Archive for the ‘Special Events’ Category

Batman Returns Batmobile Up For Auction

February 9, 2011

Authentic Batmobile From the Movie Batman Returns Was Up For Auction

Film buffs attending the Mecum Auto Auction in Kissimmee this January got a real treat.  A vehicle on auction was an original Batmobile from the movie Batman Returns.

This is one of the actual Batmobiles driven by Michael Keaton during the film and brought to you via video by LanceAroundOrlando. [Note: The auction you hear in the background is not for the Batmobile]:

Apparently, the auction of the Batmobile was not successful as the Batmobile is still available for sale here.

Here are the signs that were on the Batmobile:

Sign on Batmobile


Mecum Auction Sheet

Where To Find The Hottest Cars

January 29, 2011
Hottest Cars Anywhere

Rows and Rows of Every Kind of Car Imaginable

Imagine a museum with over 1750 of the most unusual cars you have ever seen.

The Best Place to Buy a Car

They Have Everything

Imagine a string of huge tents which would dwarf even the largest circus in the world holding rows upon rows of these cars.

Imagine aisle upon aisle of car memorabilia, accessories, clothing and much more.

That’s what the annual Mecum auto auction in Kissimmee is like. You’ll find muscle cars and museum pieces; cars built in the early 1900’s to futuristic autos used in recent sci fi movies. There are motorcycles and minivans, hot rods and love bugs. You name it and if it’s auto related chances are you’ll find it at Mecum.

Certainly you’ll find someone who knows about it and has a passion for it.

Talk a Walk Down Memory Lane

The auction has been in Kissimmee for six years. The first year, it was held in one small tent on a corner of the Osceola Heritage Park complex. Now, it has grown into the second largest Mecum auction featuring over 1750 cars, original auto memorabilia, clothing and other accessories.

The 2011 auction took place from January 26 to 30. Here’s a video that gives you just a small glimpse of the action at this year’s auction:

The Enzian Swamp Walk of Terror

November 9, 2010

Welcome to the Enzian Swamp Walk of Terror

There’s no better place than Orlando to enjoy Halloween!

You could try out a different haunted venue every night and still not experience all the Halloween Orlando has to offer. Every street corner seemed to host a new “Halloween City” store. Haunted experiences ranged from the highly popular Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios to Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween party at Magic Kingdom. There’s the “Screamline” zipline at Forever Florida, Halloween Eves at Kissimmee’s Pioneer Village, the “Haunted Hangar” at Fantasy of Flight, or even a gentle Pumpkin Harvest tractor drawn hayride at Green Meadows Farm.

The small Disney town of Celebration gets jammed on October 31 as busloads of children from all the resorts and local towns come to trick or treat in a place where the homes are conveniently located close to one another. The residence go all out for the festivities.  One of them even created a fake pirate ship completely covering the front of his home. He would put on a pirate show every couple of minutes. It was fantastic.

Halloween has come and gone for 2010–but if you enjoy this zany season as much as the LanceAround family, start making your plans to come to Orlando in 2011. Every year it just gets better and better.

This Halloween, the LanceAround family enjoyed the Haunted Swamp Walk of Terror at our favorite arthouse movie theater–the Enzian. Here is a video of the first few moments of this attraction. (Warning, may contain inappropriate language for young children.)

Michelangelo With Scissors

June 8, 2010

On Stage Frank Krzanik Showcases His Talent With His Model: #1 Daughter

Sue owns a vacation home in Central Florida and teaches cosmetology to high school students at a technology center in Illinois. My company manages her vacation home.  

Hairstyles of all Types Abound

She calls Mrs. LanceAround last week and explains that her fellow cosmetology teacher, Frank Krzanik, was selected to showcase the Bonika Shears at the Premier Orlando International Beauty Event held at the Orange County Convention Center. Frank needs some models so he can demonstrate how to cut hair. Would Mrs. LanceAround and Number One Daughter like to model?  

Packed Convention Center

With over 46,000 in attendance, the convention center is packed with eager attendees wanting to learn the latest trends in beauty and fashion. Number One Daughter sits in the chair while Frank’s hands, moving like a blur, wielding his Bonika Shears, cuts, styles and blow dries her hair. Meanwhile thousands of eager conference attendees stride by, stopping now and again to watch Frank’s techniques or examine the scissors for sale on display.  

In a short time, Number One Daughter is smiling broadly as she looks in the mirror at her new “do.”  Mrs. LanceAround, then Number One Son also take their turn in the chair. Once more Frank’s hands are a blur as he showcases his craft.  

As we are walking out of the convention center, Number One Daughter is beaming as she speaks about how wonderful a job Frank has done with all their hair. “He’s like Michelangelo with scissors,” she remarks. Then, with an inspired look in her eye, she proclaims, “Hey, that’s the title for your blog post!”  

And so it is.


