LEGOLAND Florida Resort Becomes First Theme Park to Have Official Currency Listed on an Exchange Board

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort has entered into an exclusive partnership with Travelex, the world’s leading independent foreign exchange business, to list the resort’s official currency, LEGOLAND® Dollars, on Travelex’s currency exchange boards at 55  participating Travelex locations.

000DAW_Olivia Warford, 5, stares into the eyes of a life size Triceratops

This partnership represents the first theme park to have an official currency listed on a currency exchange board. The LEGOLAND Dollarwill be available for purchase at a 1:1 exchange rate to the US Dollar, with a minimum exchange of $5 USD. LEGOLAND Dollars will only be available for purchase with US Dollars. LEGOLAND Dollarscan be purchased through select Travelex locations for the summer 2015 season.

With a $50 USD purchase, guests will receive $50 in LEGOLAND Dollars, plus an additional $39.25 in added value, including free parking, an upgrade to the LEGOLAND Water Park and an order of the resort’s famous Granny’s Apple Fries. LEGOLAND Dollars can be spent at any of the park’s restaurants, concessions, retail stores and more.

LEGOLAND Dollarswill be available at Travelex locations in Atlanta, Boca Raton, Dallas, DC, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Orlando, Palm Beach, Philadelphia, and Tampa. For a full list of locations, visit www.travelex.com/legoland.

“Everything at LEGOLAND Florida Resort is created for kids, including the currency.  By using LEGOLAND Dollars with a playful design, it builds on the immersive experience for young guests.  Although we accept U.S. currency, only LEGOLAND Dollars will get you an additional $39.25 in added value,” said Adrian Jones, General Manager, LEGOLAND Florida Resort.

“We’re pleased to add the LEGOLAND dollar to our extensive range of currencies this summer. Of course, LEGOLANDFlorida Resort comes as highly recommended by my two sons, ages 4 and 8, but we’re also happy to offer additional value and benefits to our customers through this partnership”, said Christopher McShane, Head of Retail, Travelex.

For more information or to book a trip visit www.legolandflorida.com.

The Secrets of Yellowstone & Teton Parks Revealed

Just Ahead (http://www.justahead.com/), creator of the award-winning smartphone app for road tripping through national parks and scenic highways, has just released in time for late summer and autumn travel its GPS-prompted audio tour guides for narrated drives through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. These separate guides together provide a seamless two-park adventure with the magic of a virtual park ranger along for the ride.

With more than 300 miles of scenic roads that carve a giant figure eight through mountains, meadows and thermal marvels, Yellowstone National Park is the ideal setting for a Just Ahead tour. This is Just Ahead’s most extensive guide to date, with more than 600 narrated stories of the region. Think Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Artist Paint Pots, Norris Geyser Basin and Yellowstone Lake, to name a few. This audio guide explains the planet’s greatest concentration of thermal features—fumaroles, geysers, paint and mud pots, the Yellowstone caldera, and travertine mounds —and explores natural history and man-made lore.

Users driving through Yellowstone will enjoy timely tips on the best places to see bison, elk, grizzly bears, moose, wolves, pronghorn, beaver, trumpeter swans and raptors. Also included are little-known waterfalls, suggestions for scenic side trips, fly-fishing streams, thermally heated swimming holes, the best places for RV and tent camping; and the park’s fabled lodges: Lake Hotel, Old Faithful Lodge and Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. See: http://www.justahead.com/tours/yellowstone-national-park/

The jagged Teton Range, crowned by Grand Teton itself, soars 13,770 feet high, rising above pristine mountain lakes and a vast river valley below.  Grand Teton National Park has 152 miles of paved roads that deliver views of the majestic Tetons, follow the course of the winding Snake River and bisect the sagebrush-dotted valley known as Jackson Hole.

During the audio tour road trippers will learn about the man who skied down Grand Teton Mountain, about the derring-do of the park’s early mountaineers and the story behind one of the most famous and successful horse rustlers of all time. It also calls out the best places for overnighting — under a roof or canvas. Park accommodations — Jackson Lake Lodge, Signal Mountain Lodge, Jenny Lake Lodge, Colter Bay Cabins and Climbers’ Ranch — are covered in detail. Shutterbugs will appreciate learning about the best vantage points for nature and wildlife photography.

