Tag Archives: international drive

Enter to win Discovery Cove’s Splashy Sweet 16

Coral, the first dolphin born at SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove to mother Jenny, turns Sweet 16 this year, as does Discovery Cove itself!

Coral sweet 16 Discovery CoveBorn October 4, 2000, Coral is having a party that’s going to last all year long, with one lucky person (and 15 of their friends!) receiving the gifts. To celebrate the momentous occasion, SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove is holding a contest where someone will win entry for 16 to Discovery Cove, including:

• 16 All-Inclusive Dolphin Swim Packages

• 2 Private Cabanas

• 2 Nights at an Official SeaWorld HotelCoral sweet 16 2

• Transportation to and from Orlando, Florida

• Tickets to SeaWorld and Aquatica

 

Enter here daily through August 14. A winner will be announced on August 15, 2016 via email.

 

Discovery Cove is what I like to call a Cruise Ship excursion, without the cruise ship! There guests can visit The Grand Reef®, which contains more than 10,000 tropical fish, and the Freshwater Oasis®, featuring playful Asian otters and curious marmoset monkeys. Our family has been just about every year for the past few years and we can’t say enough good things about it. Everything is included: delicious food, drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), treats, wet suit, animal-friendly sunblock… you name it!

Insider tip: Don’t let your kid have unlimited frozen fruit bars. Just one or maybe two. (Do NOT ask for the details on how we learned that, LOL!)

For three consecutive years, Discovery Cove has ranked as one of the top amusement parks and water parks in the world in the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards. For more information on SeaWorld’s gorgeous sister park, visit DiscoveryCove.com.

Did you know?
Coral is an eight-foot, 450-pound dolphin. Her female calf is named, appropriately, Reef!

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!

DRIP Goes Vampire for October

There are plenty of Halloween events going on around town, but this new event from DRIP sounds like a bloody good time.

Performance art group, DRIP, is creating a safe haven for the Vampires and their human friends. Finally there will be a place in Orlando for Vampires to be themselves, sip “Blood” from the Blood Bar, watch dancers enjoy “Blood” baths, take a “Blood” shower, witness human sacrifices, enjoy live music, and full theatrical show featuring performances in paint, sand, “blood”, flying water and more.  The Underground Vampire Bar will be at DRIP for a limited time in October on International Drive just down the street from the New Orlando Eye and on the backside of the Señor Frog’s building.

The Underground Vampire Bar Grand Opening Party takes place Friday, October 9, 2015, kicking off a four-week run.

DRIP founder Jessica Mariko explains: “We’ve been wanting to convert DRIP into a dark and sexy Vampire environment in October for a couple of years and the timing is finally right to make it a reality. I love to create new forms of stimulation and challenge our team to create new twists in our storyline to feature a vampire falling in love with a human, eternal love, heartbreak and the color red!”

Photo credit: Carl Jordan

Photo credit: Carl Jordan

Guests heading to DRIP’s Underground Vampire Bar will start by changing into a limited edition white vampire t-shirt and make their way over to the killer paint station to paint their shirts and paint their friends. Performance artists will be enjoying a bath in the liquid blood hammock while guests grab a drink of choice from the Blood Bar. T-shirt artists will custom design and cut guest’s shirts for $5 and turn them into corsets, dresses, tank tops and more.

There will be a custom vampire DRIP show featuring a live band and dancers telling a story of eternal love and heartbreak.

Post show, guests will join an after party until midnight with DJ Marone, dance floor, interactive blood shower, human sacrifices and one lucky winner will receive a complimentary bottle of DRIP “Bloodeaux” wine nightly at 11:00 PM!

DRIP’s Underground Vampire Bar will be open every Friday and Saturday in October as well as for special events including the Florida Premiere of “Clockwork Orange” on Oct. 15-19, Local Art Night on Oct. 22, and Zombie College Paint Party on Oct. 29.

The Underground Vampire Bar will finish with a closing night party on Halloween, October 31, featuring an after party with “The Bloody Jug Band.”

The Underground Vampire Bar tickets range from $35-$79. Doors and activities open at 8:00PM. Guests will want to dress to get and colorful and wet, shorts and flip-flops are perfect. Age restrictions vary per event.

For a full listing of events and tickets, visit DRIP’s website at  www.ILoveDRIP.com. DRIP is located at 8747 International Dr. Ste. 102, Orlando, Fl 32819 on the backside of the building with Senor Frogs and Denny’s.

 

Featured image credit: Brooke Pifer

Baby It’s Cold Inside – IceBar Orlando

Living in the Sunshine State where temperatures regularly hit 90 degrees and higher the last thing you expect is the frozen tundra. But that’s just what you’ll find on I-Drive amidst the restaurants and tourist spots.

The IceBar Orlando with over 70 tons of hand-carved ice has been featured as one of the top 10 bars on Travel Channel’s “Extreme Barhopping” and “America’s Best Top 10 Destinations” on the Food Network.   

I-Drive, Orlando

When you arrive at the IceBar Orlando you’ll enter through the FIRE Lounge and be greeted by an Ice Princess who’ll help get you ready for your Arctic Adventure. Thermal Coats and Gloves are provided to help you battle the cold and for an additional fee you can upgrade to a (faux) fur coat, to keep you both warm and stylish.

I-Drive,

As you enter the IceBar you can check the temperature, we were at a balmy 15 degrees that evening. Inside this Winter Wonderland, we were greeted by an ice sculpted polar bear, an ice throne, ice tables, ice stools and ice benches. Thankfully all the chairs are covered with a faux fur to keep your bottom from getting too chilly!

Drinks were served at the IceBar in Ice sculpted glasses by a friendly bartender who seemed to be oblivious to the cold, as he poured our colorful and very tasty cocktails I started talking to him and end up finding out he works with a company of bartenders for weddings so I gave him my number for my sisters wedding, and after being served we moved to a table at the back of the IceBar to people watch as the bar filled up.  It wasn’t long before we were rewarded with a fun group of IceBar companions.

