Live Shows at Universal Orlando on Christmas DayWhile the wait times may be a bit long on Christmas Day, and other such busy days, live shows are a great way to get some bang for your buck without having to endure a long wait. Many shows like the Blue Brothers Christmas Show and other live entertainment take place out in the streets meaning you won’t have to worry about it filling to capacity.Live shows throughout Universal Orlando – quick and easy way to have some fun Share This!When most people think of visiting a theme park in Orlando on Christmas Day, Magic Kingdom is top of mind. However, Universal Orlando presents a great alternative on this festive day. This year marks my second time visiting Universal Orlando on Christmas Day, and although I visited by myself, I had a great time. Here’s how I accomplished having an enjoyable visit and what I learned on this, one of the busiest days of the year in Orlando’s theme parks. Last week in this Touring Plans blog post about Visiting Universal Orlando during the busiest weeks of the year I shared some tips that definitely came in handy.I had Christmas Day to myself and had set the day aside to visit Universal Orlando. Now, it should be noted that the manner in which I visited Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida this day is a bit different than how the average guests would do. I was on my own. It didn’t matter to me if I rode anything. My purpose was to be in the atmosphere I love and be able to report on the crowd levels, wait times, and the overall experience of being inside Universal Orlando on Christmas Day.The arrival experience at Universal Orlando on Christmas DayArriving at any theme park sets the tone for the whole day. When visiting during a busy day like Christmas it is important to not let the long lines and crowds that you will surely encounter dampen your mood. I arrived around 11:00 AM. The parking toll was not backed up as I expected, but still very busy; I headed toward the left hand lanes which are typically shorter. Parade Times at Universal Orlando on Christmas DayI honestly forgot that during the week of Christmas and New Year’s the two parades at Universal Studios are later in the day. The Universal Superstar Parade steps off at 5:00 PM. I happened to be strolling through the New York area 10 minutes before the parade was to step off in the Hollywood area. Front row spots were hard to come by, however, the parade route was only one row of people deep, making it very easy for anyone to stand behind this first row and still have a good view.4:50 PM on 12/25/2016 One of the few places along the parade route to have plenty of room – Louie’s Pizza in NY area.The Macy’s Holiday Parade is at 8:00 PM during these last few days of the year. I was unable to stay in the park that late, but I can say without a doubt that this parade is more popular than the Superstar Parade so you’ll need to secure a spot no less than 30 – 45 minutes before the parade starts in Hollywood area.Final ThoughtsChristmas Day itself is indeed a very busy day. However, the days that immediately follow can actually be a bit worse. Make sure you have a plan, but also be ready to be flexible and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Keep an eye out for unexpected character experiences. Go ahead and take a break, there’s plenty of calm areas if you look for them and get off the beaten path. Plan ahead for dining and don’t wait until you’re famished to find some food. Enjoy live entertainment, don’t just focus on the rides. Wait times at 1:30 PM on 12/25/2016I visited Universal Studios later in the day and not surprisingly found the wait times for the most popular attractions to be very long as well, including 80 minutes for Minion Mayhem, 50 minutes for The Simpsons Ride, and 60 minutes for Escape from Gringotts. The third and final hurdle came when trying to get into Islands of Adventure. Lines everywhere! Lines for the ticket windows. Lines for purchasing Express Pass in order to avoid other lines. Lines at Guests Services. And of course lines to get through the turnstiles themselves. I’m just going to say it: Universal Orlando’s ticket taking system is so slow. Word on the street is an upgrade to this system is coming soon; I sure hope so!Extra tip: There is a “Side entrance” at Universal Studios Florida that can save you time and frustration when the regular entrance is congested. It is the pathway in between Hard Rock Cafe and the regular park entrance, it leads up to the Blue Man Group Theater. As you walk along the Blue Man Group pathway this side entrance to the park will be to the right of the Blue Man Theater. Enhanced Character Experiences at Universal Orlando on Christmas DayIn both parks you can enjoy some great character meet and greet opportunities. I have found Universal Studios Florida to have an upper hand on the amount of characters and the quality of meet and greet locations, especially in and around the Hollywood area. Around the holiday season you can expect to see a few more characters during the last two weeks of the year.The Penguins from Dreamworks Madagascar are a rare sight, spotted on 12/25/2016Over in Studios I delighted in seeing Doc Brown out and about with the DeLorean very close to the park entrance when I entered around 3:00 PM. Later, about 4:00 PM I happened to cross paths