Showing posts with label Around Orlando. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Around Orlando. Show all posts

May 22, 2019

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR THE LARGEST FOOD & BEVERAGE EXPERIENCE IN THE SOUTHEAST - THE FLORIDA RESTAURANT & LODGING SHOW AND HEALTHY FOOD EXPO

Two Days. Two Shows. Unlimited Opportunities.

ORLANDO, FL May 21, 2019 - For two days in September, the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando will be the place to be for thousands of restaurant, foodservice and food retail professionals to attend the 2019 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, co-located with Healthy Food Expo Florida, on Sunday, September 15 and Monday, September 16. The event is produced by Clarion UX and sponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA). Registration is now open at www.flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com/.

"This premier industry event, which was just recognized as one of the top US trade shows, gives thousands of industry peers a chance to enjoy samples, culinary demonstrations, education sessions, networking and more as they gather for the Southeast's largest food and beverage experience," said Tom Loughran, Vice President, Clarion UX Food & Beverage Group. "We are excited to once again co-locate these two leading events and offer an additional healthy food and beverage focus, for the restaurant owners and operators, chefs, retail buyers and other foodservice industry professionals to find the best and most current products and information to meet guest demand."

May 21, 2019

COASTER EXPERIENCE YET WITH HAGRID’S MAGICAL CREATURES MOTORBIKE ADVENTURE

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT CREATES THE MOST THRILLING AND INNOVATIVE 

Immersive Environments, Unparalleled Thrills and Beloved Harry Potter Characters Come to Life on the Epic New “Story Coaster” – Opening June 13 in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade

Orlando, Fla. (May 20, 2019) – From rich sets and an actual forest with 1,200 trees to ground-breaking coaster technology and a captivating storyline, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will be the most highly-themed, immersive coaster experience yet – becoming the world’s first “story coaster.”  

Epic Thrills Await Within the Forbidden Forest…

May 18, 2019

Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures Takes Families on a Fun-Fueled Excursion to Iconic Disney Destinations

Renderings: Feld Entertainment

Tickets for All-New Show Coming to Orlando On Sale May 21 

Orlando, Fla. – May 15, 2019 – Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures will whisk families away on an immersive getaway chock-full of magical participatory moments. Featuring new and classic tales, this a multi-generational experience visits Orlando from September 6-8, 2019 for six performances at Amway Center. Tickets go on sale May 21.

May 14, 2019

CELEBRITY HOSTS ANNOUNCED FOR THE ADAM MICHAEL ROSEN FOUNDATION PRESENTS RUNWAY TO HOPE'S SPRING SOIRÉE



ORLANDO (May 13, 2019) --  Runway to Hope, Central Florida's largest and premier charity event, is excited to announce Daymond John, Lindsay Arnold, and Joey Fatone as the celebrity co-hosts for The Adam Michael Rosen Foundation Presents Runway to Hope's 2019 Spring Soirée.   
 
Shark Tank star, Daymond John, has come a long way from taking out a $100,000 mortgage on his mother's house and moving his operation into the basement. John is CEO and Founder of FUBU, a much-celebrated global lifestyle brand, and a pioneer in the fashion industry with over $6 billion in product sales. He is an award-winning entrepreneur, author of four best-selling books, and has received over 35 awards. John is celebrating his 10th season on ABC's four-time Emmy winning show, Shark Tank, where he demonstrates his marketing prowess and entrepreneurial insights with millions of viewers each week.
 
Dancing with the Stars champion, Lindsay Arnold, began dancing at the age of four, when her mom began searching for a hobby she would ultimately enjoy. Her first television debut began on season nine of FOX's So You Think You Can Dance, which led to her current professional dancer role on ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Along with Hamilton sensation, Jordan Fisher, Lindsay won Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars, having also placed 4th, 3rd, and 2nd in other seasons.  

Joining them will be Runway to Hope veteran and hometown favorite, Joey Fatone. Fatone first rose to fame when he joined the record-shattering boy band *NSYNC and has since become a prominent personality in his own right, with projects spanning TV, film, and theatre. He danced into our hearts with a successful stint competing on ABC's Dancing with the Stars with Kym Johnson; has become a popular game show host and a fan favorite in films including On the Line, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and more. Additionally, Fatone has been a hit onstage in both off-and on-Broadway productions.  

