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Archive for March, 2013

Orlando International Airport Plugs into Green Energy

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Recharging your electric or hybrid vehicle while traveling is now a reality at Orlando International Airport. Under an agreement with the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) approved the installation of 20 charging stations to provide service to airport patrons with plug-in electric vehicles.

Orlando Airport car charging stations

Charging stations on the second level of ‘A’ parking garage

The charging stations are manufactured by ChargePoint and 10 are mounted on the walls in designated sections in both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ terminal parking garages. Funding for the equipment was provided by a federal grant and OUC assumes the cost of installation, operation, maintenance and electricity. Users will be charged for use by ChargePoint.

With the growing availability of alternative fuel source vehicles, GOAA is taking the lead on supporting green initiatives and reaffirming a commitment to enhance customer service.

Statement from Florida DHSMV on International Driving Permits

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

During the 2012 legislative session, the Florida Legislature amended section 322.04, Florida Statutes, to require visitors from outside the United States to have an International Driving Permit in order to drive lawfully in Florida. This change took effect Jan. 1, 2013.

It has come to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ attention that this requirement may violate the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949), an international treaty to which the United States is a signatory. Treaties to which the United States is a party preempt state laws in conflict with them.

Therefore, the Florida Highway Patrol will defer enforcement of violations of the amended statutory section until a final determination of the alignment of the amendment with the treaty can be made. Non-resident visitors to Florida who wish to drive while here will be required to have in their immediate possession a valid driver license issued in his or her name from another state or territory of the U.S. or from their country of residence. However, the FHP will not take enforcement action based solely on the lack of an International Driving Permit.

Legoland Florida’s water park doubles up on bricks

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

When the Legoland Florida water park reopenes for the season this weekend, guests will see even more figures and scenes constructed of Lego bricks. Two million bricks have been added since the Winter Haven water park opened last year, bringing its total to 4 million.

Legoland Florida Water park doubles up on bricks

Legoland Florida Water park doubles up on bricks

Sealife has strong representation among the new additions, including Moby Dick (made of more than 200,000 Duplo bricks) along the Build-A-Raft River and a shark (nearly 250,000) near the wave pool.

A 15-foot tall Lego Mermaid (176,000 bricks) now stands at the water park entrance amide water spouts and bubbles. Surfers, seahorses, clams and shells can also be seen.

Legoland has also added a hotdog vendor called Waveside Grill near the pool.

Legoland’s water park is only available as an add-on to a regular Legoland Florida ticket. (There is no water-park-only ticket.) A one-day pass to Legoland with water park is $91 ($81 for ages 3-12). There are discounts for Florida residents who pick a specific day and purchase tickets in advance. Floridians can also opt to buy an annual pass, which includes the water park, for $99.

Water park hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Legoland Florida calendar opens up a bit next week when it operates seven days a week during the Spring Break season. The park commonly is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays … and sometimes the water park only operates on weekends. To double-check the operating hours and days (and for other information), go to www.legoland.com.

Walt Disney World – MyMagic+ explained

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

MyMagic+ explained

Making “How” Guests Experience Disney Parks Even Better: MyMagic+ Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is taking another step forward to evolve “how” guests experience Disney Parks and is using technology to make it easier than ever before for guests to make the most of their Walt Disney World visit. Many of these efforts fall under the umbrella of MyMagic+, which has the ability to connect nearly all aspects of the guest experience and make it better for everyone, at no additional charge.

WDW MyMagic+

WDW MyMagic+

My Disney Experience

A new website and mobile app called My Disney Experience provides a one-­-stop shop for all things Walt Disney World throughout every phase of a guest’s vacation. It will enable guests to:

  • Get more information on all Walt Disney World Resort has to offer, from resort hotels and attractions to dining and merchandise.
  • Design the overall experience they want, planning as much or as little as they wish.
  • Make dining and other reservations and FastPass+ selections.
  • Connect with family and friends to coordinate plans and share photos.

Disney FastPass+ service

Guests will be able to select FastPass+ attractions and entertainment experiences through My Disney Experience before they leave home and make changes on the go.

  • For the first time, guests will be able to reserve firework and parade viewing areas, shows, Disney Character Greetings and more, in addition to their favorite attractions.
  • For guests who don’t know where to start, Disney will recommend FastPicks – a set of three FastPass+ selections that serve as a starting point – and give guests the option to customize their selections.
  • Disney FastPass+ service is included with Theme Park admission.

MagicBand

Worn on the wrist, the colorful MagicBand is an all-­-in-­-one device that effortlessly connects all the vacation choices guests make online with My Disney Experience.

