Tag Archives: entertainment

From Fantasy to Free-Falling: Orlando’s 10 New Summer Attractions

Named one of Travelocity’s Coolest Places to Go in 2018 for Family Travel and AAA’s Top Domestic Summer Destination, Orlando has a fresh lineup of thrilling attractions arriving this summer, giving travelers 10 new reasons to explore the destination, including those inside Orlando’s legendary theme parks, as well as beyond.

Attraction Tips and Deals

  • The destination’s only official visitor center, operated by Visit Orlando, offers deals, unbiased expert advice and Instagram-worthy photo ops for guests. The Visit Orlando center is located at 8102 International Drive in the heart of Orlando’s tourism district.
  • For those buying attraction tickets online, Visit Orlando is offering an additional 5 percent off already-discounted tickets from May 14 through June 10 by using promo code SAVE5 at VisitOrlando.com/tickets.

Movies and Fantasy Worlds Come to Life

  1. Universal Studios Florida will put visitors right in the middle of the action with the new Fast & Furious- Supercharged ride, based on the popular film franchise, where an after-race party turns into a high-speed race to escape a criminal cartel.
  2. Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens Toy Story Land on June 30, featuring two new attractions, along with new dining and merchandise locations. The rides Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers will take visitors right into Andy’s imagination as they join beloved characters in their adventures.
  3. Walt Disney World Resort will make Orlando even hotter with their Incredible Summer, featuring all-new character entertainment and special events. At Magic Kingdom, guests can party with The Incredibles’ Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible and Frozone, while Guardians of the Galaxy’s Star-Lord and Gamora team up with an alien band at Epcot to play tunes from those movies’ soundtracks.
  4. Madame Tussauds Orlando’s “Justice League: A Call for Heroes” will allow guests to jump in on the action as a loyal sidekick to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s Batman starting May 25. Replica props and costumes related to each superhero character’s wax figure will provide an added dimension of authenticity and realism to the immersive experience.
  5. LEGOLAND Florida Resort put the pedal to the plastic when The Great LEGO Race opened on March 23. The thrill ride experience is the first VR roller coaster experience designed for kids, and features Lego minifigures, a rocket-powered surfboard and an espresso-fueled scooter.

Outdoor Adventures and Record-Setting Thrills

  1. SeaWorld Orlando debuts Infinity Falls this summer, a whitewater rapid adventure raft ride through a lost jungle. The journey will send guests through fountains and waterfalls before dropping 40 feet – a world record for a river raft ride – into churning whitewater.
  2. Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark brings big thrills this summer with Ray Rush, featuring three ways to get soaked. First, water jets launch the raft in a burst of speed. Riders then spin through a water sphere before swooping across giant manta wings.
  3. The Orlando Starflyer, the world’s tallest swing ride, opens on International Drive June 1. At 450 feet tall, the ride offers open-air views of the destination for up to 24 guests at once, swinging them through the air at up to 60 miles an hour at top speed.
  4. Orlando Watersports Complex debuted Central Florida’s first Aquapark, which features a modular series of inflatable, interlocking climbing obstacles, pathways and slides for hours of watery fun. This water park also offers wakeboarding, wakeskating, wakesurfing, kneeboarding and waterskiing for children and adults.
  5. Nona Adventure Park promises to please thrill seekers and outdoor adventurers this summer, with rock climbing towers, an inflatable water park, a bistro and snack bar, a pro shop and the world’s first solar-powered water ski and wakeboard cable park.

The Orlando Destination
Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, Orlando – Theme Park Capital of the World® is the No. 1 family vacation destination 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.


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.

A New Record for U.S. Travel: Orlando First to Surpass 70 Million Annual Visitors

Tourism officials announced today a historic milestone in the travel industry as Orlando became the first U.S. destination to surpass 70 million annual visitors. In 2017, 72 million visitors traveled to Orlando, an increase of more than 5 percent over the prior year, once again making it America’s most-visited destination.

Visit Orlando, the region’s official destination tourism and marketing organization, shared the number today at a special gathering of more than 1,000 tourism and community leaders.

“Our record-breaking year was achieved despite international headwinds and the statewide effects of Hurricane Irma,” said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. “In 2017, our destination launched new consumer experiences on a significant scale and our marketing efforts leveraged increasing consumer confidence in the United States. We also continued our focus on communicating the unique emotional connection visitors have with Orlando.”

“Orlando’s record-setting visitation affirms the city as a leader in the U.S. travel industry,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “The success in Orlando is great, not just for this iconic destination, but for travel as a whole. As the U.S. overall looks to regain its share of the global travel market, this new milestone in Orlando is a welcome reminder of the resiliency of this industry.”

