All Star Vacation Homes Blog

Posts filed under 'NEW / UPCOMING EVENTS'

8 Unique Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

RosesFlowers?  Jewelry? A day at the spa? With Mother’s Day less than two weeks away, you may be scrambling to find that perfect gift. We understand how important mothers are and came up with this list of our top heart-felt Mother’s Day gift ideas. These unique last-minute ideas require little planning and can be shared with the entire family to create lasting memories and make mom feel extra special.

World Famous Gospel Brunch®
House of Blues® Orlando

Located at the House of Blues® in the Downtown Disney ®area, experience this world-famous gospel brunch with inspiring gospel musical performances and a delicious buffet. Debuting May 12 during a special Mother’s Day Gospel Brunch®, Grammy-Award® winning star Kirk Franklin is transforming the brunch with an all-new menu featuring Southern favorites and a mix of traditional and contemporary music. Click here for more information.

Afternoon Tea at Grand View Tea Room
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Offered from 2-4:30 p.m. daily, treat mom to a relaxing afternoon tea. Choose from a variety of fine tea offerings paired with an assortment of tea sandwiches, scones, tarts, pastries, cheeses and more.  Look out for seasonal selections. Click here for more information.

Cypress Belle-blogCypress Gardens
LEGOLAND® Florida

An original old-Florida attraction, LEGOLAND has taken great care to preserve the soul of the park – the historic gardens established on the grounds of its Cypress Gardens predecessor more than 75 years ago. Between exciting LEGOLAND rides and shows, be sure to visit this section of the park with a collection of native plants including azaleas and camellias along with exotic species including a vast Banyan tree that was planted as a seeding in 1939. Click here for more information.

The Bird Rookery and Panther Springs
Gatorland®

Thoughts of alligators, snakes and reptiles may not sound appealing to her at first but moms who are animal lovers are sure to be delighted by some of Gatorland’s less scaly animal inhabitants. If she enjoys bird watching, she’ll be amazed by the more than 20 species of wild birds nesting in the Bird Rookery including some listed as endangered or protected. Also, she can come face-to-face with rare endangered Florida panthers in the brand-new Panther Springs exhibit. Click here for more information.

EpcotFlowers Mom-blogEpcot® International Flower & Garden Festival
Epcot®
Instead of a bouquet or flower arrangement, give her the gift of thousands of types of colorful flowers with a visit to the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival.  Enjoy photo opportunities with the family next to more than 75 topiaries or savor garden-inspired snacks at the Garden Marketplaces. If your mom loves butterflies, be sure to stop by Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House filled with live friendly fluttering butterflies. Click here for more information.

Mother’s Day Brunch featuring “Gone with the Wind”
Enzian Theater

A great girls morning out, celebrate moms and all the wonderful women in your life during a screening of the classic award-winning film, “Gone with the Wind,” and a delectable brunch buffet. In addition, there will be live music and each guest will receive a complimentary mimosa.  Brunch is served at 10 a.m. and the film begins at 11 a.m. Click here for more information.

Mother’s Day Fondue
The Melting Pot of Orlando

Treat mom to deliciously indulgent fondue and melt her heart. This unique dining experience is great for small groups and includes a special pre-fixed Mother’s Day menu with your choice of a bubbling cheese fondue, salad, entrée and delectable chocolate fondue dessert. Moms will receive a Melting Pot gift bag, a complimentary mimosa and chances to win trips or prizes. Click here for more information.

Vacation to Orlando or Captiva Island
All Star Vacation Homes

Wisk mom away on a vacation getaway from All Star Vacation Homes with family and friends. Reserve a vacation home with All Star in either Captiva Island, FL, just steps from the beach, or Orlando, minutes from Walt Disney World® Resort and other attractions. Choose from more than 250 vacation homes, town homes and condos featuring private pools and spas, multiple master bedrooms, home theaters, full kitchens, game rooms and more. For the ultimate gift, schedule her an in-home massage, a personal chef or one of our Memory Making Ideas. Visit www.AllStarVacationHomes.com to reserve a home.

Add comment May 1st, 2013

Run and Register for Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend Events!

Registration opened Tuesday for 2014 Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend, January 8-12. One of the most “magical” collections of races on the planet, register now and challenge yourself to a 26.2-mile Marathon run through all four Walt Disney World® Resort Theme Parks, the 13.1-mile Walt Disney World® Half Marathon, the 6.2-mile Walt Disney World® 10K or the 3.1-mile Disney Family Fun Run 5K. If you’re an avid runner, sign up for Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge and complete both the Half Marathon and the Marathon – and debuting this year, experience the ultimate endurance test, register for the Dopey Challenge and run the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon! Kids can be a part of the excitement too with special runDisney Kids Races designed for children of all ages – even toddlers!

