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Celebration, Florida Archives

October 10, 2017

Town of Celebration (Fla.) invites public to celebrate Oktoberfest near Disney World

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Regular readers of my blog probably have read about my family’s annual excursion to the winter festival, Now Snowing, at the town of Celebration just outside Walt Disney World. That’s right around the corner – already?! – but to tide us over, Celebration Town Center has its Oktoberfest that offers fun fall favorites in much the same format as the winter festival.

The two-night event takes place Friday, October 20, and Saturday, October 21, and is free and open to the public. Hop on a hayride, dance to live music, paint a pumpkin, or just stroll and enjoy the crisp fall air and enjoy the great savings at the lakeside promenade during the celebration of all things autumn.

Instead of the town’s signature snowfall, visitors can experience falling leaves on Market Street multiple times each night. The experience works the same way as the snowfall: Simply step into the street at 7, 8 or 9 p.m., and the leaves will begin to swirl around you. No need to stake out a spot or line up early!

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Dan Witucki & Heimatland Musikanten

On Friday, Oktoberfest will be celebrated in the old-world German tradition with music from Dan Witucki & Heimatland Musikanten. The interactive live show includes yodeling and crowd sing-a-longs. On Saturday, Celebration will host “Rocktoberfest” with party band Lovestruck Robot, which is also family friendly.

DJ Tami kicks off Friday’s event at 5:30 p.m., which is also when pumpkin painting begins. Dan Witucki & Heimatland Musikanten first take the stage at 6:10 p.m. On Saturday, DJ Tami and pumpkin painting begin at 5 p.m. Singer Tracey Coryell will perform at 6:05 p.m., and Lovestruck Robot starts at 7:15 p.m.

Celebration’s 11th Annual Oktoberfest features hayrides from Misty Blue Acres Carriage, the same company that does the carriage and wagon rides during Now Snowing. In the past, the wagon and hayrides gave been $5 per person. The hayrides begin at 6 p.m. and last until 10 p.m. when the festival ends for the evening. (Misty Blue Acres Carriage also provides horse and carriage experiences for Make A Wish children at Give Kids the World Village.)

There are a variety of restaurants in Celebration to fit a range of budgets and tastes. Our family outing usually consists of eating dinner and then enjoying the entertainment. There are some wonderful places to dine, such as Cuban treasure the Columbia Restaurant, but for an inexpensive family meal, try Upper Crust Pizza or . Through the years, we have learned that planning to have an early dinner helps avoid a long wait for a table (and also makes street parking, which is free, easier) on weekend nights during events. The later it gets, the more crowded the streets become and the harder it is to find a close parking spot.

Celebration’s downtown is a traditional retail and business district modeled after those found in small American towns and built by The Walt Disney Company. Retail shops, restaurants, a town hall, post office and offices are among the downtown businesses. Many of these buildings are situated along a wide promenade circling a lake.





June 27, 2017

Celebrate 2017 Sci-Fi 4th of July at Celebration Town Center near Walt Disney World

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Our nation celebrates its birthday a week from today and if you’re looking for a place to celebrate with fellow Disney fans outside the theme parks, the town of Celebration is hosting its annual “A Sci-Fi 4th of July.”

Celebration is a master-planned community originally developed by The Walt Disney Company and located just off Walt Disney World property. It hosts free community events throughout the year in its Town Center, the downtown area that is a mix of retail shops, restaurants and offices.

This year, visitors are invited to come dressed as their favorite Sci-Fi or superhero characters for the chance to win prizes. There will be two categories for judging: those 15 and younger and those 16 and older. The costume contest takes place at 7 p.m.

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A patriotic celebration begins at 9 p.m. with the singing of the national anthem by Gina Marie Inacandela and a synchronized fireworks spectacular set to a Sci-Fi themed soundtrack. (Fireworks are scheduled to end at 9:25 p.m.)

Celebration’s A Sci-Fi 4th of July will be hosted by Mark Daniel who also hosts "Inside Disney Parks" and the Disney Parks Blog LIVE Streams. The evening starts at 4 p.m. when DJ Tami begins performing. Katty Shack, known for its ‘80s covers, takes over from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and returns to the stage from 7:30 to 9 p.m. and 9:30 to 10 p.m. Also, don’t miss The Dixieland Jazz Band, made up of former members of the “Rosie O’Grady’s Good Time Band,” which will be performing patriotic favorites for the whole family to enjoy.

