theflyerWet ‘n Wild

With new attractions and adventures opening at Orlando’s world famous theme parks, 2010 is sure to be an exciting year. And a whole range of new accommodation options – from eco-friendly to luxury – just adds to the mix.

Theme Parks
Walt Disney World celebrates volunteering with their “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” program. One million people who perform volunteer service with a participating organization will receive a free one-day admission ticket to Walt Disney World Resort. Guests can go to disneyparks.ca to search for volunteer opportunities available through the HandsOn Network.

wdwWalt Disney WorldIn other Walt Disney World news, Sum of All Thrills, at Epcot, has opened allowing guests to design their own thrill ride and then experience the ride in a simulator attached to a giant robotic arm. And Disney’s Hollywood Studios will create a 3-D version of “Star Tours”, based on the Star Wars films, set debut in 2011.

Disney’s Magic Kingdom will vastly increase the size of Fantasyland by 2013. Additions include the opportunity to: visit a Disney Princess in her castle, cottage or chateau to dance with Cinderella, celebrate Sleeping Beauty’s birthday with the Good Fairies or join Belle in an enchanting story performance in the Beast’s castle library; dine in one of three enchanted rooms inside the Beast’s castle; fly with Dumbo above brand new circus grounds; journey under the sea with Ariel, The Little Mermaid, in her own attraction; and meet Tinker Bell and her friends in the magical world of Pixie Hollow.

Wet ‘n Wild, offers themed rides, multi-person rides and pure thrills. Lights, sounds and subliminal messages blow your clients’ minds on the Brain WashTM! while the Black HoleTM: The Next Generation offers gravity-defying deep space adventure on a two-person hydra capsule; Disco H2OTM features funky sounds and dancing lights; and the Bomb Bay offers the ultimate “free-fall”. There are pint-sized thrills in the interactive Kid’s Park and a soothing soak in the Lazy River. Wet ‘n Wild is open year-round with pools heated seasonally.

This spring, Universal Orlando Resort opens “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” where guests can experience the magical world of J.K. Rowling’s popular Harry Potter series. The new land at Islands of Adventure features Harry Potter-themed rides, dining and shopping experiences. And, Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Water Park, opens a new high-speed tube slide, Omaka Rocka.

Attractions
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay opens “Sesame Street Safari of Fun” this spring with rides, shows and adventures featuring Elmo, Big Bird and all their friends including “Air Grover,” a junior roller coaster; “Oscar’s Swamp Stomp,” a water ride; “Elmo’s Safari Go-Round,” a tribal-inspired carousel; and “Sesame Street presents Lights, Camera, Imagination!”, a 4-D theatre.

Dinosaur World has added new juvenile and baby dinosaurs to its collection of 150 life-size dinosaurs. The Chasmasaurus family has grown by adding three babies and two juveniles and the Styracasaurus family has grown with twins, both babies and juveniles.

Kissimmee Air Museum has expanded its flight operations by adding Kissimmee Helicopters, which offer flights and instruction to both pilots and non-pilots alike in a Robinson 44 helicopter. Introductory flights start at US $95 for a 15-minute hands-on instructional flight. A 30-minute flight is US $180 and a 60-minute flight is US $350.

Accommodations
Comfort Suites Orlando Airport is now open with 95 suite rooms, free hot breakfast, local calls, business centre, computers in all rooms, Wi-Fi, onsite fitness centre and an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi. Complimentary shuttle service is also offered to Orlando International Airport and The Florida Mall.

Disney Vacation Club opened Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Bay Lake Tower has 295 two-bedroom villas and is the closest resort to the Magic Kingdom.

The International Plaza Resort & Spa has officially become DoubleTree Resort Orlando-International Drive. The resort has received a US $35 million makeover of its guest rooms and lobby and offers hotel amenities including a pool and multiple restaurants.

Hilton Hotels has unveiled two new EcoGreen hotels in Lake Buena Vista – Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites by Hilton, jointly referred to as The Midtown Hiltons Lake Buena Vista. Resource conservation has been the overall objective for this Green Lodging Partner project. Conservation design efforts strategically positioned the hotels for ideal access to a shared Caribbean-style pool/spa, fitness centre, video game room and sports court.

Hilton Hotels has opened two new properties, Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek as part of their new Bonnet Creek resort. The Waldorf Astoria Orlando features 497 rooms, a golf course, a spa and signature restaurants. Adjacent to the Waldorf Astoria, the 1,000-room Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek offers a lagoon-style pool and six restaurants and bars. Also, Hilton Orlando, the first hotel to provide a covered, open-air walkway to the Orange County Convention Center, has opened its 1,400-room hotel.

The Westin Lake Mary, Orlando North, a new hotel from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., is now open with 253 guest rooms, 1,301 square metres of meeting space and a signature restaurant, Shula's 347 Grill.

Magicard
magiccardWalt Disney WorldThe Orlando CVB unveiled its 2010 Orlando Magicard which provides year-round savings at more than 75 area establishments including attractions, accommodations, restaurants, dinner theatres, ground transportation, golf courses, and cultural arts. The Orlando Magicard is free and can be downloaded at VisitOrlando.com/deals, requested for mail delivery by calling 1-800-551-0181, or picked up at The Official Visitors Center in Orlando. The 2010 version of the card provides expanded offers including theme park deals and other significant savings options such as free nights plus additional free amenities at area accommodations; buy one ticket, get one free offers at attractions; or straight discounts up to 50 per cent.