Category Archives: Featured

Top 5 Family Friendly Hotel Chains

Major hotel chains are now targeting their efforts to appeal to traveling families by adding amenities and extras that appeal to kids. But what you get for your money can vary from chain to chain. Families are looking for amenities that are geared towards kids, from supervised activities for youngsters, free breakfasts, and pools and sports amenities. Based on this criteria, we’ve put together our list of the top 5 family friendly hotel chains…

read more…

Orlando Officials Approve Massive I-Square Mall and Hotel Project

On Monday evening the Orlando City Council approved a massive new development that will redefine the north end of International Drive.

The $400 million I-Square Mall and Hotel project will be built on the southeast corner of International Drive and Kirkman Road. The state-of-the-art complex will include a 26-story, 729-room luxury hotel, a multi-level shopping mall, a 500-seat live performance theater, 100,000 square-foot convention center, food court, ice-skating rink and a 360′ high roof-top observation deck with rotating restaurant. Project developers envision a “flashy, Las Vegas-style complex catering to affluent travelers”.

When built, the I-Square Mall and Hotel will instantly become a landmark on North I-Drive. It will replace the International Shoppes strip mall, which will be demolished to make way for the complex.

I-Square Mall and Hotel is expected to begin construction in 2015, with a grand opening slated for the summer of 2017.

For I-4 traveler information, including exit listings, real-time traffic reports, gas prices and more, visit www.i4exitguide.com

Universal Studios Announce “The Purge: Anarchy,” a New “Halloween Horror Nights” ScareZone

As the gates to “Halloween Horror Nights” open, so too does the annual Purge begin at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort with the debut of a terrifying new scarezone, “The Purge: Anarchy,” inspired by Universal Pictures’ new thriller, which scored the highest opening for a horror film this year.

“The Purge: Anarchy” scarezone will greet guests with pure unadulterated fear, bringing to life the turmoil and pandemonium that awaits those vulnerable to masked vigilantes in search of new victims. Reimagining the movie’s premise that on one night every year, any and all crime is made legal, the scarezone will be inhabited by average citizens transformed into sadistic felons during this period of government-sanctioned lawlessness. Like civilians in the movie fighting to survive, guests will be at the mercy of cunning wit, luck and speed as they attempt to outsmart and outlive the anarchy brought about by those who believe in an “eye for an eye.”

The Purge: Anarchy, the sequel to last summer’s surprise hit, moves from the confines of a suburban neighborhood to the streets as the government begins its annual 12-hour Purge to ensure that the crime rate stays below one percent for the rest of the year. With all emergency services suspended, it’s the one night when society regulates itself without thought of punishment or fear of retribution. For average people who do not have the means to barricade themselves indoors with a state-of-the-art security system, anarchy rules and no one is safe. In this new story, an unlikely group of five citizens discover how far they will go to protect themselves and, ultimately, each other, as they fight to survive a dangerous night fraught with impossible decisions.

From director and writer James DeMonaco (The PurgeAssault on Precinct 13), The Purge: Anarchy stars Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Carmen Ejogo (Away We Go), Zach Gilford (Devil’s Due), Kiele Sanchez (A Perfect Getaway) andMichael K. Williams (The Wire).

“‘Halloween Horror Nights’ is about taking guests out of their comfort zones and placing them at the core of unimaginable horror,” saidJohn Murdy, Universal Studios Hollywood’s Creative Director for and Executive Producer of “Halloween Horror Nights.”  “Because the premise of ‘The Purge’ could theoretically happen, our scare-zone elevates that sense of fear and forces you to really watch your back.  Imagining how your neighbor, friend or enemy could take revenge on you without retribution because you wronged them takes horror to a whole new level, and we wanted to bring that gut-wrenching terror to every one of our guests.”

“‘The Purge’” scarezone will invade the streets of ‘Halloween Horror Nights’, taking up most of our New York back lot. The chaos that reigns in the film will be replicated nightly, but now our guests can actually attempt to survive the night themselves,” said Michael Aiello, Director of Entertainment – Creative Development, Universal Orlando Resort. “The familiar emergency broadcast will be heard announcing the commencement of the annual Purge, and all hell will literally break loose.”

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” events have a more than 20-year history of creating incredibly entertaining, horrifyingHalloween experiences that are consistently rated the nation’s best. The events on each coast feature highly-themed, disturbingly real, haunted mazes based on everything from films to nightmares – and streets filled with hundreds of specially trained “scareactors” in uniquely themed scare-zones. In addition to “The Purge:  Anarchy,” other announced experiences include, “The Walking Dead:  The End of the Line,” “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “Face Off: In the Flesh.”

