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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage on Disney’s Seven Seas Lagoon

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pirate cruise disneyAhoy me hearties, ye be setting sail for fun and adventure with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee on this adventure.

Departing from Disney’s Contemporary Resort, mateys receive a true buccaneer’s welcome as they chow down on hearty pirate grub and grog before setting sail on an unforgettable moonlight voyage around Seven Seas Lagoon.

Play Disney trivia games, sing songs and sea chanteys and savor “Wishes” fireworks lighting the night sky above Cinderella Castle in front of the Magic Kingdom. On the sail home, your pirate hosts enchant you with the tale of Peter Pan, plus more trivia questions and special prizes. Once tied up, the voyage concludes with a visit from a very special guest. Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage is scheduled Fridays through Mondays. Cost is $53.99 adults, $30.99 children ages 3-9.

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“A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films” Event to Take Place in November at Universal Orlando Resort

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Harry Potter Event Universal orlando

Universal Orlando Resort announced that special vacation packages will go on sale Sunday, July 31st that will give guests the opportunity to attend “A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films.” This special event will be hosted by Warner Bros. and will celebrate a decade of movie history by allowing fans to share their love for the Harry Potter films. The event will take place from Friday, November 11, to Sunday, November 13, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

During this special event, guests can celebrate their favorite memories and stories of Harry Potter with filmmakers, cast members and fellow fans.  While all theme park guests will be able to enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter during their visit, only a limited number of guests and those who buy special event packages will have access to exclusive benefits such as:

  • A spectacular evening gala in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Autograph signings with stars from the Harry Potter films
  • Q&A sessions with Harry Potter filmmakers and cast members, along with the creators of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Screenings of all eight Harry Potter films – including “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” – at the AMC Universal Cineplex 20 in Universal CityWalk.  Access to the screenings can be added to the vacation packages for an additional fee.

Throughout the three-day celebration, guests will also be able to explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where the wonder, excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter films come to life.  They will enjoy experiences such as soaring above Hogwarts on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, sipping Butterbeer in Hogsmeade and being inside Ollivanders and seeing a wand choose its wizard.

The primary way to participate in celebration events is by purchasing one of Universal Orlando’s special vacation packages.  Packages are extremely limited and go on sale at noon EDT on Sunday, July 31. Guests can choose from two vacation package options:  the Celebration Vacation Package and the Premier Vacation Package. There will be additional ways for a limited number of people to participate in celebration events. Stay tuned for more details.

Vacation Packages for A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films

Celebration Vacation Package – Starts at $369 per person

  • 4-night accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel
  • 3-day ticket to both of Universal Orlando’s theme parks
  • More time to enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with Early Park Admission starting at 6 a.m.
  • Reservation to one in-park Harry Potter talent Q&A session (one per person)
  • Commemorative pin (one per person)
  • Harry Potter Blu-Ray set (one per package)

Premier Vacation Package – Starts at $699 per person
All of the above, PLUS:

  • Reservation to one in-park Harry Potter cast member autograph session
  • Admission to the exclusive nighttime gala event on Sunday, November 13
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks

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Afternoon Game Drive Paired with Dinner at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

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Animal Kingdom SafariSavannas surrounding Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offer up a panorama of wildlife as creatures large and small roam the grasses, forage for food and play in harmony. The grounds are home to approximately 200 mammals and exotic birds representing a cross-section of the African palette – bongo, greater kudu, zebra, wildebeest, impala, African spoonbills and Eastern white pelicans, to name a few.

Just before sunset, eager adventurers gather outside the lodge with a guide for a thrilling game-viewing safari. Up to 12 persons can board a specially designed vehicle for a bird’s-eye view of a typical North African safari.

Safari-goers are wide-eyed as many animals move within feet of the vehicle.  Cameras and videos are poised to capture the Africa-like wonders.

Jiko DisneyThe second part of the journey leads to the resort’s signature restaurant, Jiko-The Cooking Place, where a savory South African feast awaits safari-goers. Flavors of Africa fill the air in a memorable multi-course meal served family-style and blending regional spices and grains. Popular South African wines are paired with each course, which includes a sweet display of desserts.

The Wanyama Safari is offered to guests (age 8 and up) staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas, seven days a week at 4 p.m.