The true stars of the evening though are the 165 cancer warriors affected by pediatric cancer who are escorted on the runway, hand-in-hand, by local and national celebrities. This year, The Adam Michael Rosen Foundation, formed in honor of Adam Rosen, son of Trisha Rosen and Orlando philanthropist and hotelier Harris Rosen, will be the presenting sponsor for the event. Unfortunately, Adam passed away last November after a battle with a rare type of brain cancer. 
 
Runway to Hope is honored to have been recognized 14 times in its nine-year existence as Central Florida's Best Charity Event. 
 
The Adam Michael Rosen Presents Runway to Hope's 2019 Spring Soirée takes place Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Rosen Shingle Creek. Tickets and sponsorships are available at runwaytohope.org.
 
For more information, please contact Laura Lockner at laura@runwaytohope.org or call 407-497-9121.

 
About Runway to Hope
The mission of Runway to Hope is to support families primarily in Central Florida fighting pediatric cancer while seeking a cure. Founded by Mark and Josie NeJame in 2010, the organization has created new and innovative programs by completing and extending million-dollar pledges to each of the three pediatric oncology departments within Central Florida's children's hospitals: AdventHealth for Children, Nemours Children's Hospital and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. In addition, Runway to Hope has established a Family Assistance Program, which provides direct aid and assistance to the families of children battling cancer, when they experience emergency situations, have unmet basic needs, or are without funds to take care of necessary family expenses.

May 12, 2019

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens to host Pet Amnesty Day


SANFORD, Fla., May 10, 2019On Saturday, June 1, residents of Central Florida will be allowed to surrender their exotic pets from 10 AM to 2 PM without penalty or cost, whether they are being kept legally or illegally.

The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), will be hosting a Pet Amnesty Day at the Zoo's front entrance. The Exotic Pet Amnesty Program offers an alternative to releasing unwanted pets and helps reduce the number of nonnative species being released into Florida habitats.

This free event is open to the public. Professionals from each organization will be onsite with information about caring for exotic pets, responsible pet ownership, and potential ecological impacts of invasive species in Florida. Animals that will be accepted include nonnative species of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, fish, and invertebrates. Domestic animals such as dogs, cats guinea pigs, and rabbits will not be accepted.

Please note—finding homes for large pond turtles including red-eared sliders, yellow-bellied sliders, cooters, chicken turtles, and redbelly turtles can take longer than a year. Owners of these turtles should contact the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline.

Some surrendered animals will be made available for adoption to pre-registered individuals the same day. Exotic pet adopters are required to be experienced and must be approved by the FWC prior to the event. There are no adoption fees, but potential adopters must register a minimum of one week before the event to adopt an animal. Approved adopters must bring their acceptance letters with them to the event.

For more information and adoption applications, please visit www.myfwc.com/nonnativesor call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-IVE-GOT1 (888-483-4681). Exotic pet owners who cannot attend the event can call this number year-round for assistance in finding a new home for their animal. 

May 9, 2019

Orlando Announces Record 75 Million Visitors, Solidifies Ranking as No. 1 U.S. Travel Destination


(Left to right) Adrian Jones, Visit Orlando Board Chair and Divisional Director USA, Merlin Entertainments USA Inc.; Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings; and George Aguel, President and CEO, Visit Orlando; celebrate a record 75 million visitors to Orlando in 2018.



Celebrates International Gains Despite Economic and Political Headwinds

ORLANDO, Fla. – Tourism officials announced today a historic milestone for the U.S. travel industry as Orlando released news of a record-setting 75 million annual visitors in 2018. The increase of 4.2% over the prior year once again solidifies Orlando’s lead position as America’s most-visited destination. 

Visit Orlando, the region’s official destination tourism and marketing organization, shared the news as part of National Travel & Tourism Week to a gathering of more than 1,000 tourism and community leaders.

May 6, 2019

GUIDE: Orlando-Area Attractions for Animal Lovers

If you're the type to include animal encounters on your vacation itinerary, you've probably already visited SeaWorld and Disney's Animal Kingdom. You've probably popped into Sea Life Aquarium at ICON Park, and maybe you've even made the trek out to Busch Gardens in Tampa (which is totally worth the trip, by the way). BUT did you know that there are many other animal-oriented attractions and refuges that may offer a more intimate experience at a fraction of the cost? We've lined up a handy list of the best animal-centric adventures within one hour of Orlando that you should keep in mind when planning your next visit.

