Jack Hanna Weekend Returning to SeaWorld Orlando This Spring

Jack Hanna at Sea World Orlando

Jack Hanna at Sea World Orlando

Are you an animal lover? Well, here’s your chance to see world-renowned wildlife expert Jack Hanna at Sea World Orlando for Jack Hanna Weekend, accompanied by some of the most amazing animal ambassadors.

This special limited-time series takes place at Nautilus Theater on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25. Show times will be at 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m., and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis so get there early. Hanna’s past “co-stars” have included clouded leopards, chatty kookaburra birds, and all kinds of majestic eagles. Recognized around the world for his boundless enthusiasm for wildlife and conservation, “Jungle Jack” will help you share in this wondrous connection to wildlife and the world we share.

For Sea World’s Pass Members, there’s an exclusive Pass Member Breakfast with Jack Hanna, which gives families an up-close opportunity to spend some quality time with Jack and some of his ‘wild’ friends and receive reserved seats to the 1:15 p.m. show.

“Is a liger real? Do bugs have bones? Do anteaters really eat ants?” Learn the answers to all of these questions and more during a breakfast experience full of educational facts and great family fun. Pass Members can enjoy a scrumptious breakfast buffet at the Seafire Inn while Jack Hanna entertains with some of his favorite animals. Existing Pass Members can book their breakfast.

To purchase your Sea World Orlando tickets and get in on this great expierence, call us toll free at 1-877-406-4836 or visit us on the web at http://www.officialticketcenter.com

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO’S NEWLY-ENHANCED BLUE MAN GROUP SHOW

Blue Man Tickets Orlando

Entertainment Like Never Before

Enhanced Show Features New Stage, New Technology, New Music and
New Experiences

ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2012) – Universal Orlando’s Blue Man Group show is taking its unique and captivating brand of live entertainment to another level – complete with a new show environment, new music, new technology and new experiences.

Opening to the public on Friday, February 24, the show will take guests on an incredible journey where they’ll join the Blue Men as they discover, engage and explore the world’s obsession with cutting-edge technology.  New sections include Blue Men interacting with “GiPads” (think Gigantic iPads), a funny and perceptive look at contemporary modes of communication; and a pulsating new finale featuring an original Blue Man Group music score that will have guests jumping to their feet.

“The heart of our show is, and always has been, the Blue Man, and his inquisitive, wide-eyed take on the world,” said Chris Wink, who co-founded Blue Man Group with Phil Stanton and Matt Goldman. “Our team of artists at Blue Man Productions has created fun, even astounding new visual aspects of the show, and our music team has given us a great new sound. We are really excited to incorporate these elements into the show at Universal Orlando Resort “

“This show will take one of Universal Orlando’s most popular experiences to a whole new level,” said Alice Norsworthy, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Universal Orlando Resort.  “It’s the perfect complement to the incredible entertainment we offer at our destination.”

Several of the signature moments that have made Blue Man Group one of today’s best-loved theatrical productions will remain in the show, although in most cases, they have also been updated.  And as always, the production will fuse innovative theatrical spectacle with improvisation and vaudeville-inspired comedy, art, science and irresistible music performed by the Blue Man Group live band.

“Many of our audience’s favorite pieces, including ‘Paint Drumming’ and ‘Gum Balls/Marshmallows’ will continue to be a part of the production – and yes, the first few rows will still need to wear ponchos,” added Phil Stanton, Blue Man Group co-founder. “But we have developed some brand new elements of the show that provide a larger-than-life, rousing, interactive experience that I hope will really speak to all cultures and give some of our most devoted fans a new reason to check us out again.”

For more information about Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando Resort – or to purchase tickets – visit http://www.officialticketcenter.com/blue-man-group.aspx

Magic Kingdom Fact Sheet

Having Fun at the Magic Kingdom

Having Fun at the Magic Kingdom

Following the success of Disneyland, which opened in 1955, entertainment pioneer Walt Disney (1901-66) set his sights on what he called his company’s “most exciting and challenging assignment” — the creation of a vast vacation paradise known today as Walt Disney World Resort.

