SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Offer $50 Special

SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa are offering limited-time $50 weekday tickets. They’ll be on sale for only 50 days and good for a single weekday admission to either park. The offer runs through May 5.

The price break runs in conjunction with SeaWorld’s 50th Celebration, which begins March 21. Read More…

Universal Announces Hike in Prices

Right on the heels of Disney, Universal Orlando has raised its admission prices. And as with Disney, it’s the second time within a year.

That means the cost of a one-day base ticket (excluding tax) is now $96 for adults and $90 for children; a one-day park-to-park ticket is $136 for adults and $130 for children, while a two-day base ticket is $155.99 for adults and $145.99 for children.

Per Universal corporates: ”We set our prices to reflect the value of the entertainment experience we provide. Our guests continue to tell us we offer great entertainment at great value. We offer a variety of value-driven, multi-day vacation packages for guests and their families with options as low as $49 per day. Throughout the year, we also provide special offers to Florida residents – including discounts on annual passes.”


Universal Offers Sneak Peak at Diagon Alley

Rendering of Kings Cross station.

Harry Potter fans have been heading to Universal to catch a glimpse of Diagon Alley’s progress. Universal has helped them along by providing “telephone booths” through which they can view the construction, under way at Universal Studios Florida.

The colorful facades of the buildings portraying London are readily apparent as seen in photos from Ricky Brigante’s Inside the Magic. He’s also included a nicely done video that gives you some good views of the construction; it’s accompanied by appropriately Potteresque music!

Read More…

Free Admission to Holy Land

Orlando’s Holy Land Experience will offer free admission on Jan. 28.

Owned and operated by faith broadcaster Trinity Network, Holy Land features reconstructed exhibits, presentations and interactive performance to recreate events from the Bible. Per Florida state law, it must offer free admission once a year to qualify for exemption from property tax as a religious organization.

Admission is normally $45 for adults and $30 for children under 12. The free admission and parking will be offered until the park reaches its capacity of about 2,000.

Read the chapter about Holy Land in After Disney: The Other Orlando by Kelly Monaghan and Seth Kubersky.



Mardi Gras Plans Announced at Universal Orlando

Leave it to Universal Orlando to make a smooth segue from Halloween Horror Nights to the Macy’s Parade and Grinchmas to Mardi Gras.

Plans have been announced for the 2014 New Orleans-themed celebration, which features 20 nights of concerts from big names in music. The line-up includes Robin Thicke, the UK group The Wanted, Latin star Prince Royce, the rock band Daughtry, Hip-Hop performer Nelly, and the classic rock group Foreigner. The celebration will run from Feb. 8 to May 31.

In addition, 12 floats will be featured, three with an “Around the World in Eighty Days” theme. Guest can dine on authentic Cajun cuisine at the French Quarter Courtyard to the tunes of  Bourbon Street-inspired bands. Of course, there will be plenty of opportunities to catch those beads.

Admission to the celebration is included with the purchase of tickets to Universal Studios Florida. Click here for details.

Changes Underway at Royal Pacific Resort’s Tchoup Chop

Emeril’s hallmark eatery at the Royal Pacific Resort is updating its staff, menu, and digs, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Chef Ryan Vargas, a native of Hawaii with more than 20 years of experience, is now in charge of the kitchen at Tchoup Chop, the Asian-Polynesian themed restaurant created by Emeril Legasse. Andy Vaughn is handling business-related matter.

But a restaurant is all about the food, and menu changes include dishes prepared in a new Japanese robata grill (one of two restaurants to use the grill), an updated sushi bar, and a new cocktail menu.

According to the Sentinel:

A robata grill sears meat, seafood and vegetables at up to 1,000F, allowing dishes to maintain their natural juices and flavor. Tchoup Chop is one of only two restaurants in Orlando to use the unique and rustic grilling method.

Guests can order small dishes from the robata menu as sides with an entrée, as appetizers to share with the table, or with several selections from the menu as an entrée, choosing from options such as Japanese eggplant with a chili mint sauce, pork belly Tocino and lemongrass-marinated chicken wing with spicy chili sauce.

Located at 6300 Hollywood Way, the restaurant’s name is a play on New Orleans’ Tchoupitoulas Street and the culinary term “chop.”

For sure, with all the dining options at Universal, there’s no reason to go hungry!

Arabian Nights Closing After 25 Years reports that Arabian Nights will give its last performances on Friday night (Jan. 3) at 6 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. The show is known for its interaction and drama between horses and humans.

After more than 10,000 performances over 25 years, some of the horses will be sold and some will go to owner Mark Miller’s 80-acre farm in Clermont, Fla. He said the marketplace has been pushing for lower prices, something he cannot provide. His family and 225 employees are looking for jobs; some will find work at neighboring attractions.

Diagon Alley Preview & Potter Celebration

The blogosphere is atwitter over a live webcast taking place on Jan. 23, 10:30 a.m., to announce details of the new Wizarding World Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. The anticipated opening for new Harry Potter-themed land is summer 2014.

Already the Hogswart Express is in place. It will take visitors from the Wizard World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure to the new Diagon Alley at Universal Studios with some adventure anticipated in between the two parks.

According to rumors, the main attraction will be an indoor roller coaster with a horizontal drop based on Gringotts Wizard Bank; a fire-breathing dragon is expected to spice things up. The dining experience will be Leaky Cauldron-themed, the first stop inside Diagon Alley, along with an expanded Olivanders wand shop and Knockturn Alley. Read More…

CityWalk Expands Dining Venues

If there’s one thing you can do exceptionally well at Citywalk it’s eat!

It’s just been announced by that eight new venues will open next year.

• It’s already known that Starbucks will move downstairs and double in size.

• Cowfish, a sushi and burger bar, will offer the untraditional likes of “Burgersushi,” which sounds exactly like

The Cowfish restaurant at CityWalk along with some other planned restaurants.

its name. Sushi rolls will have the elements of hamburgers and sandwiches will be made using sushi elements. Hmmm… Read More…

SeaWorld’s Shamu on Hiatus

One Ocean will be temporarily suspended while pool maintenance takes place. (SeaWorld photo)

The Orlando Sentinel reports that SeaWorld’s “One Ocean” show featuring Shamu, the killer whale, will be suspended for three months while the 5,000-seat Shamu Stadium undergoes maintenance. The “Dine With Shamu” experience will also be suspended.  Read More…