To complement its numerous mazes, “Halloween Horror Nights” features a variety of terrifying scare-zones designed to provoke heart-pounding fear as guests traverse the park from one traumatizing experience to the next, unsure of what lies just around the corner.

To learn more about this all-new “Halloween Horror Nights” scarezone, click here:  The Purge: Anarchy.

For more I-4 information, visit www.4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Florida’s Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Join our social circle and stay connected. To stay in the loop on all things I-95, click the icons below to find us on Facebook and Twitter!

FacebookTwitter

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide and I-95 Exit Guide.

Orlando Approves I-Drive MegaMall and Hotel

The developer of a new $400 million mall and hotel tower recently received recommended approval from the City of Orlando Planning Board for it’s master plan to build a multilevel shopping center and 26-story hotel on the corner of International Drive and Kirkman Road. Their next step will be going before the city council.

The iSquare Mall and Hotel will include 749 hotel rooms, 490,213 square feet of retail space, a restaurant, meeting space, skating rink, a 500-seat live performance theater and office space, plus an 11-story, 2,780-space parking garage. The complex will be topped with a rotating restaurant and observation deck that will be 360-feet tall, city documents showed. The project should take two or three years to complete.

The approved concept is a slightly smaller version of a plan that the developer originally submitted. The original version included a 32-story hotel and more than 1,200 hotel rooms.

For more I-4 information, visit www.4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Florida’s Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Join our social circle and stay connected. To stay in the loop on all things I-95, click the icons below to find us on Facebook and Twitter!

FacebookTwitter

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide and I-95 Exit Guide.

Orlando’s Skyplex Development Adds More Land

Skyplex, the $200 million retail and entertainment destination scheduled to be built on Orando’s International Drive, has just added another parcel to it’s project site.

The developer purchased an adjacent half-acre site from Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. The property is the third piece they have secured so far at the northeast corner of International Drive and Sand Lake road to build the 12-acre Skyplex tourist destination.

Skyplex will feature a 570-foot-tall Skyscraper roller coaster and observation tower attraction, a vertical roller coaster that will drop from the height of the tower and ride along the outside of some of the retail structures at the center. The destination is expected to feature nearly 500,000 square feet of luxury retail space, including high end shopping.

Construction is expected to start in 2015 with a grand opening slated for 2016.

 

For more I-4 information, visit www.4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Florida’s Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Join our social circle and stay connected. To stay in the loop on all things I-95, click the icons below to find us on Facebook and Twitter!

FacebookTwitter

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit GuideI-75 Exit Guide and I-95 Exit Guide.

Road Trip Declared Americans’ Favorite Vacation

The summer travel season is officially under way, and Jiffy Lube – an industry leader in vehicle preventive maintenance – has confirmed Americans’ love for the open road. According to a recent survey fielded by Jiffy Lube International*, four in five Americans (78 percent) agree that road trips make the best vacations.

“Consumers love the freedom that the open road brings to their travels. Whether on a mission to find the best roadside diner in America or check a few national parks off their bucket list, road trips offer a little something for everyone,” said Steven C. Ledbetter, president of Jiffy Lube International. “Jiffy Lube is here to help drivers get to their final destinations worry-free while encouraging new adventures on the road ahead.”

Not surprisingly, this love for getting behind the wheel resulted in more than 80 percent of respondents sharing that they truly love their cars, with about two-thirds saying they’d rather drive across the country than fly. When it comes to road trip personalities, there is a clear divide between the “Planners” and the “Pilots.”  Forty-four percent of women put themselves in the “Planner” category, noting that they prefer to ride shotgun, control the radio and take charge of the maps. Forty-three percent of men put themselves in the driver’s seat, literally, classifying themselves as the “Pilots,” choosing to drive and make the decisions on when and where to stop.

CULINARY JOURNEY

Whether driving along coastal New England on a quest for the best clam chowder or going on a barbecue tour of the south, food is a big part of the trip for many. Half of those surveyed parked at a restaurant along the way versus eating while on the road. Even those who prefer to pack meals and snacks try to stop and enjoy surroundings, with 30 percent of Americans saying they like to pack picnic fixings for a stop at a roadside park or other scenic spot.

ROAD TRIP STYLE

You don’t always know where the road will take you or what you’ll need when you get there, which can pose a problem for those looking to pack lightly. Without a strict itinerary, two in three Americans (64 percent) find packing for road trips tricky, even sharing that 67 percent always over pack since they don’t have to worry about airline baggage fees, weight limitations or security restrictions. Regardless of how much or how little one packs, however, sweats reign supreme as the road trip uniform, with forty percent opting for sweat pants and t-shirts before piling into the car. That being said, more than 50 percent of both men and women always pack one must-have fashion favorite for once they reach their destination.

