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Showing posts from February, 2014

Quick Updates: Animal Kingdom (Feb. 28, 2014)

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Welcome to our newest quick photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park to see what is happening there. We will definitely check out the future site of the new Festival of the Lion King theater, but we will also take a general look around the rest of the park. So, without further ado, let us embark on this virtual tour of the park. We hope you will enjoy the pictures. As always, remember to post your comments at the end of this update!:

Busch Gardens: Falcon's Fury Opening Date Announced

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Today is definitely a great day for theme park news! In addition to all the Disney has recently announced, there's also something new coming from Busch Gardens Tampa. In fact, the park has officially announced that their newest thrill ride, Falcon's Fury, will open on MAY 1, 2014.

To share this very important news, Busch Gardens Tampa has also shared with us a new video, showing the installation of this humongous drop tower. Enjoy:

Disney Officially Announces New 24-Hour Character Party

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The official Disney Parks Blog made another major announcement this week (they actually released this new a few hours ago). Other rumors have finally been confirmed: both the Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resorts will host a special 24-hour party this year, featuring many of the famous Disney characters that everyone knows and loves.

Continue reading to find out additional information regarding this upcoming special event:

Special Busch Gardens/Adventure Island Fun Card Offer

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TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 28, 2014) – Guests can take advantage of an unprecedented offer and receive an Adventure Island® Fun Card FREE with the purchase of a Busch Gardens® Tampa Fun Card. This new, limited-time offer let’s guests enjoy unlimited thrills at Busch Gardens  and the water-soaked fun of Adventure Island for $92 for adults and $87 for children (ages 3-9) with no blackout dates. “We’re excited to bring this extraordinary offer to the loyal Busch Gardens and Adventure Island fans and guests,” said Busch Gardens Park President Jim Dean.

Robot Rocket Rally Coming to Kennedy Space Center

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – A robot revolution will invade Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex March 14-16 for the first-ever Robot Rocket Rally, a three-day festival celebrating the latest in robotic technology from NASA, industry leaders and universities. Robot Rocket Rally will allow visitors to explore the fascinating world of robots with examples of NASA-developed robots, discover how robotic technology is lending more than just a helping hand to benefit mankind, meet working robots, hear from robotics experts and even operate a robot. 

Magic Kingdom: Central Hub Expansion Announced

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Great news coming from the Magic Kingdom Park! It looks like the plans that were recently circulating around many Walt Disney World fan sites have just been confirmed. In fact, earlier today, Disney officially confirmed that the hub of the Magic Kingdom Park (the central plaza located at the end of Main Street U.S.A.) is in the process of receiving a major expansion that will include new trees, flowers, bridges, walkways, and themed structures! Here you are additional information regarding this great project, from the Disney Parks Blog:

Typhoon Lagoon Closed Today Due to Adverse Weather

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Please, take note of the following Walt Disney World advisory:

"Be advised that Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will be closed today (Thursday, February 27, 2014) due to expected low temperatures."

As a reminder, Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park is currently under refurbishment.

Islands of Adventure: Tree Removal Starts Soon (PART 1)

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Welcome to our latest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers.

This afternoon we are going to take a look around Islands of Adventure to see what is going on around the park, especially in the area that is rumored to soon become home to the much-awaited King Kong attraction/themed area. That said, we will also take a general look around the rest of the park. So, without further ado, let us embark on this virtual tour of the park. Enjoy:

Islands of Adventure: Tree Removal Starts Soon (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Islands of Adventure photo-update! If you are looking for PART 1 of this same photo-report, click on this link.

In PART 1 we took a look around the entrance of the park (including the beautiful Port of Entry), MARVEL Superhero Island, and some parts of Toon Lagoon. Let's now continue to check out other themed areas of the park:

Islands of Adventure: Tree Removal Starts Soon (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of our newest Islands of Adventure photo-update, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 2 can be found by clicking here.

