9th Annual Central Florida Earth Day Takes Over Lake Eola Park on April 19, 2014

Central Florida Earth DayThe 9th annual Central Florida Earth Day will take place at beautiful Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando on April 19.

This free event will feature speakers, food demonstrations, environmental education, an Earth Kids Zone, an artist corner, an animal haven, live entertainment, and many Earth-friendly sponsors and vendors.

This event runs from 10am to 6pm, and is family-friendly, dog-friendly, and smoke-free.

For more information, visit cfearthday.org.

Earl of Sandwich at Walt Disney World Raises Prices

The best dining deal at Downtown Disney just got a little more expensive, as Earl of Sandwich has raised their prices.

Earl of SandwichThe majority of the sandwiches, salads and wraps have gone up 50 cents to $6.49. Some of the sides have increased by 30 – 50 cents, too.

The real hit comes with the beverages. While coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate, and bottled beverages have gone up 30 – 80 cents each, fountain sodas and iced tea have gone up $1 or $1.50, depending on the size you choose, to $2.99 and $3.49.

In addition to an increase in prices, the sandwiches appear to be a little stingy with the ingredients, and a bit smaller in size. My dining partner noticed it, too.

It is still one of the better dining deals at Walt Disney World, but now you’re paying more for less of what you used to get. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to continue to recommend this place, if this is the direction they’re going.

Earl of Sandwich is located at the Downtown Disney Marketplace. Passholders get 10% off, and AAA members get 15% off.

The COOP Opens in Winter Park on April 17, 2014

The COOPThe COOP, the new Southern Comfort eatery from John Rivers, will open in Winter Park on Thursday, April 17.

The menu will feature signature Southern dishes like fried chicken, low country shrimp and grits, and fried green tomatoes, as well as sweets like Mississippi Mud and Lemon Icebox pies.

Rivers, who also owns the popular 4 Rivers Smokehouse, designed the restaurant to have a homey feel, from the main dining room to the enclosed porch. Outside dining is available on picnic tables under cantina lights.

The COOP is located at 610 West Morse Boulevard in Winter Park, and will be open Monday through Saturday. For more information, visit asouthernaffair.com.

Sounds Like Summer Concert Series Returns to Epcot Beginning June 7, 2014

If you enjoy watching tribute bands, then you’ll be happy to hear that Walt Disney World‘s annual Sounds Like Summer Concert Series will return to Epcot starting June 7.

Sounds Like Summer Concert SeriesThis year’s concert line up includes:

  • June 8-14:  Hotel California ~ A Salute to the Eagles
  • June 15-21:  Don’t Stop Believin’ ~ Journey Tribute Band
  • June 22-28:  Good Vibrations ~ A Tribute to The Beach Boys
  • June 29-July 5:  Don’t Look Back ~ Boston Tribute Band
  • July 6-12:  Stayin’ Alive ~ A Tribute to the Bee Gees
  • July 13-19:  Slippery When Wet ~ The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute
  • July 20-26:  2U ~ A Tribute to U2

All performances take place at America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. – except on July 4 (when show times are 5:15, 6:30, 7:45 and 9 p.m.).

Sounds Like Summer concerts are included with park admission and entertainment is subject to change.

Out and About: Sun ‘n Fun Weekend Wrap Up

40th Annual Sun 'n Fun 2014

Photos by: Carol Garreans

This past week (April 1-6) was the 40th Annual Sun ‘n Fun 2014 Airshow. It’s said to be like Spring Break for pilots, and it is, with lots of workshops and vendors with lots of gadgets for airplanes, helicopters and the like.

On the weekend is the airshow. This is always a fun event and very family friendly. Yes, it’s usually hot and humid, but always fun. This weekend was hot, but not as humid as it’s been in past years. This is an affordable event as kids under 10 get in free with a paid adult. So for a family of four, it’s doable. They did allow small coolers so you could bring your own water, which is very nice. This event is a bring your own chairs or blanket to sit on and set up your spot on the flight line in the grass to save your place. This is in a field, so be sure to bring bug spray along with your sunscreen.

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Epcot After-Hours Wind Down Offered at Walt Disney World Starting April 17, 2014

Epcot at night

Ever wanted to linger around Epcot after Illuminations, instead of heading out of the park? Now you can, during Epcot After-Hours Wind Down, which will be offered April 17 – September 15.

During this nightly event, you can choose to visit either La Cava del Tequila at the Mexico Pavilion, Spice Road Table in the Morocco Pavilion, Tutto Gusto in the Italy Pavilion, or Rose & Crown Pub in the United Kingdom Pavilion.

