Other Orlando | Page 13

  • With so much happening in and Orlando the area you owe to yourself to discover what is out there beyond the big 3!

    Twin Peaks is a chain of about forty restaurants located in 18 states across the country, with seven more in the development stage, designed to open in the near future. The Orlando location is the first Twin Peaks restaurant to be opened in the state of Florida.

    Covering more than 9,000 square feet, it is strategically located, sitting directly across from under development I-Drive Live theme park. One of the most notable features of the park is it will have the world’s largest Ferris wheel constructed there. The Twin Peaks restaurant has acquired itself a name as memorable as its location – Twin Peaks I-Drive. The actual address is 8350 International Drive.

    The local economy benefited when the company hired 140 new employees to staff the restaurant, 80 who were selected as Twin Peaks Girls. These women are the signature stamp of the Twin Peaks quest for quality and hospitality, almost equaling the combination of the beer and the food.

    A statue of an elk greets you in the parking lot as part of the emphasis of Twin Peaks thematic mountain sports lodge setting. The building is designed with natural stone walls and columns.

    Walking into the restaurant, you enter onto a wooden floor where the furniture is thematically mountain styled. There are comfortably padded and roomy wooden chairs at the tables, which account for most of the seating. By the bar and windows are wooden bar stools with similar cushioning for sitting by the large windows that offer up a scenic view. Booths are available. Dotting the ceiling are chandeliers, once again strategically placed, as they do not obstruct the view of the big screen televisions.


    Twin Peaks is promoted as a man-cave setting, with those big screen TVs programmed to a procession of sports channels, and those friendly Twin Peaks Girls. The man-cave perception is enhanced by a selection of quality draft beer and a food menu that has many of its most popular main courses cooked from scratch. The Orlando restaurant has been equipped with 65 big screen TVs suspended from the rafters to visually feed its visitors as they sit at the bar or eat a meal at a table. Included in this big screen group were several 80-inch screens. Like the location of the restaurant itself, the TVs are strategically placed around the restaurant to encourage sports fans to enjoy one of many available views.

    Two words come to mind when looking over the Twin Peaks selection of appetizers main courses, and sandwiches - comfort food. Twin Peaks originated in Texas, and in the tradition of Texas flair and quality, the menu offers all-American courses like their slow-roasted Ribeye Pot Roast and house breaded Chicken Fried Steak. They also have created their own specialties to suggest to the adventurous - the Hangover Burger and BBQ Pulled Pork Nachos.

    If you want to explore their menu beyond these public relation offerings, you will find Mexican style options such as Chipotle Queso and Chips and Blackened Chicken Quesadillas on the appetizer list, what are called “Teasers” on the menu. For less classic alternatives to the main course, Twin Peaks has a “Smokin’ Hot Dishes” list which includes a Green Chili Meatloaf and a Spicy Chipotle Chicken to challenge your palette.

    You are going to need something to wash all this comfort food down with. Add to the tab one (or two) of the 32 varieties of draft beer stored at a frosty 29 degrees from two full service bars, and Twin Peaks justifies its self-promotion as a man-cave. Senior Director of Marketing for Twin Peaks says, “Twin Peaks is the perfect hot spot to watch every game and enjoy an ice cold beer.” That ice cold beer, a Twin Peaks trademark, is served in a very large mug. If you opt out of having a beer, you can order a variety of mixed drinks or soda.

    Outside the restaurant there is a patio corralled in by wooden fence posts for outdoor eating with umbrella covered tables for those sunny Orlando days. But do not expect cushioned chairs here; they are good old fashioned wooden seats. There is also counter style eating available outside, right near the patio.

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    So what exactly does Fun Spot America have to offer, you may ask? Well if you are into thrills and heart pounding rides, this park has both a steel and a wooden roller coaster to choose from. On the wooden roller coaster, White Lightening, Orlando's only Wooden Roller Coaster, you will crawl to 2,000 feet then quickly drop into twists and turns at all angles. The steel coaster is a suspended roller coaster, so your feet are left to dangle as you speed through the tracks at G-force and reach heights of up to 1,200 feet in the air. Fun Spot America also has a Sky Coaster. The Sky Coaster, which combines the experience of skydiving and hang gliding, is probably Fun Spot's most popular attraction. You'll want to hang on tight as you are hoisted 250 feet into the air by a single cable, then dropped like a pendulum through the sky-high arch. The thrill of the sky coaster is truly like to other.


    If you prefer to get your thrills with two feet planted firmly on the ground, then not to worry, there is plenty for you to do as well. There are over five Go-Kart tracks to choose from, so whether you are kid just looking to experience the thrill of driving, or an adult looking for a speedy and challenging course, you'll find a track you’ll be sure to enjoy. There are also many fun arcade games that can keep you busy all day long as you work towards earning some pretty awesome prizes.

    When spending the day at an amusement park, stomachs are bound to rumble at some point. Well, with a full menu and a snack menu, Fun Spot America has you covered. From sodas and water, to pizza, to homemade burgers, they offer something for every pallet. There are plenty of snack stands plus a full service cafeteria, so you can choose to either eat on the go, or enjoy a seated meal. Plus for the thirsty adults in your group, ice cold beer is served as well.

