Christmas Bricktacular

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Celebrate the holidays as a family when LEGOLAND® Florida Resort hosts its annual Christmas Bricktacular, beginning weekends in December. Visitors can participate in extraordinary holiday-themed LEGO® builds, interact with LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier Characters and experience snow falling down on Fun Town.  Nightly fireworks begin on Dec. 26 and will last until the end of the year.  LEGOLAND Florida is an exciting, family-friendly place to spend the holiday season.

Cracking Good Winter Fun

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Experience the magic of ICE! featuring The Nutcracker, through January 4th at Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee. Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince for a magical adventure in more than TWO MILLION pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures and four thrilling slides. While family fun abounds, adults 21+ can chill out at new On The Blocks ice bar and drink cider poured through an ice luge.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration – ‘Where the Season Meets the Sea’

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Waves of holiday spirit splash over the park during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. Here in a wintery, watery wonderland, guests of all ages will enjoy stunning live shows inspired by the natural world, journey to the North Pole on THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience, then share a smile with a playful penguin at the South Pole while visiting the park’s newest attraction, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin®!

Christmas carols can be heard as guests encounter a sparkling Sea of Trees and skaters dancing on ice. With everything from Santa to Shamu®, presents to penguins, and elves to Elmo, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is where holiday memories are made. The celebration takes place on select dates November 22 through December 31, 2014 and is included with park admission, annual pass and Fun Card.

Cinderella’s Castle takes on “Frozen” theme for holidays

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The frosty, fantastical world of “Frozen” adds a special twinkle to Walt Disney World Resort this holiday season.

Queen Elsa and Princess Anna add their special royal touch as the Florida Vacation Kingdom delights guests with yuletide traditions and holiday cheer. Fans of the most popular animated motion picture of all time will have a sleigh-full of “Frozen” entertainment choices.

Queen Elsa from “Frozen” Transforms Cinderella Castle Nightly Beginning November 5th.  New this year, Queen Elsa from “Frozen” will use her incredible powers to transform Cinderella Castle into a glistening ice palace for the holidays — thanks to a special effects spectacle bathing the castle in 200,000 shimmering white lights. Magic Kingdom guests are treated nightly to the dramatic “Castle Dream Lights” celebration and “A Frozen Holiday Wish” stage show.

Holidays Celebration at Universal Orlando

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Universal Orlando Resort. With holiday happenings continuing through January 3rd, families can create lifelong memories during Universal Orlando’s Holidays celebration. Included as part of admission to Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios, the holiday spectacular features Grinchmas, Macy’s Holiday Parade and live concerts by Mannheim Steamroller.

Florida Fun Facts

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  • Gatorade was named for the University of Florida Gators where it was first developed.
  • Flamingos get their pink color from the shrimp they eat. The more shrimp they eat the deeper pink they become.
  • There are 13,983,816 ways to combine six of those bouncing Florida lottery balls.
  • The Everglades National Park encompasses 2,100 square miles and contains the largest mangrove forest and the slowest moving river in the world.
  • Florida is not the southernmost state in the United States. Hawaii is farther south.
  • Florida is the only state that has two rivers with the same name. There is a Withlacoochee in north central Florida (Madison County) and a Withlacoochee in central Florida. They have nothing in common except the name.
  • The actress, Delta Burke, represented Orlando and became Miss Florida in 1974.
  • Dick Pope, founder of Cypress Gardens, is known as the “Father of Florida Tourism”.
  • Stephen Foster, who wrote “Old Folks at Home,” Florida’s state song, never even saw the Suwannee River, nor did he ever step foot in Florida.
  • Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard is touted as the world’s longest countinuous sidewalk. It is a popular waterfront gathering place for joggers and in-line skate enthusiasts.
  • Once a year, thousands of Floridians stand at the state line and toss dead fish into Alabama. It’s the annual Mullet Toss hosted by Flora-Bama Beach Bar in Pensacola. It’s just “a silly excuse for a huge beach party.”
  • The Seven Mile Bridge, that crosses between Marathon and the Lower Keys, was built in 1982 – in pieces – then shipped to the Keys to be assembled.

Florida’s original tourist spot, Silver Springs

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An old favorite, the glass-bottom boat, was invented in Central Florida’s original tourist spot, Silver Springs and became an instant sensation. At Silver Springs, visitors can still glimpse the Old Florida that enthralled Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings in nearby Cross Creek. Today, the attraction includes a petting zoo, carousel and the same glass-bottom boat rides that first became popular more than 130 years ago.

Visitors can buy an All-Access Silver Pass, or the all new All-Access Platinum Pass, which includes entry for a year, a free wild waters pass, free parking, free concerts, Festival of Lights and more. Parking is only $8 for non-pass holders, and a daily ticket still gets you a grand view of unspoiled Florida beauty from those glass-bottom boats peering into the crystal clear springs.

Florida Strawberry Festival announces 2015 headline entertainment

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The Florida Strawberry Festival released its lineup of headline entertainment artists performing at the 2015 festival.

