Archive for the 'Orlando Articles' Category

Nov 13 2014

Orlando Tourist Channel

Here is the tourist channel as seen by millions of hotel guests in and around Orlando.

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Dec 07 2012

The Little Mermaid at New Fantasyland


Visitors to the Magic Kingdom can now enjoy the new Fantasyland. The new area opened on the 6th December 2012.  You can travel with Ariel, the Little Mermaid, in her new ride “Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid” songs and characters from the movie will make appearances on the attraction.

Set in Ariel’s undersea world, guests are treated to a “Dark Ride” with modern technological enhancements that make this ride an experience that resembles many scenes from the film. You enter this part of Fantasyland, through Prince Eric’s Castle, descending through grottos and then onto the ride. Various distractions are visible throughout your waiting in line, from such things as Barnacles, Crabs and Starfish.

The ride car resembles a clam shell and once you board it Scuttle, the yarn-spinning seagull, welcomes guests as they embark on their adventure. He tells the story of how Ariel wanted to leave her underwater world and become part of the human race. First, before we can see Ariel, we must descend under the sea. Special effects give the feeling of descending in your clamshell to the ocean floor.  First area we reach is Ariel’s Grotto, where we see the treasures she has collected on land. Things such as whozits, whatzits and thingamabobs. This is where she sings “Part of Your World.”

Then we see a whole host of sea creatures singing and playing instruments to try and convince Ariel to stay “under the sea” all conducted by Sebastian the Crab. However she is determined to go and visit the Sea Witch to see if she can make her human. They have made a great job of Ursula’s lair, along with Flotsam and Jetsom she sings “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”

Next Ariel gets her wish and she becomes human and we follow her to the surface, where we see friends encouraging Prince Eric to “Kiss the Girl” much to the annoyance of Ursula, which leads to a spectacular ending, with a few surprises.


By Steve Sewell

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Nov 23 2012

Candlelight Processional at EPCOT

Event:   Candlelight Processional
Venue:  EPCOT
Nov 23 2012 – 30 Dec 2012

Time once again for this traditional Disney event, the Candlelight Processional. Held twice nightly at the American Gardens with a variety of celebrity guest narrators, a 50 piece orchestra and a mass choir. The event retells the story of the birth of Jesus. There is no additional charge to view this but the places are limited.

Some of the celebrities this year are.

  • 11/23 – 11/25: Geena Davis
  • 11/26 – 11/29: Neil Patrick Harris
  • 11/30 – 12/01: Whoopi Goldberg
  • 12/02 – 12/04: Andy Garcia
  • 12/05 – 12/07: Blair Underwood
  • 12/08 – 12/10: James Denton
  • 12/11 –  12/13: Jodi Benson
  • 12/14 – 12/16: Lea Salonga
  • 12/17 – 12/19: Alfre Woodard
  • 12/20 – 12/22: Trace Adkins
  • 12/23 – 12/25: Gary Sinise
  • 12/26 – 12/28: Amy Grant
  • 12/29 – 12/30: Marlee Matlin (interpreter: Jack Jason)


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Jul 11 2012

Shopping in Orlando

Published by under Orlando Articles,Shopping

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Orlando is such a great place to shop and you will be spoilt for choice. There are shops and outlets to suit everyone from Gucci to Guess and JC Penny to Prada, they are all here and all the time more are being added.

Some of my favourite places to shop are as follows. For the outlets deals I like Orlando Premium Outlets both at Vineland Rd and I-Drive where the old Belz Outlet Mall was. The Vineland road location was the first one on the scene and is pretty much an outdoor mall with some overhead cover. They boast 150 stores that include Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Armani, Nike, Levi’s, Reebok, Guess and many more. There is also a food court serving a wide variety of food, some seating is outside too. A tip here is for the over the over 50’s to make use of the 50 Plus Shopper Perks . There is an extra 10% off your purchases every Tuesday from participating stores. It also growing at the newer International Drive location. There are a few more stores here but pretty much the same sort of thing. Parking can be easier at the International Drive location than the Vineland road mall.