Orlando reached a host of new milestones in 2017 including:

  • Record number of U.S. visitors
  • Record convention attendance: The Orange County Convention Center welcomed an unprecedented 1.53 million attendees (+5.0 percent).
  • Record airline arrivals: Orlando International Airport became the busiest airport in Florida, with 44.6 million passengers (+6.4 percent).

In addition to the openings of new attractions, resorts and dining venues, Orlando’s visitation benefited from new and adjusted destination marketing strategies from Visit Orlando.

  • Domestically, Visit Orlando recognized the potential of the country’s growing positive economic indicators and increased marketing initiatives focused on U.S. audiences, with a special emphasis in the important Northeast region. Domestic visitation for 2017 grew to an all-time record total of 65.86 million.
  • Internationally, with several key markets facing uncertainties, Visit Orlando maintained its extensive marketing, brand and publicity programs to retain Orlando’s leading position as a top international destination, with 6.15 million visitors.
  • Swiftly addressing potential concerns after Hurricane Irma struck in September, Visit Orlando quickly launched initiatives to demonstrate how Orlando tourism areas rebounded. This was accomplished through social media and publicity campaigns that used authentic visuals of real guests, in real-time, enjoying and commenting on the status of the destination.

About Visit Orlando
Visit Orlando, The Official Tourism Association®, represents the most visited destination in the United States, with a presence in more than a dozen countries around the world. Visit Orlando, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents every segment of the area’s leading industry.


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.

Unwind Oceanside at Cocoa Beach Uncorked Food and Wine Festival

Showcasing Central Florida’s most-renowned chefs, restaurants and breweries, the second annual Cocoa Beach Uncorked Food and Wine Festival takes place April 28-29 at Alan Shepard Park.

The two-day celebration of food, wine and craft beer offers attendees a chance to indulge in the finest tastes the region has to offer, while unwinding along Cocoa Beach’s spectacular oceanfront.

read more…

Ormond Beach Seafood Festival Returns… and Admission is Free!

Ormond Beach’s biggest and best free festival will return to Rockefeller Gardens on November 18 & 19, 2017!

Local seafood leads the way at this year’s Riverfest Seafood Festival in Ormond Beach. The 9th annual festival sponsored by Ormond Beach MainStreet will have fifteen food purveyors serving up everything from fresh shrimp to grilled octopus and fried fish to lobster mac-n-cheese. Of course, there’s a healthy helping of draft beer, ice cream, local barbeque, fried oreos and kettle corn to keep every eater full and happy.

The festival is about much more than food, however. Held in Rockefeller Gardens and Fortunato Park right along Ormond’s sparkling riverfront, the event features two days of water activities, a 5K race on Sunday, an extremely popular kid’s fishing clinic, chef demonstrations, a kids’ zone, vendors and, of course, great music.


Book Now! Find Your Perfect Room in Ormond Beach!


This year the festival runs Saturday, November 18 from 10 am – 6 pm and Sunday, November 19 from 10 am – 4 pm. Free admission and free parking make it easy to enjoy the great variety of planned activities in both riverfront parks. A free shuttle service from the City Hall parking lot makes parking even easier.

Saturday’s music headliners include R&B sensation Amy Alysia & the Soul Machine and local rockers Emperor Napolean & the Visions of Ecstasy, along with the award-winning 12 O’Clock Jazz Band from Spruce Creek High School. Jazz up your Sunday with Orlando’s Brown Bag Brass Band, then cool down in the afternoon with The Jam.

Head down by the bridge for kids’ crafts and games, mini-golf, a giant obstacle course and a face painter. In that same area you’ll find this year’s Kid Fish – sponsored by Fish Florida and Innovative Bookkeeping. We have 300 free fishing poles to give away to youngsters along with education stations and a fishing area. Once you’ve learned to fish, you can pick up a pole and tackle to take home and enjoy.

If Rockefeller Gardens is the home of food and music, Fortunato Park is all about boats and water fun. This year’s brand new boat and recreational “toys” display joins paddleboard and kayak demonstrations, and pontoon boat rides along the sand.

This year they’ve got pie! That’s right, there will be a Key Lime Pie Contest on Saturday afternoon as part of our Southern Stone Cooking Stage.

All day long on Saturday and Sunday you’ll be able to watch (and taste) seafood cooking demos from local restaurateurs and chefs, but on Saturday afternoon the featured chef just might be you!


Book Now! Find Your Perfect Room in Ormond Beach!


If you want to burn some calories, you can start your day early on Sunday by being a part of the festival’s Rubber Duckie River Run sponsored by the Southern Stone Event Group. The race starts at 9 AM. Registration for all racers starts at 8 AM. Awards ceremony is on the main stage at the Riverfest Seafood Festival at 10:30 AM.

To find Riverfest from the mainland, proceed east on State Road 40 over the Granada Boulevard Bridge in downtown Ormond Beach. If you are coming from A1A, just turn west on Granada Boulevard and the festival will be easy to spot right before the bridge. There is additional parking available at Ormond Beach City Hall and a free shuttle service running back and forth across the bridge all day.


