by Cheryl Echevarria and Maurice Shackelford
From the Editor: Cheryl Echevarria of Echevarria Travel is treasurer of the Long Island Chapter of the NFB of New York. Maurice Shackelford of Peachtreetravel.net is a member of the NFB of Georgia. They are working with the Florida affiliate to provide exciting tours on July 9, 2011. If you are staying later or coming into Orlando earlier, they can also help you plan special tours in the area. This is what they say:
The Rosen Shingle Creek Resort has given us our fabulous rates from June 28 through July 14, so, if you haven’t made your hotel reservations, you need to do so immediately. We will be visiting Orlando, one of the best family cities in the United States. While you are there, why not take the time to enjoy the various attractions close to the Rosen Shingle Creek facility?
We are organizing tours to the Kennedy Space Center, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld. The tour buses will cost $20 a person, roundtrip. We need deposits of $10 per person and a head count by May 1 for all destinations so that we know exactly how many buses we will need to reserve. The final payment of $10 per person for the bus and the full cost of all admission tickets being ordered are due by June 1, 2011. Make arrangements for payment directly with Cheryl or Maurice. Their contact information appears at the close of this article.
Kennedy Space Center
Admission price: $90.09 per person, $180.09 per couple, and $65.09 for children under eleven. This eight-hour tour of the Kennedy Space Center includes lunch with an astronaut. The Kennedy Space Center is an Orlando-style space-travel theme park that’s real. It's a great day for the whole family, and it’s only forty-five minutes from Orlando. NASA's launch headquarters is located on a huge island wildlife refuge eight times the size of Manhattan.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Admission includes: Kennedy Space Center tour of NASA's launch headquarters, shuttle launch experience, astronaut encounter, two IMAX films (Space Station 3-D and Magnificent Desolation), all shows and exhibits, and a visit to the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. (This package can be a two-day ticket, allowing you to see everything in one day or divide your experience into two days within a seven-day period.)
The Space Pass: This package gives you everything in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Admission as well as having lunch with an astronaut and taking the Discover KSC: Today and Tomorrow guided tour (reservations required). This pass can also be used over two consecutive days within a seven-day period. Visitor guides are available in large print, Braille, and audio tape. The complex is wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are available at no additional charge from the information counter inside the entrance. Captioning systems and descriptive narration are available for the IMAX presentations. Restaurant menus are available in Braille and large print.
Our Tour Itinerary
Attractions at Kennedy Space Center include:
Kennedy Space Center Tour--Board a fleet of forty-four air-conditioned buses and observe firsthand the Apollo/Saturn V Center, the LC-39 Observation Gantry, and the International Space Station Center. Guided bus tours depart each day from 9:30 a.m. (seasonal), and run continuously throughout the day. Also on the tour is the acclaimed Apollo Saturn V Center, where guests can relive the days of America's moon landings by experiencing a simulated launch from mission control, viewing a real 363-foot-long Saturn V moon rocket, and taking a front row seat as man takes his first steps on the moon.
Astronaut Encounter--Guests to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will have the opportunity to meet a real astronaut every day. This innovative program consists of question-and-answer sessions, mission briefings, video footage, space artifacts, and personal stories of space travel as told by those who have experienced it. Walk through full-scale mock-ups of space station modules and visit the viewing gallery, where you can see actual space station components being readied for flight.
IMAX Theatres--Two different larger-than-life films take you on an awe-inspiring journey into space on screens over five stories tall. Dramatic footage, photographed in space by the astronauts, gives each of the IMAX films an exciting you-are-there feeling.
U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame--Located at the entrance of Kennedy Space Center, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame houses the world's largest collection of astronaut memorabilia, exhibits, and tributes. Realistic training simulators allow you to feel the pressure of four times the force of gravity, ride a river across Mars, and land a space shuttle.
