Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate the culture, achievements and experiences of people with a Mexican background living in the United States. Take part in one of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Miami, Cancun, Orlando, Dallas, and in the USA’s south-western regions. Save big with LastMinuteTravel.com low hotel rates!
Get free hotel nights at popular locations across the country from Last Minute Travel. To qualify, just follow @LMTTweets on Twitter and RT (re-tweet) the contest Tweets as instructed. Then, those who follow and RT will be entered into a random drawing for those free hotel nights. We’ll have a new RT promo every few weeks, so check back for new hotel packages and additional chances to win.
The newest “Travel Temptation” is a 2-night stay at Orlando’s Hilton Disney: A four-star hotel close to Downtown Disney and major attractions including Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios. Enter for your chance to stay two nights—on us!
Learn more about this exciting city in our Orlando destination guide.
See official sweepstakes rules for “Travel Temptations”.
Polish up your Joie De Vivre, Air France has announced it will begin non-stop flights between Orlando International Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport starting June 11.
“This is an effort we’ve had going on for probably 20 years to get into France from Orlando,” said Phil Brown, executive director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, who said it took, “persistence with Air France to make it work.”
The addition of other international flights over the last few years has allowed Orlando International Airport to set a new annual record with 2.98 million international passengers arriving or departing in 2009. The airport reports that the 2010 pace also looks to be on record pace, up another 10 percent over last year.
Last week I had the chance to soar over Orlando as part of the MAUIVA sightseeing flight. “Sightseeing from the clouds” is a great marketing line, but my favorite part is how personal the experience is. In a way you get to see what it’s like to be a pilot. You are at an airport with no security at all – head to the hanger and then step onto a plane with the pilot. Put the headset one, hear the air traffic controllers and other pilots calling each other in the lingo I don’t understand.
When you are up in the air over the parks and celebrity houses you get the pilots full attention (except for his focus on actually flying the plane). You can ask him what is that? What are they building there? And he points out Harry Potter or the tree of life.
I actually flew the plane which was pretty crazy – I think I stared so hard at the controls to ensure “the line was between this number and that number” that I didn’t even look out the windshield the entire time I was flying the plane.
The landing is my favorite – soooo smooth. And the runway is so close you feel like you can reach out and touch it as you are landing. I can definitely recommend that you check out MAUIVA for your next trip to Orlando.
Past Survivor winners and players gather at SeaWorld Discovery Cove
Dozens of winners, heroes and villains of Survivor got together at Discovery Cove in Orlando for a day of outwitting, outplaying, outlasting and out-and-out relaxing. Discovery Cove offers visitors the sort of personal one on one experience with wildlife that you can’t get anywhere else in Orlando.
Survivor Winner Natalie White at SeaWorld Discovery Cove
Swimming with dolphins and rays and hand feeding exotic birds were Survivor’s first winner, Richard Hatch; the game’s only two-time winner, Sandra Diaz-Twine; villains Russell Hantz and Courtney Yates; and players Yau-Man Chan and Terry Deitz.
Also at the park were players and winners from The Amazing Race and Big Brother, including Amazing Race winner, Jordan Pious.
The winners and players were in Orlando to benefit Give Kids the World, a non-profit organization that exists only to fulfill the wishes of all children with life-threatening illnesses and their families from around the world to experience a memorable, joyful, cost-free visit to the Central Florida attractions, and to enjoy the magic of Give Kids The World Village for as long as there is a need.
More photos below the jump:
Can’t bear to leave your pet at home while you travel to Central Florida with your family? Don’t worry. A new luxury pet resort to open at Walt Disney World Resort will provide the best care while you’re enjoying the local theme parks.
Reservations are being accepted for pet boarding stays beginning Aug. 27, 2010, for the new Best Friends Pet Care Resort. After it opens, it will be the new central location for all pet boarding at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The one-of-a-kind resort comprises more than 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, including 17,000 square feet of air-conditioned indoor space, 10,000 square feet of covered outdoor runs and play areas, and an expansive private dog park exclusively for the use of pet resort clients and their dogs.
Mickey and Minnie welcome International Pow Wow participants to the Magic Kingdom
The International Pow Wow is a trade show for travel professionals from around the world. Generally deals are made between buyers and suppliers, and everyone gets a chance to see what’s coming over the next year with a special emphasis on the host city.
Disney rolled out the Royalty for the event. Cinderella and her coach made an appearance.
This year the host city is Orlando, FL, which means I got a chance to attend the huge kick-off party last night at Walt Disney World resort’s Magic Kingdom. Disney certainly knows how to throw a party, and Pow Wow participants certainly know how to enjoy one.
Disney Imagineers previewed the coming Fantasyland changes.
Despite a few sprinkles, I’d have to say the event was a big success. Attendees were treated to fabulous food and drink and stations around Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Thirteen attractions were open to ride and enjoy. Plus, Disney had six Imagineers (theme park designers) stationed in Fantasyland to showcase the 2012 expansion of Fantasyland.
Food stations kept everyone satisfied.
Fantasyland will add a new major attraction, The Journey of the Little Mermaid, a groundbreaking Beauty & The Beast restaurant, a half dozen or so new character experiences (where you can spend actual time with a Princess instead of just a quick photo), and an expansion of the popular Dumbo attraction.
