Tag Archives: Idrive 360

LEGOLAND Florida Resort Awesomer Annual Pass is Buy One Get One Free Today for Cinco de Mayo

Are you a fan of LEGOLAND® Florida Resort? What about The Orlando Eye? Then today is your lucky day! As a Cinco de Mayo special (today only and while supplies last), you can purchase a 12-month Awesomer Annual pass for the attractions listed below AND you’ll get free parking, discounts in the parks, discounts on LEGOLAND resorts, and more.

What do you get with the $149 Awesomer pass?

  • Unlimited Admission to LEGOLAND® Florida
  • Unlimited Admission to LEGOLAND Water Park
  • Unlimited Admission to The Orlando Eye
  • Unlimited Admission to Madame Tussauds Orlando
  • Unlimited Admission to SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando
  • Unlimited Admission to LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta
  • Collectors Edition Welcome Kit
  • Free Parking
  • 10% off Dining, Retail, LEGOLAND Hotel Stays, VIP Experiences and Premium Play Bands
  • Bonus Brick Time (9:30 am park entry)
  • LEGOLAND e-newsletter (exclusive invitations, previews and more)
  • $15 off Guest Tickets to LEGOLAND Florida (up to 6)

To purchase, click here and enter code 6043.

The Orlando Eye is celebrating their one-year birthday this week. What a great way to celebrate than with an annual pass. Make it your first visit of many!

Skeletons Museum Family Gives You A Sneak Peek of Animals Unveiled

Skeletons Logo

Central Florida Top 5 was invited by President Jay Villemarette, Sr. and his family to give you a special sneak preview of the new Skeletons: Animals Unveiled located at iDrive 360, right under The Orlando Eye! The great thing about their massive collection of osteological specimens is they want you to not only see, and in some cases touch their exhibits, parent company Skulls Unlimited International wants everyone to LEARN about an animal’s lifecycle. The also hope to educate its visitors on how to appreciate and preserve the natural world. To quote Jay Sr. himself, “We couldn’t take the educational value out of this museum if we tried!

Owner and President Jay Villemarette, Sr. says, “I started collecting skulls when I found (one) in the woods at the age of seven. My father encouraged me to collect skeletons. Over the years I became a lifelong collector of skulls.” This discovery would eventually lead Jay on an unexpected career path that, really, made perfect sense. “In 1986 I found myself unemployed as an auto body technician, so I started selling skulls as a hobby and finally turned that into a business. As my business grew, so did my collection. By 2000, I was interested in opening up a museum.” And he did just that, and more.

The Museum of Osteology, the only one of its kind in the United States, focuses on the function and form of the skeletal system. They opened in 2010 and display hundreds of specimens they’ve collected from around the world. TripAdvisor even awarded them two Certificates of Excellence in 2013 and 2014. “(The museum) took off in a way we were barely prepared for,” says oldest son, Jay Villemarette, Jr. “It really started to give us a lot of ideas. We realized this collection was very valuable to people and they wanted to come out to see what we have.”

On the heels of success in Oklahoma City, Jay Sr. approached his sons to help expand the business. “We’re a family oriented attraction and museum,” he says. “We wanted to do something with the public and so many people come to Orlando, we wanted to be part of that.” FYI, there’s a really cool Barnyard Scene set up which shows skeletons from all walks of farm life, including a farmer. “We have a horse, a goat, a potbelly pig, a cow, a sheep… there’s a barn owl and even some rats. It’s a lot of fun and I think people will enjoy themselves.

Family being the operative word. Jay Jr. says the business is indeed a family one, and they’re literally building it all together. “We’re all here. My brothers and my cousin… We’ve been working 12-14 hour days putting the museum together. My dad’s here, and the rest of the family will be flying in a couple of days to help put the finishing touches on everything.”

To give you an idea of how large a feat putting together a museum is, and a museum based around skeletons at that, a human skeleton is comprised of 206 bones. A snake can have double or more of this amount. A blue whale up to 15,000 bones. This is just the skeletons, that’s not including the build out, electrical wiring or the dioramas themselves.

Jay Jr explains, “We’ve put together about 400 skeletons in almost fourteen months. These skeletons don’t go together very quickly. Not only are these skeletons brought to us as a carcass, we have to clean and whiten them before we even begin the articulation. The articulation process can take anywhere from twelve hours to 240 hours depending on the specimen just in drilling and wiring, then the articulation process.” There’s no instruction manual on any of this, folks.

