Ride MAKO for Give Kids The World Village

mako for gktwThrill-ride fans itching to board SeaWorld Orlando’s spectacular new Mako roller coaster can skip the lines and be among the first to experience the most anticipated attraction in Central Florida this year, by participating in a special seat auction to benefit Give Kids The World Village.

SeaWorld Orlando and Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) are holding a seat auction that will allow winners to be among the first to ride the Mako coaster on June 8, before the Grand Opening celebration on June 10. It’s a chance to experience the “tallest, fastest and longest coaster in Orlando” and to be part of “hypercoaster” history!

Auction proceeds will help GKTW fulfill the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses whose wish is to visit Orlando’s world-famous theme parks and other attractions.

The seat auction will be available on this link from now until June 3. Riders may pick their preferred seat during the bidding process depending on their desired thrill level: a middle seat in the middle car, or a side-seat in the back.

w Brian Morrow

Brian and I did not take a test ride, but he will take YOU! Please give generously to Give Kids The World Village.

There’s even an exclusive, one-of- a-kind experience – offered at a minimum bid of $2,000 – that will award the winner two seats in the front row, riding with Brian Morrow, Vice President of Theme Park Experience for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Give Kids The World Village President and CEO Pamela Landwirth. In addition, the premium package winner will be awarded a two-night’s stay at a hotel near the theme park and lunch with Morrow, among other perks.

Mako you could be hereThere are 80 additional seats available for auction, offered at a minimum bid of $250 or $500 depending on the train and seat(s) chosen. Winners will receive their selected seat(s), a Mako T-shirt, free parking and admission to SeaWorld Orlando for the remainder of the day.

About Give Kids The World Village
Give Kids The World Village is a 79-acre, nonprofit “storybook” resort, located near Central Florida’s most beloved attractions, where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free vacations.

Celebrating its 30 th anniversary in 2016, GKTW has welcomed more than 144,000 families from all 50 states and 70 countries. Working with more than 240 wish granting organizations, this one-of- a-kind resort is the destination for a child’s wish to visit Florida’s world famous theme parks.

The “storybook” Village has 144 whimsical accommodations and is made for children, featuring a castle, accessible playgrounds, pools and rides, as well as all theme park tickets, meals and entertainment free to all members of the family.

About SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world.

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld rescue team
has helped more than 27,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of globally recognized brands including SeaWorld® , Shamu® and Busch Gardens®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 11 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of- a-kind zoological collection of over 800 species of animals. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

Viva La Musica at SeaWorld

red dancer w dominoesOn Saturday, May 7, musician, composer, singer and trombonist, Willie Colón will perform some of his all-time hits at SeaWorld, Orlando. Then on Saturday, May 14, Latin music legend Wisin will hit the stage and perform some of his record-breaking hits such as “Adrenalina” and “Que Viva la Vida.”

If you’ve not been to Viva La Musica, SeaWorld’s festival of Latin food, music and culture, you’ve been missing out! In addition to the hot Latin sounds, there’s the food. Chef Hector Colon and his staff have outdone themselves this year with new flavors including:blue dancers

o   Piononos – Sweet plantain stuffed with traditional seasoned ground beef

o   Morcilla – Traditional Latin American blood sausage

o   Sorullitos – Caribbean-style fried polenta sticks

chef Gonzales

Chef Colon serves up Tripletas at SeaWorld Orlando’s Viva la Musica

o   Frituras de camarones – Skewered shrimp fritters with fried plantains

o   Lechón asado – Traditional roasted pork rubbed with Caribbean spices

I especially loved the Piononos. The contrast of sweet plaintains with the beef was exciting and delicious. I wasn’t expecting the flavors to meld so well, but then again I don’t make many Latin dishes. (Methinks I need to try now!)