Complete Schedule of Races:

Thursday, January 9
Disney Family Fun Run 5K
Dopey Challenge
runDisney Kids’ Races

Friday, January 10
Walt Disney World® 10K
Dopey Challenge
runDisney Kids’ Races

Saturday, January 11
Walt Disney World® Half Marathon
Dopey Challenge
Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge
runDisney Kids’ Races

Sunday, January 12
Walt Disney World® Marathon
Dopey Challenge
Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge

Click here for race times, registration information and more. Registration is closed for the 5K and 10K races.

In conjunction with Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend, meet fellow runners and make new friends during a variety of special events. Visit the Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo where runners and non-runners alike can learn about training, racing, fitness, nutrition and more. At the Pasta in the Park Parties and Breakfast, relax, recharge and refuel before or after your big race. At the conclusion of Marathon Weekend, celebrate your accomplishments with family and friends at the Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney®. For more information on Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend, click here.

Add comment April 12th, 2013

Move It, Move It to Busch Gardens® for “Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation”

There’s nothing more fun than partying during vacation and that’s just what your favorite characters from the “Madagascar” movies are gonna do! During “Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation,” debuting May 18 at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay, Fla., Alex the lion, Gloria the hippo, King Julien the ring-tailed lemur, Mort the mouse lemur and the penguins, Skipper, Private, Kowalski and Rico join you for an unforgettable Busch Gardens® adventure. With these hilarious zoo animals vacationing alongside you and your family, silly antics and laughter will ensue.

“Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation” is a 20-minute musical show that features dancers, rock/pop music performed by a live band and both classic songs from the films and some new additions. Sing, clap and dance along with Alex and his friends to party favorites. Laugh at the clever wittiness of Alex and Gloria, come along on a special “mission” with the penguins and “move it, movie it” with King Julien and Mort. After the show, meet the stars and pose for pictures or purchase a souvenir.

“Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation,” featuring characters from DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.’s “Madagascar” movies, premiers May 18 at Busch Gardens® Tampa and will be one of only two locations in the U.S. where you can see these characters live. Admission to the show is included in theme park admission; check a park map for show times. Busch Gardens® is located less than 70 miles from Kissimmee. Click here for more information.

Add comment April 3rd, 2013

Spring to Two Fantastic Family Festivals in Downtown Celebration

The return of spring and the start of April signifies the return of two popular outdoor family festivals in downtown Celebration, Fla. Satisfy your need for speed at the Celebration Exotic Car Festival and then your appreciation of fine art at the Celebration Spring Art Festival. Choose the event best suited for your family or plan to attend both! Discover highlights of each event below:

Event: Celebration Exotic Car Festival
Time: April 11-14, Thursday-Sunday
Description: Put it in drive for this four-day world-class event featuring North America’s largest collection of exotic cars and racecars with live music, food and more. The festival gets revved up Thursday and Friday with two exhilarating track days and Ferrari races at the world-famous Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach. On Saturday, April 13, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the cars circle back to Celebration for the Concours of Exotic Cars. Get up-close to more than 250 exotic cars, racecars and Hollywood movie cars, including Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Bugatti, McLaren, Lotus, DeLorean, Pantera, Aston Martin, Bentley and Rolls-Royce, lining the streets of the lakefront town center. On Sunday, April 14, the festival concludes with the Exotic Car Road Rally.
Cost: Admission to the Concours of Exotic Cars is free for spectators. Proceeds from the events will be donated to children’s charities. Click here for more information.

 

Event: Celebration Spring Art Festival
Time: Saturday, April 20 & Sunday, April 21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Description: Market Street will be transformed into an outdoor art gallery filled with colorful paintings, detailed sculptures, decorative jewelry, skillful pottery, emotion-evoking photography and other artwork handmade in America by more than 100 talented artists. Stroll through the town center’s lovely brick-lined streets and browse artwork, purchase some favorites, chat with artists and explore downtown Celebration shops.
Cost: Admission is free. Prices for art start at $15. Click here for more information.

If you’re looking for more upcoming events around Orlando and Kissimmee, visit the Orlando Vacation News blog by All Star Vacation Homes and be sure to check back regularly for new posts.

