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Happy Earth Day! Are You Doing Your Part?

The creation of Earth Day, which started in 1970, is widely considered to be the beginning of the modern environmental movement. The goal was, and still is to increase awareness regarding our environment. It is a great way to urge people into action to do everything they can to help save our planet.  There are several local events taking place in Central Florida. The beautiful Lake Eola in downtown Orlando often serves as a venue for groups to hold awareness events. They commonly include a variety of vendors, as well as guest speakers and live music.

Earth Day at Our Local Theme Parks & Attractions

Our local theme parks are also very involved in Earth Day. Walt Disney World regularly supports volunteer efforts. Their “voluntEARS” are often found around the community gathering trash and debris from our lakes and neighborhoods. Disney fans also have several ways to celebrate Earth Day during the park-wide celebration called “Party for the Planet.” Learn what you can do to make your back yard wildlife-friendly and discover other ways to conserve wildlife and help our environment.  Special entertainment is usually included in this Earth Day event.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay hosts an annual Earth Day event. Learn about animals, nature, and how you can make an impact on the world around you. Meet the keepers and learn about gorillas, cheetahs, lions and orangutans while they enjoy Earth Day-themed treats. Plus, learn about some of Busch Gardens’ special projects like composting and recycling, the Rising Tide Conservation project and the Tampa Bay Watch Oyster Restoration project.

 

Another place in Orlando to for Earth Day events is at the Orlando Science Center. Earth Day vendors provide themed exhibits and information about topics like beach cleanup, recycling, water conservation, shark and bat conservation, invasive species, the environment and more! Enjoy live animal interactions and feedings in NatureWorks and get crafty with some up-cycling activities! Orlando Science Center’s Earth Day Party for the Planet is included with general admission.

Earth Day

Easy Ways for You to Help the Environment

The wise guys would like for you to consider how you can do your part in helping conserve and protect our planet. Here are 5 easy areas to help the environment in your part of the world.

  • Water Use: Opt for reusable water bottles; repair a leaky faucet; take shorter showers with a low flow shower head; cover your pool when it’s not in use.
  • Fuel Consumption: Leave your car at home. Walk or ride your bike to work, school and anywhere you can. You’ll be healthier for it!
  • Recycle. Take advantage of any recycling program your area offers. If it doesn’t offer one, look at ways you can do your own recycling (it can be a great money-maker for kids).
  • Compost. Spend less on mulch and use your own yard’s waste. Also, do not bag your grass clippings. Your yard will love having the nutrients put back into it!
  • Electricity: Turn off lights and other electrical devices when you don’t need them. The savings will benefit your pocketbook!

Orlando Theme Park Walt Disney – New Features / Policies

Osceola County and Orange County public schools will be out next week on Spring Break. This is a time for many families to take advantage of the nearby Orlando theme parks for something fun to do. Neither parents or children want to sit around and be bored! There are many Florida resident specials and multi-day passes that make going to Walt Disney World more affordable.

Epcot at Walt Disney World

If you are an Annual Passholder, you can now replace your old paper passes for the new plastic swipe cards on your first visit back to this Orlando theme park. Head over to the Odyssey Center at Epcot on a weekday afternoon with your annual pass and exchange it for your new one. These new cards let you enter faster at the gate by simply swiping it in front of the Mickey Mouse sensor at the gate. Quickly you are in and ready to have fun.

While these new cards are not the future MagicBand, a wristband that guests will eventually have for their park ticket, they do get you one step closer to the new MyMagic+ system that Walt Disney World will be putting into place, possibly later this year. Once the wristbands are in place, you will not need tickets, room keys, FastPasses or even your credit card! Talk about magic!

If you are planning to visit this Orlando theme park over Spring Break, there is a new policy effective Saturday, March 23. Anyone under the age of 14 will not be allowed into the park without someone older than 14 accompanying them. A child trying to enter the park that is underage may be stopped by the cast, and their parent or guardian will be contacted.

This new policy is to help protect children and brings consistency to Disney’s age limit rules for all of their parks. Whether it will effect the Spring Break local crowd is doubtful, however, parents should be aware of this new policy. No more dropping off at the gate and returning later to pick up your young Spring Breaker.

One thing is for sure, during Spring Break the Orlando theme parks will be filling up fast. Use the Florida discount and multiple day discounts and enjoy all of the new features the attractions have to offer. We are lucky to have such a great vacation destination right in our own backyard. Enjoy!