Good news for parents and educators! As with the Museum of Osteology, Orlando’s Skeletons: Animals Unveiled experience is also appropriate for all ages. “My heart is in education,” Jay Sr. explains. “It’s enjoyable to me to watch a child walk up to (an) exhibit and see the ‘wow’ on their faces when they approach and see what’s here.

Our first question we asked while touring, “Are these skeletons real?” Jay Sr.’s answer? YES. “Everything came to us as a carcass. Every skeleton in this museum is REAL. We hand remove as much tissue from the bones as possible and feed them to our (Dermestid) beetles.” Beetles?! Seriously? “Yes, we have insects that actually eat the meat off the bones. It can take up to six month to clean one single skeleton.” 

He’s not kidding. Near the front of the exhibit are two colonies of beetles, encased for all to see, and a time lapse video of them cleaning a tiger skull. In two minutes time you see them devour the flesh like it was a buffet – and to these insects, with a particular set of skills, it is. Because these insects are used so often, Jay and his family even breed them.

Of the many dioramas included in this new attraction, is one dedicated to Florida’s wildlife. “The Florida exhibit offers a wonderful opportunity for teachers as well as parents to bring their children to our museum and see animals native to Florida (unveiled). They’re looking at skeletons of a twelve foot alligator, a black bear and multiple other species as well,” says Jay Sr.

Skeletons: Animals Unveiled Details

  • Hours: 9am to Midnight (last entry at 11pm) beginning May 1st. Open 365 days.
  • Prices: $19.99 for adults, $12.99 for children 3-11, with 3 years old and under being free. Early bird specials, group rates, buyouts and educational lock-in pricing also available.
  • Address: 8441 International Drive, Suite 250, Orlando, FL 32819
  • Phone number: 407-203-6999
  • Email: info@skeletonmuseum.com

ProTip: Groupon Orlando is currently offering Admission for Two or Admission for Four at a discounted rate. Click here for details.

The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando and SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium to open May 4th

May the 4th be with I-Drive 360 and with all of us!

Anticipated news dropped today from Merlin Entertainments. The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando and SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium are all scheduled to open to the public on Monday, May 4th! But wait… it gets better. (Standby for a Selachimorphic dance off…)

Visitors can sign up for ‘exclusive, early access’ (May 1st – 3rd) to all of these attractions via OfficialOrlandoEye.com!

Tickets to each attraction start at $25 ($20 for children 12 and under), however, combination tickets are available across multiple attractions and sister attraction LEGOLAND® Florida.

  • One Attraction: $25 for adults/$20 for children (12 and under)
  • Two Attractions: $39 for adults/$34 for children (12 and under)
  • Three Attractions: $49 for adults/$44 for children (12 and under)
  • Three Attractions and LEGOLAND Florida: $99 for adults/$94 for children (12 and under)

Added bonus for LEGOLAND fans, there’s a transportation option! A shuttle will pick your party up in the morning and drop you off on the first level of I-Drive 360’s parking garage daily, and it’s only $5 per person (plus tax)! Click here for operating schedule, park hours and to book in advance.

“We’re proud to offer economical and flexible pricing for all of our attractions so that guests will be able to fit in a visit to I-Drive 360 into that overall Orlando experience,” said Merlin Entertainments’ James Paulding at this morning’s press conference.

Tussauds Neil Patrick Harris

Also revealed at this morning’s press conference was Madame Tussaud’s newest figure addition. We know How I Met Your Mother fans will ‘suit up’ to meet Neil Patrick Harris as ‘Barney Stinson!’ Stay tuned after the reveal to meet Left Shark‘s dancing nemesis, Magnus from SEA LIFE Orlando.

SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium begins installation on ocean tunnel

By: @jenvargas

If you followed us all last week, you saw and heard A LOT about parks and attractions from the hallowed floors of Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) as we visited the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). Today we bring you cool news from our own Sea Life Orlando Aquarium at I-Drive 360!

SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium_360 Degree Underwater Tunnel Installation

Photo courtesy of SEA LIFE Orlando

 

Installation began today on SEA LIFE Orlando’s 360 degree underwater ocean tunnel! This enormous tunnel weighs in at nearly 18,000 pounds (roughly five cars) and will eventually feature a 360 degree view of SEA LIFE’s 5,000 creatures. We heard it through the SEA LIFE Grapevine suspect Orlando’s might look like the one in this photo at SEA LIFE Aquarium in Grapevine, Texas. Cool, right? (Sleepover, anyone?)