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.

Orlando Moonlights as Halloween Vacation Capital

This fall, Halloween fanatics flock to Orlando as the ultimate Halloween Vacation Capital. The destination, recently named AAA’s top destination for fall travel and known for immersive experiences, brings its creativity to the holiday with a host of highly themed events and attractions; hotel packages; and even the largest horror convention in the nation.

Including both family-friendly frights and extreme adult scares, over 10 weeks of Halloween festivities take place throughout the destination, including at the world-famous theme parks. October kicks off the height of the season, although some of the festivities started as early as August 25 and extend as late as November 4.

Visit Orlando, Orlando’s official visitor resource, has created a special web page to help travelers plan a ghoulish getaway. Find a few haunted highlights below, or the full frightful list at VisitOrlando.com/Halloween, and follow #OrlandoHalloween for real-time updates.

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.

Discover Even More Magic This Holiday Season at Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort is the place to be this holiday season as theme parks and resort hotels sparkle with jolly decorations that bring the spirit of the season to life. Here’s a sampling of the holiday fun in store for guests:

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Guests can get wrapped up in a Flurry of Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from Nov. 9-Dec. 31, with exciting new holiday happenings around the park and the return of the nighttime projection and fireworks show “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!”

  • NEW! Sunset Seasons Greetings – This new holiday experience features spectacular projections of Mickey, Minnie and other beloved Disney characters sharing their favorite Christmas stories as a snowy Sunset Boulevard twinkles with stunning holiday decorations. Holiday magic brings billboards to life and transforms the famous Hollywood Tower Hotel into scenes of the season – a giant pile of Christmas gifts, a gingerbread house and a frozen winter wonderland! A frosty summer-loving snowman might even make an appearance to share his holiday wish! This fantastic and heartwarming experience runs continuously throughout the night.
  • NEW! Enhanced holiday décor around Echo Lake – Extra-large ornaments, colorful garlands and a giant Christmas tree centered on the water will make Echo Lake the merriest of places this holiday season. Even Dinosaur Gertie will be dressed for the occasion with a dino-sized Santa hat.
  • “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” Returns – The hit holiday show returns Nov. 9 sending beloved Disney animated characters on a spirited yuletide adventure to get Santa back to the North Pole in time for Christmas Eve. “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” combines state-of-the-art projections, fireworks, special effects and Christmas music to create a dazzling, one-of-a-kind holiday experience for guests – capped by a special message from Santa himself.
  • “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” Dessert Party – Guests can wrap up their jolly holiday evenings with reserved viewing of the “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” nighttime spectacular. The nightly party includes holiday-inspired snacks, delicious desserts, wine, beer, and specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. A surprise Disney character will also join the fun, posing for pictures and signing autographs. This fun-filled special event is offered Nov. 9-Dec. 30, 2017.
  • A new friend joins the cast of ‘For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration’ – Holiday fun continues at the Hyperion Theater as Anna, Elsa and Kristoff welcome Olaf to this popular sing-along celebration. Just for the holidays the show will include all-new songs from Disney’s new animated short “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure.”
  • Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine – Meet Minnie, Mickey, Daisy, Donald and Goofy for lunch and dinner celebrations centered on seasonal deliciousness. From Nov. 6-Jan. 7, the mouse-with-the-mostest will deck the halls for a banquet filled with holiday cheer and the joy of the season!
  • Santa Claus returns to the Once Upon a Time shop Nov. 9-Dec. 24 – The beautiful vintage setting of the Once Upon a Time shop recalls bygone days of Santa’s visits to great department stores across the country. Santa will be at the shop daily to greet guests and listen to holiday wishes. Santa Goofy will step in Dec. 25-Dec. 31 after Old Saint Nick returns to the North Pole.

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.

Orlando’s Good Eats and Holiday Treats: 2017’s Must-See Events for Fall and Winter

This fall and winter, there is more to see and do in Orlando than any other time of year. With numerous food and wine feasts, unparalleled Halloween thrills and merry holiday theme park events, the excitement in Orlando is warming up even as the weather cools down. For a full schedule of fall happenings, year-round events, insider attraction tips and vacation planning guides, go to VisitOrlando.com.

Orlando’s Food & Wine Feasts
The destination’s growing reputation for superb dining meets a seasonal surge of events for a food-lover’s dream vacation in the fall. From a month-long affordable fine dining program to theme park and resort smorgasbords, there are flavors for all palates through November.

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.

Now Playing: EPCOT’s International Festival of the Arts

Planning your next road trip? You’ve still got time to visit Disney’s EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. New this year, the festival began in January and runs through February 20th, 2017.  Eat, drink and be dazzled by brilliant culinary masterpieces.

