Volcano Bay and TapuTapu Coming to Universal Orlando this May

Volcano Bay Universal TapuTapuTapuTapu™ Puts The Wonders of Volcano Bay™ Right At Your Wrist.

 All images via Universal Orlando.

Due to open at the end of May, Volcano Bay is Universal Orlando’s nearest park. When you visit Volcano Bay™ you will be granted the powers of the TapuTapu™, a waterproof wearable bracelet specifically designed for the park. With just a touch of your wrist you’ll be able to hold your place in a Virtual Line™ at the rides and discover wondrous surprises.

Unlike Walt Disney World Resort’s MagicBands, the TapuTapu will be given out when you arrive at the park and must be returned before you leave. It looks as if it will be used for a system similar to Disney’s FastPass+.

Arrive – Enter Universal’s Volcano Bay™ where you’ll be welcomed as a part of the Waturi family.

Receive Your TapuTapu – Pick up your TapuTapu wearable as you enter the park. It’s yours for the day.

Look for the Symbol – Look for this symbol throughout the park and use your TapuTapu to get a return time, play and more.
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Hold Your Place in the Virtual Line™ – Touch your TapuTapu on the symbol at a ride entry totem. That checks you in to the Virtual Line™ and gives you a return time.

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Relax and Play until your TapuTapu Alerts You – Your TapuTapu will tell you when it’s time to head back to the ride.

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Touch to Ride – Touch the symbol on the totem again and proceed through the ride entrance.
Discover Interactive Surprises – You can also use the TapuTapu where you see the symbol to play with interactive surprises around the park.

Return Your TapuTapu – Don’t forget to return your TapuTapu wearable when you exit Volcano Bay.

Designed specifically and exclusively for use in Universal’s water theme park, TapuTapu™ will make your experience throughout the entire park as hassle-free and fun-filled as possible. It will allow you to virtually wait in line for Volcano Bay’s dozens of unique attractions and discover various TapTu Play™ experiences throughout the park with just a simple touch.

Here’s what we can all expect to see when Volcano Bay opens:

The Volcano

At the heart of the island stands Krakatau™, the mighty Fire and Water Volcano. Towering 200 feet above the tropical landscape, Krakatau streams waterfalls during the day and fiery lava effects at night. Inside the cavernous volcano the Waturi people dare you to brave a variety of heart-pounding water slides.

Krakatau™ Aqua Coaster

Honorary Waturi can experience the power of Krakatau™ on this amazing ride. Four-person canoes slide upward through the mists and into the dark twists and turns within the volcano before emerging with a plunge through a shimmering waterfall.

Ko’okiri Body Plunge™

Join in the centuries-old tradition of honoring the volcano god, Vol, by braving the incredible Ko’okiri Body Plunge. Featuring a 70-degree fall through a drop door and 125 feet of screaming, white-knuckle fun, this dizzying descent ends with a watery tribute from Vol himself.

Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides™

Join Kala and Tai Nui where sea and sky meet and take a leap of faith from high atop the volcano. Twin trap doors simultaneously drop two guests down clear, intertwining tubes before sending them joyfully splashing into the turquoise waters below.

Punga Racers™

A favorite among Waturi children of all ages, Punga Racers send single riders on their manta ray mats sliding down four lanes through underwater sea caves.

Wave Village

This peaceful escape overlooks the sparkling waters of Waturi Beach at the base of the volcano.

Waturi Beach

Locals know — the surf’s always up at Waturi Beach. Swim, splash and relax right along with them in the sparkling waters and warm waves of this sparkling lagoon at the foot of mighty Krakatau.

River Village

 The scenic River Village has fun for people of all ages, including the very youngest Waturi.

Honu ika Moana™

Just like the ancient Waturi people who rode the ocean waves on friendly sea turtles and whales, guests can enjoy these two twisting, turning, multi-person slides. Honu sweeps up two massive walls, while ika Moana sprays water on riders from the center of the raft.

Tot Tiki Reef™ & Runamukka Reef™

The little ones can frolic among the splashy slides and fountains of the Tot Tiki Reef toddler play area, while Runamukka Reef delights older children with its bubbling geysers, water guns, slides and dump cups.

Kopiko Wai Winding River™

Take a slow ride on the Kopiko Wai Winding River. Sprays of water surprise along the way, and beneath the lava rocks, Stargazer’s Cavern reveals the magical night sky above.

Rainforest Village

 Rainforest Village stretches along the shores of an action-packed river and features the perfect mix of relaxation and exhilaration.

Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides™

Test your mettle and get into the Waturi spirit. Ascend cliff side and plummet down the twisting waters of Ohyah before dropping out four feet above the pool below. To achieve even greater bragging rights, brave the rope bridge and plunge down Ohno, a serpentine adventure that ends six feet above the pool below. Be sure to yell your battle cry on the way down.

Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides™

Ready for the high adventure of the Maku Puihi lava tubes? This six-person rafting adventure is a favorite of Waturi families, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Choose one of two paths or try them both—just be ready for a thrilling ride. Puihi careens through a dark, winding tunnel before the stomach-flipping thrill of zero gravity hang time. Maku slides you through a deep volcanic gorge before spinning wildly around bowl-like formations.

TeAwa The Fearless River™

Up for an adventure? Take a thrilling whitewater ride along TeAwa The Fearless River. Race along a roaring, watery onslaught of churning rapids and choppy waves hanging tight to your inner tube.

Taniwha Tubes™

There’s a place where the puka trees grow abnormally tall. Inspired by their twisting roots, the Waturi built four twisting water slides called the Taniwha Tubes. Riders can try all four twisting tracks, but beware — mischievous tiki statues spray jets of water when you least expect it.
I know I’m looking forward to this newest addition to the Orlando area – what do you think?



The Orlando Area on a Budget

Orlando Area Budget Travel

Bringing in over 50 million visitors each year, Orlando is most well-known for Disney, but there’s so much more to this great city than the Mouse! Orlando is a great city to visit year-round, whether you’re traveling solo or with a family. There are so many things to do and see! Vacationing in Orlando on a budget is pretty easy because there are quite a few free things to do.

You’ll spend the most money on lodging, and transportation to get here, plus transportation to get around if you rent a car. Orlando is not right on the beach, but there are several beaches within driving distance. What I like to do is map out each attraction I want to spend time at, and then map out each day so I can maximize my time (and money!). This means if there are three things in close proximity of each other, I’ll do those in one day. The next day, I’ll do others that are nearby. It helps save gas (and headaches) if you aren’t driving zig zag all over the place!

Beaches

Like I said, the beaches aren’t super close but they’re definitely worth a drive! The closest beaches are:

Daytona Beach: Located just above Cape Canaveral, Daytona Beach is one of the most visited on the East Coast.

Cocoa Beach: Not quite as popular or touristy as Daytona, it can be a bit more relaxing but does get busy during high season. Cocoa Beach is located just below Cape Canaveral.

New Smyrna Beach: Gorgeous beach! At low tide, the beach is up to 500 feet wide.

Clearwater Beach Morse Museum of American Art offers free admission for children under 12, as well as free admission for everyone on Fridays from 4PM til 8PM (November through April). Morse Museum is technically in Winter Park but is less than 20 minutes from downtown Orlando.

Also located in Winter Park, the Albin Polask Museum and Sculpture Garden is home to exquisite art and serene sculpture gardens. Admission for children under 12 is free, admission for adults is $5.

A one-of-a-kind Holocaust Memorial has both permanent and traveling exhibits to communicate the history of the Holocaust. Admission is free.

Chalk Artists in Orlando

Everything Else

Disney Springs (previously Downtown Disney) is a great way to get a Disney experience without the cost of the theme parks. With shopping, dining, and diverse entertainment, you’ll be able to spend an entire day here. However, you might want to pack a lunch because everything definitely has Disney pricing.

Orlando Brewing Company offers free tours. Call ahead to find out hours and other information.

Black Hammock Adventures offers air boat rides, alligator tours, and more. While the prices aren’t too high, it could get expensive if you have a large family. With that being said, it’s an adventure of a lifetime so it’s worth the cost if you can swing it!

What’s your favorite thing to do in Orlando that doesn’t break the bank? Let me know in the comments!


Previous Posts in the 2017 Traveling on a Budget Series:

Doing Maui on a Budget

Doing Key West on a Budget




9th Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest (Orlando) Feb. 25 & 26

Ninth Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest at Lake Eola Set for February 25 and 26, 2017

Lake Eola Food Wine Fest Orlando

The Ninth Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest is set for Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26, 2017 for more than 30,000 foodies and wine lovers to experience unique local cuisine paired with wines from around the globe. 

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola on Robinson Street, the two-day Fest features mouth-watering dishes from 30 of Orlando’s premier restaurants, 50 domestic and international wines and live entertainment.  A portion of the proceeds benefit UCF Foundation, Inc. and Valencia Foundation.

Headline entertainers include Gavin DeGraw and KC and The Sunshine Band. Additional live music artists to be announced on www.downtownfoodandwinefest.com.