Other main malls are the Mall at Millennia and the Florida Mall, the Florida Mall has over 250 stores and is more of a regular shopping center with stores such as Dillard’s, JC Penney, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears, M&M’s World, Clarks of England, Hollister Co., MAC, Apple, Microsoft Store, Pandora Jewelry and many more. There is also a much larger food court here with all the usual offerings. The Asian food vendors are keen to offer a sample of their wares, the Bourbon Chicken is very nice but it always gives me a terrific thirst bout an hour after. Could be the MSG! The mall stays open until 9pm except Sundays where they close at 6pm.

The Mall at Millennia is a newer mall and is a bit more high end, shop wise and merchandise. Over 150 stores many exclusive brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Apple, Cartier, Bloomingdales, Macy’s and many more. The Mall is on 2 levels and there is also a food court.

It is worth knowing if you are not from the US you can get a discount passport for Macy’s gift wrap, upstairs, that gives you a further 11% off items in the store including already marked down stuff. So you can get some great deals.

By Steve Sewell

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Jul 05 2012

Jaws Replacement at Universal Studios Orlando

Jaws ride from above

The old Jaws ride.

Following the announcement of Jaws closing at Universal Studios, it is still shrouded in mystery as to what exactly will replace it. There are strong rumours that it is going to be a Harry Potter expansion following the success of the one at Islands of Adventure. Rumour has it that it will feature a London similar to that in the HP movies. There will be a ride set in Gringott’s Wizarding Bank Coaster and there is also space for a Hogwarts Express that may connect you to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in IOA. There is also an enclosed space that could be a secret entrance to Diagon Alley and a Restaurant that could be the site of the Leaky Cauldron.

By Steve Sewell

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Oct 14 2009

Tomorrowland Transit Authority (Magic Kingdom)

Published by under Orlando Articles,Theme Parks



The Tomorrowland Transit Authority is probably not high on many people’s list of ‘must-do’s’ when they visit Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. In fact, you may not even have noticed it, as there are a hundred and one other more exciting things to do, but it is a favourite of mine. Why should that be you may be asking? Well, its not a white knuckle ride, it is not thrilling or exciting, and it rarely has a queue, but after trekking round the parks in the heat I love to sit and relax for 10 minutes or so in reasonable comfort, and in the cool – and at least it allows me to take the weight off my poor old feet! It also gives me the chance to have a superb view of the park from high above the crowds, where I can take some great photos. Not only that, but you get to see inside Space Mountain, and if there aren’t many people waiting in the line they don’t make you get off, and you can sit still and go round again with no queuing – bliss!

The TTA or ‘WEDway People Mover,’ as it was originally called, began its life in Disneyland, California. Walt Disney thought of it as more than just a ride. He had a vision that the People Mover, sponsored by Goodyear, combined with a monorail, could help solve the problems of congestion in cities. In 1967 it was innovative, and included a unique queuing process in which guests boarded a speed-ramp – or what we would call an inclined conveyor belt, or moving walkway – which transported them up to a second boarding area level.  When guests got off the ramp they were deposited onto a stationary platform, but this was surrounded by a large rotating turntable which turned at the same speed as the cars. Because the inside of the disc moved more slowly than the outside ring it enabled guests to make an easy transition into the cars, which didn’t need to slow down significantly in order to be boarded. which werThe little cars were powered by small rubber tyres made by Goodyear which were embedded along the track. About every nine feet or so hundreds of electric motors power these tyres as they press against fibreglass epoxy plates which are positioned on the underside of the cars. Each train had four cars holding four passengers each, and their top speed was a mere 6 miles an hour. Astonishingly the PeopleMover had a capacity of 4.600 guests per hour.

The TTA at Magic Kingdom in Orlando was somewhat different, as it was powered by linear induction motors, not moving wheels embedded in the track. This made the ride much smoother. It was not included in the first stages of the park, and indeed, it was not until July 1975 that it opened, six months after Space Mountain.  The Disneyland People Mover had cars with individual roofs to protect them from the elements, but it was decided that, because of Florida’s weather, this would not be sufficient protection from inclement weather.  They added a fifth car to each train, and covered the entire track. Unlike the Californian ride, the Florida attraction travelled along the same elevation throughout its journey. The Carousel of Progress was dismantled at Disneyland ready to be shipped to Florida, but they decided that the large model of Progress City, the prototype of EPCOT, should be seen whilst riding the ‘WEDway People Mover’ in Florida. It was much too large to fit the available space so it had to be drastically reduced in size. In 1994 it reopened as the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, which is how it is now known.