March 16, 2010


Larry The Cable Guy was in town last month and the Kissimmee CVB gave tickets to Office Manager Anne and Customer Service Guru Giselle from our office.  They had a great time and filed this post.  I am still trying to figure out what Office Manager Anne means when she says, “his routine was…not crude” followed by, “he went through the usual…flatulence jokes…”  hmmmm…

By Office Manager Anne



That was exactly what I said when Giselle in our office said, “You know — Larry the Cable Guy – Git-R-Done!”  

So let me explain…… we had been offered some comp tickets for a show at the Silver Spurs Arena here in Kissimmee and the headliner was Larry the Cable Guy.  I had never heard of him.  After being told who Larry was, LanceAround googled him and we sat through a few minutes of his very active web site.  So Customer Service Guru Giselle, myself and our significant others signed up for tickets.

The show was Saturday night at 8pm.  Silver Spurs Arena hosts the rodeo here in Kissimmee but is also a large venue for other entertainers.   Currently the Osceola Heritage Park, the complex where the arena is located, is home to the Houston Astros for spring training.  Also on the calendar for May 9th is country singer Wynonna Judd.

Anyway I digress, back to Larry! 

We arrived, parked and made our way to the entrance where security checked bags.  Not unusual these days, sad to say.  Customer Service Guru Giselle had to throw away her bottle of water before entering.  Once inside finding our seats was easy.  Then we went to the convenience stands where they had the usual array of snacks to offer.  A popcorn, large pretzel and soda was picked up and we were settled in for the main attraction.

The warm up comedian was quite funny and did his routine getting the crowd ready for Larry.  Larry came on and did stand up for just over an hour.  His routine was colorful but not crude.  Sometimes his very southern accent (which I am sure is not genuine) was hard to understand.  He went through the usual wife, children & flatulence jokes, mixed in with some global warming and light politics. 

Overall it was an easy evening of entertainment.  Thanks to the Kissimmee CVB and Osceola Heritage Park/Silver Spurs Arena.

Preview of ICE 2009 at Gaylord Palms

November 17, 2009

Huge, Brightly Colored ICE Eskimos

Two million pounds of ice blocks stacked and carved into a wintery wonderland–welcome to the Gaylord Palms Hotel & Convention Center’s annual winter attraction:  ICE 2009!

ICE Polar Bear and Cub

Located at the corner of Osceola Parkway and International Drive South right next to the Disney World Resort, this is a spectacle for the entire family. 

We recommend rounding out your ICE experience by having lunch or dinner at the Villa de Flora–a mediterranean marketplace buffet, also located within the Gaylord Palms Hotel.  Stations of fabulous food representing Italy, France, Spain or Greece (depending on which day you visit) in a casual yet elegant all-you-care-to-eat atmosphere makes for a scrumptious day.

Sign in Front of ICE Santa

In addition to ICE and your meal, stroll around the exquisite four acre covered atrium located in the center of the hotel.  Snack at the chocolate store, shop for gifts and/or clothing, enjoy the lush, tropical landscaping and water features.

When you are ready to go through ICE be sure to bundle up.  There’s a reason the ice blocks do not melt!  Brrrrrr…

Mrs. LanceAround Sits on ICE Santa's Knee

ICE is open daily from November 13 to January 3rd.  Hours vary by day and prices vary depending on the day of the week and your age; from Free for 3 and under to $28 for adults on the weekend.

Here are some things to keep in mind during your visit:

–It is REALLY cold inside ICE–9 degrees farenheit.  They provide you with a parka, but you might want to bring a hat, scarf, gloves and wear long sleeves and long underwear.  It costs a lot of money to enjoy ICE, so you don’t want to have to rush through it.

–Just to park at the Gaylord Palms costs $12.

Sliding Down the ICE Slide

–If you are like Mrs. LanceAround, you’ll want to walk through quickly and get out of the cold as fast as possible.  If you’re like me, you’ll want to take your time, examine all the sculptures and enjoy sliding down the ice slides.  There is a warm seat at the end of the exhibits for the Mrs. LanceArounds to relax and wait for the hubbies to finish playing!

–In addition to the ICE attraction, plan some time to walk through the tropically decorated indoor atrium of the hotel.  Enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the hotel restaurants.  Bring some extra money for a souvenir at one of several stores inside the atrium.

–We enjoyed ICE.  But our reactions were a little mixed.  We have seen ice sculptures before that were real works of art; graceful, delicate, beautiful and intricate.  The sculptures in ICE were made from large blocks that were somewhat simplistic.  We thought the cost was a little high.  Nonetheless, we do recommend that you experience ICE at least once.

Howl-O-Scream Alternative to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios

October 13, 2009
A Fashion Show Turns Ghoulish at the House of Vayne

A Fashion Show Turns Ghoulish at the House of Vayne

This time of year the Orlando Area comes alive with Halloween activities.