In addition, Celebration's Town Center will feature a KidZone with an assortment of inflatable games for kids and teens, such as a jousting area and bounce houses, face painting and more. And, of course, the shops and restaurants will be open for business. There are some wonderful places to dine, such as Cuban treasure the Columbia Restaurant, but for an inexpensive family meal, my family and I like the Market Street Cafe.

Admission and parking are free. There also will be a park-and-ride service from 215 Celebration Place that starts at 5 p.m. and runs through 11:30 p.m.

A Sci-Fi 4th of July is sponsored in part by Melia Suites Hotel, The Celebration Town Tavern, Axis Magazine and Sam Adams.






December 24, 2016

Celebration's Now Snowing continues through Dec. 31

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Looking for a last-minute spot to meet Santa Claus and perhaps experience some “snow” in Central Florida when the actual temps outside are in the 80s?

The town of Celebration continues its annual Now Snowing seasonal event through Dec. 31, although tonight is the last night to meet Santa before he heads back to the North Pole. The Jolly Old Elf will greet families from 5:30 to 9 tonight. There is no charge for the visit, and photo packages start at $24.99.

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Celebration is just outside the gates of Walt Disney World and hosts Now Snowing - a flurry of soap bubbles and other holiday activities -- and it's open to the public at no charge. My husband and I have been taking our children to Now Snowing since they were little enough to be awed by the “snow,” and it’s always a fun evening.

Celebration Town Center is quite festive with the "snowfall," Christmas decorations, live music on Saturdays, ice skating, horse-drawn carriages, simulated train rides, visits with Santa Claus and restaurants to fit a range of budgets and tastes.

Our family outing usually consists of eating dinner and then enjoying the entertainment. There are some wonderful places to dine, such as Cuban treasure the Columbia Restaurant, but for an inexpensive family meal, we like the Market Street Cafe. Through the years, we have learned that planning to have an early dinner helps avoid a long wait for a table (and also makes street parking, which is free, easier) on weekend nights during Now Snowing. The later it gets, the more crowded the streets become and the harder it is to find a close parking spot.

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Snow falls daily at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. on Market Street. There's no need to queue up to experience the snow - just step into the street, which is blocked off from traffic.

Other holiday activities include:

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** Ice Skating. The ice skating rink really is a hard plastic surface that kids use skates to glide on. The Endless Ice offers them the traditional winter experience without as many painful spills. This rink even encourages beginning skaters to use supports (that look a lot like walkers) while they learn. Skating, which includes skate rental, is $10 per 30 minutes and it's open from 4 to 10 p.m. daily.

** Horse and carriage rides are $45 for up to four passengers and $10 for each additional person. A special Cinderella Carriage can accommodate up to six people for $65. Group wagon rides are $5 per person. Plus, Holiday Home Tours can be booked by calling 321-624-6380. They are 30-40 minutes long and cost $25 per person.

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** When my son and daughter were younger, they couldn't wait to ride the Holiday Train on a short trip through town. It's $5 per person. Tickets can be purchased for $4 before 4 p.m. at Market Street Gallery or Sweet Escape.



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December 6, 2014

Now Snowing Nightly in Celebration gives visitors a taste of winter near Walt Disney World

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For years, one of my family's favorite holiday traditions is a visit to see "snow" just outside the gates of Walt Disney World. The town of Celebration hosts "Now Snowing Nightly" - a flurry of soap bubbles -- from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve, and it's open to the public at no charge.

The shopping district is quite festive with the "snowfall," Christmas decorations, live music on Saturdays, ice skating, horse-drawn carriages, simulated train rides, visits with Santa Claus and restaurants to fit a range of budgets and tastes.

Sound tempting? Here are some tips that I have put together after years of fun visits to this event:

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** Snow falls daily at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. on Market Street. There's no need to queue up to experience the snow - just step into the street, which is blocked off from traffic.