In PART 2 we walked around the rest of Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park. Now we will conclude this update by checking out the new train station, the Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing. Enjoy!:

Kennedy Space Center Holding Special Atlantis Concert

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Space Shuttle Atlantis, the largest and most comprehensive attraction in the world devoted to the U.S. Space Shuttle Program, will resonate with the inspiring sounds of  “Symphonic Odyssey” performed by the Brevard Symphony Orchestra (BSO) on March 22 at 8 p.m. In a first-of-its-kind concert, the BSO will celebrate its 60th season with an evening of space-related and -inspired music performed beneath the historic orbiter in the $100 million, 90,000-square-foot Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction, which opened in 2013.

SeaWorld Parks: The Return of the $50 Weekday Ticket

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ORLANDO, Fla. (February 25, 2014) – SeaWorld® Orlando and Busch Gardens® Tampa think weekdays need to be celebrated – especially weekdays during spring break.

Both parks are offering a special $50 Weekday Ticket, on sale for only 50 days, good for a single weekday admission to either park, now through May 5, 2014, including spring break. Now, that’s cause for celebration!

Universal Studios Update: A Gorgeous Waterfront (PART 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a quick look around Universal Studios Florida to check out on the progress being done in the areas that are currently under construction. As always, we will focus primarily on the London Embankment, but we will also take a general look around the rest of the park. So, without further ado, let us embark on this virtual tour of the park. We hope you will enjoy the pictures (remember to post your comments at the end of this update!):

Universal Studios Update: A Gorgeous Waterfront (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Universal Studios Florida photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 1 of this same update can be found here.
In part 1, we took a look around the entrance of the park, Hollywood Boulevard, Springfield, and some parts of the London Embankment. Let's now continue to take a look around, focusing on the other half of the park:

WDW: Braille Menus Available at Select Restaurants Soon

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An important update coming from the Walt Disney World Resort:

"Beginning March 1, 2014, additional services will become available to Guests with visual disabilities to enhance their enjoyment of food & beverage locations at the Walt Disney World® Resort and Disneyland® Resort. Braille menus will be available at select food & beverage locations at each theme park and will be provided to Guests upon request.

Festival of Fantasy Parade: Opening Date Announced

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The Walt Disney World Resort announced yesterday that the new "Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade", will debut at the Magic Kingdom Park on Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 3:00 p.m.

The parade will begin in Frontierland near Splash Mountain and will finish up on Main Street, U.S.A. More than 100 Characters will perform, including Maleficent in the form of a colossal clockwork dragon. This new offering will also be available as a FastPass+ experience.

OTPN Reviews: "Universal Orlando: The Unofficial Story"

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Our friends over at Theme Park Tourist recently sent us a copy of their latest book, entitled "Universal Orlando: The Unofficial Story." This book takes a look at the history of one of the greatest theme park resorts ever created, the Universal Orlando Resort. It shows the struggles that the company behind this project had to face, and it also highlights the times when Universal Orlando flourished (as we all know, both theme parks, CityWalk, and the hotels are all looking better than ever today). Here's our official review of this book, written by Nick Sim:

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: More News Released (Feb. 2014)

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The official Disney Parks Blog held a special live chat earlier today, which focused on the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, opening this Spring at the Magic Kingdom Park. Among some of the previously-known facts about the ride (we will include them in our summary anyway), Disney released some new information, photos, and the first (almost) complete ride-through video. Here you are some of the highlights of this live chat (if you would like to read all the messages that were posted, you can do so by clicking HERE):

Orlando Resorts Update: Royal Plaza Hotel Changing Name

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Just a minor news regarding one of the hotels located near the Downtown Disney area (as a reminder, the hotels located along Hotel Plaza Boulevard are not managed by Disney):

"Effective Sunday, February 23, 2014, the Royal Plaza Hotel will be re-named the "B Resort".

Thank you very much for your attention, and see you in just a few minutes with more news.

Magic Kingdom: Getting Ready for Spring (PART 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around the Magic Kingdom Park to check out on the progress being done in the various areas that are currently under construction. As always, we will focus primarily on the still-not-open Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but we will also take a general look around the rest of the park. So, let us start walking (virtually, as we always do) around the park. We hope you will enjoy the pictures and comments:

Magic Kingdom: Getting Ready for Spring (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Magic Kingdom Park photo-report! PART 1 of this same update can be found by clicking on this link.