I would advise coming early to avoid the crowds and have more time in the IceBar.

I-Drive , Orlando

Management does request that you limit your stays inside the IceBar to 45 minutes or less at one time. You’re free to visit the adjacent FireBar to warm up, enjoy a cocktail and get the blood flowing again while enjoying the music.  When you can feel your feet again and the color has returned to your face it’s time to head back over to the Frozen Tundra for another cocktail.

Just remember to drink responsibly and never drink and drive, we want you to enjoy all Orlando has to offer for many years to come.

ICEBAR Orlando is located at 8967 International Drive in Orlando.  They’re open Sunday – Wednesday from 7 pm – 12 pm; Thursday 7 pm – 1 am; Friday – Saturday 7 pm – 2 am.  Age requirements for entry are  Under 21 from 7 pm – 9pm.  

Little Plates with Big Flavor at Cafe Tu Tu Tango

Twenty years ago on one of my first visits to the Mouse and Orlando, my friends and I stumbled upon Cafe Tu Tu Tango. I remember reading the menu at the door thinking, oh I’m going to need to go out to eat after this dinner….little plates?  Seriously?

Well, was I ever wrong. Not only was the food amazingly delicious, the portions were large enough to share and no one left hungry that night.

I-Drive , Orlando

Fast forward twenty years and I’ve finally made it back to the restaurant that had achieved legendary status on my list of all-time favorite meals. I had often talked about going back to Cafe Tu Tu Tango, but every time I was in Orlando, for one reason or another it just never happened.   Maybe I had imagined how good dinner was. Would reality be as good as my memories?

As I read the menu I was tempted by every dish I read and I was getting a little giddy from the anticipation of what was to come. I needed a little liquid refreshment to calm my nerves and prepare my stomach for the gastronomical wonderland that was sure to follow. The house-made Award Winning Sangria was just what the doctor ordered, it calmed me enough to pick out a few small plates to get the meal started.

I-Drive , Orlando

It didn’t take long to find out that my memory was intact, and truth be told the little plates at Cafe Tu Tu Tango were better than I  had remembered. Fish Taco’s, Argentinean Chimichurri Steak, Tuscan Meatballs, Mediterranean Flatbread and of course Spiced Alligator Bites……sigh.   Delicious beyond belief would be the phrase on my lips at the end of the evening.

As we got ready for another round, our waiter reminded us about dessert….. We almost forgot.

I-Drive , Cafe Tu Tu Tango, Orlando

Desserts were ordered. Creme brulee for my niece, chocolate dipped cheesecake lollipops for my wife and for me the ultimate dessert on the menu, Chocolate Calzone. This dessert was baked to order, stuffed with white and dark chocolate, served with whipped cream and coffee ice cream.   They had to basically roll me out of the restaurant after dessert……sigh

Was I happy? Most definitely! Sometimes reality is better than memories and you can bet I’ll be back to make more memories, and it won’t take another 20 years.

Cafe Tu Tu Tango is located 8625 International Drive in Orlando. Sunday – Thursday  11:30 am – 11 pm; Friday – Saturday 11:30 am  – 12 pm.  Brunch is served on Sundays from 11:30 am – 3:30 pm;  Tu Tu hour Monday – Friday 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

Share small plates with your friends from their scratch kitchen, while you enjoy an amazingly artistic atmosphere and live entertainment.

Review | Escapology: Locked in a room with 60 minutes left to live

Working in a highly secure US government research facility under Dr. Walter Brandt, a high-ranking chemical weapons specialist, to create a highly effective virus capable of eradicating enemy forces with swift pace and deadly accuracy, we discovered that Dr. Brandt went roage.

Orlando Escapology's Antidote Game

Dr. Brandt, like the hired guns of the west hiding his weapons at gun safes laguna hills ca which uses the best reloading press for long range shooting, has decided he would offer his virus to the highest bidder. With national security and the whole of humanity at stake we were tasked with discovering an antidote to the deadly virus.

While working in the laboratory one of our team members accidently knocked a vial of the deadly virus onto the floor. The vial crashes into the floor and plumes of green smoke fill the air.

The lab’s security system detected the breach and went into full lockdown. Alert sirens blare “60 minutes until total decontamination”.

A feeling of dread washed over me, I knew full decontamination meant no organic organism would survive.

The team panicked and rushed to create a suitable antidote, as we toiled away we discovered Dr. Brandt has left clues behind. Clues that could lead to an antidote?

We decided we had a better shot at following the clues than trying to create an antidote of our own.

Feverously we worked to solve one clue after the other, while time ticked away and decontamination drew nearer.

When I heard the lab’s security system announce 30 minutes to total decontamination I began to feel hopeless. How close were we to solving all of his clues? When we solved them, would we find the antidote in time to shut the decontamination down?

I did my best not to let the team see my fear as we all worked together to solve the next set of clues.

Time about to expire, we solved Dr. Brandt’s last clue and found the antidote. To my dismay it was not finished, we needed to complete the chemical reaction to cure ourselves and shut down the security system.

This is a concept that was adopted by a local company called Elitist Gaming which added a similar mini game to their website emulating this massive game.

Cutting it down to the wire our mixture worked! We narrowly escaped and now have an antidote to the deadly virus Dr. Brandt is peddling across the world.

The nation and the world would be safe because of us. If I could only shake the feeling that this was not over, perhaps I could sleep at night.

The lobby inside Escapology Orlando

Escapology’s Antidote game is the first escape room game that I have ever attempted. A lot of effort is put into the experience, and I can say I felt the pressure of having to solve the clues before time, and the rest of us, expired.

We’ve only got an hour! Can we make it out of @EscapologyOrl?! #escapeology

A video posted by Central Florida Top 5 (@centralfltop5) on

While some of the riddles were difficult, Escapology provides a game master to watch over your progress and nudge you in the right direction if you happen to find yourselves stuck along the way.

