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ICE!: Behind the scenes at Gaylord Hotels' holiday exhibit

ICE!: Behind the scenes at Gaylord Hotels' holiday exhibit Nov 15th, 2010 at 2:30PM: Each holiday season, the four Gaylord Hotels in the United States import about 100 master ice carvers from Harbin, China's Winter Festival to carve elaborate, life-size exhibits for the resorts. I recently got to peek behind the curtain and watch the artists at work at the Gaylord Palms Resort near Orlando, Florida. The ICE! exhibits are a wonder to walk through, with room out of room...

Top 10 holiday sights to see at Walt Disney World

Top 10 holiday sights to see at Walt Disney World Nov 12th, 2010 at 10:00AM: Walt Disney World is known for building theme parks and resorts that are larger than life. So it should come as no surprise that Disney goes all out during the holidays. It's enough to have anyone humming "White Christmas," even if it is 80 degrees outside. Many of the holiday festivities start this week at Walt Disney World - yes, Disney skips directly from Halloween to Christmas. Here are my...

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster reopens at Universal Studios Florida

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster reopens at Universal Studios Florida Oct 28th, 2010 at 2:30PM: The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster is open once again at Universal Studios Florida, after being closed for maintenance on Sept. 15. Universal has been mum on exactly what maintenance was being performed. The coaster's German manufacturer - Maurer Sohne - issued a memo on Sept. 2, advising that all coasters similar to the Rip Ride Rockit be shut down immediately because of a flaw...

Air Force Thunderbirds fly over Walt Disney World's Main Street U.S.A.

Air Force Thunderbirds fly over Walt Disney World's Main Street U.S.A. Oct 27th, 2010 at 4:30PM: The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds flew up Main Street U.S.A. Tuesday afternoon in a six-plane "Delta" formation. The Walt Disney World flyover was part of the festivities surrounding Air Force Week in Central Florida. Air Force Weeks are held in different U.S. cities each year. They are a public relations effort "for our Air Force to showcase some of its capabilities to the general public,"...

TripAlertz combines group buying with travel flash sales

TripAlertz combines group buying with travel flash sales Oct 26th, 2010 at 11:00AM: Launching today, TripAlertz aims to do for the travel market what Groupon and LivingSocial have done for restaurants, spas and shops. Part flash sale, part group-buying site, TripAlertz will offer impulse getaway packages with prices that start 30 to 50 percent below the leading public online travel sites. Destinations to be featured include places like Miami, Orlando, Beverly Hills, San...

Top ten Halloween theme park events

Top ten Halloween theme park events Oct 25th, 2010 at 3:00PM: Theme parks around the United States are getting in on the Halloween fun this week, with special events featuring everything from horror-filled haunted houses to magic shows to trick-or-treating for kids. Here's a look at our top 10 Halloween theme park events: 1. Halloween Horror Nights: Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, Florida Universal's Halloween scarefest, which tops lists of...

Inside Virgin America's Orlando launch (w/ Photos)

Inside Virgin America's Orlando launch (w/ Photos) Oct 20th, 2010 at 4:30PM: I scanned the tarmac from my window seat. No gorgeous models holding Virgin America flags. No extravagant red carpet or cocktail service set out under the inviting Orlando sunshine. No R&B icons, rock stars, or daytime soap actors to pose for the dozens of cameras lined up at the jet bridge. I thought we might have taxied to the wrong terminal until I saw the undeniable proof that we...

Top ten overrated U.S. travel destinations/attractions

Top ten overrated U.S. travel destinations/attractions Oct 14th, 2010 at 4:30PM: Whether or not you're an American, there are certain places that are on almost everyone's must-visit list. Some tourist traps, like the Grand Canyon or Disneyland, are worth joining the masses and ponying up the entrance fee (although I just checked the Magic Kingdom's website, and Mickey and friends are bilking the parents of children under nine for $68 a pop). Other much-lauded, highly...

Virgin America launches SFO/LAX to Orlando! (Update: Photos)

Virgin America launches SFO/LAX to Orlando! (Update: Photos) Oct 13th, 2010 at 3:30PM: For all you West Coasters still wondering where California's summer went, now's your chance to break out the sunscreen, fanny packs, and suit up in your classiest tourist garb. This morning, Virgin America officially launched its latest routes from San Francisco and Los Angeles to the 'fun capital' of America; Orlando. To kick off the route, Virgin America has teamed up with Awkward Family...

Halloween Horror Nights XX: Becoming a scareactor

Halloween Horror Nights XX: Becoming a scareactor Oct 11th, 2010 at 10:00AM: Creepiness is all about eye contact. That's what I learned after a night spent as a Halloween Horror Nights "scareactor" (rhymes with character). Universal Orlando invited me behind the scenes to see what it is like to be one of the nearly 1,000 employees hired each year to scare up guests during the theme park's Halloween festivities. And what I found after two shifts on the streets of...

