Archives for September 2009

Sea World Halloween events, Spooktacular

Sea World Halloween events, spooktacular

For SeaWorld’s 2010 new Spooktacular Halloween event information and times, please go to the new Halloween Spooktacular article you can find here.

It’s been a while since I made a post here about Sea World! So what better way then to let you know what special events are going on there for this Halloween season. Sea World is having what they call their Spooktacular trick or treat events. Halloween Spooktacular begins each day at 12 p.m. October 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, 30 and 31, 2009.

It’s a mix of fun things the little ones can do on those days. Kids can come in costumes or not, it’s up to you and does not matter. Throughout the park you can pick up a Spooktacular map that shows a dozen or more places kids can find many different sweet treats to find. It’s a mix of sweets and healthy foods so you can pick what you want your kid to have.

There’s also a special Sesame Street “countdown to Halloween” musical show with lots of the Sesame Street characters. The frozen fun zone features an ice DJ with interactive games and activities that is sure to be a hit with little ones. Finally there will be fun and funny Costumed characters dressed as fish and treats roaming the park to greet kids.

My that job sounds like fun, too bad I did not hear about the auditions! So if you like Sea World and have little ones, now you know what days to pick so they can have some extra fun. Unless your child is the type that might get traumatized by a giant walking fish sweating profoundly wanting a hug! Have fun at Sea World’s Halloween Spooktacular!

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 2009

Universal Studios halloween horror nights 2009 attractions

If your looking for information on Halloween Horror nights 2010 at Universal Studios, please go to this years posting for the new Halloween Horror nights 2010. It’s got a lot of new haunted houses and lots more!

Once again it’s time for Universal Studios Halloween horror nights! The biggest and scariest Halloween party in Orlando, Universal’s horror nights gets better every year. Now in it’s 19th year (I think) I’ve been to several of them. They have people that work on the sets, themes and costumes all year long. Horror nights is in the “old” Universal Studios park, not Islands Of Adventure.

Each year the sets are a little different, depending on what new movie has come out. However the old favorites are always there. Frankenstein, Dracula, zombies and so on are always around. Halloween Horror nights are only on selected nights. Sept. 25, 26, (last weekend, sorry) Oct. 1-4, 8-11, 15-18, 21-25 and 28-31.

During the day the park operates normally. But once the park closes on these nights at around 6:00 PM or so they turn the place into a creep-fest! Lights burn a blood red, forest come alive, all the park workers are in costumes and fog seems to appear everywhere. Horror nights starts at around 7:00 PM and last late, until 2:00 AM I think.
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Orlando area and theme park Oktoberfest events

Orlando area and theme park Oktoberfest events

Since Orlando is a major tourist and party place, it’s only natural that a lot of events are going on around here for the 2009 Oktoberfest celebrations! Based on the fall event from Germany, Oktoberfest features lots of German dances, songs and lots of different types of German beer to sample! Just about every club, bar, restaurant and theme park is having their own version of Oktoberfest.

The biggest and most recognizable Orlando Oktoberfest celebration is at Disney’s Epcot Center, where the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is taking place until Nov. 9th. Celebrate Oktoberfest with a festive show at the fabulous Biergarten located in the Germany location. Dance to authentic German music and song. Enjoy the oom-pah sound of the band and yodel and sing along with the group.

Other places throughout the park will have Oktoberfest events and of course different Germany beer to sample. Just about every Disney theme park will have something for Oktoberfest, from German toys to special German dances and songs plus more Germany beer selections in different restaurants.
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Safety tips for your Orlando Vacation

Orlando vacation safety tips

Most of the time the thousands of tourist on their Orlando vacation never run into anything bad. The tourist areas in Orlando are for the most part very safe. Like most cities, the bad guys tend to stick around their own areas and prey off each other, which is far from the tourist areas. However, there is always a few that decide to try to take stuff from people on a vacation.

You don’t know the area well, your distracted with all the new sights and attractions, and you can let your guard down. Taking the time to do a few things will insure that your not a victim of tourist crime. Most thieves are looking for a fast and easy victim. So a little precaution will go a long way to discourage them from picking you out of the hundreds of others around you.

