Author Archive | Guest Author

Magic Kingdom, Where the Magic Began

Since Disney World consists of four fabulous, heart-pounding theme parks and two relax-in-the-sun water parks, Orlando attraction planning is a must. These parks are large and offer an overwhelming choice of shows and thrill rides. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Scheduling your park times and when to eat should be set up ahead of your visit, so you can be in the correct area when your favorite Disney character makes its appearance. You also do not want to be that family who spends the majority of their vacation by standing around trying to decide where things are and what to do next.

Disney World’s first, and most visited amusement park in the world, is Magic Kingdom. Not only was it based on Disneyland, but the name, Magic Kingdom, was the unofficial nickname of its predecessor. While visiting this worldwide known Orlando attraction, the dedication to its Disney characters is a glorious sight. From the characters that started magical dreams to the newest character in Disney movies, each have their home.

This popular Orlando attraction holds the key to everyone’s imagination. Adult guests will be brought back to their childhood memories; filling them with the make-believe mentality that can be lost in life. Visitors start to feel like they have been transported into a magical place; even before they walk through the entrance. Magic Kingdom is indeed magical.

Magic Kingdom Castle

Photo © Walt Disney World

There are different “lands,” based on assorted themes, that make this Orlando attraction perfect for the whole family. With all that Magic Kingdom is known for, the one recognized around the world is Cinderella’s Castle. Standing 190 feet tall, centered in the middle of the park, and viewable from the famous Main Street, USA, it’s the most sought after place to dine in the park, which is by reservations only. Walking up to the attraction, seeing this magical, iconic symbol will take your breath away.

Through Orlando attraction planning it will be obvious the magic comes from the many other places to visit in the kingdom. The shows, based on favorite Disney movies, are a joy for everyone. Check your park guide to schedule time to see them all.

Magic Kingdoms’ most famous “lands” include: Frontierland, Adventureland and Fantasyland. Fantasyland is the most popular for children. A majority of the beloved characters reside here.

Although Disney World has many magical places, Magic Kingdom is the Orlando attraction that started it all. Many people have not been, thinking they cannot afford it. There are discounts and specials during certain seasons. This magical place should be visited by everyone.

Universal Studios Florida – Where You Can “Ride the Movies”

Including Universal Studios Florida into your Orlando attractions planning is highly recommended. It is impossible for movie enthusiasts to vacation in this area without enjoying all Universal has to offer. The initial design for this Orlando theme park would combine an active studio set and theme park revolving around movies. This was the first time Universal Studios ever consider constructing an amusement park. Plans to make this happen went on hold for over four years.

This Orlando attraction, that we now enjoy, came into being after a meeting with director Steven Spielberg, also a co-founder of the theme park. This meeting prompted the movie simulation ride of Back to the Future along with King Kong. Although these rides have been replaced, the thrills and excitement have only gotten better. NOTE: Skull Island Reign of Kong will return in 2016.

The initial concept was founded on Universals’ Hollywood Studio tours, but took it a step further. These larger, stand-alone attractions allow visitors to experience their favorite Universal Studio movies; creating the experience of actually being in the movies. Today’s shows and rides at this Orlando attraction can actually allow you to “ride the movies.” Experience the ride with the actual stars of the movie being depicted in the attraction.

Harry Potter and the Escape from GringottsORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If your family is ready to actually be thrilled beyond imagination, it is a good idea to know where to find your favorite motion picture when entering the theme park. Secure a map ahead of time. You can also view the park’s map online the day before your visit to familiarize your family with the layout of the park.

If you have ever wanted to experience the heat of a fire-breathing dragon, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey can put you there, right near the flames. Another “adventure” ride, “The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man,” allows you to soar through the air with the help of high-tech 3-D glasses. You can experience all kinds of thrills with your favorite characters.

