Great Stay at the Clarion Suites Maingate near Disney World in Kissimmee

Clarion Suites Maingate near Disney World

Clarion Suites Maingate near Disney World

The close proximity that this hotel has to Disney World makes it an excellent choice for anyone choosing to make plans to attend their next Disney vacation. Located in the Kissimmee area, this is your main entrance to the Magic Kingdom, whether you are traveling by yourself or your entire family. There are at least 150 rooms of comfort and even though you will be taking advantage of the local theme parks, it will be good to know that the comfort you experience here will be as good as your home, or better.

The first thing you will notice when you enter the property is the welcoming atmosphere that the lobby portrays. Even with a hotel atmosphere, the Clarion Suites manages to provide their guests with the feeling that they are entering a private home. A friendly staff member stands ready to confirm your reservation and welcome you to one of their spacious rooms.

Clarion Suites Rooms are Comfortable

Guests choosing the Clarion Suites will be pleasantly surprised by the fact that there is free WiFi for them to stay connected with their families back at home. After settling in to the air conditioned room, guests are usually quick to try out the outdoor pool as they take advantage of the Florida sunshine. While the parents hang out by the pool, their kids can be seen making a beeline to the game room that appears to be calling their name.

Most rooms come equipped with a coffee maker that can also brew a pot of tea and if necessary the guest can also place a quick iron on their favorite evening attire. Sleeping late may not be on the agenda, but with heavy drapes that can turn day into night and a “do not disturb” sign on the door, you can stay in bed as long as you want to.

Clarion Suites Maingate has Great Amenities

Just like the rest of the hotel, rooms are also equipped with high speed Internet service, for your convenience. After a tiring day at the theme parks, guests can relax in the tub or head back to the pool. All rooms are equipped with televisions and they usually have an extensive line of premium, sports and HBO channels to entertain you. Whether you are simply trying to save money by preparing your own meals or you are on a budget with a large family, most rooms come equipped with a refrigerator and a microwave.

Start your day off in the lobby, breakfast where guests are treated to hot/cold coffee, tea, juice and a variety of pastries, before heading off to spend the day with Mickey and Minnie. Larger parties can also request adjoining rooms to maximize their comfort. You probably won’t be in the room much, but it will be time well spent.

How to Save on a Disney World Vacation Package

Stilt Walker at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Stilt Walker at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney World in Orlando, Florida is the most desired destination to vacation for a family. Every year thousands of families head down to Florida to enjoy a Disney World timeshare promotion package and visit Mickey Mouse and friends. Parents are always searching to try and find the best Disney vacation deals around. This article will tell you a great way to save on a Disney Vacation package that you won’t want to miss!

Vacation Ownership Savings on Disney World Vacation Packages

One of the best ways a family can save money is by staying at a timeshare. Timeshares are typically a resort condominium unit which multiple parties hold rights to use the property. It is basically a vacation home under a time sharing agreement. Most owners of a time share normally vacation at the property the same time every year allowing the other owners to do the same. A timeshare is a real estate purchase but instead of owning the entire property, you only own and pay for a share of the property. These are lifetime vacations at affordable prices for families to enjoy.

A top rated condo timeshare is awaiting you in Orlando, Florida. Silver Lake Resort has offers for special Disney packages that you can’t find anywhere else. Silver Lake Resort is a five star timeshare resort right near Disney and has been awarded the Gold Crown Resort. It is recognized for its superior quality and outstanding hospitality. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is conveniently right in The Resort’s backyard.

Fantastic Offers Available with Timeshare

Timeshare resorts  have an excellent offer for you and your family visiting Disney. They offer two free Disney tickets, a restaurant gift card, with a one or two bedroom Disney World timeshare condo package for four days and three nights starting at just $199! That is one heck of a deal since Disney tickets alone can cost you hundreds of dollars. In order for you to receive this special offer, you must attend a timeshare tour.

There is no obligation to purchase anything but you must meet certain requirements. A few of the requirements are that you must be a couple ages 25-68, or a single woman age 30-68 with an income of 50K+, must speak English, must own a credit card, and must attend a 120 minute time share tour. You will not qualify if you have toured the same resort previously and only one promotional package per family or group may apply. There are many packages to choose from at various resorts which will save your family a lot of money and all you need to do is check out their timeshare preview. It is a fun, informative experience and one that may interest you in the possibility of purchasing some real estate in the future.

What’s New at the Magic Kingdom?

Entrance to the 'Be Our Guest Restaurant' at the new Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom

Entrance to the ‘Be Our Guest Restaurant’ at the new Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom’s recent expansion at Fantasyland has witnessed the addition of new Disney characters and enriched stories based on two enchanting themes; the Storybook Circus and Enchanted Forest. The best Walt Disney World timeshare promotions have made family fun ever more fulfilling at Disney World. Walt Disney’s The Lands of Magic Kingdom also features Main Street USA, Adventureland, Libertyland, Tomorrowland, Liberty Square, Frontierland and Mickey’s Toontownfair.