So here’s a few general tips that will greatly reduce the chance of you becoming a victim in Orlando. First, don’t rent a convertible! No Floridian ever drives a convertible, which means it says “hey, here’s a tourist, take my stuff”! Trust me, you don’t want to drive one in Florida anyway. It’s so hot that as soon as you stop at a light you’ll be dripping in sweat. Convertibles look fun, but not in Orlando!
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Sneak peek at Universal Studios The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Studios peek at The Wizarding world of Harry Potter park

One of biggest projects going on at Universal Studios Orlando right now is the construction of the new Wizarding world of Harry Potter park. Located where the dueling dragons are now at Islands of Adventure, it will be a theme park within a theme park at 20 acres in size. Harry Potter fans are very eager to see it open, and many will be scheduling their Orlando vacation around the opening date.

Up to now Universal Studios would only say it would open sometime in 2010, quite a big time frame. But now they have announced that The Wizarding world of Harry Potter theme park will open in the spring of 2010! That still leaves 3 months or so of time within to open, but at least it’s better than a whole year.

Universal Studios peek at The Wizarding world of Harry Potter park

As for what rides you can expect, there seems to be at least 3 major Harry Potter themed rides, maybe as many as 5. The biggest and best so far seems to be “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” a state-of-the-art attraction located within the recreated Hogwarts Castle. Not a roller coaster, it sounds like a mix between the “Spiderman ride” and “the mummy”.

The other Harry Potter rides will also be good I’m sure. Universal Studios is really banking a lot on this, so they know they have to get it right and get it good! If you need to schedule your Orlando vacation soon and really want to visit The Wizarding world of Harry Potter, I would play it safe and shoot for late spring, around June to make sure it’s open.

Universal Studios peek at The Wizarding world of Harry Potter park

Walt Disney World making new fantasyland at Magic Kingdom

Click here to see full size picture

Exciting news is going on at Walt Disney World here in Orlando! It seems as though Disney is finally making a new fantasyland at the magic kingdom. Where fantasyland is now, behind Cinderella’s castle, will be done over into a bigger and better fantasyland, complete with a new little mermaid ride. There also will be more interaction areas with Disney’s princesses and more.

They seem to be making it more about the Disney Princesses, like dancing with Cinderella, or playing a role with Belle from Beauty and the Beast. In fact a castle from that story will be made. Plus lots more from Tinkerbell to Dumbo, which will have that ride moved and upgraded. Mickey’s Toontown fair will be removed, with Mickey and Minnie getting new homes at the front of the park.

The picture above is the current plan, click it for a bigger view. Kids will walk through a fairy tale forest and much more to get to the attractions and new shops and restaurants, all based on the popular Disney Princesses. However it will all take time. The current time table for it to be done and open is,,, sometime in 2012!

Soon all rental cars will be available at the Orlando airport

Orlando airport rental car companies will soon all be at the airport

Most people think that they can hop into any type of rental car right at the Orlando airport. For most of the rental car companies that is true. Almost all the rental car booths are on the first floor of the main Orlando airport terminal. BUT, for some like Hertz, you then need to take the rental car shuttle van or bus to their rental car lot located a mile or two from the airport.

The reason for this is that up until now there just was not enough room at the airport to hold all the rental cars. With around 6 major rental car companies operating out of the Orlando airport, each one with hundreds of cars, they take up lots of space! So large ones like Hertz had to get car lots just outside of the airport.

But now the Orlando airport is making some big construction jobs, one of which is to make more room for rental cars. So by next spring of 2010 all the major rental car agencies will have their cars ready to pick up right inside the airport terminal garages. That also means you can drop off your rental car right at the airport and be on your way to catch your flight.

More than 2 million rental cars are used a year by Orlando airport guest. So now it will be that much easier to grab your car and take off as soon as your plane lands. If you like Hertz rental cars, look for them to be operating out of the Orlando airport by spring of 2010, like all the other major rental car agencies!