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** Crowds are heavier later in the night and on weekends. You could have guessed that, though, right? This won't affect your ability to experience the snow, but it makes finding street parking and a table at some restaurants more difficult. Some take reservations, so be sure to check if you would like to dine at places such as Cuban treasure Columbia Restaurant. Our family is fond of the Market Street Café -- a diner that's perfect for an inexpensive, yet satisfying, family meal.

** Tonight's live performance, called A Celebration of Voices, features local elementary school choirs and the Stand Up Tour of young artists, including IM5 and Hollywood Ending. On Dec. 13, Radio Disney hosts its annual holiday concert featuring After Romeo and Taylor Buono. On Dec. 20, Jason Castro performs at A Countdown to Christmas. We have attended the Radio Disney concert several times and definitely noticed that those nights are popular with crowds, especially tweens and teens.

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** The ice skating rink really is a hard plastic surface that kids use skates to glide on. The Endless Ice offers them the traditional winter experience without as many painful spills. This rink even encourages beginning skaters to use supports (that look a lot like walkers) while they learn. Skating, which includes skate rental, is $10 per 30 minutes and it's open from 4 to 10 p.m. daily.

** Horse and carriage rides are $25 for the first two passengers and $10 for each additional person. Group wagon rides are $5 per person. Plus, Holiday Home Tours can be booked by calling 321-624-6380. They are 30-40 minutes long and cost $25 per person.

** Santa Claus greets families each night from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 24. (He starts 30 minutes earlier on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.) There is no charge for the visit, and photo packages start at $24.99. Pets are welcome on Wednesdays.

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** When my son and daughter were younger, they couldn't wait to ride the Holiday Train on a short trip through town. It's $5 per person. Tickets can be purchased for $4 before 4 p.m. at Confetti, Market Street Gallery or Sanrio Surprises.

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** Speaking of Sanrio Surprises " This little store sells everything you can imagine related to Hello Kitty and even hosts birthday parties. On most nights of "Now Snowing Nightly," Sanrio Surprises hosts story time with Hello Kitty, and then guests have the opportunity to take their photos with her. The free 10-minute activity is at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. and is limited by space, so be sure to line up a few minutes early.

If you're looking for a fun holiday getaway not far from Orlando or the gates of Walt Disney World, you'll find that the town of Celebration certainly lives up to its name during the holidays. And if you're a native Floridian, you'll appreciate a chance to have a white Christmas after all. Good luck building that bubbly Olaf snowman, though.



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December 30, 2013

Celebrate New Year's Eve 2013 with your family and Disney outside its parks

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Does the idea of celebrating New Year's Eve with your family at Walt Disney World fill you with excitement? Or is your joy coupled with a bit of trepidation because this is one of the most crowded weeks of the year at the resort? If you'd rather not face that many revelers in one place, there are other options for celebrating Disney-style in Florida.

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DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney

DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney is once again hosting a family-friendly New Year's Eve party from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Admission includes unlimited use of the games on all five floors, two DJ dance parties, a New Year's Eve countdown and confetti drop at midnight. Plus, Chip 'n Dale, Buzz Lightyear and Wreck-It Ralph will be on hand for meet-and-greets.

In addition, tickets to the party include a dinner of grilled chicken sandwich, grilled veggie wrap sandwich, cheesesteak sandwich or barbecue pork sandwich; chips or a side salad; fruit cup or a cupcake; and a soda or bottled water.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $55 (including tax) online or by calling 407-934-7639. Space permitting, tickets also will be sold at DisneyQuest the day of the event for $65.

The rest of Downtown Disney will be celebrating year's end, as well. Individual restaurants are hosting their own bashes, and there will be live entertainment and DJ dance parties in the common areas of the West Side, Pleasure Island and Marketplace. The new Disney food trucks will be out, and "adult beverages" can be purchased as usual. West Side and Pleasure Island will be open until 2 a.m., while the Marketplace closes at 1 a.m.

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Radio Disney's Noon Year's Eve

As in years past, Radio Disney hosts Noon Year's Eve celebrations in several U.S. cities for kids who might not stay up past their bedtimes to ring in the new year.

The closest location to Orlando will be at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo (1101 West Sligh Avenue, Tampa, FL 33604) from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Families can participates in games, arts and crafts, live entertainment, educational displays, and hear the year's top songs from the Radio Disney 1380 Road Crew. Before noon, participants will be given noisemakers, New Year's hats and juice to toast the Noon Year.

