Tag Archives | orlando tourist blogs

Disney’s Renovation of Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom Orlando

A major renovation of Fantasyland has been in the planing stages for some time now, but now Disney has begun hiring contractors for the massive renovation. Starting in early 2012 Disney plans on opening it’s new Little Mermaid attraction and Pixie Hollow a new meet and greet area for Disney’s various fairies and princeses to interact with guests.

While Universal Orlando prepares to open it’s newest theme park within a theme park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the coming weeks. The appeal at Universal Orlando’s expansion will be mainly aimed at boys.

Disney’s revamp of Fantasyland will be going after the girls. It should be interesting for families with boys and girls begining in 2012 with options for both girls and boys at Orlando’s two premier attractions. Start saving now or plan a trip this year to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and then plan on early 2012 to visit or revist the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Electrical Light Parade Coming Back to Orlando

Several years back the Electrical Light Parade was moved to Anaheim California but this summer it is coming back to Orlando. The night will again be lit at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World by multitudes of lighted floats. Billed as the summer of Nighttastic a rejuvenated parade returns to Orlando updated with all new LED lights. Many Disney fans are going to be delighted to see it’s return.

Disney is making a strategical move to help it’s key summer season business and my belief is it’s part of Disney’s plans to try and keep their key childrens market. They will be facing a huge new player when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens inside Islands of Adventure Universal Orlando this spring.

Speaking of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter have you seen Universal Orlandos new commercial that debuted during the first half of the Super Bowl? I have seen it one other time on TNT since then and the commercial almost makes it seem that it’s open but at the end of the commercial it says coming this spring. An official opening date has yet to be announced.

I will keep you posted and as soon as I hear the official opening date I will be sure and get it on the blog fast.

Attraction Spotlight Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the newest of Disney’s Orlando theme parks

Tree of Life

Disney created the Animal Kingdom theme park with something for everyone to enjoy. One of the main attractions is the Wild Africa Trek where you get to see numerous breeds of exotic animals in open spaces – not in cages. This is a separately ticketed safari and last 3 hours. Well worth it if you have older children that love wild animals.

Animal Kingdom is home to more than 1,700 animals within 250 species! Baby Rhinos and other rare animals are born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom nearly every year. Kudos to Disney for not caging the animals and for their breeding program, which helps keep animals from extinction. The Orlando theme park is broken up into 6 “lands:” Oasis, Discovery Island, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia and DinoLand, USA.

Because it’s Disney you know they have some fabulous live shows (not involving the animals). These fantastic shows and superb talent are enjoyed by a wide age group of guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Thrilling stunts, acrobatics and great musical productions make their shows hits!

If you like rides, Disney’s Animal Kingdom offers a nice variety of ride attractions – from lame to not-quite-tame. Rides fall into categories such as big drops, small drops, thrill rides, slow rides, water rides, spinning, dark, loud and scary. Some of the more popular attractions include:

  • Kilimanjaro Safari
  • Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • Dinosaur
  • Tree of Life
  • Wildlife Express Train
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug

If you are an animal lover, Disney’s Animal Kingdom could very well end up being your favorite theme park in Orlando. You may also want to check out Sea World, Discovery Cove or one of the many other animal attractions in Orlando.

Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock and Rain Forest Café, To Do or Not To Do?

First off I must say if you do not like loud restaurants then you probably will not enjoy any of these themed restaurants. If noisy restaurants do not bother you then there’s a good chance you will enjoy the experience because all three have themes with broad based appeal.

Hard Rock Café is the forerunner of themed restaurants and in my opinion it is the best of the breed. Featuring classic rock music and memorabilia these huge restaurants are really an entertainment option. I have found the food to be hit or miss at the Hard Rock Café’s that I have visited in Orlando and other tourist destinations. Quite honestly the food is average and priced well above average but everyone should go at least once.

Planet Hollywood has star appeal because that’s what the concept is all about. The music is very loud at Planet Hollywood I think noise is an element in most themed restaurants. The memorabilia is the star attraction of Planet Hollywood and Orlando has one of the best collections in the chain. The entertainment aspect is reflected in the prices at Planet Hollywood. Unfortunately the food is not the star attraction but their food is as good as any of the themed restaurants.

My least favorite of the bunch is Rain Forest Café’ for many reasons beginning with the quality and prices. If you are expecting anything other than a silk forest I hate to break it to you but there’s not a live plant in the place. There is a lot of activity going on and is quite stimulating for young children so prepare yourself for it if you have children or not. I have been twice and both times I left disappointed. My most recent visit with my family I had my three year old nephew and my infant great nephew. Their reactions were very different my three year old nephew had a fun time (although the mechanical gator did scare him) while my great nephew was not a happy camper. We all took turns either chasing my nephew or comforting my great nephew. They are VERY busy so many people don’t agree with my opinion. Honestly I would not have picked this restaurant but we went for the kids. One more thing the service has been horrible on both my visits.

New Hotel/Attraction to Open in Orlando CoCo Key Water Park Resort is Geared to Kids 4-11

An iconic old International Drive hotel that originaly opened as a Hilton is being totally rebuilt into a kid friendly concept with a huge water park as it’s center piece. With locations in seven states it has proven brand appeal and this hotel offers day passes! Such kid friendly perks such as face painting, hula hoop contests and much more are geared to win the hearts and souls of their target audience young kids and their families. Not a guest of the hotel, no problem day passes are offered for ONLY twelve dollars. That’s an incredible value for a half day attraction. It should definitly steal business from the other Orlando area half day attractions such as Gatorland, Ripleys Believe It or Not, Fun Spot, The Titanic Exhibition and WonderWorks.

Reasonable rates are definitly part of the attraction for folks that stay at the hotel with rates starting at just $99.00 a night this hotel should be popular with a wide variety of people. Live in Orlando? This will be a great staycation option for families with children while the kids enjoy supervised fun, parents can hit International Drive hot spots along the free I-drive trolley route including Prime Outlets, Pointe Orlando, nightclubs and more. Florida residents will also find this new hotel/attraction an attractive inexpensive getaway. Tourists with children from all over the world will make the CoCo Key Water Park Resort a prime destination. It’s scheduled opening date is March 25th, 2010.