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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Spider-Man Co-Creator Stan Lee Talks about The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal Orlando Resort

Fairytale Town Presents Summer FunCamps for Children

This summer, Fairytale Town offers more than 15 exciting and innovative educational camps for children ages 3 through 12. Each weeklong FunCamp is designed for a specific age group and features a unique theme. Camp themes range from the visual and theatre arts, literature and puppetry to animals, gardening and more. Children can explore new areas of interest or dive deeper into their favorite topic. New themes explore the theatre and culinary arts and creative writing techniques.

FunCamps are $130 per camp, and registration opens April 1. Visit to register. Fairytale Town members receive advance registration and camp discounts.

For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462.

Children Ages 3 - 4

Got Tots?

Monday - Friday, June 11 - 15

10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
In this joint parent and toddler FunCamp, parents lead their toddlers through specific routines and play interactive games designed to help children transition into class and group settings. Instructor: Kelsee McHann.

Children Ages 4 - 6

Farmer Brown's Junior Farmers

Monday - Friday, Jun. 18 - 22 & Aug. 13 - 17
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Farmer Brown introduces campers to the daily regimens that keep Fairytale Town's friendly flock of farm animals fit and healthy. Campers will get to know these barnyard buddies while learning historical information and participating in related hands-on activities. Please note: Campers will have direct contact with Fairytale Town animals and animal feed. Some children may be allergic to the natural oils found in animal fur/hair and feed. Instructor: Jim Hernandez.

Earthworks Garden FunCamp

Monday - Friday, Jun. 25 - 29 & Jul. 23 - 27
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Fairytale Town offers plenty of green-thumb fun in this gardening camp. This FunCamp covers the basic essentials of home gardening with a focus on environmentally "green" practices. Campers will also receive an up-close perspective on Fairytale Town's own unique gardens and plants. Instructor: Trina Lee.

Little Artists

Monday - Friday, Jul. 9 - 13 & Aug. 6 - 10
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

This camp introduces the world of art and basic art concepts to budding artists. Campers participate in a wonderful week of art projects featuring wall-to-wall drawing, cutting, pasting and painting in a relaxed environment. Topics include primary and secondary colors, drawing, sand art and patterns. Instructor: Elizabeth Vang.

Puppet Palooza

Monday - Friday, Jul. 16 - 20
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Every story can be told with puppets! This FunCamp teaches students the original nursery rhymes and fairytales that inspired the play sets at Fairytale Town. Campers are then encouraged and inspired to retell the classic tales using puppets they create. Each day brings a new story! Campers will make a variety of puppets, including paper bag, sock and marionettes. Instructor: Kayla Willett.


Monday - Friday, Jul. 30 - Aug. 3
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Channel your inner rock star in this rockin' FunCamp! This camp features hands-on experience with several instruments, including guitar, bass, drums and keyboard. Campers will also explore rock 'n' roll history and participate in rock-related art activities. RockSchool is perfect for beginning musicians, but no previous experience is necessary. Please note: This FunCamp gets loud! Instructor: Sean Iwata.

Ages 6 - 12

Write Now!

Monday - Friday, Jun. 18 - 22
1 - 4 p.m.

Fairytale Town proudly presents a brand new creative writing FunCamp! Aspiring authors who wish to strengthen their storytelling skills will find a happy haven of literary enthusiasts packed with plenty of artful advice, energetic exercises and freestyle fun. The camp will cover fiction, non-fiction, prose and poetry. Instructor: April Peletta.

Zap! Boom! Pow! Comic Book Basics

Monday - Friday, Jun. 25 - 29
1 - 4 p.m.

The perfect FunCamp for budding artists who want to draw, draw and draw some more. A special emphasis is placed on dynamic anatomy, character development and sequential storytelling techniques referencing characters and profiles from the golden and silver ages of comics. Campers will have the option to create their own comic book or a freestanding art piece to display in a "comic book convention" setting. Instructor: John Lee.

Curtains Up!

Monday - Friday, Jul. 9 - 13
1 - 4 p.m.

Fairytale Town presents a new theatre arts FunCamp that emphasizes creative playmaking onstage, offstage and backstage. Curtains Up stresses the technical aspects of theatre, including scriptwriting, costume design and set and prop construction. Students will write, design, produce and perform their own short play in one fast-paced, fun-filled week. Instructor: Daphne Burgess.

Sing! Sing! Sing!

Monday - Friday, Jul. 16 - 20
1 - 4 p.m.

Young singers will learn to hit the high notes in this musical, magical FunCamp. This camp features plenty of one-on-one instruction as well as introducing group choral techniques. This camp is perfect for beginning crooners or seasoned song stylists who wish to hone their craft. Instructor: Kelsee McHann.

Kitchen Chemistry

Monday - Friday, Jul. 23 - 27
1 - 4 p.m.

Cooking is just the tip of the iceberg in this unique new FunCamp. Campers will learn nutritional basics and explore the science and history of food preparation through a series of fun hands-on experiments utilizing "Kitchen Chemistry." Please note: Campers will not be using a stove or cooking with an open flame. Instructor: Pat Peck.

Young Picassos

Monday - Friday, Jul. 30 - Aug. 3
1 - 4 p.m.

This FunCamp covers the exciting variety found in the world of art! Campers will try their hand at different art media, including watercolors, prints, clay and mixed media. Campers will also explore making 3-D works of art and creating with found objects. This camp is specifically designed for the young artist who wants to try it all. Instructor: Andy Graham.


Monday - Friday, Aug. 6 - 10
1 - 4 p.m.

