September 30, 2011

15 Days / 360 Hours Before Legoland Florida Opens

Filed under: Legoland,vacation tips — ngw101 @ 8:30 am

There’s just 15 days to go before the Grand Opening at Legoland Florida and we were invited back this week to take a look at the construction progress with just 360 hours to go!

During this visit we toured three areas we hadn’t seen before :

Pirate’s Cove – the place where Legoland Florida’s very own live action, pirate themed, water stunt show takes place on the shores of Lake Eloise.

LEGO City – The perfect place for youngsters to live out their dreams in a scaled down town created just for them.

LEGO Technic – The zone that appeals to the more extreme side of Legoland with a hgh energy roller coaster and an intense water carousel – Aquazone Wave Racers.

While there we also saw that the entrance area was virtually completed and the final touches were being applied to several of the other areas we’ve previously featured on this blog. Some photos appear below and from them you’ll be able to see that the 150 acre theme park is almost ready. It’s been quite a journey and I have to say that the park looks absolutely fabulous with the splashes of color going in.

The race against time is well and truly on for the construction teams but the theme park definitely looks like it will open on time and its 50 rides, shows and attractions will be ready for action come 15th October. It’s going to be a great place for all members of the family and there’s literally something for everyone. Nearly all of the rides are hands-on, so you can push, pull, pedal, program, steer, squirt, splash, crawl, climb, drive and yes, build your way through a full day of non stop fun!

For those who want a more gentle pace, the old Cypress Gardens gardens have been retained and they’ll make for a great place to go when you fancy a few minutes… or hours, of tranquility. “Cypress Gardens is a huge element of Legoland Florida and we really see ourselves becoming one of the most beautiful parks in the world,” Legoland Florida Marketing Manager Jill Swidler said. “In order to do that, we had to bring back the history and the beauty of Cypress Gardens.” Also, I can report that another tradition from Cypress Gardens, the southern Cypress belles will return to the park.

Tickets for Legoland Florida can be obtained from Florida Leisure Vacation Homes by calling 1-800-760-1114 or by emailing

More photo’s can be found on our Facebook page : – if you haven’t already clicked “LIKE” …make sure you do… and here’s some video:

To see some of our other videos on the construction progress at Legoland Florida simply type “Legoland” into the search box at the top right hand side of this page. Also, here’s a couple of our previous videos:

September 26, 2011

LPGA Comes To Orlando in November

Filed under: Orlando Golf,Women's Golf — ngw101 @ 7:00 am

Hot on the heels of the exciting events in Ireland at the Solheim Cup is the opportunity to watch the best women golfers in the world right here in Orlando. The ladies are due to visit from 15th to 20th November at Grand Cypress Resort and this year there’s a brand new format that will ensure that play is as competitive as it has ever been.

The season finale will have a field made up of three qualifiers from every official LPGA Tour tournament, a format never previously used in professional golf. The “Countdown to CME Group Titleholders” will be the culmination of a season-long unifying program that showcases the best performing players from the 2011 LPGA Tour season, and also highlights each and every title sponsor on the LPGA Tour. It promises to be an interesting showdown and ticket s can be obtained at the LPGA web site.

September 25, 2011

Orlando Ladies Inspire Europe to Solhiem Cup Win

Filed under: Orlando Golf,Women's Golf — ngw101 @ 8:55 pm

The Solheim Cup was finally won by a jubilant European team in dramatic circumstances earlier today. Following rain delays, lightning threats and the shock withdrawal of Cristie Kerr due to injury before the start of her match, Europe finally regained the Solheim Cup in thrilling fashion with a narrow 15-13 victory over the USA.  It was a day where fortunes flowed back and forth as both teams had the chance of victory at Killeen Castle in Ireland.

Both teams were packed with players who call Orlando home so the event was full of interest for those who love golf in Central Florida. The USA team had Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, Brittany Lang, Christina Kim, Brittany Lincicome and Vicky Hurst from the Central Florida area as well as Boca Raton’s Morgan Pressel while Europe had Assistant Captain Annika Sorenstam, Suzann Pettersen (pictured below), Maria Hjorth, Anna Nordqvist and Sandra Gal as well as Ponte Vedra’s Sophie Gustafson.