Favorites from years past include piraguas (shaved ice with tropical flavors), bacalaítos (fried salted codfish pancakes), pinchos (skewered grilled meat with fried plantains) and tripletas, a hearty sandwich made with roast pork, chicken, steak and cheese topped with potato sticks and a special sauce. Tripletas are new to me, too. And delish! I think SeaWorld should have a Latin restaurant in the park to serve up some of these creations

IMG_4244

Three meats for the Tripletas.

year-round. I hate having to eat it ALL in one month-long setting, LOL.

You’ll also find Chef’s signature creations around the park. New this year at Mango Joe’s is the Hamburguesa Cubana, a hamburger made with a chorizo, ground beef and pork patty. Plus, guests who visit Seafire Grill, Cypress Bakery and Mango Joe’s will find an array of Latin infused limited-time dishes.

The absolute best item (if you ask me) is the skirt steak with chimichuri sauce (called Churrasco on the menu). Chef Hector Colon let me in on his secret recipe (sort of). Where traditional chimichuri has parsley, the Latin version he’s created substitutes half of the parsley with cilantro. He adds a touch of jalapeno, oregano, red pepper, salt and lots of garlic to the olive oil and apple cider vinegar base. I’ll be creating a copy cat version of this in the near. Stay tuned!

chimichurriWhere can you get this deliciousness? Check your Viva La Musica event guide and look for “Churrasco,” found under section F – Cocia Criolla. This is the long kiosk in the middle of the pathway that serves the full meals. You won’t be disappointed!

Viva la Música activities begin at 12 p.m. each Saturday at the Bayside pathway, with concerts starting at 3 p.m. at Bayside Stadium.

chef Gonzales and Kelly selfie

Daniel’s “Two Too Good” Chili Recipe

Happy Birthday Daniel

Happy Birthday Daniel

This day, 9 years ago…

It was a Tuesday just like today. Chilly out, too. Then, just like now, I shed some tears making dinner, and it wasn’t from chopping the onions.

Because I was on bed rest during my pregnancy, my making the chili I’d been dreaming of all day was not going to happen (by my hands anyway). Thankfully my obliging husband brought in a chair for me to sit in, with an ottoman on which to prop up my feet. The only way this dinner was going to be completed was with me resting, while he did as I directed. (He opened restaurants around the world for 15 years, so I was confident in his abilities!)

chiliEarlier that day he’d stopped by the store to get all the ingredients, so everything would be fresh. While I sat there feeling totally useless, tears welling up in my eyes (I blame the hormones for the emotions that overshadowed the fact that I was growing a human!), my husband chopped and mixed and stirred. The SMELL of that chili cooking started to make me smile, and on this particular night when I still had a touch over 5 weeks to go, it smelled especially heavenly. I let the joy of the meal prep, even by proxy, lift me from the funk of just “laying there.”

Usually we make the chili on one day and serve it the next, or at the very least cook it in the  morning so it can simmer all day long. On this night, though, everyone in the family was impatient so we pressed on.

Two Too Good Chili is my favorite chili ever. Yes, I’ve had some amazing chili from restaurants, at cook-offs, at friends’ houses, etc. But this is my favorite. It took a lot of testing to get it “just right.” I originally named it “Two Too” good because of the two meets, two peppers, two of a LOT of the ingredients. After that evening, though, it would be renamed (in our house, anyway) Daniel’s chili.

We had finished eating our favorite bowl of cold-night goodness and I moved to the living room to watch an Orlando Magic game on T.V I cheered as best I could from my recliner. Then, with the win in the bag and full and very happy belly, I retired to my room where I started to read. It was so quiet and peaceful. And then…

The next few hours saw a flurry of activity at our house. I thought I’d have time to wash my hospital clothes and my son’s homecoming attire, but the contractions that started 18 minutes apart quickly escalated to 2. The best laid plans….

Long story short: at 3:55 a.m. our precious son was born, spent chili bowls still in the sink as we didn’t have time to tend to that as well as getting my about-to-pop-self to the hospital.

I type this as I remember that late night/early morning. I smell Daniel’s Chili simmering on the stove. I ‘m scrolling through all the photos of that wonderful night, too. I can’t believe it’s been 9 years.