A beginning theatre arts FunCamp that emphasizes important life skills--including self-expression, public speaking, teamwork and self confidence--through a variety of exercises and theatre games. Campers will be introduced to pantomime, diaphragmatic breathing and the works of William Shakespeare. A talent show featuring group-led activities and individual performances will cap off the week. Instructor: John Lee


Monday - Friday, Aug. 13 - 17
1 - 4 p.m.

Channel your inner rock star in this rockin' FunCamp! This camp features hands-on experience with several instruments, including guitar, bass, drums and keyboard. Campers will also explore rock 'n' roll history and participate in rock-related art activities. RockSchool is perfect for beginning musicians, but no previous experience is necessary. Please note: This FunCamp gets loud! Instructor: Sean Iwata.


The Biggest Mardi Gras Party Outside of the Big Easy Continues Saturday, March 10

WHAT: This Saturday night, guests are in for a big-time treat as Nickelodeon’s hottest music group Big Time Rush takes the stage at Universal Orlando Resort’s Mardi Gras celebration.

With millions of fans worldwide, Big Time Rush is one of today’s biggest names in music and entertainment. Their debut album “BTR” sold more than 500,000 copies and debuted at No.3 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. The group has sold more than 1.7 million digital tracks of their hit singles which include “Boyfriend,” “Big Night” and “Worldwide.” Their current album, “Elevate,” debuted in November 2011 and features the hit single “Music Sounds Better With U.”

Universal Orlando ’s Mardi Gras combines unparalleled theme park entertainment with an elaborate Mardi Gras parade, dozens of colorfully costumed performers, authentic New Orleans bands, delicious Cajun cuisine and live concerts by some of today’s most popular artists. This ultimate street party runs every Saturday and select nights through April 14.

This year’s Mardi Gras celebration features one of Universal Orlando’s most powerful and diverse musical line-ups ever. With a combined total of more than 350 million albums sold, guests are rocking out this spring to some of the biggest names in music during an authentic and family-friendly version of the famed New Orleans street party. For full headliner line-up, see below.


Mardi Gras Event Dates
Headliners (Performing in the Music Plaza )

Saturday, March 10
Big Time Rush

Friday, March 16
J. Cole

Saturday, March 17
Sugar Ray

Friday, March 23
Hot Chelle Rae

Saturday, March 24

Friday, March 30
Plain White T’s

Saturday, March 31
Prince Royce

Saturday, April 7
Cyndi Lauper

Saturday, April 14
KC & The Sunshine Band

Universal Orlando ’s Mardi Gras celebration is included in regular admission to Universal Studios Florida. For more information, visit

Major Manta Milestone at SeaWorld: Last Section of Coaster Track Installed!

LEGOLAND Florida Hosting Girls' Event - LEGO Friends Weekend - 3/24-25

Central Florida’s Newest Theme Park Hosting LEGO® Friends Weekend – March 24-25, 2012

Winter Haven, Fla. (March 5, 2012) – The newly introduced LEGO® Friends - Olivia, Andrea, Stephanie, Emma and Mia –are coming to LEOGLAND® Florida to host a weekend of fabulous fun geared to girls March 24-25, 2012.  A first-ever event, LEGO Friends Weekend is a daytime party that includes a LEGO Friends building event, live entertainment, games and activities. This event celebrates girls and their personal individuality, just like the LEGO Group’s newest line of construction toys.

Event details include:

·         Olivia’s Girls Just Wanna Build

o   Girls can get empowered and inspired to build masterful LEGO creations with an opportunity to meet Master Model Builder, Adora.   Once the building bug has taken hold, girls (and boys!) can build a portion of a Heartlake City LEGO model.

·         Andrea’s Heartlake Café

o   The Market Restaurant will be transformed into the iconic Heartlake Café. In front of the restaurant guests will be able to sing their heart out with a karaoke performance.

·         Stephanie’s Lakeside Party

o   Guests will be able to dance till dusk at the end-of-day LEGO Friends dance party.

·         Emma’s That’s So You Fashion Show

o   Saks Fifth Avenue is putting on the glitz to show ways to transform girls into their favorite LEGO Friend.

·         Mia’s Mad About Animals Scavenger Hunt

o   Kids will hunt through the historic Cypress Gardens using clues to find Mia’s favorite animals. Once completed, guests will turn in their list at the LEGO Friends Shop to receive a prize.

Participation in LEGO Friends Weekend is included in park admission. The best way to experience the entire LEGOLAND Florida special event series and cool off at the LEGOLAND Water Park attraction is with the LEGOLAND Premium Pass, $179 for adults, $149 children.

American Idol Winner Scotty McCreery at SeaWorld Orlando's Bands, Brew & BBQ

American Idol reigning champion Scotty McCreery recently performed at SeaWorld Orlando’s Bands, Brew & BBQ where he met an anteater who tried to convince him that eating ants with bbq sauce prior to the concert was a great energy booster. No word from McCreery if he took the anteater’s advice.

Busch Gardens' Cheetahs Run Tropicana Field for New "Saving A Species" Documentary

Animals from Busch Gardens’ Newest Habitat Filmed Running Across the St. Pete Stadium for New Conservation Program

Tampa, Fla. (March 5, 2012) – On Friday, March 9, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (SEA)will broadcast the most recent installment of its Saving a Species series, which features some of Busch Gardens Tampa’s most popular new residents – the cheetahs – and St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field.

With the stadium closed to outside visitors and the turf marked for the St. Petersburg Bowl football game, the cheetahs were encouraged to run the length of the field, chasing a lure system identical to the one in their Cheetah Run habitat. The cats’ efforts were captured by high-definition and slow-motion cameras.

“ Even though we have this awesome habitat at Busch Gardens, a 100-yard football field will give us the opportunity to showcase what that speed looks like on a field that people can relate to ,” said Tim Smith, a Busch Gardens assistant curator who works with the cheetahs daily.

