to not only Boston, but also to AC/DC and Pink Floyd.

Two of the hottest comedians will come to make Lakeland audiences laugh. Larry the Cable Guy will perform his "Eat, Drink and Be Larry" show on Nov. 14 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. in the Youkey Theatre at The Lakeland Center. Carlos Mencia will bring his raunchy humor to the same stage with his "At Close Range" show on Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Also in the Youkey Theatre at The Lakeland Center, Sally Struthers will star in the stage performance of "Nunsense" on Nov. 25, beginning at 7:30 p.m., and the Broadway musical "Oliver" will be performed on Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Favorite Christmas tunes will be sung, country-style, by Mel and Pam Tillis on Dec. 3, at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. For details or to purchase tickets, call 863-834-8100 or visit

Monday, September 8, 2008

Orlando Vacation Tips for a Stress-Free Disney Experience

Walt Disney World Resort, is the largest recreational resort in the world, and contains four theme parks. Owned and operated by the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, it is located in Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake, Florida, outside the city limits of Orlando.

In addition to the four main theme parks, the resort contains two water parks, six golf courses, a sports complex, an auto race track and numerous shopping, dining, and entertainment offerings. It even has its own fire department and a massive public transit system of buses, boats, and monorails. The 30,000 acre (120 km˛) property is the largest theme park resort in the world.

Walt Disney World Resort features four theme parks, each represented by an iconic structure:

· The Magic Kingdom (Cinderella Castle)

· Epcot (Spaceship Earth, the geodesic sphere.)

· Disney's Hollywood Studios (The Sorcerer's Hat; formerly the Earful Tower)

· Disney's Animal Kingdom (The Tree of Life)

Other Attractions include:

· Typhoon Lagoon

· Blizzard Beach

· Disney Boardwalk

· Disney's Wide World of Sports

· Downtown Disney

· Disney Quest

As illustrated from the facts above, Disney World is the only one of its kind offering unparalleled experiences and pleasure to anyone. A vacation trip to this property is a once in a lifetime and a truly mesmerizing experience. In order to achieve this, it’s important to keep this vacation stress free. That may be achieved if the following guidelines are adhered to.

Plan Ahead. Nothing creates stress faster than when you are forced to run around like a headless chicken. Make sure you book Orlando reservations in advance for accommodations and activities, and have confirmation information on hand prior to leaving on your trip. That way you avoid getting yourself worked up trying to find a place to stay at the last minute.

Pack Lightly. Remember, the more items you take with you the more you stand to lose should your luggage not reach your destination. Also, the more you take on vacation, the more hassle it will be to carry it from place to place.

Don't Over-schedule. The goal is to create a stress-free environment. Avoid treating your time off as though you're still at your office scheduling every single second of your day. It's wonderful to take advantage of the local attractions and interesting activities offered at the vacation destination, but it's also a good idea to balance your day trips with downtime. You want your vacation to be fun, not exhausting.

Be Flexible. It is very rare when a vacation goes exactly as planned. Chances are something will go wrong at some point during your trip, so anticipate it and be flexible. It also doesn't hurt to pack some patience and your sense of humor---and plan to use both when you run into these roadblocks.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Universal Orlando, Disney World win Awards from Amusement Today

SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights and Epcot's "Illuminations" were the word's best marine life park, Halloween event and outdoor night show this past year, according to Amusement Today.

All three won at least one of the magazine and website's 25 Golden Ticket Awards, presented in an annual awards ceremony held Wednesday in Kissimmee. The awards were based on international surveys of the magazine's database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans, and the surveys were weighted to balance geographic regions.

Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, and Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels, Texas, both repeated as overall-champions, as Best Amusement Park and Best Water Park. SeaWorld Orlando also was a repeat winner overall-champ, as Best Marine Life Park.

That was the only award SeaWorld Orlando garnered in the 2008 Golden Tickets, the 11th annual. And the Best Outdoor Night Show Golden Ticket given to Epcot for "Illuminations: Reflections of the Earth" was the only Golden Ticket given Walt Disney World.

Universal Orlando, however, cleaned up among specific attractions. Besides the Golden Ticket for Halloween Horror Nights Universal also won for Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls at Islands of Adventure, named Best Water Ride; The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, also at Islands, named Best Dark Ride; and Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios, named Best Indoor Roller Coaster.

Information courtesy of Orlando Sentinel