Category Archives: RoadNews

Walt Disney World’s Toy Story Land To Open June 30

It’s a joy-filled, toy-filled world as only Disney can create, and it opens June 30, 2018. The all-new Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World Resort is inspired by Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story films.

Guests in Toy Story Land – located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – will feel like they have shrunk to the size of a toy as Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Slinky Dog, the Aliens, Green Army Men and other fun-loving Toy Story characters come to life in the larger-than-life outdoor setting of Andy’s backyard.

And what a backyard! In a rich and colorful landscape straight from his vivid imagination, Andy has set up his toys for the best playtime ever. Guests will be surrounded by giant building blocks, game board pieces and more.

Across eleven fun-filled acres, Toy Story Land will include two all-new attractions and one expanded favorite. Guests will whoosh along on a family-friendly roller coaster behind Slinky Dog, take a spin with flying saucers in toy spaceships and score high on the midway.

Toy Story Land will also celebrate what once defined entertainment for a generation. Crayons, Rubik’s Cubes, Cooties, Green Army Men and other toys and games will pour on the nostalgia for park-goers. Even the lampposts will be shaped like Tinkertoys.

“With set pieces, staging, attractions and experiences Toy Story Land represents the best of Walt Disney Imagineering’s collaboration with our storytelling partners at Pixar Animation Studios,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “This new land will place guests inside the wondrous world of Woody, Buzz and their pals – and invite everyone to experience the joy of being a toy.”

Here’s the rundown:

  • Slinky Dog Dash. Andy has assembled his roller coaster kit for maximum family fun. Tracks and supports in bright colors of red, orange, yellow and blue are put together according to Andy’s hand-drawn plans, with Rex and Jessie lending a hand. And to complete his creation, Andy picked up everyone’s favorite floppy-eared dachshund with a strrrrretch-ing slinky coil belly and dropped it on to the coaster track. Get ready to ride inside Slinky Dog’s coils! Slinky Dog Dash is inspired by the delightful pooch spinoff of Slinky, the 1950s American toy classic. Riders of all ages will delight as Slinky Dog bends and twists his coils around curves, hills, bridges and drops in the Slinky-est coaster ever. Riders will zip around and above Toy Story Land, serving up panoramic views of all that the new land has to offer. Andy’s colorful creation will stretch Slinky Dog and his coils to the max – from his head to his upturned tail – and be fun for the entire family.
  • Alien Swirling Saucers. Brace yourself for out-of-this-world thrills because the aliens have powered up their flying saucers! Alien Swirling Saucers will immerse guests in the playful world of Andy’s toys. This galactic space toy is designed as a play set that Andy won at the Pizza Planet restaurant. Adorable little Toy Story green Aliens swirl about in their flying saucers with guests in tow in their rocket-ship toys, while “The Claw” hangs overhead. This space adventure is bathed in music reimagined for intergalactic fun, dappled with multi-color lighting and sound effects from throughout galaxies.
  • Toy Story Mania! While Andy’s away, the toys will play. One of the most beloved attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Mania!, gets an all-new colorful toy carnival game box entrance when the new land opens. In fact, this is the box that the Toy Story Mania! game came in. Recently updated with a third track, the popular attraction will put even more guests in the carnival playset action taking aim at 3D objects – using everything from baseballs to cream pies – in a variety of whimsical, fast-paced games. To the high-scorer go bragging rights.

When it’s time for on-the-go refreshments, Woody’s Lunch Box will serve up tasty meals and old-fashioned soda floats from a walk-up window in a setting surrounded by Andy’s favorite toys and a giant vintage thermos. Woody’s Lunch Box will also feature Mini Babybel – the Official Snack Cheese of Walt Disney World Resort.