Saving A Species: Cheetah
From its breathtaking speed to its beauty and vulnerability, the cheetah’s story will bring you face to face with their fragile existence. We’ll introduce you to people around the globe who are working on behalf of this imperiled predator and explain how you can help keep cheetahs from disappearing forever.

The 25-minute program is available to teachers and broadcasters free of charge. It will be broadcast without commercials from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. (first 15-minutes are color bars) on Friday, March 9. Satellite coordinates, copyright information and web-quality preview segments are available at In the coming months, the site will also be adding educational materials to complement the episode – including instructional videos, activity descriptions and teacher’s guides – for elementary and middle school teachers.

Shamu TV’s Saving a Species

Shamu TV’s Saving a Species series features amazing animal stories close to home and around the world.  With a focus on wildlife and wild places, this Emmy award-winning series enables viewers to trek alongside Busch Gardens and SeaWorld animal experts to visit exotic, remote locations and experience some of our planet’s most extraordinary species.  Viewers will also witness how people – scientists, zoological experts, community members, educators and children – are working together to protect these species and the places they call home.

Airing via satellite, Shamu TV is broadcast by local educational cable channels, ITV and PBS stations throughout the United States.  Shamu TV has received a Daytime Emmy Award for best Children/Family/Youth special and eight regional Emmy awards for Outstanding Achievement/Children’s Programming, as well as four Telly awards in the Educational Programming category.

Expansion At Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark Means More Summer Jobs

Schlitterbahn is now accepting online applications to hire more than 600 seasonal staff members to fill summer jobs.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Schlitterbahn Waterpark is currently accepting online seasonal employment applications for the 2012 season. With a huge expansion that includes Kansas City’s only surf ride, a mammoth rapids river, two head-first mat slides, a totally enclosed dark tube slide, a fast-flow tube chute and ride-up Aqua Veyer, the park will hire more staff members than ever before.

More than 600 seasonal employees are needed to fill open positions which include food and beverage personnel, lifeguards, cashiers, retail assistants, maintenance workers, landscaping crew and more. Potential staff members should be at least 16 years of age and able to work throughout the summer months, including weekends and evenings.

“We are excited about assembling our largest summer team to date as we prepare to introduce a long list of great new attractions and other guest amenities for the 2012 season,” said Keith Fontenot, general manager for Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark. “We strive to offer our staff members the best work experience and a competitive compensation plan, including an end of the season bonus program.”

Those interested in job opportunities are encouraged to apply online in the Jobs section at starting Monday, March 5. Online applications may also be submitted in person Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Staff Services office at 1709 North 98th Street, Kansas City, Kansas 66111. Once an application is submitted, it is reviewed by Schlitterbahn staff and applicants are contacted to schedule interviews.

Schlitterbahn Waterparks is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. Please email for more information or questions regarding employment.

Orlando Magic Community Ambassador Charles "Bo" Outlaw Reads to Local School Children at Universal Orlando Resort to Celebrate National Read Across America Day

Orlando Magic’s community ambassador Charles “Bo” Outlaw was swept away into a whimsical world Friday at Universal Orlando Resort as he read Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” to local schoolchildren in celebration of the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day. Universal Orlando hosted four classes from local elementary schools at Seuss Landing in Universal’s Islands of Adventure for a day of storytelling and celebration in true Seussian style to mark NEA’s 17th annual reading party and Dr. Seuss’ birthday. The students each took home their very own book from the Dr. Seuss collection to promote reading inside and outside of the classroom.   The day also marked the release of the highly-anticipated movie “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” in theaters Friday.

Butterfly Jungle at San Diego Zoo Safari Park: Be Charmed by Fragile Winged Wonders

What: Once a year, guests at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are enchanted and spellbound as thousands of butterflies flitter around them in a walk-through aviary. Some may even land on guests' shoulders and heads!

     When: March 24 to April 15, 2012.

     Who: The 30 species of butterflies highlighted this year hail from Africa, Asia and Central and South America and include the zebra longwing, orange-barred tiger and Grecian shoemaker. Old favorites such as the monarch, giant swallowtail and blue morpho also will be charming guests.Not far from Butterfly Jungle, guests can check out more winged creatures at the Safari Park's new bat exhibit: a cloud of 13 Rodrigues fruit bats.

     Extras: Special activities are scheduled throughout the Park during Butterfly Jungle. There will be butterfly-themed foods, such as cupcakes, and a pre-show at the daily Cheetah Run!

     Cost: Butterfly Jungle is included with admission to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

April & May 2012 Programs at Fairytale Town

Spring Eggstravaganza

Saturday, Apr. 7 - Sunday, Apr. 8

11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

This popular, fun-filled family weekend features egg hunts, prizes, spring-themed hands-on activities and pictures with Peter Cottontail (additional cost). Daily egg hunts will be held promptly at 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Hunt areas are separated by age groups as follows: 0 - 3 years, 4 - 6 years, and 7 - 12 years. Puppet Art Theater will be performing "Bunny Boot Camp" in the Children's Theater. Puppet Art Theater tickets are available at an additional cost, and show times are at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. This program is free with paid park admission. Weekend admission is $5 for adults and children ages 2 and older and free for children ages 1 and under. For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462.

The Fairytale Town Troupers present: "Alice in Boogie Wonderland"

Saturdays & Sundays Apr. 21, 22, 28 & 29

Showtimes at 12:30 & 1:30 p.m.

