FL Travel Guide - Page 2

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How Universal Orlando's New Diagon Alley Gets It Very, Very Right

July 1, 2014 at 9:48 AM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this month, as we've been in Orlando for an early preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This weekend saw the soft-opening, but here you'll find all the juicy details of the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

Diagon Alley has been described as 9 new shops and 1 new ride. While that's true in the most bare-bones sense, a visit to Diagon Alley reveals that it's an immersive world unto itself, where no detail is too small and from which no visitor will leave without some degree of awe.

In fact, we think Diagon Alley improves upon the original 2010 Hogsmeade portion of The Wizarding World, as one would hope after having four years to tweak and test. Here's why:

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The Six Awesomest Details of Universal Studios' Brand New Diagon Alley

June 23, 2014 at 5:51 PM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this week, as we're in Orlando for an earlier preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter. Stay tuned as we get sunburned while slaking our thirst with Butterbeer, and all the juicy details of the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

Perhaps you've heard rumors about interactive wands and a fire-breathing dragon. It's true—both of these wonders are found in Diagon Alley, but they're not what caused us to gasp in awe this week, during early previews of this new area of the theme park. Here's what did:

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Finally! Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter Announces Opening Date

June 18, 2014 at 10:47 AM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this week, as we're in Orlando for an earlier preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter. Stay tuned as we get sunburned while slaking our thirst with Butterbeer, and all the juicy details of the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.

July 8. That's the date heard 'round Florida, nay the world, as Universal Studios Orlando announced it this morning as the public grand opening of the new Diagon Alley at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter, part of UO's Islands of Adventure theme park.

Four years ago when The Wizarding World first debuted the Hogsmeade portion, eager fans of the Harry Potter series happily waited in lines up to 8 hours long in order to be among the first inside Ollivander's Wand Shop, Honeyduke's Sweets, The Owl Post and, of course, first to experience rides like the Dragon Challenge roller coaster and the "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" cinematic journey through Hogwarts.

Now, Diagon Alley promises to double the size of "Harry Potter-land" with new rides, new shops, new eateries, and a freaking Hogwarts Express train to traverse the distance between Hogsmeade (Scotland) and Diagon Alley (London).

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The World's Tallest Roller Coaster is on Its Way to Orlando

June 9, 2014 at 11:07 AM | by | Comments (0)

The world’s tallest roller coaster is on its way to the United States, and it will call Orlando home; however, it’s not scheduled to arrive at one of the Disney parks nor one of the offerings from the folks over at Universal Studios.

The plan is to bring the thing to a portion of International Drive, and it will make its debut—fingers crossed—at some point in 2016. The new behemoth of a roller coaster will be known as Skyscraper, and it’s going to call some kind of $200 million entertainment complex home. They’re going to call the whole darn thing SkyPlex, and it will be at the intersection of International Drive and Sand Lake Road.

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The Most Mindblowing Teasers of What's Coming to Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

June 5, 2014 at 3:22 PM | by | Comments (0)

Deep breaths.

After four years of awesomeness at Universal Studios Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we’re within days of the debut of the park’s major expansion. Right around June 19, Universal will host a semi-secret preview of the new park, ahead of what could be the grand opening that weekend.

We’ve known some details about the Diagon Alley addition to The Wizarding World for some time, like the fact it’ll have a functioning Hogwarts Express train to a copy of London’s Kings Cross Station and The Embankment. And, as we noted four years ago during the original opening of the park, it’ll again be pretty much impossible to spend under $100 in the new shops, which include Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and some nefarious nooks in Knockturn Alley.

As further news trickles out ahead of the park’s opening later this month, we’re consistently amazed by and psyched up for the expansion of J.K. Rowling’s fantasy into reality.

Here are few of the more spectacular surprises coming to Diagon Alley:

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After Hours Attractions Arrive at Walt Disney World Just in Time for Summer

May 14, 2014 at 10:58 AM | by | Comment (1)

There’s more spots to spend those Disney dollars this season, as the theme parks in Florida are adding a couple new nighttime additions to the menu. That’s assuming that the usual opening hours aren’t enough for you, and that you haven’t returned to your hotel exhausted from the lines, the crowds, the children, and the fanny packs.

