Florida: The Alfond Inn Celebrates Philanthropy & Art‏

August 19, 2014 on 10:56 am | In Florida, Orlando, Theme Parks Zoos Aquariums, Webbandstand | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowGreater Orlando Boutique Hotel Celebrates Philanthropy & Art on its First Anniversary

There is reason for celebration this week, as The Alfond Inn marks the anniversary of its opening one year ago in Winter Park, the historic town outside of Orlando.

Since opening in August 2013, The Alfond Inn has redefined the concept of hotel philanthropy. It has established itself as a venue for The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art for Rollins College, an extension of the Cornell Fine Art Museum at Rollins College’s collection on display in the hotel’s public areas. The hotel earned a prestigious AAA Four Diamond status just eight months after opening and has become the hub for top-level CEO association meetings in the greater Orlando area. Weddings and fundraising events are also a specialized niche in Winter Park’s very social community. Hamilton’s Kitchen, The Alfond Inn’s restaurant, has quickly become a bright light in the dynamic restaurant scene in Winter Park and a dining destination for Greater Orlando.

Redefining Philanthropy

Owned by Rollins College, one of the country’s most lauded liberal arts colleges, and managed by The Olympia Companies, The Alfond Inn was funded in part with a $12.5-million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation. The additional $20 million was financed by the school’s cash reserve. Philanthropist Harold Alfond, founder of Dexter Shoe Company, had long supported the college, and two of his children and two of his grandchildren attended Rollins.

The intention of the Harold Alfond Foundation was that the net operating income from The Alfond Inn would be directed to The Alfond Scholars program fund, the Rollins College premier scholarship fund, over the next 25 years or until the endowment principal reached $50 million, whichever came later.

In fact, The Alfond Inn has vastly exceeded its expectations. Projected to have net operating income of $1.9 million in 2014, that figure is now expected to top $4.3 million by the end of the year. Following a loan payment, The Alfond Inn expects to be able to give back $3.2 million to The Alfond Scholars program.

“This year, $157,000 will be used for three full scholarships,” says Jeffrey G. Eisenbarth,Vice President for Business and Finance and Treasurer at Rollins College. “It’s so much better than what we had projected.”

As The Alfond Inn’s business continues to grow, and the endowment grows with it, there are expectations that the Fund will be able to award more scholarships with each passing year. “The Alfond Scholars Fund has a 4.5% spending rate,” Eisenbarth says, “and we’re projecting that at this rate of growth and an investment return of 10%, we’ll be able to award 30 full four year merit-based scholarships every year within 10 years.”

A Leader in Showcasing Contemporary Art

The Alfond Inn is a showcase for The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art for Rollins College, a growing collection of more than 220 works of art purchased for the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College by alumni Barbara and Ted Alfond. The evolving collection, conceived as a “visual syllabus” for the college, includes paintings, photographs, sculptures and mixed-media works by established and emerging artists from around the world.

“These artworks are a new and important chapter of our collection,” says Ena Heller, the Bruce A. Beal director of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. “I can’t think of another museum that uses a hotel property as an extension of their exhibition space.”

The Alfonds are both avid and knowledgeable art collectors, and Barbara Alfond serves on the board of trustees at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Works by contemporary artists and photographers such as Tracey Emin, Joseph Kosuth, Trevor Paglen and Maya Lin can be found in The Alfond Collection. The hotel offers complimentary guided tours of the collection every Friday at 1pm and changes in the installation are made every few months, due to new acquisitions made by the Alfonds with the advice of independent curator Abigail Ross Goodman. This fall’s exhibition at The Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Fractured Narratives: a strategy to engage, is inspired by The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, with some art works on display at The Alfond Inn, which Heller refers to as “a continuation of the main exhibit.”

