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Stay In The Heart Of Our Universe, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort!!

PG_horz_full_CBBR_01_tcm13-32956June 6, 2014–
EXCLUSIVE ON-SITE HOTEL OFFER
Rates Starting From $114*
Call 1-866-343-5500
Redeem with your unique offer code below!

Stay In The Heart Of Our Universe At Our Newest, Most Affordable On-Site Hotel!!
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Stay in the heart of the excitement by experiencing our newest on-site hotel, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, featuring family suites complete with kitchenettes, or standard rooms, plus two huge pools, a lazy river, bowling alley, and more!

This exclusive offer can only be redeemed
with your unique offer code:
49317190
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Travel dates: June 16 – August 16, 2014
Book by June 15, 2014
This offer is available for a limited time and cannot be booked online.
Call 1-866-343-5500 Today!

WANT TO GET INTO THE PARKS BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE?
On-site hotel guests receive Early Park Admission^ one hour before the theme parks open (valid theme park admission required).

By Deborah Fitts

Six Flags Park Announcements, June 4th – 18th

logoJune 5, 2014–
I2014-05-27-5690E7EB7DAD_230x230New Hurricane Harbor Water Park Now Open!
Stay carefree at the water park with these tips
Last Chance To Save: Season Pass Offer Ends June 15th Hurry While it Lasts!!

Make sure you plan ahead for your visit to our all-new Hurricane Harbor water park. Free with park admission, Hurricane Harbor lets you cool off in between our 11 world-class roller coasters. Follow these tips to help prepare for a carefree day.

1. Bring a towel and extra clothes
You’ll definitely need to wear a swimsuit around Hurricane Harbor, but make sure you also have a towel and appropriate cover-ups before heading back into the theme park. If you do forget your attire or necessities, you can pick up everything you need at our new beach-themed gift shop Tradewinds. We recommend bringing a bag with an extra set of dry clothes so you can stay comfortable for the rest of your day. If you need a place to store your belongings, rent a locker at the front gate of the theme park or in the water park.

2. Arrive early to claim your equipment
We have a limited number of lounge chairs, picnic tables, lockers, tubes and life vests available for your convenience. Plan to arrive at the water park early in the day so you can claim yours. The water park opens at 11 am every day, so you can stay refreshed during the afternoon and head back to the coasters in the evening.

3. Follow our lifeguards and safety tips
To keep you safe, all our park lifeguards are trained and certified by the prestigious Jeff Ellis & Associates. They’ll keep a watchful eye over our wave pool, kids splash playground and water slides to make sure everything is going smoothly. Additionally, weak swimmers should wear a life vest and stay in the shallow areas of the pool.

4. Protect yourself against summer mishaps.
Even though you’ll be in the water, it’s still important to stay hydrated with ice cold beverages during the day. Furthermore, be sure to re-apply sunscreen throughout the day as it may rinse off in the water. We suggest wearing sandals or water shoes as you walk around the park.. We know you can’t wait to enjoy the water park, but make sure to walk – don’t run – to stay safe!

Hurricane Harbor is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Spend Father’s Day at the Park
Celebrate Dad’’s special day at Six Flags
This year, skip the traditional necktie and coffee mug and give Dad a day of family fun at Six Flags. Dad inspires us to be brave and strong, so show him how fearless you are by tackling our legendary collection of coasters. Plus, let dad take a break from the barbeque grill and treat him to a jumbo smoked turkey leg or foot-long chili dog. Join us next weekend for a special day of thrills that Dad and the family will never forget.
I2014-06-03-585DDCA7452C_135x135 Last Chance To Save: Season Pass Offer Ends June 15!

Two great parks, one low price!!
Time is running out before our prices go up! Get your 2014 Season Pass now and get two great parks for one low price. With your Season Pass, you can ride our world class attractions, cool off in our new water park Hurricane Harbor, visit our all-new Holiday in the Park winter celebration and more for as low as $54.99 each or $4.59 a month. Plus, enjoy amazing deals like bring a friend free offers throughout the season. Hurry, offer ends June 15!