After successfully completing the escape room (with 13 minutes, 26 seconds to spare) we were greeted with some refreshments, no food or drink (or technology!) allowed in the escape rooms. I really felt this was a nice touch, offering us either coffee, soda, or water to quench our thirst.

I can’t give you any more details, if that’s what you are looking for, you are going to have to experience it for yourself.

Artegon Marketplace Events: May 2015

Artegon Marketplace Orlando (Orange)

Here’s what’s going on at Artegon Marketplace in the month of MAY!

For a listing of even more events, check out more things to do here.

WEEKEND ENTERTAINMENT

SATURDAY, May 2, 1:00pm – 7:00pm

Enjoy a live Jazz Trio all day!

THOMPSON SQUARE LIVE at TOBY KEITH’S

SATURDAY, May 2, 9:00pm – 11:00pm

WEEKEND ENTERTAINMENT

SUNDAY, May 3, 1:00pm – 6:00pm

Enjoy a live Jazz Trio all day!

ORLANDO ART & WELLNESS EXPO

SATURDAY, MAY 16, 12:00pm – 7:00pm

Loft 55 Gallery & Boutique has partnered with Artegon Marketplace to present Orlando’s first-ever Art & Wellness Expo featuring over 100 craftspeople, artisans and wellness vendors. This is a FREE event for the public showcasing Central Florida’s cultural arts and natural health community. Highlights include color therapy yoga; workshops in art therapy and breathe-work/meditation; a live body painting competition using a Ivy and Wilde paint by numbers; aura photography; a community mural; guest speakers; raffles and giveaways; artists at work; live performances, DJs and more! Keynote guest speakers include medical expert and plant-based pharmacist Dustin Rudolph, author of the book “The Empty Medicine Cabinet.” More details, including a Call to Artists page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1572537166353888/

This event is sponsored by: Loft 55 Gallery & Boutique; Artegon Marketplace; Defined Enterprises; Get a Board Foundation; Wolfefx Body Makeup; Cafe TuTu Tango


ART AND WINE STROLL

MONTHLY (3rd Saturday), MAY 16, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

The third Saturday of every month features this FREE art, food and wine stroll through the Village at Artegon Marketplace. Mingle with artisans displaying their hand-crafted items and art while enjoying complimentary bite-sized treats, wine from Orlando’s own Quantum Leap Winery, and the jazz jams of a live three-piece band.

CENTRAL FLORIDA DIECAST CLUB

SUNDAY, May 17, 11:00am – 4:00pm

Community Room; Diecast collectors from across Central Florida meet to sell, trade and talk about their diecast collectibles. All are welcome!

FOOD TRUCK FRIDAYS

MONTHLY (4th Friday), MAY 225:00pm – 9:00pm

Artegon Marketplace’s Food Truck Friday truck rally held on the fourth Friday of every month returns on April 24. Gather on Artegon’s front patio for live music, entertainment and a kaleidoscope of food options, plus savor a unique deal: bring a purchase receipt of at least $10 from The Village at Artegon Marketplace to guest services and redeem for $5 in Food Truck Bucks.

 

ARTEGON SKYTRAIL TEACHER APPRECIATION

Through May 25 (every Monday), 12:00pm – 9:00pm

Free admission with proof of educational profession. Great offers for school groups and non-profit organizations. Call 407-864-3447 for more information.

 

About Artegon Marketplace Orlando:

Artegon Marketplace Orlando is a 1.1 million-square-foot shopping attraction and artisan marketplace that has transformed Orlando shopping into a new kind of experience. Located on the north end of International Drive and catering to local residents and visitors, alike, Artegon Marketplace is the area’s destination for one-of-a-kind stores, shops and foods. Unique to the shopping attraction is The Village at Artegon Marketplace, housing 165 artisanal shops and stores where local craftspeople sell and demonstrate their products and services. Guests can also discover the area’s only Bass Pro Shops, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Sheplers Western Wear and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, plus climb a ropes course, take in a movie at Cinemark Theaters, and much, much more.  For operating hours, directions and more information, visit Artegon Marketplace Orlando (ArtegonOrlando.com.) Like on Facebook and Follow on Twitter and Instagram #ArtegonMarketplace. The center is owned and operated by Paragon Outlet Partners, LLC, considered one of the most influential and forward-thinking development firms in the nation’s retail real estate industry. Check out this website rescomdesigns.com for more information. Additionally, if you’re looking for a diverse array of homes from simple single story to massive beautiful estates with unique designs, search for www.offerpad.com to see

Exclusive Behind the Door Tour of Orlando’s Gods and Monsters

Co-founder Todd Fisher took Central Florida Top 5 on an exclusive tour of the first ever Gods & Monsters which opens on June 13th at the growing Artegon Marketplace! This new, revolutionary pop culture retail experience (and soon to be a not-at-all-secret cool geek headquarters) has been generating quite a buzz online with both nerds and n00bs. Unlike a third of our new Top 5 writers, I was unfamiliar with ‘geek culture’ before going in and honestly a little intimidated! Thankfully Todd Fisher, his business partner Anna and Mr. Online Sales Guy were very welcoming, friendly and super excited to show us around the space.

Gods & Monsters Logo

Many may be familiar with the phrase (or even song by Lana Del Rey) ‘Gods and Monsters’ in one way or another, but how did Orlando’s Gods & Monsters come to be? “Anna, my partner, and I have been in the retail genre game for… ever! I helped run ACME Superstore in Longwood for almost fifteen years, and she’s done her part in the local art community running galleries for just as long,” Todd said.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for both. “It was weird, we both got out of our current jobs at the same time an saw the potential for a team up, I was going to apply to the healthcare jobs canada if nothing would have come up. Just like in the comic books, ‘Wondertwin powers activate!’ She saw the potential of what I could bring to the table, and I saw the same. We decided to join forces and try something a little different than what a lot of places are currently bringing to market. A classier version of the current comic book store model.

