Visit Orlando Blog
LEGOLAND Florida just opened its gates in October of this year, but it's already making waves with new details about a water park to open in time for summer 2012. LEGOLAND Water Park will be geared towards families with children ages 2 to 12 and feature a wave pool, lazy river, tube slides and an interactive water-play structure.
Some of the key attractions for the new water park include:
LEGO Wave Pool - Catch a gentle wave or cool off in this pool where the waves are just big enough for all ages to enjoy
Twin Chasers - Friends ride tubes 375 feet down an intertwining pair of enclosed water slides before plunging into a pool below
Splash Out - The thrill seekers ascend to the tallest point of the water park attraction and choose from one of three unique slides, then speed down a 60-foot drop and "splash out" into the water below
Joker Soaker - An interactive playground with various lengths, heights and types of slides. Wade in the surrounding pool and experience a torrential spill from a 300-gallon bucket
Build-A-Raft River - Together families can imagine, design and build a unique LEGO vessel and set afloat on a maiden voyage around the 1000-foot-long lazy river
DUPLO® Splash Safari - A water play area for toddlers with shorter slides and interactive, larger-than-life DUPLO creatures
For admission, single-day LEGOLAND Florida guests can upgrade to gain access to the water park for an additional $12 per person (children under 3 are $3). Admission to the water park is included in a new Premium Pass available for purchase or select AAA Auto Club Group branches.
It's not just TV's and toys on sale for Cyber Monday, many Orlando resorts are offering some great deals in honor of the big online shopping holiday. But hurry, these offers only last for today!
Marriott's Florida Resorts are joining together to offer up to 25% savings on Cyber Monday with nightly rates starting from $95 to $186. Available online on Monday, Nov. 28 only through the website, the savings can be applied on stays from Nov. 29, 2011 through Jan. 8, 2012 at two Orlando hotels: Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center and Renaissance Orlando Hotel at SeaWorld.
The AAA Four Diamond, Rosen Shingle Creek is offering a Cyber Monday Sale of buy one-night, get one-night free valid for any length of stay between Nov. 28, 2011 and June 30, 2012. With this deal you can book as many nights as you'd like. So book one night, get one free. Book a third night, get the fourth free.
The Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek is having an "Extend Your Weekend" sale. For the 24 hours of Cyber Monday, book a Friday and Saturday night stay and receive Sunday night free. Rates start at $209 and the offer is available for travel Nov. 28, 2011 through Jan. 30, 2012, based on availability.
The countdown to the holidays continues with several events to get you in the holiday spirit, plus Hanson and Parachute headline a pet-friendly music festival, while more than 64 youth football teams compete for a national championship title. Here's what's happening Nov. 28 - Dec. 4:
Get Your Game On
Pop Warner Super Bowl, Dec. 3 - 10
Pigskin fans and dancing-fiends unite! This weekend 64 football teams and more than 300 cheer and dance squads from across the country will descend upon the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for the 14th Pop Warner Super Bowl. A national championship will be crowned in four age/weight groups for each division. Cheer and Dance Squads will also compete in four different age ranges.
Pet-Friendly Music Festival
Pet-A-Palooza, Dec. 3
There's finally a festival for everyone that hates to leave those fury friends behind. Pet-A-Palooza, a music festival for pet lovers, will feature cutest pet-costume contests and a pet-pet owner look-a-like contest. Music acts include Parachute and Hanson rocking out the Seminole Soccer Complex. Tickets are $10 (cash-only) and the event is from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs.
Holiday Events Around Town
Orlando Theme Parks go all-out during the holiday season, but there are also some great local events to enjoy this upcoming holiday season. Here are a few of this weekend's holiday offerings:
The City of Orlando presents "Holiday Lights Orlando" Christmas festival and show at Lake Eola Park featuring the official lighting of the City Christmas Tree, choir music and an outdoor viewing of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.' The event begins at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2.
Kick off the holidays with some good ‘ole ale samplings at the Orlando Holiday Brew Fest Dec. 2, 6 - 10 p.m. Held in Heritage Square in downtown Orlando will feature more than 100 of the world's greatest beers, from fine craft beers to international favorites. Food samples from local hot spots, free soft drinks and water are also included in admission. Tickets are $25 in advance; event is 21+, rain or shine.
Winter Park's "Ye Olde Hometown" Christmas Parade is the longest running parade in Central Florida, with more than 100 units marching down Park Avenue. The parade begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3.
Looking forward to welcome 2013 in Orlando? See our newest blog about New Year's Eve in Orlando.
As the home to seven of the top theme parks in the world, Orlando knows how to ring in the New Year with a bang. If you're heading to the parks to welcome 2012, here's an essential list of New Year's Eve celebrations.
