On June 1, as the early-morning sunlight bathes Formosa Gardens in a pale late-spring light, strange shapes will begin to billow up from the nearby landscape. They belong to more than 25 hot air balloons, which will take to the skies to mark the beginning of the Kissimmee Blue Skies Adventure Race at Formosa Gardens. As the balloons observe from on high, runners will navigate 3.5 miles of rodeo-themed obstacles. During the cowboy-inspired race, feet will slap muddy trails and clamber over bronco hurdles, as racers meet challenges ranging from a wagon trail to a feeding troth on their quests to finish first. Medals and T-shirts proclaim victory for each participant who sails over the finish line.
At the newly erected Dallara IndyCar Factory, Indy Racing Experience joins forces with Dallara Automobili—an Italian manufacturer of competitive racecars that has been designing, building, and supporting professional IndyCars for more than 40 years. The 100,000-square-foot structure towers over the town of Speedway, Indiana, and houses the first Dallara factory outside of its hometown of Parma, Italy. Inside the interactive facility, visitors can watch technicians build cars for IndyCar racing teams before experiencing a race themselves on an advanced simulator or on a high-speed ride through the streets of town in a genuine IndyCar two-seater. The factory's expansive halls also host special events, from corporate banquets to town-wide attempts to break the world record for the longest game of hopscotch.
Old Town Trolley Tours provide sightseers with extensive, fully narrated tours of the national capital, taking tourists past both the heavy-hitting attractions and the little-known gems. This deal gets you a full-day pass (9 a.m.–5:30 p.m.) to hop on and hop off the trolley at any of its 19 stops. This means you can get on at the Washington Welcome Center, ride it until you're enticed by the hypnotic pilasters and cartouches of the Jefferson Memorial, then get on again at any other stop throughout the day. The full tour of Washington takes about three hours, and each tour is patriotically lead by a licensed tour guide, who'll tell historical anecdotes, share intriguing facts, and cast any tie-breaking votes in the Senate. Sit back and relax as your trolley smoothly takes you past Washington hotspots such as the National Mall and the Smithsonian.
The chromatic champions at Color Wheel Paint dispense distinctive pigmentations in more than 1,600 colors, along with providing the necessary tools to complete any painting project. Coat abashedly naked walls with a gallon of flat Hi-Hide interior paint ($19.86/gallon) or Optima Satin Supreme ($31.73/gallon), which can colorize anything from bedroom walls to the picket fence marking the boundary of your office's cubicles. Drab exteriors receive a tinting treatment with a gallon of Tropicoat 100% Acrylic Latex Paint ($30.65/gallon), primed with a coating of Quick Cure Acrylic Conditioner ($25.16/gallon), ideal for previously painted surfaces. Home tidiers can also aid the spreading process with Master Choice tools, such as the Klondike 3-inch angle sash brush ($14.72), with a soft bristle for ticklish walls, and the 12'x15' canvas drop cloth ($20.43).
Like any bride-to-be, Melissa wanted her big day to stand out. Tired of the same old garter toss or all-orangutan wedding band, she hit on the idea of installing a photo booth into the proceedings, but the costs were prohibitive. That’s when she and her now-husband, Eddie, formed Just 4 U Foto Booths. Since then, the couple has dispatched the booths to weddings, parties of all stripes, and bar mitzvahs, where they capture memories in high resolution more effectively than swinging a butterfly net through a person’s brain. Patrons can choose color or black-and-white photos and customize photo strips with graphics or text. Once the revelry ends, the couple sets the pictures in scrapbooks, on CDs, or in magnetic frames.
Cypress trees sway in the breeze, lush tropical vegetation soaks up the sunshine, and white sandy beaches glisten nearby as Buena Vista Watersports' rental jet skis, paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and pontoons tote adventurers across the spring-fed waters of Lake Bryan alongside waterskiers and wakeboarders. The Key West–style resort, located just east of Disney World, allows families and friends to glimpse local wildlife as they skim scenic shorelines and chase picturesque settings at an aquatic reservoir as vast and secluded as Bigfoot's bathtub. The resort's alighted tiki torches and palm trees that border its tiki bar and pavilion attract groups for company picnics or private events such as weddings and parties, during which revelers can partake in watersports, dance to reggae, or watch a fire-dancing show.
The town homes are scattered throughout Kissimmee, the city directly adjacent to Walt Disney World. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, visitors experience moviemaking magic on The Great Movie Ride and during shows such as Muppet Vision 3-D. On the Studio Backlot Tour, passengers embark on a 35-minute guided tour through a prop warehouse and experience a simulated disaster in Catastrophe Canyon. Nearby, Disney's Blizzard Beach water park resembles a frosty ski resort, with chair lifts that whisk you to the top of a freefalling water slide known as Summit Plummet. Kids slide down faux ice luges at Tike's Peak or race competitive snowmen with a face-first ride down the Toboggan Racers slide.Outside of Disney World, the greater Orlando area is stuffed with other theme parks, including Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld. For a break from the crowds, take a drive up to the town of Winter Park for its Saturday farmers' market, designer boutiques, and scenic boat tours along Lake Osceola.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.