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Archive for the ‘Florida’ Category

Oct
11

Red Bull Flugtag 2011 in Tampa Bay

Red Bull Flugtag challenges teams of everyday people to build homemade, human-powered flying machines and pilot them off a 30-foot high deck in hopes of achieving flight. Flugtag means “flying day” in German, but all these crafts ultimately splash into the waters below. They are judged not only on their flight’s distance, but creativity and showmanship as well.

Red Bull Flugtag - Tampa Bay, FL (photo credit: Red Bull)

Red Bull Flugtag - Tampa Bay, FL (photo credit: Red Bull)

The 2011 Flugtag was held theispast weekend in Tampa Bay, Florida. Check out the website for amazing videos of the winners, losers, and Top Ten crashes from years past. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to put on your thinking cap and dream up a flying machine of your own!

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Sep
27

LEGOLAND, Florida set to open on October 15, 2011

In just 17 days, LEGOLAND, Florida is set to open its doors to the biggest Lego park in the world. The park will offer a mix of over 50 rides, shows and attractions, including never before seen Lego models. Daytona International Speedway is re-created from more than 180,000 Lego pieces and 1000 “Minilanders,” as the Lego citizens are called, and allows visitors to race against each other by pressing a button to launch their cars.

Other interactive elements for families to enjoy together will include Pirate’s Cove with a live water-stunt show, and “Miniland” featuring New York City, Las Vegas, Washington DC and more, all created from hundreds of thousands of Lego pieces. You really have to see it to believe it!

Photo courtesy of LEGOLAND, Florida

Photo courtesy of LEGOLAND, Florida

Check out the huge countdown clock at http://florida.legoland.com and start planning a trip today to this unique family-friendly spot!

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Jun
22

Trip of the Week: Summer Holiday 2010

Congratulations to Nick from Lancashire, England, our third winner of Trip of the Week and recipient of a Frommer’s day by day guide to Italy.

Nick built this family-friendly trip to Orlando, Fla., on TravelMuse to enjoy with his spouse and two sons. It definitely looks like fun!

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Why are you taking this trip?
We have two sons, ages 15 and 10, who are pretty active and aren’t the types to laze by the pool for two weeks baking under the sun. After doing the Disney bit back in 2007, we realized that this style of holiday provided just the right mix of relaxation and excitement that would give the whole family the kind of break that we all needed, so we returned in 2009, this time focusing more on the non-Disney side of Orlando.

When considering the cost to take our family of four from England to the usual hotspots of Europe, a trip to Orlando, when planned right, can be more cost effective and we get to stay in a top class accommodation too. It was pretty much a no-brainer where we would end up in 2010. Add to the mix the new Harry Potter attraction and we’re sure to have a great time

What are you most excited about seeing/doing on your trip?

I’ve always loved Sea World and the great conservation work that they do there, plus the kids are quite looking forward to the new Harry Potter attraction at Universal. We have some friends staying a short drive away when we are there and we intend on taking a drive down to their villa to spend some time with them before they set off home.

Some new slides in Aquatica should help keep us entertained, and we can’t wait to get back on the Rip Ride Rocket at Universal, as it had only just opened last time we were there and we only got one ride.

Any other interesting facts you care to share?
Plan, plan, plan.

I’ve learned through plenty of research that you can have a great holiday at the Orlando theme parks without a great deal of waiting in line. The secret is to go on the right days because some parks are busier on certain days than others. The time of day is also important, so plan carefully.

Though it may sound ridiculous, many of the top restaurants like the fabulous California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Mama Melrose at Disney’s Hollywood Studios book up well in advance, so we phone ahead months before traveling to reserve our place.

Have fun in Orlando with your family, Nick! Sounds like you are quite the Orlando expert. Great tips!

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Tell us about your Trips and you could be featured in Trip of the Week–win one of the new Frommer’s Day by Day Guide Books and be entered to win a FREE, luxury Trip for 2 to Waikiki!

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Mar
25

Harry Potter enthusiasts have been waiting (patiently?) for the Orlando-based Islands of Adventure theme park to release the newest batch of details on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction—including the anticipated opening day.

Hogwarts_LR  Hogwarts Castle. Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando.

Hogwarts_LR Hogwarts Castle. Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando.

The attraction is set to open of June 18, 2010. Fans will be able to tour Hogwarts castle, including Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, the Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom, the Room of Requirement and more.