    As any parent knows, a family day at an amusement park can turn into an expensive trip. Well, the best part about all of the fun and excitement at Fun Spot America is that it is offered at a fraction of the cost of other amusement parks in the Orlando area. Prices as June 2013 - For $39.95 anyone 54 inches or taller can get a ticket for a day of unlimited rides. An unlimited day pass for the little ones in your family, those shorter than 54 inches, can be purchased for $29.95. If you are considering making Fun Spot America a regular destination for a day of fun, annual passes only cost $119.95 per person. In less than three trips, the annual pass will pay for itself. From time-to-time the park will also offer tickets on discount through special online promotions, such as huge ticket discounts on certain days if you arrive before noon. Check their web site regularly to learn more about these discounts. WAIT, want a geniune discount? We got you covered! Maple Leaf Tickets has discount Fun Spot Unlimited tickets.

    If you are planning on bringing a large group or throwing a birthday party, consider purchasing a Fun Spot Package. For birthday parties, you can purchase a package that costs $30 per person, for unlimited rides. Call a park Group Specialist to learn more about all their birthday party packages have to offer. Also, if you are interested in scheduling a trip for your church group, day care, school group, or non-profit organization, then the early-bird package would be a great option. Tickets for this package run only $20 per person when your group arrives before 2pm.

    When visiting the Orlando area, a day at Fun Spot America should definitely be on your to-do list. With heart-stopping roller coasters, a sky coaster, go-karts, arcade games, and tasty food, all at a fraction of the cost of other Orlando amusement parks, it's an ideal way for the family to spend a fun day together, without breaking the bank.

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    Today, April 19, 2013, Nickelodeon Suites Resort made it’s grand debut opening of their two newest additions. Located in Orlando, Fl, Nickelodeon Suites Resort previously featured a breakfast that revolved around several of the characters from their popular television network show: Dora the Explorer, as well as a 4D animation film that was also based heavily on Dora and friends. As of today, 4 years after the introduction of Dora the Explorer in these locations, these two attractions located in the Nickelodeon Suites Resort “Mall” went under a whole new remodeling and are now based on Nickelodeon’s number one hit show: Spongebob Squarepants. Since 1999, when the show was first broadcasted worldwide, it has become the number one hit television series of all time.


    Available from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., Spongebob’s Bikini Bottom Breakfast is open daily for your enjoyment. This new and improved character breakfast features Spongebob and friends including: Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Squidward, and Sandy, all ready and dressed in the proper attire for a spectacular Hula Party.  

    With a large breakfast buffet including Spongebob waffles, cereals, donuts, fruits, sausages, eggs, biscuits, breakfast burritos, and even a make-your-own omelet station, this Hula Party is sure to satisfy even the deepest hunger.

    Each and every character is guaranteed to visit your table, and if by chance you don’t get to see them when you prefer, you may visit the Meet and Greet section of the restaurant for an exclusive camera experience in front of a green screen that will allow photographers to alter the photo’s background any way you wish, and offer it for your purchase. Also be prepared for a song and dance portion of your meal. Every 30 minutes the whole gang of Spongebob and Friends gather to celebrate and dance to a series of songs, and don’t be afraid to join in too! During these celebrations, they will also test your surfing and hula-hooping skills as you battle against the characters themselves.

    Reservations are required, so don’t miss out on a great family or group experience!

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    Aside from Spongebob’s Bikini Bottom Breakfast, there is also another new and improved attraction now available to all guests at Nickelodeon’s Suites Resort. Watch Spongebob and several other characters from Spongebob Squarepants battle against evil forces and defeat Plankton to save the jellyfish. It will take the help of Patrick, Sandy, and even the shipwrecked pirate known as the Flying Dutchman, to stop the destruction of Jellyfish fields in a 4D animation, allowing viewers to experience Spongebob like never before. Now showing worldwide, this film is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat with special effects and light shows that will capture your attention and let your imagination run wild. The theatre seats around 50 people, and the entire film runs around 5-10 minutes. But wait, don’t watch just one, catch all three alternate endings in order to find out just how many ways this scenario could have been resolved by the cunning of Spongebob Squarepants. From personal experience, bring a jacket because the theatre is freezing, and don’t miss out on such an amazing opportunity!

    No longer in its adolescence, Fantasy of Flight’s Mustangs & Mustangs: Legends Havin’ Fun aircraft and automobile show celebrates its Sweet 16th birthday on Saturday, April 13.  It marks a milestone year for the popular, nostalgia-based event which is already considered one of the largest single day Mustang automobile shows in Florida and the only event that showcases both the restored P-51 Mustang aircraft and Ford Mustang autos of all eras, ages and styles.  The event takes place Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fantasy of Flight.

    Throughout the day, Mustang show cars will compete for first, second and third place trophies, as well as a “People's Choice” award.  Meanwhile, rare, restored P-51 fighters will perform live aerial demonstrations.  As well as watching the hot rods and fighter planes in action, guests also can take advantage of children’s activities, enjoy live entertainment, and snap photos with the classic cars, vintage airplanes and celebrity impersonators.