Grand Teton’s not-to-miss sights include Jackson Lake, Willow Flats, Snake and Gros Ventre Rivers, Signal Mountain, Jackson Hole, Timbered Island, Teton Glacier, National Elk Refuge, Blacktail Butte and views of the Cathedral Group and Grand Teton. The lore of a succession of American Indians, cattle ranchers, beaver trappers, horse thieves and early mountaineers brings this country to life. The guide is full of suggestions for the best places for day hiking, river rafting and fishing. See: http://www.justahead.com/tours/grand-teton-national-park/

As with all Just Ahead guides, the Yellowstone and Grand Teton tours work without an Internet connection or cell phone service. Drivers or passengers simply download it, turn it on and enjoy a richly narrated tour.

Just Ahead utilizes GPS technology to know exactly where drivers are on the road, and delivers stories and maps relevant to their exact location. The groundbreaking app points out not-to-miss features while also helping drivers avoid getting lost by providing suggested directions and telling drivers why they should turn or not, what they should do after a turn and the best direction to take if there are multiple route options.

A satisfied user from California had this to say about the app and tour guide, “LOVE this idea! It’s like you went into my brain and pulled out something I never even knew that I wanted but now can’t think to live without.”

Just Ahead guides are currently available for the following National Parks: Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Zion & Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands & Arches, Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Additional park guides are in production, including Rocky Mountain, Badlands, Black Hills, Petrified Forest, Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley and Mesa Verde.

The Just Ahead app is a free download available either through the Apple App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android), and each destination guide is available as an in-app purchase. Guides range from $7.99 to $9.99 and include a free trial and free guide updates.

About Just Ahead
Recently named Best Travel App by the North American Travel Journalists Association and Best App by the editors of Sunset magazine, the Just Ahead mobile app turns a smartphone into a hands-free audio guide to the most beautiful places on earth by delivering professionally written and narrated audio tours to vacationers who want an informed travel experience as they drive.

Just Ahead’s award-winning audio guides work without an Internet connection or phone service and use a smartphone’s GPS to deliver hands-free, customized audio tours based on a vehicle’s location. The guides and built-in maps also provide helpful suggested directions, and offer more points of interest and stories than any other GPS audio travel apps. Ideal for families, Just Ahead’s audio guides help create shared experiences, conversations, and memories that will last a lifetime. The Just Ahead app is a free download, and each destination guide is available as an in-app purchase that includes free guide updates.

For more information, please visit: http://www.justahead.com.

SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium Announces New Annual Pass

SEA LIFE Orlando now offers guests the opportunity for unlimited admission to the interactive aquarium experience with its new annual pass. The SEA LIFE Orlando Annual Pass is $60 for adults and children, and can be purchased in-person at the attraction’s admissions desk or online at VisitSeaLife.com/Orlando.

000DAW_Olivia Warford, 5, stares into the eyes of a life size Triceratops

In addition to offering unlimited entry to view more than 5,000 sea animals in more than 32 interactive display habitats, the pass provides a 10 percent discount off photography and the aquarium’s retail store. Each pass is valid for one year at the Orlando location, and is intended for the use of one specific individual, and cannot be used interchangeably for different individuals.

The new aquarium provides explorers, both the young and young-at-heart, to navigate through

Orlando’s only 360-degree walkthrough underwater tunnel, and take in the views of amazing marine life from the oceans of the world through floor-to-ceiling displays, window and bubble aquariums, a 180-degree walkthrough tunnel, a cold water rock pool that provides interaction with sea stars and sea urchins, a special area dedicated to the Florida Everglades, and much more.

For more information, go to VisitSeaLife.com/Orlando.

South American Grand Tour – Five Countries in 31 Days

Vaya Adventures (http://www.vayaadventures.com), the expert in designing premier bespoke vacations in South America, announces its new South American Grand Tour encompassing five countries in 31 days.

“The Grand Tour concept, popular for so long in Europe, is a response to travelers seeking longer explorations of new destinations,” said Jim Lutz, Vaya Adventures’ founder. His company has expertise in diverse regions and cities throughout South America. “South America with its numerous and unique highlights is a great option for a Grand Tour. Once our travelers have decided on a destination in South America, they start think about maximizing their time and money by extending their itineraries.”

The South American Grand Tour, Reimagined requires just a minimum of two travelers who can get away for 31 days of vacation sometime between September and April. Start dates are flexible. The per person rate starting at $17,500 includes all accommodations in top quality boutique hotels and on small yachts, transfers, some meals, guide services, excursions and entrance fees. Itineraries can be customized and adjusted to interests, dates and budget. See:
http://www.vayaadventures.com/itineraries/the-south-american-grand-tour-reimagined/

This private, intimate month-long journey through South America begins in the Andean capital of Quito, Ecuador, before a small-ship wildlife cruise through the Galapagos Islands. Guests then explore Peru’s ancient ruins, en route savoring the country’s world-renowned cuisine. They walk through Santiago, Chile, and hike the vast wilderness of Patagonia, ice trek in Glaciares National Park and catch the vibes of Buenos Aires, cooling off in the spray of Iguazu Falls before shaking to the samba in Rio de Janeiro.