Over the years little has changed, and the TTA has recently undergone a refit, with a new coat of paint and different coloured lights around the track. There is also a new audio track which has replaced the original narrative. Some people will miss the jokes, but the narrative points out the various sights along the way. Space Mountain has been closed for some time for a major refit, and as the TTA passed through it, it too, had to be closed. However, with Space Mountain nearing completion for a re-opening date of November, 2009, it was felt that it was sufficiently ready for the TTA to reopen. Whilst it will take you through several of the attractions such as Buzz Lightyears Space Ranger Spin, as yet, Space Mountain is still boarded up.

So next time your feet are aching and you feel like a sit down in the cool, take a ride on the TTA.

Submitted by “ellie” view her property here:
Orlando Vacation Villas

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Aug 02 2008

A Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (MGM) Orlando Florida

Published by under Orlando Articles,Theme Parks

They recently changed the name from Disney’s MGM studios to Disney Hollywood studios but that’s as far as it goes, everything else is just as much fun. I guess though I will always remember it as the former. It is probably not one of the top favourite parks but it still has lots to offer. When you arrive at the park it has an art nouveau style of buildings reminiscent of the 1950’s at the entrance. Some of the thrill rides here are quite close to the entrance down on Sunset Boulevard on the left. These are Rock & Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith which is a high speed indoor roller coaster where you go from 0 – 60 mph in 2.8 seconds with the same force as an F14 aircraft take off. All this done to the music of Aerosmith!

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Then there is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This is a ride taken from the TV series the Twilight Zone which is set in the Hollywood Towers Hotel. In the the pre show you go into a room, the library, and you watch a TV show from the original presenter of the twilight zone, this lasts about 2-3 minutes. After that you join the lines in the basement to board your elevator. Once inside you are then taken on a journey to the Twilight Zone culminating in several high speed drops before returning you to the basement. This version is totally random so you will never have the same experience with the drops. There are many TV and Film based attractions here including Star Tours (Star Wars based flight to the planet Endor). This is a simulator ride. There are shows from the Muppets, Indiana Jones and much more. One of the not to be missed attractions here is the night time show Fantasmic. This is a show involving fireworks and a Hydrotechnic display. This all takes place in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre. Another great show is Lights, Motors, Action – Extreme Stunt Show. Amazing display of stunts performed several times a day. This park is also home to the ride Hollywood studios back lot tour. This involves a bit of behind the scenes stuff and a ride through Catastrophe Canyon. All in all a great day out.

By Steve Sewell

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Jul 07 2008

New Roller Coaster for Sea World (Manta)

Published by under Orlando Articles,Theme Parks

From the Orlando Sentinel 29th May 2008

For its next big attraction, “Manta,” SeaWorld Orlando intends to mix 184,000 gallons of water, 3,000 sea animals and a roller coaster that puts riders in a prone position, then takes them through four inversions and as high as 140 feet and as fast as 56 mph.

“You say, ‘Hey, you’re putting as much emphasis on the animals as on the ride.’ Absolutely. That’s who we are. This is uniquely SeaWorld. We don’t want to just put in a ride,” said Joseph Couceiro, chief marketing officer for SeaWorld’s parent company, Busch Entertainment Corporation.

SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Entertainment officials today announced details today for the new Manta roller coaster, which they said will seamlessly take guests from the awe of encountering rays in underwater flight into the sensation of actually being one.

Swooping over water and sky, Manta will show riders underwater animal habitats, then soar them face-down aboard a manta-inspired flying coaster, donned in hues of dark purple, ultramarine blue and cobalt.

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Jul 07 2008

Welcome to our Blog

I’ve been traveling to Florida regularly since 1990, staying up to 3 months some times. I have learnt a lot about it and have picked up many tips over those years. Where better to write about my experiences than right here.

In 2004, Dawn and I bought our own villa in Orlando in Calabay Parc a really nice community. We decided to do it after years of staying in hotels until the year before we bought and found that it is the perfect way to spend your vacation.

This blog is also for any villa owners out there as well anyone else who may find it useful and informative.

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