with the DeLorean again as Doc drove it through the Hollywood area, past Transformers the Ride 3-D, and out through the gate near the upcoming Fast and Furious ride (he needed to get out of the way of the 5:00 PM Universal Superstar Parade). You can expect to see this enhanced meet and greet during the last two weeks of the year.Take advantage of these extra opportunities to interact with entertaining characters and get some great photos too! Since I did not have to worry about the parks closing up due to capacity I decided to take a break at Universal CityWalk with a visit to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe. Christmas Day is actually Jimmy Buffett’s birthday so I couldn’t resist the chance to raise a glass and toast the occasion, especially when my friend Chuck was already there! We sat at the Volcano Bar, plenty of seating available at nearly 2:00 PM.I wanted some cranberry flavor due to Christmas so I went with the Incommunicado $10.50 – cheers!Turns out a little rain shower quickly washed over Universal Orlando while I relaxed inside Margaritaville. Talk about great timing! And when I entered Universal Studios around 3:00 PM I didn’t have to brave any crowds at the entrance! Taking a BreakIt’s important to take a few breaks throughout your day, especially on busy days like Christmas. If you look around and get off the beaten path you can find spots with barely any other people around. If you see a path off to the side, go down it. As long as it is not marked restricted or “team members only” you will most likely find a new place to relax. Not everyday you get to see the DeLorean drive through @UniversalORL pic.twitter.com/lEQC1SIjCc— TouringPlans (@TouringPlans) December 25, 2016Dining Options at Universal Orlando on Christmas DayI think I’ve iterated enough that attraction wait times are long on busy days like Christmas Day, and the days immediately following. However, the wait times and lines for food at snack stands and counter service dining can be pretty intense. I opted to take a break and dine at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe (more on that later). I suggest if you want to go with counter service dining that you do so in the 11:00 AM hour. After 12:00 PM the lines never really calm down.If you would prefer to relax and enjoy a table service dining experience then consider using the very easy online Universal dining reservations, especially for the restaurants inside the parks. The security checkpoint at Universal Orlando can get very congested first thing in the morning and on busy days. Such was the case around 11:00 AM on Christmas Day morning. The real backup and congestion came not from waiting to go through the x-ray machines, but rather after passing through and waiting for your belongings to be handed off to you after they go through the machines. Family members wait in clusters making it difficult to exit this area. Two hours later the wait times increased for a few attractions, but stayed relatively the same for most everything. The wait times at 11:50 AM were not all that surprising, especially for Skull Island: Reign of Kong and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. However, it came as a little bit of a surprise to see a 50 minute wait for the Amazing Adventures of SpiderMan and only a 5 minute wait for The Incredible Hulk Coaster. After observing the wait times I decided to head to Seuss Landing to enjoy all the decked out decorations and see what kind of fun I could have there. After strolling through Seuss Landing I caught the end of Oh the Stories You’ll Hear show which is moved to outside of the Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoopendous restaurant during Universal Holidays because of the Grinchmas show. After the show I visited The Lorax for a quick meet and greet, then decided to see about catching a seat for the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular. I was surprised that even though I entered the soundstage with only five minutes left until the 12:45 PM showing, the theater was just over 50% full. Morning Wait Times at Universal Orlando on Christmas DayI arrived in late morning due to some chores at home, but also because I didn’t want to deal with the long lines at parking, security, and the turnstiles. The trade off is I missed out on the glorious first hour or so of operation in which the wait times are at their lowest. Had I been traveling with friends or family I would’ve followed a custom Touring Plan and had everything in order to avoid long wait times. If you decide not to create your own touring plan, you may want to consider reviewing this list of rides with single rider lines. This method helps you enjoy shorter wait times at some attractions, though it does mean your travel party will not ride together.Wait times as of 11:50 AM on 12/25/2016Wait times as of 11:50 AM on 12/25/2016 Although I was on my own, I enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere and going at my own pace. When you’re with friends or family it may seem more difficult to do the same, but if you consciously make an effort to relax and enjoy yourself your visit during this busy time will be worth it.If you’re visting during this time of the year right now, or if you’re planning for next year I hope my experience has helped you plan for your own visit.