I2014-05-27-5EDB6A454B74_135x135 Tips for Riding SkyScreamer

How to prepare for the 24-story swing ride!
SkyScreamer is the tallest ride in the park’s history, but a few simple tips will help ease your nerves when you get on to ride. Wear tight shoes as your legs dangle free in the air. Keep your eyes open as you rise 240 feet into the sky, because you’ll get an amazing view of the entire park and surrounding areas. Furthermore, the breezy swing around at 40 mph will blow your hair through the wind, offering a unique way to cool off on a hot day.
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Visit All Year For as Low as $4.59 a Month: Buy Memberships today and you’ll still be visiting the park a year from now! Plus, keep any upgrades you receive for as long as you remain a member and enjoy other great benefits, flexibility and value for a low monthly price.

Two Reasons to Follow Us on Twitter
Big news and exclusive offers for our followers
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As a follower of our Twitter, @sfovergeorgia, you’ll be one of the first to know about new information at the park. During the year, we’ll be tweeting important updates and big news happening at the park, including any changes to park hours, event details, construction updates and other exclusive announcements. In addition, we’ll let you know about special offers and limited opportunities that you can take advantage of. Follow Now!

Enjoy More Thrills with THE FLASH Pass: Our virtual ride reservation system keeps your place in line electronically. Hold your spot while enjoying other attractions and then head straight to the front.

Top Tips for Large Groups
Keep everyone in your group happy with these simple tips…
When visiting the park with a large group of family or peers, it’s important to plan ahead. Designate an easy-to-find spot, like the front gate or picnic pavilion, for your group to check-in and meet up if you get separated. Be mindful of different thrill levels in your party, so let everyone pick a ride to go on, or opt for rides like Thunder River that let you entire group ride together. Plus, gather at least 15 people to take advantage of great group discounts.

Ride and Slide with a Two-Park Combo Pass: Get two great parks for one low price! Have twice the fun with unlimited admission to both Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags White Water.
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Best Ways to Cool Off on a Hot Day
Guests tell us how to stay cool with these refreshing remedies!
During hot summer days, it’s important to stay cool at the park. We asked guests how they rejuvenate and 22 percent hop on our water rides, like at our new water park, to get soaked from head to toe. About 10 percent pick up a frozen treat, like ice cream or cold beverages to stay hydrated and chill. Five percent kick back in one of our shaded areas or stand under a spraying mister and 62 percent do all of the above to stay refreshed all day long.

By Deborah Fitts

Summer Is Here, So Head On Down To Carowinds!!

CAROWINDS LOGOmutts_big
June 5, 2014–
**The Marvelous Mutts Are Ready To Fly
The Marvelous Mutts are back for a limited time engagement June 9-15 in a thrilling show that showcases some of the world’s finest canine athletes. These mutts amaze audiences as they flip and fly to snatch flying discs out of the air, race through obstacle courses with breathtaking speed, and launch themselves off a dock to catch a toy before it splashes into a pool of water!

**harmondy_hall_small**Harmony Hall Is Almost Here
Harmony Hall, Carowinds’ new 26,500 square foot dining and entertainment facility is getting ready to open in just a few weeks. Harmony Hall will showcase live shows and a food selection that is sure to fill your taste buds including gourmet pizza, southern BBQ, fresh salads, a bakery and more.
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**Share And You Could WIN
Are you ready to enter to win a FREE trip to Knott’s Berry Farm, Carowinds’ sister park in California? Carowinds has teamed up with Coke to create a movie and photo competition. Take photos and videos of your day at the park and enter them to win. For more info, please visit http://www.carowinds.com/bestday for complete rules and contest entry.

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**Rock The Park Is Back
Rock the Park is just around the corner on June 14. Carowinds is proud to bring to the stage some of the hottest artists in the Contemporary Christian Music industry featuring Third Day, Lecrae and more! Purchase today by phone at (800) 745-3000 or online at ticketmaster.com. Special pricing available for 2014 Season Passholders.

By Deborah Fitts

Awesome Deals For Summer + Save A Cool $10 Off Memberships!!

mainlogoJune 4, 2014–
Don’t miss the three night Fantastic Fourth Celebration, July 3-5!
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Fantastic Fourth Celebration Is The Best Place to see Fireworks in Atlanta!!
Come Out And See The Fabulous Firework Displays!!!

Arrive early to enjoy fun-filled attractions and special summer entertainment for the whole family. Go on an action-packed journey with Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – The 4-D Experience, challenge yourself on SkyHike®, the nation’s largest family adventure course, cool off and play in the spray on Geyser Towers® and much more.

Stay into the evening for an unforgettable patriotic celebration with the Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision® followed by a special, patriotic fireworks finale on all three nights!