GnM1

Side of Artegon Marketplace will look dramatically different on June 13th!

It’s a nearly 20,000 square foot space. It’s an enormous amount of space. We were originally looking at something much, much smaller and, frankly, more manageable… maybe 7,000 square foot. This awesome space kind of fell into our lap at a great deal and we couldn’t pass it up. It was too good to not to take the shot. I really think that the way we’re approaching it – with four separate business models under one roof – I think it can work.

Top 5 things to expect from the Gods & Monsters Grand Opening event on June 13th?

  • Live silk arialists
  • Phantasmagoria (created by our own John DiDonna!) will be performing
  • Tons of local cosplayers and a few secret cosplay celebrities
  • John Cerabino will reveal his new costume build (it’s a surprise)
  • Visiting artists including James Hance of Relentlessly Cheerful Art

Being an infrequent or first time visitor to such a place might make one feel like an outsider. Not so with Gods & Monsters. Everyone is welcome! They hope to be a community hub for all, whether you may be a reader, gamer, collector, fanboy or fangirl. “With a place like us and what we’re about is ALL about community,” Todd says. “Especially in the last several years, we’ve seen a huge upswing in the nerd community being more comfortable with itself. With it being such a staple on tv programming and movies, comic books are cool! When I was in elementary school it was decidedly uncool to be into comics and toys and all that stuff.

What happened? What event over time caused such a Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion nerdaissance? “Something happened in the last twenty years or so that really galvanized the nerd community and brought us together. ‘In our numbers we are stronger,’ “ Todd explains. “They say the geek shall inherit the Earth and… here we are. Obviously we see a potential to bring a community together and, hopefully, that translates to prosperity. It’s symbiotic; I think that we can bring them something and they can keep us afloat to keep giving them things. I’m very hopeful!

The plight of the small business owner is not lost on the team at Gods and Monsters. “It’s been nothing but constant frustration,” Todd says with a laugh.“We were set to open back in November but every kind of possible permitting issue or stumbling block – every possible thing that could possibly go wrong, went wrong. Murphy’s Law… what’s that Nietzsche quote? ‘Everything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?’ I am SO POWERFUL right now!

Tour time! If you can’t bear spoilers, DO NOT READ FURTHER. With 20,000 square feet under their ultility belts, they’ve got a ton of space to fill with nerdy goodness. This is a complete guided tour, so if you have fifteen minutes to spare, watch the video below for the turn-by-turn tour of the entire space front to back!

When you enter the front doors, if you turn around and look up you will see a very large mural by Orlando artist Earl Funk featuring Marvel characters; Rocket Raccoon, Spider-Man, Doc Ock, M.O.D.O.C., Storm and more.

Instagram: @EarlFunk

Orlando artist Earl Funk works on a large mural above the front doors

Turning back around, to the right you will see an Arkham Asylum themed register area. Even the experience in checkout will have really cool interactive components, which we won’t spoil for you. (Ok, it’s REALLY cool and Todd describes it in more detail in the video around the six minute mark.)

GnM Retail

Hard work is being put in by the Gods & Monsters team

In the middle of Gods and Monsters lives a vast retail staging area with lit showcases, toy kiosks and more. “We’ll have your toys, your statues, Hot Toys, Sideshow, Kotobukiya… I’m trying to get the stuff that not every place locally carries, to be that destination for the higher end stuff. And, to showcase that stuff with an eye towards respect that I think that product deserves. A lot of this stuff is art. This will give people an opportunity to see it in good lighting, properly displayed and the bonus is you can take that stuff home with you. That could be IN your home.”

Next is the Gotham themed New Comics and Kids section, both of which will take up a good portion of the right side wall. “We’ll have as wide a selection as I can muster of trade paperbacks on these really awesome (themed) pillar displays.”

Toward the back of the store is The Offworld L.O.U.N.G.E, a concession bar inspired by the Ridley Scott film BladeRunner. “At the beginning of the film he (Harrison Ford as Decker) is getting noodles at the White Dragon Noodle Bar, and we’re trying to theme it as closely to that as we can.” Yes, a noodle bar is also planned!

On the back wall will be a DJ booth/AV section for store atmosphere. Also, in this back section of the store will be themed gaming rooms (three sci-fi, three fantasy), a stage setup with projection and table seating for the concession area. A wall will separate this area from the front of the store and will have mood lighting that can be customized to any tournament, event, concert or gathering.

On the back left hand side of Gods and Monsters will live a fantasy themed gaming retail area that will be fully stocked with cards, dice and other gaming accessories. A large apparel section will neighbor this area; just look for the really cool cosmos, space themed mural. “Not a whole lot of places I find put a lot of money or floor space into an apparel section, and I think… people need clothes, specially a fancy tie from the John Henric UK tie collection. I’m a big fan,” Todd says dryly. A big selection of hats, logo tees, socks and maybe even pajamas will go here.

To the left of the apparel section will be two VIP rooms; one fantasy themed (closer to the gaming area), one sci-fi themed (closer to the side entrance). What’s that you say? A second entrance? Yep! “With the addition of a separate, outside entrance we can do our midnight openings, we can stay open late. Once our concession area opens in January or February, we’ll have beer and wine and can do late night events. We’re very excited about that!” (Oh, and you’ll enter the VIP rooms through a full size TARDIS from Doctor Who!)

The Transmetropolitan Gallery will showcase the work of artists in Central Florida and internationally!

The Transmetropolitan Gallery will showcase the work of artists in Central Florida and internationally!

Heading back to the front entrance is a 1,000 foot ‘high end nerd gallery’ called The Transmetropolitan Gallery, which will showcase original artwork, high value toys, comics and memorabilia. Comic and graphic novel readers will recognize two of the co-owners – Warren Ellis, after whom the gallery is named, and Neil Gaiman, author of the Sandman series among many other works.

ProTip: Neil Gaiman’s wife is Amanda Palmer. She gave THIS amazing TED Talk.