Culinary Achievements

In the spring, the hotel welcomed Executive Chef Marc Kusche to Hamilton’s Kitchen. A veteran of some of the finest kitchens in the world, including several Four Seasons properties as well as Silversea Cruises, Chef Kusche has become a familiar face at Winter Park’s weekly Farmers Market, where he meets with the more than 20 local suppliers and personally selects the best local produce, meat and citrus. Hamilton’s Kitchen, with its warm and inviting dining room, alfresco courtyard seating and private dining room, has quickly become an integral part of the vibrant Winter Park dining scene.

From now until December 15, 2014 the Alfond Inn is offering a One Year Anniversary Special, with a starting rate of $259 per night in a Classic Room based on double occupancy, including a full breakfast for two at Hamilton’s Kitchen or delivered by Room Service. *Rate does not include room tax or restaurant gratuity.

For reservations and information call 407-998-8090, or visit the website at www.thealfondinn.com

The Alfond Inn

The Alfond Inn, a Preferred Boutique Hotel, is located in Winter Park, Florida and managed by The Olympia Companies, an innovative leader in hospitality. Owned by Rollins College, a private coeducational liberal arts college, also in Winter Park, The Alfond Inn opened in August 2013 and was built with a $12.5-million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation. Net operating income from the Inn is directed to The Alfond Scholars program fund, the College’s premier scholarship fund, over the next 25 years or until the endowment principal reaches $50 million, whichever comes later. The 112-room boutique hotel features rotating displays from The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College, as well as the popular Hamilton’s Kitchen restaurant under the direction of Executive Chef Marc Kusche, a pool and fitness center, and 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. It is 15 minutes from downtown Orlando and 30 minutes from Walt Disney World and Orlando International Airport. The Alfond Inn, 300 East New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789. 407-998-8090.


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Webbandstand for Concerts and Performing Arts

Cruise Itineraries with Disney Frozen Characters

August 15, 2014 on 12:52 pm | In Adventure Travel, Cruise Boats, Theme Parks Zoos Aquariums | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowCruise Voyant, an online cruise booking website, is excited to offer cruises featuring Disney Frozen characters Princess Anna and Queen Elsa. Both characters will be making their Royal Tour appearances on select 7 night and longer cruises on three of the four Disney ships: the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder and Disney Fantasy. Other Disney characters joining in on the fun include Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Captain Hook, Lilo, Stitch, Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Princess Aurora, Princess Tiana, Ariel and more. As of now, specific cruise dates have not been released. Cruise itineraries the Disney Frozen characters have been featured on include Alaska and the Caribbean.

Guests are able to meet, talk to and take pictures with the Disney Frozen characters donned in full costume at various times on the cruises.

Definite meeting times as well as locations will be given onboard the ship. Guests can also enjoy onboard screenings of Frozen along with sing-alongs.

“Disney’s Frozen has proven to be a huge marketing success through merchandise such as costumes, dolls and other items,” said Brenda Sigurdson, Senior Marketing Director for Cruise Voyant. “We think that it’s great the characters will be on these cruises and we are excited to feature them. It’s a great way to get kids to look forward to family vacations.”

In addition, Disney Cruise Line will also be offering itineraries to Norway, the setting of the popular Disney film. These cruises will be offered in summer 2015 and are already displayed on the Cruise Voyant site. This is the first time Disney will be sailing to the Norway fjord region, which includes Scotland and Iceland.

Visit http://www.cruisevoyant.com / to stay updated on new itineraries and cruises.

About Cruise Voyant

Cruise Voyant is a Fort Lauderdale-based cruise agency that is revolutionizing the cruise booking process. Cruise Voyant solves many of today’s most difficult booking issues by allowing visitors to view a historic look at how pricing has changed on a particular ship and sail date. Cruise Voyant also offers interactive cruise itinerary maps, and it provides tens of thousands of photos of ships and destinations worldwide. Cruise Voyant helps consumers easily find their dream vacation by empowering them with online advice and insights that will help them easily book and manage their vacation plans.

