Getting another LEGO up on the competition.
By Peter Covino
LEGOLAND, Central Florida’s kid-friendly theme park is about to get even kid friendlier.
The theme park has announced some new attractions and significant renovations to the theme park’s toddler-dedicated area, which will be called DUPLO Valley.
The remodeled area is scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2014.
Planned enhancements will bring the LEGO DUPLO line of preschool building toys to life with new farm-themed attractions, an air-conditioned indoor play area, and a water play area all geared to toddlers ages 2 to 5. DUPLO Valley will be the ideal place for park guests to play and relax with their toddlers.
New attractions coming to DUPLO Valley include a train, a mini tractor ride, and a water play area. The central feature will be the DUPLO Train where toddlers can board a train on their own or with their parents to explore countryside-themed scenery passing through farms, fishing holes and campgrounds. Just across the way, toddlers can jump on a tractor just their size and help the farmers plow the cornfields and hunt for missing farm animals. For those looking to cool off, the new splash and play area will be refreshingly fun with intermittent water spouts and interactive water elements set among larger than life farm animals with a soft deck for safety.
Another key element will be the existing DUPLO Barn, which will feature significant enhancements to allow kids to play indoors in the comfort of air conditioning. Existing attractions will be enhanced with additional DUPLO farm-themed play areas and a toddler room where parents can relax while kids build with DUPLO bricks. The barn’s Baby Care Center will continue to provide all the amenities to take care of young children. It offers private nursing stations, rocking chairs, microwaves, bottle warmers, high chairs, changing stations, Wi-Fi, cell phone charging stations and more. The Baby Care Center will remain open during construction to accommodate families.
During construction, park guests with toddlers are encouraged to explore the many other attractions the entire family can enjoy including the newest attractions in The LEGO World of Chima presented by Cartoon Network. A complete list of toddler-based attractions can be found at www.legoland.com/toddlers.
The new DUPLO Valley will add more excitement to LEGOLAND Florida’s line-up of more than 50 rides, shows and attractions dedicated to children of ages 2 to 12.
Location: LEGOLAND Florida, One Legoland Way, Winter Haven, FL 33884
LEGOLAND Florida is a 150-acre interactive theme park dedicated to families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. With more than 50 rides, shows and attractions and a water park, LEGOLAND is geared towards family fun! There are currently five other LEGOLAND Parks in the world – LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad, LEGOLAND Billund in Denmark, LEGOLAND Deutschland near Günzburg, Germany and LEGOLAND Windsor outside of London and just opened LEGOLAND Malaysia —the sixth LEGOLAND Park and first in Asia. The LEGOLAND theme parks are a part of Merlin Entertainments Group, the second largest attractions operator in the world. For the most current information, log on to www.LEGOLAND.com.
I have never been to that other big Halloween event, Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens in Tampa, but it looks like they have another pretty good scarefest for 2013.
Howl-O-Scream is playing by the numbers this year, with 13 evils for 2013.
The event runs Thursday-Saturday nights through Oct. 26.
Busch Gardens’ 335 acres will be overgrown with dark, sinister, adult-targeted fun, including new haunted houses, scare zones, a live stage show and the chance to ride coasters in the dark, including Florida’s first triple-launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt. Even the streets themselves aren’t safe with all-new scare zones, led by the 13 evils that have been waiting a century to come out and play.
From the depths of a basement to the eerie bogs of the Bayou, Howl-O-Scream 2013’s new haunted houses are designed to prey on every element of your deepest fears. ·At Howl-O-Scream, even the sidewalks aren’t safe from the things that go bump in the night.
General admission is $89 plus tax. Reduced advance-purchase rates and special offers are available for Busch Gardens pass members at HowlOScream.com. Guests can save $39 on general admission tickets in advance at participating Publix Supermarkets and AAA locations or with promotional codes found at participating Taco Bell, Applebee’s locations in Central Florida and on Fanta products in participating Walgreens.
Take advantage of the best way to see Howl-O-Scream with all-inclusive VIP Packages, which include event admission, a tour guide and your choice of three levels of terrifying special treatment: The Super experience is a three-hour group tour of haunted houses that includes front-of-the-line access. The five-hour Mega experience adds reserved show seating, front-of-the-line access to several roller coasters and preferred parking, and the Ultimate experience adds the Fright Feast dinner buffet and an exclusive tour guide for your private group. All tours include commemorative photos, merchandise discounts and complimentary beverages. Packages start at $65, and pass member discounts are available.
