Author Archive | Carla Sinclair-Wells

Babies, Babies Everywhere, but will you get a peek?

Baby gorilla and rhino photos from Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom welcomes their newest bundles of joy!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has had a few visits from the stork already this year. Early January a baby white rhino arrived, then in February both a baby gorilla and a white-cheeked gibbon arrived! While these baby animals are adorable to look at, getting a look can be a challenge.

The little rhino is still “backstage” away from the rest of the herd with her mother, so seeing her may have to wait a few more weeks. The little gibbon arrived Feb. 2 and park guests may be able to see him in their habitat near the Kali River Rapids attraction. The rare baby gorilla born February 19 may be spotted along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. However, the proud (and protective) first-time mother keeps the baby so close that we don’t even know the gender yet!

If seeing these little ones is a priority, go online and create a customized map of these park locations, have it sent to you online or through the mail. Pretty cool. If you’ll be visiting several Disney parks during your stay, look into purchasing “The Complete Walt Disney World 2010” book ($24.95 retail) which contains a LOT of useful information, including an Animal Kingdom habitat map to help spot your favorite exotic creature. I found the book online for less $ at Books-A-MillionThis book can really save you a lot of time and money with it’s useful tips.

So map out where these babies are located in the park, get your telephoto lens ready and hopefully you’ll be able to get a peek at these adorable little bundles of joy! (Just in case, we’re including a photo. LOL)

Capone’s = Something to Talk About

A speakeasy that’s easy to speak about, and tweet about, and write about on my wall, and on and on. Capone’s Dinner & Show is a real dinner theater that truly is worth talking about. Why? Well, there are many reasons, for me it is: cost, value, experience and reward.

An easy-to-find coupon will save you 50% off your ticket price.  You’ll find the coupon on their site. You WON’T find tickets at “discount” ticket resellers. This is because the tickets are already discounted and Al  is a very direct guy.

The value is pretty unbelievable. Recently, I took my 3 grown kids (plus one son’s girlfriend) out to dinner. The bill went well over $150 (without alcohol and tip), and my boys probably went home and looked in their refrigerators looking for more food! Had we spent the evening at Capone’s we would have eaten all we wanted (good food too), drank all we wanted (even a few adult beverages) PLUS have been entertained for LESS than this “so-so” meal out. Capone’s dinner show is a great value.

The experience at Capone’s is different every visit. If you read their wall on Facebook, you’ll see dozens of entries from fans that return year after year. Not only do they know a good thing when they see it, but they have so much fun that they want to go back. Sometimes 2 or 3 times a year! The performers and wait staff really make you feel like you are a part of the show (and sometimes you are – literally).

And speaking of Facebook, Capone’s offers a once-a-month fan-only special. This reward does not go unnoticed. With over 10,000 fans and growing, more and more people are ‘writing on their wall’ about Capone’s. Some fans have even taken advantage of Capone’s last minute special pricing that even beats their online coupon! It too is only valid for Facebook fans. It pays to be a FB fan.

Editor’s note: These particular promotions have been discontinued, although there are specials periodically posted on Facebook.

Next time your “gang” is looking for something to do, try Capone’s – or return to Capone’s if it has been awhile. I’ll bet the next day when you’re standing around the water cooler (or tweeting, on FB, YouTube, etc.) you too will find it easy to speak up about the speakeasy – Capone’s Dinner & Show!

Orlando Attractions Employee Safety

Central Florida is saddened by the death of animal trainer, Dawn Brancheau, after yesterday’s accident at SeaWorld Orlando. Theme parks in this area employ tens of thousands of area residents who go to work every day expecting to come home and do so without harm. Theme parks take their employee’s safety very seriously. They also take their accidents very seriously.

This tragic accident follows last years’ July 5th death of 21 year old Austin Wuennenberg at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom wherein OSHA found serious concerns, and the National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate the monorail accident. While Disney has supplemented its safety procedures, it is not yet known if SeaWorld will modify any of its procedures or remove the whale, Tilikum, from the park. He is also blamed in the death of two other people in 1991 and 1999. There’s little chance that SeaWorld will put down the killer whale. They will, however, close the ‘Believe’ and ‘Dine With Shamu’ shows at SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego, pending the investigation.