Toy Story Land is part of a multi-year reimagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the largest expansion in the theme park’s history. Next year will see the premiere of the all-new, 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This new land will allow guests to visit a remote trading port on the edge of wild space, where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life – and where guests will find themselves in the middle of the action. Also coming in 2019 is Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. The first ever Mickey-themed ride-through attraction will feature new technology, dazzling visual effects and mind-boggling transformations that put guests in the whacky and unpredictable world of a Mickey Mouse cartoon short.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

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

I-4 Ramps Scheduled to Close for Bridge Construction in Orlando

To accommodate the safe placement of bridge girders, the eastbound and westbound S.R. 408 entrance ramps from I-4 and westbound S.R. 408 exit ramp to westbound I-4 will close.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has cancelled the overnight work scheduled for February 15-16 and February 17-18. Instead, the same ramps will be closed from 9 p.m. Friday, February 16, to 6 a.m. Saturday, February 17.

The rest of the schedule remains unchanged at this time as ramps will be closed overnight 21-22, 23-24 and 26-27. These ramp closures also begin each night at 9 p.m. and conclude at 6 a.m. the following morning.

The work focuses the placing of large, heavy bridge girders – a structural component used to support bridge decks and traffic – on part of the flyover ramp from eastbound and westbound I-4 to westbound S.R. 408.

Modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving through the work zone.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

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

11 Little-Known Orlando Theme Park Experiences

To celebrate the unparalleled collection of unique experiences that can be found in Orlando, Theme Park Capital of the World®, the destination experts at Visit Orlando have compiled a list of some of the most unusual – and sometimes unknown – activities for visitors at its most popular theme parks. The tourism association is also kicking off a Uniquely Orlando Sweepstakes now through March 11 for consumers to win and create their own unique Orlando vacation at VisitOrlando.com/Trip.

Just a few of the lesser-known, off-the-beaten-path activities at the world-famous theme parks are below, with many more found on the tourism association’s website, VisitOrlando.com.

TOP 11 UNIQUE THEME PARK EXPERIENCES

  1. Get a Haircut at Disney
    Visit Magic Kingdom’s Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street, USA for a once-in-a-lifetime trim or even a whole new look. Welcoming all ages, the shop also offers a special First Haircut experience for little ones, complete with commemorative Mickey Ears and a certificate.
  2. Grab a Cold One with the Simpsons
    Grab a glass of Homer Simpson’s favorite beverage, with three varieties of Duff Beer available only at Universal Studios. Despite the running joke on the show that all three are the same beer, the real-life versions include Duff (a lager), Duff Lite (a light beer), and Duff Dry (a stout).
  3. Become Your Very Own AVATAR
    Create a personalized AVATAR as the ultimate souvenir at Disney’s Pandora: The World of AVATAR at Animal Kingdom. Guests can have their faces mapped and printed onto a Na’vi action figure, complete with blue skin and traditional garb, just like the aliens in the film.
  4. Pet (and Feed!) Sting Rays
    While the popular marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions may be more well-known, one of the most unusual animal encounters is feeding and touching the stingrays at SeaWorld Orlando. Guests of all ages – even tiny tots – can dip their hands directly into the pool, feel the velvety texture of the rays, and delight as the gentle creatures suck fish from their hands at lightning fast speed. (Don’t worry, the stingray barbs are trimmed, just like human fingernails.)
  5. Perform “Real” Magic
    Spell it out with the wave of a wand at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Objects suddenly move, water spouts and secrets reveal themselves throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade when visitors use one of the Interactive Wands available at Ollivander’s Wand Shop.
  6. Meet The Pets That Went from Shelters to Stars
    Many people don’t know that SeaWorld also provides a home and second chance at life for dogs and cats rescued from animal shelters. Considered by many to be untrainable due to their high energy, these adopted animals now steal the stage – and fans’ hearts – as stars in the parks’ Pets Ahoy, a funny, fast-paced animal training show that also imparts a meaningful message to support local animal shelters. The cast of talented rescued animals includes dogs, cats and even ducks, and guests can personally meet some of these amazing “animal ambassadors” along with their trainers after the show.
  7. Dine with Princesses in Epcot, Too
    Join Disney princesses for Storybook Dining at the Norway pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase. While many visitors flock to Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle for princess dining, this lesser-known option includes a meal with several of the most-loved princesses in another, equally beautiful medieval castle.
  8. Send A Letter from Hogsmeade
    Send a real letter from Hogsmeade’s Owl Post at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Special postage, a Hogsmeade postmark and even unique wizardly stationary makes for a one-of-a-kind love letter, pen pal or postcard.
  9. Make Friends with Rescued Manatees
    Step behind-the-scenes and catch a glimpse of SeaWorld Orlando’s working manatee rescue and rehabilitation facility to learn more about the plight of these vulnerable animals that have been rescued from illness or injury in the wild. Guests can get a closer look at some of the water’s most gentle creatures – including calves, “teens” and adult manatees – all of which have been rescued and are undergoing treatment with the goal of successfully returning them back to the wild.
  10. Play I-Spy with Mickey
    Embark on a scavenger hunt for hidden mickeys, a famous “secret” of the Disney Parks. Everything from rides to décor and even walking paths at Disney properties feature subtle Mickey shapes, some easier to spot than others. While books have been published to help guests find them all, half the fun is in the discovery.
  11. Snap a Dinosaur Selfie
    A nearly-nine-foot-tall velociraptor awaits guests at Universal’s Raptor Encounter at Island of Adventure, perfect for a daring photo-op. With a reputation as the most “clever” dinosaur in Jurassic Park, these cold-blooded hunters are quite excited to meet outsiders, but don’t worry, they can’t escape their electrified paddock – probably.