WHAT YOU ‘AUTO’ KNOW BEFORE HITTING THE ROAD

Preparation is the key to success for summer road trips. Before hitting the road, the car-care experts at Jiffy Lube suggest five quick tips to make sure your vehicle is road-trip-ready so you can leave worry behind:

  1. Keep Fluids Flowing Check the levels of all vital fluids, including motor oil, coolant, transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid, and top-off, or change fluids, as needed. Motor oil does more than just lubricate moving parts. It cools engine parts, provides protection over a wide temperature range and even helps to protect the emissions system.
  2. Shine Bright Make sure your headlights, taillights, turn signals, parking lights and license plate lights are all working. Replace any bulbs that may have burned out and consider getting lights cleaned to remove haze and clarify the lenses.
  3. Beat the Heat Keep a gallon of distilled water in the trunk of your vehicle. If your vehicle starts to overheat, pull over to a safe location as soon as possible. Turn off the vehicle’s engine and safely raise the hood as water and/or steam could spray, resulting in injury. On modern vehicles it is important to note that cooling systems come in several configurations. The more traditional design includes a radiator with an integrated radiator cap and a coolant reservoir. Other configurations utilize a sealed radiator and pressure tank with integrated pressure cap.First step, then, is to identify the locations of the coolant reservoir, radiator cap or pressure cap via the owner’s manual. For vehicles so equipped, check the reservoir level and add water appropriately. If the vehicle does not include a reservoir, locate the radiator or pressure cap.  Do not remove the radiator or pressure cap until the system has cooled down completely, as injury may occur due to the release of scalding water or steam. Note, however, the system may still be under pressure even after cool down period. For optimal safety, use a towel to touch, slowly twist and remove the radiator or pressure cap, allowing access to add the appropriate amount of water.
  4. Get Rid of Junk in the Trunk Match the load rate of your vehicle (found in the owner’s manual or inside the driver’s side door) with the estimated weight of your family and the luggage you’ll be packing for the trip. Excess weight makes the engine work harder and consume more gasoline.
  5. Keep Your Tires Rolling Along Check tire air pressure, including the spare. Over- or under-inflation can weaken your tires, cause uneven tread wear and impact your gas mileage. Many drivers think the proper tire pressure can be found on the actual tire, however, that’s incorrect. Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual or to a decal often found in the doorjamb or glove compartment for the proper tire pressure. Check the pressure when the tire is cold/at air temperature. Do not check the pressure after an extended drive on the highway or after driving for more than five minutes.

To ensure your vehicle is ready to hit the road, visit JiffyLube.com to find your local Jiffy Lube service center; there, you can also find oil change coupons and promotions for your next visit. For additional road trip findings and tips, please visit the Jiffy Lube Instagram,TwitterFacebook and Google+ pages.

*METHODOLOGY

The 2014 Jiffy Lube Road Trip Survey presents the findings of an online survey conducted by Toluna from June 25-27, 2014 among a sample of 1,021 American adults. Respondents, comprising 489 men and 532 women, were 18 years of age and older. The margin of error for a sample of this size is ± 3% at a 95% level of confidence.

About Jiffy Lube

Jiffy Lube International, Inc. (“Jiffy Lube”), with more than 2,000 franchised service centers in North America, serves approximately 22 million customers each year. Jiffy Lube pioneered the fast oil change industry in 1979 by establishing the first drive-through service bay, providing customers with fast, professional service for their vehicles. Headquartered in Houston, Jiffy Lube is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Shell Oil Company. Visit www.JiffyLube.com to learn more about Jiffy Lube and vehicle care. About Shell Oil Company Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Royal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies with 90,000 employees in more than 80 countries. We deliver a diverse range of energy solutions and petrochemicals to customers worldwide. These include transporting and trading oil and gas, marketing natural gas, producing and selling fuel for ships and planes, generating electricity and providing energy efficiency advice. We also produce and sell petrochemical building blocks to industrial customers globally, and we are investing in making renewable and lower-carbon energy sources competitive for large-scale use. In the U.S., we operate in 50 states and employ more than 20,000 people delivering energy in a responsible manner. For more information, visit www.shell.us.

 

For more I-95 information, visit www.i95exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to America’s Interstate Main Street. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Maine to Florida!

Join our social circle and stay connected. To stay in the loop on all things I-95, click the icons below to find us on Facebook and Twitter!