This 2013 Radio Disney celebration is included with regular zoo admission, which is $24.95 for adults, $22.95 for seniors, and $19.95 for ages 3 to 11. Ages 2 and younger are free. Call 813-935-8552.

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Celebration Town Center

The last "snowfalls" of the season in the town of Celebration, in Disney World's back yard, happen on New Year's Eve. Show flies at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., and guests can enjoy the flurries for free. Our family looks forward to our annual tradition of dinner and then experiencing Now Snowing Nightly. There are many fabulous restaurants to choose from in Celebration.

Some holiday activities there also still will be available, such as ice skating on an outdoor rink from 4 to 10 p.m. Prices are $10 for 30 minutes, which includes skate rental. Equipment is available to help those who are less than steady on the ice. Horse and carriage rides take guests throughout the town. Wagon rides are $5 per person and carriage rides are $25 for the first two passengers and $10 for each additional guest.

Tuning in to Times Square

Of course, there's always the tradition of watching "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2014" on Disney-owned ABC. This year's broadcast from Times Square in New York features performers Pitbull, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Joel, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Robin Thicke, The Fray and more.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!



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December 28, 2012

Where to celebrate New Year's Eve with Disney and your kids

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There are plenty of options for kids to ring in 2013 with Disney this year. If your family is visiting Walt Disney World, each of the four theme parks has special events planned for New Year's Eve. (More details on AllEars.Net.) But if you'd like to celebrate outside the parks -- which presumably would be less crowded and less expensive -- with your favorite Disney characters and personalities, here are some possibilities.

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DisneyQuest at Walt Disney World

DisneyQuest, which houses five floors of video and virtual games at Downtown Disney, is again hosting a family friendly event on Dec. 31. In addition to unlimited use of the the games, there will be two DJ dance parties, meet-and-greets with Disney characters, and a New Year's Eve countdown and confetti drop at midnight.

Tickets, which include a meal and beverage, can be purchased in advance for $50 online or by calling 407-934-7639. Space permitting, tickets also will be sold at DisneyQuest the day of the event for $60.

Although I have not been to the end-of-the-year celebration, my family has had annual passes to DisneyQuest, so I can tell you how much fun it is for elementary-school-age children. In addition to the arcade-style video games, there are many games that accommodate four players, including air hockey and Pac-Man. Plus, there are opportunities to create music and art.

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Radio Disney's Noon Year's Eve

In 20 cities in the United States, including two in Florida, Radio Disney hosts Noon Year's Eve celebrations for kids who might not stay up past their bedtimes to ring in the new year.

The closest location to Orlando will be at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo (1101 West Sligh Avenue, Tampa, FL 33604) from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday. The Noon Year's Eve event is free and features the best songs of the year from Radio Disney's "Top 50 of 2012," interactive entertainment hosted by the Radio Disney 1380 Road Crew, a special countdown and a juice toast.

In Miami, the Radio Disney AM 990 Road Crew joins the New Year's Eve celebration at Bayfront Park (301 N Biscayne Boulevard Miami, FL 33132) from 6 p.m. to midnight. This is also a free party in South Florida with dancing, fireworks over Biscayne Bay and the countdown of "La Gran Naranja" (The Big Orange).

Participants at Noon Year's Eve events in Philadelphia, Boston, Phoenix and Miami can enter "The Chevrolet presents: Family Ride of a Lifetime Sweepstakes." Prizes include one 2013 Chevrolet Traverse, a trip for six to Walt Disney World, and a signed Justin Bieber guitar and concert tickets.

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Celebration Town Center

As I mentioned in another post this week, the last "snowfalls" of the season in the town of Celebration, in Disney World's back yard, happen on New Year's Eve. Show flies at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., and in between, guests can hear DJ Tami perform. From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Katty Shack will entertain crowds, and the new year will be celebrated with a fireworks show at midnight. This event is free and some of the paid holiday activities still will be available.

Of course, there's always the tradition of watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2013 on Disney-owned ABC. This year's broadcast from Times Square in New York features Ryan Seacrest hosting and Taylor Swift headlining the musical performances. Carly Rae Jepsen ("Call Me Maybe") and Neon Trees will perform as well.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

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