Sunrise Ballon Flights' inflatables take adventurous passengers on flights that start low enough to steal toupees and soar up to heights of 3,000 feet. The balloons are borne aloft by the winds of the moment, so no two journeys are exactly the same. Riders can see Disney World or cruise over wetlands bustling with wild turkeys and deer.
Wherever the winds take the balloon, it's in professional hands. Sunrise Ballon Flights has maintained a perfect safety record since it was founded in 2002, thanks to full-time career pilots who regularly attend FAA safety seminars. Many of these pilots carry commercial ratings in other aircraft, too, such as helicopters and airplanes.
The Bluesmasters Music Festival brings together entertainers fluent in the language of lament for an all-day celebration of melancholy set to music. The lyrical lineup kicks off at 11 a.m. with left-handed guitar legend Eric Gales, followed by artists such as John Mayall, Elvin Bishop, and Shemekia Copeland. Headliners The Bluesmasters (featuring Mickey Thomas and a special guest) will round out the evening at 10:15 p.m. with a satisfying set of regret-filled rock. Festival-goers enjoy the entertainment from lush lawn seats, and are invited to bring low-slung lawn chairs and blankets to sit on or build into forts shaped like a castle fit for Cinderella. Osceola Heritage Park’s gates will swing open for entrance and seat scouting at 10 a.m., and Groupon-purchased tickets will be waiting at will call.
A snowball’s throw away from the Disney World and Universal Studio theme parks, The Ice Factory of Central Florida extends the season of winter sports to a year-round festival of open-skate sessions and pickup or youth-league hockey matches. During public-skate hours, patrons lace up hockey or figure skates before hitting the NHL- and studio-size rinks to learn the ropes or gracefully carve the name of their favorite zamboni driver into the ice. Weekend DJ skates enliven outings with interactive games and prizes on Saturday afternoons and musical stylings on Saturday nights. After a fun-filled workout on the rink, grownup guests can unwind with a frosty beverage at the rinkside bar and lounge, and kids pass the time at the pool table or ring in birthdays with sodas, pizzas, and bouquets of balloons.
Novice skaters of all ages can master the skills and techniques of icemanship with beginners’ lessons or mock nature’s clearly defined seasons with ice-skating summer camps.
When discussing his teaching philosophy with reporters from Central Florida Lifestyle, the owner of Salsa Heat quipped, "if you can walk, you can dance." He himself didn't know much about dancing when he took his first salsa class in the early 90's, but he caught on after just a few sessions, falling in love with the dance's energetic spins and rhythmic movements.
Today, a team of professional dance instructors teach salsa spins and footwork to students of all experience levels. Zumba and bachata classes provide tutoring in other Latin dance styles, and salsa classes for kids teach youngsters dance fundamentals that hone coordination and motor skills. Throughout the year, the staff hosts special events on their spacious dance floors, such as salsa socials, salsa Christmas parties, and salsa-infused celebrations of Robert Heinlein's birthday.
Listening to music from a young age does more than help someone dance well enough to get on the Jumbotron during basketball games. It can also improve a child's brain development, social skills, and emotional connections. The staff at Grow and Sing Studios make it their mission to aid in the development of children through a wide variety of age-appropriate classes. Instructors lead students through activities steeped in song and rhythm, from the parent-baby drumming in Kindermusik Village to the group sing-alongs during Music for Aardvarks. They also teach piano lessons.
Constructed in 1886, the residence now known as Haunted Grimm House sheltered the Grimm family funeral business until a triad of unfortunate events—the stock-market crash, a Grimm son's gradual descent into insanity, and a murderous butler—brought the clan to a macabre end. Nearly 100 years after the house's construction, the Old Town council⎯afraid to tear the building down lest they rouse wrathful spirits⎯decided to open the two-story home for tours.
…Or so visitors to Haunted Grimm House are told before embarking on 10- to 15-minute treks through the spooky structure's more than 4,000 square feet. Via winding corridors, patrons peek into the Victorian-style dwelling's 20 rooms, which claim to teem with ghouls, monsters, and chiropractors extracting the chills from spines.