SWEEPSTAKES

Enter to win the chance to experience some of these uniquely Orlando activities and more at VisitOrlando.com/Trip by March 11, 2018. Contestants of this sweepstakes simply share their family’s favorite Orlando memory to be automatically entered to win a dream vacation to Orlando, with the winner receiving:

  • Roundtrip air transportation to Orlando
  • Four (4) night hotel accommodations at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
  • Eight (8) one-day/one-park tickets of your choice for Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort or SeaWorld Orlando
  • Five (5) day rental car from Alamo Rent-a-Car

The Orlando Destination
Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World®, and most visited destination in the United States. An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels.

About Visit Orlando
Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States and, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents the area’s leading industry. Visit Orlando is responsible for branding, selling and marketing the Orlando destination worldwide, and serves as the official visitor information source.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

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

I-4 Ramp Closure, Detour in Orlando This Weekend

The Florida Department of Transportation reports that motorists should expect a continuous closures of the westbound Interstate 4 (I-4) on-ramp from westbound Maitland Boulevard (State Road 414) from 10:00 p.m. on Friday, February 9, until 5:00 a.m. on Monday, February 12.

The continuous closure is necessary to safely construct new bridges for the new elevated travel lanes of eastbound Maitland Boulevard.

Orlando I-4 Construction | I-4 Exit Guide

Closure is subject to change. Construction progress, roadway conditions and weather may require schedule adjustments.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

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

Hold On Tight For An Incredible Summer At Walt Disney World in 2018

Starting Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-27, Walt Disney World Resort will launch an incredible summer for 2018 with guests being immersed in their favorite Disney films, entering the worlds of their beloved characters and experiencing exciting new attractions and entertainment.

Here are some of the highlights:

All four Walt Disney World theme parks – plus Disney Springs – will delight guests with new attractions and experiences for Summer 2018, with most of the festivities starting Memorial Day Weekend.

At Magic Kingdom, favorite Disney-Pixar super heroes will take over Tomorrowland – celebrating all things super. Guests will party with Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone from Disney-Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and upcoming “Incredibles 2.” And, for the first time ever, guests will get to see Edna Mode, the greatest superhero costume designer. The super heroes will interact with guests throughout the land. And the festivities culminate with a “SUPER” dance party on the Rocket Tower Stage. “Incredibles 2” opens in theaters nationwide June 15, 2018.