For those who prefer to self-guide themselves through the event but want the front-of-the-line perks, there’s the Front Line Fear pass for $40, which grants no-wait access to seven houses, excluding The Experiment. The Front Line Fear Extreme pass ups the access and also lets guests skip the line at five freaky coasters for $50.
The Thrills & Chills Weekend Pass lets true Halloween fans face their fears over and over again with a long weekend (Thursday through Sunday) of unlimited access to Busch Gardens’ thrills by day and Howl-O-Scream’s chills by night – all for just $89! Or, if you need to keep your adrenaline pumping all month long, the Recurring Nightmare Pass offers unlimited Howl-O-Scream visits on Thursday and Friday nights for just $89 (available only at the ticket windows.)
For out-of-town guests, Wicked Weekend Vacation Packages include Howl-O-Scream admission for two, plus one-night accommodations at one of Busch Gardens’ preferred partner hotels. Prices start at $89 per adult, tax inclusive, based on double occupancy. Stay two nights as part of the Thrills and Chills Weekend Package, and get in to Busch Gardens day and night, and enjoy two nights of accommodations. Prices start at $175 per adult, tax inclusive.
And if there’s one thing worse than being terrified, it’s being terrified on an empty stomach. Fright Feast is the most deranged dinner show in town, featuring a buffet of monstrous main courses and devilish desserts, plus an exclusive performance of Fiends. Fright Feast guests are also the first to brave the dark with a half-hour of early access to the all-new haunted houses and front-of-line privileges until 8:30 p.m. Fright Feast is $26 per person, with group rates and discounts for pass and Fun Card members available.
Howl-O-Scream is a separate ticketed night event. No costumes are allowed. For guest information, visit HowlOScream.com or call 1-888-800-5447. Media contact is Kelly Heckinger, Busch Gardens public relations at 813-987-5097 or Kelly.Heckinger@BuschGardens.com.
Opening that one special present on Christmas Eve is an experience many children look forward to. The contents of that gift can be large or small, but the remarkable feeling that accompanies the package-opening experience is incomparable. It’s warm and toasty. It’s thrilling. It’s a demonstration of appreciation. This distinctive tradition is celebrated by many families during Christmas. Why not immerse loved ones in a new tradition by exploring the effervescent wonder wrapped inside a package at Christmas at Gaylord Palms Resort?
You don’t want to miss the spectacular live entertainment and famous 54-foot-tall majestic Christmas tree coming to life in a magnificent tree-lighting ceremony. Dripping with poinsettias, more than 2 million twinkling lights and lavish holiday displays, the resort is sure to warm up your stay. Add a splash of Luminescence, the spirited show that crowds have grown to love, and visit with some DreamWorks Animation characters to spice up the tradition.
Speaking of tradition, join Frosty the Snowman™ and his friends at this year’s ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman in a colorfully frozen retelling of the original holiday classic. More than 2 million pounds of hand-carved vibrant ice sculptures bring your favorite scenes to life in a 9-degree ice palace. Slide down the four, two-story ice slides in the slide room and then visit the Frostbite Factory – a live ice-carving zone featuring Artisans in Action – where you can get up close to watch a masterful ice carver from Harbin, China, create amazing sculptures before your eyes! And what’s Christmas without Santa? Warm up with some hot cocoa and have your photo taken with Jolly Old St. Nick.
Delectable dining opportunities and countless other activities are available for you to enjoy within the resort, but the best way to benefit from all that Gaylord Palms has to offer is to unwrap the splendor of these great packages:
The Christmassy DreamWorks Experience (starting at $223 per night)
One night room accommodations
Tickets to ICE! including unlimited/priority access during your stay
DreamWorks Character Meet & Greets with priority access
ShrekFeast Character Breakfast at Villa de Flora: Kids will love becoming an honorary Ogre and joining Shrek and friends for a fairytale feast fit for a king.
DreamWorks All-Star Adventure Scavenger Hunt
DreamWorks Welcome Amenity
Souvenir Family Photo
Christmas at Gaylord Palms (starting at $183 per night)
One night room accommodations
Tickets to ICE! including unlimited access during your stay
Access to DreamWorks Character Meet & Greets
Souvenir Family Photo
ICE! is open daily from Nov. 23, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014, including holidays. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.ChristmasAtGaylordPalms.com.