Tomorrowland became a space disco.
Dumbo will also get one of Disney’s newest inventions - the waitless queue. Instead of standing in a roped off switchback queue, guests will be handed a special feather and ushered into a giant play area themed to the circus from Dumbo. Once one’s feather color is called out, guests then report to the loading station for boarding of the next flight. This concept had a positive test result this spring at the Rock-n-Rollercoaster.
Giant ice sculptures provided freshly chilled beverages.
The night ended with special showing of “Wishes” fireworks spectacular. Pow Wow guests were issued special ‘Mickey Vision’ glasses that turned every explosion into a shower of Mickey Mouse shapes. It was quite a unique way to view the show.
The Ice Pool Tables were popular.
As the crowd filtered out, Disney had yet one more surprise — a preview of the Main Street Electrical Parade, which is returning to the Magic Kingdom beginning June 6th as part of the Summer Nightastic! promotion. Summer Nightastic! will also include a new fireworks show, dance parties, concerts, and other surprises. So stay tuned.
Popular Pixie Tinker Bell leads the Disney’s Electrical Parade in a new float.
If this has you excited, like it does me, make sure to visit Last Minute Travel’s special section on travel to Walt Disney World.
Located in the middle of the I-4, 408, and 426 on East Colonial (a short distance from the Orlando Executive Airport) is one of The Beautiful City’s food treasures. Keep an eye out for Hot Dog Heaven’s iconic hot dog on a pitchfork sign and get your photo taken with the “Big Frank” hot dog truck.
Hot Dog Heaven (facebook) specializes in Chicago style hot dogs. To be a Chicago dog you have to be 100% pure beef, smoked to perfection, and then served on a freshly steamed poppy seed bun. Choose your Chicago-sourced toppings, which can include Nuclear Green Relish, Hot Peppers, Slaw, Kraut, Chili, or even 1000 Island Dressing, and enjoy a classic. You really haven’t lived until you’ve enjoyed a Reuben Dog from Hot Dog Heaven. Prices range from the affordable to the very affordable. Be prepared to wait as word has gotten out about this foodie find.
Hot Dog Heaven proves there’s more to do in Orlando than just the theme parks. Where’s the best place to get a hot dog fix where you live?
It sounds like flights to some parts of Europe have resumed today, but others continue to be delayed. If you’re stranded in Orlando, then you should know about some of the local attractions reaching out to provide you some hospitality.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is offering free one-day admission to any United Kingdom, Irish or Continental European tourists stranded in Florida due to the interruption in international air travel caused by Icelandic volcanic ash.
The offer is valid starting Saturday, April 17, 2010 at SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica in Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
Stranded tourists must present to the parks’ front gate Guest Services window a valid return airline ticket from Wednesday, April 14, 2010 through Wednesday, April 21, 2010 or until normal flight schedules resume.
One ticket will be offered at each park for each return flight ticket presented. Children under age 3 are free. Further information is available by calling 1-888-800-5447.
Hogwarts Express stands at the entrance to Hogsmeade
Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s compelling stories and characters, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience complete with multiple themed attractions, shops and a restaurant. Set to open this spring the immersive experience will wow guests with three major rides and a host of smaller shops, attractions, and dining locations that will put you right into the world of Harry Potter.
From the front archway of Hogsmeade to the immensity of Hogwarts castle, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will feature the locations listed below:
- At the entrance of Hogsmeade, billowing steam and an iconic whistle signal the arrival of the Hogwarts Express into Hogsmeade station
- Across the way is Zonko’s, a joke shop with a collection of tricks and jokes, including Extendable Ears, Boxing Telescopes and Sneakoscopes
- Honeydukes is next door and full of treats like Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans
- The Three Broomsticks and adjacent Hog’s Head pub will feature traditional British fare and drinks including Butterbeer and pumpkin juice
- Across from the Three Broomsticks is The Owlery, where owls roost and await their next delivery
- The Owl Post sends letters with a certified Hogsmeade postmark and sells official stamps from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Ollivanders wand shop is an incredible interactive experience where the wand chooses the wizard
- Completing Hogsmeade is Dervish and Banges, the magical instruments and equipment shop featuring Quidditch equipment, Triwizard apparel, Spectrespecs and Remembralls
- The first attraction, Dragon Challenge, features a twin high-speed roller coaster with many iconic elements from the Triwizard Tournament
- Next is Flight of the Hippogriff, a family coaster simulating a Hippogriff training flight over the grounds of Hogwarts castle
- Located in Hogwarts castle, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a thrilling new state-of-the-art attraction that uses entirely new technology to bring the magic, characters and stories of Harry Potter to life in ways never before experienced
- Before exiting back into Hogsmeade, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods is full of Ministry of Magic and magical creatures merchandise, Omnioculars, and even remote control Golden Snitches
If you’re excited about booking your own journey to Orlando to explore the magical world of Harry Potter, you’ll be happy to hear that Universal Orlando has set a date for which you’ll be safe to book — May 28th. Technically Universal has announced that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will open in Spring 2010, but enough of the world should be open by May 28th to let you explore. Specific opening information will come as soon as it is available.