Margaritaville Resort Orlando Water Park to open in Spring 2019

From Orlando Weekly: “Margaritaville just confirmed it’s building one of the most technologically advanced water parks ever in Kissimmee

Kissimmee has been without a water park ever since Water Mania closed its doors in 2005 and in the years since, the area’s infamous Highway 192 tourist district has struggled to remain relevant.

The recession plus massive new developments on I-Drive, at Universal Orlando and at Disney World has meant new competition for Kissimmee. After much disappointment, the biggest hope yet for 192 is just a few months away from its big debut.

The $750 million Margaritaville Resort Orlando has already transformed the 300-plus-acre property where the failed Splendid China attraction was previously found, and has led to numerous new projects in the surrounding area.

The Margaritaville Hotel is a 184-room hotel located at the center of the new resort. A 13-foot-tall sculpture of a flip-flop and a chandelier made of over 300 margarita glasses decorate the lobby. Behind the hotel is a large swim lagoon, home to the Fins Up Beach Club.

By far one of the biggest and yet least reported aspects of the Margaritaville Resort Orlando is the brand-new Island H2O Live Waterpark. With nine slides and numerous other attractions, the tropical-themed water park will be the largest single-site installation in the southeast for Canadian waterslide manufacturer WhiteWater West, best known locally for their Ray Rush slide at Aquatica and their waterslides found on Carnival cruise ships.

The lineup of attractions includes a multi-person mat racer, drop towers, family raft rides, an interactive lazy river and a giant wave pool. Multiple DJs and dance parties will be found throughout the lushly landscaped park. Similar to a cruise ship, the water park will have an adults-only area. This will be the first water park in the area with areas where no children are allowed.

Vantage, an RFID bracelet and mobile app system, similar to the Tapu Tapu system found at Volcano Bay, will make the Margaritaville Orlando water park one of the most technologically advanced waterparks ever built.

Island H20 Live’s Vantage system will have many of the same interactive elements that Universal’s Tapu Tapu has, but via its linked mobile app, Vantage also offers many features not found at Volcano Bay, including on-ride photos and videos that can be easily shared across various social networking sites, custom on-ride music, and guest-designed on-ride lighting effects. In-park purchases, locker access and other services will also be linked to Vantage.

Island H20 Live! is planned to open this spring. No information on ticket prices has been shared, but on the water park’s website annual prices are seen listed at $79.99, though they have yet to go on sale officially. No hard date has been announced for the new water park, but it should be sometime this spring.

Buffett performs at Hurricane Relief Concert

Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band performed Hurricane Relief Concert yesterday at the Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee, FL. The benefit concert included Buffett, Kenny Chesney,Toby Keith, and Jake Owen.

The set list from the show is now available. Some of the highlights from all of the performers included:
I Love This Bar (featuring Toby Keith)
Old Blue Chair (Kenny Chesney)
Beachin’ (Jake Owen)
As Good As I Once Was (Toby Keith)
Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season (featuring Kenny Chesney)
Volcano (featuring Caroline Jones, Toby Keith, Jake Owen)
Hey Good Lookin’ (ft Caroline Jones, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Jake Owen)

Buffett and Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator and star of “Hamilton: An American Musical”, spent time with Jimmy Buffett in Chicago this past Saturday. Buffett was Miranda’s guest at a matinee performance of Hamilton at the CIBC Theatre that afternoon, and then Miranda was Buffett’s guest at an evening performance of Escape to Margaritaville at the Oriental Theatre. During the final curtain call Miranda joined Buffett onstage for a surprise performance of the latter’s iconic hit song “Margaritaville”.

Busy First Day at Latitude Margaritaville

From the Daytona Beach News Journal: “Beginnin’ to boil: Hundreds line up to buy in Margaritaville

Ormond Beach residents Don and Susan Veatch arrived at 8:20 a.m. Sunday to be first to put a deposit down on a new home at Latitude Margaritaville.

Even though the sales center for the Jimmy Buffett-themed 55-and-older community wasn’t scheduled to open until 9 a.m. Monday, the parking lot on Sunday quickly turned into a party that lasted all night long as more than 200 people wound up camping overnight for the chance to buy one of the first 378 house lots to be made available.

The project’s developers, Minto Communities and Buffett’s Margaritaville Holdings, kept the Monday morning crowd of about 375 in good spirits by erecting canopy tents, lighting and tables, and providing live music, a showing of the movie “Jurassic World,” bottled water, snacks, pizza, and even umbrellas when it started raining.

“I felt like I was 20 again waiting for concert tickets,” said Susan Veatch, 60, who said she and her husband, 62, drove by several times starting Friday night before deciding to show up Sunday morning to stake out their spot in line. She said they were surprised to be first, but said they were soon joined by others.

By the time the sales center officially opened, the developers were already informing those arriving that if they wound up being too late to put a deposit on house lots in the first batch that their names would be placed on a “Paradise Priority List” to be given the first crack when more lots become available.

Bill Bullock, the Minto senior vice president overseeing development of the planned 6,900-home Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach community, said he expects the next batch of approximately 60 lots will become available at the start of the new year, with additional allotments of 60 or so lots becoming available every two months after that.

“This first day of sales at Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach has been a record setting day for Minto in number of sales in one day,” Bullock said. “People are still coming in now, and we fully expect (Tuesday) will be big as well.”

Mac McAnally earns 9th CMA for Musician of the Year

Mac McAnally earned the award for Musician of the Year, besting Jerry Douglas, Paul Franklin, Dann Huff and Derek Wells. McAnally, a guitarist, songwriter, singer and producer has won this award eight times previously, 2008-2015. He wasn’t nominated in 2016, but returned to the ballot in 2017.

Watch a backstage interview with Mac McAnnally at ABC.com