If you’re interested in learning about eye tracking and are in the downtown Detroit area next Tuesday, January 14 between 9:00am and 10:30am, drop by the Compuware Building for a demo and chance to try out an eye tracker.Jon West, director of marketing and opportunities for LC Technologies, will be available to demo their eye tracking equipment and answer your questions. This is a great opportunity to observe as well as use the equipment. I’m not sure what equipment Jon will be using to demo eye tracking next week, but here’s a demo of LC Technologies NYAN 2.0 product: If you’re not familiar with eye tracking, it’s the process of of measuring where someone is looking, including the point of gaze (where someone is looking) and the motion of the eye. From the event announcement:Eye trackers have come of age and have grown to be an extremely usable, reliable, and popular complement in the data collection and analysis of market research, usability testing, and other activities that test and predict consumer and customer behavior, and that facilitate the design of products that range from software to websites to mobile apps to automobile controls and displays to assistance for people with disabilities.The demo will be held at the Airea Studio, located next to the waterfall and Texas de Brazil restaurant on the ground floor of the Compuware Building. Additional info can be found on the event page.Thanks to my friend Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus for organizing this drop-in event. If you want to learn more about the future of eye tracking, be sure to register for Jon’s presentation the evening of January 14, Beyond the Heat Map: The Future of Eye Tracking, hosted by the Michigan Usability Professionals’ Association/Michigan Computer Human Interaction groups at Cengage Learning. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedTakeaways from Demystifying Eye Tracking for UX ResearchAt today’s User Experience Professionals Association webinar, Laura Rivera shared her lessons learned from eye tracking research. Rivera is a user experience (UX) researcher at Facebook and has been instrumental in getting their eye tracking capabilities fine-tuned for mobile. Here are my takeaways from her presentation. Why You Should Use…In “User experience”January 2014 Web Professional and User Experience EventsLast September I started publishing a monthly user experience and web professionals events calendar for southeastern Michigan. I admit I didn’t keep up with posting the calendar each month. So, it’s a new year. With plans to do better in 2014, here’s the January calendar of events in southeastern Michigan:…In “Calendar”January 10, 2014: Weekly Roundup of Web Design and Development ResourcesThankfully, the snowstorm and deep freeze in southeastern Michigan is finally over. We had so much snow in our area I had to change from a ruler to a yardstick to measure it. Hope you made it through the first full week of the New Year without any issues. In…In “Web design & development links”
In 1998, Microsoft boasted about the capabilities of their new TerraServer database of geo information. They called it the “world’s largest atlas” consisting of five terabytes of data. And, at the time, it seemed like a massive amount of data. While five terabytes of data seemed unimaginably huge twenty years ago, lately a terabyte is becoming uncomfortably small.Today, storing huge amounts of data is is the norm. Whether it is the new PC you buy for home use with a standard terabyte drive or your Internet provider’s home Internet Data Plan that comes with a cap of a terabyte of data usage, a terabyte of data no longer seems that big.With all the new technology that is being put into cars, car makers are predicting that the cars of the future will hold massive amounts of data. Mike Demler, a senior analyst at The Linley Group, said that today “in a luxury car like a Tesla, with the big flat screen display, the storage requirements start to look like a standard tablet (10s – 100s of GB).” But data in the next generation of cars will be significantly more.For example, a new ad campaign by Intel talks about driving technology that will process, for an average driver, four terabytes of data every day. Actually, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich estimates that smart cars of the future will generate and consume about 40 terabytes of data every eight hours that they are driven. That is the amount of data that autonomous vehicles are expected to process. Imagine how much additional data would be processed when vehicle passengers who no longer need to drive will pass their time by watching high definition streamed video.Kathy Winter, vice president and general manager of the Automated Driving Solutions Division at Intel Corporation, said that “the exponentially growing size of the data sets necessitates an enormous amount of compute capacity to organize, process, analyze, understand, share and store. Think data center server compute power, not PC power.”
Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening ‘A complete lie:’ Drilon refutes ‘blabbermouth’ Salo’s claims BeautyMNL open its first mall pop-up packed with freebies, discounts, and other exclusives SEA Games: PH still winless in netball after loss to Thais View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ PH military to look into China’s possible security threat to power grid Kingad eyes to bounce back in ONE: Visions of Victory ‘We cannot afford to fail’ as SEA Games host – Duterte MOST READ Sta. Lucia Realty overcame a slow start to escape with a 21-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-15, 15-7 victory over Generika-Ayala in the Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix on Tuesday at Bacoor Sports Complex in Cavite. Bohdana Anisova, formerly of the Ukraine national team, erupted for 28 points and MJ Philips chipped in 22 to tow the Lady Realtors to their first victory. SLR coach George Pascua said his key players led by veteran setter Rubie de Leon are slowly adjusting with the rest of the team.ADVERTISEMENT Judiciary Committee set to take over Trump impeachment probe
Vine/Sanjay KirpalaniFlorida fans will have a player to root for when the Elite 11 quarterback competition takes place at The Opening this summer. St. Thomas Aquias’ Jake Allen, a Florida verbal commit, was invited to compete after his performance at today’s regional camp in Miami.#Gators QB commit Jake Allen invited to the Elite 11. https://t.co/IftMV2Scr9— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) March 6, 2016Allen made some nice throws during the drills today.Jake Allen rocking the USPS hat and delivering the mail #GETOPEN #Gators https://t.co/PnQiwJTRq7— Sanjay Kirpalani (@SanjayKirpalani) March 6, 2016Jake Allen with a great throw just off Trevon Grimes fingertips. https://t.co/S6IDbMqmhR— Derek Tyson (@DerekTysonESPN) March 6, 2016Here is Allen’s recruiting profile, via 247Sports. The Elite 11 takes place at The Opening in Beaverton, Ore. from July 5-10.