“Guests are welcome to venture from our carefully-crafted itinerary,” said Lutz.  “As with all of Vaya’s trips, the experience can be customized to individual dreams and desires. There’s something about really escaping over a longer period of time, to really leave your own world behind for more than a just a crazy week. You discover what the joy of travel is all about.  With our clients, longer, more involved, multi-country itineraries are in high demand.”

If travelers would like to tack on another week or more, Vaya has the add-on options. Additional and alternative excursions are available in nearly all destinations. These included but are not limited to hiking and trekking, biking, horseback riding, culinary tours and cooking classes, visits to ruins and historical sites, and more.

A side trip to the Amazon jungle in Ecuador, Peru or Brazil may include a stay at a remote rainforest lodge, or guests may cruise along the Amazon River and its tributaries. Other options may include a few nights at Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable body of water and home to a fascinating reed island culture. Intrepid adventurers can spend a few days in Uruguay, an easy trip from Buenos Aires. Ecuador’s highlands and haciendas and lush Avenue of the Volcanoes, Chile’s lake district or wine country, the sweeping vistas of Argentina’s northwest and Brazil’s wild Pantanal are all available options and extensions to consider.

For more information, trip planning, availability and reservations please visit: http://www.vayaadventures.com or call (800) 548-8487.

About Vaya Adventures
Jim Lutz founded Vaya Adventures in 2004 out of a desire to share his deep passion for South America. This private custom-travel company leaves no stone unturned when it comes to understanding the history and culture of the regions its guests visit, thanks to extensive first-hand research and an expansive network of contacts in each destination, including the finest private guides. Vaya Adventures emphasizes accommodations, restaurants, and neighborhoods that reflect the best of the local culture, studiously avoiding the generic, the touristy, and the corporate.  Through low-impact tourism and a sustainable supply chain, Vaya Adventures strives to create a strong positive incentive for the preservation of both historic and natural environments in South America.  Jim also serves as President of the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, an organization of over 40 companies working to promote conservation and sustainable tourism in the Galapagos Islands.

Pop Sensation Austin Mahone Meets His New Madame Tussauds Wax Figure

Teen sensation and pop music artist Austin Mahone has become the newest addition to the wax figure collection at Madame Tussauds Orlando on International Drive. Mahone unveiled his figure at the Madame Tussauds location in New York City on Aug. 11, 2015. The figure will now travel to Florida where it will be on display for fans inside the Orlando attraction’s music room.

 000DAW_Olivia Warford, 5, stares into the eyes of a life size Triceratops

The singer, songwriter and author met with Madame Tussauds artists earlier this year to take more than 300 measurements of his head and body to create his figure. Mahone worked closely with artists to finalize the figure’s pose that best reflected his look. The fashion-forward celebrity also donated his own clothing to put his signature stamp on the figure. No small detail was overlooked. The figure is even wearing a replica of the silver bracelet Mahone’s mother made him.

“Working with the Madame Tussauds team was definitely one of the coolest experiences I’ve had so far,” said Mahone prior to meeting his new figure. “I’m excited to finally see my figure and I can’t wait to share this figure with all the Mahomies, who can see it up close and personal in Orlando!”

Born in San Antonio, TX, the 19 year-old has become a worldwide teen sensation over the last few years with an active and growing fan base, known affectionately as, “Mahomies.” Mahone has been nominated for more than 20 different awards over the last two years. The pop artist has won numerous awards from MTV, EMA’s Best Push Artist and Artist on the Rise, and The Teen Choice Award for Breakout Artist.

Signing with Chase Records/ Cash Money/ Republic Records, Mahone has come a long way with his pop music career. His first EP, The Secret debuted in the top five on Billboard’s top 200 chart. Pitbull (another Madame Tussauds Orlando figure) and Flo Rida have been featured artists on Mahone’s songs. Mahone has also opened for Taylor Swift’s RED tour. His most recent single, Dirty Work, debuted on July 2, 2015 and has garnered critical acclaim and one million video views in just one day.  Dirty Work is the lead single from his highly anticipated debut full length album set for later this year.

Madame Tussauds is world-renowned for the creation of detailed and lifelike wax figures that pay homage to A-list celebrities from film and television, sports icons, musicians from all genres, and notable figures from history and pop culture.