Date / Time: Saturday, February 25 (noon to 9 p.m.) and Sunday, February 26, 2017 (noon to 7 p.m.)

Location: Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola along Robinson Street

Fest Admission: 

One-Day General Admission

Admission is $20 per person, per day with advance online purchase. Admission at the door is $25 per person, per day.

Two-Day General Admission

For all-weekend Fest fans, a two-day ticket is available for $35 per person with advance online purchase.

Wine Tasters Club

A limited number of Wine Tasters Club passes will be available for purchase for $20 per person at the Fest.  Club members will enjoy up to five 2 oz. pours of their choice throughout the Fest and a souvenir lanyard.

Ultimate Fest Experience

A limited number of Ultimate Fest Experience packages are available for $115 per person, per day and includes a VIP parking pass, general admission, Wine Tasters Club, $20 value in food and beverage tickets, access to the private stage-side VIP tent, private wine/beer bar with premium wines (food and beverage tickets required) and access to private bathrooms reserved for VIP guests.

Food & Beverage Tickets:

Food and beverage tickets are available at the Fest for $2 each; food and beverage offerings range from one to four tickets.

“One of my favorite things about Downtown Orlando is the variety of restaurants and event options,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “The Downtown Food & Wine Fest combines both by adding to the array of event options residents and visitors can attend, as well as, helping to enhance the vibrancy of the area all the while increasing awareness of our local businesses and strengthening economic growth in the area.”

Steve Carver, senior vice president and market manager, CBS RADIO Orlando commented, “Through the power of radio and the strength of our partnerships with the Orlando Downtown Development Board (DDB), restaurateurs, foodies and fans will come together to celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of Orlando.”

Top restaurants are scheduled to present culinary tastings to complete in the Golden Fork Awards as honored by a panel of Orlando elected officials, food writers and reporters and celebrity chefs.

2016 Foodie AwardBaoery’s Asian Tacos

2016 Sweet Treat Award: Siro Urban Kitchen’s Black Cherry Liquid Nitro Gelato with Balsamic Drizzle

2016 Best of ShowPrimo by Chef Melissa Kelly

Stay Connected

For more information on the Downtown Food & Wine Fest:

About Event Producer: CBS RADIO

CBS RADIO is one of the largest major-market broadcast media operators in the United States and the undisputed leader in news and sports radio.  CBS RADIO produces original audio and video content, live events and exclusive programming broadcast via on-air, online and mobile platforms.  A division of CBS Corporation, CBS RADIO owns 117 radio stations in 26 markets – including all of the top 10 radio markets as ranked by Nielsen Audio – as well as an extensive array of digital assets. CBS RADIO distributes its programming via AM, FM and HD Radio stations, Radio.com and CBS Local Digital Media apps, making engaging with audiences easier than ever before. For more information on CBS RADIO, please visit www.cbsradio.com




London Based “Ace Cafe” Coming to Orlando!

Ace Cafe OrlandoI just learned about a new family friendly spot coming to Orlando this Spring! If you live in the area and are looking for a job or looking for a new spot to try – Ace Cafe it is! This exciting new downtown outpost will be family and kid-friendly with a children’s menu, children’s coloring books, free WiFi and an amazing display of moto-gear for the cars, bikes and rock and roll fans in your family. Also a great spot for “mommy and daddy’s night out” for food, music and fun.

First Ace Cafe in the U.S. Scheduled to Open in Downtown Orlando Spring 2017

What is Ace Cafe?

In the late 50’s and early 60’s, the British motorcycle industry was at its peak, muscle cars started to make their presence known, and along came rock ‘n roll. Not played on radio stations, initially the only place rock ’n roll could be heard was on jukeboxes at cafes. From this powerful fusion of motorbikes, cars, and rock ’n roll came the legend of the Ace and a significance for motorcycle and car lovers all over the world.

The Ace is a shared identity and a vital point in a culture that, as the decades pass, continues to thrive and evolve. Ace Cafe celebrates the spirit, history and culture of motor-enthusiasts, where guests can have a great meal, meet friends, see some amazing motorcycles and cars, and leave feeling like they’ve just been part something bigger. 

Ace Cafe’s iconic, stylish and distinctive emblem is instantly recognizable and has come to represent an authentic, simple, hardworking and straightforward speed-inspired culture.