The Fairytale Town Troupers begin their fifth season with "Alice in Boogie Wonderland," a retro-campy send up of the classic Lewis Carroll tale filled with energy, music and plenty of dancing. Little Alice stumbles into Boogie Wonderland in pursuit of a White (suited) Rabbit and finds a mystical dimension populated by the oddest assortment of characters imaginable, including the Disco Queen of Hearts. Performances will be held in the Children's Theater. Tickets are $1 for nonmembers in addition to park admission, and members receive two-for-one admission. Tickets can be purchased at the Fairytale Town main gate or at the entrance to the Children's Theater. For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462.

Annual Puppet Festival

Thursdays - Sundays, May 3 - June 30

Weekdays at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.

Weekends at 12:30, 1:30 & 2:30 p.m.

Puppet Art Theater is back for another season filled with music, puppetry and fun! Four original shows will be performed in the Children's Theater. All shows are performed by Puppet Art Theater Company. This year's line up is as follows: "Little Red Riding Hood" from May 3 - 13;  "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" from May 17 - 27; "Hansel & Gretel" from May 31 - June 10; and the premiere of "Cinderella" from June 14 - 30. Tickets are $2 for nonmembers in addition to park admission, and $1 for members. Tickets can be purchased at the Fairytale Town main gate or at the entrance to the Children's Theater 15 minutes prior to show time. For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462.

Farms, Friends & Fairytales

Saturday, May 19

11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Celebrate agriculture at the fifth annual Farms, Friends & Fairytales! Enjoy agriculture-themed hands-on activities, a mini-farmer's market and visit with local area farms and organizations to learn more about California's rich agricultural history. Arrive early to watch the twin Babydoll sheep, Lucy and Ethel, get sheared, then watch as the wool is spun into thread using an old fashioned spinning wheel! This program is free with paid park admission. Weekend admission is $5 for adults and children ages 2 and older and free for children ages 1 and under. For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462. This event is made possible with support from Whole Foods.

Universal Orlando Resort Announces the Reopening Date for The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

WHAT: Today, Universal Orlando Resort revealed what people around the world have been waiting to learn: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man will reopen on Thursday, March 8 – featuring all-new stunning 4K digital high-definition animation, a rockin’ new musical score and all-new 3-D “Spider-Vision” glasses.

The enhancements will transform what is already one of the most popular theme park attractions ever created into what will feel like an all-new adventure.  The newly reanimated, high-definition experience will unfold within the attraction’s towering visual spaces. The enhancements will allow guests to experience details they’ve never been able to before – from the flames spewing from Hobgoblin’s pumpkins to the electricity arching through Electro’s body to the stitching on Spider-Man’s gloves.

Here are highlights from the must-see 3-D experience:

1.      Legendary comic book icon and Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance in the new film animation.

2.      The action is more life-like than ever.  Guests will actually see the movement of the characters’ muscles and the changes in their facial expressions. 

3.      The enhanced attraction features a new original music score.  It is the same Spider-Man theme you love – with a rockin’ twist. 

4.      The ride vehicle audio system has been upgraded from 8-channel to 16-channel so riders will be even more immersed in the action. Guests will experience 3-D sound quality.

5.      There are hundreds of cool new details for guests to discover in the attraction.  Lighting, sets, graphics, props and even scenic detail have been updated to further enhance the animation’s tremendous improvements.

And, for the first time ever, Universal Orlando is giving fans the opportunity to unlock sneak peeks of the new hi-def ride animation before the attraction reopens next week.  Click HERE to see a new piece of the reanimation and to learn how you and your readers can unlock even more.

WHEN: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man reopens on Thursday, March 8, 2012

WHERE: Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Start a New Family Tradition With Christmas Town, Coming to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Tampa, Fla. (March 1, 2012) – Busch Gardens Tampa is getting ready to launch the biggest Christmas celebration ever! Christmas Town will transform the park into a nighttime holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas, filling guests’ senses with seasonal sights, sounds and flavors, and creating a beautiful new tradition for Tampa’s families.

For the first time in the park’s 53-year history, visitors to Christmas Town will experience all-new evening attractions, shows and shopping every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, Nov. 30 through Dec. 23. Guests can look forward to special entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and thousands and thousands of twinkling Christmas lights around every turn.

“When Christmas Town opens in November, it will be the beginning of a unique holiday tradition for Tampa Bay area,” says Jim Dean, Busch Gardens Tampa’s park president. “We are creating a season-long celebration for family and friends unlike any other event our guests have ever seen – the kind of Christmas fun only Busch Gardens can provide.”

Similar to the park’s popular Halloween event, Christmas Town will be a separate-ticketed night event, and regular daytime Busch Gardens admission is not required or included. Discounts will be available for annual pass members, and families with children ages 3 to 9 will enjoy special ticket prices for their youngest members.

The new event will also offer some magnificent new opportunities for groups looking to book a unique holiday party.  For additional information please call Busch Gardens’ Group Sales team at 813-987-5523.

For park news, updates, photos, “Like” Busch Gardens Tampa Bay on Facebook.

SeaWorld Orlando Welcomes Back “Jungle” Jack Hanna for a Wild Weekend of Furried and Feathered Fun

Orlando, FL (Feb. 29, 2011) – Celebrity wildlife expert Jack Hanna returns to SeaWorld Orlando on March 24 and 25 for Jack Hanna Weekend, accompanied by some of the world’s most amazing animal ambassadors.

Included with park admission, this special limited-time series takes place at SeaWorld’s Nautilus Theater on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25. Shows will be at 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m., and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Recognized around the world for his boundless enthusiasm for animals and conservation, “Jungle Jack” helps us share in his wondrous connection to wildlife and the world we share. Hanna’s past “co-stars” have included clouded leopards, chatty kookaburras, and all kinds of majestic eagles.