On this chilly week, I hope you’ll think of happy miracles in your life too, and enjoy his Too, Two Good Chili. Maybe you’ll cry as you make it, too…  and it won’t be the onions.

Two Too Good Chili, a.k.a. “Daniel’s Chili”

Ingredients:

1 lb coarsely ground chuck
1 pound coarsely ground pork*
2 large white onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 peppers: One red, one green, cut to onion and meat½-in dice
2 c beef stock
2 28-oz can plum tomatoes, coarsely crushed, with juices
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup pickled jalapenos**
¼ cup chili powder more or less, depending on your family’s heat tolerance
2 TBS brown sugar
2 tsp cumin
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne
1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can kidney beans beans, rinsed and drained

*Sometimes I braise beef ribs and use the meat for a second meat texture, if not a different meat itself.
**Remove the seeds if you want less heat

Toppings:

Sour cream
Shredded cheddar cheese
Oyster crackers

Directions:

  1. In large pot, cook meats 8 to 10 minutes. Add onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 more minutes.
  2. Add peppers, stock, tomatoes w/juices, paste, and spices to the meat mixture. Cook uncovered stirring occasionally, 30 minutes at least; all day if you  have time.
  3. Ten minutes before serving, add beans and cook to warm through. Ladle into bowls and top with sour cream and cheese.
Why yes I was snapping pics WHILE giving birth (though this one was just after).

Why yes I was snapping pics WHILE giving birth (though this one was just after).

 

Antiques Vintage and Garden Show February 19–21

antiques showCouncil of 101 is presents the 34th annual Antiques Vintage and Garden Show at the Orlando Museum of Art, from Friday, February 19 through Sunday, February 21, 2016.
The Antiques Vintage and Garden Show will feature a dazzling array of collectibles, original art, fine jewelry, silver, porcelains, ceramics, textiles, florals, and furniture, as well as a wide variety of unique home and garden décor. Some of the nation’s most reputable dealers will be on-hand to showcase sought-after merchandise and share expert tips and knowledge.
In my 1940s gown with my own Antique and Garden collection: A glass basket and white hydrangeas

In my 1940s gown with my own Antique and Garden collection: A glass basket and white hydrangeas

I’m looking forward to the event because I am a vintage kind of gal. My wedding was 1940s style, crocheted snood and all. I scoured antique stores all over to find the right pieces for my step-back-in time tablescapes. Era-appropriate magazines were in various niches along with WWII memorabilia. I feel very “rooted” when admiring and holding things of the past. I find there’s something romantic about holding a wine glass from a by-gone era, knowing your lips are, in fact, kissing the past as you drink. My dress, likewise, was from the ’40s and is the most luxurious vintage textile piece I own (though I have a large retro apron collection that is pretty fabulous, too).

I guess my love of all things vintage is one of the reasons I am currently watching both Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge. When I go to an vintage store or roam the halls of an antique mall, it’s something very special to me. I hold an item and wonder who’s story it’s telling. What secrets did those opera glasses unfold? Whose hand slipped into that ring? Fellow romantics will find much to do and see at the Antiques Vintage and Garden Show.

antique memorabilia weddingEvent speakers and vendors will guide guests in perfecting their individual style and flair from fashion to furnishings. Seasoned purveyors of antiquities and curious appreciators of style and beauty alike will leave with increased knowledge and perhaps some new additions to beautify their own home.

General admission tickets to the Antiques Vintage and Garden Show are $10.
Special Events
This year’s guest speaker is India Hicks, a world-renowned author, model, entrepreneur, TV personality and daughter of famed designer David Hicks. Hicks comes from both British and design royalty. As the goddaughter of the Prince of Wales, Hicks served as a bridesmaid at his wedding to Lady Diana.
India Hicks

India Hicks

Hicks will speak at 11:00am on Friday, February 19, and will sign her books Island Style and Island Life. Tickets for this engagement are $45, and include admission to the Antiques Vintage and Garden Show. There will also be a unique opportunity to experience shopping and refreshments with Hicks that same day. For $125 per person, this VIP event also includes prime seating for Hicks’ presentation.

