Disney and Orlando, Florida Holiday Planning - theDIBB

inline imageSeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. today announced a commitment of $1.5 million over three years to a new partnership with The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) through the Killer Whale Research and Conservation Programme (KWRCP). Support of the KWRCP is part of SeaWorld’s $10 million pledge to fund research and conservation for killer whales in the wild – the largest private commitment of its kind.

The KWRCP will focus on three strategies: increasing prey availability; improving habitat quality; and strengthening management through crucial research. NFWF will seek to match this commitment with additional public and private dollars and plans to release an initial Request for Proposals (RFP) June 8 in conjunction with the global celebration of World Oceans Day.

“SeaWorld and the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund have long supported organisations that focus on results-driven, on-the-ground research and conservation work,” said Joel Manby, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “NFWF has a longstanding reputation for working efficiently and effectively to conserve species and their habitats and we are looking forward to working together to protect wild killer whale populations.”

The programme is dedicated primarily to providing support to aid in the recovery of the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population found in the coastal waters of Washington State and surrounding areas, known as the Salish Sea.

“Killer whales are amazing animals and as a species at the top of the food chain, they play a key role in the health of the ocean ecosystem,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “We are excited to be a partner with SeaWorld, a company with a long-term commitment to conservation efforts, in this critical effort to help restore the populations of killer whales found in the Pacific Northwest.”

As part of SeaWorld’s $10 million commitment, multiple killer whale projects are already underway through funding provided by the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund (SWBGCF). These projects include:

  • Continued funding of a breakthrough nutritional assessment of Northern Resident killer whales using unmanned aerial drone technology. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) took a series of precise body measurements of the killer whales living at SeaWorld, including pregnant whales. Now they are using drones to photo-document wild killer whales, and based on the images collected at SeaWorld, are able to monitor the wild population’s nutritional and reproductive states.
  • Research on SeaWorld’s killer whales’ milk composition will help scientists understand the nutritional requirements for mothers and calves. In the Pacific Northwest, killer whales face the challenge of not enough salmon. By understanding how much energy goes into producing milk and having a better handle on how calves grow, we can determine if available prey are sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of the killer whales in the wild.
  • Research into pregnancy and lactation will help scientists understand how killer whales metabolize toxins. This study is looking at how toxins are transferred during pregnancy and lactation to offspring. Toxins are identified as a major health concern for wild killer whales. They have been proposed as causes for reduced pregnancy success and increased health issues in wild whales. By studying the whales at SeaWorld, we can create an effective model to better understand how these toxins impact wild killer whales.

For more information on SeaWorld’s commitment to helping killer whales in the wild, visit SeaWorldCares.com.

In the coming weeks and months, NFWF will enter into important public-private partnerships that will include governmental agencies, non-governmental organisations and scientists to develop the KWRCP and scientific platform. For more information on the Killer Whale Research and Conservation Programme, please visit http://www.nfwf.org/killerwhales.

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inline imageThe SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team returned three rehabilitated Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the world’s most endangered species of sea turtle, to the warm Florida waters by Canaveral National Seashore.

The three Kemp’s ridley sea turtles returned were part of a group of 72 sea turtles that were rescued last November during a mass cold stranding off the Massachusetts coast. They were transferred to SeaWorld Orlando from the New England Aquarium by the U.S. Coast Guard for rehabilitation and expert care.

Only nine of the original 72 rescued turtles remain at SeaWorld Orlando after completing rehabilitation under the care of SeaWorld Orlando’s aquarium team and veterinarians. The SeaWorld Team is still caring for the remainder of the turtles as they regain their strength with the goal of returning them in the coming weeks.

Ranging from two to three kilograms at the time of rescue, the turtles have been thriving during their rehabilitation, gaining strength and weight. The three Kemp’s ridley sea turtles returned today all weighed roughly four kilograms each.

Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world, mainly due to egg collection and other human activities. Today, under strict protection and the help of organisations like SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Team, the population is on its way to recovery.