In addition to the grand opening date, Universal Orlando also released the first-ever details of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Take a look at the exclusive film that was shot specifically for the ride, which condenses the “chaos of Harry’s life” into a ride.

Read our previous Wizarding World of Harry Potter blog post for more details on the attraction.

Plan your trip to Orlando, Fla., on TravelMuse.

For up-to-date information, visit www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/

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Jan
19

Miami: Home to Super Bowl XLIV

For those lucky enough to be able to attend the Super Bowl on February 7, 2010, there are a lot of great attractions, hotels and restaurants to visit on your Super Bowl extravaganza. Hosted in Miami Gardens, Fla., Super Bowl XLIV couldn’t be experienced in a more mild-weathered climate, especially considering the deep freeze plaguing the majority of the United States. For those who can’t afford a ticket (the cheapest I found was priced at $1,731 each on StubHub!) but are still interested in visiting Miami, TravelMuse has the best travel-planning information on the home of Super Bowl XLIV.

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Photo: Sarah Ackerman

The Basics


History

Prior to being claimed by the Spanish in 1566, Miami was inhabited by the Tequesta Indians and was better known as Biscayne Bay Country. After a local citrus grower convinced railroad tycoon Henry Flagler to extend his railroad to Miami, the city was officially born in 1896.

How Long to Stay
A Miami vacation makes for a great weekend getaway, especially if you’re looking for a romantic escape. If you plan on bringing the family, allow at least a week to give you time to visit all the attractions and sample Miami’s great hospitality.

Getting Around
If you are staying on the beach, you don’t need to rent a car as it’s easy to get around via taxi, scooter or GoCar. If you’re staying down south or intend on visiting any of the major tourist attractions, it’s advisable to rent a car during your stay.

Transportation from the airport is pretty inexpensive, either by taxi or shuttle. The majority of visitors fly into Miami International Airport (MIA), however Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL) is only about 40 minutes from South Beach. For the most part, flights into Fort Lauderdale are a lot cheaper if you’re flying domestically.

Miami Neighborhoods


Miami Beach & SoBe (South Beach)
South Beach is famous for its architecturally preserved, historic Art Deco buildings dating back to the 1930s and 40s. Also, nightlife is most prominent here, playing host to world-renowned celebrity hangouts, clubs, bars, resorts, boutique hotels and of course, the beach.

Aventura
Classified as North Miami Beach, Aventura is an elegant mix of high-rise apartments, family homes and stylish residents. Located on the mainland, the views along the intercoastals are extraordinary. Affluent and modern, Aventura offers stylish restaurants, Founders Park, the Aventura Mall, a country club, golf course and several great resorts and spas.

Coral Gables & Coconut Grove
From its conception, Coconut Grove has been a haven for the creative, attracting musicians, artists, authors and many a free spirit. Situated on the bay, it boasts gorgeous scenery, a marina, a waterfront park, a host of art galleries, sidewalk cafés, boutiques, open-air shopping mall and numerous excellent restaurants.

Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne is an island located six miles off the coast of Miami and linked to the mainland via the Rickenbacker Causeway. A resort community, Key Biscayne has it all, including the Miami Seaquarium and a wide variety of water sports and outdoor activities.

Downtown Miami and the Brickell Area
Brickell, the center of Miami’s financial district, lies just south of Downtown and the Miami River. Originally more of a business area, Brickell is fast becoming a trendy, vibrant neighborhood filled with sidewalk cafés, restaurants and prestigious hotels catering to business travelers and banking professionals.

Miami Design District

This 18-square block area situated just north of Downtown Miami is filled with a collection of chic and stylish galleries, trendy restaurants and contemporary furniture stores.

Cultural Districts
From Little Haiti and Little Havana, to Liberty City, Hialeah and South Miami-Dade, each district is so culturally diverse, they might as well be countries unto themselves.

Miami 1Photo: Mr. Thomas

Hotels

Being a world-renowned tourist destination, Miami offers plenty of accommodation options. The beaches are lined with boutique hotels, resorts and hotel chains, while downtown Miami and Brickell cater more to the business traveler. However, more options are available than just your average hotel.
An increasingly popular trend, especially on the beach, is condo-hotels, providing visitors with the luxury of a hotel and the convenience of a condo. Generally a fraction of the price of hotels, this option is ideal for longer stays. Read more in our Miami Hotels article.

Additional Information

To read more about Miami’s neighborhoods, find the perfect hotel or decide on the best attractions to visit (including museums, beaches, water activities, restaurants and more), read our full article on Miami, “Miami: The Beaches and Beyond” on TravelMuse.