Each Madame Tussauds figure is truly a work of art, involving teams of professional artists and sculptors who spend months on extensive research and taking more than 300 measurements to recreate world-famous icons, to achieve the kind of astonishing realism that has been at the heart of the 250-year Madame Tussauds legacy.

Guests at Madame Tussauds Orlando will experience the essence of America with this brand new, immersive and interactive wax experience, bursting with family fun and world-class entertainment, as they move through themed areas meeting all of their favorite stars from award-winning film actors, to historical and modern world leaders, sports stars, music legends as well as figures important to Florida. All visitors can shake hands with the president, get on stage with rock stars and pop princesses, or get up close and personal with a Hollywood heartthrob and take the ultimate selfie!

For more information, visit www.madametussauds.com/orlando.

Third Annual “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Event Coming to Universal Orlando Resort January 29-31, 2016

Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. will host the third annual “A Celebration of Harry Potter,” a special gathering of Harry Potter fans from around the globe. The three-day weekend event will take place January 29 – 31, 2016 and will feature an array of experiences.

000DAW_Olivia Warford, 5, stares into the eyes of a life size Triceratops 

All general admission park guests will have the opportunity to:

·         Attend Q&A sessions with Harry Potter film talent (complete talent lineup will be announced at a later date)

·         Experience and participate in the interactive and unique exhibits at the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo, featuring Harry Potter brand partners such as Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Pottermore, Scholastic, MinaLima, and Harry Potter: The Exhibition

·         Enjoy special panels and demonstrations regarding various aspects of the Harry Potter stories

 

Additionally, guests will be able to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Plus, ride the Hogwarts Express between the two lands with a park-to-park ticket.

 

Special vacation packages, including annual passholder packages, will go on sale at noon EST on August 19. On-site hotel packages start at $235 per adult per night and include exclusive benefits such as special guest access to the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo, admission to a private evening reception in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and special guest access to panels and demonstrations. Packages also include three-night hotel accommodations, three-day park-to-park tickets to both Universal Studios Florida & Universal’s Islands of Adventure, a special welcome parcel and more. For complete package details, visit www.universalorlando.com/celebration.

Fitness Reigns at New Coastal Rhode Island Boutique Hotel

Local surf legend Peter Pan put Narragansett, RI on the map in the 1960’s as New England’s long boarding capital and throngs of surfers continue to migrate to this area for its consistent waves and laid back vibe. Today, visitors are called to this picturesque spot by The Break, Narragansett’s first boutique hotel, which combines a modern, retro-chic design with a true local South County feel.

Since its grand opening on June 19, The Break has welcomed guests to its 16 coastal cool accommodations and Chair 5, the hotel’s signature restaurant helmed by Chef Basil Yu.  Additionally, guests can take advantage of amenities including a heated outdoor pool (open year-round), a rooftop lounge with panoramic views, and access to Narragansett’s best beaches and Point Judith Lighthouse.

For those who like to incorporate fitness into their travels, The Break is now offering poolside surfset classes twice a week. Surfset takes its cues from the ocean, using an unstable on-land apparatus that mimics the unpredictable movement of waves. During the hour-long class, experienced instructors guide participants through a series of positions that work the core, create lean muscle, and improve endurance.

Surfset classes at The Break are held Mondays and Fridays at 10 a.m. and are open to both hotel guests and the public for $12 and $15 per class, respectively. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be booked online at http://ow.ly/PEoFs. For additional information on The Break and surfset fitness classes, please call 855-559-3001 or visit https://www.thebreakhotel.com/travel/surfset.

About Lark Hotels
Lark Hotels is a collection of boutique hotels located in sought-after spots. Additional Lark Hotels include Whitehall, Camden, ME; Captain Fairfield Inn, Kennebunkport, ME; 76 Main, Nantucket, MA; 21 Broad, Nantucket, MA; The Attwater, Newport, RI; Gilded, Newport, RI; Pomegranate Inn, Portland, ME; Ale House Inn, Portsmouth, NH; The Hotel Portsmouth, Portsmouth, NH; Blue Door Group – Inns of Mendocino, Mendocino, CA; Field Guide, Stowe, VT; and The Merchant, Salem, MA.

Lark Hotels embrace the locations they are in, but in playful, unexpected ways. Think “sense of place” with imagination and a touch of mischief. Each Lark Hotel invites guests to experience modern luxury in the heart of an iconic destination, to feel the pull of a nostalgic getaway while surrounded by today’s amenities and to find attentive service when they want it and privacy when they don’t. For information on Lark Hotels, the “On a Lark Club,” and the hotel collection please visit www.larkhotels.com.