Also with this space comes a great opportunity for Central Florida artists to showcase their work. “We will be accepting submissions to put before a jury to vote on which pieces each month go up. Unless it’s a solo show, or celebrity comic artist show, which we’re planning to do several times a year. Not really (any) restrictions on medium types,” says Anna Young, Co-Founder of Gods & Monsters and Curator of the gallery.

Todd rocks

Co-Owner Todd Fisher, “It’s not always about the money… It’s about sharing this.”

We had to leave you with this great thought from Todd. If there’s one unforgettable takeaway from this post, this is definitely it: “Even if you’ve never picked up a comic in your life, we’re going to make sure – if we have to just give it to you – that you’re going to leave with a comic book in your hand. I want every day to be like Free Comic Book Day,” Todd shares. “It’s not always about the money. It’s not always about taking home a paycheck. It’s about sharing this. It’s about opening up (to) people who haven’t been exposed to this or don’t know the joy of opening up a comic book… or just don’t ‘get’ it. I want them to ‘get’ it. Our mission in all of this is to turn people on to comics, toys and to just show off the space and say ‘Look what you’ve been missing! Come! Let me show you this cool thing!‘”

Note to Artists: Submissions may be sent online or through Gods & Monsters’ Facebook page or by emailing anna(at)godmonsters.com with photos and info for the work submitted.

 

Gods & Monsters is located at 5250 International Drive, Suite E8, Orlando, FL 32819 (inside Artegon Marketplace).

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/godmonsters

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/GodsMonsters_FL

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/godsandmonstersorlando

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.

Leonardo da Vinci Exhibit Producer Takes You Behind the Scenes

Christoph Rahofer, Producer of Orlando’s new Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, “Man – Inventor – Genius” on International Drive took some time out of his busy Grand Opening schedule to talk with us about all things da Vinci!

About the inspiration of the daVinci exhibition itself Christoph says, “It had a lot to do with the daVinci Code. I purchased the book back in 2003 on my summer vacation, which happened to be in Italy. I ran into this very nice family who (had) already been building machines based on da Vinci’s codex for two generations. I thought that was a cool idea so we got together and figured out how to make an exhibition based on da Vinci’s inventions.

Where did it start? “We started off in my hometown in Vienna, Austria with this exhibit,” says Christoph. “That was way back in 2004, and it’s been traveling for ten years to some of the major cities in the world – three continents in fact!”

da vinci logo

So far, the exhibition is scheduled to stay here in Orlando through Summer 2015, after which EMS Entertainment will make a decision to extend its stay or continue on to another state or country. “I hope we can keep it longer here in Orlando. I think it’s also a very interesting, controversial fit to CSI: The Experience, which is right next door. That should be an interesting combination of the two,” he says tongue-in-cheek.

Because of the breadth of inventions and innovations in da Vinci’s repertoire, Christoph and his team came up with four unique classifications to break up the exhibition. “War Machines, Hydraulics, Mechanics and Flight is how we have clustered the different machines that we have on display. Here in the Orlando exhibit, there is about forty two to forty five different machines that you can see,” he says.

They’re built out in three dimensional ways so you can actually see how he meant them to be. We added, at a later stage actually as the original exhibition was just inventions, the other component of da Vinci to really show his genius on the artistic side. We added twenty three of his paintings in original size, re-created.

A large scale reproduction of da Vinci’s The Last Supper, measuring 9 x 5 meters (approximately 29 x 16 feet), is one of the largest art pieces in this exhibition. Here’s where Christoph lets us in on another secret – but you can’t tell anyone, okay? “What you can’t see – I’ll tell you this secret, don’t tell anyone – is you have to have a certain viewpoint,” he confides. “What we detected in doing all the research behind this is that da Vinci, in some kind of hidden formula, suggests a certain distance to the painting that you would have to assume in order to have the right point of view as well as a certain height. What we did here (in Orlando), we lowered the painting and put it on the ground floor in order to not elevate visitors (us!) to watch it from the right perspective.

Christoph went on to teach me something fascinating I had no idea of about Leonardo da Vinci. “We also added the music of da Vinci (to the exhibit). In his time, he was best known as a musician, interestingly. That’s what nobody knows, he was a folk musician! There are no translated scores to be found of his music so we had the University of Vienna Music Department re-create the Renaissance music based on what we know he must have been playing.

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Another cool thing Christoph taught us? da Vinci was a pacifist. ‘So, why did he design all those scary War Machines?’ Just like any other starving artist, they’ve got to eat too! Long before the days of intellectual property and copyright, the only payday Leonardo would see was from that which he successfully created. What his patrons of said machines may not have been aware of was… “da Vinci actually put in some failures into the war machines because, by nature, he was a pacifist. He didn’t like people to get into war but he took the orders, he wanted the money, so he invented some stuff for them but put in failures so they wouldn’t work. ” Clever, right? But, again, don’t tell anyone. We’re sworn to secrecy… right Christoph?
Discover here

Leonardo da Vinci: Man-Inventor-Artist-Genius debuts on International Drive in April

da vinci logo

High renaissance artist Leonardo di see Piero da Vinci is probably best known for his artwork. Tableau pieces like The Last Supper, portraiture such as Mona Lisa, even drawings like Vitruvian Man and The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist have been spotted on anything from cell phone cases to inspired replica murals made from laundry lint. Even a fairly popular movie series staring Tom Hanks mentions his (last) name! Did you know he was also an inventor? A scientist?!

da Vinci 2

A new exhibit from EMS Entertainment called Leonardo da Vinci: Man-Inventor-Artist-Genius, hopes to share all this and more with you (and your family) when it opens on International Drive in April. This internationally traveled exhibition allows visitors a peek into da Vinci’s greatest inventions and features forty models of his most innovative creations. These interactive models, constructed with attention to authenticity and superior craftsmanship, to scale and divided into four themes; Flight, Hydraulics, Mechanics and War Machines.