Jetstreams for Travel Discounts

Experiencias Xcaret Park Riviera Maya Offers Unique Activities With Wild Animals

August 11, 2014 on 10:33 am | In Adventure Travel, Beachbooker, Cancun Cozumel Yucatan, Mexico, Theme Parks Zoos Aquariums | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowCancun, Quintana Roo- In its eagerness to create unique Cancun and Riviera Maya activities that visitors will not forget, Xcaret Park has set into motion a novel and original way for tourists to share special moments with some of the most important wild life species that have made Xcaret their home.
Starting this month, visitors at the Eco Park will be able to witness a unique flamingo parade, observe how a jaguar is fed, help sea turtle caretakers during feeding time, aid newly born butterflies in their first flutters, and attend a flight practice with scarlet macaw specimens that turn the sky into a rainbow of colors with their beautiful feathers.

These activities in Cancun that were only enjoyed by the few privileged regional fauna staff are now open to the public so that those who wish can assist in the special care these animals receive. Because of the nature of the activity, there is limited capacity, thus, it is advised that those interested in participating sign up at their arrival to the Eco Park.

All the specimens visitors can observe in Xcaret Cancun are either born in the park, byproducts of reproduction programs to preserve endangered species or rescued animals. In the case of the flamingos, 111 births were registered between 2004 and 2013 and, as far as butterflies are concerned, there have been more than 180 thousand births between 1999 and 2013.

The Sea Turtle Program in the Riviera Maya coordinated by the Flora, Fauna y Cultura de México not-for-profit association has released more than 7 million sea turtles in the wild since its creation. The organization is the social and environmental branch of Experiencias Xcaret.

At the same time, the Red Macaw Reproduction Program has an average yearly birth rate of 120. In 2013, Xcaret Park began a program to reintroduce this species in the State of Chiapas, Mexico, where it became extinct more than 70 years ago. To this day, the program has had a 100 percent survival rate of specimens registered thanks to a strategic alliance with the Autonomous University of Mexico, the Aluxes Park in Palenque and the organization Acajungla A.C.


Xcaret Cancun is a majestic Eco Park by the sea with unique activities in the heart of the jungle where visitors have fun while discovering the natural and cultural treasures of Mexico through its underground rivers, wild land and water fauna, cuisine and artistic expressions.

Visit: www.experienciasxcaret.com

Dreamworld Unveils New Ride & Slide for September Openings

August 9, 2014 on 10:58 am | In Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, Theme Parks Zoos Aquariums | Comments Off

Dreamworld and WhiteWater World are proud to reveal detail of their much-anticipated new ride and slide due for launch in September.

TAIL SPIN – Dreamworld’s BIG 9 THRILL RIDE: After much speculation, Dreamworld is pleased to unveil its newest ride called the TAIL SPIN as part of its new OCEAN PARADE development. With 12 rider-operated mini aeroplanes that reach 72 feet into the sky, the TAIL SPIN allows guests to enjoy as much [or as little] thrill as they please with controls that allow riders to spin at their own pace. As the newest addition of Dreamworld’s world-famous THRILL RIDE slate, the TAIL SPIN now officially transforms the Big 8 to Big 9 Thrill Rides alongside THE TOWER OF TERROR II, GIANT DROP, BUZZ SAW, CLAW, WIPEOUT, MOTOCOASTER, PANDAMONIUM AND THE CYCLONE ROLLER COASTER.
WIPEOUT RE-OPENS: After 20 years of service and 7 million riders, Dreamworld’s iconic Wipeout will re-open today after undergoing a major facelift. The WIPEOUT’s relaunch is the first installment to Dreamworld’s makeover of OCEAN PARADE, also home to THE CLAW, SHOCK WAVE, FLOWRIDER, CYCLONE and ZOMBIE EVILUTION.

TRIPLE VORTEX: A proud new addition to WhiteWater World will be its newest thrill slide called the TRIPLE VORTEX where guests will be rushed down a 145m tube slide on a 2-person raft, through three funnels.