In the end it all came down to the last three singles matches and a dramatic final half hour. It was during this time that the USA held the upper hand but the pendulum swung firmly in Europe’s favour as Suzann Pettersen started the fightback. One down with three to play against Michelle Wie, the world No. 2 pulled off a dramatic win on the final hole after a run of three successive birdies on the 16, 17 and 18 holes.

This only served to spur on Caroline Hedwall who was two down with two to play against Ryan O’Toole and she managed to win the last two holes to half her match and gain a valuable half point.  Azahara Munoz then had the honour of clinching the vital point in the final match as she managed a one hole win over Angela Stanford.

It was the first win for Europe since 2003 and for Captain Alison Nicholas’s European team the 7-5 singles score meant it was a fourth win from 12 contests, and they will go to Colorado Golf Club in two years’ time hoping to win in the USA for a first time.



Ride 4 Ronald 2011

Filed under: News,Orlando Events — ngw101 @ 6:08 pm

The second annual ride featuring 638 bicycle riders was held in Orlando this morning. The start and end of the ride was at the Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Florida Hospital for Children and it raised over $100,000 for the charity. More than 1500 families use the home as a home away from home while their children are in the hospital.

Riders get to choose from several different rides as there are 30 miles, 62 miles and then 100 mile routes with the aim of raising as much money for Ronald McDonald House as they can. The aim of the charity is to provide a “home away from home” for families with seriously ill or injured children who are being treated at local hospitals and medical facilities. There are two Ronald McDonald Houses in Orlando; one is located on the campus of Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children and the other is on the campus of Arnold Palmer Medical Center.

More than 15,000 have stayed at the two Ronald McDonald House locations in Orlando since opening the first phase of the first House in December 1996. Those families have represented 51 countries, 48 states and 62 Florida counties. It’s a great charity and so nice to see it so well supported.

September 24, 2011

Museum Day in Orlando

Filed under: hidden orlando,vacation tips — ngw101 @ 11:08 am

Thanks to the Smithsonian, hundreds of museums throughout the United States are participating in this year’s Museum Day by offering free admission to participating museums today.

In order to get free admission, you need to take the Museum Day Admission Card found in the current Smithsonian magazine or you can print one off from their website where you can also check participating museums by state.

Orlando area museums that offering free admission on Museum Day are:

You can read more about Orlando area museums here and here’s some video relating to the museums in Orlando & Winter Park.

September 23, 2011

Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights Opens Tonight

Filed under: Universal Orlando — ngw101 @ 4:28 pm




The Country’s Best Halloween Event Returns with All-New Horrifying Experiences:

Eight Haunted Houses, Six Scarezones, Two Shows…and Lady Luck

Screams will fill the darkness tonight as Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 21 officially opens at Universal Studios Florida.  Starting tonight and running select nights through October 31, guests will confront extreme Halloween entertainment that cannot be experienced anywhere else.

Recently named “the country’s best Halloween event” for the fourth consecutive year by Amusement Today, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights is not your typical Halloween event.  Each year, the bar is raised as Universal Orlando creates original, horrifying experiences to entertain thousands of guests from all over the world.

This year’s event will be the most intense yet as Halloween Horror Nights 21 features ALL-NEW terrifying content. Guests will experience:

  • Eight elaborate haunted houses, including the In-Between, where they’ll don 3-D glasses and enter an ominous portal filled with fiendish creatures; The Forsaken, where they’ll face the vengeful souls of a condemned ship; and Winter’s Night: The Haunting of Hawthorn Cemetery, where they’ll be haunted by the dead
  • Six inescapable scarezones, like Acid Assault, where they’ll be surrounded by the vicious survivors of a city plagued with Acid Rain, and Your Luck Has Run Out, where they’ll take a chance and face the monstrous Lady Luck – the force behind this year’s event
  • Two outrageous shows, including the return of the popular Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure and Death Drums, an all-new seductive drumming experience

To get a sneak peek at this year’s event, check out this video…

For a detailed listing of each haunted house, scarezone and show featured at this year’s event, see below.

Halloween Horror Nights 21 begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information about the event – or to purchase tickets – visit Due to the event’s popularity, tickets for weekend nights are expected to sell out and should be purchased well in advance.

September 21, 2011

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Filed under: Disney,vacation tips — ngw101 @ 5:25 pm

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is underway on select dates at Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park and we often get some great questions about this event so we thought we’d answer them on today’s blog.