About Ace Cafe North America / Ace Cafe Orlando

Ace Cafe is the most famous motor-diner on the planet. Ace Cafe North America holds the exclusive licensee rights in North America and South America for this world-famous brand. Born in London in 1938, the Ace celebrates the spirit, history and culture of motorcycling, cars and rock ‘n roll, and continues to influence almost everything that has a rebel attitude — generations of kids on motorbikes, cool cars, an entire genre and style of motorcycling, the thrill of speed, the beginning of rock ‘n roll, movies and television, Rockers, Mods, leather jackets and renegade fashion.

Ace Cafe Orlando is the first North American venue for Ace Cafe, and is a full-service restaurant and bar, a cafe, a live music and special event venue, a motor-inspired art gallery and a number of retail shops, covering three acres in downtown Orlando at the corner of West Livingston Street and Garland Avenue. Ace Cafe welcomes all who share the passion and traditions of motorcycles, cars and rock ‘n roll. For more information, visit www.acecafeusa.com, and connect on Facebook and Twitter @AceCafeUSA, Instagram @acecafeorlando_official


Ace Cafe Orlando
Photo via Instagram: @acecafeorlando_official

ACE CAFE ORLANDO ANNOUNCES JOB FAIR TO HIRE 175

Looking for a gig? Ace Cafe Orlando, the first outpost of the iconic London, England-based motor-diner, is bringing 175 new jobs to Central Florida and will host a job fair later this month. A beacon to English motorcyclists for decades, the Ace Cafe has become a global cultural phenomenon, and is about to bring that same love of speed and adrenaline to downtown Orlando in the form of Ace Cafe Orlando. Currently under construction inside three historic buildings on a three acre parcel located at the corner of West Livingston Street and Garland Avenue, Ace Cafe Orlando is on track for a scheduled opening this spring.

The Ace will host a job fair on Friday through Monday, January 27-30, 2017, between 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Courtyard Orlando Downtown, at 730 N. Magnolia Ave., Orlando, FL 32803. Talented bartenders, baristas, servers, retail sales associates and other food service industry professionals with outgoing and creative personalities are invited to apply in person or send an email to jobs@acecafeusa.com. Visit acecafeusa.com or call 858.729.3400 for details.

The Ace offers competitive benefits and professional advancement opportunities for proven restaurant professionals that possess the ability to maintain its high standards of quality and guest satisfaction. The Ace offers health/dental/vision benefits and unmatched opportunities for growth in a friendly and exhilarating work environment.

More than a restaurant, Ace Cafe Orlando will connect great food and dining with a passion for motoring and rock ‘n roll, providing a totally unique guest experience found nowhere else in the world. The menu is an American roadside diner concept with made-from-scratch home style comfort food, with some British favorites like Bangers & Mash, Fish & Chips, and Chicken Curry, but with a twist that captures the authentic spirit and flavors of some of the best backroad joints and specialty fare, with a nod to locally-sourced and green options, all at an affordable price point. Ace Cafe Orlando also has a big backyard area for patio dining, making it a great place for an outdoor event and live music in the middle of the city. 

“Our talented, diverse team and the quality of our service, combined with the unique ‘only at the Ace’ experience, will differentiate our venue from all others in Central Florida and beyond,” said Mark McKee, chief gear head of Ace Cafe North America. “From affable artisans to top-notch bartenders, we encourage the best in the business to apply, especially those who share our passion for motoring, music, great food and community.”




Look What’s Coming to Orlando in 2017

Orlando Travel Attractions 2017

Orlando is one of my favorite destinations. Since I live in South Carolina I can pop down to Orlando for a long weekend, for special events and to visit friends. There is so much more to Orlando than theme parks and 2017 will bring lots of new things for visitors to the area to see. New theme park attractions, a new water park, new entertainment and unforgettable sporting events – 2017 is going to be a great year for family fun and travel to Orlando.

The NFL Pro Bowl game returns to the traditional NFC – AFC conference match up with the inaugural game scheduled at the Camping World Stadium in downtown Orlando on Sunday January 29, 2017. Along with the game the NFL is also introducing a brand new Pro Bowl Week, which will include accessible team practices at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, along with a variety of youth football and family fun activities across Orlando.

The highly anticipated new addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the recreation of the mythical world Pandora, which is the largest expansion in the history of Animal Kingdom. This AVATAR-inspired land is a visual experience of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests, and soaring Banshees for guests to see, hear, and touch. In addition, Pandora includes a family-friendly attraction called Na’vi River Journey. Take an adventure and set out in a canoe to explore a mysterious, sacred river hidden within the bioluminescent rainforest. Gaze your eyes upon the exotic glowing plans, amazing creatures, and even experience an encounter with a Na’vi shaman!

universalUniversal Orlando Resort is well underway with building a new water park opening in 2017, called Volcano Bay. This new breathtaking water park will offer innovative, thrilling attractions, peaceful moments of relaxation, and an entirely new guest experience. A highly themed, completely immersive environment is planned, inspired by postcard-perfect tropical islands. The new park will be located within Universal Orlando Resort, just south of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.