Add comment April 1st, 2013

Come Face-to-Face with Endangered Florida Panthers at Gatorland®

This April, two Florida panthers, among the most endangered animals in the world, will be calling Gatorland® in Orlando their new home! The new Panther Springs open-air exhibit will house Neiko and Lucy, a brother and sister pair that are a cross between the extremely endangered Florida panther and a Texas cougar. Panther Springs features an area of over 2,000 square feet complete with a waterfall, napping ledges near guest viewing areas and a state-of-the-art husbandry center.

According to FloridaPantherNet.org, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s official website for the Florida panther, there are only about 100 adult panthers left in the wild that live on protected state and federal and private lands. The animals once ranged throughout Florida and much of the southeast from Louisiana north and east to Tennessee and the Atlantic. Due to hunting over the years and habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, wild Florida panthers are confined to a small area in southwest Florida. At the Panther Springs exhibit, you and your family will enjoy a rare glimpse into the life of a Florida panther with opportunities to see the elusive big cats up close. Learn about Florida panthers, how they almost became extinct in the ‘90s and what you can do to help protect them.

Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve with exhibits and entertainment including thousands of alligators, crocodiles, birds and more. It is open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission will include the Panther Springs attraction once it opens, and is $24.99 for adults and $16.99 for children ages 3-12. Gatorland is located 15-20 minutes from Walt Disney World® Resort. Click here for more information.

Add comment March 29th, 2013

Move to the Rhythm of Viva La Música® at SeaWorld® Orlando

The cool sea-inspired fun of SeaWorld® Orlando is heating up this spring with waves of hot Latin concerts. The Hispanic music festival, Viva La Música®, is returning to SeaWorld, Saturdays, April 13-May 4. Along with the theme park’s amazing animals, thrilling rides and entertaining shows, you and your family can enjoy live musical performances by hit Latin artists and flavorful cuisine.

Starting at noon, visit the festival event area and have your fill of delicious food. Savor new flavors and traditional favorites created by SeaWorld’s executive chef, Héctor Colón. Sample  dishes inspired by South America, Mexico and the Caribbean including arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), lechón (roasted pork), alcapurrias (meat fritters), ceviche, sweet guava pastries and much more. Eat to the beat of local Latin bands on the side stage performing merengue, salsa, Spanish pop and more.

At 3 p.m., take your seat for a concert by one of these award-winning artists:

  • April 13: Daddy Yankee
  • April 20: Willie Colón
  • April 27: Grupomanía
  • May 4: El Gran Combo

Admission to Viva La Música® is included with theme park admission to SeaWorld® Orlando. Food is available for purchase. Concert seating is on a first come, first served basis or you can purchase a VIP package to reserve your spot. Click here for more information.

Add comment March 26th, 2013

Hop to Celebrating Easter in Your All Star Vacation Home

Grab your basket and get ready to have your fill of special treats. Easter is almost here! If you’re worried the Easter Bunny might not make a stop at your All Star vacation home or condo, there are plenty of ways you can welcome him while getting everyone in the holiday spirit. Check out this list of fun family activities:

  • Crafts – Make decorations for your vacation home, a special keepsake gift for a loved one or create something just for fun. Find templates and printables for Disney-inspired activities here.
  • Decorate eggs – Bring the family together to dye eggs for an inexpensive activity for both children and adults. You can even refrigerate hardboiled eggs to enjoy as a healthy snack later.
  • Egg hunt – Fill up plastic eggs with candies and goodies and hide them all around your vacation home. Young children will love running around hunting for eggs and adults will love the great photo opportunities to catch kids in action.
  • Sunday brunch – Use your vacation home’s fully equipped kitchen to prepare your family’s favorite meals and snacks. Serve breakfast and lunch entrees for a Sunday brunch. Fire up the barbecue grill and heat up hotdogs, steaks and more. Don’t feel like cooking? All Star’s Guest Services Team can arrange for a caterer or chef to make Sunday brunch right in your vacation home.
  • Theme parks – Discover all the Easter activities around Orlando! At Walt Disney World® Resort, greet Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny, participate in an egg hunt and spring-themed arts and crafts. At SeaWorld® Orlando, attend a sunrise service at Bayside Stadium.
  • Start a tradition – Do you have an Easter activity that you looked forward to each year as a child, a game you played with family or a special dessert you baked? Share your tradition with new members of the family or start your own!

