Cirque du Soleil Visits the Orange County Library System Downtown For a Free Performance on May 14, 2013

quidamCirque du Soleil’s Quidam will be performing at the UCF Arena from May 15-19, but on May 14, you can catch a free mini-performance at the Orange County Library System‘s downtown Orlando branch.

This is a great chance for your family to see and meet a Cirque performer.

The event starts at 10:30am, and is free for all. OCLS card holders will receive priority seating, on a first come basis.

Registration is required, so call 407-835-7323 to register.

SeaWorld Orlando Presents 2013 Bands, Brew & BBQ February 9 -March 17

One of my favorite annual events at SeaWorld is Bands, Brew & BBQ, which brings together live music with great food and beer. This year’s event runs February 9 through March 17. 2013.

BandsBrewBBQ-250x350This year’s line-up of headlining musicians includes country, rock and pop superstars. Here is the full list:

  • Feb. 9 – Chris Young with Jerrod Niemann
  • Feb. 10 – Merle Haggard
  • Feb. 16 – Beach Boys
  • Feb. 17 – Styx
  • Feb. 23 – Big & Rich
  • Feb. 24 – Third Eye Blind
  • March 2 – Daryl Hall and John Oates
  • March 3 – Darius Rucker
  • March 9 – Michael McDonald
  • March 10 – Josh Turner
  • March 16 – Rodney Atkins with Uncle Kracker
  • March 17 – Sheryl Crow

In 2013, the event is being expanded from four weekends to six. Musical performances are included with regular SeaWorld admission, but the food and beer are additional.

For more information, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.

SeaWorld Orlando Announces Initial Line-Up for 2013 Bands, Brew & BBQ

One of the most popular annual events at SeaWorld Orlando is Bands, Brew & BBQ.

The event features concerts, barbecue and select beers at the theme park. The theme park recently announced the bulk of the musical entertainment scheduled:

  • Feb. 9 — Chris Young with Jerrod Niemann
  • Feb. 10 — Merle Haggard
  • Feb. 16 – Beach Boys
  • Feb. 17 – Styx
  • Feb. 23 – Big & Rich
  • Feb. 24 – Third Eye Blind
  • March 2 – Daryl Hall and John Oates
  • March 3 — TBA
  • March 9 – TBA
  • March 10 — Josh Turner
  • March 16 – TBA
  • March 17 – TBA

In 2013, the event is being expanded from four weekends to six, and will run from February 9 to March 17. Musical performances are included with regular SeaWorld admission, but the food is additional.

For more information, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.

Kennedy Space Center Invites Guests to Enjoy Holidays In Space

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is once again holding its Holidays In Space celebration for guests, now through January 1, 2013.

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A 42-foot Christmas tree, located in the Rocket Garden, will be decorated with 600 miniature flags from the 15 partner countries of the International Space Station.

KSC Visitor Complex guests also can learn about the holiday traditions of each of the International Space Station (ISS) partners: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. Prior to every IMAX film, guests will have the chance to see actual images of ISS crews celebrating the holidays in space.

Santa Claus will be appearing in Santa’s Launch Control Center, between Astronaut Encounters and Robot Scouts. Onsite elves (Kodak representatives), will snap family photos and provide prints for sale, or guests may capture the moment with their own cameras.

Mrs. Claus will also be there, holding space-themed story times like “The Cat in the Hat – There’s No Place Like Space” and “What the Moon is Like.”

Both Clauses will be available at 10am, 10:30am, noon, and 2pm, through December 24. Storytime will take place at 3:30pm daily. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also make special appearances in the Space Shop at 4pm daily.

International carolers will also be performing in the Rocket Garden three times daily (10am, 11am, and noon), at the Saturn V Center (2pm and 3pm), and in the Space Shop (4:15pm).

All Holidays in Space events are included with regular admission to the KSC Visitor Complex which is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11.

For more information or to purchase tickets for Holidays in Space, call 877-313-2610 or visit kennedyspacecenter.com.

Narrators Announced for Epcot’s 2012 Candlelight Processional at Walt Disney World

One of the highlights of the Christmas holiday season at Walt Disney World is the Candlelight Processional at Epcot. It is a moving presentation of the story of Christmas, read by a celebrity narrator and backed by a Mass choir and orchestra.

This year, the nightly event begins November 23, 2012, and runs every evening through December 30, 2012.

