Indulge in a heapin’ helpin’ of America’s favorite dessert whether it’s apple, chocolate, cherry, cream, pecan or lemon meringue à la mode at the 11th Annual Great American Pie Festival. The free festival, taking place Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29 at Lakeside Park in Celebration, Fla., brings together more than 32,000 pie lovers, bakers and tasters of all ages to pay homage to this flaky treat we all love.
Explore the festival for cookbooks and the latest in kitchen and chef gear. Discover clever techniques to decorate and make the most delicious pies from expert chefs. Have you ever wanted to have an entire meal of pies? At the Never Ending Pie Buffet, you can choose from thousands of pies and sample all-you-care-to-eat along with ice cream, toppings and more. And of course, no pie festival would be complete without kids’ and adults’ pie eating contests. Children will also enjoy an area just for them with pie decorating, “pie-scaping,” pie tin art and more.
Admission to the Great American Pie Festival, cooking demonstrations and entertainment are free. A separate ticket is required for the Never Ending Pie Buffet. Click here for more information and festival hours.
Have you been following SeaWorld® Orlando’s webisodes? If so, you know that the brand new TurtleTrek attraction is finally opening this Friday, April 27! If you haven’t watched the popular webisodes, now is your chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of TurtleTrek before it opens later this week.
TurtleTrek, the world’s first 3D 360-degree domed theater experience, takes you on the incredible journey of the sea turtle, from hatching on a beach to adulthood when a sea turtle must return to lay its eggs. Understand life from a turtle’s point-of-view and see the amazing challenges and hardships turtles and other sea creatures face to survive.
TurtleTrek gives you opportunities to view actual endangered and threatened species of turtles and manatees while you learn about conservation and how to help protect marine wildlife. In the naturalistic saltwater habitat area, see a variety of adult and juvenile sea turtles including green, loggerhead, hawksbill and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. In the freshwater habitat area, view gentle Florida manatees and discover how SeaWorld® Orlando rescues and cares for these heavy herbivores.
TurtleTrek, opens April 27, and is included in admission to SeaWorld® Orlando. Click here for more information.
Are you looking for an art event that truly has something for everyone? The 11th Annual Celebration Art Festival, coming to Celebration, Fla. on April 21-22, showcases a variety of artistic works for sale that have been created by 100 talented artists from 30 different states. Whether you prefer dramatic sculptures and expressive paintings or emotional photography and elegant jewelry, you will find something that appeals to your taste.
A favorite of locals, this festival invites visitors to stroll through Celebration’s Town Center and experience the zesty aromas of area restaurants and the friendly sights of quaint boutiques while the streets of Downtown Celebration transform into vivid art displays. The artists featured in the festival were selected by an independent panel of judges based on the quality, creativity and diversity of their original artwork. The featured artists, hand chosen from hundreds of applicants, are among some of the finest in the country, encouraging festival-goers to become fully immersed in the artistic atmosphere. As an added treat, all artists will be present to answer questions and discuss what inspired them to design their beautiful masterpieces.
The Celebration Art Festival will be open from 10 a.m. -5 p.m. on April 21-22. From affordable to the opulent, artwork is priced to accommodate any budget, ranging from roughly $25 to $30,000. Downtown Celebration is located close to Disney and other major attractions.
Stormtroopers, Jedi Knights, Sith warriors, droids and fighters for the Rebellion and the Empire are invading Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. At “Star Wars” Weekends, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from May 18 to June 10, make some out-of-this-world memories with your family as you explore the vast universe of “Star Wars” during your Orlando vacation. This annual event celebrates the legendary “Star Wars” saga and the animated television series, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” with celebrity meet-and-greets and autograph sessions, special shows, parades, presentations and more!
