DISNEY WORLD

09Feb

The Walt Disney World Resort, known as Walt Disney World or Disney World, is an entertainment complex in Bay Lake, Florida (mailing address is Lake Buena Vista, Florida), near Kissimmee and Orlando, and is the flagship of Disney’s worldwide corporate empire. The resort opened on October 1, 1971 and is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an attendance of over 52 million annually.

Walt Disney World is owned and operated by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, a division of The Walt Disney Company. The property covers 27,258 acres (11,031 ha; 43 sq mi), housing 27 themed resort hotels, nine non–Disney hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, four golf courses, one nine-hole walking golf course for young golfers (no electric carts allowed), two themed miniature golf courses, one camping resort, a downtown-like shopping district, and other entertainment venues. Magic Kingdom was the first and original theme park to open in the complex followed by Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which opened later throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Designed to supplement Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which had opened in 1955, the complex was developed by Walt Disney in the 1960s. “The Florida Project”, as he called it, was originally to be built in hopes of differential in design and scheme from Disneyland with its own diverse set of rides. Walt Disney’s original plans also called for the inclusion of an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”, a planned community that would serve as a test bed for new innovations for city living. After extensive lobbying, the Government of Florida created the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special government district that essentially gave The Walt Disney Company the standard powers and autonomy of an incorporated city. Disney died on December 15, 1966, before construction began. Without the creative mind of Disney spearheading the construction of Walt Disney World, the company instead created the resort very similar to Disneyland, just on a much larger scale, along with abandoning Walt’s concept of an experimental planned community.

GATORLAND

09Feb

Gatorland is a 110-acre (45 ha) theme park and wildlife preserve located along South Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, Florida. It was founded by Owen Godwin in 1949 and has been privately owned by his family since then. Billed as the “Alligator Capital of the World,” Gatorland features thousands of alligators and crocodiles, a breeding marsh with boardwalk and observation tower, reptile shows, aviary, petting zoo, swamp walk and educational programs. The park is known for buying and rescuing nuisance alligators from trappers that would otherwise be killed for their meat and skin. The Breeding Marsh area of the park was used in the filming of the 1984 movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

The operation also has an active road show providing alligator wrestling, pythons, lizards and other animals with an informative animal talk for private parties and benefits. In addition, Gatorland manages the live alligator display at the Gaylord Palms resort in Kissimmee, Florida. This park also has a snakes of Florida exhibit with the snakes like indigo snake cottonmouth and rattlesnakes.

The park is also known for its leucistic alligators.

Gatorland Express

The Gatorland Express, known as Ol’ Iron Horse Express prior to 2001, is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railroad attraction inside the park, which first opened in 1961 and was originally built by the Allan Herschell Company. The original locomotive was retired in 2000 and put on static display, while a brand-new locomotive built by Train Rides Unlimited was purchased and put into operation the following year. The new locomotive is the same model as the locomotive used at the nearby Green Meadows Petting Farm. An additional fee is required to ride the railroad and prior to the 2011 opening of the zip line, it was the only non-animal-related attraction in Gatorland.

Zip Line Ride

In the summer of 2011 Gatorland added a new attraction: a zip line that travels across a pool of alligators and past several of the existing attractions. The ride is approximately 1,200 feet (370 m) long, several stories high and for riders above 37 inches (94 cm) tall.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER

09Feb

The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is one of ten National Aeronautics and Space Administration field centers, and is NASA’s Center of Excellence for launch and payload processing systems. Located on the east coast of Florida, KSC is adjacent to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). The management of the two entities work very closely together, share resources, and even own facilities on each other’s property.

KSC has been NASA’s primary launch center of human spaceflight since December 1968. Launch operations for the Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs were carried out from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 and managed by KSC. Though the first Apollo flights, and all Project Mercury and Project Gemini flights took off from CCAFS, the launches were managed by KSC and its previous organization, the Launch Operations Directorate. Starting with the fourth Gemini mission, the NASA launch control center in Florida (Mercury Control Center, later the Launch Control Center) began handing off control of the vehicle to the Mission Control Center shortly after liftoff; prior missions held control throughout the entire mission.

Additionally, the center manages launch of robotic and commercial crew missions, researches food production and In-Situ Resource Utilization for off Earth exploration, and more. Since 2010, the center has worked to become a multi-user spaceport through industry partnerships, even adding a new launch pad (LC-39C) in 2015.

There are about 700 facilities grouped across the center’s 144,000 acres. Among the unique facilities at KSC are the 525 ft tall Vehicle Assembly Building for stacking NASA’s largest rockets, Operations and Checkout Building which houses the astronaut crew quarters, and 3-mile-long Shuttle Landing Facility. There is also a Visitor Complex open to the public on site.

Formation

The military had been performing launch operations since 1949 at what would become Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. In December 1959, the Department of Defense transferred 5,000 personnel and the Missile Firing Laboratory to NASA to become the Launch Operations Directorate under NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 goal of a manned lunar landing before 1970 required an expansion of launch operations. On July 1, 1962, the Launch Operations Directorate was separated from MSFC to become the Launch Operations Center (LOC). Also, Cape Canaveral was inadequate to host the new launch facility design required for the mammoth 363-foot (111 m) tall, 7,500,000-pound-force (33,000 kN) thrust Saturn V rocket, which would be assembled vertically in a large hangar and transported on a mobile platform to one of several launch pads. Therefore, the decision was made to build a new LOC site located adjacent to Cape Canaveral on Merritt Island.