  • Gatorland
    A Kissimmee staple since 1949, Gatorland pre-dates the area's most notable draw - Walt Disney World. Gatorland is an affordable day of genuine Central Florida fun. "The alligator capital of the world", Gatorland is home to more than 2,000 American Alligators, including two rare leucistic gators. A wide array of birds, crocodiles, tortoises, wild cats, also reside in this 110-acre preserve, which features educational demonstrations and interactive experiences as well as the Screamin' Gator Zip Line and the Stompin' Gator Off-Road Adventure. This has always ranked as one of my family's unanimous favorites, and it's quite possibly the best value in the area. There are always specials, and easy add-ons to upgrade your experience. It's a very memorable, unpredictable day of learning, bonding, and pure unadulterated Florida! There's food on site and plenty of places to sit and just observe. Many extras and they just keep growing. Make sure to take your camera, because these may be some of the best photo ops of your visit!
  • Safari Wilderness
    Nestled within the wilderness surrounded by 870 acres of Florida's Green Swamp, Safari Wilderness is a family-owned, licensed working game ranch located between Orlando and Tampa. Safari Wilderness offers very limited, exclusive encounters with large herds of exotic game over 260 acres of pristine wilderness. Guests can choose from guided safari tours in covered vehicles, on camels, or in kayaks, as well as sunset safaris. Options upgrades allow you to add on feeding experiences for up-close-and-personal encounters. You can also check out their sister location - Giraffe Ranch, with additional tour options by Segway or llama, and even more personal interaction options with assorted species from Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. Safari Wilderness Ranch and Giraffe Ranch are Florida agritourism projects licensed by the USDA. 
  • Wild Florida
    Wild Florida is home to more than 200 animals and an assortment of "pure" Florida experiences. Incorporating an animal park with airboat rides, guests have the option of catching wildlife on land or in the water.... but of course, we recommend both! Choose from a half-hour, full-hour, or sunset airboat tours on Lake Cypress. The separately-priced animal park is only $10, and can be visited with or without the airboat tour inclusion. Add-on animal encounters include goat yoga, sloth experiences, gator training, dining with a gator, and the "keeper for a day" experience. Educational animal demonstrations go on all day long, and Wild Florida is set to open a drive-through safari experience soon (the first of its kind in Central Florida)!
  • Exotic Animal Experience
    Located on seven acres of land in East Orlando, Exotic Animal Experience is a privately-owned facility where an entirely diverse menagerie of animals cohabitate essentially as a blended-species family. More than 40 animals call E.A.E. home, including sloths, lemurs, kangaroos, muntjac deer and many more. Visits are scheduled in advance, from Thursdays through Sundays only, and groups are kept to a minimum.
  • Jungle Adventures
    Another location boasting a genuine "cracker" experience, Jungle Adventures is" the natural habitat jungle home" of a range of fascinating residents, such as Florida panthers, black bears, wolves, white-tailed deer, tropical birds, reptiles, and other critters. Enjoy hands-on animal experiences, gator feedings, a ride on the Jungle Swamp Queen Riverboat, and a re-created Native American village.
  • Brevard Zoo
    More than 900 animals call Brevard Zoo home. Attend daily "Keeper Chats" to learn all about the individual residents, and take advantage of personal encounter opportunities. There are lots of educational, hands-on possibilities... especially for children. For an additional fee, you can feed giraffe, kayak through Expedition Africa, mingle with lemurs, and more. Head over to Treetop Trek to soar through lush Florida landscapes and see the zoo from above!
  • Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
    The Central Florida Zoo is home to more than 350 animals, representing over 100 different species. Enhance your standard zoo experience with keeper chats, splash pad play, animal encounters, and a stroll through the vibrant botanical gardens. For a nominal fee, you can add-on train and carousel rides as well as a tour on the ZOOm Air aerial adventure course! Central Florida Zoo hosts many unique social and educational events throughout the year.
  • Audubon Center for Birds of Prey
    The Audubon Center works to protect land, water, and wildlife as Florida’s most influential conservation organization overseeing multiple sanctuaries and leading efforts to preserve the Everglades, coastal bird habitats, and more. Open year-round, Audubon Center for Birds of Prey offers educational opportunities for all ages. The Center provides an opportunity to view up close and personal Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Kites, Owls and Falcons, and many more of nature’s top predators.
Do you know of a worthwhile animal adventure in the Orlando-area that we have overlooked? We'd love to hear about it - drop us an email to share your suggestions!

