Archives for August 2009

Labor day events in Orlando Florida & theme parks

Labor day events in Orlando, Walt Disney, Universal Studios and Sea World

Well everyone, one more week and it’s Labor Day weekend in Orlando, Florida! That’s the signal that summer is over and fall is coming soon. Labor Day weekend sees many having outdoor cookouts, going to the beach and taking a dip in the pool. Here in Orlando it also means the last big crowds of tourist in the theme parks before school.

Last year I spent Labor Day weekend on the beach at Daytona Beach. Someone took a picture of me, and that’s why I’ve been working out ever since! Anyway,,,,, for those wondering what kind of events might be going on at the theme parks and around Orlando, there really is not that much more going on. The crowds will be bigger everywhere as many get in their last Holiday weekend of the summer.

But all the theme parks will just have their normal summer events. Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World will have their normal nightly fireworks, parades and events. They might have a bit more fireworks than normal, a few more sales. The smaller attractions, stores and outlet malls generally have some big sales and discounts going on during Labor Day weekend.
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Watch your car top carriers in parking garages & Universal Studios!

Careful of the height of your car top carriers in parking garages

Nothing ruins your Orlando vacation faster, or makes you more embarrassed, than pulling into a parking garage at the Orlando airport, downtown or the one in Universal Studios and hearing your new car top luggage carrier getting ripped apart because it’s too high! I’ve seen that happen; I’ve been right behind someone who was having that type of bad day.

So let me tell you where you will run into these parking garages and the height requirements. Luckily there are only 3 places you might park inside a parking garage in Orlando. One is right at the airport. They have two main sections, part A and part B on each side of the main terminal. The rental cars are in these also.

The next place you might decide to park inside a parking garage is downtown Orlando. They have several right in the heart of downtown. It’s hard to find a parking spot downtown, so you might very well have to use one if your going to see what the main city is like. It can be very confusing for visitors trying to find the damn things however!
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Rip Ride Rockit Roller Coaster At Universal Studios Officially Open

rip ride rockit roller coaster officially open


Well after only a week for the soft opening Universal Studios Orlando has officially opened their new roller coaster, rip ride rockit! It’s a bit unusual to have only a week for a soft opening of a new ride before making it officially open. Normally they want more time to get all the bugs worked out of it so they don’t run the risk of disappointing the guest.

I think it’s because they want to make it open so they can use it for the last week or two of summer. However I do know that some of the cameras it uses to make a video for the guest, and also some of the soundtrack systems is not fully functional. My bet is they are risking the trade off of maybe getting some guest upset in return for being able to say their new ride is open, so come on down!

I STILL have not gone on it yet, sorry about that. I just have not had the time to get down there. But very soon I will ride it so I can give you a first hand review of it. The guest that have rode it seem very happy with it. So, Universal Studio’s Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster IS officially now open! Come on down and try it out! :)

More airline luggage cost means more reason to pack light

packing light for airline travel with rising luggage cost

More and more flying the friendly sky’s means paying for every single thing you carry. With airlines cutting cost they are now resorting to charging for more meals, drinks, little niceties and luggage. They also are not letting you get away with that over-sized carry-on bag like they use to. More and more airlines are charging per item of each checked bag, or after the first one.

Which means all the more reason to learn how to pack light! I must say over packing for trips is a pet peeve of mine. When I see a couple with no kids check in 5 bags plus 2 carry-ons each I have to shake my head and roll my eyes. True, I don’t know anything about them. Maybe they are going on an Brazilian expedition and they have a rubber raft in that luggage, but likely not!

Most people always over pack way too much stuff. When I go on a vacation I take just two carry-ons. One is my laptop, as I am always working on it of course. That’s how I post all these great articles even while on a trip! 😉 The other one is a soft bag with all my other stuff, small enough to fit any airlines carry-on bag size limits. That’s it!
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How much does it rain in Orlando Florida?

how much does it rain in Orlando, Florida!