The most popular is Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.  Every year it gets bigger and better.

Not to be out done, Busch Gardens in Tampa has their Howl-O-Scream.  Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in October, Busch Gardens closes their park at 6:00pm to prepare for the 7:30pm opening of Howl-O-Scream.  It ends at 1:00am on Thursdays and 2:00am on Fridays and Saturdays.

# 1 Daughter and Best Friend Bryana Are Enticed by a Vampire in the Mist

# 1 Daughter and Best Friend Bryana Are Enticed by a Vampire in the Mist

General Admission is advertised at $69.95 but advance web tickets only cost $39.95 on Thu/Fri and $49.95 on Saturday.  In addition, there are upgrades such as the “Viewing Tour,” “Funeral Tour,” and “Embalming Tour.”  There’s also a “Club enVy Happy Hour” and “Fright Feast” buffet upgrade available.

Mrs. LanceAround and I took Number One and Two Sons and Number One Daughter with Best Friend Bryana to experience Howl-O-Scream for this post.

Scares Abound Around Every Corner

Scares Abound Around Every Corner

In many ways, Howl-O-Scream is similar to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios in Orlando (as reported in this blog post and another blog post by Office Manager Anne from last year.)  There is a “theme” to the evening.  In this case, it is the vain vampires from the House of Vayne who turn evil in the middle of a fashion show. 

# 1 Daughter Opts Out of this Haunted House

# 1 Daughter Opts Out of this Haunted House

There are several “haunted houses.”  There are “scare zones” where various creatures of the night attempt to startle you as you walk down the sidewalk.  And there are a couple of shows.

One thing that sets it apart from HHN, however, are the many roller coasters at Busch Gardens.  The combination of scary thrill rides with the ghoulish Halloween activities makes for a night of fun-filled fright!

The Macabre Magic of Jason Byrne

The Macabre Magic of Jason Byrne

This year’s Howl-O-Scream features an excellent, though macabre, magic show by Jason Byrne.  Be sure not to miss it.

The general consensus of our party is that Howl-O-Scream, although it did not provide the intense level of scare you get at HHN, does provides an acceptable alternative to the crowds at Universal Studios.  It is especially convenient if you are staying on the gulf coast.  From the Orlando area, your ticket also includes a free shuttle that departs from the Orlando Premium Outlets at 3pm and then departs Busch Gardens at midnight for the ride back to Orlando.

Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival are all good reasons to plan your trip to Orlando during the month of October–If you dare!

Orlando Japan Festival 2009 at Hunters Creek

October 8, 2009
"Feel Japan"

"Feel Japan"

The Orlando Japan Festival is only a month away!  It will be held on Sunday November 8th, 2009 from Noon to 5pm.  This year’s festival is again held at the Village of Hunter’s Creek–On John Young Parkway just south of hwy. 417 about 10 minutes east of Disney World.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the festival, here is a link to a post I wrote about last year’s festival:

For more information, here is a link to this year’s festival website:

If you have a child who loves anime, pocky sticks and/or all things Japan, they will get a real kick out of this festival.  Attendance is free.  There are lots of vendors, games, music, dance and more.  It takes less than an hour to walk through all the vendors.  Don’t miss the Japanese Taiko (drumming) presentation.  It’s fantastic!  (And I’m not just saying that because my daughter will be performing with her friends from the Montessori School.)

See you there!

Orlando Japan Festival and Taiko Festival

May 12, 2009
Drumming for the Crowd

Drumming for the Crowd

An international tourist destination, like Orlando, attracts people from all over the world.

Many come for more than just the sites.  Some of them work here.  Some of them immigrate here.  Some are families of those who work or immigrate here.  And, of course, some are just friends of those already here.

When living in a foreign land, it is comforting to keep in touch with others from your homeland.  In this way, local communities from native homelands are formed.  Orlando has a lot of these communities.  One large community is from Japan.

As part of that community, on Sunday, May 24 2009 at 5:00pm, six different Japanese drumming groups will perform at the Orlando Taiko Festival at The Village of Hunter’s Creek, just 10 miles east of Disney.  Admission is free.  If you have never heard a group of over 25 Japanese drummers pounding in perfect rhythm–It is worth the trip to Hunter’s Creek.

In addition, each year, in mid December, the Orlando Hoshuko (a Japanese language school) sponsors the Orlando Japan Festival.  The language school strives to keep the Japanese heritage alive, especially for those from Japan who, for whatever reason, are located here in Orlando.  All funds raised by the Japan Festival support the school.

The Orlando Taiko Dojo (note:  Link is to a website written primarily in Japanese) are one of the sponsors of the Japan Festival and the centerpiece of the Taiko Festival.  Taiko is a form of Japanese drumming.  For over 15 years, Takemasa and Yuko Ishikura, the founders of the Taiko Dojo, would perform their Japanese drumming at the Japan Pavilion in the EPCOT Theme Park inside the Walt Disney World resort.