In PART 1, we took a quick look around the Transportation & Ticket Center (the gateway to the Magic Kingdom Park), the entrance of the park itself, and Main Street U.S.A. Now, we will move on to Adventureland and Frontierland:

Magic Kingdom: Getting Ready for Spring (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of our newest Magic Kingdom Park photo-update, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 2 can be found here.

In PART 2, we explored the deep jungle of Adventureland, the beautiful Caribbean Plaza, and Frontierland. Now, we will focus our attention on Liberty Square and Fantasyland (with plenty of photos of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train):

Magic Kingdom: Getting Ready for Spring (PART 4)

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Welcome to PART 4 of our latest Magic Kingdom Park photo-report! If you are looking for PART 3 of this same update, click on this link.

In PART 3, we checked out Frontierland, Liberty Square, and a few areas of Fantasyland. Now, let's continue to take a look around the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Then, we will come to the conclusion of this update:

Busch Gardens: The Remaining Bands, Brew, & BBQ Acts

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TAMPA, Florida – Busch Gardens® Tampa’s annual Bands, Brew & BBQ festival continues this weekend with some of the biggest names in music.

Now in its seventh straight year, Bands, Brew & BBQ is bigger than ever, filling every Saturday and Sunday through March 9 with an unlimited sampling of more than 100 specialty and craft beers, saucy barbecue from the bay area’s most popular restaurants and live concerts.

The Disney Look.. to the Past! (February 21-27)

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Hello Orlando Theme Park News Readers, and welcome to the newest edition of the weekly feature known as "The Disney Look... to the Past!"

As always, we hope you will enjoy reading all of the following interesting facts about the Walt Disney Parks, Resorts, Movies, and more. If you have any questions about this material, feel free to contact us or leave a message at the end of this post. Thank you!:

Epcot to Expand the “Family Treasures” Gallery this Spring

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 24, 2014) – Walt Disney World Resort guests visiting The American Adventure pavilion at Epcot will see exciting updates as part of an expansion of  ”Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection” this spring.

Additional images, artwork and artifacts related to watershed moments in American history will soon be on display.

Magic Kingdom: Tip Board Merchandise Area Closing

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One of the newest merchandise spots will soon close at the Magic Kingdom Park. Here's the official confirmation, as communicated by the Walt Disney World Resort:

"We regularly and carefully review the offerings in our parks and make adjustments. As a result, the last day of operation for the Tip Board merchandise cart will be Feb. 25, 2014. The products sold here will continue to be available at other merchandise locations."

New Website for the ESPN Wide World of Sports Debuts

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The Walt Disney World Resort recently announced that the "ESPN Wide World of Sports just introduced a completely redesigned website for sports enthusiasts. The site has expanded to deliver a great Guest experience by providing all the necessary resources and information to register and learn anything they need for their amateur sport hosted at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Not only can Guests schedule a competition but they can now plan an entire Disney vacation."

Walt Disney World Resort: Price Increase (Feb. 2014)

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The Orlando Sentinel reported a news that most people may not like. Indeed, the Walt Disney World Resort has increased its park admission prices for the second time in less than 12 months:
A day at the Magic Kingdom Park now costs $99.00 plus tax (previously $94.00);A day at Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom is $94.00 plus tax (previously $90.00). Would you still visit the parks, even if it meant spending more than $100 per person?

SeaWorld Update: One Ocean Still Down (PART 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around SeaWorld Orlando to check out on the progress being done in the various areas that are currently under construction. As always, we will focus primarily on the Shamu Stadium (which is currently still closed for refurbishment), but we will also take a general look around the rest of the park. So, without further ado, let us start this latest tour of the park. We hope you will enjoy the photos, and we look forward to your comments:

SeaWorld Update: One Ocean Still Down (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest  SeaWorld Orlando photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 1 can be found by clicking on this link.