Walt’s dream was realized when Magic Kingdom, the first of four theme parks at the sprawling Florida site, opened Oct. 1, 1971. Walt’s older brother and lifelong business partner, Roy O. Disney, inaugurated the park with a heartfelt dedication that remains today on a bronze plaque in Main Street, U.S.A.:

WALT DISNEY WORLD is a tribute to the philosophy and life of Walter Elias Disney

… and to the talents, the dedication, and the loyalty of the entire Disney organization that made Walt Disney’s dream come true. May Walt Disney World bring Joy and Inspiration and New Knowledge to all who come to this happy place … a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn — together.

The Park

Magic Kingdom sits on 142 acres with the towering Cinderella Castle at its center. Similar to Disneyland in California, the park is divided into seven themed lands — Main Street, U.S.A.; Adventureland; Frontierland; Liberty Square; Fantasyland; Mickey’s Toontown Fair; and Tomorrowland.

Popular attractions include Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Stitch’s Great Escape!, Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, “Mickey’s PhilharMagic,” Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, it’s a small world, Jungle Cruise, Hall of Presidents, Mad Tea Party, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Country Bear Jamboree, Tom Sawyer Island, Peter Pan’s Flight and Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

Cinderella Castle, the park’s icon, stands 189 feet tall and includes 18 towers. Inside its main hall, five glittering mosaics created under the direction of Dorothea Redmond and Hanns-Joachim Scharff tell the story of Cinderella in 500 brilliant hues of glass.

Entertainment

In addition to dozens of Disney characters found at locations throughout the park, Magic Kingdom presents a rich variety of entertainment each day, from colorful parades to visiting marching bands. Major productions include:

“Dream Along with Mickey” — Mickey Mouse and friends show Donald Duck that dreams really do come true in this musical stage show.

“Celebrate a Dream Come True” — Mickey Mouse leads a daily parade celebrating the history of Disney animation.

“SpectroMagic” — Presented on select nights, this energetic parade of Disney characters features floats dotted with millions of twinkling lights.

“Wishes” — Jiminy Cricket narrates the biggest, boldest fireworks show ever presented at Magic Kingdom, a heart-tugging “story in the sky” about making a wish come true, presented most nights.

Food and Beverage

Popcorn to prime rib is available in a variety of unique settings that include everything from elegant table-service restaurants to outdoor refreshment carts. Major eateries include:

  • Tony’s Town Square (Main Street, U.S.A.) — salads, pastas, Italian entrees
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe (Frontierland) — burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads
  • Columbia Harbour House (Liberty Square) — clam chowder, fish, chicken, sandwiches
  • Pinocchio Village Haus (Fantasyland) — pizza, Italian sandwiches, salads, soups
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (Tomorrowland) — burgers, chicken, soups, sandwiches

Guests can dine with Disney characters at Cinderella’s Royal Table (Fantasyland – breakfast and lunch); The Crystal Palace (Main Street, U.S.A. – buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner); Liberty Tree Tavern (Liberty Square – dinner). For dining reservations, call 407/WDW-DINE.

Special Events

  • Grad Nite – Seniors celebrate the end of high school each spring during multiple nights of high-energy fun, which include concerts by popular performers.
  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party – Mickey and the gang invite guests to this all-ages celebration of fun frights held on multiple nights each October.
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – Each holiday season, Mickey and his friends celebrate the season on several special nights with exclusive entertainment and a holiday-themed parade starring Santa Claus

Topiary Fun Facts and Landscape Trivia Thrive At 19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Main Enterance Topiary a Few Years Back

Main Enterance Topiary a Few Years Back

19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
The largest number of front-entrance topiaries ever, 1,000 brilliantly hued butterflies, 240 floating mini-gardens and 30 million blooms paint a landscape masterpiece at the 19th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March 7-May 20 at Walt Disney World Resort.