Opening Night Preview PartyThursday, February 186:30pm to 10:00pm – $95 per person includes complimentary valet parking and show admission for a sneak peek preview

What’s it Worth? Appraisal Days – From 1:00pm to 3:00pm each day, visitors can have their own items appraised by an expert. For anyone who’s ever pondered the true value of a family heirloom, this is the opportunity to find out. Reservations are required and are taken starting at noon each day. There is a two item appraisal limit and the cost is $10 per item.

Mystery Home Tour – Saturday, February 20 – 11:00am to 3:00pm – Inspiration seekers can tour a home that is bound to awaken their creative minds. $35 per person includes show admission.

antique wedding cake topoperTickets are available by calling 407-896-4231, Ext. 254 or by visiting http://omart.org/events/antiques_vintage_and_garden_show/.

Admission to the Antiques Vintage and Garden Show includes general admission to Orlando Museum of Art exhibits. During the show, the museum will feature the Women of Vision: National Geographic Photographers on Assignment special exhibition.

The Antiques Vintage and Garden Show is a longstanding fundraiser event benefiting the Orlando Museum of Art and promoting the museum’s mission to advance the positive impact of art and creativity. Council of 101 has aided in raising over $6 million to support the Orlando Museum of Art.

SWEET Lake Buena Vista Factory Outlet Giveaway

Win a $50 gift card to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores

Reebok shoppersHere in Central Florida we didn’t “really” get much of a winter, so it may seem strange to start talking about spring, but it IS about that time, which means Valentine’s Day is on the horizon AND… we need to all start planning our wardrobes, shoes, and accessories accordingly!

Just in time for a wardrobe update (or for new luggage, or something for the house, or a gift for Valentine’s Day!), I’m happy to be partnering with Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores for a $50 giveaway!

Whenever I’m in the area I stop by because it’s hassle-free and I can find factory-direct premium quality merchandise at savings up to 75% off (and sometimes more). Plus, there’s easy store front parking, so getting in and out quickly is a breeze!
The parking thing is a BIG issue for me. I appreciate the way I can get “in and out” quickly.

Maybe you’re not wanting a new outfit or two, but have gift giving in mind. There’s lots of options for moms, dads and grads in May, too. I find @LBVFS to be an ideal place to shop for all my springtime needs, from leather handbags and strappy sandals to workout gear, swimwear and that perfect, all-occasion dress. I also have great luck finding “unmentionables,” lol. VF Factory Outlet carries loads of beautiful (and practical) bras and panties… just sayin’!

LBVFS Logo.jpeg (1)Here’s your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the mall, where you can select merchandise from designer and name-brand outlet stores, including Express and eSunWear Swimwear Outlet, the newly-expanded Ann Tailor LOFT (yay, I’m so glad they’ve finished the project), plus other well-known outlets including U.S. Polo Assn., Nike, OshKosh B’Gosh, Tommy Hilfiger Stores, G by GUESS, Justice, Carter’s, Crocs, Calvin Klein, Levi’s®, Aeropostale, Converse, Famous Footwear Outlet, Fossil, Rack Room Shoes, and many more. Several stores sell approved uniform merchandise. (NOTE: Gap and Old Navy outlets do not accept gift certificates). If all that shopping makes you hungry, stop by and treat yourself at Lindt Chocolate, while you’re there!

Rafflecopter logo linkEnter NOW

Click on the Rafflecopter icon and follow the prompts. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! This is a short-run contest that ends at midnight, February 6. Good luck!