The 2015 headline entertainment lineup is as follows:

Thursday, Feb. 26

10:30 a.m.       Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra

3:30 p.m.         Bobby Vinton

7:30 p.m.         Alabama

Friday, Feb. 27

3:30 p.m.         Mel Tillis

7:30 p.m.         Scotty McCreery

Saturday, Feb. 28

3:30 p.m.         MercyMe

7:30 p.m.         Kevin Costner & Modern West

Sunday, March 1

3:30 p.m.         “Brett Eldredge”

7:30 p.m.         Hunter Hayes

Monday, March 2

3:30 p.m.         Sawyer Brown

7:30 p.m.         Happy Together Tour

Tuesday, March 3

3:30 p.m.         Ronnie Milsap

7:30 p.m.         Sara Evans

Wednesday, March 4

3:30 p.m.         Ricky Skaggs

7:30 p.m.         Craig Morgan

Thursday, March 5

10:30 a.m.       Tommy Dorsey Orchestra

3:30 p.m.         Oak Ridge Boys

7:30 p.m.         Newsboys

Friday, March 6

3:30 p.m.         Loretta Lynn

7:30 p.m.         Boyz II Men

Saturday, March 7

3:30 p.m.         Dan + Shay

7:30 p.m.         John Legend

Sunday, March 8

3:30 p.m.         Parmalee

7:30 p.m.         REBA

“We have a wider variety of entertainment this year than we have ever had before,” said Florida Strawberry Festival General Manager Paul Davis. “We have classic country, today’s country, Christian, 60s, R&B, rock, pop and even an Academy Award winner.”

Over 24 headline entertainment artists perform every year on the Wish Farms Soundstage and comprise one of the most popular attractions at the event, Davis said.

Advance tickets for admission and for headline entertainment shows will go on sale Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014 at 8 a.m. and can be purchased online at http://www.flstrawberryfestival.com

Candlelight Processional returns to Epcot

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A holiday tradition continues at Walt Disney World with the return of the Candlelight Processional at Epcot.

The show is a retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator with seasonal songs performed by a live choir and orchestra. Shows take place each day at 5 p.m, 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. with the exception of Dec. 7 when shows will take place at 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. only.

First up in this year’s schedule of narrators is actress Jodi Benson, who voiced Ariel in “The Little Mermaid.” Joining the lineup for the first time this year are Jonathan Groff, who voiced Kristoff in “Frozen” and comedian Ana Gasteyer.

Narrators:

  • Jonathan Groff  – December 3 – 4, 2014
  • Whoopi Goldberg – December 5 – 6, 2014
  • Levar Burton – December 7 – 9, 2014
  • Edward James Olmos – December 10 – 14, 2014
  • Chita Rivera – December 15 – 17, 2014
  • Ana Gasteyer  – December 18 – 20, 2014
  • Marlee Matlin – December 21 – 23, 2014
  • Isabella Rossellini – December 24 – 25, 2014
  • Blair Underwood – December 26 – 27, 2014
  • Steven Curtis Chapman – December 28 – 30, 2014

Epcot Fun Facts

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Epcot had its soft opening Sept. 28, 1982, at 4 p.m.

Spaceship Earth, the visual and thematic centerpiece of Epcot, weighs 16 million pounds, measures 165 feet in diameter and encompasses 2.2 million cubic feet of space. The outer “skin” of Spaceship Earth is made up of 11,324 aluminum and plastic-alloy triangles.

At Spaceship Earth, Mickey Mouse is hidden in his own constellation just beyond the attraction’s loading area.

The fountain at Epcot Innoventions Plaza can shoot water 150 feet in the air — within 30 feet of the top of Spaceship Earth. If all of the shooters were fired at once, there would be 2,000 gallons of water in the air.

At nearly a mile long and reaching a top speed of 65 mph, Test Track is the longest and fastest ride at a Walt Disney World theme park.

The body of water at The Seas with Nemo & Friends provides a home to 3,000 fish and other sea creatures and contains 5.7 million gallons of water, one of the largest man-made ocean environments in the world.

More than 30 tons of fruits and vegetables grown at The Land pavilion each year are served in Walt Disney World restaurants.

The Land has a “tomato tree” that is the only one of its kind in the United States. The massive plant has produced a world-record harvest of more than 32,000 tomatoes from a single vine.

World Showcase promenade stretches 1.2 miles and World Showcase Lagoon spans 40 acres.

The gardens of Epcot are among the most extensive at Walt Disney World Resort. The themed landscapes are maintained year-round by a horticulture staff of more than 50.

At United Kingdom’s Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room in World Showcase, a specially designed ale warmer can heat your Guinness to 55 degrees, the temperature favored by Brits.

26.2 miles of bratwurst are served every 60 days at the Biergarten restaurant in the Germany pavilion. That, by the way, is the length of a marathon.

The Eiffel Tower replica in the France pavilion is 103 feet tall.

The castle in Japan is a replica of the Shirasagi-Jo, a 17th century fortress overlooking the city of Himeji, known as one of the most well-preserved castles in Japan.

A Disney crew carried a 300-pound camera up 4,500 steps of the Huangshan Mountain in the Annui Province to film the Circle-Vision 360 film seen in the China pavilion.

From bonsai to roses, there’s something for every gardening guru at the annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Disney horticulturists rotate the crops twice during the festival to keep the 30 million blossoms colorful and fresh.

Each year at the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, more than 33,000 bottles of wine and champagne are uncorked, 1.2 million hors d’oeuvre plates are served and 100,000 miniature desserts are dished up.

More than 26,000 feet of lights outline the World Showcase pavilions for the “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” nightly fireworks show — a string long enough to stretch across the Golden Gate Bridge more than six times.

Earth Globe is a 28-foot-diameter sphere on World Showcase Lagoon and the centerpiece of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.” The globe weighs 350,000 pounds and is wrapped in more than 180,000 Light Emitting Diodes arranged in the shape of Earth’s continents.

Some 2,800 firework shells are used during each “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” show.