Theme Park Rides Include:

Thrill Rides

Rides for Kids

Thrilling rides are not the only attraction available inside this Orlando theme park. There are many fabulous shows to see. Cheer on the heroes and boo the villains as you experience the thrills of The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad® stunt show. Enjoy the raucous music and comedy of Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue™. Catch Jake and Elwood, The Blues Brothers®, performing their biggest hits. Go behind the scenes of movie-making in the hilarious Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show. And sing and clap along with everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur in A Day in the Park with Barney™.

Food, gift shops and kids play areas are also found inside this popular Orlando attraction. Do not miss Universal Studios Florida while vacationing in Florida. The heart-pounding, action-packed thrill rides will put you inside your favorite movies; an experience to last a life-time.

Sinbad Show at Universal

Dinner Show Attractions – Why We Love Them

Capone's Dinner & Show is a great dinner show attraction in Orlando

There is something about being entertained and fed at the same time that strikes a fancy for many of us today, maybe that is why there is always a long line at the concession stands at the movie theater. Then there is the need to have the television on while having dinner at home, or maybe it is our desire to become the proverbial couch potato, where the only interest is to veg out and watch TV.

1-Something to sink your teeth into. The popularity of dinner show attractions has only increased over the years, with many located on and around the touristy areas. Can you really focus on a mystery and that prime rib dinner in front of you at the same time? Mystery dinner theaters are betting that you can, which is probably why the ones that are still open for business will continue to prosper into the next century.

2-Dining with the mob. If you are from the old school and you enjoy hanging out with gangsters, there is certainly going to be something for you. I guess you could rent a DVD and hang out with Scarface, Carlito or the American Gangster, but what better way to enjoy an Italian/American buffet than with Capone himself? You won’t want to miss Capone’s Dinner & Show if you are visiting the Orlando area. Don’t forget to dress like a gangster, especially if you want to feel like you belong.

3-Fantasy Land. What dinner guest in his/her right mind, would turn down a chance to sit ringside and watch a love story being played out? A scrumptious choice of either chicken, pork or pot roast, coupled with all the beer or wine you can drink and there is a good chance that you won’t ever want to go home. Now if only someone could work that dinner attraction in your living room, life would be perfect.

4-A Different kind of meal. It is clear that dinner show attractions are taking on many forms all over the world, all with the intention of grabbing the interest of their guests. If you haven’t checked out the box office theatre news as yet, then how about some comedy and magic rolled up into one dinner show, where the adults get to quench their thirst with potent refreshments and kids get to stuff their faces with pizza and popcorn?

5-Entice your imagination. Then there are the pirates, you know the ones that have the patch on their eye and the parrot on their shoulder? This could probably be one of your most exciting dinners yet, assuming you can focus on protecting the beef tenderloins from thieving pirates. It is all meant to be fun and a good time for all, so if you like action while you eat, then a dinner show attraction may be just the thing for you!

If you have a favorite dinner show or reason you love dinner show attractions, please feel free to leave a comment!

Makahiki Luau Dinner Show Closing

At the end of September SeaWorld’s Makahiki Luau Dinner Show will be saying “aloha.” The show, which has been in production for more than 30 years will be ending September 30. The question is, will it be replaced?

Some may remember this show as the Polynesian Luau, held in the Seafire Inn in the theme park’s waterfront area. The name really didn’t change, it was just an easier reference for guests wanting to purchase tickets. Can you say, “Makahiki?” Admission to SeaWorld is not required, which is nice because the cost for the show is $46 per adult and $29 per child, which in itself isn’t bad. Add that to a days’ admission and you’ve got an expensive day of entertainment. You do get free parking though as long as you don’t show up too early (one hour prior).

Menu items at the Makahiki Luau Dinner Show are from Pacific Isle cuisine including Hawaiian chicken, Polynesian-style barbecue pork, a selection of fish in piña colada sauce, rice, vegetables, bread, fruit and other side items. Soft drinks are included. Entertainment includes fire dances from Hawaiian costumed performers and authentic music. Each guest also receives a complimentary flower lei.