QUEUE INNOVATIONS TO INCLUDE PARENT SWAP: As part of Dreamworld’s focus on ultimate guest experience, innovations to the current queue systems will be implemented starting with the TAIL SPIN and WIPEOUT including the introduction of a parent swap facility. In addition Dreamworld will be installing the trial of a DW TV system that aims to entertain guests while in the queue.
FOOD & BEVERAGE OUTLETS: Also soon to be revealed are Dreamworld’s plans to invigorate its in-house food offerings to reflect current gourmet and dining trends and further add to the guest experience.

UNLIMITED ENTRY UNTIL JUNE 2015: Dreamworld is currently offering unlimited entry to Dreamworld, WhiteWater World and SkyPoint Observation Deck until June 2015 for only $79.99 Child/Pensioner and $99.99 Adults. (*online only, limited time only). For only a little more than a 1 Day ticket, this offer is great value for families who can now experience all the exciting new developments at Australia’s Biggest Theme Park PLUS enjoy unlimited entry to 3 great attractions until June next year!

Fall into Vacation Fun and Value in Orlando‏

August 7, 2014 on 10:53 am | In Florida, Orlando, Theme Parks Zoos Aquariums | Comments Off

What’s New in Orlando’s Theme Parks

There’s even more vacation fun in Orlando with new attractions that span the destination, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, now open at the Magic Kingdom® Park at Walt Disney World® Resort and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Diagon Alley™, now open at Universal Orlando® Resort. And this fall, Orlando becomes the place to be for frightful family fun with spooky Halloween events at all of our world-famous theme parks.

Indulge in Orlando’s Luxury Experiences

For travelers seeking luxury experiences, Orlando offers a range of upscale accommodations, exclusive activities, fine-dining and upscale-shopping options. Enjoy a variety of special moments on a theme park VIP tour like the Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, bask in serenity at our newest luxury resort – Four Seasons Resort Orlando, now open, at Walt Disney World® Resort, savor truly indulgent flavors by Orlando’s world-renowned chefs or quench your desire for pampering with our personal shopping options at The Mall at Millenia. You’ll see why your clients should have their next luxury experience in Orlando.

Shopping In Orlando

Your clients will discover a shopper’s paradise like no other destination among Orlando’s outlet centers, expansive shopping malls and quaint boutiques. Retail therapy is never far from reach with incredible savings, designer fashions and unique treasures. One of the biggest shopping days of the year is coming up in late November – Black Friday – the annual post-Thanksgiving tradition of saving big in every retail store across the destination. Learn more.

Automated Passport Control Kiosks at MCO

Orlando International Airport (MCO) has become the first airport in the nation to use biometric self-service kiosks for overseas, Visa Waiver arrivals. Passengers meet eligibility requirements if they reside in one of the 37 visa waiver countries, have entered the United States at least once since 2008 and have prior Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval. Learn more.

Disney will ramp up ‘Star Wars’ presence at theme parks

August 6, 2014 on 9:00 am | In Florida, Orlando, Theme Parks Zoos Aquariums | Comments Off

Walt Disney Co. says it will offer “a far greater Star Wars presence” at the company’s theme parks.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said advanced plans are in place to ramp up Star Wars branding in the parks, although specific details will remain under wraps until next year.

“When we grow Star Wars’ presence, which we will do significantly, you will see better bets being made that will pay off for us than were made in the past,” Iger said during a quarterly earnings call.

“As we spend money at the parks on new attractions that are based on known brands, the likelihood of their success is greater,” Iger said.

Following the 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm, Disney has gradually built up Star Wars branding at its parks, including a ‘Star Tours’ simulator ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, Disneyland in California, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris.

Hollywood Studios also hosts annual Star Wars weekends.

During the conference call, Iger said theme park revenues increased by 8% to $3.98 billion, fueled by higher ticket prices and increased spending.

Iger also said the seventh installment of the Star wars movie franchise is still on track for a December 2015 theatrical release.