So far in 2015, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 39 sea turtles and returned 63 to the ocean. For more than 50 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. More than 25,000 animals have been rescued by the expert animal rescue team that is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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inline imageUniversal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 25 will be the biggest and most intense in event history. Here are the top things you need to know:

The event will feature NINE haunted houses – more than ever in event history.

The streets of the event will be filled with MORE SCAREACTORS than ever before. Guests will encounter twice as many “scareactors” than in previous years, who will terrify guests throughout highly-themed scare zones in the park.

And there’s just one more thing…click HERE. To learn more about the horror in store for Halloween Horror Nights 25, visit Universal Orlando’s blog.

This autumn, guests can visit Universal Orlando’s theme parks by day and become victims of their own horror film by night at Halloween Horror Nights 25. For more information on Halloween Horror Nights 25, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Orlando.

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inline imageExciting new high-profile tenants, including fashion retailers Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO and PANDORA, are the latest to sign on as Downtown Disney continues its expansion into Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort.

Today, a total of 13 new tenants were announced, including eight retail shops. With new retailers already aboard and new restaurants either open or coming soon, Downtown Disney is transforming into an exciting new waterfront district for world-class shopping, unique dining, and high-quality entertainment.

By the time it’s complete in 2016, Disney Springs will double the number of shops and restaurants currently found at Downtown Disney and grow to more than 1 million square feet, including 350,000 square feet of new leasable space. Disney Springs will include four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods with a high-quality, diverse mix of retailers – including premium, affordable luxury and fast fashion options. Sophisticated restaurants will provide experiences for families and convention-guests alike.

“Over the past few months we have opened several new dining and retail locations, which have quickly become the top producers in their chains,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “This type of momentum builds on the historical strength of the Downtown Disney area and its popularity with our guests from around the world as it evolves into Disney Springs,” he said.

RETAIL


Zara: Owned by the Inditex Group, one of the world’s largest fashion retail groups. Zara is known for its men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, and how it expertly interprets current fashion and style trends of the season, delivering original designs to the consumer in a matter of weeks.

Tommy Bahama: Iconic island lifestyle brand Tommy Bahama embodies relaxed sophistication. The hallmarks of this casual collection include island-inspired sportswear, denim, and swimwear for men and women in luxuriously soft silks and cottons, richly woven textures and eclectic prints.

Lilly Pulitzer: The authentic American resort wear brand, Lilly Pulitzer, is landing in the heart of Disney and will be offering their clothing and accessories, optimistic outlook, and happy prints to those who’ve loved the brand for years and new Lilly Girls out there.

UNIQLO: Leading global retailer UNIQLO designs, manufactures, and sells casual apparel that comes from the company’s Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity. The simplest design hides the most thoughtful details in clothing that is constantly being innovated to bring more warmth and lightness, better design and comfort to people’s lives.

PANDORA: Building on its existing relationship with Disney Parks, the popular jewelry brand offers classic yet modern charm bracelets, along with necklaces, rings and earrings, as well as a line of exclusive Disney-themed jewelry.

UGG: The UGG® brand is recognized as a premium lifestyle brand offering men’s, women’s and kid’s footwear as well as loungewear, outerwear, home products, cold weather accessories and handbags.

L’Occitane en Provence: L’Occitane en Provence is an international skincare and beauty line celebrating the culture and beauty of Provence, France.

Edward Beiner: A leading eyewear designer, purveyor and retailer, Edward Beiner offers today’s aspiring lifestyle-oriented customer the world’s most original, authentic and innovative designer, fashion and high performance eyewear.

DINING


Edison: Inspired by The Edison venue in Los Angeles, this lavish “Industrial Gothic” -style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination is themed to a 1920s-period power plant, recalling an exuberant era of invention and imagination. It will feature exceptionally good classic American food, craft cocktails and live entertainment including cabaret and music.

Sprinkles: The world’s first cupcake bakery, as named by Food Network and others, serves up handcrafted cupcakes, slow churned ice cream and homemade cookies. Their innovative Cupcake ATM satisfies sweet-toothed epicureans 24/7.