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Take a Sunrise Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Animal Kingdom lodge Safari

Picture the morning sun rising in the Florida sky, illuminating a landscape rich with animals catching the first light of day. And you have a front-row seat.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge invites Kilimanjaro Club Level guests to an amazing two-hour experience.

During an approximately 45-minute safari, guests will have the opportunity to learn more about animal care, the grounds of the theme park and the operation. Included in the cost of the tour is a lavish breakfast buffet in the park, at the Pizzafari Restaurant.

The Sunrise Safari is offered Sundays and Thursdays at 7:00 a.m. Cost is $65 adult, $32.50 child (ages 3-9).

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Go “Grand” on a Luxury Yacht on Disney’s Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake

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Disney's Grand 1 Yacht

Grand 1, the most luxurious watercraft at Walt Disney World Resort, offers a pampered VIP boating experience on the waters of Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake just outside Magic Kingdom. A personal captain and deckhand launch the 52-foot Sea Ray yacht from the marina at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Morning and afternoon excursions on the Grand 1 offer guests a spectacular view of Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Wedding Pavilion and several Walt Disney World resorts. For an elegant evening voyage, romantic music sets the mood as the sun sets over the gabled roofs of the Grand Floridian. On select nights, cruisers can view “Wishes,” a magnificent fireworks display above Magic Kingdom.  Those on board are treated to synchronized audio from the show.

For the ultimate cruise, the Grand Floridian private-dining staff can prepare anything from an evening snack to a gourmet five-course meal with fine wine pairings. A private-service butler can also cater to guests’ every need.

As many as 18 people can sail for $553 per hour, including charter fee, boat captain and deckhand. Dining service and private butler are available for additional fees.

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Surf Lessons at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

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Typhoon Lagoon Surf LessonsUnschooled in the fine art of surfing?

Novices can catch a wave and master the rush of shooting the curls at the Typhoon Lagoon water park in Walt Disney World.

Every 90 seconds, the world’s largest wave machine blasts out walls of surf that can tower up to six feet high. Cocoa Beach Surf School invites guests to learn from professional surfers how to cut, carve and “hang 10.”

The 2.5-hour program is available by reservation for $150 on select mornings prior to regular park hours. Guests (ages 8 and older) can call 1-866-972-6244 for more information.

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Segway Your Way to Fun at the Walt Disney World Resort

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Walt Disney World guests can experience a Segway Human Transporter (HT) for themselves, firsthand, as part of three different programs.

Around the World at Epcot is a two-hour guided tour that allows guests to operate the two-wheeled, one-person transportation device throughout World Showcase before it opens to other park guests. Cost is $99.00 per person. Tours are daily at 7:45, 8:30, 9 and 9:30 a.m.

The Simply Segway experience is a one-hour beginner’s class that gives guests a product overview, training and indoor riding time at Epcot’s Innoventions area. Cost is $35.00 per person. Simply Segway is offered daily (except Tuesdays) at 11:30 a.m.

Wilderness Back Trail Adventures is a two-hour tour that lets guests explore the natural beauty of the Florida landscape in and around Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.  Cost is $90 per person.

For all Segway programs, class size is limited to 10 guests. For tours at Epcot, park admission is required. Riders must be at least 16 years old to participate. Guests can call 866-972-6244 for more information or reservations. The Segway HT is the world’s first self-balancing human transporter that uses advanced technology, gyroscopes and tilt sensors to emulate human balance.

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Harley-Davidson Opens 3,635-square-foot store at Downtown Disney West Side

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Downtown Disney

Recently, Orlando Harley-Davidson opened its newly expanded 3,635-square-foot store at Downtown Disney West Side. The largest and most interactive Harley merchandise store of its kind, it draws guests in with a 40-foot tower and massive LCD/LED screens showing specially produced footage of motorcycles in action. Guests are also able to see and sit on some of the latest Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and a brand new production studio lets guests be pictured in their favorite riding spot or transformed into real bikers. Guests can even design biker vests of their own.

Later this summer, Apricot Lane Boutique, a specialty retail store that offers celebrity-inspired branded apparel, affordable fashion jewelry, handbags and accessories, will open in the space the Harley-Davidson store previously occupied on Pleasure Island at the Walt Disney World Resort.