 Even if you don’t win, you can get in on the savings by downloading a coupon from the Center’s website, then bringing it to Travelpro at the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores to receive a coupon booklet valued up to $400 in savings. Savvy discount shoppers can learn about these discounts, as well as specific stores and their hours by following the center on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as visiting www.lbvfs.com. Many stores offer last-minute deals so it’s a great idea to follow the center and check online frequently! Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is located just one mile from Walt Disney World at 15657 S Apopka Vineland Road (State Road 535) Orlando, FL 32821-6316, two miles south of I-4, Exit 68. Open daily. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10am-9pm, and 10am-7pm on Sunday.

Disclosure: I received a $50 gift card in exchange for this post and my
honest input. I’m not disclosing how much I’ve spent there when I didn’t
have a gift card. ‘Cause it’s more than I’d care to… disclose.

Freezin’ For A Reason 2016

Polar Plunge Freezin' For A Reason at Aquatica by SeaWorld Orlando for Special Olympics FloridaSaturday February 13, the Special Olympics Florida’s Polar Plunge® will be held atSpecial Olympics Florida Aquatica. During this statewide fundraiser, individuals and teams, alongside Special Olympics athletes raise money for the privilege of Plunging into the chilled down wave pool.

Aquatica is usually warm and tropical (as we all know!), but once each year they chill down the wave pool so plungers can experience the “thrill of the chill” all while supporting a great cause.

I remember my first Polar Plunge. It was exciting to be part of such a huge joint adventure, with people from all over in crazy costumes, all “fired up” to get really “chilled down!” Each time it’s a heck of a lot of fun, but more importantly it’s an opportunity to make a difference. Every dollar raised helps the athletes of Special Olympics Florida by transforming their lives through the joy of sports.

Polar Plunge Freezin' For A Reason at Aquatica by SeaWorld Orlando for Special Olympics Florida

It’s loads of fun watching the firemen! The Florida Professional Firefighters are Presenting sponsors.

If you haven’t signed up for the Plunge, and would like to, click this link or if you’d like to leave the “freezing” to me, please support here. (Team members wanted! Join me here.)

There is no cost for plunging but Plungers are asked to fundraise a minimum of $100. Plungers create their own personal Plunge webpage so friends, family and co-workers can donate online. It’s quick, easy and secure.

Spectators are welcome to join in, cheer on, and join the party. Only the wave pool will be chilled down, the rest of the rides are heated. Come for the Plunge, then enjoy Aquatica all day!

If you don’t want to Plunge, but still participate, you can become a Virtual Plunger.  Raise pledges and receive incentives just like a regular Plunger, but without going into the chilly water.

Plungers who raise the minimum of $100 in donations, automatically get entry into Aquatica, the official Polar Plunge® T-shirt, two spectator passes and bragging rights over everyone who just couldn’t bear it!

Please join me in supporting Special Olympics Florida.

 

MonsterJam Roars into Orlando THIS WEEK

MaxDJump

Talk about exciting! Max-D jumped over three Monster Trucks!

Monster Jam will be in Orlando at the Citrus Bowl this week with free truck viewings in and around Central Florida on Thursday, January 21 (more details below). See and take pictures with the enormous trucks and meet the drivers before the beasts roar in to the Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium on Saturday, January 23 for the Metro PCS, Budweiser, Circle K, & Your Southern Ford Dealers present MONSTER JAM® brought to you by BKT Tires!

family at monster jamWe had an absolute blast last weekend at Monster Jam at Raymond James Stadium as guests of Feld Entertainment. If anyone had ever said I’d be a “Monster Jam mom” a few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed them. YES, my 8-year-old and his dad have a blast, but each year I find myself as loud as everyone else in the stands. It really is a load of fun.

If you’ve not been before, here’s what to expect:

Cheer for Monster Mutt1. It’s LOUD. If you’re bringing children, or you’re sensitive to sound bring ear plugs or protective ear-wear (like these Monster Jam Tire Ear Muffs that are adorbs!). I wear them and I can still hear some of the roar, LOL.

