Laughter fills the air as kids zip down slides and caper about a jungle of wall-to-wall inflatables and obstacle courses within Monkey Joe’s play center. Kids 12 and under romp throughout the air-conditioned playscape’s obstacles, and tykes 3 and under stretch their imaginations on the softer and smaller attractions in the toddler play area. An orchestra of electronic beeps fills the arcade, and the scents of savory pizza waft from a concessions stand. Colorful balloons and cakes pack party rooms, where birthday boys and girls unwrap presents and brand-new imaginary friends.
Safety is paramount to Monkey Joe’s. The play areas are always supervised by the trained staff, and as little ones frolic, a child security system tracks visitors through identity bracelets and video monitoring. These safety measures—combined with the use of FDA-certified cleaning solutions—put parents at ease as they relax in the adult lounge, where they can catch their favorite shows on flat-screen TVs or browse the Internet for ways to pimp their minivans.
From the outside, Professor Wonder’s WonderWorks laboratory appears to have flipped completely on its head. When visitors enter the upside-down edifice, they must first pass through the psychedelic, spinning lights of the Inversion Tunnel, which turns the building right-side up for families to embark on a full day of entertaining, educational activities. More than 100 interactive exhibits spark excitement around natural phenomenon, including replica mercury capsules that visitors can climb into, a gallery of mind-bending illusions.
Some of WonderWorks Orlando’s hands-on displays allow guests to experience the aftershocks of the San Francisco earthquake of 1989, throw a strike against Derek Jeter, and lie down on a bed of 3,500 sharp nails without so much as a scratch. Additional activities include the Indoor Ropes Challenge Course, which exercises bodies and minds as challengers navigate three stories of swinging beams and suspension bridges, and the XD Theater 4D.
The team at Forever Trim Body Sculpting Center performs noninvasive body-contouring and face-lift procedures under the guidance of Dr. Michael Rodriguez. Drawing on a wealth of technology and leadership from Rodriguez, a fellow in the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the center’s technicians reshape the body and tighten the skin. With a Zerona LipoLaser system, they emulsify stubborn fat on the waist, hips, and thighs, making it easier to wear skinny jeans or slip into a toaster while playing hide-and-seek. The Ulthera machine, on the other hand, performs a nonsurgical face-lift without significant pain or downtime.
The seven fields at Paintball World Sports Complex cater to playing styles ranging from quick assaults to studied campaigning. After outfitting combatants with equipment, the staff turns into referees and oversees play on fields such as Big Fort, a collection of plywood shelters connected by a wooden bridge and sheltered by overhanging trees. Elsewhere, field terrain includes inflatable cover, upturned tractor tires, and pieces of giant corrugated tubing. An FAQ page anticipates visitors' questions, such as "What should I bring?" and "How much to rent an invisibility cloak?"
Magical Midway’s neon-lit towers jut into the night sky as visitors scream with excitement from the amusement park’s go-kart tracks, thrill rides, and fully stocked arcade. The Space Blast Tower shoots passengers 180 feet in the air at a g-force greater than 3. Drivers cruise go-karts along two elevated tracks or whip around corkscrew turns on the Audubon-inspired fast track, as nearby bumper cars collide as harmlessly as two marshmallows doing a chest bump. Pucks float across the air-hockey table in the arcade, which also houses racing simulations and dancing games. Hungry thrill seekers refuel with sundry meals and snacks, such as hand-tossed New York–style pizza and ice cream.
Melanie LaJoie’s dance career began almost three decades ago and has since taken her to Morocco, Egypt, and Russia, where she developed her expertise in an impressive number of ethnic dance traditions. Today, she directs the instructors at A Magi Temple Belly Dance and choreographs and performs pieces at local sites such as Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, and the House of Blues. Her students, who can include ladies age 10 and up, learn everything from warm-up exercises to routines in Bollywood, belly-dancing, and flamenco classes scheduled five days per week.