Marilyn Monroe Glamour Room Now Open in Orlando

August 6, 2014 on 8:24 am | In Florida, Orlando, Theme Parks Zoos Aquariums | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowA new luxury beauty lounge concept has opened its doors at the Isleworth Grove shopping plaza in Windermere, Fla. Orlando’s first Marilyn Monroe™ Glamour Room takes the traditional day spa concept to the next level by offering a variety of glamour services, such as nail treatments at the manicure bar, hair services at the blowout bar and salon, makeup application at the makeup bar, as well as spa treatments like signature facials and tailored massages, all with a glamorous yet affordable twist.

Marilyn Monroe™ Spas, a national company that transforms traditional spa and salon concepts under the iconic Marilyn Monroe brand officially opened its Marilyn Monroe™ Glamour Room in the Grove shopping center at the corner of Conroy Windermere and Apopka Vineland Roads at 4757 The Grove Drive, Suite 132, Windermere, FL, 34781.

“We are excited to offer this high level of service and overall luxury to Orlando residents,” shared Niki Bryan, Founder and CEO of Marilyn Monroe™ Spas. “Guests will find that the fun, flirty, fabulous experience offered at our Marilyn Monroe™ Glamour Room is lavish, but the price tags are not.”

Nail treatments start at just $20 for a manicure and $30 for a pedicure, while signature hair styles start at $40. Express makeup looks start at $15 and massage services are $40, $60, or $85 for 25-minute, 50-minute and 80-minute sessions, respectively.

In true Marilyn Monroe fashion, the brand sets itself apart with its appealing aesthetics. “We are offering a fresh approach to spas,” said Bryan. “The decor is sleek, chic and social.”

This is the first Marilyn Monroe™ Glamour Room in the nation, with the second opening in St. Petersburg next month. The Marilyn Monroe™ Spas brand currently has 10 locations open among its three unique concepts: Marilyn Monroe™ Glamour Room, Marilyn Monroe™ 20 Nail Lounge and Marilyn Monroe™ Spas, with additional locations opening soon.

“Clients can expect an extravagant experience and the best possible customer service in a modern-meets-glamorous environment,” Bryan revealed. “Whatever service you try, you will leave the Glamour Room feeling divine.”

In pledging to bring guests the very finest in skin care, body care and cosmetics, the brand also offers radiant products that have been created exclusively for Marilyn Monroe™ Spas. The full line of branded products strives to make fans feel just as fabulous as their namesake, Marilyn Monroe.

For more information or to book an appointment, please call (321) 251-4939 or visit http://www.MarilynMonroeSpas.com

About Marilyn Monroe™ Spas
Marilyn Monroe™ Spas is a national company that transforms traditional spa and salon concepts under the iconic Marilyn Monroe brand. The brand provides superior standards of service, products, customer and environment and value to its international clientele. Marilyn Monroe™ Spas consistently fulfills its clients’ desire to “be wonderful” in a fun, social and glamorous environment through its Marilyn Monroe™ Spas, Marilyn Monroe™ Glamour Rooms, Marilyn Monroe™ 20 Nail Lounges and Marilyn Monroe™ Spas’ exclusive line of beauty products. For more information, please visit http://www.MarilynMonroeSpas.com

CityPASS Offers New Mobile Voucher Option in Chicago

August 4, 2014 on 9:14 am | In Chicago, Great Lakes, Midwest, Theme Parks Zoos Aquariums | Comments Off