Fantastic Fourth Celebration Tips:
Please be advised that Stone Mountain Park typically experiences large crowds during the Fantastic Fourth. Be sure to come out early to enjoy the Park and keep in mind the following pointers to make it an enjoyable experience for all.

Cars – Enter through the East gate (main entrance on Highway 78) or West gate (James B Rivers Memorial Drive and East Mountain Street) The Park will close the gates to traffic once parking capacity is reached.
Pedestrians – Enter through the West gate (James B Rivers Memorial Drive and East Mountain Street) ONLY.

Please note that smoking is only permitted in designated smoking areas:
Lower Lawn (below train tracks)
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Near the Cherokee Trail below the South Carolina terrace
Near the entrance to the Sacrifice monument on the left side of the reflecting pool/fountain

Upper Lawn
Outside of the east side restroom
Outside of the west side restroom
All other areas on the laser lawn are restricted. Please be courteous of non-smoking guests.
*Vehicle entry to the park is $10.00 for a one day permit or $35 for an annual permit. Note that there will be no free Park re-entry allowed. Guests who leave the Park on July 4 and then wish to return will have to re-pay the $10.00 Park entry fee

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There’s always something going on for you and your family at Stone Mountain Park, and a Mountain Membership pays for itself in just two visits.

Mountain Members enjoy 12 full months of action-packed adventures and big savings at Georgia’s #1 attraction.
Mountain Membership PLUS & Mountain Membership
Adult $109 $59
Child (Ages 3-11) $109 $49
Adult $109 $59
Child (Ages 3-11) $109 $49

***Mountain Membership Renewals***
Mountain Members enjoy 12 full months of action-packed adventures and big savings at Georgia’s #1 attraction. Visit the Park to renew your membership today!
***Mountain Member Plus
**Mountain Member
Adult
$99
$49
Child
(Ages 3-11)
$99
$39
Renew Now!
*Advance reservations required for Marriott Hotels; special rate is based on availability and may not be offered during holidays and peak weekends. Golf rates are for Mon.-Fri. Special weekend golf rates also available. Campsite rental requires advance reservations. Discounts or other Member Benefits cannot be combined with other offers and are subject to change without notice.

By Deborah Fitts

If June Could Talk It’d Say……

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lrgframe-SINpic&logo-253x253 June 4, 2014–
Splash Island Nights – 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
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Come out and enjoy Splash Island – with a twist! Every Friday night June 6-August 1, Splash Island will remain open until 10:00 PM! Bring your family to Wild Adventures for a day full of fun that doesn’t stop when the sun goes down! Whether you’re dancing to the music provided by our DJ or participating in the water park games – you’re sure to have a splish splashin’ good time!

Splash Island Nights after 5PM Ticket and Meal
$36 plus tax
Play in the water park after dark during Splash Island Nights AND get an all-you-can-eat meal with this special ticket offer which can be used any Friday night during Splash Island Nights after 5:00 P.M.
TICKET WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON & ONLINE ONLY!
Nacho Taco All-You-Can-Eat Buffet
LOCATION: Surfside Cafe
TIMES: starting at 7PM
Build your own nachos and tacos at this Splash Island Nights buffet!
$8 for Season Passholders
Non Season Passholders:
$10 for adults
$8 for children 6-10
$5 for children 5 and under
Wahee Cyclone will operate until dark, all other water attractions in Splash Island will be open until 10:00 PM.