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza: Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza is a modern day “pizza joint” known for its custom-built artisanal pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies. The fast-casual restaurant features an interactive assembly-line format that allows guests to customize their pizza, choosing from over 40 fresh, artisanal toppings – all for one price. The generously sized, 11-inch pizzas are “fast-fired” in a blazing hot open-flame oven and ready to enjoy in just 180 seconds.

Vivoli Gelateria: Vivoli Gelateria serves expertly crafted gelato made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, panini sandwiches and espresso drinks.

Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s: Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s specializes in premium loose-leaf teas (hot, iced, blended) featuring customs blends, accessories and packaged teas from all over the globe; created to go or for a tea experience in the café.


Nine venues have opened over the past few months at Disney Springs and include:

The BOATHOUSE: An upscale waterfront dining experience showcasing steaks, chops, fresh seafood and a raw bar. Built over the water, the 600-seat, nautically themed restaurant also features a display of rare dream boats from the 1930s -1950s, a beautifully crafted water taxi and a fleet of amphibious autos, called amphicars. This unique restaurant was designed by Shussler Creative, which created other restaurant / retail attractions at Walt Disney World Resort, including Rainforest Café, T-REX and Yak & Yeti Restaurant. The BOATHOUSE is managed by Gibsons Restaurant Group.

Erwin Pearl: Offering a fine selection of enamel, precious and semi-precious fashion jewelry marked by style, creativity and outstanding quality.

APEX by Sunglass Hut: Offering the latest in sports and activewear sunglasses. Guests can try on frames and use a lens simulator to test how their lens would perform in a variety of outdoor environments and weather conditions.

Chapel Hats: Specializing in fashion hats and headwear for all ages. The store carries a variety of hats including fedoras, floppy hats, fascinators and more.

Art of Shaving: Premium shaving shop offering men’s grooming essentials.

Sanuk: The Sanuk® brand is known for its street-style casual footwear inspired by a Southern California heritage and a “never uncomfortable” attitude.

Sound Lion: Offering the latest technology in headphones, ear buds, speakers, wireless music players and other digital sound and music products.

havaianas: Specializing in a wide array of fun footwear and accessories, including a station where guests can create their own flip-flops.

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC: Offering a full selection of gluten-free, vegan baked goods such as award-winning donuts, cupcakes, cookies, bagels (with vegan butter) and savory items.

Recently announced and opening in Fall 2015:

Morimoto Asia: World-renowned chef Masaharu Morimoto and the Patina Restaurant Group will open Morimoto Asia, Morimoto’s first Pan-Asian restaurant at Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia’s culinary elements will provide flavors from across Asia, while exhibition kitchens will showcase the continent’s traditions. Included among them are street-food stalls, Peking duck carving, and dim sum.

STK Orlando: STK Orlando will offer a modern twist on the traditional American steakhouse featuring an innovative menu mixed with a high-energy atmosphere, complete with a sleek lounge with a DJ and rooftop dining. At approximately 14,000 square feet, the Orlando outpost will be one of the largest STK locations.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar: With a storyline centered on the pilot from the “Indiana Jones” films, this aviation- themed lounge will feature unique drinks and small plates. Themed décor like propeller-based ceiling fans, vintage travel posters and correspondence between Jock and Indy will immerse guests in a world of adventure.

Existing Downtown Disney properties making significant investments include:

Paradiso 37: Undergoing an expansion, Paradiso 37 is capitalizing on its beautiful waterfront setting. As part of its renovation, the restaurant is doubling its seating, adding more terrace dining and building a new outdoor performance stage.

Planet Hollywood: Transforming its flagship venue, Planet Hollywood will become a star-themed Planet Hollywood Observatory to match the look and feel of Disney Springs. As part of the makeover, the venue will add a new outdoor terrace and bar space called Stargazers and feature live entertainment.

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inline imageKick off the Coolest Summer Ever with a 24-hour celebration, taking place at Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort!

Times for this Disney celebration are from 6:00 am on Friday, 22 May until 6:00 am on 23 May, 2015.

Olaf the snowman will be the official host of the 24-hour event that kicks off Memorial Day weekend.

