His SeaWorld vacation is sunk — where’s his refund?

This vacation is doomed - where's my money? / Photo by Gandalf Grey - Flickr
If you want to save a little money on your next SeaWorld vacation, booking it all in the same place might be a good move. That’s what Jim Strasbaugh thought when he found a two-day package at SeaWorld Orlando through SeaWorld Vacations.

He was wrong.
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Is this enough compensation? Crossed wires leads to canceled SeaWorld passes

Annual pass holders are the lifeblood of year-round theme parks. Without these die-hard fans, who often plunk down thousands of dollars for the privilege of visiting the park, Orlando would be a ghost town in September.

So when Hal Flomerfelt had a little problem with his SeaWorld passes, he assumed the park would take care of it right away. After all, both he and his wife had been loyal passholders for nearly a decade.

He assumed wrong.
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Florida Homewood Suites adventure begins in Lake Buena Vista

It all started a few weeks ago with a call from Hilton. Would I be interested in writing for a Web site run by Homewood Suites, they wondered.

Homewood Suites? Now there’s a name I don’t hear very often — which is actually a good thing.

I looked through my files. No serious complaints about Homewood Suites. It’s squeaky clean, on a par with Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. Not bad for an upscale, all-suite chain with close to 300 properties.
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Losing my faith on Shamu’s first weekend back on the job

For the same reason people go to a car race (to see a fiery crash) or a hockey game (bare-knuckled fight) Shamu Stadium was packed to the gills for the 12:30 p.m. show Sunday, on Shamu’s second day on the job after the unfortunate incident in which he killed his trainer. Everyone wanted to see if something would happen.

Nothing happened.

But then, if it did, you wouldn’t be reading about it here. The news would be splattered across the front page of CNN.com.
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Orlando theme parks prepare for fireworks fury


Heads up! Orlando’s theme parks are preparing for their Independence Day fireworks extravaganzas.

Pyrotechnics expert Andrew Hage checks the connections of several fireworks at the top of SeaWorld’s 400-foot-tall Sky Tower. In the distance is Manta, the park’s new roller coaster. SeaWorld has special fireworks displays this July 4th weekend. The sky-filling displays can be seen at 10:30 p.m. today and tomorrow. Our friend John Frost over at the Disney Blog has a roundup of all the other Fourth of July shows.

And speaking of Manta, as you read in this morning’s interview with Robert Niles, his readers named the new coaster their top pick for best coaster of the summer. Here’s a video we recently shot of the ride.