▪ Gasparilla, Tampa Bay’s annual pirate party, kicks off the last weekend of January as legendary pirate José Gaspar and his Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla sail into town. Two months of partying begin with the Pre-Invasion Celebration in Waterfront Park on Jan. 29. Then on Jan. 30, the tri-masted pirate ship José Gasparilla, cannons firing, will lead a floatilla up Seddon Channel and dock at the Tampa Convention center. After the mayor surrenders the key to the city, bead-flinging pirates will parade through town, starting on Bayshore Boulevard. ▪
Other events include the pre-invasion Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza (Jan. 23); Gasparilla Festival of the Arts (March 5-6); Gasparilla Music Festival (March 12-13); Gasparilla Fringe Festival (April 1); and Gasparilla International Film Festival (March 30-April 3). Details: http://gasparillapiratefest.com
▪ Legoland will get a new attraction at the end of the month: a 12 ½-minute 3D film The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure, which picks up where the full-length The Lego Movie left off. In a story created exclusively for Legoland theme parks and Discovery Centers, Emmet, Wyldstyle, Unikitty, MetalBeard and Benny reunite at the invitation of a shady new character, Risky Business, who plans to open a curious theme park bearing a suspicious resemblance to Legoland. The film will play several times a day in the Wells Fargo Fun Town Theater starting Jan. 29.
In addition, Legoland will hold The LEGO Movie 4D Weekends every Saturday and Sunday in February with extended hours, meet-and-greets with the movie characters, fireworks and other kid-centric activities. Details: http://florida.legoland.com/.
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▪ Universal Orlando has released details of its Mardi Gras celebration, which runs on select nights Feb. 6 through April 16, and the concert lineup. The Mardi Gras parade will features 12 vibrant floats, including four new additions that celebrate different cultures and festivals from around the world. The celebration also includes Cajun cuisine and performances by New Orleans bands.
The lineup of concert headliners: Feb. 6, Hunter Hayes; Feb. 13, Diana Ross; Feb. 14, Barenaked Ladies; Feb. 20, Nate Ruess; Feb. 27, Fall Out Boy; March 5, Kool & the Gang; March 12, The Fray; March 13, Adam Lambert; March 19, Shawn Mendes; March 20, 3 Doors Down; March 26, REO Speedwagon; April 2, T-Pain; April 9, Jessie J; April 16, Yandel. Details: www.universalorlando.com/mardigras.
▪ Crews at SeaWorld Orlando topped out the park’s new roller coaster this week as cranes put into place the tallest point of Mako, a 200-foot-tall thrill ride. The hypercoaster, scheduled to be completed this summer, will be Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster — at least for a while — reaching speeds of 73 mph along 4,760 feet of track.
▪ SeaWorld Entertainment has started a new and simplified pricing system, including $79 online tickets that visitors can use any day of the week. SeaWorld previously had charged $70 for advance purchase of tickets used on weekdays, $89 for tickets for busier weekends. SeaWorld's one-day price at the gate remains $99. SeaWorld wants to encourage visitors to buy more multi-day tickets and passes. Visitors buying online tickets can pay an extra $20 and get tickets to two of the company's theme parks, which include Busch Gardens in Tampa. The cost of annual passes has gone from from $13 a month — $156 for the year — to $14 a month, or $168 annually. Details: www.seaworldorlando.com.
▪ JetBlue will offer daily nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale and Barbados starting April 28. The four-hour flight on 150-seat Airbus A320 aircraft will leave Fort Lauderdale at 8 am; the return flight will leave Barbados at 12:45 p.m.
▪ Miami International Airport served a record-breaking 44 million passengers in 2015, almost 10 percent more than the previous annual record of 40.9 million set in 2014. The airport had its busiest day ever on Dec. 19, with 155,620 passengers, then broke that record on Jan. 2 with 159,217.
MIAMI HERALD STAFF AND WIRES