Most tourists will not let this tragedy change their mind to visit SeaWorld. There are many other shows to see and animals to experience and learn about. Tourists think little of their safety at theme parks, because the parks go to great lengths to create a safe environment for their guests and employees. No doubt SeaWorld, like Disney, will review all of their operating procedures and make adjustments if necessary.

While thousands of theme park employees will go to work today, many will have Dawn on their mind. We’ll extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the trainer, and perhaps look around our own workplace. If there are any areas we could improve upon, we’ll work to make it a little safer for everyone. After all, theme parks are suppose to be fun…not tragic.

Epcot Theme Park – a ‘gold medal’ experience

International Flower and Garden Show

Epcot hosts an annual International Flower & Garden Festival

With the Winter Olympics attracting the world’s attention, it brings to mind an attraction here in Central Florida that showcases the world – Epcot Theme Park. One of 4 theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort, Epcot is huge (300 acres) and features a “Future World” and the “World Showcase.”

Future World focuses on technology and imagination whereas the World Showcase focuses on the culture of 11 countries. Not as many countries as the Olympics features, but nonetheless a very inspiring collection. Within this one park you will be “amazed, inspired, enlightened and entertained!”

Adults will usually attend this park because of the vast amount of education and relaxation it provides. Families with older children are often “out voted” on this park, because the kids would rather go to the theme parks built more around the rides and excitement. Epcot HAS rides and CAN be exciting! For instance, the “Test Track”, “Honey I Shrunk the Audience”  and the “Mission: Space®” rides, are fun AND many other features offer a LOT of learning opportunities too. Kids may not even realize they’re receiving an education!

While strolling through the park, you may think you’re at the Olympic Village with the many dialects being spoken. Rich in culture of the Country they represent, the shops, restaurants, and park staff create an out-of-the-country experience. Stepping into any of these park areas will transport you to that Country’s wonders, foods, entertainment and grandeur.

Epcot hosts special events throughout the year. Beginning in a few days (March 3 – May 16, 2010) is the International Flower & Garden Festival; with colorful flowers, gardens, topiaries, live music and educational events. While this is a great event, the International Food & Wine Festival (Oct. 1 — Nov. 14, 2010) is most popular with Florida locals.

If you want to experience Canada, but can’t go to the Olympics, why not go to Epcot and discover Canada?! You don’t have to be an athlete to experience this theme park, but it might help! With so much to do and see, you’ll earn a gold medal education if you hit even half of its’ features. Good luck and may the best tourist win!!

Hey Muggles! Harry’s Wizarding World is Offering Vacation Packages!

Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios

Universal Studios offers vacation packages to visit Hogwarts

The announcement of vacation packages being offered by Universal Studio’s for their new Harry Potter theme park is pretty big news here in Orlando. We have heard “coming in Spring” for awhile now, but that date has been narrowed down with the offering of package deals starting May 28, 2010. Surely Universal wouldn’t offer packages without a park being open!!

The packages range from $285 per adult up to $1,548+ for a family of four. The package includes hotel room, park admission – 3 days – one day at each park, transportation from your hotel to the park and included in some packages, early admission into the park, breakfast at Three Broomsticks™ and a commemorative GRAND OPENING ticket. Air flights and more can be added. See more details here.

Universal has been hesitant to give out too much information about the park. Most of us are Muggles, afterall! Could the Hogwart’s castle be filled with secret passageways, talking portraits and headless ghosts? What will the Forbidden Journey™, Flight of the Hippogriff™ and Dragon Challenge™ be like? Universal claims the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” ride will surpass the Spiderman ride. Wow!

What will Butterbeer and Treacle Fudge taste like? What will the frogs be singing? Starting May 28, many wizards will be finding out! Instead of going to school on a train, vacationers will be flying on modern broomsticks to start their summer vacations in a wizarding world! Let’s just hope these seekers catch the snitches so Universal and Central Florida will emerge the winner!