2. It’s fun before the event, too. Party in the Pits is a pre-event event in and of itself! Meet the drivers, watch cool moto tricks, get autographs, visit vendors and more. You can get a FREE pit pass at participating Southern Ford Dealers while supplies last. Pit passes are also available for $10 at the Orlando Citrus Bowl box office day of show, or in advance online at ticektmaster.com or charge by phone at 800-745-3000. Same Day event ticket along with pit pass required for entry.

3. The trucks are HUGE! With 66-inch-tall tires and weighing a minimum of 10,000 pounds, Monster Jam stars trucks called “MONSTERS” for a reason! Be sure to take photos of you and your little ones completely dwarfed by the sheer size of these beasts.

4. The excitement is palpable. From the doughnut competition, to the time trials to the freestyle competition, you can feel the energy in the air. With 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower in those trucks and speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, no wonder there’s a charge in the air!

ElToroLoco Jump attempt

Thursday, January 21, 2016 — Monster Trucks are on Display in Central Florida

Monster Energy®     12– 4p     Wal-Mart 3101 Princeton Ave. Orlando, FL 32808

Soldier Fortune®     3– 7p     Circle K – 700 S. Kirkman Rd. Orlando, FL 32825

Stone Crusher®     3– 7p     Gary Yeomans Ford & Lincoln—1420 N. Tomoka Farms Rd. Daytona Beach, FL 32124

Avenger®     3– 7p     Circle K—190 N. HWY 127 Clermont, FL 34711

Max-D®     3– 7p     MetroPCS—1453 Sand Lake Road Orlando, FL 32809

*Trucks listed above are subject to change.

Have fun with your kids before the event with this fun activity pack (click the image). My son loves doing mazes, and there are crafts, and a recipe, too. monster jam activity book

Advance purchase SuperValue Tickets are ONLY $15.  $125 Total Access Pass / $45 Platinum / $35 Gold Sideline / $25 Corners.Tickets are now on sale at www.ticketmaster.com. All seats reserved. Subject to facility fee, plus convenience and handling charges. Don’t wait – buy tickets in advance as prices go up $5 more the week of show (Jan. 18-23). Get more show information at www.MonsterJam.com (click on “Tickets” and search for Orlando January 23). The Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium is located at 1610 W. Church Street, Orlando, FL 32805.

For more information on the Monster Jam, log onto www.MonsterJam.com. To follow Monster Jam on Facebook at Twitter, log on to Facebook.com/MJOnline and Twitter.com/MonsterJam.

Disclosure: Our family received tickets to Monster Jam in Tampa in exchange
for posting information about the Orlando show.

Ringling Brothers LEGENDS! Coming To Orlando

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS℠ plays the Amway Center January 14–18, 2016.

JLI RinglingThe Greatest Show On Earth, one of our favorite events of the year, is coming to town. Children of all ages will marvel at the pageantry, glorious costumes, magnificent animals acts, plus death-defying feats that thrill and chill and I couldn’t be happier about being invited to be a blog ambassador.

Produced by Feld Entertainment, LEGENDS! showcases acts from over 20 countries around the world and unites iconic circus stars with living mythological creatures. Pegasus

Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson guides Paulo the Legend Seeker on his quest to discover real, living legends. Audiences will believe the unbelievable when Paulo meets both Pegasus and a unicorn!

I’m most excited to see…

—big cat presenter Alexander Lacey, whose family has raised more than eleven generations of lions and nine generations of tigers.

—the Riders of the Wind Cossack horseback riders (I find myself squirming and moving in my seat to “help” the riders in their tricks)hourseback riders

—motorcycle daredevils, the Torres Family

—magnificent Asian elephants

—the acrobat troupe perched atop only a pair of bicycles

What I haven’t seen is the new double-wide, high-flying trapeze act! I’m nervous just thinking about it!

