Universal Orlando Announces Grand Opening for New Superstar Parade and Cinematic Spectacular

Universal Orlando Resorts

Universal Orlando Resorts

Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories will present some of the world’s best and most popular films in an innovative, high-tech symphony of imagery, light, sound and special effects.  The show highlights some of the most fun, dramatic, awe-inspiring moments from nearly 200 films – representing approximately 300 Academy Award nominations and 100 Academy Award winners.

Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor and Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille honoree Morgan Freeman, Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular celebrates Universal Pictures’ most iconic films. Their most powerful moments will be shown in crystal-clear clarity on cutting-edge waterfall screens within the Universal Studios lagoon — surrounded by colorful, dramatically synchronized fountains and pyrotechnics and all against a powerful musical score.  The experience will take guests on an emotional journey through epic cinematic moments filled with heroes, horror, laughter, good vs. evil and triumph. The new show will run year-round except during annual and special events.

Universal’s Superstar Parade will offer an entirely new form of interactive entertainment that will give guests and entire families the opportunity to join in the fun.  Some of today’s most beloved characters and stories will bring new adventure to the streets of Universal Studios Orlando during the parade, an all-new show experience that features larger-than-life floats, state-of-the-art technology and hundreds of energetic street performers. Guests will get to sing and dance along with their favorite characters including the minions from the blockbuster animated feature Despicable Me, E.B. from the hit comedy, Hop, Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora & Diego. Guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy performances and character meet-and-greets prior to the parade at select locations throughout the day.

About Universal Orlando Resort There are many ways to enjoy your Orlando vacation, but there is only one place where vacation becomes adventure:  Universal Orlando Resort. It is a unique destination featuring two theme parks, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex. It’s the only Orlando destination where you are not just entertained – you become part of the most exhilarating entertainment ever created. You can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, battle aliens alongside Agent J, and help Shrek save Princess Fiona in Shrek 4-D. Coming this summer:  Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.

Universal Orlando Resort is an NBCUniversal company.

Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival Continues Through May 20

Epcot Center Flower & Garden Festival 2012

Epcot Center Flower & Garden Festival 2012

Epcot Tickets Orlando ~ There is so much to discover at Epcot®, especially during the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival that continues through May 20. With all the blooms, amazing topiaries, exhibits, and attractions and characters throughout the Theme Park, your Guests will be able to keep their whole family entertained. There is always something for everyone to enjoy in the Disney Theme Parks. The central hub of the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival is the Festival Center, open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. between Universe of Energy and Mission: SPACE in Future World where your Guests can enjoy fascinating programs, home and garden resources, delicious refreshments, and exquisite merchandise offerings.
Highlights to recommend include:
HGTV Designers Stage- Your Guests can see informative and entertaining presentations from nationally recognized garden personalities, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 12:00 noon and 3:00 p.m.
Greenhouse Stage- Gardening experts share tips and secrets that your Guests can use in their own gardens, daily 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Ask an Expert- Your Guests can get their gardening questions answered by master gardeners from the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida, continuous daily shows from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Planting Pointers- Your Guests can get great gardening ideas from the gardening experts at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on select days.
Intermissions Café- Your Guests can enjoy fine wines by the glass, English teas, cold sandwiches, salads and light snacks.
HGTV Theater-Featuring tips and hints from HGTV, continuous daily shows from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Specially-themed weekends featuring Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park Specialists will also occur at the Festival Center April 13-15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day. Your Guests can meet the experts and learn about incredible insects that are part of our world.
Flower Power Concert Series
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays – 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 7:45 p.m. at the America Gardens Theatre
April 13-15 – Paul Revere & The Raiders, known for Good Thing

To purchase your Discount Epcot Tickets, call our office at 1-877-406-4836 TODAY!

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.