Summer events include the characters of "Frozen" live at Disney's Hollywood Studios 17 June to 7 Sept.

This is the fourth time Disney has held a 24-hour event. The events have proven hugely popular, with fans flocking to the park and staying throughout the night and into the early morning.

Disney's "Coolest Summer Ever" promotion, brings the characters from Frozen to Disney's Hollywood Studios for sing-alongs, a procession and a special fireworks show set to the music of the world's most popular animated movie.

Frozen Summer Live will run 17 June to 7 Sept.

Live Feed...

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inline imageThe International Pow Wow, the US travel industry showcase, rolls into Orlando this year from the 30th May to the 3rd June.

Those of you that check theDIBB park hours may have noticed that some of the theme parks close early during this time. The reason is Disney, SeaWorld and Universal are hosting private events over these days.

On the 31st May Magic Kingdom will be closing to the public at 6pm to make way for the “A Night When Fantasy Comes to Life” event at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Moving onto the next evening, 1st June, SeaWorld is closing its doors at 5pm for the “One Ocean, One World” event at SeaWorld Orlando.

The 3rd June moves on to Universal and Islands of Adventure. At the moment the park hours do not reflect the early closure on this night, but we expect that to change shortly [UPDATED: Now closes at 6pm] for IPW 2015’s Epic Finale at Universal Orlando Resort.

The delegates attending this conference will be treated to a special few days of the best Orlando can offer.

I will be attending IPW2015 and will be posting the journey live from Orlando on theDIBB Reporter, Twitter and Facebook if you would like to follow this event.

I will also be covering an event on the 2nd June at the new iDrive 360 attraction. Showcasing the Orlando Eye, SeaLife Centre and Madame Tussauds, along with many other attractions and shows over the week.

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Park Hours - Tuesday 26/05/2015

WDW & Other Florida Park Hours
Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom
9:00am
~to~
12:00am
Epcot
Epcot
9:00am
Extra Morning Hours~to~
9:00pm
Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom
9:00am
~to~
7:00pm
Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios
9:00am
~to~
10:00pm
Blizzard Beach
Blizzard Beach
10:00am
~to~
6:00pm
Typhoon Lagoon
Typhoon Lagoon
10:00am
~to~
6:00pm
Islands of Adventure
Islands of Adventure
9:00am
~to~
9:00pm
Universal Studios
Universal Studios
9:00am
~to~
9:00pm
SeaWorld
SeaWorld
9:00am
~to~
7:00pm
Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens
10:00am
~to~
6:00pm
Aquatica
Aquatica
9:00am
~to~
5:00pm
LEGOLAND
Legoland
10:00am
~to~
5:00pm
Extra Morning Hours +1 Hour Early Entry for Disney Hotel Guests.
Extra Evening Hours +2 Extra Late Hours for Disney Hotel Guests.
Full Schedule of Florida Park Hours

Disneyland Resort Park Hours
Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park
8:00am
Extra Morning Hours~to~
12:00am
Walt Disney StudiosCalifornia Adventure 8:00am
~to~
10:00pm
Extra Morning Hours +1 Hour Early Entry for Disney Hotel Guests.
Full Schedule of West Coast Park Hours

Disneyland Paris Park Hours
Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park
10:00am
~to~
11:00pm
Walt Disney StudiosDisney Studios 10:00am
~to~
6:00pm
Extra Morning Hours +2 Hours Early Entry for Disney Hotel Guests.
Full Schedule of DLP Park Hours

US Dollar Rates
Cash/Travellers Cheques
Covent Garden FX  $1.5175
FairFX  $1.5153
M&S  $1.4972
Prepaid MasterCard Rates
CaxtonFX  $1.5060
FairFX  $1.5080
Updated: 10:30 26/05/2015
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Euro Rates
Cash/Travellers Cheques
Covent Garden FX  €1.3915
FairFX  €1.3879
M&S  €1.3574
Prepaid MasterCard Rates
CaxtonFX  €1.3800
FairFX  €1.3833
Updated: 10:30 26/05/2015
Print Quick Conversion Sheet

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