The Enchanted Forest – Fantasyland

The Enchanted Forest provides attractions such as; Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid, Gaston’s Tavern, Ariel’s Grotto, Be-Our-Guest Restaurant and Enchanted-Tales with Belle. The attraction Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid is dedicated to Ariel and Prince Eric. The area has a big pool where visitors can plunge into the depths of the colorful water mass. Visitors also get to listen and experience Little Mermaids memorable songs and magical moments. Be-Our-Guest Restaurant is situated at the foot of the Beast Castle; the restaurant has 3 French inspired dining locales. The Enchanted Tales with Belle provides an ambiance and refreshing pavilion, where visitors get to meet Belle and a chance to be part of the Beauty and the Beast play cast.

Gaston’s Tavern is one of New Fantasyland’s quick service eateries. It is at the Belle’s Village; the new joint does not serve alcohol, but theres an apple frozen fusion brew known as LeFou’s. The other menu delights include light mango foam and toasted marshmallow. The Princes Fairytale Hall opened in late 2013, and features princess’s Cinderella, Hall and Aurora at the entrance. Walt Disney’s New Fantasyland train “The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train” is slated for roll out sometime this year and you will need Magic Kingdom tickets timeshare for discounts.

The Storybook Circus

The Storybook Circus is a classical American circus quarter that is spiritually absorbed in the Dumbo Disney film theme. The Storybook Circus evokes the flashback period, when big colorful tent were the essence of popular attractions filled with majestic animals, great entertainment and aerobatics. The other attractions at the Storybook Circus include The Barnstormer, Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station, Fantasyland Station, and Pete’s Silly Side-Show.

The Barnstormer is themed on Goofy’s squeaky playground, called the “Great Goofini”. Shows can be viewed at the great circus tent and guests can get a feel of the New Fantasyland by flying over using one of Goofy’s stunt planes. The other new attraction is Dumbo the Flying Elephant. The feature theme follows on the footsteps of the 1971 animated classical movie, Dumbo the Flying Elephant. The Dumbo ride has been transformed with an addition of 2 pairs of circling elephants.

The Fantasyland Station features a railroad where visitors ride on a magical classical train. Pete’s Silly Sideshow is design as a meet and greeting area. Visitors also get to meet Goofy, Minnie the circus star, Donald the snake charmer and the fortune teller Daisy. The Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station, on the other, is a circus themed water-pool and kid’s recreational area; where kids get to enjoy the enchantments of playing in serene cool waters.

Diagon Alley Coming to Universal Studios Florida – Harry Potter Attractions

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida

Are you a huge fan of the Harry Potter films? Do you secretly imagine yourself in Harry’s world, fighting off dementors and facing Voldemort with the courage of the most powerful wizard of all? Maybe you just love the idea of waving your wand and having doors magically unlock before your very eyes? No matter what type of Harry Potter fan you may be, you are going to love Universal Studios timeshare packages 2014.

Diagon Alley, with all of it’s magical charm and mystery, is the next addition planned for Harry Potter’s world at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Expect to immerse yourself in the most interactive animation technology available yet. It will be the closest thing to feeling like you are actually part of this land of wizards and witches and dragons, oh my!

Popular Harry Potter Attractions

Picture entering Gringotts Vault in a Victorian-style open-air coaster car, and let your imagination run wild. This is a roller coaster, 3D story ride where you should be prepared for anything and anyone. Here, you can expect to encounter many ups and downs in these fabled vaults. Who knows whether or not you will meet any goblins or dark wizards. Perhaps you will be forced to use your wizardly power to fight a fire-breathing dragon, or maybe you will even have to face the darkest wizard of all! If you survive that experience, consider taking a moment to catch your breath as you ride the Hogwarts Express on your way to Hogsmeade Station and more Harry Potter attractions. After all, Hermione, Harry, Ron and all their friends always had a smooth, uneventful journey, didn’t they? Perhaps you ought to stuff a bar of chocolate in your pocket just to be on the safe side. You never know when you might need it.

Authentic Harry Potter Food

Once you have had enough adventuring for the day, perhaps you would like to eat something a little more substantial than chocolate. Head over to the Leaky Cauldron, and enjoy some authentic British-style fish and chips.

If you are thoroughly cast under a spell after your first experience with Diagon Alley, consider getting your very own interactive magic wand at Ollivander’s Wand Shop before continuing your journey through the rest of this magical land of wizardry. If Universal Studios timeshare promotions is as successful as they hope to be at creating interactive surprises throughout the world of Harry Potter, this will be one of the most magical and inventive attractions ever.