Disney Character Dining Options

Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort has a fantastic breakfast or dinner buffet, with lively environment.  The character interaction is great, and includes Mickey, Goofy, Chip & Dale, Pluto, and sometimes Donald.  There is also a “Make Your Own Ice Cream Sundae” station that everyone loves.  Cinderella fans shouldn’t miss lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table.  They do a fun chanting ceremony where each section has their own little chant and they do the wishing ceremony.  All kids are given a light-up wishing star for the wishing ceremony.  The boys are also given a knight’s sword and girls a magic wand.  The characters interaction is great.  Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Fairy God Mother, Belle, and Snow White all come to your table for pictures and chat.  For Winnie the Pooh fans, Crystal Palace is a great buffet to enjoy.  Located on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Crystal Palace features Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eyeore for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  All of these restaurants are a fabulous addition to your visit to the Magic Kingdom!

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a beautiful place to visit, and features both the Garden View Tea Room and 1900 Park Fare restaurants.  1900 Park Fare is very amusing and features different characters at their breakfast and lunch buffets.  Breakfast includes Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Mad Hatter (a hoot!), Pooh, Tigger, and during “high season” Pinocchio & Geppetto.  Dinner features Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, and the silly Step-sisters.  Garden View Tea Room serves afternoon tea in grand British tradition during My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party.  Your hostess will entertain the princesses with storytelling and songs and Princess Aurora will join in all the fun.  Your little Prince or Princess will also enjoy a keepsake gift.

The Epcot Park features Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at the Norway Pavilion and the Garden Grill Restaurant at The Land Pavilion.  Akershus Royal Banquet Hall serves American and Norwegian buffet favorites, providing a Disney Princess Storybook Dining experience in a medieval castle-themed restaurant.  The Disney Princesses and friends visit the tables for autographs and photo opps.  The Garden Grill Restaurant is a rotating restaurant that lets you enjoy the Living with the Land attraction, and even uses food from the Land greenhouse. Enjoy family-style dinners with Mickey, Pluto, and Chip ‘n’ Dale characters.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers a family buffet dinner at Hollywood & Vine, the “Cafeteria to the Stars”.  The breakfast and lunch buffets both feature characters Handy Manny, June, and Leo.  Best for younger kids.

Animal Kingdom features Tusker House Restaurant, a fabulous, African-themed restaurant which only includes characters at the breakfast buffet.  They include Donald and Daisy Duck, as well as Goofy and Mickey.

There are also character dining opportunities at the Disney’s Beach Club Resort’s Cape May Café and Garden Grove at WDW Swan ResortDisney’s Polynesian Resort has ‘Ohana, with Lilo and Stitch and a Polynesian influence.

Of course, these are great to visit while you’re a guest in WDW parks, but, even if you aren’t visiting the parks, you can still dine in any of the enchanting Disney Resort restaurants (the theme parks require park admission).

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.

Where to Stay When Visiting the Orlando Area

Orlando having the second largest number of hotel rooms is only part of the story on places where you can stay while in the Orlando area. The Walt Disney World Resort alone offers a plethura of lodging options from one star to five star traditional hotels and motels. In addition to that Disney also has a large number of timeshare units, which you can rent as well as buy into their vacation club.

Osceola County (South Orlando/Kissimmee) has the most options not only can you choose from one to five star hotels and motels but you also have a huge number of vacation home rentals which are ideal for families. You can rent homes with up to 5 bedrooms and private pools. You can also save yourself some money with a kitchen of your own. Vacation home rentals are also a great option for couples and families traveling together.

The International Drive Resort area also has the one to five star hotel and motel options but rooms are costlier and there is not the vacation home rental option like in Orlando/South Kissimmee. It’s a great location to stay however if you are planning on visiting  Universal Orlando or Sea World parks because it’s so very close. 

So much depends upon what you plan to do while visiting Orlando in choosing lodging options but I will say staying on Disney property is the least convienent if you plan on doing anything besides the Disney parks. Orlando South/Kissimmee is a great choice for economy and location if you plan on visiting more than one operators theme parks. I hope you will consider spending a night with us at Capone’s Dinner & Show when in Orlando. Visit our web site www.alcapones.com to find out more. We also have lot’s of great trip planning tools on our site to help you decide.