Tigers of India
Saturday March 15, 2014 – Sunday September 14, 2014
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Wild Adventures maintains its animal tradition by offering the breathtaking animal performances of Tigers of India. Be amazed as man and tiger share the same habitat. This award-winning show highlights the agility of these awe-inspiring big cats, considered the largest in the animal kingdom.
LOCATION: TIGERS OF INDIA THEATER
DURATION: 25 MINUTES
SHOW DATES & TIMES:
Weekdays excluding Wednesday: 12:30 PM | 3:00 PM
Saturday: 12:30 PM | 3:00 PM | 5:30 PM
Sunday: 12:30 PM | 3:00 PM
*Show Schedules are subject to change without notice
Get a 2014 Season Pass for unlimited admission to Wild Adventures & Splash Island and to enjoy this show and others for FREE!
Buy a 2014 Season Pass NOW!
lrgframe-BAFMay11-253x2532014 BRING-A-FRIEND DAYS
Bring a friend to the park for FREE!
Share the FUN with a Friend for FREE with your 2014 Season Pass!
Passholders can share the FUN with a friend for FREE during our remaining 2 scheduled Bring-A-Friend Days!*
June 15
September 26
*Sharing the fun with a friend for FREE is just one of the perks of being a Season Passholder.
Purchase your 2014 Season Pass NOW for unlimited admission to Wild Adventures and Splash Island all season and to take advantage of these Bring-A-Friend offers and ALL the Passholder perks! SAVE UP TO $10 on your 2014 Season Pass!
2014 Concerts
Reserved Seats On Sale NOW!
Guests can purchase reserved seats for all 14 all-star concerts online, by phone at 229-219-7080
or at the park.
All 14 concerts FREE with a 2014 Season Pass – Buy NOW and save up to $10!
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Thomas Rhett & Rhett Akins – June 7Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins
Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 8:00 PM
*RESERVED SEATS FOR THIS SHOW ARE SOLD OUT.*
General concert admission is free with a Season Pass or park admission.
Concert-Kirk Franklin
2014 Concert – Kirk Franklin
Kirk Franklin
Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 8:00 PM
Buy Reserved Seats NOW
Concert-Billy Currington
2014 Concert – Billy Currington
Billy Currington
Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 8:00 PM
Buy Reserved Seats NOW
Concert-Jeremy Camp
2014 Concert – Jeremy Camp
Jeremy Camp
Saturday, July 12, 2014 at 8:00 PM
Buy Reserved Seats NOW
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2014 Concert – Colt FordColt Ford and The LACS
Saturday, August 2 starting at 6:00 PM
Buy reserved seats now!
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2014 Concert – Skillet
Skillet
Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Buy Reserved Seats NOW

Concerts are FREE with a Season Pass or park admission. $5 reserved seats to all-star concerts for 2014 Gold Season Passholders in advance, $10 reserved seats for all other guests in advance. Reserved seats purchased the day of the concert $15 for all guests. Purchase your 2014 Season Pass NOW and SAVE up to $10!

Buy your 2014 Season Pass NOW
Reserved concert seat pricing does not include 7% sales tax, park admission, or parking. All prices subject to change without notice. All concert dates and times are subject to change to due circumstances outside the park’s control.

Please note, guests around you may choose to stand during the concert. Security is present to enforce park safety and artist guidelines.

By Deborah Fitts

Summertime Is Underway At Disney Parks

minetrail118974LARGE-613x616May 27, 2014–
We just wrapped up the Rock Your Disney Side 24-hour event here at Disney Parks our big kick-off to summer!

There’s so much to see and do at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts this summer!!

At Walt Disney World Resort, the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opens on May 28. The crowning jewel of New Fantasyland, the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom Park history, this new attraction takes guests on a rollicking musical ride into the mine “where a million diamonds shine.”

Also at Magic Kingdom Park, the new Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade features innovative parade floats, vibrant costumes and an original soundtrack that includes songs from favorite Disney films along with a new parade theme song.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the popular “Festival of the Lion King” returns this summer in the new Harambe Theatre. The park will offer Harambe Nights on Saturday evenings, June 7 through August 9, featuring a dazzling theatrical experience and energetic street party to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Disney’s film, “The Lion King.”

At the Disneyland Resort, guests can enjoy the newly reopened and enhanced Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, along with dazzling summer entertainment that, beginning in mid-June, will include “Frozen” characters in a special pre-parade float for Mickey’s Soundsational Parade. The pre-parade unit features Queen Elsa, Princess Anna and snowman Olaf.

Other summer entertainment in Disneyland includes daily performances of “Mickey and the Magical Map,” nightly performances of both “Fantasmic!” and “Magical” fireworks spectacular and a variety of new entertainment daily in Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. At Disney California Adventure park, guests continue to enjoy Cars Land and the popular nighttime offerings, “World of Color” and Mad T Party.

By Deborah Fitts

Season Passholders Get Line Bypass At La Ronde

logo_laronde_frMario Beauregard-Montreal Quebec CanadaMay 27, 2014–Montreal,
Skipping the line during your next trip to the amusement park may be at your fingertips, literally.

La Ronde has introduced finger point scanners for season pass holders, which will allow amusement park goers to bypass the line at the entrance.

