Tag Archives: Florida Attractions

Roaring Springs Splashes Into ZooTampa at Lowry Park

ZooTampa at Lowry Park kicks off the summer with a splash as it introduces its brand-new family water adventure, Roaring Springs presented by Pinch A Penny. Following the debut of a refreshed, contemporary identity featuring a new logo and revitalized vision, ZooTampa launched its most thrilling expansion to date with the opening of Roaring Springs.

Roaring Springs will allow guests of all ages to discover a hidden part of Florida full of unexpected adventure and thrills. Explorers will board a boat and gently drift along a crystal-clear spring surrounded by native landscape and wildlife. The journey takes a sudden turn when the elevation drops. Guests will feel a rush of adrenaline as they experience a 3-story splashdown. The less adventurous can also revel in a rip-roaring splash on Lookout Landing, the bridge overseeing the attraction.

The journey continues as guests get back to nature and see a hidden part of Florida that remains untouched – a Florida that requires no filter. The area will combine old Florida charm with a nod to the original Florida way of life. Explorers will catch a glimpse of black bears, alligators, panthers, Key deer and other native species as they trek along the winding Florida Trail.

Roaring Springs is a welcome and refreshing escape for the entire family from the Florida heat. The attraction is also the Zoo’s largest expansion in ten years.

“Part of our mission is to create exceptional, personalized experiences that connect people with wildlife and each other in fun, immersive ways,” said the Zoo’s CEO, Joe Couceiro. “Roaring Springs will provide thrills for guests while the continued transformation of the Florida Region improves the Zoo’s capacity to rescue threatened native wildlife throughout the state. With these enhancements, the evolution of the Zoo continues and gives our guests reasons to keep coming back.”

The water adventure is set within the town of Roaring Springs featuring a traditional Country Store with Florida souvenirs and local novelties. Joe’s Diner serves classic Florida favorites, including adult beverages and food options – from conch fritters to fish tacos to frozen rum drinks. Adults can indulge in these treats while kids enjoy the town’s new play area.

The Zoo’s family membership continues to provide Tampa’s best values for the whole family for an entire year including previewing Roaring Springs, unlimited admission to the zoo, and all seasonal events for 12 full months from the date of purchase.

Guests who purchase memberships or admissions to the Zoo are helping support the Zoo’s mission to protect and preserve wildlife. For more information on ticket pricing and benefits visit the website at zootampa.org/tickets.


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.

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.

There’s Something New for Thrill Seekers at U.S. Theme Parks and Water Parks in 2018

Record numbers of theme park visitors are preparing for thrilling and memorable new experiences as the unofficial theme park season opens Memorial Day Weekend.

According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ IAAPA Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook Report (2017 to 2021), in 2018 the anticipated U.S. theme and amusement park attendance estimate is 398.5 million and guest spending will grow to an estimated $23.58 billion.

Roller coasters are a big part of new development across the country this season, and an abundance of new rides and experiences—more than 70 according to an early 2018 IAAPA compilation—include water slides, kiddie rides and new themed lands.

“There really is something new for everyone this season,” said Susan Storey, communications director, IAAPA. “The industry is innovative and dynamic, and this year many destinations are debuting their own ‘spin’ on amusement park favorites, infusing speed and height with twists and turns and even unexpected ‘surprise’ elements. The best part is many of these experiences were created for the entire family—kids and adults—to enjoy together.”

According to park guest surveys, roller coasters remain the top-rated ride of interest to park guests, and 2018 will see many new coasters deliver big thrills, added Storey.

With 12 roller coasters, four giant swings, four towering rides and, many more unique experiences to excite visitors, parks across the country are ready for a season filled with fun. Family entertainment centers are a segment of the attractions industry that continues to grow and expand, offering an array of experiences from golf and go-karting to ziplines and trampolines. These traditionally smaller destinations provide a mix of activities designed for parents and kids to experience together. Families can also soak up the fun at the nation’s water parks, with many new water slides and water attractions making a splash all season long.

The list of new attractions is available at http://bit.ly/2G7DCOd

“Summer is synonymous with the attractions industry and our member facilities continue to create new and memorable experiences for their guests,” said Storey. “This year is truly an exciting one for the business of fun.”


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.

Legoland Florida Debuts New Virtual Reality Coaster

Brick fans, start your engines! The newest attraction at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort combines roller coaster thrills with virtual reality (VR) technology to put guests in the center of an action-packed road rally where the laws of physics and aerodynamics only loosely apply.

Now open at the multi-day vacation destination, The Great LEGO® Race invites guests into a virtual world where they’re the star of a rollicking race against several LEGO minifigure competitors – all while taking an exciting roller coaster ride.