Exclusive Pass Member Breakfast*
Exclusively for Pass Members, a Jack Hanna Breakfast gives families an up-close opportunity to spend some quality time with Jack and some of his ‘wild’ friends while also receiving reserved seats to the 1:15 p.m. show. Existing Pass Members can book their breakfast online or by calling 1(888) 800-5447, and for those interested in becoming Pass Members or would like to learn more, visit

LEGOLAND® California Offers Sneak Peek of New Model For LEGO® STAR WARS™ MINILAND Expansion Opening March 29th

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Feb.28, 2012) – A giant Opee sea killer has arrived at LEGOLAND® California! The 63” by 34” model created out of 20,000 LEGO® bricks is just one of many new models and scenes being added to LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland launching March 29 at LEGOLAND® California Resort.

Master Model Builder, Gary McIntire, un-wrapped the never-before-seen Opee sea killer and began assembling the menacing fish that is featured in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, chasing Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn and Jar Jar Binks as they navigate through the waters of Naboo in their tri-bubble bongo submarine. 

In LEGO Star Wars Miniland, Guests can enjoy news scenes from the six live-action Star Wars™ movies, as well as one from the animated series Star Wars: THE CLONE WARS™ all made out of more than 1.5 million LEGO bricks and built in 1:20 scale. 

On March 29, for the first time, guests will be further immersed into the Star Wars experience as they walk through LEGO® Star Wars Gallery encountering large-scale LEGO minifigures from each episode. Each LEGO model will be 3-feet-tall and displayed on a podium for guests to get an up-close look. The 12 characters feature: Wicket, Princess Leia, R2-D2, Clone Captain Rex, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker, Boba Fett, Chewbacca, Yoda and Darth Maul.

Universal Orlando's Creative Team Previews Stunning Enhancements to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Members of the Universal Creative team at Universal Orlando Resort preview some of the new enhancements being made to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man including all-new 4K digital high definition animation, sophisticated 3-D projection systems, a new music score and all-new 3-D “Spider-Vision” glasses. The glasses, seen here, feature new lenses made of dichroic filters for amazing color and clarity, and allow guests to experience hundreds of new details within the towering visual spaces. The award winning attraction’s official reopening date will be announced soon.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Busch Gardens Launches Pinterest Account

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is releasing a new way for fans to connect with the park via its new Pinterest account. Pinterest, known as the world’s fastest growing web site ever, is a photo and video sharing social website and virtual pinboard where users “pin” or bookmark images and videos of interest to them onto categorized boards they’ve created.

Follow the park’s Pinterest page for boards dedicated to adorable baby animal photos, park and special event news, and suggestions for giving gifts of adventure. Fans and followers are also encouraged to “pin” photos and videos of their own adventures in the park onto their boards (using #BuschGardensTampa in the description), and Busch Gardens will “repin” them onto its “From Our Guests’ View” board.


TAMPA, Fla. – Adventure Island kicks off another season of fun in the sun on Saturday, March 10. It’s time again to splash in the wave pool, amble down the Rambling Bayou, race down speed slides including Everglides and Riptide or just kick back on the beach amidst a tropical Key West setting,

Best reason to come again and again this year?  The valuable Adventure Island Weekday Pass allows you to play weekdays all season long at a valuable price. And extended hours return all summer long.

        The best value to visit all season long is the Adventure Island Weekday Pass.

    * Play Weekdays All Season long. Enjoy unlimited weekday access to Adventure Island during the 2012 season with no blackout dates.
    * Valid Mondays through Fridays, March 12 through Sept. 3, 2012
    * Purchase at, 1-888-800-5447 or at Adventure Island or Busch Gardens front gates.
    * The Adventure Island Weekday Pass is $49.99 for adults and $45.99 for children.

For the best deal on a single-day ticket, buy online at and save $5.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 11 through Aug. 12, ALL SUMMER LONG -- not just during Island Nights. That’s more time to enjoy the thrills, water attractions and family fun offered at Adventure Island.

And Island Nights returns as well, offering the perfect excuse to stay late this summer. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 5 to 9 p.m., June 14 to Aug. 11, it’s a vacation from the everyday with music, inspiring cuisine and family-friendly beach activities in addition to all the thrilling slides, tube rides and water-drenched fun of Adventure Island.

CABANAS: To make the most of your Adventure Island visit, rent a cabana for a shaded, exclusive spot for your family and friends to gather throughout the day. Each cabana includes four chaise lounges, a locker, a mini-fridge with assorted drinks and four souvenir towels. Daily rental prices range from $99.99 to $189.99, based on the time of year.

From the moment guests enter Adventure Island, they are immersed in a Key West-themed paradise. The 30-acre water park features thrilling slides and tube rides including Riptide, Wahoo Run, Key West Rapids, Runaway Rapids, Everglides, Calypso Coaster, Aruba Tuba, Caribbean Corkscrew, Water Moccasin and Gulf Scream. Guests can also kick back on the beach or in the 17,000-square-foot wave pool, play on professional sand volleyball courts, breeze through the tropical gift shop or let the current sweep them through a half-mile of lush landscapes and tropical waterfalls on the Rambling Bayou.

Visit for daily operating hours. Single-day admission tickets for Adventure Island are $44.99 for adults and $40.99 for children. Children ages 2 and younger are free, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. All prices are per person, plus tax. Park hours are subject to change. Visit for more information.

Unique Morgan’s Wonderland Theme Park To Begin 2012 Season March 2

SAN ANTONIO – Morgan’s Wonderland, a unique, safe and affordable family theme park offering a variety of attractions including rides and playgrounds for everyone’s enjoyment, will kick off its third season at 10 a.m. Friday, March 2.

 “Non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland is the very first park of its kind because it was designed with special-needs individuals in mind but built for everyone to enjoy,” said philanthropist Gordon Hartman, CEO of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation.  “It’s been gratifying indeed to welcome more than 200,000 guests from all 50 states and more than 30 other countries in just two years of operation.  We’re eager to build on this success and attain even greater milestones during the 2012 season.”