Also included in this exhibition is a showcase of twenty three replicas of his most famous artwork, so if you’re looking to do a #MonaLisaSelfie, you may be in luck!

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April 15th is Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday, and you’re invited to join in on the celebration! A special Grand Opening event scheduled on Saturday, April 18th (4p – 9p) will include a slew of special guests including; Mark Brisson from Skeletons: Animals Unveiled (also opening soon at I-Drive 360), painting classes from Wine & Canvas, food from our friends at Tin Roof Orlando and a few surprises we can’t tell you about!

Admission for this special event is $20 (which includes admission to CSI: The Experience and Consumed by Art) and a separate meal ticket is only $5.

In addition to all of this, the folks at da Vinci will start a month long food drive on opening weekend, which will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Non-perishable food donations are welcomed and appreciated on Opening Night and all month!

Leonardo da Vinci Orlando Exhibition Details:

  • Hours: 10am – 9pm, Monday through Saturday and 10am – 8pm on Sundays.
  • Prices: $16.99 (Adults), $9.99 (Kids 6-12), 5 years old and under are free
  • Address: 7220 International Drive, Orlando, Florida 32819
  • Educators: Educational programs are coming!

On the Twitters: @LDaVinciOrlando

On the Facebooks: Leonardo da Vinci Orlando Exhibit

 

About EMS Entertainment

EMS Entertainment, a division of Event Marketing Service GmbH, in Vienna, Austria is the official international booking agent & promoter of CSI: The Experience. Since its founding in 1993 by Christoph Rahofer, EMS Entertainment has led successful promotional and marketing campaigns for such world-class exhibits as National Geographic’s Tutankhamun and the World of the Pharaohs, as well as produced shows such as EMS’s own Leonardo Da Vinci: Man – Inventor – Genius, The Barbie Story and World of Games.  http://www.ems-entertainment.com/

I-Drive’s CSI, Titanic, Ripleys and Wonderworks offering new combo ticket

Locals and visitors alike can now visit four of International Drive’s popular attractions on one ticket and for a new, lower price!

Four of Orlando’s popular I-Drive attractions – CSI: The ExperienceTitanic: The Artifact ExhibitionRipley’s Orlando Odditorium and WonderWorks – are now offering a new I-Drive Four Pass ticket that allows guests to visit all four attractions for one low price.

An adult I-Drive Four Pass ticket costs just $74.99 (plus tax); which will save you more than $12 compared to purchasing an adult ticket to each attraction individually. Tickets for children ages 12 and under cost $54.99, a savings of $6+. Children under 3 are free.

ProTip: if you purchase online, there are no service fees!

I-Drive Four Pass tickets are now available and can be purchased at each of the four attractions or online at idrivefourpass.com or by calling the Box Office at (407) 248-1166. Tickets are good for one year from date of purchase and cannot be combined with any other offer or discount.

Have always wanted to go but have never been? Here’s a handy guide to each attraction:

  • WonderWorks: an indoor amusement park for the mind, featuring more than 100 interactive exhibits for all ages to experience, including a ropes course and 4D motion theater ride.
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium: the only place in Orlando where visitors will find shrunken heads, an authentic vampire killing kit, a shooting gallery and a spinning vortex tunnel among the hundreds of oddities, exhibits and artifacts.
  • Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition: tells the dramatic story of the most legendary ocean liner ever built. The 25,000 square foot exhibit features artifacts recovered from Titanic’s wreck site 2.5 miles beneath the ocean’s surface. Guest can walk her decks, peer into her cabins and meet some of the passengers and crew.
  • CSI: The Experience: puts visitors in the role of crime scene investigator, collecting clues and analyzing evidence in lab rooms. After reviewing all the evidence, they submit their report to Gil Grissom to see if they have successfully solved the crime and put the killer behind bars.

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.

Find Out The State of I-Drive on March 11

the state of idrive

We know what’s going on in the International Drive area, do you? Join Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh on March 11th to see what’s in store for the I-Drive corridor! The event and registration are FREE, but make sure to register at http://ocpafl.org/help/trainingseminar/signup.aspx. Topics on the table: growth on I-Drive, international investment, commercial real estate, tourism, transportation and more.

We represent quality-oriented builders that can build just the home you’re wanting at a fair price. All of our real estate agent olathe ks are Certified New Home Sale Professionals (CSP’s). This means we have taken the initiative to get the formal education and gain the experience to help you through the new home construction process.

This address will take place at the Wyndham Orlando Resort (8001 International Drive, Orlando) from 6pm – 8pm and will be moderated by Channel 9’s Shannon Butler. Guests from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) will join Appraiser Singh as well as:

  • Chuck Whittall, President of Unicorp
  • Alejandro Pezzini,  COO of AMP Group
  • Joshua Wallack, COO of Mango’s & SKYPLEX
  • Susan Godorov, VP of Marketing & GM of Pointe Orlando
  • Rich Larkin, GM Wyndham Orlando Resort

Retro Rad Chef Emily Ellyn hosts Cutthroat Kitchen Viewing Party

Emily Cutthroat Kitchen Viewing Party

Parking is FREE. Admission is FREE.

We love Tin Roof Orlando, and…

Who DOESN’T love Chef Emily Ellyn?!

Photo credit: Emily Ellyn Productions

Photo credit: Emily Ellyn Productions

WHAT: Cutthroat Kitchen Viewing Party with Emily Ellyn

WHERE: Tin Roof Orlando at I-Drive 360 (8371 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819)

WHEN: Sunday, February 15th, 9pm

HOW MUCH: FREE admission and parking!

 

About Emily Ellyn: Chef and culinary educator Emily Ellyn is the Home Economics teacher you’ve always wanted!  She single handedly started the Retro Rad cooking movement and encourages everyone to dig through their mother’s recipe box, dust off their pressure cookers, and take the old and make it new.  She takes the retro, remixes it, and makes it RAD. 

