Thursday, January 21, 2010


Cypress Gardens To Grow Legos

Looks like the defunct Cypress Gardens will became a new Legoland.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


The Hunt For Hidden Mickeys Goes High-Tech

iPhone App for Walt Disney World's Hidden Mickeys Unveiled

Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide To Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets, the best-selling book by Steven M. Barrett, now has its very own “official” app for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.

The new app builds on the successful formula of the book. It contains all of the Hidden Mickeys from the new fourth edition of the book -- with over a hundred added, the total is now up to more than 800 – but it takes things to a whole new level of interactivity.

Using the scavenger hunt structure that made the book so popular, the new app offers cryptic “clues” for searchers to puzzle over and “hints” for if they get stuck. But asking for hints before you find a Hidden Mickey lowers your score. Separate user profiles allow family members to compete on the hunts.

But the app is not just the book in digital form. It also includes completely new features only possible with Apple’s iPhone technology. For example, users can upload their scavenger hunt scores directly to their Facebook pages without having to exit the application. This means that for the first time Hidden Mickeys hunters from around the globe can compare their scores instantaneously.

The application also uses a GPS location tracking feature that identifies the user’s location in the resort and automatically displays the nearest Hidden Mickeys up to 500 meters away. Hunters in a hurry can thus save time without skipping Mickeys.

Users of the new app are enthusiastic. “This is awesome,” raved LightningMcQueen1983 in the iTunes Store. “I have already gone through and selected all the Hidden Mickeys I knew, but there are soooooo many more to find.”

The application is available for $5.99 under the “Travel” category in Apple’s App Store via this link

The Hidden Mickeys app was created by Campbell/Gambill Designs of Orlando, FL, with the assistance of author Steve Barrett. Barrett’s book, Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide To Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secrets ($12.95), is published by The Intrepid Traveler. It is available in the Disney parks, in bookstores, and online.

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Friday, October 30, 2009


Seth Kubersky Reviews HHN

Here's Seth's take on this year's eight haunted mazes. Match yours?
Dracula: Instead of Lugosi’s campy count, this Dracula is inspired by Vlad the Impaler’s legend, with a big nod to Coppola. The castle has impressive architectural integrity and bursts with a bevy of Eiko Ishioka–esque brides, but I barely glimpsed Drac himself.

Frankenstein: Scent, texture and light fuse to fine atmospheric effect in a steampunk sequel to Mary Shelley’s shocker. I dug the Metropolis-meets-Re-Animator bride, though the Monster is a tad Van Helsing-y. Look up at the “Fly pods” to see the Doctor’s final fate.

The Wolfman: My favorite of the “classic trio,” this maze makes me anticipate the as-yet-unreleased Benicio Del Toro remake. Makeup re-creating Rick Baker’s designs, evocative “outdoor” environments (indoor trees and starscapes) and enthusiastic “scare-actors” build to a howling good finale.

Leave It to Cleaver:
One of two “Fangoria Presents” houses, Cleaver is a faux-tribute to a fake ’50s cult classic featuring the cheerfully cannibalistic Meetz meatpacking plant. A clever combo of kitsch and carnage, the grinning old-timey masks wigged me out more than any modern monster. Sick and silly, this is my pick for a sleeper hit.

Saw: Gorehounds rejoice: The profitable torture-porn franchise comes to life through a “greatest hits” selection of Jigsaw’s sadistic traps, featuring film-faithful re-creations of fan faves like “key in eye socket” and “fat guy in razor wire.” The assault of an ending is definitely not kosher. Beware of the longest line to be found.

The Spawning: Wander the Wyandot County sewer in search of snakelike “Sculders” in a Fangoria mock-movie modeled on the classic X-Files episode “The Host” (featuring “Flukeman”). Low ceilings + hanging strings = disorienting slog (I got lost), so expect slow-moving lines.

Chucky: A puke-inducing spinning tunnel shrinks you down to doll-size for a carnival-colored tour of the “Good Guy” factory where evil toys reign. Etch A Sketches, toy soldiers and clown bop-bags become objects of menace in this creatively creepy (though not especially frightening) Child’s Play tribute.

Silver Screams:
Here’s the home of event icon Julian Browning, the spectral usher who haunts the circa-1922 Universal Palace Theater. A simple yet spectacular lighting effect transforms the facade from splendor to decay; within are well-crafted compact vignettes from a half-dozen horror classics, from the Phantom of the Opera lair to Shaun of the Dead’s Winchester Pub.

Get the new 2010 edition of Universal Orlando: The Ultimate Guide To The Ultimate Theme Park Adventure, which Seth co-wrote.

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Universal Orlando 2010 Now Available

The 2010 edition of Universal Orlando: The Ultimate Guide To The Ultimate Theme Park Adventure is now available. It's slowly making it's way to bookstores, but you can order it online.

The new edition introduces Seth Kubersky as my new co-author and I couldn't be happier to have him on board. You may know Seth from his work at Orlando Weekly or in the regular Rocky Horror Picture Show extravaganzas at Universal Cineplex. He's a theme park pro, having worked at Universal in a variety of capacities on a number of attractions and special events.

The new edition contains the first guidebook review of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and (thanks to Seth) an insider's preview of the new Harry Potter area in Islands of Adventure.

To celebrate the publication, The Intrepid Traveler is offering special pricing on the Universal book as well as on SeaWorld, Discovery Cove & Aquatica: Orlando's Salute to the Seas, also by yours truly.

And if you get them both, there's a very, very special deal that I think will be hard to resist. Get the skinny by clicking here.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009


Cypress Gardens Closes. (Again)

Well, Cypress Garden has sunk yet again.

This time I'm making no predictions about whetehr it will rise from the swamp another time.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


For Sale! Not For Sale! For Sale!

There was an amusing flurry of speculation about whether SeaWorld would announce its sale to ... whoever at an employee briefing this morning.

SeaWorld execs' disavowals couldn't stop excited headlines like "Report: SeaWorld to tell employees it has been sold" even when the story said the official word was "No comment."

Well the employee briefing that fueled the rumors has come and gone. And the real story?
SeaWorld Orlando would not say if it has a new owner at an employee meeting Wednesday.

Employees at a company communications briefing asked SeaWorld officials about a possible sale to the BlackStone Group which owns a 50 percent stake of Universal Orlando Resort.

Park officials, however, said they did not have informationon a final sale and refused to discuss the situation any further.

Calm down, everyone, and just enjoy Shamu.


Friday, September 18, 2009


Orlando's Biggest Yard Sale

What else would you want to do while on vacation in Orlando?

It's on Saturday, October 10, in the Avalon Park area, and over 100 families will be participating.

More info here.

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