Virgin Atlantic’s Refurbished Fleet.

November 18, 2013 at 8:42 PM

This is the first chance I have had to write about my last trip to Orlando on VA's remodelled fleet. We flew both out and back on a refurbished 747. I must say, the updates have breathed some new life into the aircraft as far as comfort is concerned. The seats are more comfortable, the lighting is better and the star of it all is the new In Flight Entertainment (IFE). It is an on demand system you can choose from a huge selection of films, TV and music. There are maps and flight data, games such as hold ‘em poker where you play against other passengers.

When choosing to watch a film or TV program you can control it with pause, rewind fast forward. It is so much better than the previous system. Headphones are provided free of charge but I do know many people choose to use their own because the quality of the free ones is not too good. As long as you have a standard single pin jack plug. Another reason some people use their own is to be able to use noise cancelling features.

The outward flight itself was good and I have to say the meal was surprisingly tasty. The only downside to the flight was when we arrived in Orlando airspace, MCO was closed due to severe thunderstorms over the airport, which I suppose is to be expected at that time of year, end of August. So we went south of Orlando and circled around for roughly an hour until we were cleared in to land.

Posted in: Florida | Orlando Articles | Travel Articles | Travel to Florida

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The Simpsons Dining Area in Universal

November 18, 2013 at 5:58 PM

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After 3 years since my last visit to Universal Studios Orlando, there was a big change to the old International Film Festival food court, Fast Food Boulevard is the first piece of Universal's new Springfield land to open to park guests. It is situated alongside the Simpsons Ride Krustyland.

There are all the eating and drinking establishments that you would find in an episode of the The Simpsons such as, Krusty Burger, Moe’s Tavern (Selling Real alcohol), Cletus’ Chicken Shack, The Frying Dutchman, and Luigi’s.

My only real observation was with it being a food court sort of system it was difficult to find a table because many people were finding a table whilst one or two members of their party went up to order food. They did try to fix the problem by having some staff reserve tables once they became empty and they would allocate one to you when you gotP1000837 your trays of food. It was still a bit hectic though and really needs to get better during the busy times.

There is also Lard Lad doughnuts and a Duff Beer Garden. For those that would just like a beer.

Plenty of chances for photo opportunities with the Simpsons themselves turning up now and then and many backdrops from the TV series.

There is also Chief Wiggum and Duff Man to have your photo taken with.

Posted in: Florida | Orlando Articles | Theme Parks

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Universal Studios’ Summer Concerts

May 6, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Universal studios have announced the summer concert line up for 2013. Every Saturday night from June 1st to July 6th a chart topping, headline act will be taking to the stage. The full line up is as follows:

June 1 – NE-YO
June 8 – Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush
June 15 – Gavin DeGraw
June 22 – Earth, Wind and Fire
June 29 – Adam Lambert
July 6 – Kip Moore

Access to the Summer Concert Series performances is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida. For guests wanting to visit just for the concerts, Universal Orlando will offer a special ticket providing one-time access to Universal Studios Florida after 7 p.m. The “Summer Concert Ticket” is priced at $69.99 plus tax and will go on sale beginning May 16 only at www.universalorlando.com.

Posted in: Orlando Attractions | Theme Parks

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Animal Kingdom’s Wild Africa Trek

April 16, 2013 at 1:57 PM

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom has an exciting new tour. The Wild Africa Trek allows guests to experience viewing the animals on foot in a more personal way.

The first thing you have to do is sign a waiver saying you agree not to hold Disney responsible if you hurt yourself on this trek. Next, it’s time to get fitted with your vest and gear and head out on the three-hour tour. You are allowed to keep one part of your gear, the water bottle. Also bear in mind that, due to the animal’s safety,  you won’t be able to take anything with you that can’t be secured to your body or vest. Cameras would be allowed if you have a strap and lockers are provided for everything else, including loose items in your pockets. One other thing to remember is that there is only one place during the 3 hour trek where you could take a “bathroom break”, so make sure you “go before you go”.

After this you head to the test rope bridge to make sure you’re ok with crossing, because there are more bridges ahead in the tour. These bridges are made to look unsafe with planks you step on, spaced unevenly. So you need to be sure that you have the nerve to deal with the height and construction of these bridges. This test bridge is the smallest and lowest to the ground that you’ll be crossing.

As you would expect the trek is conducted by a couple of guides and you will be issued with an ear piece so that you can hear whatever they say, no matter how far back you are or how quietly they are talking to you.

Once you leave some of the regular guest areas you begin to feel like a cast member as you go behind the scenes and see some areas where you are looking into the viewing areas that you have seen many times but from the other side.

The vest includes a clip for a bungee so that you can attach yourself and be able to take closer looks over cliff edges down onto the animals below.