How to Get the Most out of your Orlando Travel Package

Aladdin and the Genie in Celebrate Dreams Come True Parade

Aladdin and the Genie in Celebrate Dreams Come True Parade at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

Traveling to Orlando, Florida can be a very expensive family vacation! When you factor in the cost of getting there, accommodations, theme park tickets and meals, it really adds up. However there are ways to save money on your Orlando vacation! When you make the smart financial decision to purchase a travel package, the Orlando holiday you have been dreaming of can become a reality.

If you are wondering what the components of a timeshare package to Orlando, Florida include, we will outline them for you!

Travel Packages Include Theme Park Tickets

The primary reason people visit Orlando is to head to the theme parks! The entry tickets to these parks are extremely costly. When you add in the cost of accommodations at a local hotel, the cost of the vacation can be out of financial reach for most people.

However there is a very cost effective alternative! When you purchase an Orlando vacation package, the vacation of your dreams is now affordable! The travel package includes both your accommodations as well as tickets to the Orlando theme parks! Your will stay will be in a condominium at a time share resort that is in close proximity to Disney World!

The benefits of staying in a condo are numerous! You will be enjoying the same great tropical Florida weather and the world-class Orlando theme parks, for a fraction of the cost of staying in a nearby hotel! Condos can also accommodate the number of people in your party! You can choose to stay in a studio, one, two or three bedroom unit! This gives the adults the privacy they would not get in a typical hotel room, all while saving money!

Vacation Packages May be Tailored

Whether you want to stay two nights or two weeks, an Orlando vacation package can be tailored to fit your needs. When you conveniently combine your stay in a condominium with theme park tickets, you will find the cost savings to be substantial. Your family can be in Orlando much sooner than you think.

When you want to take the family or your significant other on their dream vacation, why not make it more affordable by booking an Orlando travel package? You will enjoy all the comforts of home in a condominium while staying near Disney World. Plus your package will include theme park tickets! Now that’s affordable! So why not check out an Orlando travel package today? You will be glad you did!

Check out Wikitravel.org to learn about Orlando and to view their travel guide.

Where to Stay While Visiting Disney World

The Little Mermaid at the New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom

The Little Mermaid at the New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom 

With all of the hotels crammed into Orlando, Florida, consider staying at the Silver Lake Resort on your next visit. This is a comfortable resort with gorgeous grounds that is located only about seven miles from the Walt Disney World Resort. You cannot get any closer than this as the Walt Disney Animal Kingdom Theme Park is only two miles from this resort and also close to shopping and other attractions in the Central Florida area. You will love the simple access for traveling to other attractions that this resort provides and the staff is friendly and ready to help.

The Silver Lake Resort provides 468 comfortable and clean villas that you may choose and condominiums offering various arrangements such as units that provide up to three bedrooms, some with two baths and a full or kitchen. Some of the spacious villas are equipped with living and dining room, kitchen, private balcony, and can sleep up to twelve individuals. The condominiums may offer two bedrooms with two baths, full kitchen, a living and dining area, large master bedroom and a washer and dryer as well. You will find the décor up to date with flat screen televisions on the wall and there are DVD players in some units.

If traveling alone, you will feel secure as the staff is courteous and attentive. Some of the units sleep up to two and come with a coffee maker, refrigerator and a microwave. The Silver Lake Resort is wonderful to simply relax, soak up some sun or enjoy their activities. There is even a small gift shop that stocks nearly everything and there is an outdoor cabana bar so you can also eat something or enjoy a cocktail.

The amenities you will receive are enormous. Not only do you have access to a physical fitness area but they also provide a business center where you can access the Internet, a computer or printer. The hotel offers 24 hour security. Some rooms offer laundry facilities and free movies are shown twice a day at the hotel’s movie theater. There are tennis courts, three heated pools that include one for children and a children’s playground with activities. For convenience you can also purchase various attraction tickets at the hotel.

Be sure to visit the hotel’s website as occasionally they will offer packages which include a good choice of accommodations that include adult and/or child tickets to the Disney Parks (some include admissions to either the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom or Epcot Center).

This resort is in an absolutely perfect location and it is well maintained. The check-in is fast and simple, provides great security and the amenities needed for any length of stay.

2014 MTV VMAs: Blue Ivy takes the stage

You could call it “the year of the rear” at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, although last year’s chief twerker chose a higher path.

While Nicki Minaj and her collaborators paid tribute to their assets with song and dance, Miley Cyrus stood offstage and watched as a young homeless man accepted her best music video award.

These might have been the most memorable moments of the night if not for Beyonce and her daughter, Blue Ivy, stealing the show.