For the first time, the 25-acre park is offering discounts for both active-duty and retired military personnel, season passes and discounted multi-ticket packages.  Admission for those with special needs is always free of charge, while admission fees for accompanying family members, friends, caregivers and the general public are nominal.  The latest information on admissions, operating days and hours of operation can be found at

Also new for 2012 is the Extended Learning Outreach program in which teachers can apply for field trip grants so their elementary-school students can spend a day of learning in the park in areas such as math, science and language arts.

Furthermore, Morgan’s Wonderland will be the scene of Senior Fridays, special activities for senior adults featuring fishing, ballroom dancing, card and board games, exercise classes and other popular pastimes.  And, on specified days, the Mom’s Coffee and Conversation Group will meet for free coffee and conversation while their kids enjoy supervised play and activities.  Both the Senior Fridays and Mom’s Coffee and Conversation Group will begin this spring.  The Morgan’s Wonderland website will have updated information.

In December, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is scheduled to air a two-hour, ABC-TV special that documents the recent construction of a home for a wounded warrior coordinated by Morgan’s Wonderland.  It was the first time in the popular TV show’s nine seasons that a non-profit was tapped to serve as general contractor.

“Morgan’s Wonderland is a special place where anyone can have fun,” Hartman said, “but it was created with special-needs individuals in mind.  We’ve taken an abandoned rock quarry and transformed it into an outdoor recreation oasis.  Unfortunately, countless children and adults with special needs do not have access to facilities that can help them fully enjoy outdoor recreation.  We truly hope Morgan’s Wonderland will begin to change that.”

To provide Morgan’s Wonderland with a steady revenue stream for expansion of programs and services, Hartman has secured a North American Soccer League team – the San Antonio Scorpions FC – that will begin play in April.  All Scorpions net profits will be earmarked for Morgan’s Wonderland.  This is the first time a professional sports team has been organized to benefit the special-needs community, he noted.  More information is available at

The inspiration for Morgan’s Wonderland came from Hartman’s 18-year-old daughter Morgan.  Her soaring spirit despite personal challenges sparked within Hartman a deep desire to create a haven not only for those with special needs but also for their families, caregivers and invited friends.  “Inclusion is the overarching objective for Morgan’s Wonderland,” he explained.  “Our vision is to play an instrumental role in helping establish more ultra-accessible family fun parks throughout the nation and the world.  Already we’ve received expressions of interests from more than 20 cities globally.”
Morgan’s Wonderland opened March 3, 2010, and celebrated its grand opening April 10, 2010, with NBA legend David Robinson and actress Eva Longoria as special guests.  It features more than 25 elements and attractions including rides, playgrounds, gardens, an eight-acre fishing lake, 18,000-square-foot special-event center, 575-seat amphitheater, picnic area and rest areas throughout the park.

Signature elements include rides that can accommodate wheelchair-bound guests; the Sensory Village™, a cluster of themed spaces such as an auto fix-it shop, grocery store and TV station that offer sensory stimulation through colors, lights, sounds and textures; and the Sand Circle™ play area, where even kids and adults in wheelchairs can scoop up sand and be part of the fun.  In contrast, the nearby Garden Sanctuary offers a quiet retreat in the heart of the park, and its semicircular Memorial Wall is engraved with names of loved ones with special needs who have passed away.

Other park features include Braille signage, a 3-D park model, 18 restrooms to accommodate special-needs individuals, a first-aid station, snack bars, vending machines and seven acres of free parking.  The Picnic Place is available for those who wish to bring their own food to the park, and the special-event center as well as pavilions can be reserved for birthday parties, family gatherings, fundraisers and other special events.

     “As our guests arrive, they’re assigned special RFID (radio frequency identification) wristbands,” Hartman said.  “Location station monitors are situated throughout the park.  By simply scanning his or her wristband, a member of a group can quickly locate others in the group if they become separated.  The wristbands not only provide comfort and security against a child getting lost, but they also help guard against the possibility of a child leaving with a stranger or leaving the park alone.”
In 2007, The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation was instrumental in the creation of SOAR (Sports Outdoor And Recreation), a non-profit organization to raise funds for building Morgan’s Wonderland.  Construction on the $34 million park began in spring 2009.

Morgan’s Wonderland is part of a larger 106-acre sports venue to encourage inclusive recreation whereby individuals of all abilities can play side-by-side.  The next-door STAR (South Texas Area Regional) Soccer Complex offers 13 lighted soccer fields for tournaments, instructional clinics and special events.  Just as is the case with the San Antonio Scorpions pro soccer team, proceeds from STAR Soccer go to support the operation and maintenance of Morgan’s Wonderland.  Another park spinoff is Monarch Academy, a school for students with special needs that opened next to Morgan’s Wonderland in August 2011. 

Morgan’s Wonderland is located in Northeast San Antonio just off IH 35 at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive.  For more information, visit         

Bret Michaels Meets Busch Gardens' Own "Hair Rocker," Harry the Sloth, at Bands, Brew & BBQ


TAMPA, Fla. (February 20, 2012) – Just minutes before taking the stage at Busch Gardens’ Bands, Brew & BBQ festival on Sunday, Feb. 19, former Poison frontman and reality TV star Bret Michaels met the most popular – and hairiest – of Busch Gardens’ Animal Ambassadors team, Harry the sloth.

Thanks to its thick, shaggy hair, the sloth has an unusual, symbiotic relationship with algae, which grows on its coat and aids in camouflaging the sloth as it hangs from tree branches.

The Busch Gardens’ zoo educators also brought a young southern ground hornbill named Tufts to meet Michaels and his band backstage.