Among this year’s fun festival facts:

• 30 million blooms blanket the park throughout the festival, which runs 75 colorful days.
• The festival’s front-entrance Fantasia topiary scene comprises 28 topiaries – more than have been used in any front-entrance display. The 28 include Sorcerer Mickey, three ostriches, two hippos, two alligators, two elephants, nine stars, a spiral and eight mushrooms.
•22,615 plant plugs of 15 plant varieties make up the Fantasia front-entrance topiary. They include reindeer moss for Sorcerer Mickey’s face and red begonias for his hat; creeping fig for Mickey, hippos and gators; Sweet Ayssum, and three shades of Lobelia simulate water spilling over a large topiary rock made up of Black Scallop Ajuga upon which the Sorcerer stands.
•4,000 Blushing Bride air plants from Guatemala color the two hippos’ tutus and 300 Cotton Candy air plants from Peru feather the wings and tails of the three ostrich topiaries. Smaller air plants are used as ostrich slippers.
•1,250 feet of quarter-inch irrigation tubing is woven into the Fantasia front-entrance topiaries.
•Dozens of additional Disney character topiaries represent the largest collection of Disney character topiary in the world and include classic film stars like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Cinderella and Tinker Bell.
•At least 25 different plants, grasses and mosses of various colors, including pink and red begonias, dusty miller, palm fiber, palm seeds, ficus and lichen, are used to create and define features of additional festival topiaries. More color has been added to the topiaries than in any previous topiary presentation.
•1,000 native butterflies represent up to 10 species at the expansive Bambi’s Butterfly House. Among the garden’s two dozen nectar plants are Cape Royal plumbago, passion flower, coral honeysuckle, blazing star, butterfly bush, scarlet milkweed and canna lily.
•More than 500,000 plants, trees and shrubs are planted for the festival; 250,000 of those are annual blossoms installed for the festival.
•Festival plants include 60 different species of trees, 47 types of palms, and 48 varieties of bedding plants.
•150 hands-on gardening demonstrations and seminars will be presented.
•Thirty “flower towers” of impatiens line Innoventions Plaza.
•240 floating mini-gardens, each three feet in diameter, of multi-hued impatiens provide splashes of color on two ponds that border the walkway between Future World and World Showcase.
•700 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables in clay pots, barrels and urns enhance the landscape throughout Epcot.
•400 Walt Disney World horticulturists are needed to install the festival landscape, topiaries and many exhibits; 100 Epcot horticulturists maintain topiaries and other festival displays.
•It takes more than one full year and about 24,000 cast member hours to prepare for the annual festival.
•The festival’s weekend Flower Power concert series includes 11 artists and groups known for more than 100 Top 40 hits. This year’s musical hit-makers from the 1960s and ’70s include Jose Feliciano, Starship starring Mickey Thomas, The Guess Who, The Spinners, Chubby Checker & The Wildcats, Paul Revere & The Raiders, The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night (NEW!), The Orchestra starring former members of ELO (NEW!), Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone and Davy Jones.

Where to buy discount Legoland tickets for the New Orlando park

Discount Legoland Tickets

Discount Legoland Tickets

The Official Ticket Center ~ Central Florida has a new theme park and with over 50 rides and attractions, it should be on everyone’s to do list while visiting Florida. Legoland, Florida is built on the old Cypress Gardens site and has become one of the most popular stops for young and old alike. Its designed for family fun and is only 45 minutes from Orlando and the Disney attraction area. One great thing is that they kept the gardens from the Cypress Gardens park and has maintained a vast collection of native plants, including azaleas, camellias and a 80 year old Banyan tree. Tickets for Legoland Orlando are pretty steep. Almost as much as the theme parks at Disney, discount Legoland tickets are highly sought after. This is where the Official Ticket Center can help. Please call our office toll free at 1-877-406-4836 and get your discount Legoland tickets today! Click here to view prices and ticket information http://www.officialticketcenter.com/LegoLand-Tickets.aspx