Here are four highlights from the show at the Forum in Inglewood, California, on Sunday night.

1. Beyonce and Blue Ivy steal the show. Beyonce’s 2-year-old daughter gave her own performance while sitting in her father’s lap and watching her mother onstage Sunday. Blue Ivy’s facial expressions and hand gestures suggested she inherited the music gene.

Blue Ivy applauded her mommy as daddy Jay Z carried her onstage at the end of Beyonce’s 16-minute performance. Jay Z handed his wife the MTV Michael Jackson Vanguard Award while declaring that she was “the greatest living entertainer.” Blue Ivy is heard saying “Mommy!”

“I’m so full,” Beyonce said, as the audience began chanting. “I have nothing to say, but I’m filled with so much gratitude.”

The family hug that followed could be one of the most loving and memorable moments ever on the VMA stage.

Even the stars were struck by Beyonce’s daughter. Katy Perry tweeted: “OMG BLUE IVY JUST PERSONALLY WAVED AT ME. MY LIFE IS OVER.”

2. Miley Cyrus is the adult in the room. A year after she set tongues wagging with a provocative dance with a teddy bear, Cyrus was more like Mother Teresa when her “Wrecking Ball” video was named as the best of 2014. She stopped short of the stage, instead sending a young man who identified himself as Jesse to accept the moon man trophy “behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youths in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now.”

Cyrus, 21, appeared to be near tears as Jesse, who said he was homeless, read a speech: “I’ve survived in shelters all over this city. I’ve cleaned your hotel rooms. I’ve been an extra in your movies. I’ve been an extra in your life. Though I may have been invisible to you on the streets, I have a lot of the same dreams that brought many of you here tonight.”

Jesse’s speech called attention to the large population of homeless young people in Los Angeles.

“The music industry will make over $7 billion this year, and outside these doors are 54,000 human beings who have no place to call home. If you want to make a powerful change in the world right now, please join us and go to Miley’s Facebook page. A dream you dream alone is only a dream, but a dream you dream together is reality.”

Cyrus later posted an Instagram photo with Jesse, calling him “my favorite dude ever.”

3. They like big butts. Nicki Minaj set the tone early with her “Anaconda” performance and again when “Bang Bang” collaborators Ariana Grande and Jessie J joined her onstage. The choreography, costumes and lyrics paid tribute to ladies who have plenty to shake. Minaj returned later in the show for a brief cameo during Usher’s performance in which he bumped her rump while also strumming a bass guitar.

The only diversion from the theme was an accident, when Minaj suffered an apparent wardrobe malfunction that threatened to expose her upper front. She survived with her dignity — such as it is — by clutching the rebellious garment for the remainder of the song.

The snake that bit a dancer during a VMA rehearsal was not used in Sunday’s show.

Taylor Swift brought something completely different to the stage: her long, lanky physique.

Presenter Chelsea Handler joked that she demanded producers put on “someone who’s white” so she wouldn’t have to follow “big fat asses.”

“So thank you, Taylor Swift, for being so white,” Handler said.

4. Moment of silence for Michael Brown. The 2014 VMAs did not ignore what’s been happening in Ferguson, Missouri, over the two weeks since a police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. Rapper Common took the stage to address it.

“The people in Ferguson and St. Louis and communities across the country have used their voices to call for justice and change to let everyone know that each and every one of our lives matters,” Common said.

Saying that hip-hop has always been about truth and has been a powerful instrument of social change, Common led the Forum in a moment of silence “for Mike Brown and for peace in this country and in the world.”

The MTV broadcast also included a 15-second public service announcement that featured the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant of the Ferguson protesters.

It included a quote from American poet James Baldwin: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Lauryn Hill releases song to support Ferguson

Lauryn Hill has been performing her song “Black Rage” in concert for years, but on Wednesday she released a recording of the song in support of the residents of Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the Michael Brown incident.

The singer tweeted on Wednesday, “An old sketch of Black Rage, done in my living room. Strange, the course of things. Peace for MO” along with a link to the recording on SoundCloud.

Sung to the tune of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things,” the lyrics include “Black rage is founded on/Blatant denial/Squeezed economics/Subsistent survival” and “When the dogs bite/ When the beatings/ When I’m feeling sad/ I simply remember all these kinds of things and then I don’t fear so bad.”

Hill is just one of the members of the hip-hop community lending support.

Rapper and St. Louis native Nelly, joined protesters as they marched, and artist J. Cole, visited and released the song “Be Free” in tribute to Brown.

Activist and hip-hop artist Talib Kweli mixed it up with CNN’s Don Lemon on Thursday while explaining what he saw during protests.

“As an artist I wanted to put my money where my mouth is,” Kweli said. “I’m supported by the community that’s been brutalized. I have a son that’s Mike Brown’s age.”