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Bowling Alley Coming to Downtown Disney West Side

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Splitsville Bowling Alley Downtown Disney

Walt Disney World just announced it’s plans for the current RIDEMAKERS Store, formerly Virgin Megastore, at Downtown Disney’s West Side.  Within the next few months, construction on Splitsville, a 50,000 square foot bowling, billiards, dining, music and nightlife complex will begin.  RIDEMAKERS will be relocated to the Downtown Disney Marketplace.

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Universal Orlando Surprises Guests at Midnight Screening of the Final Harry Potter Film with Exclusive Access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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Universal Orlando Resort surprised guests who attended the midnight film screening of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” at AMC Universal Cineplex 20 with something they could only have dreamed of – exclusive, complimentary access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Immediately following the film, these select guests had The Wizarding World of Harry Potter all to themselves from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m.

Moviegoers were notified of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity following the film. After celebrating in the theaters, more than 3,000 excited guests walked a red carpet to the place where the wonder, excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter films will live on. During their visit, guests experienced the wand choosing them at Ollivanders, tasted Butterbeer, toured Hogwarts castle and enjoyed many other experiences found only at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter features multiple themed attractions, shops and a restaurant – all faithful to the films.

HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.(s11) © 2011 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

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Disney Imagineer Sculpts King Triton for New Art of Animation Resort

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Triton Sculpture Disney Art of Animation

A SCULPTURE FIT FOR A KING: Disney Imagineer Joni Van Buren sculpts a model of King Triton from Disney’s animated classic “The Little Mermaid.” King Triton, in his final form, will be 35-feet-tall and tower over guests at Disney Parks newest resort hotel, “Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.” The new resort at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. will feature themed building exteriors and room interiors that bring to life famous Disney and Disney-Pixar animated feature films like “The Lion King,” “Cars,” “Finding Nemo” and “The Little Mermaid.” Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is expected to open by the end of 2012 and reservations are now being accepted!

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Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Royal Guest Rooms Can Now Be Booked for Vacations in 2012

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Royal Rooms Disney Port orleans

Two new ways for guests of Walt Disney World Resort to live like their favorite Disney characters can now be booked for 2012 vacations. Building on the success of Pirate Rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, new “Disney Story Rooms” – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and the Royal Guest Rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside — are under construction.

Opening in early spring 2012, the Royal Guest Rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside allow princes and princesses of all ages to stay where Disney royalty have stayed. Guests find regal touches left behind by some of their favorite Disney characters – fiber optics special effects above ornately decorated beds, gold and crystal accents, custom linens and drapes, and in-room art and details including Princely banners and Princess friends. The 512 Royal Guest Rooms start at $189 per night.

Walt Disney World guests also can now book rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a brand new Walt Disney World Value resort opening in phases beginning early summer 2012. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort will immerse guests in their favorite Disney stories — including Disney• Pixar’s Finding Nemo and Cars as well as Walt Disney Pictures’ The Lion King and The Little Mermaid.

The one-of-a-kind resort will feature more than 800 standard guest rooms and more than 1,100 family suites (which sleep up to six people) at its completion. Standard rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort start at $94 per night and family suites start at $248 per night. Walt Disney World guests have more than 20 uniquely-themed resort hotels from which to choose – something for just about every taste, family size and budget. Walt Disney World resort hotels offer convenient transportation and access to Walt Disney World theme parks and other entertainment options.

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Aylin Mujica and Gabriel Valenzuela at Universal Orlando

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Aylin MujicaAylin Mujica, Cuban actress and model, and her husband, actor Gabriel Valenzuela, took advantage of the long weekend and visited Hogsmeade at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, in Universal Orlando Resort. During their visit, the couple and their family went to Hogwarts and enjoyed Butterbeer, a favorite drink inside the Harry Potter books and films, in addition to enjoying all the rides and attractions at Universal Orlando. Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter features multiple themed attractions, shops and a restaurant – all faithful to the books and films.

Aylín Mujica

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Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Hosts First Cupcake Lovers Weekend

cupcake-weekend-hilton-orlando-bonnet-creek

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A visit to Orlando will be a bit sweeter July 8-10, as Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek celebrates its first-ever Cupcake Lovers Weekend, a special celebration of frosted fun.