FacebookTwitter

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-4 Exit Guide,I-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

The Adventure Continues…The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley Now Open At Universal Orlando Resort

It’s the day millions of people around the world have been waiting for…

On July 8, 2014, Universal Orlando Resort officially opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Confetti, fireworks and a red carpet lined with dozens of cheering Diagon Alley team members welcomed thousands of excited guests as they entered the all-new spectacularly-themed land for the very first time.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley brings even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life at Universal Orlando Resort. This fully-immersive area expands upon the global phenomenon launched by Universal Orlando when it opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure in 2010.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley is filled with incredible entertainment experiences for the whole family. You arrive aboard the Hogwarts Express, which takes guests on a journey between the two lands of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and are transported into a spectacularly themed environment. The new area includes incredible shops with windows full of magical surprises, authentic food and beverages, a towering dragon that breathes fire and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, a new attraction unlike any other that takes you on a mind-blowing ride through the Gringotts vaults – pulling you into an incredible adventure.

More details about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and available vacation packages can be found at www.UniversalOrlando.com/wizardingworld.

Additional Grand Opening photos are available for download here:https://universalorlandoresort.sharefile.com/d/sa6ea46ade74495ca

About the Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon. Each of the seven books by author J.K. Rowling has broken sales records, with the series to date having sold over 450 million copies worldwide and translated into 77 languages. The Harry Potter films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, have grossed more than $7.7 billion to date worldwide at the box office, making Harry Potter the largest-grossing film franchise in history.

About Universal Orlando Resort
Vacation like you mean it at Universal Orlando Resort – where every heart pounding, jaw-dropping, goose-bumping second counts. It is the only place where you can turn spending time with your family into spending time as a family. Together, you can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, become a Minion in the hilarious and heartwarming Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, and join Optimus Prime in the fight to save mankind on the new mega-attraction, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D. And now, you can step into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Universal Orlando Resort is home to two incredible theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure; four magnificently themed on-site hotels: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and the newest addition, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort; and Universal CityWalk – a nighttime entertainment complex featuring a collection of nightclubs, restaurants and shops. And located just minutes from Universal Orlando Resort is Wet n’ Wild, Orlando’s premier waterpark.

Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company. Follow Universal Orlando Resort on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About Warner Bros. Entertainment
Warner Bros. Entertainment is a global leader in all forms of entertainment and their related businesses across all current and emerging media and platforms. A Time Warner Company, the fully integrated, broad-based studio is home to one of the most successful collections of brands in the world and stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, television and home entertainment production and worldwide distribution to DVD, digital distribution, animation, comic books, video games, product and brand licensing, international cinemas and broadcasting.

It’s Official – Universal’s Diagon Alley Opens July 8

Universal Studios Orlando announced this morning that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley is opening July 8.

A London Waterfront showcases Diagon Alley. This new section of the expansion includes King’s Cross Station, the Knight Bus, The Leaky Cauldron, Grimmauld Place, and includes several new restaurants, shows and a new ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

Guests will have to purchase a 2-day park pass in order to travel to both areas of the Wizarding World (Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure.

Watch this site as more details become available.

Get in on the excitement of Universal’s Diagon Alley and one of the most anticipated theme park attractions. Make your hotel reservations now. Check out the deals for lodging near Universal Studios Orlando

It’s Official: Orlando’s Proposed Skyplex Entertainment Complex Will Include PolerCoaster

After months of speculation it has been officially reported that a new 570-foot-tall roller coaster, called the Skyscraper, is on the way to Orlando’s International Drive.

The Polercoaster from US Thrill Rides will be built as part of the Skyplex Entertainment complex on the northeast corner of the intersection of Sand Lake Road and International Drive.

With nearly one mile of track, Skycraper will include 8-passenger vehicles that will reach speeds up to 65 miles per hour. The coaster will have the capacity to carry up to 1,000 people per hour. The ride is expected to cost less than $20 a ticket. Continue reading It’s Official: Orlando’s Proposed Skyplex Entertainment Complex Will Include PolerCoaster

Polercoaster, The World’s Tallest Rollercoaster Coming to I-Drive

Attention thrill-seekers: the word is almost official… the world’s tallest roller coaster, will be built near the intersection of International Drive and Sand Lake Road in Orlando.

The Polercoaster will be approximately 570 feet tall… the tallest structure in Central Florida. For comparison, that’s about 150 feet taller than the Orlando Eye Observation Wheel, now under construction along I-Drive just south of Sand Lake Road. It will be nearly three times higher than both Disney’s Expedition Everest and Universal’s Rip Ride Rockit coasters and roughly 130 feet taller than the 35-story SunTrust Center in Downtown Orlando.

A press conference to officially announce the project is scheduled for Thursday, June 5th.

The Polercoaster will include an observation platform at the top that will have shops and a restaurant and event space.

Early news accounts mentioned that the Polercoaster will cost around $18 per rider and that it has the capacity to carry approximately 850 to 1,600 people per hour.