In most Orlando vacation fliers and ads you always see it sunny without a cloud in the sky. You always hear about the Florida sunshine and getting sunburned. However for those who are not from Florida you might be surprised to learn that it often rains every day in the summer here in Orlando! In fact Florida I believe is the USA’s number one ranking for lighting strikes.

However the type of rain here is different than the rain you get up north. Yes it’s still just as wet, if not more so since it comes down so fast here! The difference is how long it last. Up in Vermont where I’m from a rainy day means it’s going to be wet, cold and dark all day. In Florida however it’s very flat, meaning the storms roll in and roll out very fast.

A normal summer day in Orlando Florida sees the morning as bright and hot, with very few clouds. Then in the afternoon clouds form, get very dark and roll in fast, often with plenty of thunder. It then rains very hard, often so hard it fills up roads and driveways with several inches of water. Then, about a half hour or so later it blows away, and the hot sun comes out again.

Within an hour or two all the water is gone and you can’t even tell it had rained! It does that almost every day, all summer long. So early afternoon is a good time to plan on doing something inside on your Orlando vacation. Take in an inside show, watch a movie or something. Normally the rain only last an hour or so, then after that it’s like it never happened.

Now, in the fall and winter it hardly ever rains. Day after day goes by with no rain. That’s the dry season in Florida. Sometimes it gets too dry and we end up with a water shortage, brush fires and yellow lawns! So, it does rain in Orlando, a lot actually. But only for an hour or so in the afternoon. So don’t let the rain stop you on your Orlando Vacation!

Soft opening for Rip Ride Rockit coaster at Universal Studios!

Soft opening for rip ride rockit roller coaster at Universal Studios

Well it took them long enough, but finally Universal Studios Orlando is having a soft opening for their new ride, the Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster! So just what is a “soft opening”? Basically it means it’s not officially open yet, but they are letting guest ride it periodically throughout the day as they test it out. Some things, like the custom music you can select and the cameras on it might not work.

Soft opening for rip ride rockit roller coaster at Universal Studios

The Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster at Universal Studios has had it’s share of problems, forcing it to delay the opening several times. But with a soft opening starting now, the official opening should not be long behind. So far the feedback from the guest that have rode it has been very positive. So I predict it should be open for all within a few weeks if not sooner.

That means I need to get my butt down there and try to be one that test it out! It is not running all day. They give some rides, then work on it, do more rides and so on. A soft opening is a fine tuning of everything. I took these pictures of it the last time I was there. It will look a bit different once they have everything done. Lights will go on the big first hill, which is 17 stories high. So Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster at Universal Studios will be open soon!

Soft opening for rip ride rockit roller coaster at Universal Studios

Are Orlando theme parks still empty?

Are Orlando theme parks starting to fill up now

Sorry it’s been a while since I made a post here, life has a way of taking all your time! Because of the bad economy this summer has seen light crowds at the Orlando Florida theme parks. Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World has all seen attendance drop like a gold plated balloon! More and more however I keep reading about how things are getting better overall.

So, has things picked up at the theme parks? In a word, NO! This later part of the summer might be seeing a little bit more park attendance than the first part of the summer. But overall things are still down in the Orlando area. All the theme parks, hotels and rental agencies still report lower than normal sales. Of course I can see that just by going around town and looking with my own eyes.

It will not be too long before school starts. Once that happens things always slow down a lot, this year more than ever. This fall will be a fantastic time for that Walt Disney World or Universal Studios vacation. As I have said before fall has the best of both worlds in Orlando. It’s cooler, less humid and rains less than in the summer. Crowds are gone, prices go down and great deals can be had.

The only down side is that some rides in the parks get shut down for maintenance work, there are less fireworks and shows and less parades in the parks. But overall your enjoyment will be much better, especially since you can actually get on more rides and save money! So things might be picking up a little here, but the whole rest of the year promises to still be a slow one.