May 3, 2019

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and Merlin Entertainments Attractions Offers Big Savings with Cinco de Mayo Sale


12 Awesome Months at Five Amazing Attractions for Just $99.99

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 3, 2019) – LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and its sister attractions are offering a big discount on “Awesomer” annual passes during Cinco de Mayo weekend. Available May 3 - May 5, 2019, Merlin Entertainments is offering the “Awesomer” Annual Pass for $99.99 per person; a $70 discount!

The pass includes 12 months of unlimited access to five fun-filled Merlin attractions; LEGOLAND Florida Theme Park, LEGOLAND Florida Water Park, SEA LIFE Orlando, Madame Tussauds Orlando and LEGOLAND Discovery Center – Atlanta.

In addition to park and attraction admission, the “Awesomer” Annual Pass includes free standard parking as well as discounts on dining and retail at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. In addition, “Awesomer” Passholders can take advantage of year-round discounts at LEGOLAND Florida Resort Hotel and Beach Retreat.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s discounted “Awesomer” Pass will be available online and at walk-up admission windows (during operating hours May 3 - May 5) at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Madame Tussauds Orlando and SEA LIFE Orlando.

Whether you’re looking to hop on the brand new Masters of Flight at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, learn about the world’s most exotic sea creatures at SEA LIFE Orlando or take a selfie with The Justice League at Madame Tussauds Orlando, the “Awesomer” pass allows you to experience them all!

Learn more about the “Awesomer” Pass at www.legoland.com/awesomer.

May 2, 2019

Celebrate National Burger Month at TooJay’s Deli


Delicious Rewards Members can earn double points on seasonal creations in May

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (May 1, 2019) – National Burger Month is a big deal at TooJay’s! Florida’s favorite deli is kicking off the annual celebration of this American culinary mainstay with a savory new burger, the return of three fan-favorites, and making these mouthwatering variations available now through Saturday, July 28. What’s more, as a special Burger Month bonus in May, members of TooJay’s “Delicious Rewards” program can earn double points on every purchase of one the following fresh and never frozen seasonal burgers:

Treat Mom Like a Queen for a Day with Special Mother's Day Menus and Events at Rosen Hotels & Resorts in Orlando


ORLANDO (May 2, 2019) - Mothers should be celebrated every day of the year, but especially on Mother's Day, offering time with family to be pampered and to be made to feel like a queen. The hotels of Orlando's Rosen Hotels & Resorts have just the right gift for a special woman: a bountiful buffet brunch filled with all of her favorites and some special surprises.   

May 1, 2019

MOD Pizza in Florida to Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week and National Nurses Week with BOGO Offer

Buy One Pizza, Get One FREE on Tuesday, May 7th for Teacher Appreciation Week and on Sunday, May 12th for National Nurses Week

FORT LAUDERDALE (April, 2019) – BBX Capitalthe exclusive MOD Pizza franchisee in Florida, announced that MOD Pizza Florida locations will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week  with a Buy One Pizza, Get One FREE offer on Tuesday, May 7th. Teachers and school administrators must present a valid school ID to redeem the offer. MOD Pizza will also celebrate National Nurses Week with a Buy One Pizza, Get One FREE offer on Sunday, May 12th. Nurses must present a valid ID to redeem the offer.

MOD’s individual, artisan-style pizzas are made on demand, using fresh-pressed dough and signature sauces. Customers create their own pizzas and salads, using any combination of over 30 featured toppings, or they can choose from a menu of MOD classics. The price always remains the same regardless of the number of toppings.