Also on my “can’t wait list” is the pre-show event. Free to all ticketholders, the All Access Pre-Show allows circus fans to learn juggling and balancing skills, meet the performers, get autographs, take photos and enter to win a one-of-a-kind Pachyderm Painting.

ringling elephantTicketholders can also purchase an upgrade and go backstage with a VIP Behind the Scenes Tour of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. The backstage experience includes an insider look at props and wardrobe, an up close and personal encounter with the animals and a chance to meet stars from the show. Fans will also have an opportunity to take pictures and learn educational fun facts. Log on to ringlingbros.expapp.com from your iPhone or Android smartphone and provide your name, e-mail and phone number to become a VIP circus insider.
Click here for tickets. As fans and followers, you can save $4 off tickets using promo code performer4MOM. This offer is valid on all shows EXCEPT Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (opening night), Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.( Not valid on Front Row and Premium Seating, nor day of show. Offer valid through January 14.)
Families will find themselves mesmerized by the unprecedented talent showcased in LEGENDS! Says Producer Alana Feld, “My sister [Nicole Feld] and I were speechless when we saw these acts the first time. We searched the world for the best of the best and put them together in an unforgettable show.”
In my behind-the-scenes tour of Feld Entertainment I got to play Ringmaster! I don't look as good as Johnathan Lee Iverson, but...

In my behind-the-scenes tour of Feld Entertainment I got to play Ringmaster! I don’t look as good as Johnathan Lee Iverson, but…

Feld Entertainment, whose philosophy invests passion, innovation and meticulous attention to detail, have produced what is, and has always been called, The Greatest Show On Earth… and for great reason.

The circus is coming to town and we can’t wait!

 

Disclaimer: As a blog ambassador, I received 4 tickets to attend the circus in exchange for this post announcing the show’s arrival. All other promotion I’ve done is because I’m really excited to see the Greatest Show on Earth. Expect your feeds to be full during the show!

Polar Bear Plunge at Gaylord Palms December 18

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter in Central Florida. But don’t go packing away your swimsuit just yet. The ultimate frozen challenge is scheduled to take place at Gaylord Palms and the coolest of the cool will be on hand in their favorite swimsuit. That’s right – swimsuit. Central Floridians will finally have the opportunity to experience a favorite northern tradition – the Polar Bear Plunge.

Guests age 21 and older can visit Gaylord Palms Resort on Friday, Dec. 18, and zoom down the Alpine Rush Snow Tubing hills, jaunt through the 9-degree ICE! attraction and plummet down the two-story ice slides wearing only a bikini or board shorts! The adrenaline rush begins at 8 p.m. when guests are welcomed with a VIP reception, two hours of unlimited access to cosmic snow tubing, the ICE! plunge and a post-event hot chocolate warm up station.

Polar Bear Plunge tickets are $50 plus tax and processing fees and include access to Alpine Rush Snow Tubing and ICE! featuring ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, appetizers and two drink tickets to be redeemed during the event. A portion of all ticket proceeds from the Polar Bear Plunge will be donated to Special Olympics Florida.

What to wear
To get the full Orlando Polar Bear Plunge experience, inductees are encouraged to experience the ICE! and Snow Tubing attractions in their swimsuits for the full chill, but summer clothing such as shorts and a T-shirt can also be worn. Swimsuits must be in good taste, and shoes are required. Along with wearing swimsuits, guests are strongly encouraged to wear hats, gloves, warm socks and other cold-weather accessories. Don’t forget to bring your ugliest Christmas sweater to keep you warm while you wait.

Make Memories. Share Memories.
Don’t leave home without a camera! Guests are encouraged to capture their experiences and share their photos on Twitter and Instagram using #CAGP15. Photos may even be featured on one of the resort’s Central Florida billboards!

The Polar Bear Plunge is a part of Christmas at Gaylord Palms which is open daily through Jan. 3, 2015, including holidays. To purchase tickets and for a schedule of entertainment, visit www.ChristmasatGaylordPalms.com.

Gaylord Palms Resort is located five minutes from the gates of Walt Disney World at 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34746. For more information, visit www.gaylordpalms.com or call 407-586-4423.