Four years ago, they teamed up with the Montessori School of Celebration, (the school my daughter attends) to provide Taiko (drumming) lessons for the students.  Once a week the students begin with a morning greeting “Ohayougozaimasu” to the Sensei (teacher), a short meditation, stretching with the “Pokemon Ondo” (dancing music), reading aloud the rules of conduct, and then practicing Taiko.  The lesson ends with bowing to the Sensei saying, “Arigatougozaimashita” (thank you!)

Unique Vendors

Unique Vendors

In mid December every year, the Montessori students perform their drumming along with the professional Taiko group at the Orlando Japan Festival.  This May, they will also perform at the Taiko Festival.  In previous years the Japan Festival was held at the large Japanese restaurant Rangetsu of Tokyo on International Drive, another festival sponsor.  But it has outgrown this venue and has moved to the community park in the Village at Hunter’s Creek in south Orlando.  This will also be the venue for the Taiko Festival on Sunday May 24.

In addition to Taiko, the Japan Festival in December features Japanese dancing, Judo, Koto performance, Manzai (skit), a tea ceremony and a greeting from the Consul General of Japan, Hiroshi Yamaguchi.  There are also many vendors selling everything from Japanese food samples and drinks to Anime and other cultural items from Japan.  Many Japanese groups and businesses also have booths educating the attendees about their products or services, such as additional Japan Festival sponsors–Asia Trend Magazine, IACE Travel, Mickeynet (no idea what this site is, as I can’t read Japanese, but it appears to be an agency that specializes in Japanese travel to Disney World), Pelloni Development and Mitsukoshi U.S.A. (hmm, a clothing store, perhaps?)

Tea Ceremony

Tea Ceremony

Like many festivals, the Japan Festival in December features raffles, street balloons, candy art and many other interesting sites, sounds and smells!  A sampling of the booths include the Koukou club, Furuhon Shop Hoshuko, TV-JAPAN, Kitade Wellness Center, PEACHES (Yoga), J. Club, Sushi Tomi, Sushiology, Auto Tech Japan, Ennichi Games and many others.

The Taiko Festival on May 24 won’t be quite as large as the December Japan Festival, but there will be plenty of great food and it is worth attending just to feel the deep pulsating beats of the large number of Japanese drummers.

Both festivals are free and open to the public.  Several hundred people from all walks of life attend them every year.  It provides an enriching cultural experience and is a great way to spend an hour or two experiencing another part of our world.

Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) Re-visited

October 18, 2008

The life of my Office Manager, Anne, is in a state of transition.  Several months ago, she began a new phase in her life by selling a business she owned and agreeing to take over the Office Manager responsibilities at Dream Homes.  Anne is doing so much better managing the office than I ever did.  For the first time, things are really organized, the homes are looking great, and the office is running like a well oiled machine.  We are so fortunate to have her.

I invited her to write a guest blog for me.  She enjoyed it so much, she decided to write another one.  So now she is reinventing her life again by learning a fun new skill–blogging!  Earlier, I posted a blog giving an overview of HHN, Anne now weighs in with her first blog which is her personal experience of HHN on Saturday night.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy Anne.


Halloween Horror Nights

So this was my first time! The prospect of encountering Bloody Mary [ed note:  The main theme character of this year’s HHN] was making me anxious, the knot in my stomach was driving me crazy.

I ordered tickets online and so after entering the security check point we waited in line to get to the electronic ticketing. This was to be the first of many lines!

The transformation of the park is quite incredible; dark and smokey, eerie sounds and sights. There are people flying above your head, skimming the air above you. Monsters and ghouls in the crowds are milling around you. The makeup and special effects are outstanding.

We went on Saturday, it was shoulder to shoulder busy. The first house was at least a 90 minute wait. Once inside the screams from terrified people rang out throughout the building. We walked single file one before another. The only downside to this is you can prepare for the scares ahead but there are still some that slip though and make you jump out of your skin.

The “scares zones” are themed and again very good. Some of the supposedly still creatures are real and jump you as you pass. Blood and gore are in great supply!

Our longest wait was for “Reflections of Fear” 120 minutes. By now it’s midnight and we are tired but the crowd is still upbeat.  There is the occasional moment due to too much alcohol. [ed. note:  Anne swears she was referring to “other people” when she wrote that!] It is hot and sticky but we make it through and face our fear.  The house is very good and I screamed a couple of times when I was caught unaware.

All in all a very entertaining night. Next time I would probably go on a quieter night so could see more of the houses.

Editor’s Note:  Come back later to read Anne’s blog about her experiences at the Discovery Cove attraction and Miami Dolphin’s football game.  Please post a comment to let her know your thoughts about what she has written.  LanceAround