Chicago — City Pass, the company that bundles discounted, pre-paid admission to the top attractions in 11 North American destinations, recently launched a mobile voucher pilot program in Chicago. Travelers who purchase Chicago CityPASS® ticket booklets can now present their voucher on their smartphone or other mobile device at the first attraction they visit and receive their Chicago CityPASS booklets in return.*
“CityPASS ticket booklets have always been about making travel easy, affordable and fun,” said Megan Allen, president and CEO of City Pass. “And with so many people now using smart phones and tablets as travel tools, launching a mobile voucher program made perfect sense, especially for in-market visitors.”
For the past few years, travelers have been able to purchase CityPASS ticket booklets using mobile devices. However, in order to be redeemed, the voucher had to be printed out at home or in the business office of a visitor’s hotel. The new mobile option eliminates that step, making it easier than ever to buy ticket booklets on the go and use them almost instantaneously.
“Chicago is our pilot city,” Allen explained, “but we’re hoping to expand the mobile voucher option to all 11 of our destinations within the year. It’s a matter of helping our partner attractions integrate the equipment and systems they need in order to scan mobile vouchers. And once those systems are in place and working smoothly, we want to move on to mobile ticketing.”
The Chicago CityPASS program includes pre-paid admission to Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, The Field Museum, a choice between the Museum of Science and Industry and 360 CHICAGO (formerly the John Hancock Observatory), and a choice between Adler Planetarium and the Art Institute of Chicago. All Chicago CityPASS partner attractions offer VIP, Fast Pass or expedited entry to pass holders.
For more than 16 years, CityPASS ticket booklets and admission cards have been premier products for travelers who want to visit a destination’s top attractions while enjoying significant savings. CityPASS booklets, which have a 95 percent customer recommendation rating, are available for New York City, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California, Tampa Bay and Toronto. For more information, visit www.CityPASS.com
* Mobile voucher redemption is currently not available at the Adler Planetarium or the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago.
Prices and programs subject to change. CityPASS® is a registered trademark of City Pass, Inc., and the exclusive property of City Pass, Inc.

Jetstreams for Travel Discounts

New Arrival Melts Hearts at Walkabout Park

August 3, 2014 on 11:15 am | In Adventure Travel, Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, Theme Parks Zoos Aquariums | Comments Off

Meet the latest addition to the Walkabout Park team melting the rangers hearts these holidays.

A six-month-old koala baby has just made its first appearance out of her mum’s pouch just in time for the forthcoming NSW school holidays.

The baby, whose mother is Kambala, does not yet have a name.

We are running a competition to name the baby throughout the holidays. All entries will go into the draw and one lucky winner will receive a 10 minute “speed date” with mother and baby.

The Koala population has been devastated over the last hundred years and is currently under great threat due to urbanisation and massive, uncontrolled habitat destruction. The birth of any Koala is significant to the ongoing efforts to protect the breed for future generations.

Come along to Walkabout Park these school holidays and meet our baby.
Daily Holiday Program

Go to www.walkaboutpark.com.au  for the full daily program of animal encounters

Koala Encounter at 12pm & 2.45pm each day

Bush tucker and bush medicine and Aboriginal sites tour at 3pm.

Further Information on Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park

Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park is just off the M1 (F3), 50 minutes north of Sydney and 10 minutes south of Gosford. Visit the friendliest wild Aussie animals. Kangaroos, emus, wallabies and lots of other animals slide, fly and hop happily through the bush. This is home to most of Australia’s iconic wildlife, from dingoes to devils, wombats to flying foxes, koalas to pythons, and so many more.

Saving During ‘Theme Park Season’‏

July 30, 2014 on 7:24 am | In Florida, Orlando, Theme Parks Zoos Aquariums | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowUnlike their roller coasters, theme parks’ admission prices are only going in one direction: up. But with a little planning, bargain hunters can still score a deal.

Theme parks and resorts typically raise prices for the busy summer season when kids are out of school. But there are still last minute summer deals to be found, and great ones coming up in the fall. Ian Ford, CEO and founder, Undercover Tourist has been in the travel industry for more than 15 years and has great insight on ways for families to save money.

Ford advises travelers to buy tickets online rather than at the gate. You’ll pay premium prices for one-day tickets, making multi-day tickets a better deal. Universal Orlando’s one-day ticket for both of its parks runs $136, but a four-day park-to-park pass is $195.99 — just $49 a day.

Also if the park allows, take along some snacks and drinks in a backpack. Not only will you save money by not buying from overpriced vending machines and carts, but you may also be able to curb your appetite enough to eat only one meal while in the park — or at least put off eating until an off-peak meal time, when the concession lines are shorter.

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