During “Star Wars” Weekends explore Disney’s Hollywood Studios® with characters and celebrities from the “Star Wars” films. Take pictures with your favorite characters or get an autograph from a “Star Wars” star. Scheduled Guests Include:
Ray Park – Darth Maul, “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace”
Jerome Blake – Rune Haako/Mas Amedda, “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace”
Dee Bradley Baker – voice of Clone Captain Rex and Clone Commander Cody, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”
Andy Secombe – Watto, “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace”
Ray Park – Darth Maul, “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace”
Tom Kane – voice of Yoda, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”
Jake Lloyd – Anakin Skywalker, “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace”
Silas Carson – Nute Gunray/Ki-Adi-Mundi, “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace”
Michonne Bourriague – Aurra Sing, “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace”
Jeremy Bulloch – Boba Fett, “Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back” and “Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi”
Daniel Logan – Boba Fett, “Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones”
Nika Futterman – voice of Asajj Ventress, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”
Blast through the universe to Hoth, Tatooine and beyond on a 3D motion simulation adventure inside a Starspeeder 1000 on the Star Tours ride. Party “cantina-style” at the Hyperspace Hoopla and be entertained with music, comedy and dancing with Ewoks, Wookiees, Jawas and other creatures. At the Jedi Training Academy, children under 12 can see if they have the “force” and learn lightsaber skills to defeat Darth Vader.
Admission to “Star Wars” Weekends, May 18-June 10, is included in Theme Park admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. “Star Wars” Weekends takes place during normal Theme Park hours. Meet-and-greet sessions and autograph opportunities are extremely limited, so arrive early! Autographs are issued on a first-come, first served basis; limit one autograph per guest. Click here for more information.
No need to go to Broadway because “The Lion King” is coming to Orlando. Now, that’s a wonderful phrase! From April 17 until May 13, the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre in Downtown Orlando hosts Disney’s “The Lion King,” a Tony Award-winning musical enjoyed by more than 60 million people around the world that tells the heartfelt story of how a young lion cub must face the reality of becoming king.
Listen to the Oscar-winning songs originally made famous by Elton John and Tim Rice as you marvel at the intricately designed costumes and one-of-a-kind choreography that incorporates animal movements with tribal dance. Zebras will trot, hyenas will prowl and giraffes will prance, all right beside your favorite characters like Simba and Pumbaa in a colorful African landscape that remarkably comes to life on stage. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
If you are coming to Orlando after the show leaves town, you can still see some “big-as-Broadway” Lion King entertainment year-round at the Festival of the Lion King. This 30-minute show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Park combines the famous Lion King tale with puppetry, acrobatics, singing and dancing…and you’re encouraged to be part of the action.
A festival devoted to the dark? That’s right! Just before sundown on Saturday, April 14, take a short drive to Harmony, Fla., less than a half hour from Kissimmee, where the 9th Annual Dark Sky Festival celebrates the marvels of the night sky while teaching the importance of protecting its darkness. You’ll become fascinated when you view stars and constellations while learning about how light pollution can affect not only astronomy research but also wildlife and our environment.
This nighttime festival offers activities to delight the celestial curiosity of your entire family. Peer through impressive telescopes as you stargaze on “telescope hill” and interact with local astronomers and scientists from NASA. Challenge your kids to a game of “glow golf” for some unique nighttime fun! Other highlights include a cosmic kids zone, science exhibits, a mobile planetarium and live music.
The Dark Sky Festival is a free public event on Saturday from 6 – 11 p.m. in Harmony, Fla., located less than 30 minutes from Disney. You’ll have your whole family seeing stars at this “must see” event – last year’s festival welcomed an estimated 5,000 attendees! View the festival website for directions and more information.
Get revved up for this four-day festival held in downtown Celebration and at the Daytona International Speedway, April 12-15. The 9th Annual Celebration Exotic Car Festival showcases more than 250 exotic cars and racecars, including some from your favorite movies and TV shows, along with live music, food and more for the entire family! All of the net proceeds from the festival benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital, Make-A-Wish Foundation and Special Olympics Florida.
