FL Travel Guide - Page 2
Amusement Park Travel / Theme Park Travel / The Wizarding World of Harry Potter / Diagon Alley / Hogsmeade / Harry Potter / Universal Studios Orlando / Universal Studios / Travel News / Traveling with Children / Florida Travel / Orlando Travel / → All Tags
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).
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.
Universal Studios / Universal Studios Orlando / Harry Potter / Diagon Alley / The Wizarding World of Harry Potter / WWoHP / Lists / Theme Park Travel / Amusement Park Travel / → All Tags
The Most Mindblowing Teasers of What's Coming to Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
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:
Theme Parks / Amusement Parks / Disney / Walt Disney World / Disney World / Florida Travel / → All Tags
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.
Megabus / Bus Travel / Florida Travel / Budget Travel / Buses / → All Tags
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.
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.
Booze Travel / Drinking Travel / Beer Travel / Bars / Florida Restaurants / Road Trips / Florida Travel / Florida Keys Travel / Subaru XV Crosstrek / Cars / → All Tags
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.
Road Trips / Florida Travel / Florida Keys Travel / Subaru XV Crosstrek / Cars / Key West Travel / → All Tags
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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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.
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.
Theme Park Travel / Amusement Park Travel / Harry Potter / Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure / The Wizarding World of Harry Potter / Travel News / Orlando Travel / → All Tags
Although there's still no official opening date, the summer 2014 debut of the addition to Universal Orlando's Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park is heating up with tantalizing new previews.
First off, let's discuss the Hogwarts Express, which is simply a stationary attraction in the first version of the park. Come this summer, however, when version 2 opens, it will be a fully functioning train, connecting the wizarding and muggle worlds through a detailed recreation of London's King's Cross station. Yes, you'll need to look for Platform 9 3/4, but the most important thing to know is that riding the Hogwarts Express will require guests to have a park-to-park ticket, as the train travels from Universal Studios into the Island of Adventure.
Universal Studios / Universal Orlando / Orlando Travel / Florida Travel / Theme Parks / Amusement Parks / → All Tags
Well that didn’t take too long. Earlier in the week we were chatting about how prices were increasing at Walt Disney World, and now it looks like the other theme parks just down the interstate are doing the same. We kind of figured this was going to happen, but we guess we just did not expect it to take place so soon after.
Looking to pay for all the new entertainment options and additional Harry Potter stuff, Universal Studios is upping the price of admission at their two theme parks in the Orlando area. It looks like a one-day ticket is now $96 for the big kids and $90 for the little kids, and if you’re looking to hop between the parks on the same day it will be $136 for adults and $90 for children. The prices do not include tax, so expect things to jump right over that $100 level when it’s all said and done.