I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd, so interviewing the actors this week on the red carpet was a dream assignment. #DiagonAlleyPreview #Potterwatch @UniversalOrlando
Actors in attendance included James and Oliver Phelps (who played Weasley twins Fred and George respectively), Bonnie Wright (their sister Ginny), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Matt Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), and more.
I had the chance to preview Universal Orlando’s #DiagonAlley this week. I’m happy to report: It’s overwhelming, in a very good way. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley opens July 8, 2014.
When Walt Disney and his animators named the Seven Dwarfs, there were many monikers that didn’t make the cut, including Baldy, Burpy, Tubby, Dizzy and Wheezy. The ones that did stick, however, have been lovable household names since 1937, when the classic film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs hit the big screen.
Now, with the Magic Kingdom’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction, which will open this spring, they will shine again. And this time, in an even bigger way. Throughout the attraction, Disney “imagineers” tell the story from the dwarfs’ perspective. In fact, Snow White doesn’t even make a cameo until the very end of the ride.
One could argue that falcons are the coolest birds in the sky. They can change direction on a dime, some can hover over the ground and others can fly at speeds up to 200 mph.
So it’s no surprise that a theme park would name a first-of-its-kind thrill ride after this intrepid bird of prey. Better yet, when Falcon’s Fury, the tallest freestanding drop tower in North America, opens this spring at Busch Gardens in Tampa, it will simulate what it’s like to drop out of the sky just like the namesake bird.
Take a tour of ‘The Simpsons’ Springfield, a new feature of the popular Simpsons area of Universal Studios. Visitors can have a Krusty Burger and enjoy a Duff Beer, which is exclusively brewed at Universal Orlando.
If you are looking for things to do in Orlando beyond the theme parks, here are some great ideas. These unusual Central Florida attractions are a surefire way to learn something new and have a blast at the same time. Travel writer Sarah Sekula drops by FOX 35 to takj about some of her favorites, including Orlando Aerial Arts, Orlando Circus School, Blast Off Adventures and Wallaby Ranch.
I occasionally enjoy hurling myself out of planes. This jump was in Voss, Norway, which is well known for its gorgeous vistas, abundant nature and wide open spaces. While we parachuted through an ice-cold cloud and toward the green pastures I spotted fjords, mountains and lakes. For more about Voss, visit www.visitvoss.no/en or www.skydivevoss.no.
There’s nothing quite like being among a huge colony of cold-weather penguins as they plunge into the water in fine torpedo-like fashion, waddle to and fro and chatter with one another. For starters: It’s really noisy. “If you listen close, each species has a different type of vocalization,” says Mike Boos, vice president of zoological operations at SeaWorld Orlando.
I recently visited the Grand Hotel Kronenhof, a five-star hotel in Pontresina, Switzerland. It’s the perfect jumping off point for exploring the Swiss Alps and a peaceful place for a Switzerland spa vacation. Check out the video, and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve included things to do in Pontresina like hiking Muottas Muragl and visiting Laret Market.
Last week while I was at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya, I came across this scene. Nothing like watching a bunch of baby elephants and a family of warthogs splash around in a mud pit. Enjoy!
The spellbinding sport featured in the Harry Potter books and films has a Muggle (or non-magical) version that is part rugby, part soccer and part dodgeball. It’s not only a captivating spectacle, it’s a serious sport sweeping the nation. But, don’t worry if you missed the Quidditch World Cup recently held in Kissimmee! I created this video to give you the low down on all things quidditch. And, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Snitchwiches are darn tasty!
In December 2012, Disney’s New Fantasyland opened, and I landed an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the multifaceted attraction as well as a first look at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train scheduled to open in early 2014. Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering; and Phil Holmes, Magic Kingdom vice president showed me around the new digs. Let me know what you think of the video.
Here’s a place I’m dying to see — Jellyfish Lake in Palau. My friend and fellow travel writer Lisa Sonne captured some whimsical footage of the jellies for National Geographic Intelligent Travel last year. Jellyfish Lake is one of the only places in the world where you can safely swim with jellyfish. The jellyfish here have few predators so they evolved to be almost “stingless.” See her article here: http://intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com/2011/10/19/joy-of-the-jellies/
When it comes to vacations most people want to experience something new, something they can’t do back at home. We have some great ideas for you that are so unusual that you will definitely walk away with bragging rights. Here’s travel writer Sarah Sekula to share a few that are on the top of her list.
If you’re serious about getting away from it all, visiting a remote island should do the trick. The tourists are few and far between, and the jaw-dropping scenery doesn’t hurt either. Travel writer Sarah Sekula is here to tell us about some of her favorite remote islands.
For those of you who are planning your wedding right now, how do you go about narrowing down your list of honeymoon locations? Are you looking to lounge in the sun or would you rather be hiking snow-covered mountains? Travel writer Sarah Sekula has some suggestions for us.
My heart for missions continues to grow each year, and this summer I have an opportunity to go to Malawi, Africa, with Summit Church. We are going to help a ministry in Lilongwe called Children of the Nations, which provides holistic, Christ-centered care for orphaned and destitute children, enabling them to create positive and lasting change in their nations. With that said, I’ve been trying to explain in words what the trip is all about, but I think this video does a much better job.
It was an overcast day in January as I trotted along Hana Bay in Maui. My companion for the afternoon was Andrew, an expert waterman who has been fishing these waters for more than 30 years using a throw net, a handmade contraption with an intricate interweaving of strands. It’s age-old tradition that has been passed along for hundreds of years.
The wild pigs in Papua New Guinea kindly shared the trail with us. I love the little piglets scampering behind mama pig at the end of the video.
When it comes to travel, the most important thing the 65 and up crowd is convenience. Seniors have the time and resources to explore some pretty unique parts of the world. They may choose remote locations, but they are still looking for a stress-free vacation. One of the best ways to do this is by taking a cruise. I shared a few of my suggestions on Daytime TV, a nationally syndicated talk show.
I arrive at Nordik Adventures on an crisp February morning to the sound of boisterous yelps, snarls and barks. The welcome committee consists of 45 Siberian huskies; each anxious to tear up the trails on the first run of the day. Same here; I cannot wait. I feel like howling myself. First, though, we must go through the basics. I quickly find out that mush is not a command I’ll be using today.
We’re motoring along in a skiff, a small, inflatable craft with an outboard motor. It quickly transports us from the Safari Explorer, a luxury mega-yacht that is our home base for the week, to an area off the coast of Kona, Hawaii. On board, seven manta ray watchers from Denmark, Australia, and the U.S., snugly outfitted in wetsuits and snorkel gear, anxiously await what comes next.
I’ve been to Epcot in Orlando too many times to count. But, trust me, it never get old. And my favorite part about it is, you can travel the world in a day. So that’s what I did in this video, where I’ll be your guide around the Epcot World Showcase. From chomping down churros in Mexico to dancing to live music in Norway, traveling around the world has never been so convenient.