Prior to its opening date, SEA LIFE partnered locally with The Turtle Hospital out of Marathon, Florida and The Coral Restoration Foundation out of Key Largo, in effort to educating visitors and local families on the importance of conservation and celebrating all creatures of the sea, big and small. Through their independent charity, The SEA LIFE Marine Conservation Trust, guests help the cause simply by visiting. Their Breed, Rescue, Protect initiatives help rescue the sick or injured, protect against pollution and breed thirteen species of endangered rays (and more!) around the world.

(PSST! We’ll link even more info and a nifty interview soon courtesy of our pals at Wearables4good.org!)

Top 5 Reasons to Play Detective at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows

Tired of watching the BBC Sherlock? Put on your sharpest thinking cap and head out to International Drive for dinner sometime to try your detective skills at Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Shows!

The hospitable folks at Sleuths invited Central Florida Top 5 to pay a visit for dinner along with a group of lady bloggers. We visited their recently renovated I-Drive theater in September, and found great food, an enjoyable well-paced format, and family-friendly hilarity as we watched their production of Squire’s Inn.

Squires Inn Show Sleuths Mystery Dinner Theater

‘The Squires Inn’ performed at Sleuths. Photo Credit: Kelly Green.

For those of you who have never been to Sleuths, here’s five awesome reasons you should check them out.

1. There’s a show every night of the year.

So there’s no excuse not to go sometime. Seriously, though, private groups are also welcome and they have three different theaters for their 13 different shows. Performances usually start at 7:30pm, and run about 2 1/2 hours. / In fact, Sleuths even invites Central Florida residents and visitors to spend the holidays with them.

Every year on Thanksgiving, they host a special 12pm matinee in addition to the 7:30pm show. In addition to the usual appetizers and unlimited drinks, they serve up a full traditional Thanksgiving dinner: turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes and herb stuffing, sweet potato casserole, vegetables, and cranberry sauce– plus a special mystery dessert.

This year, as the holiday excitement ramps up during the first three weeks of December, Sleuths will be presenting a special Central Florida tradition for the first time: “Dickens by Candlelight,” a special three-person production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol lit almost completely by candles. They’re only running six shows, so be sure to make your reservations if you are interested!

You can even ring in 2015 at Sleuths with their New Year’s Eve mystery party, enjoying an evening of comedy entertainment and dinner, and a champagne toast at midnight.

2. The food is delicious.

During your show, you’ll be served a three-course meal. The characters from the show wander among you while you settle in and start with salad, cheese and crackers, and dinner rolls.

The first half of the show is a scripted 45-minute performance, in which all the clues are presented. Then they stop for intermission, and dinner is served (your choice in advance from lasagna, cornish hen, prime rib, or a vegetarian option). In the second half, the audience asks questions of the characters before another intermission, dessert, and the final ‘whodunit’ reveal.

Also wonderful? The unlimited beer, wine, and soda available throughout the evening. The wait staff at Sleuths is attentive and generous in keeping all glasses full.

mystery dinner theaters on international drive

Photo Credit: © 2014 KH Photographics, www.khphotographics.com

3. They draw some seriously good talent to their casts.

Over 50 Central Florida actors perform in shows at Sleuths, and many of them perform in other major area productions and shows as well. They’ve even drawn some people who have become pretty big names over the last 25 years: Rus Blackwell (Monster, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Banshee),  Jon Freda (The Family, Digital Physics), Brett Rice (The Ultimate Life, Foxcatcher, Mom’s Night Out), Aasif Mandvi (Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Daily Show, The Brink), and Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Suburgatory), and more!

4. The shows are 50% improvised.

I’m not going to lie– the kind of humor you see in shows at Sleuths is more The Muppet Show than Family Guy– and that’s okay. It makes it a great place for whole families (including younger children) to go for an evening out.

The shows themselves are humorous, but the funniest part of the show happens in the second half, when the actors must answer audience questions in character, improvising their responses while still providing necessary details. Depending on the line of questioning, you never know what details you’re going to get!

5. You become the detective.

You and your table are responsible for working together to decide what questions to ask the characters during the Q&A time. Not only that, after everyone responds to the questions, you must individually decide who you believe is responsible for the crime. Guess right, and you could go home with a special detective’s prize!

mystery dinner shows in orlando

Photo Credit: © 2014 KH Photographics, www.khphotographics.com

 

You can also visit Sleuths every Saturday night to watch some good Central Florida stand-up comedy… or stop by for one of their special events like Dickens by Candlelight.

Have you ever been to Sleuths? What was your favorite thing about the performance you saw?

Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows is located at 8267 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. You can visit them online on their website, Facebook, or Twitter.