In part 1, we took a look around the entrance of the park, the area surrounding the Manta flying coaster, and Key West . Now, we will continue to check out Key West, and then we will move on to other areas:

SeaWorld Update: One Ocean Still Down (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of our latest SeaWorld Orlando photo-update, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 2 can be found by clicking here.

In part 2, we explored the TurteTrek area, we enjoyed some photos of Blue Horizons, and we walked around the Waterfront. Now, we will continue to check out the park, going toward the area of the park with the highest concentration of thrill rides:

SeaWorld Update: One Ocean Still Down (PART 4)

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Welcome to PART 4 of our newest SeaWorld Orlando photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 3 can be found by clicking on this link.
In part 3, we took a look around Journey to Atlantis, the Kraken, Antarctica, the Pacific Point Preserve, and much more. Now, we will continue enjoying the park, as we come to the conclusion of this huge photo-report:

Festival of Fantasy Parade: Composing the Music

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The new “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade,” opening at the Magic Kingdom Park next month, is expected to have one of the greatest musical scores ever created for a Disney Parade (isn't that what anyone would expect from anything coming from the Walt Disney Company?). The Disney Parks Blog confirms that the parade will feature "an original theme song and score by Composer Mark Hammond, who previously worked on “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure park and the “Flights of Fantasy” parade at Hong Kong Disneyland." Here's a sneak peek:

Aquatica Announces Opening Date for Ihu's Breakaway Falls

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Riders brave a watery free-fall when Ihu’s Breakaway Falls - the tallest, steepest and only multi-drop tower slide of its kind in the southern United States - opens at Aquatica May 9, 2014. At nearly 80 feet tall, Ihu’s Breakaway Falls is where thrill seekers face their fears and each other. After stepping into one of three clear “breakaway boxes,” they’ll watch each other fall one-by-one as the floor underneath them disappears. They’ll never know who’s going to breakaway first – and the anticipation of who drops next is part of the wild ride! 

Mobilizing the Magic at the Walt Disney World Resort

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AT&T and Disney have recently teamed up to improve the network coverage around the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. AT&T recently sent us an update:

"As a follow up to AT&T’s announcement last July around its partnership with Disney Parks to become the official wireless provider for Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, I wanted to let you know that AT&T officially activated a combination of 3G and 4G LTE technologies for the parks.

KSC: This Week in Space (Feb. 20-28, 2014)

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The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex just shared with us the first edition of what looks like a new weekly feature called "This Week in Space." Let's take a look back
On February 20, 1962, John Glenn was the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth. He launched aboard the Mercury spacecraft Friendship 7. The mission was to observe his reactions, then return him back home safely, and it was a success, cementing Glenn as an American hero!

Busch Gardens: Falcon's Fury Preview Video 2

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Busch Gardens Tampa has just released webisode 2 of their Falcon's Fury preview series. The description of the video states the following:
"...We're getting one step closer to unleashing our biggest thrill ride ever. Grab a hard hat and go behind the scenes with engineers Mark Rose and Jeff Hornick to learn more about the nation's soon-to-be Tallest Freestanding Drop Tower, Falcon's Fury. In this webisode, we'll bring you inside the tower itself and show you its custom-designed ride seats." Take a look:

Downtown Disney Update: Pillars Everywhere (PART 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-update, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around Downtown Disney (soon to become Disney Springs) to see what has been done in the various areas that are currently under construction, like the new multi-story garage, the new Starbucks locations, the new bridges, and much more. Since we don't want to waste any more time, let us embark on this virtual tour of this entertainment district. We hope you will enjoy the pictures:

Downtown Disney Update: Pillars Everywhere (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our latest Downtown Disney photo-report, everyone. PART 1 of this same update can be found by clicking here.

In part 1, we focused on the West Side and Pleasure Island areas of Downtown Disney. Now we will move on, heading toward the Marketplace (we will also take a quick look around other sections of Pleasure Island):

SeaWorld Orlando Caring for Female Harbor Seal Rescued

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ORLANDO, Fla. - A wayward female harbor seal was rescued Sunday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) from the Lake Worth Inlet in Palm Beach, Fla. The SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team met up with FWC and transported it to SeaWorld Orlando.