With her quirky persona and trademark cat-eye glasses, you’ll find this Retro Rad Diva cooking up fun and inspiring audiences at food events around the world; all while developing her culinary TV career and finishing her Ph.D. in Food Service Education.  Emily also donates her time helping non-profit organizations including Florida Hospital and Give Kids The World, writes for “edible” and “BAR” magazines, and lectures at the University of Central Florida. Through it all, she’s gained a loyal cult following. You’ve seen her on Food Network’s “Food Network Star,” “Cupcake Wars” and morning news shows across the country; as well as a cameo cartoon appearance on the “Simpsons!”

Emily grew up harvesting food and raising animals on a farm in rural Ohio.  Eager to dive into the culinary field, she worked in Cleveland’s top restaurants and started her own catering company while still in high school.  Upon leaving Ohio, Emily graduated with a degree in Restaurant Management from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York.  There, she worked as a teaching assistant until moving to Paris to attend graduate school at Academie Internationale de Management.  Emily then went on to earn two master’s degrees in Hospitality Management; one in Paris and one from UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality and Management in Orlando.

Between appearances, Emily stays busy prepping her first cookbook.  Look for Emily’s return appearance on Food Network in the Spring of 2015!

There’s no doubt that kitchen countertops and cabinetry make a huge statement for a home (for designs, visit www.kitchenistic.com). Kitchen countertops and cabinets that are outdated or old and scratched up bring down the aesthetic appeal of your home. Upgrading them can give you that final touch that’s needed to create a fabulous new interior design. You can contact Seattle countertops specialists located at 22445 76th Avenue S, Kent. There you’ll find the latest in premium countertop surfaces, including quartz showroom, Solid Surface, and Laminate.

About Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen: Cooking skills aren’t enough to win in Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen.  In this competition series chefs must also be crafty, clever and willing to sabotage their opponents. Hosted by Alton Brown as the kitchen’s cunning provocateur, this game features a briefcase of cash, four competitors, three rounds of cooking and auctions where chefs bid on items to help themselves or hinder their opponents.

Fun Spot America + Gatorland = Gator Spot

By: @jenvargas

Gatorland's Mark McHugh and Fun Spot's John Arie Jr

Fun Spot America and Gatorland are broke ground yesterday on a new partnership. As a show of gratitude, Fun Spot thanked the community, who was queued up around the block, by giving away a free breakfast and unlimited wristbands!

Area businesses, partners, fans and friends came out for the occasion including local government officials like Orlando District 6 Commissioner Samuel Ings, (representing the 5th congressional district’s Corrine Brown, Area Director) Ronita Sanders, 10th District Congressman Daniel Webster and City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer who proclaimed January 20th, 2015 “Gator Spot Day at Fun Spot.

Gator Spot Day Proclaimation

This is just an awesome thing for our community. I love Fun Spot, my kids loved it when they were growing up and now my grandkids love Fun Spot,” remarked Congressman Daniel Webster who stopped by while in town. “I think this is just something great for Central Florida and our economy. Our economic generator, one of the major ones is tourism. We have to have people come here, and they do! Many of them come and they visit. They have fun and they go home and tell their friends and their friends come back.

Mayor Dyer agrees, “I spent a lot of time at Gatorland growing up. I’m from Kissimmee so that was OUR tourist attraction. I got to see a lot of gators up close and personal so  I’m proud to be here for the kickoff of Gator Spot.

Orlando continues to be the most visited place in the world,” says Mayor Dyer. “Over 59 million visitors, and when the official count comes out I think it’s going to be close to 62 million for last year. The I-Drive area is an important component of that. Over 5 million visitors last year and 32,000 employees along the I-Drive corridor.

This is really an exciting time for us and Gatorland!” said John Arie Jr, Chief Operating Officer of Fun Spot America Theme Parks. “We’re really happy that Gatorland is part of the family and the Fun Spot family has now come together to make a HUUUGE expansion!

Since Gator Spot is an added value experience at Fun Spot America, what can one expect to see and do? John Arie, Jr. explains, “Gatorland will be providing a very rare white alligator, they’re going to have the only twelve foot and above alligators on I-Drive – that’s not allowed anywhere else. We’re going to have some reptiles, some birds, some snakes… there’s going to be photo opportunities and opportunities to feed the gators as well.

Here’s more from the groundbreaking ceremony including remarks from Mayor Dyer, John Arie Jr, Samuel Ings, Gatorland President and CEO Mark McHugh #throughglass!

First passenger capsule installed on The Orlando Eye

By: @jenvargas

Construction update!

Number One of thirty total glass passenger capsules was installed yesterday on The Orlando Eye at the new I-Drive 360 Complex!

The Orlando Eye installs pax capsule

Over the next two to three weeks you should start seeing The Orlando Eye take even more shape as we start putting more and more capsules on,” said Robin Goodchild, General Manager of The Orlando Eye.

Visitors can expect a fully immersive experience while on or off the 400 foot observation wheel. “It’s going to be an overall fantastic 4D experience of all the sites Central Florida has to offer,” says Goodchild. “Onboard the capsule, not only will you have obviously air conditioning, there will be plenty of space to move around and take in those wonderful views. We’ll also have these tablets that we’ve installed at the moment, and they’re going to be an interactive experience. If there’s any part of Central Florida that you’re not quite sure about, you can zoom in and find a bit more information about that area.

I used my own Glass ‘eye’ (Google Glass) while chatting briefly with Robin, who was fascinated by the device. Here’s our interview…

Fun Spot America gets a little more JAWesome

Fun Spot America and Gatorland

What happens when you pair up one of Central Florida’s oldest, most beloved local attractions with a newer, also loved attraction? Something HUUUUUUUGE *and* JAWesome, that’s what!

Tomorrow, January 20th at 10:30am, Gatorland and Fun Spot America will break ground on their new 15,000 square foot reptile oasis called Gator Spot and they want YOU to stop by to help celebrate!