Michaels’ 2010 album, Custom Built, rose to the top of Billboard’s Hard Rock list at #1 and his current “Get Your Rock On” tour is selling out venues across the country. He also took the reality television world by storm in the past few years on VH1’s “Rock of Love,” the 2010
docu-series “Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It” and as the winning contestant on the third season of Donald Trump’s NBC hit, “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay combines world-class thrill rides, live entertainment and one of North America’s largest zoos in an unforgettable adventure for the whole family. This year, the park’s smokin’ hot Bands, Brew & BBQ festival fills every weekend, February 11 – March 4, with unlimited sampling of more than 80 specialty and craft beers, saucy barbeque from some of the bay area’s most popular restaurants and live concerts with the biggest names in classic rock, including 38 Special on Feb. 26 and REO Speedwagon on March 4.

Visit for details.

Orangutan Celebrates Half-Century Birthday As Part of Absolutely Apes Event

Animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo offered the orangutans at the Zoo specially made cupcakes and gifts as part of a birthday celebration for the Zoo's oldest orangutan.  Janey, a Bornean orangutan, turns 50 years old this year, an advanced age for this species.  She arrived at the Zoo in 1984 and has become one of its best-known personalities.

     To celebrate her half-centennial mark, animal care staff have created four days of special treats for the orangutans from February 17 - 20 at 9:30 a.m.  The treats include cupcakes made of folivore biscuits and gelatin frosted with banana baby food.  Decorated gift boxes and bags with sunflower and peanut treats inside will also be given to them to add to the fun.

     Famous for their problem-solving abilities, orangutans are great apes native to Asian rain forests.  They are a critically endangered species, as more than 80% of their native forests have been destroyed.

Register Now For 'Wooden Warrior' Day At Quassy Amusement Park


Thanks to all of our great fans, Quassy Amusement Park is pleased to announce 'Wooden Warrior' day for May 5, 2012. For one price, pre-paid registrants will receive all of the following:.

  * Exclusive ride time (10:30 a.m. to noon) on the 'Wooden Warrior.'
  * Exclusive ride time (6 to 7 p.m.) on the 'Wooden Warrior'
  * Great buffet lunch (in private area only for paid registrants) including barbecued chicken, pene al la vodka, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, beverages and more! (served noon to 2 p.m.)
  * Special guest speaker from The Gravity Group, designers of the 'Wooden Warrior.' (During lunch buffet)
  * Free 'Wooden Warrior' Day T-shirt for pre-paid registrants.
  * All-day ride pass - so you can enjoy the other rides at Quassy noon to 6 p.m.

  Day of the event, pre-registered attendees will be greeted at 10 a.m.  at the entrance to the 'Wooden Warrior.'  Wristbands, T-shirts and the day's schedule will be distributed at that time.

If you have any questions about 'Wooden Warrior' Day, please give us a call. Yes, you can pre-pay for your guests!


Enhanced Show Features New Stage, New Technology, New Music and New Experiences

ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2012) – Universal Orlando’s Blue Man Group show is taking its unique and captivating brand of live entertainment to another level – complete with a new show environment, new music, new technology and new experiences. 

Opening to the public on Friday, February 24, the show will take guests on an incredible journey where they’ll join the Blue Men as they discover, engage and explore the world’s obsession with cutting-edge technology.  New sections include Blue Men interacting with “GiPads” (think Gigantic iPads), a funny and perceptive look at contemporary modes of communication; and a pulsating new finale featuring an original Blue Man Group music score that will have guests jumping to their feet.

“The heart of our show is, and always has been, the Blue Man, and his inquisitive, wide-eyed take on the world,” said Chris Wink, who co-founded Blue Man Group with Phil Stanton and Matt Goldman. “Our team of artists at Blue Man Productions has created fun, even astounding new visual aspects of the show, and our music team has given us a great new sound. We are really excited to incorporate these elements into the show at Universal Orlando Resort “

“This show will take one of Universal Orlando’s most popular experiences to a whole new level,” said Alice Norsworthy, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Universal Orlando Resort.  “It’s the perfect complement to the incredible entertainment we offer at our destination.”

Several of the signature moments that have made Blue Man Group one of today’s best-loved theatrical productions will remain in the show, although in most cases, they have also been updated.  And as always, the production will fuse innovative theatrical spectacle with improvisation and vaudeville-inspired comedy, art, science and irresistible music performed by the Blue Man Group live band.

“Many of our audience’s favorite pieces, including ‘Paint Drumming’ and ‘Gum Balls/Marshmallows’ will continue to be a part of the production – and yes, the first few rows will still need to wear ponchos,” added Phil Stanton, Blue Man Group co-founder. “But we have developed some brand new elements of the show that provide a larger-than-life, rousing, interactive experience that I hope will really speak to all cultures and give some of our most devoted fans a new reason to check us out again.”

For more information about Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando Resort – or to purchase tickets – visit

Universal Studios Hollywood’s ‘King Kong 360 3-D,’ Created by Peter Jackson, Honored with Prestigious Creative Arts Award for Outstanding Achievement by the International 3D Society