Couple to wed at Halloween Horror Nights

Couple to wed at Halloween Horror Nights Oct 7th, 2010 at 2:30PM: April Richardson and Adam Cohen (that's the blood-drenched, happy couple in the picture at right) are the winners of a wedding package at Halloween Horror Nights. The Vermont couple, who describe themselves as "lifelong fans of Halloween," will wed on the steps of a haunted house at Universal Orlando on Oct. 15. April, a graphic designer, and Adam, a pharmacist, met six years ago and got...

Top ten new tastes at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival

Top ten new tastes at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival Oct 1st, 2010 at 4:30PM: The 15th annual EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival kicks off today at Walt Disney World Resort. The festival includes cooking demonstrations, concerts, cookbook signings, wine dinners and celebrity chef appearances, but the "main event" is what the Festival Marketplace around the World Showcase promenade, where 25 kiosks selling regional food and drink from around the world are set...

Virgin America wants your family vacation photos

Virgin America wants your family vacation photos Sep 29th, 2010 at 5:00PM: Time to break out the blackmail photo album - Virgin America wants to see your most awkward family photos for a chance to upgrade to the ultimate family vacation. In celebration of Virgin America's San Francisco-Orlando flights, the always entertaining airline launched an online promotion with Awkward Family Photos that celebrates family vacations. All you have to do is upload your "most...

Universal Orlando offering new wedding packages during Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Orlando offering new wedding packages during Halloween Horror Nights Sep 16th, 2010 at 11:30AM: If your idea of the perfect wedding involves his and hers coffins, chainsaws and a ride in a hearse, then you're in luck, because Universal Orlando is now offering wedding packages during Halloween Horror Nights. The new horror-filled wedding packages include options such as having a "chainsaw drill team" at your nuptials, and taking a post-ceremony hearse ride through the fog-filled streets of...

Centerfold model tries to get off early

Centerfold model tries to get off early Sep 13th, 2010 at 9:00AM: The latest person to try to ditch a JetBlue flight early put forth the boldest attempt yet ... but at least she brought her own flotation devices. Centerfold model Tiffany Livingston was on a flight from Orlando to Newark and wanted to get off very early. In mid-air, she left her seat and tried to open the plane door – not a bright move, and one for which the emergency slide would provide...

Harry Potter ride seats modified for larger riders

Harry Potter ride seats modified for larger riders Sep 13th, 2010 at 8:30AM: Universal Orlando has modified some seats on ride cars for the new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and many people who couldn't ride the centerpiece attraction at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter should be able to now. When I saw the Wizarding World of Harry Potter during an early preview in May, the ride was not in operation, but the "test seats" outside the ride were working....

Get off a cruise and into custody: Passenger wrongly nailed as hooker

Get off a cruise and into custody: Passenger wrongly nailed as hooker Sep 9th, 2010 at 2:00PM: What do you do when your mom is arrested for prostitution? Well, you probably claim that she didn't do it. After all, she's your mom, and nobody admits to guilt on these things anyway. If you were Paola Londono's kid, you'd actually be right to proclaim her innocence. Thanks to a clerical error in the Osceola County Sheriff's office, Londono, from Orlando, was arrested when she stepped off a...

Touring Disney World's new 'luxury pet resort'

Touring Disney World's new 'luxury pet resort' Sep 7th, 2010 at 2:30PM: Tongues (and tails) were definitely wagging as Walt Disney World Resort opened the doors to its newest addition: Best Friends Pet Care. Billed as a "luxury pet resort," this pet kennel facility is definitely more luxurious than any I've ever seen. I have used a couple of the five existing pet kennels at Walt Disney World, and I would describe them as clean and utilitarian, but certainly...

Universal Orlando announces Halloween Horror Nights details

Universal Orlando announces Halloween Horror Nights details Aug 26th, 2010 at 9:00AM: It's the 20th year for Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, a scarefest that routinely sells out the park on weekends in September and October. Now in its 20th year of the horror-filled celebration, Universal is personifying fear: Halloween Horror Nights XX is about Fear himself. He is the Master of everything Halloween Horror Nights has ever been and will become. His weapons: Chaos,...

SeaWorld Orlando fined $75,000 in whale trainer's death

SeaWorld Orlando fined $75,000 in whale trainer's death Aug 23rd, 2010 at 1:30PM: The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced $75,000 in fines for SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. The fines are related to safety violations found during a 6-month investigation at SeaWorld Orlando, following the February death of killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau. Brancheau drowned in a tank at SeaWorld after being grabbed and pulled under by a killer whale used...

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