Need more ideas? “Like” All Star Vacation Homes on Facebook. If you want to reserve a vacation home with All Star for Easter next year, click here.

Add comment March 22nd, 2013

Bricks Motivate You towards the Finish Line at the Citrus Classic 5k at LEGOLAND® Florida

Build momentum with the help of amazing LEGO® bricks at the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation Citrus Classic 5k, Saturday, April 6. For the second year, the Citrus Classic will be held at LEGOLAND® Florida motivating participants of all ages as they race past the LEGO Factory in Fun Town, the LEGO landmark replicas at Miniland USA and more, to the finish line near LEGO® City. Join Buddy, the LEGOLAND® mascot, and hundreds of friends at 7 a.m. for this 5k run and fun walk benefiting the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation Fund for Women and Children. Winners will receive a specially designed LEGO trophy!

In addition, enjoy a variety of pre and post-race activities! Take part in warm-up and cool-down sessions, stroll through a vendor village and listen to music from MAX 98.3 during a live broadcast. Kids can experience special activities just for them. After the race, stick around for the 5k awards presentation where awards will be given to the fastest overall male and female, male and female masters and the top three males and females in each age group. Race participants can even purchase exclusive LEGOLAND® Florida discount tickets to enjoy a full day in the theme park.

The Winter Haven Hospital Foundation Citrus Classic 5k starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday, April 6. Online registration closes at midnight on Wednesday, April 3. LEGOLAND® Florida is located less than one hour from Kissimmee in Winter Haven. Click here for registration information, entry fees and event details. Please note registration does not include free park admission.

Add comment March 19th, 2013

Spring to a Vacation Break in Orlando with All Star Vacation Homes

Spring is here and it’s time to enjoy the beautiful warm sunny weather in Central Florida. If you think it’s too late or you don’t have time to plan a spring break or Easter getaway to Orlando, All Star Vacation Homes can help. For a limited time, All Star is waiving the minimum stay requirement for a selection of vacation homes, inviting you to reserve one of the vacation homes, town homes or condos for a 2 to 6-night getaway!

Escape to a short stress-free trip, meet the family in Orlando to celebrate Easter, visit the 20th annual Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival or plan a vacation to experience “Limited Time Magic” at Walt Disney World® Resort. With a variety of vacation homes and travel dates available to choose from, All Star makes it quick and easy to plan your own sunny spring trip to Orlando! Options range from 2-bedroom condos to 9-bedroom vacation homes with amenities including private pools & spas, multiple master bedrooms, game rooms, home theaters, themed bedrooms, full kitchens and more located within 6 miles of Disney.

To view a complete list of vacation homes and condos offering 2-6 night stays, click here. This offer is only valid on vacation homes, town homes and condos listed and for select dates indicated on www.AllStarVacationHomes.com/orlando-vacation-rental-specials.asp. All dates are subject to availability. Cleaning and Property Protection fees may apply. Offer cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion.

To make a reservation with All Star Vacation Homes and confirm availability, call 1-800-880-5503. Call now and speak with our Reservations Team to see if you quality for a special discount!

Add comment March 14th, 2013

Brooms Up – Quidditch World Cup VI Takes Flight Next Month

If you’re a regular reader of the Orlando Vacation News Blog by All Star Vacation Homes, you’ll remember in July we announced that soon you’d be able to experience the wizardry of actual Quidditch Tournaments in Kissimmee, Fla. Quidditch World Cup VI is now just a month away! On April 13-14, 80 of the world’s best real-life Quidditch teams will make their descent for two days of competitions for the championship title.

Quidditch, made popular by the Harry Potter book series, is a sport in “witch” wizards race around on flying broomsticks to chase after a Quaffle and the notorious Golden Snitch while avoiding Bludgers. Muggle Quidditch, or Quidditch adapted to be played by people without magical abilities (or muggles), is played on the ground with athletes running around on broomsticks rather than flying. During Quidditch World Cup VI, hosted by the International Quidditch Association, see this exciting and unique co-ed sport played that combines elements of rugby, dodgeball and Olympic handball, with four balls (plus a human snitch) and seven players per team vying for control of an elliptical pitch.