Jules Hebert, a spokesperson for La Ronde, said that the introduction of this program will provide season pass holders a better experience by allowing them to avoid long wait times.

However, despite claiming to allow entrance in only nine seconds, patrons are concerned about the security of their information.

Hebert explained that there is nothing to worry about.
“The system uses points on the finger that are then verified by a mathematical algorithm, instead of the whole fingerprint,” he told Global News.

Some are suggesting that La Ronde is arguing semantics and that “fingerpoints” and fingerprints are one in the same. But experts disagree.

Eric Talbot, the CEO of security company S.I.C Biometrics told the press that people shouldn’t be concerned about the information that La Ronde is taking.

“On an image like ‘fingerprints’, where you have 92,000 points and you just extract five, there is no concern,” he said.

“Everybody can have fun at La Ronde.”

La Ronde has said that worried pass holders will not be penalized for refusing to opt into the new initiative and they will still be able to use the standard identification card at the gate.

By Deborah Fitts

How Is Legoland Becoming Florida’s Must New See Attraction?

2014-05-26-Cardens3-thumbMay 27, 2014–
Back when our grandparents used to visit the Sunshine State, there was always one place that they had to visit. And that was Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Florida. Started back in 1936 by Dick Pope Sr. and his wife Julie, this 170-acre park quickly became world-famous for its lush botanical gardens & elaborate water skiing shows.

But with the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971, the center of gravity for Florida tourism suddenly shifted over to Orlando. And with fewer & fewer folks now willing to drive on out to Polk County to sample Cypress Gardens’ admittedly old-fashioned charms, the Sunshine State’s first commercial tourist theme park went through some tough financial straits. Beginning in the 1980s, Cypress Gardens changed hands multiple times, with each new owner not knowing quite what to do with the property.

Finally in January 2010, Merlin Entertainments the world’s second largest theme park and attraction operator purchased Cypress Gardens with the intent of turning this beautiful piece of lakeside property into Legoland Florida. Which caused a lot of folks around the United States to fret. Mostly because they believed that their grandparents’ favorite Florida vacation stop was about to disappear under a blizzard of plastic bricks.2014-05-26-Cardens2

“You have to understand that Merlin Entertainments knows the value of mixing the old with the new,” Jones explained during a recent phone call. “Take for example the Alton Towers Resort, our flagship property. We’ve got the Towers ruins right there inside of that theme park. The public is welcome to tour those ruins during daylight hours. And honestly, they’re one of the more popular attractions at this UK theme park.”

Well, Cypress Gardens wasn’t quite as far gone as the ruins at Alton Towers were when Adrian arrived in Winter Haven nearly four years ago. But it was clear that this 170-acre parcel needed some TLC ASAP.

“I mean, I remember when I was walking around the grounds for the first time. And I went down to take a look at the Florida state pool. Which is this outdoor pool that MGM had built back in the early 1950s, back when they were shooting an Esther Williams movie on location at Cypress Gardens,” Jones continued. “Well, by the time I got there, Esther was long gone but a trio of alligators had moved in. And it took us quite of a while to persuade those gators to vacate the premises.”

But even with how overgrown the botanical gardens had gotten and the general disrepair of the pathways & benches through the backmost part of the property, Adrian saw the obvious potential of the place. A theme park that he hoped could be turned into something that would only celebrate the Sunshine State’s past but also become a must-see attraction for the next generation of Florida tourists.

“And that is how Merlin Entertainments went about transforming Cypress Gardens into Legoland Florida. Wherever possible, we kept pieces of the previous version of this theme park things like the Island in the Sky and the water skiing show in place. While at the same time, we brought in this wide array of brand-new LEGO-based rides, shows and attractions. All to give Central Florida visitors a reason to drive on out to Lake Eloise and see all of the changes that we’d made to the place,” Jones said.

And the changes didn’t stop once Legoland Florida officially opened to the public on October 15, 2011. Merlin Entertainments made sure that every six months or so, something new was popping up at the park.

“It was all about striking just the right balance. For the parents & grandparents who’d been here previously, we wanted them to see & appreciate the various tributes to Cypress Gardens that we’d scattered around property. Things like those LEGO southern belles we have out by the gazebo. It took over 60,000 plastic bricks to replicate the exact look of those hoop-skirted dresses the Popes used to have their female employees wear,” Jones stated. “But for the younger members of the family, we also added things like our Star Wars Miniland in November of 2012 and the World of Chima in July of 2013.”