The unrest in Ferguson has even caused a crossover of sorts.

“Sleepy Hollow” star Orlando Jones took a page from the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” to issue one of his own. After dumping a bucket of bullets over his head in a YouTube video posted on August 18, the actor spoke out about the slaying of Brown and what has resulted in Ferguson.

“This past week I’ve watched an American city become something akin to a war zone,” said Jones, who added that he is a lifetime member of the NRA. “I’m challenging myself to listen without prejudice, to love without limits and to reverse the hate. That’s my challenge to me and hopefully you will accept this challenge too.”

Man tricks police into believing he’s Scott Weiland

Well played, fake Scott Weiland.

A man arrested July 26 by Beverly Hills police on suspicion of shoplifting at a local Rite Aid and alleged drug possession was somehow able to convince police he was the Stone Temple Pilots frontman. But the real Weiland — upon seeing a report on TMZ’s website posted Thursday that he was in jail — quickly recorded a video and posted it on his Facebook page to prove that he was free.

“I just got done reading something very interesting, a nice piece of fiction from TMZ saying that I was in jail and have been for four months,” the musician said in the video. “I’ve actually been touring, writing and recording my new album.”

Weiland has had run-ins with police before due to problems with addiction.

For its part, TMZ said that — after seeing an obviously not incarcerated Weiland — the site “then called the Sheriff’s Dept. back but they were unwavering, telling us they did a ‘physical check’ on the inmate and insisted Scott ‘was definitely in custody.’ “

“The BHPD got back to us late Thursday night and said they made a BIG mistake … the inmate is actually a 44-year-old guy named Jason Michael Hurley,” TMZ reported. “They discovered it through belated FBI fingerprint analysis, even though he’s been locked up since July 26.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, Hurley gave police the name and birthdate of Weiland and now probably also face charges of giving false information to officers. Hurley remains in the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles.

Weiland had a few arrests in the 1990s for drug possession and completed a stint in rehab in 2008 after being arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of drugs.

Emmy Awards 2014: 5 things to watch for

Will it be a “Bad” night — or a “True” one?

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will be handed out Monday night, and what was expected to be a coronation honoring the final season of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” has emerged as something a little more competitive, thanks to HBO’s “True Detective,” the moody crime series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.

Though “Bad” still has a decided edge for best drama series — the handicappers at Goldderby.com, for example, are unanimous in their support of the Bryan Cranston-led show — the onrush of McConaughey love earlier this year, when the actor was hailed for his performances in “Mud,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and an Oscar-winning turn in “Dallas Buyers Club,” may turn the tide in favor of “Detective.”

It certainly received a good start. At the Creative Arts Emmys, which were given out Aug. 16, “Detective” won four awards, including trophies for its cinematography and casting. “Breaking Bad” won just one, for its editing.

Here are some things to watch for as TV gets ready for its biggest night:

1. All right, all right, all right, b—-. “Breaking Bad” finished its run with acclaim as one of the best shows in TV history. Even the Internet liked the finale — and the Internet doesn’t like anything. Certainly that will be enough to earn it best drama, right?

But watch out for “True Detective.” Even if “Breaking Bad” wins best drama, “Detective” might take other major categories. For all the praise he’s received, Bryan Cranston has come up empty for best actor the last two years, losing to Jeff Daniels (“The Newsroom”) last year and Damian Lewis (“Homeland”) in 2012. This time he’s facing both McConaughey and Harrelson, not to mention Daniels, perennial bridesmaid Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) and the wily Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”).

And what about “Game of Thrones”? Sure, the series got stiffed in the lead acting categories, but it’s up in supporting slots — for Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey — as well as best drama. Moreover, it led all programs with 19 nominations. Moreover, they “would do things for their family you couldn’t imagine.”

2. Living is easy, comedy is hard. The comedy categories are incredibly competitive this year. Last year’s winner, “Modern Family,” is nominated once again, but this time there’s a sense that it’s ripe for a fall.

“Any (of the other nominees) would be better than yet another win for ‘Modern Family,’ ” wrote New York magazine’s Margaret Lyons and Denise Martin.

But what will take its place? “Orange Is the New Black,” Netflix’s most popular show, could notch a win. So could “Veep,” which has the benefit of last year’s lead actress winner, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. And, lurking in the corner, there’s “Louie,” which finished perhaps its most talked-about season — one that had audiences wondering if they were, indeed, actually watching a comedy.

The performers’ trophies are even more uncertain. Will best comedy actor go to “Big Bang’s” Jim Parsons again — he’s won three of the last five — or Louis C.K.? Will best comedy actress go to Louis-Dreyfus, “Parks and Recreation’s” Amy Poehler or “Orange’s” Taylor Schilling? Can Allison Janney, who won an Emmy at the Creative Arts event for her guest spot in “Masters of Sex,” win another for “Mom”? It’s enough to make you long for the certainty of “Parks and Recreation’s” Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) — who’s not, incidentally, up for an Emmy. Not that he would sweat over it.

