Just in time for Memorial Day, SeaWorld® Orlando is plunging into summer with the return of Summer Nights. Starting Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-28, and then select nights throughout the summer, SeaWorld is staying open later with fantastic shows including Shamu Rocks, Sea Lions Tonight and Reflections.
Shamu Rocks – Sit in the “Soak Zone” to fully experience this rock ‘n’ roll concert with more splash! Watch majestic killer whales flip, jump and spin along with dazzling lighting effects, fist-pumping music and multimedia elements.
Sea Lions Tonight – Live with Clyde, Seamore and friends – it’s Sea Lions Tonight! Laugh out loud with your family during this hilarious show staring the comedic sea lion and otter duo. The variety show pokes fun at popular TV shows and even some of SeaWorld’s attractions.
Reflections – Grab a spot seaside along SeaWorld’s Waterfront Village or take a seat in Bayside Stadium for an awe-inspiring show of dancing animated fountains and breathtaking fireworks. Celebrate with the perfect ending to a fun day with family.
Summer Nights at SeaWorld is included with theme park admission to SeaWorld® Orlando. Dates for Summer Nights are May 26-28, every evening June 23-August 12 and September 1-2. For Memorial Day Weekend, SeaWorld will be open extended hours from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Click here for more information.
Wet ‘n Wild® Orlando is getting even wilder this weekend with the 4th Annual Waves of Glory Christian music festival and Battle of the Bands, Saturday, May 19 and Sunday, May 20. Dance, move and sway to contemporary rock, hip-hop and praise Christian music as bands compete for cash and prizes. With admission to Waves of Glory included in Wet ‘n Wild admission, your family can enjoy both the water park’s thrilling tube rides, slides, wave pool surf lagoon and lazy river and the spiritual melodies of the Waves of Glory concerts.
Starting with opening prayers each day, enjoy two days of faith-filled fun and a jam-packed schedule of musical performances. Bands include 410 East, Hope for Heroes, Judah, The Broken, Alma Vertical, The Invocation, Lastwatch, Carisa Turner, Stu Sanders and more! Cheer and clap to cast your “vote” for your favorite group as talented singers and bands “battle” to impress judges and claim their spots as finalists – and ultimately as champion. Watch special performances by the 2011 Waves of Glory Champions, the R Anthony Band, and 2010 Waves of Glory Competitor, Prodigal Son. In addition, learn the hula from the Salem Lutheran Church’s Hawaiian Worship Team and how to use it in worship.
Admission to Waves of Glory is included with admission to Wet ‘n Wild® Orlando. Click here for event times and more information.
Calling all home and garden enthusiasts! The Central Florida Home and Garden Show, returning to Orlando May 25-27 at the Orange County Convention Center, showcases home improvement products, exhibitors, how-to seminars, actual gardens and décor…all in one location. You’ll learn the best tips, trends and tricks from experts in remodeling, building, decorating, landscaping and much more. You might even be inspired to start your own do-it-yourself project. Here are some highlights:
Seminars: Be sure to visit the main stage that is filled each day with professional landscapers and home improvement gurus who enjoy sharing their expert knowledge with you. Don’t miss celebrity guest Kimberly Lacy from HGTV’s “Curb Appeal: The Block” who offers advice on how to enhance your home’s exterior.
Green Avenue: Wander around Green Avenue, a 6000-square-foot gardener’s paradise featuring abundant greenery and exquisite landscaping. Learn about gardening and meet with professional landscapers who will inspire you to create your own flourishing masterpieces at home.
Garden Marketplace: Browse this area for everything you’ll need to create your own backyard terrace. Purchase planters, pots, decorations, tools, hand-made gifts and more.
Exhibitors: No matter what home improvement task you’re attempting, the Central Florida Home and Garden Show has exhibitors and experts that can help! Interact with more than 100 vendors including appliance, construction, real estate, fitness, gardening and home entertainment professionals.
Pooch Parade: There’s even something for pets! Visit the pooch parade on Sunday at 1 p.m. for the latest in canine couture and shop the pet supply expo for pet products.