Be sure to “Like” Gaylord Palms on Facebook to get the most up-to-date information and promotions.

About Gaylord Hotels®
Gaylord Hotels® is a collection of hotels and upscale resorts that affords endless opportunities for leisure travelers and conventioneers. The brand’s hallmark—“everything in one place”—provides guests with diverse dining options, quality spa and fitness center services, top-notch entertainment, on-site shopping and endless activities. Gaylord Hotels is a pioneer in the hotel and convention industry with properties in the nation’s most desirable destinations. Gaylord Hotels include Gaylord Opryland® in Nashville, Tenn.; Gaylord Palms® in Kissimmee, Fla., near Orlando; Gaylord Texan® on Lake Grapevine, Texas; Gaylord National® on the Potomac River in National Harbor, Md.; and The Inn at Opryland® in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit www.GaylordHotels.com.

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is a leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with more than 4,000 properties in 78 countries and territories and reported revenues of nearly $13 billion in fiscal year 2013. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 18 brands. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at www.Marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.MarriottNewsCenter.com.

Thank you Gaylord Palms for supporting Special Olympics of Florida!

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

I was pretty sure Little Jack Frost moved out of Florida because we’ve just left what I call “fummer” (fall + a heavy dose of summer). It may be winter on the meteorological calendar, but I haven’t believed it because it hasn’t yet feel like it… UNTIL…

Until a visit to ICE! featuring ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas At Gaylord Palms!

Twas the night Gaylord Palms

From the moment you arrive at Gaylord Palms you know you’re in for a holiday treat. The building is draped in gorgeous lights and the sights and sounds on every corner welcome you to the season.

Glorious Tree at Gaylord PalmsThe atrium in Gaylord Palms is spectacular year-round, but for the holidays it literally drips with lights (over 2 million of them!). Guests enjoy a feast of festiveness centered around their glorious 54-foot tree.

Cascading white lights seem like snow falling all around it and, with a dose of holiday magic, the atrium really does “snow” nightly, turning the atrium into one gigantic snow globe!

More holiday magic unfolds with Cirque Dreams UnWrapped.” This fantastical nightly performance (free to the public) blends artistry, acrobatics, gymnastics, theatrics and a whole lot of holiday fun. Because of the performers rotate, each night the show is different, showcasing various incredible skills and feats.

trio of ICE performers Cirque Dreams sm

 

All around the resort, guests can participate in the Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt. Kids (and big kids!) will delight seeing just where the mischievous little guy is perched. Get your “I Spy” skills working as you discover all of his spots.

The main attraction is ICE!

blocks of ice

Blocks of ice waiting to be carved into holiday creations. Frozen “diamonds in the rough.”

The first time I saw ICE! years ago, it almost didn’t seem real. Artisans carve towering blocks of ice into every imaginable shape. This year I was invited to be an “ice-pert” and enjoyed watching the spectacle progress from the day the team from Harbin China arrived through to the grand opening for the season.

The "blank canvas" blocks of ice are now ice slides and a tree with presents.

The blank canvas blocks of ice are now ice slides and a tree with presents.

For 2015, the theme is ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. The classic story unfolds room by room.

Guests will marvel at the incredible detail of each piece, from reindeer horns to a plate of milk and cookies for Santa.

Not only are there amazing sights at every turn, but ice slides and even an ice bar!

My 8-year-old is particularly fond of one of the add-on activities: Alpine Rush Snow Tubing, an eight lane tubing hill that’s covered in REAL SNOW! While I enjoyed going down a few times, he’s been down probably 75 times now (we keep coming back!).

There’s no shortage of holiday happenings at Gaylord Palms Resort for the holidays, and since the days leading up to Christmas are forecast for upper 80s, a trip to Gaylord Palms Resort will give you a chance to not only delight in some of the most magical holiday events of the season, but will give you a wintry chill too!

Disclosure: Our family was invited to preview ICE! featuring ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas and received a night’s stay plus admission to holiday activities and food. All opinions are my own.