APTN National NewsManto Sipi Cree Nation is just one of many First Nations communities struggling to educate its youth.The community has few resources for its students and now they’re calling for help.APTN National News reporter Meagan Fiddler went to the community to hear first-hand about their situation.
New Delhi: For Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, the upcoming Asian weightlifting championship starting April 18 will be more than just an international competition. For her, the Ningbo (China) meet will be yet another attempt to break the shackles of pain, which have often come as a speed-breaker in her career. “I have set myself few goals for the Asian championship, the biggest being the attempt to lift 200-kg plus. In the recent past, I have been doing it in training under coach Vijay Sharma in Patiala and there is no reason why I won’t be able to do it in China. That could a turning point in my career,” Mirabai said. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhOriginally a lifter in the 48-kg category, Mirabai shifted to the 49-kg section after the international body decided to rejig the weight categories in both men’s and women’s competition for the Olympics and other world-level meets. The Manipur girl now hopes to win a medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the new category. A world champion in 2017 in Anaheim, USA, the 24-year-old is already a recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award and the Padma Shri. But luck had not been on her side always — an injury in May 2018 saw her being sidelined for eight months. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later”I have fully recovered from that injury, but I vividly remember those depressing days. When I was injured and going through the rehabilitation period, I used to sit alone and cry. Nothing was going right for me, the recovery was slow. I did not know whether I would ever make a comeback. “Sitting in my room, I could hear the sound of other lifters training and my eyes used to be full of tears. Thankfully, my coach Vijay Sharma and my family stood firm behind me. Otherwise, I would not have been lifting again,” said Mirabai. “Disappointments have struck me often but I have always overcome them. In 2016 Rio Olympics, I knew I was good enough to win a medal, but I failed. I won’t commit the same mistake in Tokyo after I qualify for it,” she added. Her personal best in the 48-kg category came in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast when she lifted 196-kg to win the gold. Mirabai thinks the Asian meet will be her next step to achieve the bigger goal. “The China meet will be extremely tough, but I am confident. Due to rearrangement of weight categories, several lifters from 53-kg have also joined the 49-kg category. If you look at the world championship results, you will find that a 200-kg plus lift is must for anyone who is hoping to win a medal. “Given the standard of competition, Asian championship is like a world meet. Lifters from China, Thailand and Korea will be my biggest competitors. But I am not afraid. “The gold medal I won in the EGAT Cup in Thailand a couple of months back has added to my confidence. A good performance and a podium finish will be my aim when I board the flight to China,” said Mirabai.
CAIRO- A crackdown by Egypt’s authorities on the Muslim Brotherhood has left hundreds of Islamic charities struggling for funds, with experts warning the move could impact this week’s referendum on a new constitution.The Tuesday-Wednesday vote has been billed as the first step in Egypt’s democratic transition after the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July following huge protests against his one-year rule.The government installed by the military after Morsi’s ouster has seized assets, bank accounts, hospitals, schools and institutions run by Islamic charities as part of its crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement. Analysts say Morsi’s supporters, who have been clamouring for his reinstatement, are likely to find backing for their call for a boycott of the referendum among grassroots Egyptians who are dependent on the charities.“These charities will definitely have an impact on the referendum. The turnout will be much less this time,” analyst Osama Diab of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights told AFP.“The focus of the Muslim Brotherhood is to ensure a low turnout and the Islamic charities can influence people for that. They can mobilise people through these charities to guarantee a low turnout,” said Diab.Mustafa Kamel al-Sayyed, professor of political science at Cairo University, agreed.“The Muslim Brotherhood could use charity networks for mobilising people to boycott the referendum or elections, given their influence on the people,” he said.“These charities do offer services that aid people and the government’s measures (against them) could backfire,” he said.According to experts, however, the boycott is not likely to be extensive enough to affect the final outcome of the vote.The charities say they aid millions of impoverished people in Egypt. They are also seen by many as providing the Brotherhood with a solid social platform that helped it dominate all elections since the fall of president Hosni Mubarak in the 2011 uprising.Experts say the authorities suspect that some of the funds are used by the Brotherhood to mobilise anti-government protesters or even for funding militant activities.