Walt Disney World Resort
While fireworks are an everyday occurrence at Walt Disney World Resort, for New Year's Eve they kick-it-up a notch with a variety of fireworks displays and events, including:
- Magic Kingdom presents: "Wishes" nighttime spectacular with a holiday overlay at 8:30 p.m. and "Fantasy in the Sky" at 11:51 p.m.
- Epcot‘s "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" salutes the new year at 7 p.m. and 11:42 p.m.
- At Disney's Hollywood Studios, "Fantasmic!" combines water, fire, lights, lasers, fireworks and music will be presented at 6:30 and 8 p.m., with "Lights! Camera! Happy New Year!" fireworks display at midnight.
- At Cirque du Soleil, all guests attending the Dec. 31 performances will receive a limited-edition Walt Disney World/Cirque trading pin. Shows are at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney's Boardwalk Resort offers a special-ticket New Year's Eve party from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. with video DJ Tony Zapulla.
With Smash Mouth and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy set to perform live, Universal CityWalk's "Rock the New Year!" is one of Orlando's hottest New Year's Eve parties. In addition to live music, enjoy an expansive gourmet buffet, a champagne toast and live entertainment at the various nightclubs, including the groove, an electrifying dance club; CityJazz, a hip jazz venue; Jimmy Buffett's Magaritaville and others.
SeaWorld Orlando's New Year's Eve features a spectacular musical celebration and a fireworks show that will light up the night welcoming 2012.
LEGOLAND - Florida
The new theme park's first New Year's Eve celebration is perfect for families. LEGOLAND's "Kids' New Year's Eve" let's kids rock out and watch LEGO fireworks at just the right time for them, midnight KST (Kid Standard Time), otherwise known as 7 p.m. EST.
In addition to a variety of dining spots for a memorable Thanksgiving meal, Orlando during Thanksgiving week offers an endless array of activities including these special events happening Nov. 21 - 27:
Black Friday, Nov. 25
It's the biggest shopping day of the year and Orlando stores are ready! With "Midnight Madness" events and astounding deals, Orlando's malls and outlets centers have raised the bar to make Black Friday 2011 a must-do. Specific malls and outlets with events include Mall at Millenia, Orlando Premium Outlets - International Drive, Orlando Premium Outlets - Vineland Ave. and The Florida Mall.
Ready for liftoff? Special reserved spots for the Nov. 25, 10:25 a.m. launch of an Atlas V541 rocket heading to Mars, are available to guests for $20 in addition to regular admission prices of $43 for adults and $33 for children ages 3-11. The launch is part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission where Bill Nye the Science Guy will be on hand to speak about the Mars mission and Curiosity rover at the IMAX Theatre at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Get an up-close look at these special space vehicles with the new Mars Rover Exhibit, featuring three- full size rover models from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Soujourner, Mars Exploration Rover and the car-sized Curiosity. After exploring, get inventive and create the future at the Lego Build the Future play area, on display until Nov. 26.
2012-Model Central Florida International Auto Show, Nov. 24-27
Vroom! Vroom! Hundreds of the newest trucks, electric cars and exotic automobiles cruise into the Orange County Convention Center on Thanksgiving for the Central Florida International Auto Show. Presented in a non-selling format, attendees can test-drive, inspect the engines and sit behind the wheel of all the hottest new vehicles. Admission is $9 for adults, $3 for children ages 7-12 and free for children under 6.
Festival of the Seasons, Until Jan, 8
It's the most wonderful time of year in the Downtown Disney area at Walt Disney World Resort with Festival of the Seasons. With live entertainment, festive décor and yuletide touches at every turn guests can experience the joy of the season while also visiting with Santa. Find the perfect gift for that special someone at many specialty shops- including Disney's Days of Christmas and Once Upon a Toy. For even more festive holiday events check out The Top 10 Things To Do in Orlando For the Holidays.
Looking forward to spending the Holidays in Orlando for 2012? See our newest blog about Holidays in Orlando.
The holidays in Orlando are like nowhere else in the world! Where else can you play in man-made snow showers, sip eggnog under palm trees and celebrate with all of your favorite characters? Only in Orlando, of course! And there is so much to do here for the whole family that will make the season as magical as it should be.
Here are the top 10 things to do in Orlando for the holidays!
1. The holidays at Walt Disney World are extra special. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom and The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios are two events that will take you to a magical world of holiday excitement. Fireworks, a Christmas parade featuring Santa and a magical snowfall are all part of the fun.
2. Even the animals get in on the Christmas Celebration at SeaWorld. A Winter Wonderland ice skating show, a special, nighttime Shamu show, live theatrical performances and fireworks are included in the month-long celebration.
3. Universal Orlando Resort has two holiday celebrations. For Grinchmas, Suess Landing at Universal's Islands of Adventure is transformed into a whimsical winter playland right out of a storybook. Live shows feature the mean, green one himself. The Macy's Holiday Parade features spectacular floats, marching bands and festive music.