NEW! KSC Up-Close Tour takes you inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB)

Space Shuttle Tour at Kennedy Space Center

Space Shuttle Tour at Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex ~ *Limited time to a limited number of Visitor Complex guests per day as part of Kennedy Space Center Up-Close, a new two-hour, guided special interest tour

*Offered 8 times daily for $25 for adults & $19 for children 3-11, plus the cost of admission $43 + tax for adults & $33 + tax for children 3-11

*Go inside & see firsthand where monstrous vehicles were assembled for launch, from the 1st Saturn V rocket in the late 1960’s to the very last space shuttle, STS-135 Atlantis, earlier this year. There’s also a chance that the guest may see a space shuttle orbiter inside the VAB as they are being prepared for display in their new homes in Los Angeles, CA, Washington, D.C. and Florida.

Holiday Decorations

Traditional holiday cookies from International Space Station Countries

Purchase Holiday Cookie of the week

Photos w/ Santa thru Dec 24 (personal camera or option to purchase photo)

NASA Story time with Mrs. Claus through Dec 24

Skating at the Rocket Garden (Sessions start on the hour and half-hour)

Skating Rink (Synthetic plastic polymer rink. Skate rental fees apply)

International Space Station Holiday Tree

40 foot holiday tree decorated with the flags and colors of all the

ISS collaborating countries:

United States, Russia, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany,

Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK

Space Carolers

GPS: Astronaut Hall of Fame – 6225 Vectorspace Blvd, Titusville, FL 32780. KSCVC is 6 miles pass this location on the right.

Holiday Season at Universal Orlando Resort Florida

Universal Orlando Tickets

Universal Orlando Tickets

Experience one-of-a-kind holiday excitement the whole family can enjoy at Universal Orlando® Resort! It’s the only place where you can catch the music and festivities of Grinchmas™, as Seuss Landing™ in Universal’s Islands of Adventure® is transformed into a wintry wonderland. You won’t want to miss the heartwarming live version of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”, the Wonky Tree Lot, strolling Whos, and a chance to get your picture taken with the mean green one himself.

Right next door, the 10th Anniversary edition of the Macy’s Holiday Parade™ takes to the streets of Universal Studios® with colorful balloon and floats direct from New York City, marching bands, clowns, and an appearance by Santa Claus. You can explore the Holiday Village bustling with unique gifts, delicious treats, and crafts for the kids. Then sing along with your favorite holiday songs performed live on stage every night.

Plus, at both parks you’ll experience the action and thrills of all your favorite rides and attractions, from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man® to Shrek 4-D™ and the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit® coaster. It’s can’t-miss holiday fun and entertainment for every member of the family —and it’s only at Universal Orlando Resort!

Petty Holdings Adds Exotic Driving Experience

Richard Petty Experience

Richard Petty Experience

The Exotics Course at Walt Disney World® Speedway will be new home to “supercars”
(November 9, 2011) Combine some of the world’s finest automobiles with a track specifically designed for drivers to safely experience their awe-inspiring acceleration, speed and handling and you have “Exotic Driving Experience”, the latest offering from Petty Holdings.

Best known as owner and operator of Richard Petty Driving Experience, the worldwide leader in the stock car ride and drive business, Petty Holdings has applied its expertise in delivering safe, accessible, exciting automotive entertainment to develop an experience allowing anyone with a driver’s license the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a “supercar” – a rarified class of automobile.

Exotic Driving Experience will feature supercars by Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, and Porsche. Future plans include the addition of other exotic models, as well.

It will officially begin on January 16, 2012.

“This exotics business is the most significant new offering from our company since the creation of Richard Petty Driving Experience in 1994″ said Brian Flynn, Petty Holdings Chief Executive Officer. “This was a strategic decision intended to expand our customer base by diversifying our experiential offerings.”

Plans call for Exotic Driving Experience to operate approximately 150 days annually on The Exotics Course at Walt Disney World Speedway, a new track configuration (see below) at the motorsports complex located on the grounds of the world-famous theme park.