Once you complete the “on foot” part, you hand in your vest and board a special safari vehicle, it will follow some of the same roads as the Kilimanjaro Safari but you’ll leave the main road and stop so you can get a better, longer look at the animals.

You make a 30 minute stop at a building that overlooks the Savannah, this is where you get to sample some of the authentic African foods and to use the restrooms.

Florida driving regulation is now repealed

April 3, 2013 at 1:26 PM

It is now official that the driving law brought in earlier this year has been reversed and is now not a legal requirement to have an IDP.

Great news!

Posted in: Florida | Orlando News

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International Driving Permit update

March 27, 2013 at 3:36 PM

The state of Florida has said that Florida Highway Patrol will not enforce the law that it introduced in January, requiring foreign visitors to the state be in possession of an International Driving Permit if they wish to drive there. Also car hire companies said that they will not require sight of one to hire a car. This all followed a mass uproar from Canadian and UK visitors that have driving licences in English, making an IDP pointless.

It is going through now to repeal the law and remove it from the Florida Statute but despite the reassurances from the state, it is still the law at the moment and the concern is that some insurance companies may use this a wriggle out clause saying that you were driving illegally. So it may still be advisable to obtain one until the point where it is no longer a Florida law.

Hopefully it should be gone by the Summer.


Posted in: Florida | Orlando News | Travel to Florida

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New Iron Man 3 Monorail Arriving Soon

March 24, 2013 at 7:19 PM

iron-manorailNot since the “Tronorail” back in 2010 has a monorail been themed with a movie livery. Now there is the “Ironmanorail” which will begin full service soon at Walt Disney World. (Photo Left taken by @wdwmickeyhunter)

It is to promote the new Iron Man 3 movie out in May this year.  It will run between the Magic Kingdom and the Transportation and Ticketing Center. The front is painted gold and Iron Man is flying down the sides in promotion of the new movie.

Although Walt Disney own the rights to Marvel Comic, Universal has got the rights to certain characters in East Coast theme parks.

I wonder if anything else featuring Marvel Comic Book heroes will materialise in Walt Disney World in the future. I would like to see a major new attraction or an area of Walt Disney World dedicated to these super heroes.

Here is a video of the monorail in action.

Posted in: Theme Parks | Walt Disney World | What's New

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New: Disney Springs

March 15, 2013 at 4:09 PM
It has just been announced that Downtown Disney is going to be renamed Disney Springs with the addition of new venues to what used to be Pleasure Island.

It has just been announced that Downtown Disney is going to be renamed Disney Springs with the addition of new venues to what used to be Pleasure Island. Downtown Disney has been in place now for more than 30 years with the marketplace, westside and pleasure island. Some plans were made regarding Pleasure Island and they were scrapped with boarding being left up and no signs of work being done. Disney now claim that this new addition will be like no other place. Their goal is “to create a welcoming, comfortable space where families can enjoy time together and instantaneously feel right at home. We want to give them opportunities to relax, to be entertained, to wander in and out of unique and distinctive shops or enjoy a world-class dining experience.”

Disney Springs is said to mimic the turn of the century lakeside towns that were found throughout Florida. There will be some entertainment geared towards adults too. Once complete Disney Springs will move from 75 to more than 150 shopping entertainment and dining venues.

Work is set to begin next month and is expected to be completed in 2016 but will be opened in phases.

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Transformers gift shop opens well before the attraction.

March 7, 2013 at 2:13 AM

The gift shop has opened at the Transformers location well ahead of the ride itself. You can buy all the associated memorabilia along with merchandise that has been made just for this attraction.

There could be some soft openings of the new 3D adventure in the next couple of months. The official opening is said to be in the summer this year.

Inside the “Supply Vault”, this is the name of the store, you can buy t-shirts, bags, mugs and other souvenirs. The ride itself is said to be a similar ride to Spiderman over at Islands of Adventure.

Posted in: Orlando Attractions | Theme Park Rides | Theme Parks | What's New

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Disney’s Seven Dwarf Mine

February 21, 2013 at 8:13 PM

In “New Adventureland” as it seems to now be called, they are well underway with the new and change to the original plans, roller coaster the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train. The coaster promises some surprises along it's journey along with scenes from the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The cars are designed to swing to the left and right just like real mine train cars. The ride description reads,

“Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho! They dig in a mine from sunrise to sunset but they march off to work each morning, singing. Silly? No, just Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Grumpy, Doc and Dopey – The Seven Dwarfs.

And now you can join their merry band on a wild ride through the rolling countryside and into the mine ‘where a million diamonds shine.’

It’s a merry, musical family adventure as the mine rain swings and sways along rocky ledges, down steep mountain trails and through dark, winding tunnels. Then it’s home from work you go to join Snow White in song and celebration at the little cottage in the woods.”


 

It is set to open in the Spring of 2014.

 

By Steve Sewell

Posted in: Theme Park Rides | Theme Parks | Walt Disney World | What's New

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