Over at Epcot they’re introducing something called Epcot After Hours Wind Down where visitors can enjoy a little extra fun after the park closes at around 9pm. Those willing to pay up $35 per person can enjoy wine pairings and tapas tastings across one of four of the different themed restaurants. This is in addition to your usual theme park admission, but it’s still not a bad idea—especially considering that booze is included.

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More $1 Bus Rides to Florida with Megabus' New Routes

May 14, 2014 at 9:26 AM | by | Comments (0)

Fans of Florida now have more options for getting into and out of the state, and we’re not talking about bumming a ride from Grandma and Grandpa. Megabus, the budget bus company who've been driving around Florida and the rest of the country for a few years now, is expanding their Sunshine State routes.

Orlando is getting the bulk of the new options, with buses to Miami, Tallahassee, and Tampa. If those destinations aren’t where you need to be—no problem—as Orlando also does the Megabus thing to places like Gainesville and Jacksonville, as well as Atlanta.

As is usually the case with Megabus, there's cheap $1 fares can be had, but they do require a little bit of planning and advance reservations. So if you’re looking to head from Orlando to New Orleans—yet another new option—check things out and get to booking it sooner rather than later.

[Photo: holl7510]

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Trade Beach Clean-up for a Miami Hotel Discount

April 9, 2014 at 2:52 PM | by | Comment (1)

The Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami is the latest hotel to offer their guests discounts in exchange for doing good.

The "Our Beach Is Your Beach" Package includes an additional 10% off the best available rates, $50 spa daily credit, and free daily breakfast for all guests who participate in a 3-hour beach clean-up and a 2-hour environmental beach walk.

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Five Great Dive Bars Between the Florida Keys and Miami

March 21, 2014 at 12:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

Dive bars are a place you can go without needing to dress up and drench yourself in cologne. Each has its own character which makes the casual wanderer-in want to be him/herself. While in the Keys recently, we found a few such dive bars worth mentioning.

· Green Parrot Bar - 601 Whitehead St. Key West - Open Daily 10am - 4am
This dive bar is a long time favorite among locals and tourists. Formerly called The Brown Derby Bar during WWII, it was a favorite among the submariners and sailers stationed a few blocks away. Now called Green Parrot bar, some of the retired sailers still come back to the bar to find it virtually unchanged. I’m sure it can get very busy during the summer but the bartenders are quick and knowledgable so you won’t be waiting for your drink for too long.

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Road Tripping the Overseas Highway to Key West is Always a Good Idea

March 20, 2014 at 11:22 AM | by | Comments (0)

There's a good chance that, if you're reading this, you're well aware of the seemingly endless winter weather impacting much of the United States. And you're probably also wishing for some sun and warmth right about now. An easy remedy comes in two words: Key West.

We recently made the popular drive along the Keys in a new 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, and discovered a few things along way, aside from the fact that fresh air and sunlight does a previously snowed-in traveler a world of good.

The Overseas Highway (part of US 1) runs from Key West to Miami and allows access to the Keys in between. Consisting mainly of leftover bridges and road sections from the original railroad system constructed by Henry Flagler, the completed highway opened to traffic in 1938. It is a destination of its own, and allows vacationers easy access to the sandier beaches south of the state's continental limit.

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How to Get Tickets to the 2014 Ultra Music Festival

March 18, 2014 at 3:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

Miami’s Ultra Music Festival is less than two weeks away and tickets to the EDM-focused event are almost gone.

The traditionally electronic dance music fest is continuing to broadened their lineup for 2014. Along with DJs like Afrojack, Avicii, David Guetta, and Tiesto, rapper M.I.A., MGMT, and the Australian band Cut/Copy are also on the roster.

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Miami's Versace Mansion Sees a Fresh Slew of Celebs

March 13, 2014 at 3:42 PM | by | Comments (0)

This week the Kardashian sisters had the privileged of staying at the former Versace Mansion in Miami.

Located on Ocean Dr. in South Beach, Casa Casuarina attracts hundreds of tourists a day hoping to get a glimpse behind the gate of one of the country's most expensive and storied properties.

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