Orlando International Airport

Start celebrating July 4th now – at the airport

The July 4th travel ‘season’ is evidently already underway, as airports around the country have already rolled out their in-terminal holiday celebrations.

Orlando Philharmonic

Courtesy Orlando International Airport (photo from 2012 performance)

Orlando International Airport starts celebrating this weekend (Liberty Weekend) with a free concert by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in the Hyatt Regency Hotel atrium (which doubles as the main atrium of the airport) on Saturday, June 29 at 7:45 p.m.

The concert is free and in the pre-security area of the airport and everyone who attends will receive American flags, pins and three hours of complimentary parking.

Orlando International Airport has another patriotic event underway in the atrium: a display of 50 tempered-glass poppies (The Remembrance Poppies) by Craig Mitchell Smith. Poppies have been the American Legion’s symbol of  symbol of tribute to fallen soldiers since World War I.

POPPIES HI

Miami International Airport also starts celebrating early (this Friday, Saturday, Sunday and again on July 4th) with a parade in the terminals, photo ops with George Washington and other activities.

And in Washington, D.C. both Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport are running a fun promotion with President Obama. (Well, a cardboard cut-out of the president).

BUMPED INTO OBAMA

Starting today and running through July 7th, there will be red, white and blue menus at many airport restaurants, patriotic displays in the shops and a fun photo contest called #BumpedIntoObama.

Look for “the President” outside various shops in either airport (you can find out where he is by checking the IAD and DCA social media sites); get your picture taken with him, share the photo on Twitter or Instagram (@IADFoodandShops or @DCAFoodandShops) with the hashtag #BumpedIntoObama and you’ll not only have a fun souvenir – you’ll be entered into a daily drawing for a $25 Gift Card.

Disney World is 40; Orlando Int’l Airport is 30

Central Florida’s Walt Disney World turns 40 on October 1 and on the Disney blog there’s a cool infographic offering a timeline of Walt Disney World Resort and a list of the special events that will take place to mark the anniversary.

Here’s a clip from an early press conference announcing Walt Disney World.

There’s another party taking place in central Florida this weekend. On Sunday, October 2nd, Orlando International Airport is having a Community Day to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

There will be plenty of music and lots of character appearances, including Shamu from Sea World, Miss Kitty from Hello Kitty, Duffy the Bear from Disney, The Astronaut from the Kennedy Space Center and Woody and Winnie Woodpecker from Universal Studios.

A live Alligator from Gatorland will make an appearance as will the Kanani Nicdao Polynesian Dance Group.

Sound like fun? All events at the airport – including parking – are free.
Tickets to Disney World are definitely not free – but you can see the fireworks for free from the top level of the parking garage at the airport.

Souvenir Sunday: Build-a-Bear at Orlando International Airport

Each Sunday at StuckatTheAirport.com we take a look at some of the fun things for sale in airport shops.

Usually it’s an inexpensive item that’s a bit offbeat and “of” the city or town. Something like the  “Fly SUX” souvenirs for sale at Sioux Gateway Airport (SUX) in Sioux City, Iowa.

 

This week, the Souvenir Sunday pick is something that’s just fun and a very good fit for Orlando International Airport.

The first airport Build-a-Bear Workshop opened last week at Orlando International Airport. Customers are promised “an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal retail-entertainment experience,” and after making their way through a variety of  hands on stations (Choose Me, Hear Me, Stuff Me, Stitch Me, Fluff Me, Dress Me, Name Me and Take Me Home) they end up with their own custom-made bear, bunny, dog, kitty or other animal. The cost: between $10 and $25.

I’m not sure if we’ll be seeing the Build-a-Bear concept popping up at other airports. But it’s a great fit for Orlando International Airport, which welcomes so many families and already offers so many treats, including free Wi-Fi, fun art, theme-park character statues for free photo ops, two Kennedy Space Center gift shops and several game arcades.

Want to more about Orlando International Airport (MCO)? Take a look at the MCO airport guide I created for USATODAY.com.

Tidbits for travelers: Pep rally at PIT, Oompah at Gatwick, Kong at Orlando Airport

PIT T REX Steelers

(Even PIT’s T Rex is excited about the Steelers being in the Super Bowl)

Super Bowl mania is reaching into airports: four airlines have added extra flights from Pittsburgh to Dallas for the Super Bowl and on Friday morning (February 4th), Pittsburgh International Airport will be hosting a black-and-gold-themed pep rally for Arlington-bound Steelers fans.

The rally will take place in the airside terminal between 8:30 and noon and feature live music, special guests, “Hudsy” the Dog from Hudson Booksellers, Steelers merchandise and lots of excited fans.

To celebrate two new airberlin routes, The Bavarian Strollers will be playing oompah-filled songs at Gatwick Airport and Victoria Station on Monday, February 7th. The song list will be made up of requests voted on via Twitter and four random voters will win airberlin tickets from Gatwick Airport to Nuremburg or Hanover.  Details on the airberlin oompah contest here.

And there’s a new video arcade at Orlando International Airport: the “King of Kong” arcade is in the main terminal near the food court.  At the grand opening Twin Galaxies, the authority on video game high scores and world records, unveiled a set of video-game-related trading cards. The first two cards in the series feature Billy Mitchell and Walter Day. Mitchell has numerous world records for Donkey Kong and Pac-Man; Day is known as the founding father of organized video game playing and competitions.

Flashmob at Orlando Int’l Airport sings Hallelujah Chorus

Orlando’s Messiah Choral Society & Bach Festival Choir popped in to sing the Hallelujah Chorus at the Orlando International Airport on Saturday, December 18, 2010.

Earlier in the week, scenes from the Nutcracker Suite were performed by the Orlando Ballet Company.

There are 16 days of events and entertainment planned for the busy holiday travel season – including some more surprises – so be sure to look & listen when you’re making your way to or through Orlando International Airport.