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The schedule of those who will appear as narrators is as follows (subject to change):

  • November 23 to November 25, 2012 – Geena Davis
  • November 26 to November 29, 2012 – Neil Patrick Harris
  • November 30 to December 1, 2012 – Whoopi Goldberg
  • December 2 to December 4, 2012 – Andy Garcia
  • December 5 to December 7, 2012 – Blair Underwood
  • December 8 to December 9, 2012 – James Denton
  • December 10 to December 13, 2012 – Jodi Benson
  • December 14 to December 16, 2012 – Lea Salonga
  • December 17 to December 19, 2012 – TBA
  • December 20 to December 22, 2012 – Trace Adkins
  • December 23 to December 25, 2012 – Gary Sinise
  • December 26 to December 28, 2012 – Amy Grant
  • December 29 to December 30, 2012 – Marlee Matlin / Jack Jason

Read more

Festival of the Masters Returns to Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Nov. 9-11, 2012

Festival of the Masters presented by Michaels returns to Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World from Nov. 9-11, 2012 for its 37th year.

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This open-air fine arts festival features nearly 150 award-winning artists, sidewalk chalk art, limited-edition fine art, photography, sculpture, jewelry, glass art, Disney collectibles, live music and more.

The Disney Artist Village tent at Pleasure Island will feature Disney character art created by masters from various Disney disciplines, including Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative design and development arm of The Walt Disney Company. At the Art of Disney, artist Dave Avanzino will create art pieces using prop-like elements and fonts based on signs and attractions found around Disney theme parks. Both locations will feature artist appearances throughout the weekend.

For the first time ever, the event will feature an Emerging Masters area, where more than 30 juried up-and-coming artists will showcase works and compete for awards.

Guests also can become part of the festival with interactive fun. Various activities presented by Michaels will be available, including “Make It Take It” crafts, a do-it-yourself fashion show, and the “Michaels Master Mural” where guests can help create a mosaic-like mural.

Other activities will include complimentary face painting and live entertainment by performers from La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil, a chance to construct an 8-foot tall LEGO Hulk figure, domino games at Fuego by Sosa Cigars, live music at various venues, such as House of Blues and Bongos Cuban Café, and more.

Festival of the Masters takes place from 10am-5:30pm Friday and Saturday; 10am-5pm Sunday. Admission is free, as is parking.

[image courtesy of Walt Disney World]

Star Wars®: Where Science Meets Imagination Coming to Orlando Science Center in October 2012

This is a good year for Star Wars fans in Central Florida. So far, we’ve had Star Wars Weekends at Disney, the huge Star Wars Celebration VI convention, and even the annual Galactic Encounter Day at the Orlando History Center.

Han Solo and Chewbacca costumes

Now the Orlando Science Center brings the innovative exhibition “Star Wars®: Where Science Meets Imagination” to town for a limited engagement, beginning on October 13, 2012.

Developed by the Museum of Science Boston, in collaboration with Lucasfilm Ltd., and presented by Bose Corporation©, the 10,000 square-foot exhibit explores the fantasy technologies depicted in the Star Wars films. It also shows the real science behind them, and the current research that may someday lead to real-life versions of the technologies seen in the film series.

This exhibition is the first to display costumes and props from all six Star Wars films with real-world technologies. The exhibit includes extensive video interviews with filmmakers, scientists and engineers, and hands-on components, including two large Engineering Design Labs, where visitors can build and test their own speeders and robots.

Admission to Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination is $27 for adults and $20 for youth (ages 3-11). Tickets include access to “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” and all four floors of exhibits, giant screen films and live presentations. Science Center members see “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” for $12 for adults and $9 for youth.

Actor Daniel Logan, who portrayed the young Boba Fett in the Star Wars prequels, will be on hand to kick off opening weekend. He will be appearing both October 13 and 14, participating in autograph and photo sessions, as well as a Q&A panel, each day.

“Star Wars®: Where Science Meets Imagination” will be at the OSC until April 7, 2013.

Star Wars Droids

[Photos © 2012 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.]

Night of Joy Celebrates 30th Year at Magic Kingdom in September

It’s one of the longest music festivals in Orlando, and Night of Joy is returning to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World for its 30th year.

… MercyMe with Minnie Mouse …

September 7 and 8 are the dates for this year’s contemporary Christian music festival. Sixteen artists will take to the three stages set up – the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage, the Galaxy Stage, and the Rockettower Plaza Stage.