3. Remembering Robin Williams. The famed comedian and actor, who died Aug. 11, will be remembered during the “In Memoriam” section in a tribute presented by Billy Crystal. Regardless of how tasteful, thoughtful or warmhearted the segment is, you can bet that someone will complain about it.

4. “Race” for the top. Once upon a time, there was essentially no competition in the reality-competition category: The winner was almost always “The Amazing Race.” The popular series — part travelogue, part game, all fun — won nine out of 10 years from 2003 to 2012, except for 2010, when “Top Chef” took the title. But last year “The Voice” took home the trophy, and the battle isn’t getting any easier. “The Voice” is up again, so is “Top Chef,” and the other nominees include “Dancing With the Stars,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Project Runway.”

5. Rating Seth Meyers. This is the first time the “Late Night” host and former “SNL” newsman is hosting the Emmys, and no doubt some critics will have their knives out.

Meyers admits he’s nervous.

“I think it would be weird if there were no nerves,” he said. “It’s a big undertaking and you want to make sure you treat it with the proper respect, and I think nerves constantly remind you to do that.”

He’s certainly hoping to do a good job, and he emphasizes: He will not sing.

“I can’t! I wish I could!” he said.

Do it well, Seth, and maybe you’ll get a shot.

The Emmys will air Monday on NBC. The show begins at 8 p.m. ET and airs from Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre.

Taylor Swift releases new song and video

Are Taylor Swift and country music never, ever, ever getting back together?

Swift released a video Monday for her new single, “Shake It Off,” and the song is decidedly more pop than fans are used to from the country singer. It’s all in keeping with her fifth studio album, “1989,” which Swift announced during a Yahoo livestream.

The new album’s title is a nod to the year Swift was born and is being hyped as the star’s “first documented official pop album.”

Swift sports multiple personas in the music video, including one that is reminiscent of Lady Gaga. The song is an ode to the “haters” that Swift is shaking off — and, of course, there is the dancing.

“All I think about are metaphors and cats,” Swift said in the livestream. “Life itself and who people actually are can be greatly reflected in how people dance. … I don’t mean how good you are but your willingness to dance.”

Writing for USA Today, Brian Mansfield said Swift’s message seems to be “Hate me all you want … but you’re missing all the fun.”

“Lyrically, ‘Shake It Off’ is ‘Mean 2.0,’ with the 24-year-old singer/songwriter taking all the criticisms leveled at her and dismissing them flippantly,” Mansfield writes. “It’s a total swerve musically, however, with horn-blast grooves grounded in early ’60s proto-soul and girl-group pop, plus a spoken-word breakdown that would come off as awkward if it weren’t so knowingly funny.”

Twitter immediately embraced the tune, including some high-profile fans. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted, “Don’t mess with @TaylorSwift13, or she will write an incredibly catchy song about you.”

Singer Kelly Clarkson wrote, “Okay Taylor Swift’s new song/video “Shake it off” is pretty much my favorite thing right now! She’s hilarious! Nicely done #thissickbeat :)”

But not everyone loved the video. It inspired some accusations of racism on Twitter.

“A number of Twitter users, including rapper Earl Sweatshirt, have accused Swift of perpetuating black stereotypes,” Cleveland.com writer Troy L. Smith reported. “Many have pointed out that while all of the graceful ballerinas in the video appear to be white, most of the twerking close-ups feature black dancers (there are white women twerking as well).”

Swift’s album will be released Oct. 27. The single is currently available on iTunes.

Jackie Chan’s son held over drugs in China

The 32-year-old son of actor and kung fu star Jackie Chan has been arrested in Beijing on drugs charges, as authorities clamp down on celebrity offenders.

Police say they detained Jaycee Chan, who is originally from Hong Kong and also an actor, as well as Ko, a 23-year-old Taiwanese actor, during a raid on Thursday in Dongcheng district, the city’s commercial and cultural center, state media, citing Beijing police, said Tuesday.

Both men tested positive for marijuana.

Police later found more than 100 grams of the drug after searching Chan’s apartment. He was also accused of “hosting others to take drugs,” the state-run China Daily said. He could face three years in jail under Chinese law.

State broadcaster CCTV aired footage of Chan, his face blurred, showing police where the drugs were hidden at his home, while Ko was shown making a tearful apology.

“I very much regret about what happened. I’m very sorry to those who support me, like me or even know me personally,” he said. “I just want to tell them I’m really sorry. I’ve set the worst example, which had the most terrible influence. And this is a huge mistake.”