The interactive attraction will include an impressive array of alligators, an extremely rare leucistic “white” alligator, numerous crocodiles, up-close encounters, photo opportunities and much more. It will also be will be the only location on International Drive to showcase alligators up to 12 feet.

Visitors who arrive at Fun Spot America before 10:20am tomorrow will receive a FREE wristband good for unlimited rides ALL DAY LONG!! Be sure to Like them on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter for a sneak peek!

For many years, Gatorland has investigated opportunities to expand our brand into Orlando’s major tourism district and give folks a taste of our unique entertainment experiences,” states Mark McHugh, Gatorland’s President & CEO.  “John Arie, Sr. and I began talking a year ago, and the more we learned about the history and culture of our two family-owned businesses, the more we realized that this is a perfect fit.

 

Kicking off the grand opening of Gator Spot will be City of Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer, who will share a few thoughts on the collaboration of Fun Spot America and Gatorland. We’ve seen Mayor Dyer a lot on International Drive lately.. and we like it! With all the growth happening within the I-Drive corridor in the next 1-2 years, expect to ‘spot’ him even more.

What a fantastic partnership by two of Central Florida’s largest privately owned theme parks, GATORLAND and FUN SPOT AMERICA THEME PARKS. This new partnership and attraction will give local residents and guests to the area a chance to enjoy two of the area’s most unique experiences at one great location. Partnerships like this create new jobs and that’s great news for the community.” said the Honorable City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

Daily admission to the new Gator Spot at Fun Spot America – Orlando will only cost $6 per person (child/adult).

Keep an eye peeled on Gatorland Orlando’s Twitter [@Gatorland] and Facebook [facebook.com/gatorland] for more fun announcements!

Tin Roof Orlando: Top 5 Favorite Things (so far)…

By: @jenvargas

Your first reaction to hearing the name Tin Roof Orlando might be the same as mine…

The overwhelming urge to yell, “Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiin Roof! Rusted,” a kitschy fermata from The B-52s 1989 smash hit “Love Shack.” When I asked Patrick Neitzer, General Manager of Tin Roof Orlando if people who did this would be laughed at or quickly asked to leave he said, “Heck no! We ENCOURAGE it!

(Note: If this was not your instinctual reaction, that’s okay too. You’re still welcome to visit!)

Firstly, Tin Roof Orlando is a Live Music Joint. It also happens to be a restaurant, soon-to-be featuring an Americana (or, as they describe on their website, TennTex) style menu and a full service bar with indoor AND outdoor seating. Tin Roof opens for business on Monday, January 5th, 2015 at 11am but will be open for a big New Year’s Eve party! (Click here for more information and other big announcements!)

The idea started in Nashville in 2002 when Jason and Elizabeth Sheer wanted to give local musicians a place to jam, as well as a place to hangout when they weren’t cranking it up to 11 on stage. Encouraging locals, musicians and non, to just ‘hang out’ became their mantra and being classified a “Regular,” is the Tin Roof equivalent of being called “Norm!” at Cheers in Boston. Obviously, a high honor.

I hung out recently with the team from Tin Roof Orlando, and was quite impressed with the space. The location, at the entrance to The Orlando Eye and across the way from YardHouse, is very conveniently located. It will be even more visible in the next couple of weeks with the addition of this neon gal standing on – of course – the roof!
Find a lake clarke shores roofing company for more information.

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The 50s-60s roadside feel inside is casual and comfortable. Tin Roof will be open for lunch at 11am and will close at 2am, seven days a week, making it a cool hangout spot for our service industry folks getting out late. Also a great benefit, the neighboring I Drive 360 parking garage is FREE to park. When The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and SeaLife Aquarium are completed, visitors and locals alike could spend a day at the complex, becoming “Regulars” at Tin Roof Orlando in no time!

Things I appreciate about Tin Roof Orlando so far…

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  • The management. They really want their guest to have a great time and come back often!

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  • The bar area is equipped with ample power outlets which have traditional 110 plugs *and* TWO slots to charge via USB! After a long day, I could totally see taking a load off, enjoying a cold one and charging my phone. Of course, I would tip my bar staff handsomely (Hi Sammi!) for this and you should too.

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  • Keep an eye peeled. Nifty little neighborhood touches and shout outs to Florida, Central Florida and other locations with meaning to the staff all over the place! Don’t be surprised to see love for my Reds (Go Big Red Machine) or even a little Roll Tide action.

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  • Since ‘The Roof is a Live Music Joint, they fully embrace local music and encourage them to come out and play! (Bands: For now, email your EPKs and info to infoorlando[at]tinroofbars.com) Speaking of, music (and vinyl) lovers will also appreciate the decor…

I haven’t sampled their menu items… yet. You’ll see yummy menu photos and Instagrams in another blog very soon! Here are my Top 5 most anticipated menu items:

  • Chicken and Waffle Nuggets (w/ Benton’s bacon-maple syrup)
  • Buttermilk Tenders (buffalo style, tons of ranch)
  • O-Eye Mac & Cheese (maple-smoked white cheddar & breadcrumbs) <– YES!!!
  • Hot Chicken Torta (Buttermilk fried chicken rubbed with cayenne, ranch potato salad and pickles on a Mexican style roll)
  • Roof Burger (white cheddar cheese & all the fixins including bacon)

Will you be a ‘Regular?’ I know I will!

The Orlando Eye gets festive!

Is that Santa at The Orlando Eye?? Maybe he needed to defrost? Or a quick staycation before the busy season?

Can you believe it? Only a week left until Christmas!! And right around the corner… Spring 2015 and the opening of The Orlando Eye!

With The Orlando Eye growing to 400-feet and the outer wheel nearly complete, Santa felt compelled to put a star on top so the reindeer knew to fly a little bit higher than usual.

With The Orlando Eye growing to 400-feet and the outer wheel nearly complete, Santa felt compelled to put a star on top so the reindeer knew to fly a little bit higher than usual.