The Halloween-themed special event is held on certain select dates (see below) but is not included in the regular priced day admission. Instead if you want to visit the event you will need to purchase an additional special event admission ticket to be able to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

During Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, guests of all ages are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes…and make sure you have some deep pockets as you can collect delicious candy as you trick-or-treat around Magic Kingdom theme park!

In addition to many of the favorite Disney attractions, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is filled with special entertainment, including:

  • Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade—including Disney Characters and the stars of the Haunted Mansion attraction. The parade begins with a spook-tacular ride by the Headless Horseman.
  • Happy HalloWishes—a spectacular fireworks show where the Disney Villains go trick-or-treating in the sky.
  • Many favorite Disney Characters and Disney Villains in special Halloween costumes.
  • Special lighting, music and theming effects transforms special areas of Magic Kingdom theme park into happy haunted hollows.

The tone of the event is, well, “Not-So-Scary”, and is appropriate for children of all ages.

Dates / Times:

September: 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30, 2011
October: 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 2011
November: 1 2011
Hours: 7:00 pm – midnight, Parade at 8:15 pm and 10:30 pm, Fireworks at 9:30 pm

September 20, 2011

AVATAR to open at Animal Kingdom

Filed under: Disney's Animal Kingdom — ngw101 @ 4:43 pm

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide today announced that it is joining forces with visionary filmmaker James Cameron and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring the world of AVATAR to life at Disney parks.

Through an exclusive agreement announced earlier today by Disney, Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox, Disney will partner with Cameron and producing partner Jon Landau to create themed lands that will give theme park guests the opportunity to explore the mysterious universe of AVATAR first hand.

Disney plans to build the first AVATAR themed land at Walt Disney World, within the Animal Kingdom park. With its emphasis on living in harmony with nature, Animal Kingdom is a natural fit for the AVATAR stories, which share the same philosophy. Construction is expected to begin by 2013.

“James Cameron (pictured above left) is a groundbreaking filmmaker and gifted storyteller who shares our passion for creativity, technological innovation and delivering the best experience possible,” said Robert A. Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company (pictured above right). “With this agreement, we have the extraordinary opportunity to combine James’ talent and vision with the imagination and expertise of Disney.”

“AVATAR created a world which audiences can discover again and again and now, through this incredible partnership with Disney, we’ll be able to bring Pandora to life like never before. With two new AVATAR films currently in development, we’ll have even more locations, characters and stories to explore,” said James Cameron. ”I’m chomping at the bit to start work with Disney’s legendary Imagineers to bring our AVATAR universe to life. Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear, and touch the world of AVATAR with an unprecedented sense of reality.”

The agreement announced today gives The Walt Disney Company exclusive global theme park rights to the AVATAR franchise and provides for additional AVATAR themed lands at other Disney parks. The other locations will be determined by Disney and its international theme park partners.

James Cameron, Jon Landau and their Lightstorm Entertainment group will serve as creative consultants on the projects and will partner with Walt Disney Imagineering in the design and development of the AVATAR themed lands. “This exciting new venture combines the world of AVATAR with the enormous reach of Disney and the incomparable talent of Jim Cameron,” commented Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman. “While Jim is bringing audiences further into Pandora with the next two chapters in the AVATAR motion picture saga, the theme park attraction will likewise bring a new dimension to the amazing universe he created.”

“AVATAR is a uniquely powerful franchise that has global appeal with audiences of all ages. Its spectacular settings, intriguing characters, imaginative creatures, and strong themes of family and loyalty make it a perfect fit for Disney,” said Thomas O. Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We can’t wait to give our guests the ability to journey to Pandora and explore the incredible immersive world of AVATAR in person.”

In addition to setting a global box office record, AVATAR has been hailed as one of the most innovative and visually stunning movies ever produced. With its advanced motion capture and 3-D digital projection technologies developed by James Cameron and his team, moviegoers were able to connect with the world of AVATAR in new and engaging ways. This new venture complements Walt Disney Parks & Resorts’ strategic efforts to continue to invest in its core theme park businesses around the world while simultaneously expanding into other parts of the family vacation business.