Wearing optional VR headsets while riding the roller coaster, guests experience the point of view of a LEGO race car driver with action taking place in every direction — up, down, forward, backward and all points in between — in a dazzling environment where everything is made of LEGO bricks.

The wild and wacky race pits guests against a LEGO pirate, wizard, surfer, trendsetter and pharaoh driving brick-built vehicles like a rocket-powered windsurfing rig, a stylish scooter fueled by espresso and an ornately canopied bed (called a “litter”) carried by mummy servants.

The adventure begins as guests step through the ride’s bold new entry portal, which features giant versions of several minifigure racers and their custom LEGO vehicles. The nearby queue is filled with colorful graphics representing each of the five racing teams, with themed elements to entertain waiting riders and video screens demonstrating the virtual reality experience.

Once guests are dispatched aboard the ride vehicles, sophisticated technology syncs the virtual visuals with the roller coaster’s twists, turns, drops and climbs, creating an all-new experience filled with action, surprises and humor — an experience only LEGOLAND could create.

Developed under the supervision of Merlin Magic Making, the company’s global creative and delivery division, The Great LEGO Race is the first virtual reality roller coaster experience designed for kids and represents the first time the LEGO brand and minifigure characters have been integrated with the state-of-the-art technology in a theme park attraction.

“The Great LEGO Race was inspired by the way kids play with LEGO toys at home,” said Candy Holland, senior creative director for Merlin Magic Making. “It’s a unique LEGO adventure that lets kids enter an epic, imaginary world made entirely from LEGO bricks, featuring a host of different themes and fun LEGO characters all mixed up together.”


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.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Honors Two Decades of Wild Encounters With 20th Anniversary Celebration

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will mark its 20th anniversary on Earth Day, April 22, with more wild adventures than ever before – kicking off spring and setting the stage for an incredible summer filled with all-new events and experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Commemorating the milestone year, the 500-acre adventure park will offer animal encounters, family-friendly activities, specialty desserts and more during an expanded Party for the Planet celebration April 22-May 5.

Over the two-week “Party for the Planet celebration, guests can attend conservation talks by animal-care experts and participate in enhanced interactions with some of the more than 2,000 animals that make their home at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited park.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch will take center stage for the year-long 20th anniversary. It’s home to fun educational exhibits and activities that help create awareness of animal issues. During the 20th anniversary, Rafiki’s Planet Watch will offer backstage experiences with experts where guests can learn about animal nutrition, visit the veterinary hospital and hear how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation.


Find Your Perfect Room Near Disney’s Animal Kingdom!


Guests can also commemorate their visits to the theme park with special photo opportunities. They can step into an oversized picture frame celebrating the park’s 20th anniversary. Other photo frames support Disney’s “Reverse the Decline,” an initiative created to help protect 10 threatened animal species. One recent success of the program was the birth of two critically endangered Sumatran Tiger Cubs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Just for kids is the chance to earn a limited-edition badge as part of the Wilderness Explorer program. The badge is one of many that youngsters can earn by completing fun activities throughout the park.

Party for the Planet will also include six different Tiffins Talks – themed dinners hosted by animal experts at Tiffins, the theme park’s signature, full-service restaurant. Watch the Disney Parks Blog for more information.

The 20th anniversary fun also includes a commemorative adventure guide, limited-edition merchandise, and a special-edition print created by renowned Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde. He will be available on April 22 from 1-4 p.m. to sign prints at Discovery Trading Company. Quantities are limited. For more information on Party for the Planet, visit Disneyworld.com/PartyforthePlanet.

Here are other experiences and adventures rolling out in 2018 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • April 22 will mark the debut of a brand-new show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar animated comedy-adventure film “UP.” The show will give guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his fuzzy friend Dug in a new adventure that includes encounters with exotic birds from around the world. This free-flying show will be performed multiple times daily.
  • A “dino-tastic” celebration with Donald and his friends will also premiere Memorial Day weekend in DinoLand, U.S.A. This dinosaur-themed party celebrates Donald Duck’s discovery that his bird ancestors were actually dinosaurs. DinoLand U.S.A. will feature colorful new décor and playful character greetings with rarely seen pals like Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and more. A DJ-powered dance party will mix tunes from the truck-o-saurus stage, capping the nighttime festivities.
  • Memorial Day 2018 commemorates the one-year anniversary of Pandora – The World of Avatar. Here, travelers are transported to a mystical world of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking new experiences. Inspired by the blockbuster film, AVATAR, the epic land invites guests to explore a glowing landscape, encounter a larger-than-life Na’vi Shaman of Songs and soar on the back of a banshee.

For more information about the 20th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, visit DisneyWorld.com/AnimalKingdom.


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.

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.

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.

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.


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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.

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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.