Super Heroes take over the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot. Star-Lord and Gamora from the Guardians of the Galaxy will join an alien band, taking guests on a journey through the cosmos. The party will feature hits from Awesome Mix Tapes 1 and 2 – fun and favorite tunes from the two movies’ soundtracks – building the anticipation for a new Epcot Guardians of the Galaxy attraction.

This summer, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is celebrating its 20th anniversary with two super new experiences: A “dino-tastic” celebration where Donald Duck takes over Dinoland U.S.A. with prehistoric elements in a new and exciting character celebration; and Explorers Meet UP! A Great Bird Adventure, where Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his furry friend Dug, from the Disney-Pixar hit film “Up,” discover species of birds from around the world. In addition to all the new fun offerings, guests continue thrills on Pandora – The World of Avatar including Avatar – Flight of Passage, which has quickly become the top-rated attraction at Walt Disney World.

Summer 2018 also marks the first summer for new offerings at Disney Springs including “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire,” a Hyper-Reality Experience from Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB and The VOID; and a host of new restaurants and bars have popped up to tempt any appetite. These include The Edison, a lavish “Industrial Gothic” restaurant and bar; Maria & Enzo’s, an open and airy Italian trattoria featuring family-friendly dishes inspired by Sicily; Terralina Crafted Italian, a new concept from James Beard award winner and “Top Chef Master” Chef Tony Mantuano; and Wine Bar George, the only Master Sommelier-led wine bar in Florida, brought to Disney Springs by former California Grill manager and Master Sommelier George Miliotes (opening this spring).

Toy Story Land Opens

As summer gets into full swing, the capstone of Incredible Summer at Walt Disney World opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The ongoing reimagining of the park takes guests to infinity and beyond, allowing them to step into the worlds of their favorite films, starting with Toy Story Land.

This new 11-acre land will transport guests into the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard. Guests will experience two new attractions, including Slinky Dog Dash, a family-friendly coaster which will send riders dipping, dodging and dashing around turns and drops that Andy has created to stretch Slinky and his coils to the max. “Toy Story” pals also come to life in another fresh-from-the-box themed attraction — Alien Swirling Saucers. This Pizza Planet toy play set is loaded with aliens circling about in their flying saucers pulling along rocket ships full of guests. The new land also will encompass – Toy Story Mania! – which has been expanded to add a third track to the existing popular attraction. Woody’s Lunch Box will be a new quick-service kiosk serving tasty meals and old-fashioned soda floats inside Toy Story Land.

About Walt Disney World Resort:

Walt Disney World Resort is a contiguous, nearly 40-square-mile, world-class entertainment and recreation destination featuring four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom); two water adventure parks (Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon); 36 resort hotels (26 owned and operated by Walt Disney World, includes eight Disney Vacation Club resort properties); 63 holes of golf on four courses; two full-service spas; Disney’s Wedding Pavilion; ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex; and Disney Springs, an entertainment-shopping-dining district. Walt Disney World Resort is also included in vacation packages of Disney Cruise Line. Located at Lake Buena Vista, Fla., 20 miles southwest of Orlando, Walt Disney World Resort opened Oct. 1, 1971. Open daily, year-round. For information on attractions and vacations at Walt Disney World Resort, visit disneyworld.com, call (407) W-DISNEY or contact local travel agents.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

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

Hundreds Flock To Florida’s Space Coast For 21st Annual Birding and Wildlife Festival

The annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival, held each January, is the nation’s top birding event and one of the top 20 events held in the region every year, according to the Southeast Tourism Society*. Now in its 21st year, the event is expected to be bigger and better than ever before, attracting birding enthusiasts and nature experts from around the world to share in their passion for wildlife.