September 19, 2011

SeaVenture at Discovery Cove

Filed under: Discovery Cove Orlando,vacation tips — ngw101 @ 11:12 am

Prepare for an attack on your senses! There’s an eerie moment as the helmet descends over your head and you start to go down the ladder leading to the SeaVenture experience at Discovery Cove, Orlando. Perhaps the first shock to the senses, in 90 degree Orlando weather, is the 78 degree water which is quickly followed by the first two minutes wearing your helmet as you lower yourself to a depth of 12 feet and you battle to equalize your ear pressure. As you adjust, everything thereafter is nothing short of an incredible, extraordinary experience as you steadily make your way around the lagoon, holding onto the handrail, and enjoying the visual kaleidoscope before your very eyes.

Over 10,000 animals, representing 125 different species of fish, rays and sharks make the Grand Reef lagoon home and it seems most of them have turned out to play especially for you. Thousands of tropical fish dart through the crystal-clear waters, creating a whirlpool of color inside the reef’s grottos and crevices. Discovery Cove’s experts chose only colorful species whose natural populations are healthy and sustained and they  include angelfish, butterflyfish, wrasses and tangs as well as larger, unusual-looking hogfish and filefish. It’s spectacular and the combination of  dozens of rays gliding over your head make it a truly unique adventure.

There are four species of rays in the Grand Reef, the spotted eagle, cownose, southern, and bluntnose rays but perhaps the biggest highlight is when you come eye to eye with the sharks as you get up close and personal albeit with them behind the full 8-foot-tall, 21-foot long panoramic window.  You will see  zebra, nurse,  blacktip and whitetip reef sharks close up and you’ll be able to marvel at some of the most deadly predators in the ocean. An awesome sight!

During your journey through SeaVenture, you’ll also encounter the exotic-looking lionfish hiding under a dock – and even touch a star fish or sea urchins found along the way. The adventure ends with schools of fish feeding around the safety divers with the massive open reef as the backdrop.

Your journey underwater will last approximately 20 to 25 minutes and if you’re a little skeptical about the value for money you will get, then take it from me, don’t be. The price is $59 per person but it’s an experience you won’t forget quickly. It really does feel about as close to walking on the moon that normal human beings can encounter except you have the added advantage of an extraordinary visual treat in store with all that goes on around you.

The whole experience is superbly done. From the time you don your wet suit, the simple and friendly training before you enter the water, through to the amazing “underwater moonwalk” before you ascend the ladder back to earth, you’ll believe you had left the planet and walked where few have walked before. It’s simply a fabulous experience so make sure you don’t miss out. Currently 80 lucky guests a day are enjoying SeaVenture and with capacity at 140 people per day from the parks 1,000 guests, word is sure to leak out that this is a “must do.” So why not be amongst the first to say “I did SeaVenture…it was amazing!”

Further, if you’re a Florida Resident, then Discovery Cove is offering a very special Florida Resident rate for the fall season through December 31, 2011. Florida residents can swim and snorkel with marine wildlife, dine and snack all day and relax on the beach while taking advantage of a special rate of $199 for an all-inclusive dolphin swim and $129 for non-dolphin swim admission.

Both packages also include an unlimited admission pass to Sea World Orlando valid until January 31, 2012. Now that’s an amazing deal! Here’s some video…



September 15, 2011

Legoland Florida Grand Opening Just One Month Away

Filed under: Legoland,vacation tips — ngw101 @ 9:38 am

Construction is continuing at a furious pace at Legoland Florida and we recently took a look at Florida’s newest theme park to see how far the park has come.

The first thing to note is that most of the main attractions are in and the rides are now being tested and commissioned. There’s still a lot of finishing touches that will be happening in the next 30 days so it’s going to be an exciting time as the park finally comes together.

Here’s some video and photos of the progress  remember, Legoland Florida opens on 15th October 2011 … just ONE month away!

And here’s some photos…

Photos from above left: “The Big Shop” , above right: Kennedy Space Center, below left: Washington D.C., below center: New York, below right: Bok Tower in Miniland USA – Florida area.

More photos from Miniland USA can be found on our Facebook page here….meanwhile here are some other shots from around the theme park… including the botanical gardens, the rides and some of the amazing characters.

Remember… LEGOLAND FLORIDA opens on 15th October 2011 and you can get tickets from Florida Leisure Vacation Homes right here or by calling 1-800 – 760-1114.