And that ongoing effort to mix the old with the new continues at Legoland Florida. For right on the heels of re-opening the newly restored Florida state pool & Oriental Gardens back in March, this past Friday, this theme park threw open the gates to DUPLO Valley. Which is a brand-new farm-themed area geared towards toddlers ages 2 to 5 years of age.

Of course, there’s still the matter of trying to persuade people who are vacationing in and around Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld to journey all the way out to Polk County to visit Legoland Florida. But Adrian believes that the two key pieces to that puzzle will click into place by the middle of 2015.

We’re going to start offering bus service that will take people from I-Drive straight out to Legoland Florida from the Orlando Eye complex,” Jones explained. “I think that transportation option will really appeal to Central Florida tourists who don’t relish the idea of taking their rental car out on I-4 and then trying to find their way back to Highway 27.”

Just about that same time, Legoland Florida expects to be opening its first on-site hotel. This four-story tall structure will feature 152 Lego-themed rooms. And once that multi-million project throws open its doors, Adrian is hoping that this will change the public’s perception of this Polk County attraction. That they’ll then stop thinking of Legoland Florida as a place that you visit for just a day and start thinking of it as a destination resort.

“We’re especially hopeful that international travelers those people who already know how much fun our other Legoland parks around the world are will, once the Legoland Hotel opens, will start using this resort as their base of operations during their next Central Florida vacation,” Jones continued. “And this LEGO-themed hotel along with its restaurant and its pool, will feature some spectacular views of Lake Eloise. And when people look out at that lake, they’ll understand exactly why the Popes chose this spot in Central Florida as the place to build Cypress Gardens.”

So as you can see over the past three years Merlin Entertainments has been taking a methodical approach to revamping the Sunshine State’s first commercial tourist theme park. Leaving just enough in place to please old Cypress Gardens fans while at the same time adding something new like some character meet-n-greets built around Warner Bros’ surprise smash, The LEGO Movie.

“But that just how we do things here in the LEGO world,” Jones laughed. “One brick at a time.”

By Deborah Fitts

Memorial Day At Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Was Busy, But Great

giantdipper1May 27, 2014–Santa Cruz,
On a busy Memorial Day weekend, warm weather and a three-day weekend combined to bring thousands flocking to the shore on a sun-baked but otherwise uneventful weekend. Santa Cruz lifeguards estimated that on Main Beach alone, 60,000 brought their towels, picnics and umbrellas, leaving no inch of beach unoccupied.

“A lot of businesses around here said this was the busiest Memorial Day they’ve seen,” said Capt. Josh Coleman of the Santa Cruz Fire Department’s marine safety division.

At the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Memorial Day kicks off a summer of daily operations through Labor Day. Lines for everything from the Giant Dipper to Dippin’ Dots were long.

“It was one of those perfect Boardwalk weekends where people are on the beach having fun and everyone’s on the Boardwalk, enjoying themselves,” Boardwalk spokesman Kris Reyes said. “People are excited. … It’s been great.”

Temperatures throughout the weekend were in the mid to upper-70s along the coast, and in the upper-80s in the mountains. By early afternoon, sheaths of morning fog burned off to reveal blazing blue skies.

Business was brisk at places like Cowell’s Beach Surf Shop. Even as the waves petered out through Monday, customers kept up the pace when it came to buying bathing suits and other merchandise.

“It’s been really busy,” employee Cece Lynch said.

At the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor, pleasure-boaters and fishermen made it out to sea and back Ok, Deputy Harbormaster Blake Anderson said. But the beaches were busy, he added, echoing a theme.

“It’s definitely record crowds for us,” Anderson said.

The California Highway Patrol arrested about 10 people for driving under the influence and attended to about 25 crashes on area roads, neither number being out of line for a holiday weekend, officer Jeff Lutz said. And with traffic mostly gridlocked throughout the weekend, none of the accidents had life-threatening injuries.

“Traffic coming down 17 into the city was backed up for most of the weekend. Same with Highway 1 because of the Blues Festival down in Aptos,” Lutz said.

Coleman said lifeguards were busy helping swimmers throughout the weekend, but there were no drownings or serious injuries. Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jed Wilson said there were only a few moments of peril, including a North Coast water rescue that ended well.