The special weekend, part of the resort’s season-long SummerBlast! promotion will feature a schedule of activities and events themed around cupcakes.

“Cupcakes have hit the stratosphere of pop-culture,” said Tracy Walker, general manager of Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. “And with all of the passion surrounding these tasty treats, we thought they deserved a special spot on our calendar!”

Guests visiting the hotel during Cupcake Lovers Weekend, will have an opportunity to sample and purchase various cupcakes, and participate in cupcake-themed events, including:

  • Cupcake Decorating Tips – An opportunity to learn decorating techniques that you can incorporate into your next batch of cupcakes!
  • MUSE Cupcake Bar – Curb your cupcake craving with a stop at MUSE, our lobby coffee and sweet shop.
  • Cuppycake Kids Zone – A chance for children to decorate their own cupcake, as well as other cupcake crafts.
  • Cupcake Walk – Our recreation team has created cupcake themed activities around the pool, including a special version of a cakewalk… the Bonnet Creek Cupcake Walk!
  • Cupcake Displays – Enjoy a display of cupcakes decorated by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek pastry chefs.
  • Cupcake Voting – Guests can enjoy a display of cupcakes created by Hilton team members… and vote on their favorite designs!
  • Cupcake Martinis – The Hilton lounges will feature special “cupcake” themed martinis… you’ve got to try these!
  • Savory Cupcakes – Harvest Bistro will be serving several “savory” entrée cupcakes – the latest trend in cupcakes!
  • Summer Activities – In addition, guests can enjoy their favorite SummerBlast activities and events, including a DUCKTONA 500, a zany rubber duck race in our lazy river; Dive-in Movies; and our SummerBlast! Saturday pool party, where one guest will win an iPod loaded with the latest hits.

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek offers the best of both worlds: a convenient “insider” location accessible from within Walt Disney World property and the peaceful serenity of the surrounding 482-acre nature preserve. Resort amenities include 1,000 elegantly appointed rooms and suites, a 3-acre Florida-style lazy-river pool, a Rees Jones-designed championship golf course, a luxe spa by Guerlain, a full fitness center, and nearly a dozen dining and lounge options, including the award-winning La Luce by Donna Scala.

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Florida Resident Offers for Halloween Horror Nights 2011

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They say, “To wait for luck is the same as waiting for death.”   Are you waiting for Luck?

You are captivated by an intense desire to tempt fate. Your heart races. Your nails dig into your thigh. The taste of blood is on your tongue as you bite down on your lip. Your eyes shift wildly as you contemplate the risk. Desire seduces you…and you forget that the House always wins.

Luck will run out as you are consumed by Universal Orlando Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights 21. People from around the globe will be haunted by “the country’s best Halloween event” (Amusement Today) beginning September 23 at Universal Studios Florida. For 25 nights, screams will fill the darkness as guests discover their fate.

So go ahead – take a chance at Halloween Horror Nights 21. Tickets are now on sale and Florida residents can experience the event with the following offers:

Halloween Horror Nights Florida Resident Offers

Florida Resident Single Night Event Ticket ~ Starts at $41.99 plus tax

  • Includes admission to one night of Halloween Horror Nights
  • Must be purchased in advance with an UPC code from Coca Cola Zero, Coca Cola or Diet Coke products
  • Prices vary depending on date of visit

Frequent Fear Pass ~  Starts at $81.99 plus tax

  • Experience 15 nights of the event for the price of one.
  • Includes admission to the event on September 23, 24 and 29,October 2, 6, 9, 13, 16, 19, 20, 23, 26, 27, 30 and 31 .
  • Other Frequent Fear Pass options available.

Gory Getaway Vacation Package ~ Entire package starts at $89 per adult, tax inclusive

  • 1-night accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel
  • 1-night admission to Halloween Horror Nights
  • Admission to select live entertainment venues at Universal CityWalk
  • One 5”x7” souvenir photograph
  • On-site accommodations at one of Universal Orlando’s three AAA Four-Diamond hotels are also available

Event dates: September 23-24 and 29-30, October 1-2, 6-9, 13-16, 19-23 and 26-31

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