Orlando Dinner Show Photo - SeaWorld Makahiki LuauHopefully SeaWorld will place the performers in this show elsewhere – they are very talented and easy on the eyes. However, it may not be another dinner show. Dine With Shamu was reintroduced back in July, which makes it easier for SeaWorld to promote only one Orlando dinner show. Dine With Shamu, however, does not take reservations, and admission to the park is required.

For those of you who have not seen the Makahiki Luau Dinner Show, you have until the end of September to experience it. Orlando Tourist Tip: Call your reservation in early. Now that the word is out, it could be difficult to get a seat!

For those of you that really enjoy dinner shows, this month is a good month to go see an Orlando dinner show. The crowds are smaller especially on week days. See the Makahiki Luau at SeaWorld and sadly say, “Aloha!”

Five Tips for Safe Travel During Your Orlando Amusement Park Tour

written by guest, Karla Hudak
Karla spends most of her time traveling to Australia. When she is not planning a trip, she likes to write.

If you are planning a trip to Orlando in Central Florida, you are not alone. Over 50 million visitors a year come to Metro Orlando each year. That’s a million visitors a week! If you put it into perspective, an equivalent of the number of fans at two Super Bowls come to this vacation destination every single day of the year!

Why is Central Florida such a popular travel location? People mostly visit to enjoy the major theme parks like Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios and EPCOT Center. In addition, travelers alike enjoy LEGOLAND and SeaWorld, along with the countless beautiful beaches that line the east coast and are within driving range.

Central Florida is a safe place for visitors, in general. However, if you are making a road trip to Orlando for amusement parks, here are five tips to help keep you and your family even safer.

Safety on the Roads

Orlando highways are driven by people from all over the country. This means you have aggressive, conservative and, most likely, impatient local drivers who are all trying to get to the fun on time. Remember to check your mirrors and follow the rules of the road to a safe arrival at your Orlando travel destination. Having a GPS or Maps App plotted out for that EPCOT trip on your phone is also necessary when traveling by automobile.

Also, keep in mind, Florida is famous for its heavy summer downpours. Although usually short lived, these downpours can be virtually blinding on area roadways and can quickly create a slick road.

Understand the Risk of Identity Theft in Crowded, Festive Places

With so many visitors, Orlando understands the importance of tourism and does its best to protect visitors. What it can’t do is protect you from identity theft if you don’t have proper coverage. Be aware that linking to an unsecured network has its risks and your cell or smart phone contains more information about you and your finances than you would like to admit. You may want to consider identity theft protection from a variety of services like LifeLock.

Minimize On-hand Cash/Debit/Credit Cards in the Amusement Park

Pay as much of your anticipated costs as you can in advance, including amusement park tickets and hotel accommodations. Buy several pre-paid debit/credit cards and keep them in separate locations. You do not want to have your larger limit debit or credit cards at risk, so think ahead.

Keep an Overnighter

An overnighter is a small suitcase that has enough clothes and necessities to tide you over for at least a night. Whether your car becomes disabled or you encounter any unexpected circumstances that separate you from your main luggage, the overnighter will come in handy. For a family, this bag should include a change of clothes and personal products for each passenger, along with a pre-paid credit card that can get you through a few days.

Be Prepared and Use Common Sense

Although the city of Orlando has plenty of fun activities and theme parks, it’s not all Fantasy-land. It is a major city. Be smart, prepared and keep your fuel tank full. Make sure family members have a way to stay in touch in between roller coaster rides. Don’t keep all your valuables, including cash and debit/credit cards, together and be aware of your circumstances. Avoid handing your debit or credit card to a person—as opposed to swiping it yourself.

Your amusement park trip to the Orlando/Central Florida area is likely to be one you’ll remember forever. The city knows how to make it’s visitors happy. Being prepared and using common sense is necessary for a successful and fulfilling family vacation.  Now have fun on those rides!

For other safety tips, please read more safety tips on our site.