Lunch with an Astronaut--This meal opportunity, currently offered every day of the week at 12:15 p.m. at the Visitor Complex, includes a banquet-style lunch with a speaking appearance by a real astronaut. The popular program incorporates a highlight video of astronauts living and working in space, a brief oration, and individual time with each family for Q&A and photos. The meal is topped off by a wonderful selection of desserts. Guests even receive an autographed souvenir to take home. Program runs approximately one hour (reservations required).
Discover KSC: Today and Tomorrow Tour--Led by a trained space expert, this tour gives visitors an insider's view of the space program from launch preparation to lift-off. The tour includes up-close views of Space Shuttle launch pads, the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), massive crawler-transporters, which move the shuttle from the VAB to its launch pad, and shuttle landing runway. Also included is a very special stop at the International Space Station Processing Facility, where visitors view actual Space Station modules being readied for launch.
Walt Disney World Day Pass
Admission is $82 per adult and $74 per child. If you plan on coming to NFB conventions in Orlando in the future, we recommend the purchase of no-expiration tickets, so, if you want to visit Disney World again and again, your tickets will not expire. Also, if you are a Florida resident, the tickets are cheaper. Ask Cheryl about the no-expiration tickets and the water park options as well. If you are staying longer at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, let us know as well. We can get you more day passes and hopper tickets to other parks in Walt Disney World.
We are also working on a special tour of Walt Disney World for those who are interested. An additional price of $74 per person provides this once-in-a-lifetime tour experience. This tour is also wheelchair accessible. It is called the Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom tour for those who don’t like theme parks but would love to know the history of Walt Disney and his world. It highlights the fascinating history of Walt Disney World Resort and provides backstage access to secret areas of the Magic Kingdom theme park. Guests must be at least sixteen years of age. This approximately 4.5-hour walking tour explores the stories behind the remarkable creation and growth of the Magic Kingdom theme park. Hear the intriguing story of Walt Disney and learn how his innovative ideas, revolutionary vision, creative philosophy, and amazing accomplishments brought the theme park to life. The journey includes stops at backstage facilities and a variety of favorite attractions.
One unforgettable highlight is a trip below Magic Kingdom theme park into the service tunnels known as the Utilidors. This is one urban legend that is absolutely true—the guest-accessible areas of Magic Kingdom theme park are actually on the second floor of a massive structure. The first floor allows cast members, deliveries, and even trash to be transported below guests' feet as they wait in line for their favorite attractions.
Ask about character dining at the parks and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for girls and the Knight Package for boys. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is a beauty salon, where little girls are magically transformed into little princesses at two locations and boys over three years old have their own special Knight Package, which includes hair styling as well as a mighty sword and shield.
A one-day pass to Universal is $87.29 per adult, $78.79 for children three to nine, and infants are admitted free.
A one-day pass is $84.95 per adult, $74.95 for children three to nine, and infants are free. Spend the day at SeaWorld Orlando, and come face-to-face with the ocean's most fascinating marine animals. With over thirty attractions, a show, and rides, this family-friendly SeaWorld Orlando admission ticket has something for everyone.
Venture into the amazing world of the ocean and its inhabitants as SeaWorld Orlando takes you on an unforgettable journey into the deep. With various up-close encounters with killer whales, sharks, polar bears, and turtles, you'll feel the enthusiasm, energy, and excitement of all kinds of marine life.
Many more Orlando area attractions and experiences are waiting for you. Let us know what you are interested in when you book your bus seat. To contact Cheryl, email <[email protected]> or phone her at (866) 580-5574. To reach Maurice Shackelford, email <[email protected]> or call him at (888) 389-2723. Do it today.
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Seize the Future
The National Federation of the Blind has special giving opportunities that will benefit the giver as well as the NFB. Of course the largest benefit to the donor is the satisfaction of knowing that the gift is leaving a legacy of opportunity. However, gifts may be structured to provide more:
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Your gift makes you a partner in the NFB dream. For further information or assistance, contact the NFB planned giving officer.