TODAY CAFE TO GRAND OPEN ON MAY 16 AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT


TODAY Cafe at Universal Studios Florida will officially grand open on Thursday, May 16. Designed to feel like stepping onto the iconic TODAY set, the cafe will serve specialty food and beverage options, including fresh in-house baked pastries, salads, sandwiches and locally-roasted coffee including the TODAY Cafe blend, a unique coffee blend made exclusively for the cafe.

NBC’s Al Roker and the TODAY team will broadcast live from the TODAY Cafe on Thursday, May 16 – celebrating the grand opening with guests and fans alike. Plus, Al’s Avocado Toast – the first seasonal dish inspired by his favorite recipes – will be available at the cafe. Al’s Avocado Toast is topped with cherry tomatoes, artichokes, roasted red onions and tomato aioli, and is accompanied by bread and butter pickles. Guests will be able to power through their day with this hearty and healthy dish and according to Al, the pickles add a nice sweetness and an umami taste.

In preparation for the official grand opening of the TODAY Cafe on May 16, the cafe is currently operating on a limited, unscheduled basis. During this time, guests can enjoy select menu items for breakfast and lunch, as well as beverage and snack options. 
For more information about the TODAY Cafe, visit the Universal Orlando Resort Blog and to check out the full menu, click here.

CINEMATIC HORROR ICONS COME TO LIFE IN ALL-NEW “UNIVERSAL MONSTERS” MAZES AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS’ “HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS”


Universal Pictures’ Legendary Monsters Make Frightening Debut at Universal Orlando Resort 
and Return to Wreak Havoc at Universal Studios Hollywood

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., ORLANDO, Fla. (April 29, 2019) – “Universal Monsters” will come to life in all-new terrifying Halloween Horror Nights mazes at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood, inspired by Universal’s original cinematic monsters and the movie studio that invented the horror films. The terrifying experiences on both coasts will wake some of the most frightening and legendary monsters in horror history and bring them face-to-face with guests at the nation's premier Halloween events.

At Universal Orlando Resort, guests will be hunted by every single grisly monster from the anthology, including Dracula, The Wolf Man and Frankenstein, in the all-new experience, “Universal Monsters.” Each sinister environment will bleed from one to the next as guests press through the darkened realms of horrifying creatures. Guests will face bloody terrors in Dracula’s castle and flee from what is behind the cryptic howls of the grim forest. They’ll run from the horrifying manmade monster within Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory, and fall prey to an ancient Egyptian curse as they are pursued by the evil Mummy. Guests will try to escape the mysterious Creature lurking in the Black Lagoon, or become victims of other horrors waiting in the shadows. Click here to witness the terror that is coming to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort.

April 30, 2019

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens to host three local cleanup events


SANFORD, Fla., April 29, 2019—The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is inviting local residents to Spring Into Action by volunteering at three upcoming cleanups.

“Creating opportunities for our community to take action is a cornerstone of the Zoo's mission," said Dino Ferri, CEO of the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens. "We want to help people understand how they can take simple steps in their daily lives to help our environment."

These projects are funded by a grant from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)designed to help accredited organizations encourage communities to get involved with local conservation efforts.

MARLOW’S TAVERN PUTS A LITTLE SPRING INTO THE MENU


Orlando’s Favorite Tavern Puts a Twist on Chef-Driven Fare with New Seasonal Items
 
ORLANDO, Fla. (April 29, 2019) – Marlow’s Tavern executive chef, CEO and co-founder John Metz and his team have been experimenting in the kitchen to make sure guests leave with a little spring in their step and in their bellies.
 
“I feel fairly certain a large percentage of our guests already know what they’re ordering before they arrive,” Metz says. “We want to tempt them with fresh, new menu items that showcase seasonal ingredients. These new dishes may even result in our guests finding a new favorite!”

MEGACON™ ORLANDO ANNOUNCES THE DIGICON EXPERIENCE SATURDAY, MAY 18 TO SUNDAY, MAY 19, 2019



All-New Fandom Experience Celebrates Social Media Influencers and Content Creators 

Orlando, FL – April 29, 2019 – MEGACON™, the Southeast’s largest fan convention returns to the Orange County Convention Center Thursday, May 16 through Sunday, May 19, 2019 with an all-new fandom programming track, The Digicon Experience. The Digicon Experience at MEGACON™Orlando is a celebration of all things digital where fans can participate in exclusive experiences with talented social media influencers and content creators from the YouTube world. 