In addition to the heart-pounding action of the Quidditch tournament, you can also enjoy the following activities:

  • Come dressed in Harry Potter-inspired attire and cheer with fans
  • Listen to live commentary from improvisational comedians and Quidditch experts
  • Shop for magical items and merchandise
  • Jam to live performances from bands, marching bands and musicians between games
  • Snack on food from local vendors
  • Celebrate your team’s victory during the After Party
  • Kids can participate in “kidditch” to learn how to play

Quidditch World Cup VI is a one-of-a-kind family friendly event. It will take place 7:30 a.m-11 p.m. on April 13, and 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on April 14, at the Austin-Tindall Park in Kissimmee, Fla. The After Party is 7-11 p.m., Sunday, April 14. Tickets are $14.99 for adults, $7.99 for kids for day passes; $24.99 for adults, $11.99 for kids for weekend passes. Click here for more information.

Add comment March 11th, 2013

Eat and Run During Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

Instead of a midnight snack, register for a heaping helping of fitness! Registration begins at midnight on March 12 for Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, November 8-9. Whether you’re a serious runner or simply looking for an activity to get the whole family moving, there’s a special race for everyone. Plus, you can celebrate your finish and hard work with mouthwatering food at the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival. Choose from the following races and get ready to dine and dash:

  • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon – More than just dinner on the run, the Half Marathon twists and turns through three beautiful, night-lit Walt Disney World Resort® Theme Parks. Receive encouragement from Disney entertainment motivating you towards the finish line and the exclusive Finish Line Party at the Epcot® International Food and Wine Festival that awaits.
  • Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K – A family run on the “wild side,” this 5K winds through Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park and past some amazing animals. All types and levels of runners are invited to join the fun.
  • runDisney Kids’ Races– Every runner goes home a winner in these kid-friendly races designed for children 13 and under. Kids can sign up for the Kids Dashes or the challenging One Mile Run. There’s even a Diaper Dash for crawlers.

In addition, at the Finish Line Party, treat yourself to the ultimate reward – enjoy after-hours admission to the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival just for race participants and families and friends. Sample and savor delicious food and beverages from 25 international kiosks throughout the Epcot® World Showcase. Spend the evening partying and celebrating your success for a job well done!

Click here for more race information. Don’t forget, registration opens at midnight on Tuesday, March 12. Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend events fill up fast so register early to guarantee your spot.

Add comment March 8th, 2013

Enjoy the Sun, Surf and Bricks at the LEGOLAND Water Park

Just three days from today, the LEGOLAND Water Park at LEGOLAND® Florida is reopening for the season! On Saturday, March 9, the water park officially reopens inviting your family to share aquatic fun for everyone and “build” memories. Relax along the shore, float among LEGO® bricks, plunge down a thrilling waterslide or wade through a shallow pool. What ride or attraction listed below will you want to do first?

  • LEGO Wave Pool – Gather the family and cool off in gently rolling waves. Experience the only wave pool featured in a LEGOLAND water park.
  • Twin Chasers – Grab a tube and plunge through 375 feet of intertwining enclosed water slides.
  • Splash Out – The tallest point in the water park, choose from three unique slides and speed down a thrilling 60-foot drop.
  • Joaker Soaker – Climb and slide around this watery playground, but watch out! The joke is on you as a 300-gallon bucket suddenly dumps water on you and your family.
  • Build-a-Raft River – Float away using your imagination and construct your own LEGO vessel with LEGO bricks. Set adrift on your creation for a voyage around the 1,000-foot-long lazy river.
  • DUPLO® Splash Safari – Explore a jungle-themed water play area just for toddlers and inhabited by friendly DUPLO creatures. Kids can interact with fountains and pint-sized slides.
  • Beach-n-Brick Grill – Dine alfresco at this poolside restaurant. Satisfy your hunger with fresh sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders and salads.
  • Surf Shop – Find exclusive water park gear and shop for beach accessories in this tubular store.

Admission to the LEGOLAND Water Park requires purchase of a general admission ticket to LEGOLAND® Florida plus an additional $12 per person, $3 for children under 3. Click here for more information and park hours. Don’t miss out on all spring and summer fun at LEGOLAND® Florida – reserve an Orlando vacation with All Star Vacation Homes!