Friday will offer Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, NEEDTOBREATHE, Brandon Heath, Red, Francesca Battistelli, Royal Tailor, and Disciple.

Saturday’s line-up is MercyMe, Third Day, Lecrae, Theresa Bailey, Yolanda Adams, Thousand Foot Krutch, Kutless, Dara Maclean, and Chris August.

The official Disney Parks blog has the exact times and stage location for each artist.

Night of Joy is an after-hours event, running from 7:30pm to 1am each evening. In addition to the music, many of the Magic Kingdom’s attractions will be open, as well.

Tickets may be purchased in advance for $52.95 (plus tax), for each day. If still available, tickets may be purchased day of at the park’s ticket windows for $62.95 (plus tax). This is a separately ticketed event – regular admission tickets and passes will not work.

[photo courtesy Walt Disney World/Gene Duncan, photographer]

Play at the Orlando Science Center for Only $5 on August 26

The Orlando Science Center is a fun place to visit, with lots of opportunities to learn while you play.

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If you’ve been putting off a visit because you couldn’t afford to bring the whole family, then you’ll love this deal that is put together by the OSC, in a partnership with Walmart, for this Sunday, August 26, 2012.

For only $5 a person, you and your family can enjoy all the exhibits, films, and live programs the OSC has to offer. That’s right – only $5. Regular admission is $17 for ages 12 and up, and $12 for ages 3-11.

In addition to the normal interactive exhibits, the OSC is in the final days of hosting the traveling exhibit PLAY. Immerse yourself in six larger-than-life clubhouse games – backgammon, billiards, bowling, die, dominoes and foosball – and become part of the unique multi-sensory experience.

For more information, visit OSC.org or call 407-514-2000. The Orlando Science Center is located at 777 E. Princeton Street in Orlando.

SeaWorld Presents Viva la Musica Festival 2012 Starting Mid-April

Every Saturday from April 14 through May 5, SeaWorld Orlando will hold their Viva la Musica event.

This Latin festival features food and fun for the entire family, bringing together live salsa, merengue and reggaeton performances from award-winning Latin artists, authentic arts and crafts, and more.

Each Saturday at 3pm, there will be a headliner concert. Here is the line-up:

  • April 14 – Elvis Crespo
  • April 21 – Grupo Niche
  • April 28 – RKM & Ken-Y
  • May 5 – Gilberto Santa Rosa

Viva La Musica events are included with all park admission. For more information, visit the SeaWorld Orlando website.

Celebrate Earth Day at the Orlando Science Center with Reduced Admission

The Orlando Science Center is fun for kids of all ages, so you’ll definitely want to visit this Saturday, April 23, 2011, when they host their Earth Day event.

Little ones will delight in eco-activities in the KidsTown preschool area while adults can enjoy behind-the-scenes Green Building tours including the facility’s new 144 panel solar array and cutting edge new HVAC system.

On level four, guests can indulge in delicious s’mores that they create using solar ovens or check out water conservation experiments in Dr. Dare’s Lab. Special guest artist Dale Wayne will work with visitors of all ages to create artwork out of recycled plastic containers.

In between the exhibits, take a break to watch Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees on the Dr. Phillips CineDome.

And if the kids get sick of all the nature exhibits, the Curious George exhibit is also running at the OSC.

Teaming with Walmart, the Orlando Science Center is offering a special discounted admission for the day – only $5 for everyone. Regular admission is $17 for adults and $12 for kids, so that’s quite a savings.

For more information, visit the Orlando Science Center website or call 407-514-2000

Festival of the Masters Celebrates Art at Downtown Disney This Weekend

One thing Orlando is not short of is art festivals. But one of my favorites is the annual Festival of the Masters held at Downtown Disney.

This weekend, November 12-14, is the 35th incarnation of the event and the sidewalks of Downtown Disney will be lined with tents featuring hundreds of artists.

Working in a variety of mediums, most of the art is actually for sale, so not only can you admire the works, but you can also get some Christmas shopping out of the way with a one-of-a-kind handmade gift.

The event also has live entertainment and several family-friendly activities.

The best part? Admission and parking are free.

Below, courtesy of Disney, is an image of the 2010 Festival of the Masters winning signature piece called “Coming Togther” by Amel Platon.

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