The Central Florida Home and Garden Show will be held at North Hall B of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students (ages 13-18) & seniors (60+) and free for children 12 and under. View the show’s official website for details, directions, parking and more information about this exciting upcoming event. Not all the details for the event have been released so be sure to check the website for updates.
Need some cool family fun this summer? Just add water! The brand new LEGOLAND® Water Park, opening May 26 at LEGOLAND® Florida, will feature a wave pool, Build-A-Raft lazy river, water slides and more. Intended for all ages, “build” some family memories during your Orlando vacation and be among the first to make a splash at this attraction!
The new Florida water park will be the first LEGOLAND water park to feature a wave pool in addition to other family-friendly rides. In the LEGO® wave pool, play and cool off in gently rolling waves perfect for “splashers” of all ages. At the Joker Soaker, have a laugh as a 300-gallon bucket suddenly pours water on your family and friends in an interactive playground setting. Let your imagination float away on the Build-A-Raft lazy river and construct your own LEGO raft for the 1,000-foot river. While older guests enjoy thrills on the Twin Chasers tube and Splash Out water slides, young visitors can have their own adventure at the DUPLO® Splash Safari water play area designed for toddlers with friendly DUPLO creatures.
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 theme park hours.
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.
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.
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.
A menacing Yeti lurks in the shadows of the Forbidden Mountain, wishing to keep innocent Animal Kingdom® park-goers from passing through the peak’s trails. Will you have what it takes to join the expedition and bring the Yeti’s reign to an end? At this year’s Expedition Everest Challenge, journey through Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park on Saturday, May 5, 2012 for a 5K race and scavenger hunt to help “defeat the Yeti.”
The Expedition Everest Challenge 5K race will begin in the Butterfly Parking Lot at 9:30 p.m. and will twist and turn through the park’s attractions. Don’t forget to pay close attention to the five scavenger hunt clues during the course because they will help you “reach the summit” for your finisher award and guide you to the after party following the expedition. Watch out for a few obstacles the Yeti has thrown in your path that won’t be too grueling but will definitely make your journey a little more treacherous!
For young children, the Expedition Everest Challenge also welcomes small runners who wish to take part in the excitement. RunDisney Kids’ Races offer children, ages 4-10, the opportunity to earn finisher medallions by running, climbing and searching during a mini adventure created just for them.
Registration is quickly filling up, so choose your best running shoes and sign up your friends and family before it’s too late. You can register individually or as a team. View the official website of the Expedition Everest Challenge for details and a schedule of events.
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to put on your gardening gloves at this year’s Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival. The festival runs Wednesday, March 7 through Sunday, May 20, 2012 to give you plenty of opportunities to enjoy the spectacular Disney-inspired foliage. You will find dazzling displays of themed topiaries, Flower Power concerts, HGTV designer presentations and kid-themed events along with a few surprises that will add a little extra color to your day.
HGTV Presentations: Turn your thumb a darker shade of green and join HGTV’s renowned designers, Genevieve Gorder and John Gidding, for presentations on how to create your own fantastic garden space.
Displays: Let Disney’s landscaping geniuses amaze you as you visit blooming gardens and stunning topiaries located throughout Epcot®. Don’t miss the English Tea Garden, Epcot® Gardens of the World and topiaries of characters including Peter Pan and Fantasia Mickey.
Concerts: Travel back in time for the Flower Power concert series and attend live performances by The Guess Who, Chubby Checker and more popular ‘60s and ‘70s-era artists located at the America Gardens Theatre at World Showcase.
Fun for kids: Take your children on a botanical adventure as they explore Bambi’s Butterfly House, with hundreds of native butterflies, and Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden where they can search for their favorite fairy characters in the hedges. Be sure to check out The Backyard Play Garden that offers outdoor activities for the entire family to enjoy quality time together.
Festival Center: Open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., visit the Festival Center for tasty refreshments, gardening resources and interesting presentations.
With such a variety of displays, you can return to Epcot® multiple times and still find something new! Check out this list of themed weekends that feature different topics presented by HGTV to plan your trip accordingly. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you will be sure to find plenty of activities that interest you.