Add comment March 6th, 2013

Find a Pot O’ Gold of Festivities at the Mighty Festival at Raglan Road

The longest, largest and most authentic St. Patrick’s Day event in town! The Mighty Festival, at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant in the Downtown Disney® area, invites guest of all ages, whether you’re Irish or Irish at heart, to celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day holiday with two weekends of festivities. March 8-10, pre-party with a schedule of musical performances from The Willis Clan, merging Irish music with a variety of other genres. March 14-17, celebrate like you’re Irish with a mighty offering of bands and dancers on multiple stages, refreshments and authentic activities including:

  • Authentic Irish food and drinks
  • The impressive Ragland Road Dancers, seven full-time champion Irish dancers, performing daily
  • Irish dance workshops with renowned Irish dancer and choreographer, Ronan McCormack, of the original “Riverdance” cast
  • Irish music workshops with Dublin-born multi-instrumentalist Declan Masterson, recent touring musical director of “Riverdance”
  • Ceili traditional music and structured set-dancing instruction
  • Performances by Raglan Road house band Creel, The Willis Clan, Girsa, Three Dollar Band and Johnny & Justin.
  • “The Electric Ceili” event with a host of Irish musicians and dancers
  • Concerts featuring ELEVATION, “the world’s greatest U2 tribute band”
  • St. Patrick’s Day-themed face painting
  • Stiltwalkers

Don’t forget to come dressed in green! Please note on Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17, guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis. Saturday, a cover charge of $5 will apply to each guest 18 and over; on Sunday, the cover charge is $10. Click here for a schedule of performances and events and for more information. If you’d like to discover other ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day during your Orlando vacation, click here.

1 comment March 1st, 2013

How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Your All Star Vacation Home

St. Patrick’s Day, Sunday, March 17, is less than three weeks away! If you’re “lucky” enough to enjoy the holiday during your Orlando vacation, check out these festive tips for celebrating in your All Star vacation home and discover a pot o’ gold of fun!

  • “The Wearing of the Green” – Start your day by adding a little green to your wardrobe. Dress to impress in your favorite green attire and don’t forget to accessorize with necklaces, hats and pins. Encourage everyone to join in and wear something green.
  • Feast – After all, St. Patrick’s is a feast day! Add a little green food coloring to your family’s favorite dishes for an easy way to add flair. Serve green milk, punch and juice drinks. For breakfast, try green pancakes or waffles. For lunch, nibble on celery with green ranch dipping sauce and corned beef sandwiches. For dinner, journey to Ireland with authentic cuisine like shepherd’s pie, cabbage, fish and chips, potato pancakes and Irish stew. Sample a “rainbow” of colorful fruit for dessert. You’ll have all the tools you need to cook your “feast” in the fully equipped kitchen in your vacation home. If you don’t want to cook, All Star’s Guest Services Team can arrange for a caterer or chef to prepare an Irish-inspired feast right in your vacation home.
  • Crafts – Little Leprechauns and adults alike will enjoy making a variety of St. Patrick’s Day crafts. Make a clover pin, Mickey and Minnie headbands, paper crafts and decorations to hang up in your vacation home. You can also bake and decorate treats like clover-shaped sugar cookies, rainbow cupcakes and Mickey’s shamrock shorts cookies. Click here to download instructions and templates.
  • “The Luck of the Irish” – Have you seen the 2001 Disney Channel Original Movie, “The Luck the Irish?” The Disney XD network will be showing reruns of the movie throughout March. Tune in to the movie in your vacation home’s living area or home theater or catch a St. Patrick’s Day TV special.
  • Walt Disney World® Resort – If you want to get out and about on St. Patrick’s Day, there’s plenty to see and do at Walt Disney World® Resort. You can shop the Theme Parks for St. Patrick’s Day-themed pins and collectables and visit the United Kingdom Pavilion in Epcot® for special activities. For the ultimate family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day party, stop by Raglan Road at the Downtown Disney® area with Irish food and drink, Irish dancing and workshops, Celtic music, face painting and stilt walkers.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for how your family likes to celebrate, share them with us on the All Star Vacation Homes Facebook page. To reserve a vacation home with All Star, or plan a St. Patrick’s Day vacation for next year, click here.

Add comment February 27th, 2013

Stroll Past a Spectrum of Fine Art at the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival

From wood to clay pottery, pencil drawings to digital art, explore the entire spectrum of fine art at the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, March 15-17, in historic Winter Park, Florida (less than 45 minutes from Kissimmee). In its 54th year, the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most prestigious juried outdoor art festivals, attracting 225 artists from around the world and more than 350,000 visitors. Bring the family and spend the day strolling through beautiful Central Park filled with creative masterpieces, food, entertainment and special activities for kids.