The festival features historical art from Disney’s past to today. Guest can experience a showcase of music and broadway at the American Gardens Theater stage, with performances at 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8pm., Friday through Monday.

Experience culinary creations at the Food Studios. Visitors can watch the chefs in action and see the creative process as the presentation comes to life.

There’s a lot to see and do, so be prepared to stay as long as you can. The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts runs through Monday, February 20th, 2017. For more information, visit the Disney website.


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 Guide, I-5 Exit Guide, I-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

 

Artegon Marketplace to Close, Future Development Undisclosed

Artegon Marketplace, the retooled 452,000 square-foot megamall on International Drive that opened just two years ago, will close in two weeks. Reports said the owners held a meeting with the mall’s tenants this morning to share the news.

Last October we reported that a “top U.S. theme park operator” may be in the preliminary process of building a major tourist project on 200+ acres of land on Orlando’s International Drive.

That location includes land that the Artegon Marketplace sits on. The mall has been up for sale since August 2016. Artegon Marketplace opened in 2014. The facility first opened in 2002 as Festival Bay Mall.

Several anchor stores, including Bass Pro Shops and Cinemark Theater, will remain open.

Representatives of the Artegon Marketplace have declined comment on the future of the parcel.  Watch this website for further details as they become available.


For more I-4 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 Guide, I-5 Exit Guide, I-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

Orlando’s Holy Land Experience Is Ablaze With Christmas Splendor!

The glory of Christmas is on full and colorful display throughout the 2016 holiday season at the most unique faith-and-family destination in the heart of America’s vacation paradise, Orlando, Florida. The award-winning Holy Land Experience has announced the exciting debut of some all-new and original Christmas productions that are sure to cheer every heart with the splendor of the season while re-enforcing the powerful message of faith at the very heart of Christmas.

Among the exciting new theatrical productions debuting throughout the Christmas season at Holy Land Experience are:

Come to the Manger. This fascinating musical tells the poignant and powerful story of a young couple who arrive in the bustling village of Bethlehem just in time to take their place at the center of a dramatic miracle destined to change the world.

Journey to Bethlehem. Join Mary and Joseph as they make their way to the “little town of Bethlehem” for the birth of the Savior of the World. Along the way you’ll get to know a few of the people whose lives are forever impacted by the touch of the newborn King.

The Lost & Found Agency. A unique and colorful team of specialists are called upon to assist a shepherd named Shimmel find his lost sheep, a young lady named Maya locate a valuable missing coin — and a lost young man find his way back home. The audience also has the opportunity to aid one of the “Lost & Found” agents in reclaiming his own lost Christmas spirit, all with the help of an unexpected visitor!

In addition to the unforgettable theatrical productions, Holy Land Experience has an abundance of unique interactive exhibits designed to entertain, educate, and inspire guests of all ages, including:

The Dead Sea Qumran Caves, a replica of the mysterious place where many ancient Bible manuscripts were discovered. The exhibit includes a re-creation of the Upper Room, where Jesus and the disciples observed the Last Supper, and where guests will currently experience the powerful drama Miracle in the Upper Room.

The Wilderness Tabernacle, the heart of worship for the children of Israel after their exodus from Egypt. This awe-inspiring exhibit takes guests on an unforgettable journey through Israel’s ancient priesthood, culminating with a breathtaking depiction of God’s glory revealed above the Ark of the Covenant.

The Great Temple, a magnificent representation of the Jewish holy place that once stood on hallowed Mount Moriah in First Century Jerusalem.

Golgotha, a dramatic recreation of the place in biblical Israel where Jesus Christ was crucified and died. Constructed in part with stones collected from the countryside surrounding Jerusalem, this impacting exhibit is built atop another popular Holy Land Experience site, the profoundly moving recreation of the biblical Garden Tomb, where the body of Jesus was laid after His crucifixion and from where He was miraculously resurrected three days later.

The world-renowned Scriptorium, a combination museum, library, and research center that holds a collection of priceless manuscripts, scrolls, biblical antiquities, and artifacts. The enlightening presentations that accompany the exhibits offer visitors a close-up view of Bible and church history.

Holy Land Experience has also updated its Smile of a Child Adventure Land, where younger guests can burn up plenty of energy on the totally safe rock-climbing walls, play an exciting round of mini-golf featuring Bible characters, have their faces painted, and enjoy an inspirational Bible story.

“Christmas has always been an extra-special time for us here at Holy Land Experience,” said Mike Everett, general manager of the popular Central Florida inspirational attraction. “Every member of our team is committed to help fill the hearts of our valued guests with the warmth and wonder of this holiday season. We look forward to welcoming friends and families from all over the world to share the joy and spirit of Christmas this year.”


For more I-4 attraction  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 Guide, I-5 Exit Guide, I-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.