Be Petty Disney

Be Petty Disney

Driving Experiences will start at $189 for six laps around the circuit. Thrill Rides with a professional driver at the wheel will be available for $99.

The Exotics Course at Walt Disney World Speedway®
Built in 1994, the one-mile oval at Walt Disney World Speedway® has been home to Indy Racing League (IRL), NASCAR Truck series and United States Auto Club (USAC) sanctioned races. Since 2000, it has been operated year-round exclusively by Richard Petty Driving Experience, which has seen more than 250,000 people drive or ride in one of its NASCAR race cars.

Petty Holdings recently completed an interior road course-style section at the track, specifically for Exotic Driving Experience, which features a series of quick, challenging right and left-hand turns, known as “switch backs.” Complete with barriers and rumble strips, this section replaces the frontstretch of the oval when the supercars are on track and, together with the backstretch, comprises another one-mile layout which has been named The Exotics Course at Walt Disney World Speedway®.

“We needed a circuit that would allow customers to really get a sense of what these incredible cars are capable of” said Rick Fedrizzi, President and Chief Operating Officer, who designed the new interior section. “Drivers can rapidly accelerate to high speeds on the backstretch of the oval and, when they come into the interior section, feel the incredible braking and handling characteristics of whichever exotic they’ve selected.”

“It is an absolute blast to drive this course in any one of these cars,” Fedrizzi said.

About Petty Holdings:

Petty Holdings, LLC owns Richard Petty Driving Experience, the worldwide leader in NASCAR-style stock car drive and ride entertainment, which operated at 25 race tracks in the United States and Canada in 2011. It markets other Petty and Richard Petty branded and licensed ventures including Petty Safe Driving and Richard Petty’s Fantasy Racing Camp. It also provides motorsports support services to the commercial and film industries, mobile marketing event services and designs and executes ride and drive events for automobile manufacturers

Headquartered in Concord, NC, Petty Holdings is a portfolio company of BV Investment Partners, a leading middle-market private equity firm, investing in the information and business services, communications, and media sectors.

Win a Copy of “Turtle: The Incredible Journey” Available on DVD November 15

The award-winning film “Turtle: The Incredible Journey” from SeaWorld Pictures will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and Video-On-Demand on Tuesday, November 15.  In celebration of the movie’s release, we will give SeaWorld Orlando Facebook fans a chance to win a free DVD copy of the movie starting Tuesday, November 15 thru Friday, November 18.  Check the SeaWorld Orlando Facebook fan page each morning at 9:30 a.m. EST for the daily trivia question and email your answer to [email protected] where you will automatically be entered into the daily drawing. Each day at 5 p.m. EST we will announce 3 lucky winners to receive a free DVD copy of “Turtle: The Incredible Journey.”

Turtle: The Incredible Journey – Trailer from Save Our Seas Foundation on Vimeo.


“Turtle: The Incredible Journey” is the critically-praised, award-winning film from director Nick Stringer (“National Geographic Explorer”) that has enchanted and enthralled audiences worldwide.  The spectacular adventure of a loggerhead turtle is one of nature’s greatest journeys. From the moment a young hatchling turtle emerges from her nest buried in the sand, until she returns 25 years later to the same beach as a pregnant adult, this film presents an up-close look at the exciting and harrowing trek that takes many loggerheads completely around the Atlantic Ocean.  It’s a remarkable story about a threatened species and an amazing odyssey you won’t want to miss.

Good Luck!

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT FAMILY TRAVEL TIPS

Universal Studios Tickets

Tips for your trip to Universal Orlando Resort

Bringing your family to Universal Orlando means fun, excitement and adventure.  The best way to make sure everyone in your family has a great time is to do some pre-planning.  Universal Orlando offers these tips to help make sure your family has an unforgettable vacation:

Keep in mind the many benefits of staying on-site: In addition to allowing for resort-wide charging privileges, the hotel’s room keys double as Universal Express Pass access, which allows your family to skip regular lines at most attractions. You can also enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter before the park opens, with early admission to Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Enjoying lunch and dinner has never been easier, with priority seating at select restaurants throughout both theme parks. In addition, mom and dad can plan a date night at Universal CityWalk, thanks to the on-site hotel’s kids camps.