Universal City, CA – Universal Studios Hollywood’sSM acclaimed theme park attraction, “King Kong 360 3-D,” created by Oscar®-winning Director Peter Jackson, received the International 3D Society’s Lumiere Award at its 3rd Annual Creative Arts Awards ceremony in early February 2012. This prestigious award, the first-ever presented to a theme park ride, recognized “King Kong 360 3-D” for its creative and technological achievement, demonstrating significant impact and innovation in the world of 3-D.
    Previously, “King Kong 360 3-D” was awarded “Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project” by the esteemed Visual Effects Society, the entertainment industry's only organization dedicated to advancing the arts, sciences, and applications of visual effects .
Universal Studios Hollywood broke new ground in themed entertainment with the landmark introduction of “King Kong 360 3-D,” the world’s largest, most intense 3-D experience.  The attraction, based on Peter Jackson’s 2005 blockbuster, integrates spectacular three-dimensional visual media and the world’s largest 3-D projection installation ever produced with physical effects.
A signature ride on the world famous, behind-the-scenes Studio Tour featuring video host Jimmy Fallon, “King Kong 360 3-D,” transports guests to Skull Island and catapults them into the middle of a terrifying struggle between a giant T-Rex and “the eighth wonder of the world” – King Kong.  Guests find themselves launched into the film, projected on the world’s largest wrap around, 3-D compound curved screens.
    Universal Studios Hollywood will continue to set the bar for immersive theme park rides when “Transformers:  The Ride–3D” opens in May 2012, based on the iconic brand from Hasbro and electrifying film franchise, directed by Michael Bay, and celebrated for its multi-generational appeal, inventive storyline, spectacular action sequences and amazing special effects.
    The thrill ride will tell a new “TRANSFORMERS” story using original, photo-realistic 3D-HD media, sophisticated special effects masterminded by Industrial Light & Magic, and one of the most elaborate roaming flight simulator ride systems ever created.  Fusing high-tech elements with an epic new “TRANSFORMERS” tale, “Transformers:  The Ride–3D” will be Universal Studios Hollywood’s most ambitious ride ever created and will set a new standard in the world of theme park attractions, stretching the medium’s potential as an immersive and powerful storytelling vehicle.
    The International 3D Society is an organization of professionals devoted to the innovation of art and technologies of stereoscopic 3-D content.  The Society provides individuals with opportunities for artistic display, acknowledging accomplishment and encouraging creative development in the art of 3-D.
Universal Studios Hollywood SM, The Entertainment Capital of L.A.SM, includes a full-day, movie-based theme park and Studio Tour; the CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex, the Universal CityWalk Cinemas, the “5 Towers” state-of-the-art outdoor concert venue, and the Gibson Amphitheatre concert and special event arena.  World-class rides and attractions include the intense, award-winning ride, “King Kong 360 3-D” on the famed behind-the-scenes Studio Tour, “The Simpsons RideTM,” “Revenge of the MummySM —The Ride” indoor roller coaster and “Jurassic Park® —The Ride,” as well as the much-anticipated mega-attraction, “Transformers™:  The Ride—3D,” opening in May 2012.

CRABZILLA” Invades Miniland New York at LEGOLAND® California Resort

Creatures for SEA LIFE™ Carlsbad Aquarium’s new “Claws” Exhibit Arrive

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Feb. 15, 2012) – LEGOLAND® California could have been the set of a 1950s horror movie today as a gigantic Japanese spider crab hovered over buildings in Miniland New York. This alien-like creature was on its way to SEA LIFE™ Carlsbad Aquarium’s new “Claws” exhibit opening on March 1, 2012.

Miniland USA replicates nine different cities completely made out of LEGO® brick on a 1:20 scale. “Often times guest enjoying Miniland USA comment on how fun it would be to step inside the cities and pretend they are a creature from one of those horror movies,” muses Bob Burhans, Curator of SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium. “So our staff thought it would be fun to stop by New York on the way to the Aquarium before bringing this amazing creature to his new home. Who says Aquarists don’t have a sense of humor?”

Along with Japanese spider crabs and two coconut crabs, the five new displays in the interactive exhibit feature fiddler crabs, lobsters and nephrops. Claws also includes a touch display allowing guests to feel the shell textures of different crabs; a mechanical claw that guests can control and use to pick up objects; plus a new daily educational presentation.

More than a standard Aquarium, SEA LIFE provides an educational and interactive dynamic unlike any other. The SEA LIFE experience incorporates LEGO models into a child’s voyage to the depths of the ocean, presenting the wonders of the underwater world to them in a way specially designed for their understanding. Featuring play zones, fun facts and quiz trails, SEA LIFE is designed to be a child’s guide to the life of the sea.

SEA LIFE Carlsbad Aquarium admission is $20 for adults and $15 for kids 3 to 12. For more information on SEA LIFE, visit


Master Model Builders Create Personalized LEGO® Mosaic for Birthday Guest!

CARLSBAD, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2012) – Edward “Ed” Burney Baker showed his inner child today as he celebrated his 102nd birthday at LEGOLAND® California. Baker, originally from Pine Lake Plateau, Wash., turns 102 on Feb. 17, but celebrated one week early at the family theme park in Carlsbad with his surrogate family, the Austin’s.

Baker, a huge LEGO® fan, has been visiting LEGOLAND California every year on his birthday for ten years. After his traditional visit to the LEGO Factory tour, LEGOLAND Master Model Builder Gary McIntire presented Baker with a custom LEGO mosaic he built created out of more than 2,000 LEGO bricks.  Baker was also treated to a sneak peek of a few new LEGO® Star Wars™ models that are being created for LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland.

“It’s an honor to have Ed Baker visit us today for his 102nd birthday,” said General Manager of LEGOLAND California Peter Ronchetti. “LEGOLAND California brings out the child in everyone and Ed is true example of that!”

Baker was born in Seattle in 1910, discovered the joy of LEGO in the 1980s through his life-long love of building and has been an avid LEGO builder ever since. For many years, Baker volunteered in the Issaquah School District, bringing LEGO bricks in to work for first grade students. Baker currently attends Elder and Adult Day Services (EADS), a day care for adults in Bellvue, Wash. where he spends his free time building with LEGO.

Baker is already making plans to visit LEGOLAND again in 2013 to celebrate his 103rd birthday.