Orlando airport checkpoint friendly laptop bags requirements

Orlando airport checkpoint friendly laptop bags requirements

One of the things I hate the most when traveling by plane is having to take my laptop out of the case. My laptop is my whole job, so I am very picky about it. Seeing it dumped into a dirty plastic tub and smacked around while I hurry up with my other items is very stressful. Well now there is good news, at least at the Orlando International airport.

They now will let you keep your laptop in the case,,, IF it meets the checkpoint friendly laptop bag requirements. Which brings up the question, just why do you need to take it out anyway? It all goes back to a plane bombing about 18 years ago. The bomb was inside a boom box. So they now X-ray all laptops to make sure there is no bomb inside of the case.

The screeners know what the inside of a laptop should look like and if it has been tampered with. So they need a very clear view of the laptop. If there are pockets full of pens, papers, wires and so on over it they can’t get a clear view of it. So that’s why they need to view it outside the laptop case. But now they have decided your laptop can stay in the case as long as the case gives a clear view of the laptop.
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Walt Disney World buys Marvel Comics rights

Walt Disney World buys Marvel Comics rights, bad news for Universal

Well in case you have not heard, Walt Disney World has bought the rights to Marvel Comics, at least in some ways. It’s a complex deal with many twist and turns. The biggest and most awkward part of it is the relationship with Disney’s competitor, Universal Studios. You see, Universal already had a contract with Marvel Comics to build theme park rides and market merchandise from the characters of Marvel Comics.

At Universal Studios Islands Of Adventure they have a whole section called Marvel Super Hero Island. It features the Incredible Hulk roller coaster, The Spider Man ride, Dr. Dooms free fall ride and Storm’s Force Accelatron ride. They also have The X men characters running around in costume. Those are all characters from Marvel Comics.

So how is that going to affect Universal Studios? Will they have to shut down their Marvel rides? Well for now the answer is,,, no. It seems that Universal Studio retains some rights from their earlier contract. One of them is that Universal can continue using the Marvel trademarks for as long as the attractions are in operation. It also ensures that no other theme park east of the Mississippi River — including Walt Disney World — can develop attractions based on the same characters.

So if your afraid of your favorite theme park rides at Universal Studios getting shut down by Disney, you can relax. They will stay open and everything will go on as usual. Walt Disney cannot make new rides in their Florida theme parks based on Marvel Comics characters. However they can, and I’m sure they will, at Disneyland in California.

However it is a very interesting deal, with Disney holding rights to some aspects of what Universal Studios can do. I’m sure they don’t like it one bit! Die hard Marvel Comics fans are upset that Disney will come out with movies based on the Marvel Comics characters as more “sissy” than Universal would make them, seeing as Disney is family friendly.

I guess all we can do is wait and see what happens. In the meantime nothing will change much at Disney World or Universal Studios here in Orlando Florida. So all the rides will still be going at Universal, and no new Marvel Comics rides will be going up at Disney. We just have to wait and see if a new movie will be coming out called The Hulk verses Pirates Of The Caribbean!

Orlando Theme park ride height requirements

Orlando theme park ride height requirements

One of the most frustrating things to experience at a theme park is getting to a ride your kid has been talking about forever, only to find that he or she is not tall enough to ride it. The temper tantrums I have seen those poor kids throw, oh boy! So it’s a good idea to check first and make sure your child is tall enough to ride the ride before getting to it.

First let me explain just why they have height limits. Each ride is made with what they figure is an “average” size of the person who will be riding it. Rides for little kids of course are made for child size. Bigger rides are made for a happy medium between kids heights and full, tall adults. The restraints that hold you in are made to fit MOST sizes, but there is a limit as to how much difference they can hold.

Mild rides that don’t turn upside down or throw you around too much have a smaller height limit because there is less chance your going to get thrown out even if the restraints are loose on you. More extreme rides that do loops and throw you around must hold you in your seat very tightly. So you must be taller so the shoulder harness can securely lock you in place.
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