Celebrity targets

The two actors are being seen as the targets of the capital’s latest anti-drugs campaign, which has seen more than 7,000 people detained for using drugs, a 72% year-on-year increase, according to the China Daily.

Celebrities are increasingly in the spotlight, with a number of high-profile arrests over drug-related incidents in recent months, including popular movie actor Zhang Mo and singer Li Daimo, who was actually sentenced to nine months in jail for hosting a crystal meth party at his home, according to the China Daily.

Earlier this month, dozens of management agencies representing performers in the entertainment industry signed an agreement with Beijing authorities banning drug use from the industry and pledging to sack artists who break the law.

The elder Chan, who has starred in a number of Hollywood movies including “Rush Hour” and “The Karate Kid,” has actually campaigned against drug use, and was named an anti-drugs ambassador in China in 2009.

Britney Spears accused of lip-syncing

Oops, she did it again.

Some fans of Britney Spears are accusing the singer of lip-syncing to her song “Perfume” during her Las Vegas show. According to gossip site Oh No They Didn’t, Spears’ mouth is moving but the audience is mostly hearing singer Sia’s version of the track.

Billboard points out that Sia — best known for her hit song “Chandelier” — is credited as one of the writers of “Perfume.” An acoustic version of the song as performed by Sia is big on YouTube.

“If you listen closely to the performance video, you can make out some of Spears’ vocals under Sia’s more charactered voice,” Colin Stutz writes for Billboard. “That’s because, most likely, Spears uses Sia’s track as an in-monitor guide when she sings. Only this time it was put into the house mix, making for an embarrassing accident.”

It’s not the first time Spears has been called out for the vocalizations during her Vegas show, which is part of a two-year residency. In reviewing the show for the Los Angeles Times, writer Mikael Wood points out that the singer’s show appears to take its title, “Piece of Me,” literally.

“Whatever the scale of the number … the singer’s presence felt so diminished — her dancing a tentative shadow of what it used to be, her vocals apparently lip-synced for the majority of the show — as if to make the production’s title seem a taunt,” Wood writes.

While her manager Adam Leber initially denied that Spears wasn’t singing live during the show, he later backtracked during an interview with Medium.com.

“To put on the show that she puts on, it’s virtually impossible to sing the entire time and do what she does,” he said.

“She’s singing on every song, basically, when she has the ability to sing. There’s no way you can dance for 90 minutes straight and sing the entire time.”

Elizabeth Vargas returns to rehab

Elizabeth Vargas has returned to rehab as part of her ongoing battle against alcohol addiction.

The 20/20 anchor released a statement saying that she made the decision while on vacation this past weekend to return to treatment.

“As so many other recovering alcoholics know, overcoming the disease can be a long and incredibly difficult process,” Vargas said in her statement. “I feel I have let myself, my co-workers and most importantly my family down and for that I am ashamed and sorry.”

In November 2013 Vargas revealed that she was struggling with alcohol dependence and first entered a treatment facility. A representative for ABC, for whom Vargas also hosts news specials, released a statement in support of her.

“Nothing is more important than Elizabeth’s health and well-being and we stand squarely behind her,” the statement from ABC said. “Our thoughts are with Elizabeth and her family and we look forward to having her back at ABC News when she feels ready to return.”

Vargas gave no indication as to how long she expects to be in treatment, but reiterated her determination to get sober.

“I am committed to battling and addressing this debilitating disease and want to thank everyone who has offered their unwavering support during this trying time,” she said in her statement.

Michael Cera releases an album

He’s no Beyonce, but Michael Cera can still pull off a surprise album release.

The “Arrested Development” star released an 18-track album titled “True That” which features instrumental compositions and some vocals. Cera is no novice when it comes to music: He’s sung backup vocals and played some on a Weezer track and jammed with the indie rock group Mister Heavenly.

The Daily Beast called it “a mix of instrumental tracks, lovely ballads and solemn covers” and compares (perhaps tongue-in-cheek) his project to Beyonce’s surprise album.

The Daily Beast’s Amy Zimmerman asks: “So is there any difference at all between Michael Cera’s true that and Beyoncé’s Beyoncé?”

She answers her own question. “Honestly, not really. In ‘What Gives,’ Cera samples what appears to be a child’s voice, which is a blatant attempt to rival Blue Ivy’s vocal stylings on ‘Blue.’ ‘Sexy Danger’ has all the wild, sensual energy of ‘Drunk in Love,’ but with absolutely no words!”

His “Superbad” costar Jonah Hill tweeted his support of the project saying “My great friend Michael Cera not only is a brilliant actor, he also makes great music.”

Cera’s album is available for download on his site.