On Saturday, May 18 through Sunday, May 19, Digicon at MEGACON™ Orlando will host interactive panels and Q&As, one-on-one meet & greets that showcase the creativity and diversity of each of the creators. The Digicon Experience is included in a Saturday and Sunday MEGACON™ Orlando admission ticket.

April 28, 2019

GUIDE: Pet-Friendly Orlando Vacations


If you're an animal lover, the thought of going on vacation without the family pet can be a bit depressing - if not completely hindering. While I won't pretend to comprehend emotional support peacocks or similar, I certainly see the validity of Fido being a part of your vacation plan. Sure, you can kennel a dog, or hire a pet sitter from any number of services and apps, but not everyone wants to go that route. And the good news is... you don't have to!

A Central Florida vacation is one that offers a range of options and value for the whole family - including the furry ones. Even when an activity doesn't lend itself to bringing the pooch (such as the theme parks, for example), places like Best Friends Pet Hotel at the Walt Disney World Resort offer Doggy Day Camps that rival the amusements in store for the humans elsewhere! In other words - no need to feel guilty, because your dog is going to have a magical day!

April 24, 2019

$10 MILLION AWARDED TO THE ORLANDO PHILHARMONIC’S PLAZA LIVE PROJECT


Orange County Commissioners Award Tourist Development Tax Dollars
to Renovation of Iconic City of Orlando Landmark

(Tuesday, April 23, Orlando, FL) – The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is excited to announce that it has been awarded $10,000,000 in funding for The Plaza Live concert and event venue residing at 425 North Bumby Avenue in Orlando, FL.

The funding was passed Tuesday, April 23 by the Orange County Board of County Commissioners after recommendation and approval from the Tourist Development Tax Application Review Committee that took place in March of 2019. The first installment will support the transfer of ownership of The Plaza Live to the City of Orlando; subsequent installments along with private philanthropy will contribute to public space enhancements and accessibility renovations of the 53-year old facility.

April 23, 2019

MEGACON™ ORLANDO LAUNCHES MEGACON EXPRESS™ BUS WITH DAILY SERVICE BETWEEN TAMPA AND ORLANDO



Shuttle Offers Fans Daily One-Way Rides in Style

WHO/WHAT
MEGACON™, the Southeast’s largest fan convention returns to the Orange County Convention Center Thursday, May 16 through Sunday, May 19, 2019 and launches the MEGACON Express. The MEGACON Express is an air-conditioned motor coach with a daily schedule between Tampa and Orlando. Providing fans a seamless way to travel to the convention, tickets will be sold as one-way rides to easily customize trips for either a day or weekend spent in Orlando.  

The MEGACON Express will pick up at the Tampa Convention Center with a drop-off location at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando along with additional stops to the Hilton Orlando, Hyatt Regency Orlando, Rosen Centre, Rosen Plaza and Rosen Inn for those staying overnight. 

April 21, 2019

REVIEW: Game-Changing VR Experiences at Nomadic - Pointe Orlando


I confess - I'm not the biggest fan of virtual reality. My family collectively represents the scope of issues and gripes that people generally have with VR. It's either cheesy and not truly realistic, or it causes headaches or motion sickness. One way or another, it's just not quite THERE yet. It's not what we expect, or want, it to be. If you can relate to any of this, have we got something to share with you! Dare I say, this is the game-changer!

Nomadic is a location-based VR entertainment facility located at Pointe Orlando on I-Drive. Currently, they are beta-testing a new VR experience - Arizona Sunshine: Rampage. Rampage is a spin-off or "next-level" to Nomadic's original co-op multiplayer shooter, Arizona Sunshine: Contagion Z.  Both games are extensions of the Arizona Sunshine series by Vertigo Games for at-home play, and they are custom-built and designed specifically for Nomadic's 1,200 sqft game space.

Nomadic offers a mixed-reality experience, where players wear VR headsets and backpacks to transport them into digital worlds. You start your journey by gearing up after being introduced to your game guide. Though you only spend a few minutes with your guide, this is where you will receive all the vital details, tips, and encouragement for your mission - so be alert and pay attention! We were prepped for battle by our very capable and informative guide, J.C.