Since its inaugural year in 1997, it has grown to be the largest activity of its kind in the United States*, acting as both a national and international destination for birding, wildlife and other nature-based pursuits. The festival features various activities that are led by nationally prominent naturalists and scientists, as well as photographers, artists, authors and ornithologists.

read more…


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

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

Lane Closures on I-4 Ramps to I-75 in Tampa

The Florida Department of Transportation reports the following I-4 construction and maintenance activities in the Tampa bay area thru Saturday, February 3, 2018

  • Tampa – One to two lanes may be closed on northbound I-75 from I-4 (Exit 261) to the Tampa Bypass Canal (south of Fowler Avenue/Exit 265) between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday (January 28 – February 1) nights.
  • Tampa – One lane may be closed and controlled by flagging operations on Sligh Avenue under the I-4/I-75 interchange area any time of the day Monday through Saturday (January 29 – February 3).

For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

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

I-4 Ramps to I-75 to Close Sunday Night

The Florida Department of Transportation reports that the westbound I-4 Exit 9 ramp onto northbound I-75 will be closed between 9:00 p.m. Sunday (January 14) and 6:00 a.m. Monday (January 15).

DETOUR: Bear left at the ramp split to go south on I-75, use Exit 260 to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard/SR 574, turn left at the top of the ramp and go east on SR 574 over I-75, then turn left and enter northbound I-75.

Additionally, one to two lanes may be closed on northbound I-75 from I-4 (Exit 261) to the Tampa Bypass Canal (south of Fowler Avenue/Exit 265) between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday (January 14 -18) nights.

 


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

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

Looking For an Alternate Route Around Orlando’s I-4 Construction?

The ongoing construction of Interstate 4 through the heart of Orlando can be a headache for daily travelers and a real vacation killer for travelers heading through the area. Thankfully, there is an alternate route around the entire project area.

If you don’t mind paying a toll (who wouldn’t after sitting in stopped traffic for hours), Florida’s Route 417 can be liberating.

Approaching Orlando from the east (I-95, Daytona) FL 417 begins it’s journey at I-4, exit 101 in Sanford and winds it’s way southward around the Orlando metro area where it reconnects with I-4, exit 64 in Celebration.

While you can’t say that FL 417 is a nice country drive, it is generally a more rural route with far less traffic than Interstate 4.

What’s the trade-off you ask? Well, FL 417 is about 10 miles (10 minutes) longer… that’s if I-4 is not bogged down, which it often is. So most of the time it ends up being quicker. A word of caution… FL 417 is a toll road and, if you travel the entire distance you’ll rack up about $8.25 in tolls (about a dollar less with E-Pass). Most travelers say it’s a small price to pay to avoid the construction mess on I-4 when you’re on vacation.

Here’s a map showing the route:

FL 417 Around Orlando | I-4 Exit Guide
Click map to enlarge

Of course if you’re passing through Orlando in the middle of the night or early in the morning, I-4 is probably your best choice.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

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

I-4 Off-Ramp to Change from Left Exit to Right on Friday Morning

A traffic shift of eastbound Interstate 4 (I-4) between Sand Lake Road (S.R. 482) and Grand National Drive opens the morning of Friday, December 22, allowing motorists to exit I-4 to northbound Kirkman Road (S.R. 435) on the right, not the left.

The traffic shift will move the eastbound I-4 lanes, between Sand Lake Road and Grand National Drive, adjacent to the westbound I-4 travel lanes. The most noticeable difference for motorists will be Exit 75B to northbound Kirkman Road moves to the right side of the I-4. The exit to Universal Boulevard (Exit 75A) remains in the same location.

Progress around the I-4 and Kirkman Road interchange this year has been significant. The new Grand National Drive overpass opened to motorists in early August. The new westbound I-4 exit ramp to southbound Kirkman Road was ready for use in October, and the southbound Kirkman Road bridge over I-4 opened in March.

Modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving through the work zone.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

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