Heading into this summer, all signs were pointing to another banner year for Florida’s attractions. But it has been a cruel summer, especially for Orlando. In June, Orlando was stunned by the shooting death of “Voice” singer Christina Grimmie at a local venue, a massacre at the Pulse nightclub and a fatal alligator attack on a child at Disney World.
A relentless icy wind swept in from San Francisco Bay, blowing away the fog to reveal the 19th century three-masted schooner C.A. Thayer anchored offshore. Farther out, Alcatraz Island was circled by seagulls and besieged by an armada of tour boats plowing through the chop.
When I was a little girl, my grandparents gifted me with a beautiful set of Beatrix Potter books for Christmas one year. I could barely wait for everyone to finish unwrapping presents so that I could sneak off to my room with my treasure. The first Potter story I read on that long ago Christmas Day was "The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher," about a determined frog whose fishing trip turned out to be not quite what he expected.
I based my riding route on a pair of roads that bisect the Chianti region, following the recommendations of motorcycling friends. Both were said to offer the best in curving climbs, bella vistas and access to attractive hill towns.
A word, please, about Italian drivers. They were weaned on Ferraris, Alfa Romeos and Lamborghinis. They are expert operators, generally, who seem to think every trip to the supermarket is a Formula One event.
Our captain, the avuncular "Marvelous" Marvin Mullings, pilots our boat, the Always Something, away from a squall and toward a quiet beach - quiet, that is until all the other boat captains of Providenciales, the most-visited of the Turks and Caicos Islands, reach the same conclusion and join us, forming a moored flotilla. Marvin is one-part seaman, one-part showman; he encourages us to attend to his safety instructions while gently inebriating us on rum punch. We then snorkel above a school of small, blue and utterly complacent fish, next climb back onboard for our next destination, Half Moon Beach.
Knott's Soak City in Buena Park announced last week the addition of two new water slide attractions, including a thrill ride that drops guests through a trapdoor from a tower more than seven stories tall.
Staring at the horizon, I might have been looking at a vast canvas where the technique of chiaroscuro, the interplay of light and dark, was used to create a specific mood. One minute sunshine dappled the landscape; the next misty rain enveloped it.
After months of debate over the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, and at an apparent impasse over privatizing air traffic control, Congress has settled on a compromise — with some unexpected benefits for the average air traveler.
Permanent late-night hours debuted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom during Memorial Day weekend and included new shows and other entertainment, a different view of the savannah’s animals after dark, and a new ambiance for established attractions.
Reign of Kong has the most complex and enthralling story in this year’s crop of new attractions and is populated by terrifying creatures. The new King Kong ride hasn’t officially opened and an opening date hasn’t been announced, although park guests have been admitted intermittently for “technical rehearsals.”