With so much happening in and Orlando the area you owe to yourself to discover what is out there beyond the big 3!
The magic of Christmas comes to Gaylord Palms starting . Vacation with favorite characters from such films as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar through interactive experiences. It's sure to fulfill your Christmas dreams!
The 2014 Christmassy DreamWorks Experience includes:
Madame Tussauds Orlando has rolled out the red carpet for Selena Gomez, making the pop singer and actress the first celebrity wax figure to arrive in The City Beautiful ahead of the attraction’s spring 2015 grand opening.
Selena took advantage of the beautiful fall weather to explore the city’s entertainment and shopping scenes, including the future home of Madame Tussauds Orlando on International Drive, as well as making stops in downtown Orlando and the convention center.
Madame Tussauds is world-renowned for the creation of detailed and lifelike wax figures that pay homage to A-list celebrities from film and television, sports icons, musicians from all genres, and notable figures from history and pop culture. Each figure is truly a work of art, involving teams of professional artists and sculptors who spend months on extensive research and take more than 500 measurements to recreate world-famous icons, to achieve the kind of astonishing realism that has been at the heart of the 250-year Madame Tussauds legacy.
Guests at Madame Tussauds Orlando will experience the essence of America with this brand new, immersive and interactive wax experience, bursting with family fun and world-class entertainment, as they move through themed areas meeting all of their favorite stars from award-winning film actors, to historical and modern world leaders, sports stars, music legends as well as figures important to Florida. Visitors can shake hands with president, get on stage with rock stars and pop princesses, or get up close and personal with a Hollywood heartthrob and take the ultimate selfie!
Source: Madame Tussauds Orlando
The return taxi/car hire scam. This scam never goes away because it's so easy to fall victim to. When you hire a taxi or car hire to take you to your resort the driver may offer you a round trip deal meaning you have to pay him now for the return trip back to the airport but in doing so he is going to give you a deal. He will give you a slip with a number to call to arrange for your return trip which is a legit phone number, it's just not his number and the people on the other end of that number have no record of you purchasing a return trip. They usually give the phone number for Mears. To avoid this scam do not buy a return trip from any driver. Arrange airport transportation before landing or traveling via hired transportation.
Pizza delivery scam. This scam is aimed at getting your credit card number. The scammers will slide an advertisement for pizza delivery (or just about any type of delivery) under your hotel room door. When you call to order you are handing over your credit card details. Some of the scammers will actually deliver a pizza as to not alert you to the problem. To avoid this simply don't call then number of the advertisement. Google a pizza place or ask the front desk.
Used tickets and fake tickets. Never, ever, buy a used ticket. Yes, it sometimes works, most times it does not and it's illegal. Why take the chance? Consider this scenario: You buy your used tickets, drive all the way to the park, pay for parking, then make the long walk to the park entrance, wait through security, get to the turnstile and then get turned around and back to the shop you go. Now you get to argue with the seller (if they are even open, some close at noon to avoid this problem), then the seller will refuse a refund and instead offers another set of used tickets. To avoid this scam, use reputable ticket vendor that does not sell used tickets. We suggest MapleLeafTickets.com who not only offers the best prices online but also at their store located on 192 in Kissimmee which is open 9am-6pm.
Dehydration. I like to consider myself a smart person but I pushed myself to far recently and if not for my daughter studying to become a doctor I would have probably been hospitalized. You need lots of water throughout the day, not soda or coffee, you need water. To avoid this simply freeze some waters to take with you or take some of those water bottles that filter water through the cap.
Valuables left in the room. House keeping in general has many hard working honest employees but they are paid very little considering what they do. To avoid this, remove temptation and lock up those valuables. Side note, not all hotel safes are safe though. Maybe avoid bringing the crown jewels. Don't forget to tip your house cleaning staff daily. I usually ask for extra H20 products on a note under the cash!
Lost kids, stranger danger, explain who to go to. My middle child used to be the kid that would simply wonder off like a ninja. She would wiggle lose and disappear into a crowd so fast that we used to have to hold her hand everywhere we went. I refused to use one of those children leashes (nothing against them) so I made it point to explain to all my children what to do if they get separated. I explained how to know what a cast member looks like or security officer looks like. We also made sure they knew our phone number. Actually, my oldest child was taught the radio frequency we used on our walkies it was so long ago!
Pick Pockets / Cell Phone Theft - spoil alert, thieves target people on vacation. To avoid this: place a rubber band around your wallet (this is will make removing it much harder), keep cell phones in your front pocket and never leave valuables in strollers. Stroller theft is much more common than you think. There are also new tracking tags coming on to the market that enable you track track lost/stolen assets. There are also lots of apps designed to track your phone but be sure that it is a hidden install. Most thieves will turn the phone off right away but eventually they will turn it back on.
Resort Charges / Resort Fees - nasty little secret charges that you don't find out about until you are checking in. Disney Resorts do no do this but many hotels in the Orlando area do and it's legal. You can not get out of paying them. These charges are disguised as "facility fees" or "mandatory amenities fee". To avoid this surprise (you can not avoid the fee itself) look for the details on the resort under the hotel policy section which we show for all our hotels in our Orlando Packages. Not all resorts have these hidden fees but many do, as much as $25 per night. Most of the resorts we offer in our Disney World Packages have the fee included in the price.