Buy your admission tickets in advance: Scratch the ticket booth line by buying your tickets online at www.officialticketcenter.com and receiving them before you arrive at the parks. In addition to saving time, you can take advantage of The Official Ticket Center’s online discounts.  You can also explore vacation packages that include accommodations and special benefits at Universal’s three on-site hotels.

Have a game plan: Visit Universal Orlando’s web site with your family before your vacation to explore the resort and develop a basic plan for your visit. Here, you will find information about special events (Mardi Gras beads, anyone?) and attractions suited for the entire family. Talk to your children about what’s most important to them, and make a prioritized check list.  (But remember it’s a vacation and that it’s okay to be flexible).

Pack smart: Make sure to pre-pack all of the essentials:

  • Hats and sunscreen for the entire family
  • A change of clothes and a large plastic bag for those who may enjoy water play areas
  • Water bottles, snacks for the finicky eaters, juice boxes, and sippy cups or bottles
  • Ponchos or umbrellas and a towel
  • A camera (with an extra battery and memory card)
  • Baby and hand wipes
  • Any needed medications

Be theme park savvy:

  • Upon arrival, grab a map to check in-park showtimes and character meet & greet times, to make sure you are up-to-date
  • Mix up the schedule: start one day early and end the night relaxing by the pool at your on-site hotel enjoying a Dive-In movie; or start the day in the afternoon (perhaps after nap time) and end with a family night out to watch the Blue Man Group show. With live music, its unexpected humor and lots of paint, the show has a unique, family-friendly party atmosphere that kids of all ages absolutely love!  If you want to have dinner at CityWalk before the Blue Man Group show, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and Pastamore are both great family friendly choices.
  • If you arrive early to the park, start in the back, working your way to the front to avoid the predictable morning traffic pattern.

Know our family-friendly amenities:

  • Take advantage of the Child Swap program: one member of your group can wait with the little ones in a comfortable room while other family members experience the attraction, and then swap places. This feature is available at nearly every marquee attraction.
  • Stroller rental, nursing facilities and a companion restroom are available at Family Services in both theme parks.
  • Many of their restaurants and food locations offer healthy and delicious dining options for everyone. At select locations, side options for adults and children include healthy choices such as fruit for kids or salad for adults, or trans-fat free fries.
  • If your teenager is looking for a special treat, take her to the Mandara Spa at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. The spa’s YCARE program was created with teenagers in mind, offering a special selection of services for guests ages 13 – 17, including massage, facial, manicure, pedicure and more!

Additional tips:

  • Take a picture of your parking location with your cell phone to make it easier to remember where you parked.
  • Don’t deviate too much from nap schedule for the little ones. Great stroller nap spots include inside Mythos at Islands of Adventure in the late afternoon (while your child naps, you can enjoy great sit-down meal) and Central Park in New York at Universal Studios Florida.
  • The night before visiting the park, soak a washcloth in water and freeze in a plastic bag. Bring it with you to the parks the next day for a very refreshing cool down during hot days!
  • The splash pad areas are great for little ones – in Islands of Adventure take them to If I Ran the Zoo or Me Ship the Olive. In Universal Studios Florida, they will enjoy Curious George Goes to Town and Fievel’s Playland.
  • Traveling with teenagers? Then consider purchasing the Meal Deal. For one low price, they can enjoy as much food as they like throughout the day at participating locations.
  • Older children sometimes don’t want to hang with their parents, so always have a meeting point with your family. Let them be on their own and meet at a pre-determined location every two to three hours. That way if cell phones don’t work you can always touch base several times during the day.