Florida's heat and humidity are here, and many of us are fleeing it for vacations, so it seems like a good time to clear out the Mouse Trap mailbox.
- This month, Disney-MGM Studios' Twilight Zone Tower of Terror turned 13. The park chose Friday the 13th to mark the anniversary (it's a 13-story drop) of one of Mouse Trap's favorite rides. We could tell you how a certain writer screamed the last time we took the plunge, but we'll spare him the embarrassment.
- You know that it's officially the thick of summer when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers open training camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. The Bucs are in their sixth year at the theme park, and camp runs through Aug. 16.
- Epcot begins taking reservations at 7 a.m. Aug. 6 for the specialty dining events - such as its Party for the Senses - at the 14th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (Sept. 28 to Nov. 11). Call (407) 939-3378 for information and reservations. Festival details are available at www.disneyworld.com/food.
- Be thirsty no more. Walt Disney World is giving free refills on drinks - including juices, milk, bottled water and soda - for kids 9 and younger. The refills will be available at more than three dozen table-service restaurants in the Disney parks and resorts. The offer does not apply to specialty drinks.
- This month, ThemePark Insider.com released its annual awards, and the Mythos Restaurant at Universal's Islands of Adventure was named best theme park restaurant for the fourth year in a row. Disney's venerable Polynesian Resort was named the best theme park hotel. Driving through Tennessee this summer? The Mystery Mine at Dollywood was named the best new attraction.
- American Idol is not the only music reality show on tour. Its countrified counterpart, Nashville Star, is also on tour and makes a stop at Cypress Gardens on Aug. 18 with this season's winner, Angela Hacker, and the three runners-up. The concert is included with park admission. Call (863) 324-2111 for information.
- Cypress Gardens is also giving coaster fans a reason to celebrate. The oft-delayed opening of the revamped Starliner finally took place this month. The Starliner is a classic wooden "out-and-back" coaster that was moved from its original home in Panama City Beach to the Winter Haven park.
- The Frommer's travel guide series has released Pauline Frommer's Walt Disney World & Orlando (Wiley, $16.99). The guide includes sections on outdoors Orlando and other funky attractions away from the theme parks.
Peter Couture can be reached at email@example.com.