Friday, May 23, 2008


Parking Up at Universal

Universal Orlando has raised its base parking rate to $12.

If you were looking for an excuse to get an annual pass, this might be the time!

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Thursday, May 15, 2008


Universal Formally Opens The Simpsons

First it was The Simpsons, then The Simpsons -- The Movie, then The Simpsons -- The Ride, which has been in previews and soft opening for a few weeks.

Now it's The Simpsons -- The Ride's Press Release!
Orlando, FL (May 15, 2008) – You’ve seen the show, played The Game, watched The Movie. And now, yes, it’s finally here. You can ride – The Ride.

America’s favorite animated family has arrived in Orlando – with their very own mega-attraction. The Simpsons Ride officially opened today at Universal Orlando Resort. The new attraction plants guests smack in the middle of a brand-new Simpsons adventure – a ride adventure so big, so funny and so thrilling it’s no surprise it took years to make.

In an unprecedented collaboration, Executive Producer James L. Brooks, Creator Matt Groening and Executive Producer Al Jean in association with 20th Century Fox Television and the creative teams of Gracie Films and Universal Theme Parks have accomplished what has never been done before – the launch of the world’s first authentic mega-attraction of The Simpsons.

“The Simpsons Ride” showcases everything the hugely popular television series has made famous and that Simpsons fans love . . . a great story, humor and irreverence that are pure Simpsons, with original animation starring cast members Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, and guest star Kelsey Grammer.

Guests are swept into Krustyland, a theme park created by the show’s cash hungry clown. Meanwhile, maniacal Sideshow Bob has escaped from prison and has taken control of the park to get his revenge on Krusty and the Simpson family. Hand-picked by Krusty to be the first to ride his newest attraction, you are thrust into the middle of the action.

The attraction is larger than life – from the 28-foot-tall Krusty the Clown at the entrance (guests walk through Krusty’s mouth on his extended tongue) to the giant wrap-around cinematic experience created for this great new adventure. Guests soar through Krustyland and Springfield on a ride that features the world’s first-ever cork screw that’s animated!

“I take with all due sense of mission and humility the opportunity to spray water and spritz baby
powder at Universal patrons,” says James L. Brooks.

“For twenty years I've been dreaming about this, and here it is -- a wild, thrilling Simpsons Ride put together by a huge number of talented artists and amusement-park maniacs,” says Matt Groening.

“The Simpsons Ride is Universal at its best: bringing blockbusters to life in entirely new ways,” said Tom Williams, Chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts. “And with its unique sense of humor and enormous popularity, it is the perfect complement to our brand of entertainment.”

“We have created the ultimate Simpsons experience,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “It’s a wild ride through the world of the Simpsons – up close and with the whole family, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie – like you’ve never seen her before.”

“We’re bringing the fun and joy of The Simpsons to millions of fans in the most immersive way possible. The Simpsons Ride is a blast!”, said Elie Dekel, Fox’s Executive Vice President of Licensing.



Attention Shoppers!

A new Ralph Lauren shop is opening Friday in Prime Outlets at the north end of I-Drive.

And you can print a 15% off coupon.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street?

Well, I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street at SeaWorld (thanks to their press release):
The beloved Sesame Street characters return to SeaWorld this spring and summer, delighting families with character meet-and-greets, a Breakfast with Elmo and Friends and an all-new “Elmo and Abby’s Treasure Hunt” musical production.

Throughout the day, kids and parents will also enjoy special character connection opportunities to meet their favorite Sesame Street friends for hugs and photographs.

Guests may even start their day with a fun-filled character breakfast sure to entertain kids and parents alike. Breakfast with Elmo and Friends is offered daily at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The breakfast features a delicious buffet served-up with the hottest characters in town including Elmo, Big Bird, Grover, Zoe, Ernie and Cookie Monster. Prices are $16.95 plus tax for adults and $14.95 for children (ages 3-9). Children under 3 are free. Reservations are required.

Sesame Street’s newest neighbor, Abby Cadabby, is the star of this fun musical show featuring Elmo, Cookie Monster, Rosita and Grover. Beginning May 24 and running through Sept. 1, Abby and her Sesame pals will embark on a treasure hunt adventure as they search for clues to open a talking treasure trunk. Along the way, they’ll encounter a singing tree, a rhyming rock, a shouting toucan and more. As they find the clues to unlock the trunk, they explore their treasures and open their minds to a world of imagination.

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Summer Line Up at SeaWorld

They're ba-a-a-ack! Your favorite seasonal shows at SeaWorld, that is, along with some newcomers. It all starts on May 24 and runs through Labor Day, September 1. Here's the line up:

Returning are Shamu Rocks, a nightime show that ditrches the edutainment for sheer fun to loud rock music, and Mistify, a sound, light, and water show in the central lagoon.

New this year is Bayside Ski Jam at Bayside Stadium (where else?), which is described thusly: "An all-new, nighttime action-packed ski show that jams on the lake and in the sky. The art of water sport merges with fun, funky music to provide plenty of fast-paced action. Bayside Ski Jam will feature expert skiers using the water as their stage to entertain guests."

They are also offering a five-hour SeaWorld Night Adventure Tour for $100 (plus tax) that "provides front-of-line access to Kraken and Journey to Atlantis, plus reserved seating at two of the park’s amazing night shows, such as Shamu Rocks. This tour is for adults over 21 only and includes dinner and a visit to the Brewmaster's Club to sample from a wide variety of fresh beers and new products from the Anheuser-Busch portfolio."

All of this is under the umbrella title of SeaWorld After Dark.

During the day, there will be animal themed entertainment at Seafire Inn's Wild Things. Here's what the press release says:
Animals from around the globe take the stage during a twenty minute multi-media presentation as diners treat their taste buds on a tour of some of the world’s favorite flavors. Seafire Inn’s Wild Things rotates through-out the day, with never the same show back to back. Exotic animals from Africa, South America, and North America are presented in this fun and informative experience daily between noon and 4 p.m. Guests will also have the opportunity to step outside and have an up-close encounter with some of SeaWorld’s animal friends. Delicious food and fascinating animals make Seafire Inn’s Wild Things a “don’t miss” adventure at SeaWorld’s Waterfront.

This will take place (i'm guessing) in the interior dinner theater space where the Makahiki Luau is held in the evenings. No mention was made of special pricing. In earlier daytime shows in this space, you just grabbed your food from the cafeteria line, wandered in, and found a seat.


Manta Coming to SeaWorld

The Coaster Critic has spilled the beans about the long-rumored new coaster that will be sort of a centerpiece at SeaWorld.

Located in a central area near the entrance mall, the new ride will be named "Manta" and will be a "flying coaster," that is a steel coaster where you get strapped into a prone, face-down position, with the coaster tracks over your head.

The concept art posted at Coaster Critic makes it look like the wings of the manta ray themed ride vehicle will dip into water at at least one point, sending a wall of water over onlookers (shades of SheiKra!). There's also talk of up-close animal encounters, although how they'll manage that is anybody's guess.

The artwork also makes it look like the ride will cover more ground than the current fenced off area would suggest. Looks like the track will extend over nearby parts of the park. But I wonder where exactly. Key West?

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