Fake pin trades! - reddit user QuadCannon points out that there are a lot of fake pins being traded not just online but in the parks. Pin trading is a fun activity but you should take the time to look the pin over because you could be trading a $10 pin for a $0.50 pin! QuadCannon advises to avoid this scam: "... the biggest dead giveaway is if the mickey ears imprints on the back are misshapen. The other is if the edges are rough in places. Real pins have perfectly formed imprints and perfectly smooth edges. Also, the enamel on fake pins chips fairly easily, but some "chaser" pins, which are rare and only found on cast member lanyards have no enamel. Chipped and broken enamel= bad, no enamel=good. "
Fake toll worker collections - this is a new scam and here is how it works. You drive up to an automated collection toll booth where you normally through your coins into the bucket that then gives you the green light only when you get to the tool gate there is someone standing there in what appears to be a tool workers uniform saying that the machine is broke and you will have to pay the fee to him. To avoid this scam simply ignoring anyone not inside of an actual booth or get a sunpass.
Fake front desk - this is a new scam as well and many are falling victim to this. You are all checked into your hotel room when the phone rings claiming to be the front desk who then says "sorry, our computers went down and we need to enter your credit card again, may we have that?" or the caller says "sorry, but there has been a problem with your credit card, we need another credit card on file?". This scam is usually run by prison inmates (yep, actual prisoners) that then use Jpay to load $300 (give or take $100) into their commissary account which the prison will then turn into checks to be sent outside of the prison. I personally never knew that prisoners could request their commissary money be sent out in the form of a check. This is is an easy one to avoid, never give your credit card out over the phone to your hotel. Hotels would never call you and ask for the number, they may ask you to return to the front desk but they will not ask for your credit card or personal details over the phone.
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Project Update from Merlin Entertainments PLC for Three New Orlando Attractions Coming Spring 2015
The leading U.K.-based family entertainment company, owner of LEGOLAND Florida, is bringing three of its best know global visitor attraction brands to Orlando - The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and Sea Life aquarium
ORLANDO, Fla. (April 16, 2014)– With less than a year to grand opening, Merlin Entertainments PLC (Merlin) is gearing up to introduce three of its exciting global brands to the Central Florida region, with the launches of The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE aquarium in Spring 2015 at I-Drive 360 on International Drive.
Merlin, the second largest visitor attraction operator in the world, already operates LEGOLAND Florida, the highly successful theme park uniquely targeted at families with children under 12, which opened in 2011.
The Orlando Eye, the cantilevered observation wheel at the heart of the complex, will be a little sister icon to London’s world-famous landmark, providing breathtaking views of Central Florida in all directions within fully enclosed, air-conditioned glass capsules. http://www.officialorlandoeye.com/
Madame Tussauds, the world’s most famous celebrity wax attraction, provides visitors with the ultimate fame experience and its signature red carpet treatment. Madame Tussauds showcases incredibly detailed and lifelike wax figures that lovingly pay tribute to the most influential celebrity and historical figures of our time. The average visit time will be 60-90 minutes|
SEA LIFE Orlando will offer a new wave of underwater adventures with beautiful displays of colorful fish, sharks, jellyfish, sea horses and more, that turn the traditional aquarium observation on its head. Winding tunnels, floor-to-ceiling tanks and bubble aquariums provide an immersive experience for children and adults alike. Additionally, the aquarium, known for its strong conservation efforts, will have unique educational components for young marine life enthusiasts. http://www.visitsealife.com/
“The success of LEGOLAND Florida has underlined to us the potential for Merlin’s high quality global attractions in Central Florida; and particularly in Orlando, undoubtedly the best and most exciting location for family entertainment anywhere in the world,” said Nick Varney, Chief Executive of Merlin Entertainments PLC. “We believe that this is an exceptional group of attractions which will not only provide three quite different new experiences for visitors; but also together add an exciting new dimension to what is already available in the region.”
“We are very excited to be bringing some of Merlin’s best-loved global attractions to International Drive. SEA LIFE and Madame Tussauds have already proven their popularity with audiences across North America; and in Europe and Asia,” added James Paulding, Head of Openings for North America, Merlin Entertainments. “From 2015, these two, together with the unique views from the Eye will become must-do experiences for every visitor to Orlando.”
All three attractions are scheduled to open in Spring 2015, in addition to numerous shopping and dining options in the complex, adding a new dimension to Orlando’s world-class entertainment options.
MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS plc is the leading name in location-based, family entertainment. Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates 100 attractions, 10 hotels/3 holiday villages in 22 countries and across 4 continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its almost 60 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and more than 20,000 + employees.
Merlin has twenty attractions and one hotel in North America - including two stunning LEGOLAND Resorts – LEGOLAND Florida with its theme park, water park, and LEGOLAND California theme park with water park, SEA LIFE aquarium and themed hotel; Madame Tussauds celebrity wax attractions in New York, Washington DC, Las Vegas and Hollywood; LEGOLAND Discovery Centers in Chicago; Dallas/Fort Worth; Kansas City Missouri; Atlanta, Georgia; and Westchester, New York; Toronto, Canada; and SEA LIFE aquariums in Phoenix, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; Dallas/Fort Worth; the Mall of America in Minneapolis and Charlotte – Concord - underlining the company’s position as the world’s biggest global aquarium operator.