    Each year, approximately 450 Ford vehicles are registered in the show.  Registered participants may have their vehicle photographed with a P-51 Mustang airplane, which is a highlight of the show each year, said Terry Blakely, President of the Imperial Mustangs of Polk County, presenters of the event along with Fantasy of Flight.  Other Mustang clubs from across the Southeast will be participating as well.  Admission to Mustangs & Mustangs is included in general admission to Fantasy of Flight; parking is $5.  The show is open to all Ford-powered vehicles and registrations are currently being accepted.  A portion of the proceeds from car show registration will go to VISTE of Lakeland, Fla., an organization that provides services enabling the elderly to live independently in their own homes.          

    “Each year, Mustangs & Mustangs draws a loyal crowd of Mustang lovers, but this year, as we celebrate the Sweet 16th birthday of this event, we hope to share it with even more people,” said Kim Long, General Manager, Fantasy of Flight.  “We welcome everyone to come out and enjoy a day of family friendly fun, marvel at these impeccably maintained cars and planes, stroll through Fantasy of Flight, check out our new Golden Hill exhibit, and test their bravado on our Wing WalkAir Ropes Course & Zip Line.”

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    Fantasy of Flight recently opened Phase II of its Golden Hill exhibit, more than 40,000 square feet filled with rare and vintage aircraft, aircraft parts and flight artifacts — a veritable gold mine of aviation history.  This treasure trove of valuable historical nuggets is named in reference to Silver Hill, the nickname for The Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Suitland, Md.  Among the residents of Golden Hill Phase II are amphibious aircraft, the PBY Catalina and Grumman Duck; the carrier-based Fairey Swordfish and Grumman Hellcat; the world’s earliest jets, Gloster Meteor and DeHavilland Vampire; and many more.  The new exhibit is included in admission to Fantasy of Flight.

    Fantasy of Flight also hosts a number of other special events during the year, including its 2013 Legends & Legacies Symposium Series. Remaining segments include: “The First World War,” April 6; “D-Day: Normandy & Beyond,” May 3-4; “Espionage: The Cold War,” Oct. 4-5 and “Veteran’s Day Salute: A Celebration of Service,” Nov. 9-10. Symposium events are included in the price of Fantasy of Flight general admission and are free for annual pass holders. 

    Maybe in your kitchen, or the kitchen next door people are perfecting their favorite pie recipes. You practice and practice hoping that extra dash of cinnamon or nutmeg will give your pie the edge needed to make that difference. You are putting that twist on your Grandmother's pie or trying out new recipes.

    Great American Pie Festival

    This year in Celebration, FL which is almost in Disney World, the Great American Pie Contest will be held on April 26th and April 27th. This wonderful event is sponsored by Crisco and is a free festival to the public. The APC which is America's organization dedicated to pie will be taking entries for National Pie Championships. There will be a new category for the amateur bakers to compete in this year. It is sponsored by Comstock, the makers of Comstock Wilderness pie fillings.The bakers will have their choice of strawberry, peach, blueberry, cherry, to apple. The Comstock Creation Station is the place where children and adults can make their own pie. There will be chef hat decorating, pie art, pie decorating and much more. Also new this year is a Bake Learning Center led by pastry chefs and other professionals that will share tips on pie making and special instructions for making that special pie.

    On the APC website are the entry forms for each division. The entry fee for non members is $35.00 with the entrant receiving a Emile Henry pie dish and for the APC amateur members the entry fee is $15.00. Membership information is online.

    If you would like to be a judge at the pie festival just apply. The only qualification is that you love pie, you don't have to have previous experience. Just tell them why you want to be a judge, there are no right or wrong answers. Last year there were more than 800 pies for the 195 judges to try. Along with judges, there are hundreds of volunteer jobs that are needed to make this big festival work.


    There are so many different activities at this festival and all of them involve pie and sponsored by Private Selection, of course there is a pie eating contest. There will be bouncy houses and crafts for the children at a price of $10.00. Sweet offerings will be offered by Bakers Square Restaurants and Pies, Cabot Cheese, Publix Ice Cream, Dunkin Donuts, Smuckers Toppings, Wick's Pies, Winn Dixie, Village Inn, Kroger's Private Selection and these are just to name a few.

    But the best is to come. The main Attraction to the whole pie celebration will be the never ending pie buffet. Although the festival is free, the pie buffet will cost you a small fee but will be well worth it. Children under 5 are free, $5 for seniors, and $10 for adults. It features beverages, cheeses, toppings, ice cream and of course award winning pies, so don't eat before you go. Last year there were over 90,000 slices of pie and more expected this year.

    So no matter what kind of pie your favorite is, it really doesn't matter. When it comes to this festival you will be covered no matter what your choice is. So if you are close to Disney World at the end of April make sure you go to the pie festival. I have a feeling it will be very memorable.

    Picttures from the 2013 Pie Festival: 

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