Mike DeMars, a spokesman for the Central Fire Protection District, said the biggest thing to happen all weekend was the agency raising $12,000 in a fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

While Mother Nature was good to the tourists this holiday weekend, she also has a treat in store for locals: Over the next few days, temperatures are expected to rise even higher.

By Deborah Fitts

Port Royal Waterpark Resort & Conference Center Coming to Jasper, GA.

Port Royal 3May 27, 2014–Jasper, GA.
World Class Development Team Announces Plans to Develop $145 Million Resort in Jasper, Pickens County, Georgia.

Port Royal Holdings, LLC, a New York development firm whose principals include famed music and entertainment executive Mathew Knowles, held their first public meeting to unveil plans to develop Port Royal Resort, Jasper, Georgia.Port Royal 1

Over 400 enthusiastic guests, including government officials, local residents, civic leaders and business owners learned that Port Royal Resort will be the first North American, fully themed, year round, waterpark resort and conference center replicating the historic City of Port Royal, Jamaica – bringing the colorful Caribbean tropics to Georgia year round.

“Our business plan plots the course toward establishing Port Royal as the premier family and business leisure and convention destination in the Southeast as well as a local community hub and regional entertainment venue,” said Mathew Knowles, Chief Entertainment Officer.

Jasper Mayor John Weaver acknowledged the potential of Port Royal. “This project turns the switch back on to restart development in Pickens County,” said Weaver.

The new state-of-the-art waterpark resort and conference center will feature a 400-room, full service hotel with a day spa, two restaurants, indoor/outdoor lounges, sports bar and retail space, indoor and outdoor waterparks, family entertainment center, conference center, 16,000-seat amphitheater, artificial lake and lush gardens. The resort will be located on a 176-acre parcel of land along Highway 515 atop beautiful rolling hills in the City of Jasper, Pickens County, Georgia.

In addition to the waterparks, the resort will offer a number of indoor and outdoor recreational facilities and activities for families, as well as fully appointed executive meeting rooms and business facilities for corporate guests. The conference center’s flexible meeting rooms and banquet halls will accommodate business meetings and social gatherings of all sizes.

Damion Barrett, Chief of Development, added, “Port Royal, Jasper will set a new leisure industry standard and redefine the concept of a waterpark resort by providing a unique leisure and business guest experience.”

Operating Green
“We firmly believe that being a good steward of the earth is not only good for business, it’s also good for the community and our country,” said Timothy Smith, Port Royal Project Director. “Accordingly, our architectural firm is focused on using technologies designed to save energy and preserve resources. Moreover, construction and day-to-day operations are being designed for the lowest possible carbon footprint.”

Port Royal’s sustainability plan includes: local purchasing whenever possible; extensive day lighting; factory engineered components to reduce waste; a combination of permeable pavers, concrete and asphalt, bio swales and retention ponds for natural storm water drainage; low flow, energy efficient and solar powered fixtures; and no or low VOC carpeting, paints, adhesives, caulk and cleansers.

The new resort is estimated to cost $145 million, and within the first year create approximately 1,247 construction jobs, 395 permanent, full-time jobs, 600 permanent part-time jobs, generate approximately $11.9 million in additional county and state tax revenue, and an estimated $54 million of additional economic activity within the county, according to an independent economic impact study performed by Hotel & Leisure Advisers, LLC, a leading leisure industry consulting firm.

“These are significant job numbers and opportunities for a county with an estimated 15% unemployment rate, not including residents that have to commute outside of the county for employment,” said Eric S. Lund, COO of waterpark industry pioneer S & L Hospitality, LLC, and the former founder of the Great Wolf Lodge chain of waterparks, whose new firm will manage the Port Royal Resort’s day-to-day operations.

The development will be financed by a combination of developer and investor equity, debt and existing federal and state economic development programs the project is eligible for.

“This project would not have been possible without the City of Jasper and Pickens County’s hands on assistance, which was instrumental in developing the site,” said Barrett.

To fully articulate their vision, the developers have assembled a world class, globally recognized development team of leading local, national and international professionals that include: Architectural Design Consultants, Inc., Horizon Construction Group, Weber Group Inc., Aquatic Development Group, S&L Hospitality, Hotel & Leisure Advisers, LLC, Ross Consulting Engineers, P.C., and Acts of Creation, Inc.

The project is scheduled to break ground in 2014 and open in 2016.

By Deborah Fitts

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