The four-and-a-half-foot-long harbor seal was first reported to NOAA on Saturday morning, where she appeared lethargic and severely underweight and far from her normal waters. 

LEGOLAND Florida Introduces "Bricks 'n' Breakfast"

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LEGOLAND Florida will soon introduce a brand-new VIP Experience, called "Bricks 'n' Breakfast." Here you are the official description of this new special event:
"Enjoy a Sunday breakfast outdoors on our Mansion veranda, overlooking Lake Eloise, with special guests Buddy, Max and one of the LEGO Friends prior to park opening! Each child also receives a LEGO Minifigure. This new experience begins March 2, 2014. Cost is $30 per person, plus tax. Pass Members save 10% on this experience! To Book, Call 1-877-350-5346."

Magic Kingdom Update: Huge FastPass+ Lines (PART 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! This afternoon we are going to take a look around the beautiful Magic Kingdom Park to check out on the progress being done in the various areas that are currently behind walls, and therefore under construction. As always, we will focus primarily on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (which should open soon), but we will also take a general look around the rest of the park. So, without further ado, let us start this latest virtual tour of the park:

Magic Kingdom Update: Huge FastPass+ Lines (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Magic Kingdom Park photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 1 can be found by clicking on this link.
In part 1, we took a look around the entrance of the park, Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, and a section of Frontierland (Splash Mountain). Now, we will continue taking a look around Frontierland, focusing on Big Thunder Mountain:

Magic Kingdom Update: Huge FastPass+ Lines (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of our newest Magic Kingdom Park photo-report! PART 2 of this same update can be found by clicking here.

In part 2 we enjoyed a quick walk through Frontierland, Liberty Square, and some parts of Fantasyland. Now, we will continue to take a look around the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train area and Tomorrowland, as we come to the conclusion of this photo-update:

Harlem Globetrotters and Fun Spot Team Up for Kids

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Fun Spot America and the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters are teaming up for disadvantaged youth.

On Wednesday, February 26, starting at 3:00 p.m., eighteen kids from foster homes will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with a Harlem Globetrotter in-person and ride free of charge at Fun Spot America, located on International Drive. Fun Spot will provide the kids free unlimited armbands for rides as well as pizza & drinks.

Disney Princess Half Marathon Advisories (Feb. 20-23)

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As some of our Readers will already know, runDisney will host the 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend - presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Epcot, Magic Kingdom Park, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex starting from Thursday, February 20, 2014 and will last until Sunday, February 23, 2014. Take note of the following advisories related to this special event, as well as some other special happenings related to this year's Princess Half Marathon (some of them are open to the general public):

Busch Gardens: Week 3 of Bands, Brew & BBQ Event

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TAMPA, Fla. – Busch Gardens® Tampa’s annual Bands, Brew & BBQ festival continues this weekend with more of the biggest names in rock and country music.

Justin Moore, this year’s nominee for The Academy of Country Music’s New Artist of the Year, takes the stage on Saturday, Feb. 22. As a rising country star, Moore is best known for hits, including “Small Town USA” and “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away.”

Orlando Eye Update: Mid-February Construction Report

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around the Orlando Eye complex to check out on the progress being done in the area. As always, we will focus primarily on the huge Orlando Eye observation wheel, but we will also take a general look at the other buildings. So, without further ado, let us embark on this virtual tour. We hope you will enjoy the pictures (remember to post your comments at the end of this update!):

Updates from the Kennedy Space Center (Feb. 17-28, 2014)

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1. Space enthusiasts won’t want to miss space shuttle astronaut Tom Jones’ reddit.com IAmA thread on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. EST. Dr. Jones, a scientist, author and pilot, will address the topics of Human Asteroid Exploration, Planetary Defense and Mars Exploration. A veteran of four space shuttle missions to orbit Earth during his 11 years with NASA, Jones is a highly regarded expert on space travel, exploration and planetary defense. To post questions and participate, go to www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/.