Plan a trip to Miami on TravelMuse.

Other Miami articles to read on TravelMuse:
Get Your Dough On
Miami’s Top Events and Festivals
So Many Miami Hotels, So Little Time
Best of Miami’s Nightlife Dining
Best Meals in Miami
Hot Miami Wine Bars

* All information on Miami adapted from “Miami: The Beaches and Beyond” by Kim Michele.

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Oct
19

When I first entered the lobby of the new Waldorf Astoria Orlando earlier this month, I immediately noticed the replica of the famous 14-foot clock that sits in the lobby of its New York counterpart and other similar amenities like the Peacock Alley restaurant and bar, Bull & Bear Steakhouse and Sir Harry’s Lounge.

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Photo: Ed Schmidt

What sets the Orlando Waldorf Astoria apart, however, is the property’s decided Florida resort personality. Large open windows in the common areas allow for natural lighting and panoramas of an expansive pool area and lush golf course. The paneled walls and floor in soft creams and the crystal sconces in the lobby add to a fresh, Florida resort feel. The 497 guest rooms and suites are brimming with tropical colors like yellow, tangerine and teal blue accented by Art Deco pieces and rich, dark woods accented by satin nickel.

“To maintain its traditional sense of grandeur and ornament while still filling the space with a fresh, inviting appeal, we incorporated bright colors and rich patterns that give the resort a more vibrant Florida ambiance and a youthful energy,” says Rosie Feinberg, senior designer at Santa Barbara, California-based sfa design.

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Photo: Ed Schmidt

Feinberg says the goal was to infuse the Jazz Age elegance of New York’s Art Deco Waldorf Astoria with the vibrant ambiance of Florida. I think Feinberg’s team achieved their goal. The interior design is fresh and creative and is the antithesis of the thematic resort destination so prevalent in the area.

Surrounded on three sides by Walt Disney World Resort, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando is convenient to everything Disney. The property is part of a 482-acre development that includes the adjacent 1,000-room Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.

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Photo: Ed Schmidt

Enhancing the property’s spacious ambiance is a 7,113-yard Rees Jones-designed championship golf course just a few step from the front door and a 125-acre state protected preserve of waterways and wetlands that are home to turkeys, foxes and migratory birds. Other amenities include a formal swimming pool with private cabanas, a 24,000 square-foot Waldorf Astoria spa by Guerlain and 28,000 square feet of meeting space.

To read a review of the new Waldorf Astoria Golf Club course, check out www.thegolftravelguru.blogspot.com

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Sep
16

The Harry Potter books and movies transported the imaginations of children and adults alike to an enchanting world of adventure and wizardry. Soon, you’ll be able to physically transport your brood to the magical world of Harry Potter—no broomsticks required.

Yesterday, Universal Orlando Resort, along with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, disclosed the first-ever details on the Harry Potter-inspired attraction, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Set to open in spring 2010 at Islands of Adventure in Orlando, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will bring J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series to life for fans to experience first hand.

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Hogwarts Castle. Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando

As you enter through the front archway at Hogsmeade, the characters, locations and magic of Harry Potter will materialize right before your eyes. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will include the following attractions:

  • Hogsmeade station, where the Hogwarts Express will arrive amidst billowing steam
  • Zonko’s joke shop, where you can buy Extendable Ears and Sneakoscopes
  • Honeydukes, which sells candy and treats like Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans
  • Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head, where you can sample British fare and sip drinks like Butterbeer and pumpkin juice
  • The Owl Post, where you can send letters to loved ones with a certified Hogsmeade postmark
  • Ollivanders wand shop, an interactive experience where the wand chooses its wizard
  • The magical instruments and equipment shop, Dervish and Banges, that sells Quidditch equipment and Triwizard apparel
  • Dragon Challenge, a twin high-speed roller coaster featuring many elements of the Triwizard Tournament
  • Flight of the Hippogriff, a family ride that simulates a Hippogriff training flight
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a state-of-the-art attraction using brand new technology to bring the stories of Harry Potter to life in a new and innovative way
  • Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, which sells Harry Potter-inspired souvenirs

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Flight of the Hippogriff. Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando.

For up-to-date information, visit www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/

Read more about Orlando theme parks in our “Orlando: Theme Parks and Beyond” article.

Plan a trip to Orlando, Fla., on TravelMuse.

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