The festival begins, April 12 and 13, with two exhilarating track days and Ferrari races at the world-famous Daytona International Speedway located approximately 70 miles from Kissimmee in Daytona Beach. More than 100 exotic cars and racecars will get your heart pumping as they circle the track exhibiting handling, maneuverability and speed. Additionally, each afternoon, owner-drivers of Ferrari Challenge racecars will keep you on the edge of your seat as they race to the finish line in the FCRA vintage Ferrari Challenge Race for individual and team trophies. Friday night, return to Celebration to refuel during the Prime Time Steak Out Lakeside barbecue and concert with Prime Time, New York’s ultimate party rock band.
Satisfy your need for speed on Saturday, April 14 at the Concours of Exotic Cars with up-close looks at more than 250 cars and racecars, including Maserati, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Rolls Royce, lining the streets of downtown Celebration. See the “Back to the Future” DeLorean, “Herbie the Love Bug” Volkswagen Beetle, the Lamborghini and Mutt Cutts van from “Dumb & Dumber,” “Star Wars” Land Speeder and more! Also, get a glimpse of celebrities from “Back to the Future” and other movies and TV shows who will be in attendance.
On Sunday, April 15, the festival concludes at 10 a.m. with the Exotic Car Road Rally. Watch the RPMs rise as cars compete in a police escorted road rally for bragging rights and trophies that will be awarded at a special luncheon following the event. Visit celebrationexoticcars.com for more information and ticket prices for each Celebration Exotic Car Festival event. Admission to the Concours of Exotic Cars is free for spectators.
Soak up the Florida sunshine during a Scenic Boat Tour in Winter Park. A popular tourist activity for more than 50 years, the Scenic Boat Tour guides you on a one hour narrated cruise through the lakes and canals of historic Winter Park.
The city of Winter Park was established in the late 19th century and was once a popular winter getaway and resort community for wealthy northerners. Today, it is famous for its stately oak trees, brick-lined streets, abundant parks, world-class museums and upscale homes. With an entertaining tour guide at the helm, learn about the area and take in breathtaking views of landmarks including Rollins College, Kraft Azalea Garden and Isle of Sicily along with tropical water birds, plants, flowers and magnificent mansions.
Winter Park is located less than 40 minutes from Kissimmee. After the boat tour, you and your family can share a meal at one of Winter Park’s fine restaurants or take a stroll down Park Avenue. Tickets for the Scenic Boat Tour are $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 2-11. Children under 2 ride free. Visit scenicboattours.com for more information.
Have you ever seen gymnastics on TV and wondered what a live competition would be like? Coming soon to Walt Disney World® Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships, April 16-18, and the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Age Group Competition, April 20-22, showcase athletes from all over the globe as they compete for top ranks in categories such as balance, dynamic and combined.
You will be amazed at the magnificent abilities of these acrobatic gymnasts to combine the power and agility of acrobatics with the elegance of dance. More than 600 gymnasts have traveled across the world from countries like Russia, China and Brazil to participate in routines set to music that consist of partner skills, dance and tumbling, right in front of your eyes.
Looking to warm up after the winter months? This spring’s hot and spicy Viva La Música festival will leave you feeling muy caliente. Every Saturday, April 14-May 5, SeaWorld® Orlando hosts Viva La Música, a food and music festival that showcases popular Latin artists, exquisite ethnic cuisine and more.
The festival kicks off at noon with lunch. And amigos, do we mean lunch! SeaWorld’s executive chef, Héctor Colón, has created some outstanding traditional delights from South America, Mexico and the Caribbean presented along with a variety of beverages that complement each dish. On the menu are arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), lechón (roasted pork), sweet guava pastries and much more. For those of you with a curious palate, try something new like alcapurrias (Puerto Rican meat fritters) or mofongo con carne frita (plantain balls with fried pork and stock).
After lunch, don’t miss the Latin concert series starting at 3 p.m. This year’s event features internationally renowned artists who perform merengue, salsa and Spanish pop. Here is a list of entertainers:
• April 14: Elvis Crespo
• April 21: Grupo Niche
• April 28: RKM & Ken-Y
• May 5: Gilberto Santa Rosa
SeaWorld’s Viva La Música festival is included with admission, and there is a nominal fee for food. Concert seating is available on a first come, first served basis. View additional details at Viva La Música’s official website.