  • Art – View thousands of pieces of artwork including clay, digital art, drawing and graphics, fiber, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and wood. Examine award-winning pieces and purchase art to take home with you. Speak with local, emerging and established artists; have your artwork signed and discover the inspiration behind their collections.
  • Children’s Workshop Village – Do you have the next Degas, Picasso or Renoir in your family? Kids ages 2-12 are invited to visit the Children’s Workshop Village, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., for free easel painting, arts and crafts and more! Little artists of all skill levels can show off their talents and create their own piece of unique artwork to keep and share with family and friends.
  • Food – From palette to palate, sample the art of cuisine at a multitude of food concession booths featured throughout the festival. Indulge in ice cream, lobster rolls, fish -n- chips, burgers, corn dogs, chicken fingers, fries, arepas, smoothies and other tasty treats and snacks.
  • Music & entertainment – Visual arts meet performing arts with a schedule of live stage performances. Move to the sounds of a jazz ensemble, pop band, brass quartet, vocal trio, acoustic ensemble and other talented singers and musicians.
  • Central Park – Don’t forget to relax and take in the artistry of nature at Central Park with an oak tree canopy, dancing fountains, landscaped planters and a splendid Rose Garden.

The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, March 15-17, takes place in Central Park in the heart of Winter Park’s downtown shopping district. Tip: For more fun, plan to spend a couple of hours browsing the shops along Park Avenue. Festival hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and 9 p.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free. Click here for more information.

1 comment February 26th, 2013

“Cheer” for Your Favorite Champion at The Contest of Champions Nationals

Do you and your family enjoy the excitement, music and energizing gymnastics of school cheer competitions? Then grab your school spirit and pompoms and get ready to “cheer” for your favorite school and athletes during The Contest of Champions Nationals at the ESPN Wide World of Sports® Complex, March 1-3, at Walt Disney World® Resort. The event brings together national elementary, junior high and high school cheerleading squads and dance teams for three days of competitions featuring flips, handsprings, pyramids and synchronized dance moves. Groups will compete in categories for studio dance, school dance & drill, all-star cheer & dance and school & youth rec cheerleading. See show-stopping performances and amazing aerials as teams give it their all with hopes to be crowned National Champion Winner. Awards, scholarships and prizes will also be given to top competitors and groups.

Don’t miss your chance to show your support and enjoy an action-packed weekend at The Contest of Champions Nationals, March 1-3. Admission is $35 for adults, $22 for children at the door. Contest of Champions pre-ordered tickets are also available. Click here for more information and event schedule.

Add comment February 21st, 2013

Register Now for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler Weekend, If You Dare!

Your pace and pulse quicken as you approach a dark and eerie path ahead. But there’s nothing to be afraid of, you’ve trained for this moment – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler™! Register now for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler Weekend, October 4 & 5, so you can train to face your “fears” during your favorite event and race towards finish line victory. No matter what your age and skill level, there is a frighteningly-fun event for everyone. But look out – you might encounter a Disney Villain or two who are planning to haunt the races like never before in honor of 20 … 13!

Prepare to experience the thrills and chills of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler Weekend! Test your bravery and fitness fortitude during the following events:

  • Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run – Gather your family and navigate the spooky terrains of the trail together to “survive” to the finish. Come dressed in your favorite costume to add a little Halloween magic to this daytime run.
  • runDisney Kids Races – Even the tiniest ghouls and goblins can participate in a daytime race. Based on their age, kids can race in a One Mile Run or Kids Dashes, including a Diaper Dash for crawlers!
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler – Beware of Disney Villains as you set out on a 10-mile nighttime run on pavement, grass and sand. Navigate your way from Disney’s Hollywood Studios® Theme Park in the dark of night to the ESPN Wide World of Sports® Complex and then to a finish to remember as you come face-to-face with The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™.

After your race, runners, guests and Disney Villains alike are invited to party all night long at the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash. Enjoy exclusive access to some of your favorite Disney attractions, celebrate your victory as you dance to live DJs and meet Disney Villains.

Click here for more information and to register for Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler Weekend Events, October 4 & October 5. Don’t forget to stop by the Disney’s Health and Fitness Expo to pick up your race packet, shop for exclusive merchandise and get a sneak peek at the latest in apparel and fitness equipment.

Add comment February 18th, 2013

Indulge in the Tastes of Orlando at the Downtown Food & Wine Fest

Experience a “Treat for All the Senses,” Saturday, February 23 and Sunday, February 24, at the Downtown Food & Wine Fest. In downtown Orlando at Lake Eola Park and on Robinson Street, less than 40 minutes from Kissimmee, savor offerings from many of Central Florida’s top restaurants, sip wines from around the world, rock out to live entertainment and learn tips and secrets from national celebrity chefs. Bring your family and join in this annual tradition that welcomes more than 20,000 foodies and wine lovers.