  • Guests can use their MagicBand to enter their Disney Resort hotel room, buy food and merchandise, and enter Walt Disney World theme parks and water parks. Plus, the MagicBand provides FastPass+ access to all the experiences selected and serves as the connection to Disney’s PhotoPass .
  • The MagicBand is initially available to select Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests and guests who purchase other specific products. Other guests will be able to use their standard ticket to access the benefits of MyMagic+, such as making FastPass+ selections on My Disney Experience.
WDW MyMagic+

WDW MyMagic+

MyMagic+ FAQ

1. What does ‘MyMagic+’ provide?

‘MyMagic+’ comprises of 3 main components: My Disney Experience website and smartphone app, FASTPASS+, and MagicBand RFID bracelet. The MagicBand replaces traditional tickets with a bracelet that is worn on the wrist. MagicBand combines all tickets, allowing room entry, park entry, FASTPASS+ attraction entry, PHOTOPASS, and room charging.

2. When will ‘MyMagic+’ be available?

The system is in limited testing now, and Disney has said that it should be available to all Walt Disney World guests later in 2013.

3. How much does ‘MyMagic+’ cost?

The system will be available at no additional cost. The basic MagicBand RFID bracelet can be upgraded to a customized band, such as a Princess band, for an additional fee. This is only a cosmetic change however, and does not impact the actual experience.

4. Will you have to use ‘MyMagic+’?

No. The system is opt in, and is not required. However, if you do not use ‘MyMagic+’ you will not be able to use FASTPASS+.

5. Will Annual Passholders be able to use ‘MyMagic+’?

Yes, Disney has said that they will be contacting Annual Passholders to provide them with a MagicBand to take part in the program.

6. Will guests have to use a smartphone to use FASTPASS+?

No. Guests will be able to use kiosks inside the parks to choose FASTPASS+ experiences as well as using smartphones or websites.

7. Is the MagicBand bracelet secure?

Yes, just like a normal park ticket, the bracelet just contains a unique ID code. This code identifies guests in the Disney database. No information is stored on the bracelet.

8. Will MyMagic+ be available to non-Walt Disney World Resort guests?

Yes. Guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort hotels, and Annual Passholders will receive a MagicBand, as well as those guests who purchase a photography package. Guests who stay at non-Disney hotels will receive an RFID enabled ticket with features of touch to enter the park, touch to redeem FastPass+ and touch to pay. These guests can participate in My Disney Experience and purchase a MagicBand if they wish.

Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs makes the official announcement of the Next Gen ‘MyMagic+’

Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, has made the first official announcement of the NextGen initiative ‘MyMagic+’. ‘MyMagic+’ is the combination of several technologies that we have been following over the past year, including FASTPASS+, the MagicBand RFID wrist strap, and the My Disney Experience website and apps.
Here is the full text from the official Disney Parks Blog as posted on 7 January 2013.

At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we continually push the boundaries of creativity and innovation to deliver the best possible experience for our guests. We’re always looking for ways to take what we do and do it even better. Over the past few years, we’ve devoted considerable time and resources to create a more immersive, more seamless and more personal experience for each and every guest who spends time with us. I know there’s been significant speculation about these efforts among our fans, so we’re pleased to give you a glimpse into the work we are doing to take the entire Disney guest experience to the next level.

Some of these initiatives are more apparent and can already be seen by our guests – like our interactive queues at Walt Disney World Resort and the Enchanted Art on our cruise ships – while others are more behind-the-scenes and are focused on “how” visitors plan, access and enjoy their experiences with us. Over the next several months, we’ll be rolling out a collection of tools at the Walt Disney World Resort called MyMagic+ that will give guests more opportunities to customize and personalize their entire visit.

Like most people who visit Walt Disney World Resort, my family and I have our “must-do” attractions, and as the father of three boys, those attractions often end with the word “mountain.” Now, rather than dashing as a group, or even splitting up to gather FastPasses, imagine booking guaranteed ride times for your favorite shows and attractions even before setting foot in the park. With MyMagic+, guests will be able to do that and more, enabling them to spend more time together and creating an experience that’s better for everyone.

A major component of MyMagic+ is the new My Disney Experience website and mobile app, which gives guests planning their trip the latest information on all Walt Disney World Resort has to offer. We know that some people like to plan every aspect of their Disney vacation in advance while others like to plan very little, letting their day unfold spontaneously. No matter where guests fall in that spectrum, My Disney Experience gives them the flexibility to plan as much or as little as they’d like to create the exact Disney experience they want. They can book dining and other experiences and reserve times for their favorite attractions, shows and more through an enhanced FastPass system, FastPass+. Once they arrive, they can use their smart phones to spontaneously change their plans in the moment, exploring our parks at their own pace and getting the most out of their visit.

Linking the entire MyMagic+ experience together is an innovative piece of technology we developed called the MagicBand. Worn on the wrist, it will serve as a guest’s room key, theme park ticket, access to FastPass+ selections, PhotoPass card and optional payment account all rolled into one. We’ve began testing certain aspects of MyMagic+ in Florida last month and the early reactions we’ve gotten have been fantastic.

This collection of tools is another step forward in the ongoing evolution of our guest experience, giving us even more ways to help friends and family create the unforgettable Disney memories that they want most. We’ll be testing, adjusting and adding features to MyMagic+ and My Disney Experience over time and will continue to make improvements based on our guests’ feedback. We look forward to sharing more with you in the months ahead!
Thank you to www.wdwmagic.com for providing this information.