Joe Bauserman picked the wrong era to try to be Ohio State’s quarterback. Early in his OSU career he was forced to compete with a highly touted recruit in senior Terrelle Pryor and is now entering his final year battling another highly touted recruit in freshman Braxton Miller. However, the redshirt senior has been given a golden opportunity to be the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes throughout Pryor’s five-game suspension. Pryor, along with offensive lineman Mike Adams, running back Dan Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas are suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits. Coach Jim Tressel will join them for failing to report their violations. Bauserman said that although the situation isn’t ideal, he is making the best of the opportunity. “It’s all you can ask for sometimes,” he said. “Under the circumstances, it sucks. You’d like to have all five of those guys, and it’s tough. But it’s an opportunity and I’ll try to take advantage of it.” Bauserman played football and baseball in high school and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB draft. He played three seasons in the Pirates’ farm system before walking on to the OSU football team. The 25-year-old former Minor League pitcher said he doesn’t miss baseball and is only concerned about the football team. “I don’t even think about it,” Bauserman said. “I’m focused on one opportunity and what’s going on right now.” Bauserman has fought all spring to get a leg up on the three other candidates looking to replace Pryor during his suspension. Miller, redshirt sophomore Kenny Guiton and redshirt freshman Taylor Graham each threw a touchdown pass in Saturday’s Spring Game. Bauserman said he thought he had a successful spring. “I feel good about what I did,” he said. “I have no control about whether I’ll be playing or not. It’s up to coach Tress and coach Sic (quarterbacks coach Nick Siciliano) if they’re going to give me a chance.” He said there will always be excitement with major recruits coming to campus but that he has everything in his game that those recruits have. “People want excitement. A guy that they’ve never seen before is going to get them thinking about it,” Bauserman said. “It doesn’t bother me. I feel like I can play at this level just as well as anybody else.” Senior center Mike Brewster said Bauserman’s experience should help him in the competition. “Joe’s a real solid guy. He knows the offense. He’s going to make the smart play. That’s what you want from your quarterback,” Brewster said. “I think Joe will be the No. 1 probably going into camp and, you know, he’s comfortable back there and that always makes you feel good if your quarterback knows everything about the offense.” Bauserman, however, said he does not know what Tressel will decide. “You try to get out there and do what you can do, and at the end of the day, coach will make the right decision,” Bauserman said. Junior defensive lineman John Simon said he has been impressed with Bauserman during spring practice. “Joe’s had a terrific spring for us throwing passes on the money,” Simon said. “(He’s a) great scrambler, always finds the open receiver, so I think he’s doing a nice job for us.” Bauserman said he has the skills and mobility it takes to be the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes. “You have to be somewhat mobile to be able to slide up in the pocket, have quick feet, get from progression to progression, move around and get out of some sticky situations sometimes,” Bauserman said. Although Bauserman was the first quarterback on the field for the Buckeyes during the scrimmage, he did not throw his touchdown pass until the final play of the game. He said he hopes the Spring Game helped his stock as the starting quarterback. “I feel good about what I did today,” Bauserman said. “We made some strides and got better as a team. I have no control if I’m going to be playing. It is up to coach Tressel. Today is about getting better.”
Ohio State freshman running back J.K. Dobbins (2) runs the ball in the third quarter of the 2017 OSU- Army game in Ohio Stadium on Sep. 16. OSU won 38-7. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorRunning back J.K. Dobbins continues to make his presence felt this season as he was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week Monday. The recognition follow his performance Saturday against Army, when the true freshman ran for 172 yards on 13 carries and scored a touchdown. He shares the honor with Rutgers quarterback Johnathan Lewis.This is the second week the award was given to Dobbins as he was was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week following a record-breaking performance in which he rushed for 181 yards on 29 carries against Indiana. That was the most rushing yards ever by an Ohio State first-year running back in his debut.Dobbins has not only been a key cog in Ohio State’s offense so far this year, but he has also been among the most productive running backs in the nation. His 451 total rushing yards are eighth in the country, and his average of 7.73 yards per carry sits at 13th-best among FBS players.Dobbins joins only Archie Griffin (1972) and Maurice Clarett (2002) as the only two freshman to total 170 yards in a game twice in a single season. Neither former Buckeye running back reached a third game with that total.Dobbins will attempt to become the first Ohio State freshman running back to do just that when he and the rest of the Buckeyes take on UNLV Saturday in Ohio Stadium at noon.