For only $35, plus tax and gratuity, each location will have small bites paired with a beverage flight (additional beverages can be purchased) from 9:20pm – 11pm. You can enjoy Epcot for a little while longer, as the crowds leave for the evening.

To make a reservation, go to disneyworld.com/spring, call 407-WDW-DINE, or check in with Epcot Guest Relations to see if space is available.

Jesus Christ Superstar Arena Tour Comes to Amway Center in Orlando on June 14, 2014 #SuperstarTour

Jesus Christ Superstar Arena Tour

The classic rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar has been reimagined as an arena rock spectacular starring an extraordinary cast of rock, pop and R&B superstars, and it will arrive in Orlando to play the Amway Center on June 14.

Jesus Christ Superstar was the first musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to be produced for the professional stage, and it debuted in 1971. Forty years later, this new version of the musical is set to continue the hit legacy.

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Aquatica Orlando Installs Final Slide Section at Ihu’s Breakaway Falls #NothingTaller

Aquatica Orlando, SeaWorld’s sister waterpark, installed the final slide section at its newest attraction, Ihu’s Breakaway Falls today, one month before its scheduled opening.

Ihu’s Breakaway Falls will be the only high-speed water thrill slide in the world that propels guests through four 360-degree spirals, with slides nearly 80 feet tall. Riders will step into one of three clear “breakaway boxes,” and watch each other fall one-by-one as the floor underneath them disappears or test their bravery on a just as thrilling fourth open slide.

Aquatica plans to open Ihu’s Breakaway Falls on May 9. For more information, visit AquaticaOrlando.com.

Ihu's Breakaway Falls

Out and About: Stars on Ice at Amway Center April 6, 2014

Stars on Ice 2014

The women skaters as ballerinas at Stars on Ice 2014.

Sunday night, we headed downtown to the Amway Center to catch the Stars on Ice show. Our family writer, Carol, brought her two kids, and her daughter was super excited to be seeing the skaters in person.

Little did we know the evening was being filmed for broadcast on TV at a later date. We found out when we were graced with the presence of legendary Olympian skater Scott Hamilton, who let us know they were filming the show. I’m guessing he was there to be the announcer for what gets televised.

Stars on Ice 2014 - Scott Hamilton

Legendary Olympian Scott Hamilton.

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Out and About: Central Florida Home + Garden Show April 6, 2014

Central Florida Home + Garden Show

It was a busy Sunday in Orlando, and we started ours at the Central Florida Home + Garden Show at the Orange County Convention Center.

On the way in, we spotted several local food trucks, so we decided to have lunch here. Among those we saw were The Crepe Company, Sweet City Gelato, Curbside Chef, London Fish n Chippy, and Yum Yum Cupcake.

Orlando Food Trucks

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Overchuck Law Firm Cause 4 Paws Puppy Pub Crawl Takes Over Thornton Park on April 12, 2014

Overchuck Law Firm Cause 4 Paws Puppy Pub Crawl

The third annual Overchuck Law Firm Cause 4 Paws Puppy Pub Crawl will be taking over Thornton Park downtown on Saturday, April 12, to raise money for a good cause.

The event starts at noon at Anthony’s Pizza, moving from there to Wildside’s Bar & Grille and then on to Burton’s Bar. Finally, the crawl will end at Graffiti Junktion.

Admission is a $20 donation in advance, and $30 at the door, with proceeds from the event going to one of the only NO KILL animal rescue facilities, A Forever Home Animal Rescue, Inc.

In addition to helping out a great cause, your donation gets you one free drink at each stop on the crawl, along with dog treats for your pooch, and more.

For more information or to donate in advance, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Dr. Phillips Charities and the Orlando Philharmonic Present a Free Outdoor Concert in Loch Haven Park on April 12, 2014

Join Dr. Phillips Charities and the Orlando Philharmonic for a free outdoor concert of “Peter & the Wolf and Other Musical Stories” in Loch Haven Park on Saturday, April 12, 2014.

Orlando PhilharmonicPre-concert activities begin at 4:30pm. The concert itself starts at 7:30pm, and the Orlando Philharmonic will be joined by Mr. Richard and the Pound Hounds, and special guests from Orlando Repertory Theatre.

It is suggested to bring blankets to sit on. There is plenty of parking in and around Loch Haven Park.

For more information, visit OrlandoPhil.org.