4. Have you ever seen a 30-foot tall Christmas tree made of LEGO bricks? Here's your chance as LEGOLAND Florida kicks off Christmas Bricktacular, its first holiday celebration. Each night, one special family will be chosen to light the Christmas tree, and Santa will set up shop in the park's enchanting botanical gardens.
5. Holidays Around the World at Epcot is a more traditional celebration, featuring a mass choir, candlelight processional and special celebrity guests.
6. For a spiritual celebration, head to the First Baptist Church of Orlando for its popular annual Singing Christmas Trees event. More than 300 choir members sing traditional holiday songs while 250,000 lights dance on 40-foot tall Christmas trees.
7. A community event is quickly gaining a popular following. Light Up UCF turns Orlando's largest university into a winter wonderland of ice skating, holiday treats, rides such as a Ferris wheel and Santa train, movies in the park and more.
8. Festival of Trees at the Orlando Museum of Art features some of the most beautifully decorated Christmas trees and window displays you'll ever lay eyes on. There are also daily events, a Gingerbread Village, Toyland Town for the kids and a Holiday Boutique and Garden.
9. What's green and red and white all over? It's Shrek, of course. And he, along with all of his friends, is the star of the show at ICE! At the Gaylord Palms Resort. Immerse yourself in more than 20,000 square feet of frosty 9-degree bliss. Enjoy the thrill of five 30-foot ice slides and amazing hand-carved sculptures in a 100-acre walk-through ice park.
10. For theater buffs who want to add a bit of culture during your visit, check out The Nutcracker Ballet at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center in downtown Orlando. The Orlando Ballet has all of the whimsy and fantasy you can expect from some of the world's finest professional dancers.
If you have questions about your Orlando vacation, contact one of our Official Travel Counselors by phone, email or live chat.
From football and golf to holiday decorations and snow, this week in Orlando has a little bit of everything. Check out what's happening Nov. 14 - 20:
Leu's Holiday House, Nov. 14 - Jan. 4
At Harry P. Leu Gardens, they don't take decking the halls lightly. This holiday season, visitors to the Leu House Museum will find 11 holiday-themed rooms transformed with amazing dioramas created by designers from Seminole State College of Florida Interior Design and Ron's Miniature Shop & Museum. Thirty minute tours are given on the hour and half-hour from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily.
2011 LPGA Tour CME Group Titleholders, Nov. 17 - 20
The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress hosts the 2011 LPGA Tour season-finale of the CME Group Titleholders. Watch as 66 players who qualified as the top-three performers in each of the 22 LPGA tournaments this year compete for a total purse of $1.5 million.
ICE! Shrek the Halls, Nov. 16 - Jan, 2
What do you get when you combine Shrek, Po the Panda and two-million pounds of ice? It's a winter wonderland filled with some of DreamWorks' most loved animated characters at the Gaylord Palms with ICE! Shrek the Halls and the all-new Kung Fu Panda SNOW. See colorful ice sculptures carved entirely out of ice, crawl through underground snow tunnels and slide down a 64-foot (19.5 meter) pagoda slide. Individual or special-package deal attraction tickets are available.
Florida Classic, Nov. 19
Are you ready for some football? It is Florida Classic week in Orlando, with events ranging from Battle of the Bands at Amway Center and an official after-party at House of Blues. The Florida Classic takes over the Citrus Bowl on Saturday with kick-off at 2:30 p.m. As the largest football game between two historically Black Colleges in America surpassing the Bayou Classic as the top attended game in NCAA Division I-AA, proceeds from The Florida Classic and all official ancillary events support the mission of Bethune-Cookman University and Florida A&M University to provide educational opportunities through scholarships for all students.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment plans to make a big splash in 2012 and 2013 with the announcement of three new family-friendly attractions.
TurtleTrek at SeaWorld Orlando, spring 2012
Combining naturalistic habitats and a first-of-its-kind theatre experience, TurtleTrek aims to inspire and educate. The journey begins with two habitats to explore, one with freshwater fish and manatees and another home to more than 1,500 saltwater fish and more than a dozen sea turtles. Next in a 3-D/360-degree dome theatre with views around and above, guests experience a "turtle's eye view" of the life of a sea turtle. Referred to as "high-reality" because the technology for the state-of-the-art theatre goes beyond high definition, the movie consists of two films that run simultaneously - one is for the left eye and the other for the right.
Freshwater Oasis at Discovery Cove, spring 2012
Adding to the allure of this limited-admission, all-inclusive tropical resort where guests swim with dolphins, the new Freshwater Oasis attraction pairs swimming and wading under a rainforest canopy with face-to-face encounters with otters and marmoset monkeys.
Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando, spring 2013
As the largest expansion in SeaWorld Orlando's history, Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin will transport guests to the bottom of the world, Antarctica, for an experience through the eyes of an Empire Penguin. While more specific details have not been revealed, SeaWorld has described the attraction as combining closer-then-ever animal connections with state-of-the-art interactive ride technologies for adventures that are different each time.
From a brand new music festival to parades and holiday kick-off events, Orlando is rockin' with exciting events Nov. 7 - 13:
Orlando Calling, Nov. 12 - 13
Featuring four stages, this new music fest will present a diverse line-up of American music genres, including blues, country, rock, indie, alternative, folk and R&B. Headliners include The Killers, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band and Kid Rock. The festival will also include performances by emerging talent from the Central Florida area. Admission starts at $93.25 for a one-day pass and $170.50 for both days.
A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films, Nov. 11 - 13
A dream come true for all Harry Potter fans, Universal Studios Orlando is hosting an exclusive Harry Potter movie celebration that includes screenings of all eight films, autograph signings and Q&A sessions with the cast. Celebrate favorite memories and stories of Harry potter with filmmakers, cast members and fellow fans during this three-day special event.
Festival of Trees, Nov. 11 - 20
Experience Central Florida's own winter wonderland during Festival of Trees the Orlando Museum of Art. Featuring designer trees and vignettes with daily entertainment provided by local area dance groups and choirs the festive event also offers trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses and decorative accessories available for purchase. The event runs daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children.
Festival of the Masters, Nov. 11 - 13
Showcasing one-of-a-kind paintings and limited-edition jewelry and sculptures, this prestigious show is ranked among the country's finest outdoor art festivals. Enjoy the amazing chalk art, live music, specialty foods and family-friendly activities with more than 150 award-winning artists at Downtown Disney Nov. 11-12 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Light Up UCF, Nov. 11 - Jan. 1
This annual tradition is a perfect holiday outing for the entire family. Enjoy a holiday movie under the stars,take a whirl on the outdoor ice-skating rink and become mesmorized by the nightly light showfeaturing more than 75,000 individual lights dancing to holiday music. Admission to the event is free, however attraction prices vary.
Veteran's Parade, Nov. 12
Join Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and his Veterans Advisory Council to honor the courageous men and women of our armed forces on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 11 a.m. The parade showcase a variety of active duty military, high school marching bands, floats featured in Tampa's Gasparilla parade and more. Admission is free.
Come Out With Pride, Nov. 13
Known as one of the most colorful and friendly gay pride parades in the Florida, this event is also the largest LGBT showcase of businesses and organizations in Orlando that support the gay community. Stroll through vendor booths around Lake Eola beginning at noon before the parade kicks off at 4 p.m. Admission is free.
Looking for 2012 Thanksgiving? See our newsest blog on Thanksgiving 2012
If you're in Orlando for Thanksgiving, you won't be disappointed with our dining options. Nov. 24 isn't just a time when families get together at home, it's also a time when many of Orlando's best restaurants roll out the red carpet and serve up delicious buffets and sumptuous meals, all in honor of Turkey Day! Can't decide where to go? Here is a list of just a few of the many Thanksgiving dining options you'll find here in Orlando.
The Colombia Restaurant in Downtown Celebration offers Thanksgiving meals with a Spanish twist. Indulge in traditional servings like turkey and stuffing as well as non-traditional options like pumpkin flan and gazpacho soup. $19.95, adults; $5.95, children 10 and younger
The Waldorf Astoria Orlando's restaurants offer up true Floridian-style Thanksgiving dinners, with fresh seafood included as a main course and a lavish dessert buffet.
Walt Disney World's Swan and Dolphin Resort restaurants all offer Thanksgiving meals for every taste and preference. If you're aiming for high-end gourmet, try out Todd English's bluezoo restaurant, featuring Pasture Prime Farms Red Bourbon turkey.
Try Thanksgiving Greek-style at the Taverna Opa located in Pointe Orlando. Offerings include lamb for the main course and yogurt with walnuts and honey for dessert. $25 per person
Downtown Disney's three signature restaurants will offer prix-fix Thanksgiving meal options. Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe's dinner is $42 per person and features gourmet offerings like duck confit tart and whole roasted poussin with butternut puree. For seafood lovers, Fulton's Crab House is offering a meal for $32.95 for adults and $15.95 for children. Portobello has a $33.95 prix-fix dinner for adults and $14.95 for children featuring sweet potato bisque, roasted turkey breast with rosemary gravy, pancetta and apple dressing.
Celebrate Island-style at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. The buffet meal includes Polynesian-inspired treats like smoked seafood and sushi and entertainment the whole family will love, with live hula dancers, Universal Orlando Resort characters and a face painter. $48, adults including champagne; $24 for children 12 and younger, free for children 3 and younder.
Norman's at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes doesn't disappoint. Indulge in a three-course menu showcasing holiday-inspired creations and the famed restaurant's signature dishes. $85 per person