NASA began land acquisition in 1962, buying title to 131 square miles (340 km2) and negotiating with the state of Florida for an additional 87 square miles (230 km2). The major buildings in KSC’s Industrial Area were designed by architect Charles Luckman. Construction began in November 1962, and Kennedy visited the site twice in 1962, and again just a week before his assassination on November 22, 1963.

On November 29, 1963, the facility was given its current name by President Lyndon B. Johnson under Executive Order 11129. Johnson’s order joined both the civilian LOC and the military Cape Canaveral station (“the facilities of Station No. 1 of the Atlantic Missile Range”) under the designation “John F. Kennedy Space Center”, spawning some confusion joining the two in the public mind. NASA Administrator James E. Webb clarified this by issuing a directive stating the Kennedy Space Center name applied only to the LOC, while the Air Force issued a general order renaming the military launch site Cape Kennedy Air Force Station.

Location

Located on Merritt Island, Florida, the center is north-northwest of Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic Ocean, midway between Miami and Jacksonville on Florida’s Space Coast. It is 34 miles (55 km) long and roughly 6 miles (10 km) wide, covering 219 square miles (570 km2).

KSC is a major central Florida tourist destination and is approximately one hour’s drive from the Orlando area. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers public tours of the center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Because much of the installation is a restricted area and only nine percent of the land is developed, the site also serves as an important wildlife sanctuary; Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore are other features of the area. Center workers can encounter bald eagles, American alligators, wild boars, eastern diamondback rattlesnakes, the endangered Florida panther and Florida manatees.

SEA WORLD

09Feb

SeaWorld Orlando is a theme park and marine zoological park, located on the outskirts of Orlando, Florida. It is owned and operated by SeaWorld Entertainment. When combined with its neighbor Discovery Cove and Aquatica, it forms SeaWorld Parks and Resorts Orlando, an entertainment complex consisting of the three parks and many neighboring hotels. In 2013, SeaWorld Orlando hosted an estimated 5.1 million guests, ranking it the tenth most visited amusement park in the United States and nineteenth worldwide.

Park Layout

As of summer 2014, SeaWorld Orlando has been separated into different areas, called “seas”. Each with a unique themed element.

Attractions

SeaWorld Orlando has many live shows and attractions including rides and animal exhibits. One of these attractions. Turtle Trek, actually combine the two, with both an animal exhibit followed by a 3-D movie.

TITANIC EXHIBITION

09Feb

Educational, emotional and appropriate for all ages, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the life of Titanic. Along the way visitors will learn countless stories of heroism and humanity that pay honor to the indomitable force of the human spirit in the face of tragedy. The Exhibition has been designed with a focus on the legendary RMS Titanic’s compelling human stories as best told through authentic artifacts recovered from the wreck site of Titanic and extensive room re-creations. Perfume from a maker who was traveling to New York, china etched with the logo of the elite White Star Line, pieces of the Ship itself — these and many other authentic objects offer haunting, emotional connections to lives abruptly ended or forever altered.
Upon entering Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, visitors will be drawn back in time to April 1912, when the Ship embarked on its maiden voyage. They’ll receive replica boarding pass, assume the role a passenger and follow a chronological journey through life on Titanic – from the Ship’s construction to life on board, the famous sinking, and the modern day efforts to recover and conserve the wreckage for future generations.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

09Feb

Universal Studios Florida is composed of themed areas and attractions based on the film industry. Visitors get themed dining and shopping, a variety of special events throughout the year, and may even catch an actual film crew at work on the backlot. The original theme park in the resort, Universal Studios Florida opened on June 7, 1990, as a theme park that lets visitors “Ride the Movies.” The themes of Universal Studio’s are targeted at making guests feel like they are in a movie set with rides, shows, and attractions inspired by popular film, television, and music productions. The park consists of eight themed areas – Hollywood, Production Central, New York, San Francisco, Diagon Alley/London, World Expo, Springfield, and Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure, opened in May 1999, is a theme park composed of seven distinct “islands” that are themed to various forms of adventures. Visitors start off in the Port of Entry and make their way through the various islands – Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, based on the popular Harry Potter franchise, is the only island added after the park opened; it opened to the public on June 18, 2010.

Universal CityWalk Orlando opened in 1999, over the former parking lot and entrance, as part of the expansion that created the Universal Orlando Resort. Guests arriving at the resort park in one of two multi-story parking structures, then travel via covered moving sidewalks over Universal Boulevard into CityWalk. From there, guests can proceed into either of the theme parks, Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure. The Universal Store offers merchandise from both parks. CityWalk features shopping, nightclubs, dining venues, an AMC Movie Theater, and a Blue Man Group show. There are many night clubs at CityWalk including Groove, CityWalks’s Rising Star (a karaoke club with a live band), Red Coconut Club, and Bob Marley-A Tribute to Freedom (both a night club and restaurant). Some notable locations are The Cowfish Hard Rock Cafe, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Emeril’s, NBA City, and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Casual dining places include: Moe’s Southwest Grill, Burger King Whopper Bar, Panda Express, Red Oven Pizza Bakery, and Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar.

Wet ‘n Wild was founded in 1977 by SeaWorld founder George Millay as one of the first major water parks. In 1998, Wet ‘n Wild was acquired by Universal Parks & Resorts, adding it to Universal Orlando.[4] There are eighteen water slides and attractions at the water park. Popular attractions include The Storm, Bomb Bay, Disco H20, and The Surge. Wet ‘n Wild is located at the intersection of International Drive and Universal Boulevard, about half a mile south of the Universal Orlando parking garage.

Wet ‘n Wild will close on December 31, 2016, to be replaced by Volcano Bay. Volcano Bay is to be Universal Orlando’s on-site water park when it opens in 2017 on 53 acres (21 ha) of land near the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.