Once your guide gets the team settled into the briefing room and the door closes, you are left to your own collective efforts. Though the guide will be monitoring your mission, they're not actively involved with your game play. I'm not sure if I'm just easily amused, but I have to admit that watching the briefing room go through a digital transformation around us was really cool - and nothing was even really happening at this point! Your inner-Trekkie will go giddy over this little stage-setting, holodeck-esque moment. After our mission instructions were detailed, the briefing room melted away, revealing a train we were to board to find our weapons and begin our adventure.

All in-venue images and renderings: Nomadic VR

This is one of those experiences that doesn't lend itself to a play-by-play review. Much like an escape game, too many reveals and in-depth detail would ruin the mystique - and that is the last thing we want to do here, because you deserve this experience! Here's what we can tell you...

Nomadic's mixed-reality nature integrates physical objects with the VR environment. This means doors, drawers, levers and more that you see in the digitized world can really be interacted with in the physical world as well - and some even hold clues and bonuses to enhance your game!

Contagion Z and Rampage are basically "siblings" to each other. Both are about 15 minutes to complete, but they're essentially self-paced. In other words - much like a haunted house - if you freak out and run through, you may complete your experience quickly. If you linger around a bit and really take advantage of the experience, it can last longer.

Rampage is essentially a level-up version of Contagion Z. Much like Contagion, you are tasked with facing a refinery in the throes of a zombie takeover, but this time you're entering through the sewer system, at night. As J.C. warned us, this level was more intense and certainly more challenging.

Both games offer a summary of accuracy, kills, and rank as you return to the briefing room at the mission's end, so you just may walk away with bragging rights, and a certain spot as the leader of your own group in the event of a zombie apocalypse. What? It could happen... right?

Without delving into the "spoiler zone", there are a few standout details that warrant mention. After all, isn't it usually those little details that combine to make an experience something special? So, what makes Nomadic a venue that shattered our expectations?

The things you practically only realize on a subconscious level are the aspects that make Nomadic real. When you encounter certain scenes and situations, your brain expects certain elements to be present. When you're near an explosion - you should feel the heat. When approaching a helicopter - you should be met with strong wind. If you're walking across an unstable plank of wood, high in the air, you expect it to wobble. And THAT is where I realized that this was a convincing VR experience. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but when we came to said plank, I froze. As my husband and son stood in front of me on the other side, I simply said, "I CAN'T", with a nervous giggle - only making it across when my husband took my hand and I hugged the wall. Truth be told, I know this was just a little board on a flat floor in an open, empty room... but my brain didn't want to convince my feet of that fact because all of my senses were totally immersed in a reality-contradiction that worked as it should.... as we have always wanted it to.

I won't admit to the full extent of my hysteria when zombies started hopping fences and falling on us - but do be advised that smart teams will position themselves to keep watch on the entire perimeter - even above. These are not The Walking Dead zombies. Think more along the lines of Z Nation... they're eating their Wheaties and training for Iron Man out there! This becomes much more of a concern in Rampage, where players can actually "die" in game play.

Something else that is worthy to note, at the risk of upsetting our own I-Drive-loving apple cart, so to speak... This may be one of the greatest values on International Drive. We are big fans of the collection of unique attractions on I-Drive, but truth be told, you're generally paying $25+ for a 15-minute attraction anywhere you go for amusement on I-Drive, and this doesn't always sit well with guests who feel short-changed as a result. Making it worse, most of these attractions suffer from one-trick pony syndrome - once you've seen/done it, you have no real reason to go back. Nomadic not only offers a higher quality experience than some of the less-interactive, exhibit-style attractions onI-Drive (for the same price), but they have great return potential as game experiences vary. In fact, you certainly can't justify playing Contagion and not doubling-back for Rampage, and the more you play, the more you'll notice, and naturally - the better you'll get. Who only plays a game once, anyway?! When weighing your I-Drive options in that standard $20-$30 range, this one easily climbs the list to be your first choice. The Pointe Orlando location also affords the opportunity to make a day of it, with plenty of options to keep the fun, food, and drink going long into the evening!

Currently, Nomadic has one location here in Orlando, with plans in motion to open venues in California and Las Vegas soon, and additional locations to come. For more information on the Nomadic VR experience, or to book your visit, click here - or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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