  • Food – Taste your way around Central Florida without leaving downtown! Sample your choice of more than 100 menu items from 40 of the area’s restaurants including Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Taverna Opa, Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, Sushi House, Bananas – A Modern American Diner, Truffles Grill and more!
  • Wine – Fill your glass at one of 14 wine stations serving more than 50 domestic and international wines. Talk to experts about food pairings and discover the diversity of wine.
  • Live Entertainment – Pull up a chair or grab a spot in front of the Windmer Brothers Brewing Stage for music presented by amazing artists and talented bands. Don’t miss The All-American Rejects, Andy Grammer, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Kaleigh Baker & NEM and many more!
  • Demonstrations – Watch live cooking demonstrations on The Chef’s Stage featuring local and national celebrity chefs, specialty drinks and dessert stations.

In addition, you can listen to live DJs at The Liquid Lounge, catch the big game in the Sports Bar, pose for free pictures from MetroPCS and grab a craft beer or cocktail from the Libation Station.

The Downtown Food & Wine Fest takes place Saturday, February 23 and Sunday, February 24. General admission is $10 in advance or $15 at the gate, per day. Admission for children under age 12 is free. Food and beverage tickets will be sold separately inside the event for $2 each. Tips: Come hungry and bring a chair to enjoy the live music. Cash is encouraged although credit cards will be accepted. Click here for more information.

Add comment February 15th, 2013

Rock Out to Your Favorite Disney Hits at Mickey’s Music Festival

Hear some of the most famous Disney songs of all time live on stage. At “Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival,” Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy combine melodies with other familiar Disney stars and remix Disney hits to the hottest sounds of today during an unforgettable concert experience. Jam to songs from “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” DisneyPixar’s “Toy Story” and a few surprises played with a fresh twist of hip hop, pop, swing, reggae, rock, country and more. At this music festival, Ariel, Sebastian and Ursula; Woody, Buzz, Bullseye and Jessie; Jasmine, Aladdin and Genie and the gang put on a musical jam session fit for the entire family. Come join in the excitement as you dance, sing, clap and laugh along with more than 25 Disney Character band members.

Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival” is performed at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m., Sunday, March 3, at the UCF Arena in Orlando, less than 45 minutes from Kissimmee. Click here to purchase tickets; ticket prices range from $15-$50. If you won’t be in Orlando in time for this performance, click here to view dates and times for locations in your area. You won’t want to miss this live concert with characters straight out of a magical world!

Add comment February 13th, 2013

Discover Natural Florida during the Orlando Wetlands Festival

Did you know that more than one-third of the federally listed species on the endangered species list rely on wetlands for survival? This Saturday, February 16, at the 13th Annual Orlando Wetlands Festival learn about Central Florida wetlands during a day of free interactive nature experiences designed for the entire family. The festival is located at Fort Christmas Historical Park, located less than an hour from Kissimmee. Free field tours will offered of nearby Orlando Wetlands Park with 1,650 acres of hardwood hammocks, marshes and lakes. Bring your camera and get ready for rare opportunities to experience Florida’s wild wetlands firsthand.

Learn about the important functions of wetlands, the types of animals (like alligators, turtles, egrets and herons) and plants that dwell in wetland habitats and how you can help protect this fragile ecosystem. Whether you want to lace up your shoes for an exhilarating hike through the Florida wilderness or prefer to spot wildlife and plants from the comfort of a bus, the Orlando Wetlands Festival offers something for everyone. You can enjoy:

  • Wilderness hikes with the Florida Trail Association
  • Native plant identification hikes with the Florida Native Plant Society
  • Guided photo hikes led by professional nature and wildlife photographers
  • Guided birding hikes
  • Guided wetlands bus tours
  • Scenic hayrides
  • Wildlife shows and stage demonstrations with live animals
  • Live music
  • Children’s activities including Out-On-A-Limb kids tree climbing, face painting, a bounce house, a rock climbing wall and more!

The Orlando Wetlands Festival takes place Saturday, February 16, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Fort Christmas Historical Park. Admission is free. Food will be available for purchase. The Fort Christmas Historical Park is less than one hour from Kissimmee. Click here for more information.

Add comment February 11th, 2013

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