Universal Orlando Resort announced a new ride set to open in 2017: “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon”. The ride will invite guests to join the Tonight Show’s studio audience on the ultimate race through the streets-and skies-of New York City, from the deepest subway tunnels to the tallest skyscrapers with colorful characters, famous landmarks and more from the mind of Jimmy Fallon.

As virtual reality continues to grow in popularity, SeaWorld Orlando will be the first in Florida to apply the technology to a roller coaster ride experience. Beginning next summer, guests can have the option to wear specially designed headsets and take part in an digitally immersive deep sea mission and encounter mythical sea creatures, including the Kraken itself. The ride vehicle itself will also be getting a facelift with the debut of the new experience in the summer of 2017. Better get Kraken!

Enhancing the way that guests can see the park’s youngest dolphins, SeaWorld’s Dolphin Nursery will also get new enhancements next year. Guests will be able enjoy above water and under water viewing of the baby dolphins and nursing mothers through newly installed acrylic windows designed for young children to get up close and personal encounters. Included in the expansions will be all new educational and conservation elements.

One of the most exciting restaurants at Disney Springs is nearly ready to open! The Edison is currently under construction inspired by The Edison venue in Los Angeles, which has a lavish “Industrial Gothic” style restaurant and bar. The Disney Springs location will replicate the themed 1920s-period power plant for a nighttime destination recreating era of invention and imagination. In addition, it will have classic American food, crafty cocktails, and live entertainment such as cabaret and musical acts.

Orlando’s newest family-friendly raft attraction will be located at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, which is set to be among one of the longest in duration at any Disney water park. This new high seas adventure is called Miss Fortune Falls. Once aboard their treasure rafts at the entry point, guests will take an adventure through Captain Oceaneer’s past right before they plunge into a white-water rafting voyage! Guests will see rare artifacts that Miss Fortune collected on her many worldwide treasure hunts!

legoland-florida

Coming to LEGOLAND Florida early next year is a new immersive land and dark ride. LEGO NINJAGO World is where guests can live their ninja LEGO adventures. The interactive ride will include opportunities for gests to blast fire, lightning and ice with their hands.

New over-night accommodations are coming to LEGOLAND Florida. Opening spring 2017, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat will feature 83 single-story duplexes. The property will include a themed pool, sandy play area and new restaurant.

Attention all American soccer, football if you prefer, fans! One of the leading teams in Major League Soccer will be getting their very own multipurpose Soccer Stadium right before the 2017 Major League Soccer season. It will be located in downtown Orlando around the corner from the Amway Center, which is quickly becoming an epic entertainment center! The new soccer stadium will seat 19,500 fans and serve as home to the Orlando City Lions soccer team.

Orlando’s continued expansion of leisure resorts welcomes the Margaritaville Resort Orlando with much enthusiasm! This massive waterfront destination resort is a welcomed addition to Central Florida’s thriving attraction and tourism scene. This resort is unique in that it not only boasts a 187-room hotel but also 1,000 Margaritaville-themed vacation homes, 550 condominiums, 300 timeshare units, 30,000 square-feet of function space, 170,000 square feet of festive retail space, a dining and entertainment district, a 12-acre water park, a wellness center, miles of fitness trails and a destination water taxi system. The resort will also host destination weddings. Once you arrive you will never want to leave.

The new openings continue even after 2017. Get a sneak peek at what’s coming to Orlando in 2018!

A new entertainment complex on I-Drive, is set to break world records by bringing the world’s tallest roller coaster to Orlando in in 2018. The 570-foot-tall (174 meter) structure will be the tallest in Central Florida, and feature the first Polercoaster, a vertical ride dubbed the Skyscraper, weaving in and around the whole tower on coaster-length tracks. The SKYPLEX tower will also offer views of the city via an observation deck, restaurant and lounge at the top. Additionally, a second ride, called Skyfall, will be the world’s tallest drop ride once it opens, rising up to 460 feet (140.2 meters) and then dropping riders at 90 miles (144.8 km) an hour.

Universal Orlando Resorts reeves up the thrills with the new action-packed ride experiences inspired by one of the most successful film franchises of all time, The Fast & Furious! The official name is “Fast & Furious: Supercharged” and will join its remarkable lineup of attractions in 2018, adding to the unprecedented growth of the destination.