Woodstock at 45: Still stardust, still golden

Officially billed as The Woodstock Music and Art Fair, An Aquarian Exposition, the festival that came to be known, simply, as Woodstock is the stuff of legend.

Friday marks the 45th anniversary of Woodstock, which took place from Aug. 15-18, 1969.

Woodstock didn’t take place in Woodstock, New York, but in Bethel, about 60 miles away.

“It was really called Woodstock because (festival co-creator) Mike Lang thought it had the right vibe,” Bob Spitz, journalist and author of “Barefoot in Babylon: The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival, 1969″ told CNN.

“Woodstock was where Bob Dylan lived,” said Spitz, “It’s where The Band hung out and he just liked the whole feel of the word. No matter where they were gonna have it, it was always going to be the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Everything about Woodstock has to do with the vibe.”

Max Yasgur provided Woodstock’s venue by leasing out his 600-acre dairy farm near the hamlet of White Lake in the Catskill Mountain community of Bethel, New York, 100 miles north of Manhattan.

The posters promised “3 Days of Peace & Music,” but the festival’s initial concept “depends on who you talk to,” said Spitz.

Lang and festival promoter Artie Kornfeld wanted to have a blowout that was “the biggest party the counterculture had ever seen,” said Spitz. “If you talk to their partners, John Roberts and Joel Rosenman, who were the money guys, it was to make a lot of money.”

For the crowd of 350,000 to 450,000 young people in attendance, Woodstock was all about peace and love, and that’s no myth.

“The entire Woodstock festival was peaceful and the kids were respectful because of one word: marijuana,” said Spitz. “Everybody was high. If it had been other drugs it would’ve been chaos. But because of dope and LSD, everything was peaceful there for those three days.”

Festival organizers who had been expecting a crowd of 80,000 to 100,000 people were blindsided when quadruple the crowd showed up. No one was prepared for a surplus of 300,000 people. With no system in place to charge them, Woodstock became a free event.

Cars within a five-mile radius were at a standstill. New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller declared a state of emergency in White Lake. By Woodstock’s second day, authorities publicly pleaded for anyone who might be on their way to the festival to turn around and go home. Eventually no one could get out or in unless they needed to be airlifted. Festival managers scrambled to fly in 30 extra physicians from New York City.

Santana vocalist Gregg Rolie spoke to CNN while promoting the Blu-ray release of the director’s cut of the 1970 Academy Award-winning documentary “Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music.”

Rolie recalled arriving with the other members of Santana via helicopter.

“We flew in because everybody parked on the highway,” said Rolie. “It was kinda like ‘Close Encounters’ or ‘Field of Dreams,’ you know? ‘If you build it, they will come.’ The highways were closed. Upstate New York was like a parking lot. So we had to fly in on helicopters.”

Santana’s appearance is considered one of the festival highlights. The band played early on, before the first of two downpours that reduced Yasgur’s alfalfa field to a sloppy, slippery slew of mud puddles.

All of Santana’s music was new at the time and the band was virtually unknown. They had not yet released their first album. Woodstock is credited for jumpstarting Santana’s career.

“If you played at Woodstock, you had a career,” said Rolie, who had no idea that the festival’s legacy would resonate so powerfully 45 years later.

Woodstock’s lineup also included Joan Baez, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Joe Cocker, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Band, among others.

Jimi Hendrix closed the festival. By the time he began his Monday morning set, which included his celebrated rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the crowd had thinned out to 200,000. Many had to get to work, school, wanted to get a jump on the traffic or simply could not endure the close quarters any longer. Even so, Hendrix had never performed in front of such a big group before and nearly bailed.

Although Woodstock has been lifted onto a pedestal in certain ways, by all accounts the festival lived up to the fable. The fairy tale, though largely drug-laden, was a reality for those in attendance.

It can be difficult to connect the storybook reality with Woodstock’s harsher realities like overflowed toilets, lack of food and water, and a makeshift, 20-bed hospital tent to accommodate roughly 3,000 medical emergencies.

A tractor crushed a teenage boy in a sleeping bag, fatally wounding him. One young man died of a heroin overdose, another died of a burst appendix. A young woman broke her back falling off of stage scaffolding.

In addition, there were about 400 bad acid trips, sprained ankles from sliding in the mud, and many a gashed foot as a result of stepping barefoot on broken glass.

Two babies were born, too. One child arrived in traffic en route to the festival, and the other was delivered in a hospital after the mother was airlifted out of the field.

A lot of sex was going on at Woodstock and, according to Spitz, a lot of women forgot to pack their birth control so supplies of birth control pills were flown in.

For an event where facilities were strained far past capacity, not a single fight or incident of violence erupted among the crowd, which endured near-unbearable conditions.

Town elders, residents, shopkeepers and local police couldn’t get over how courteous and considerate the kids were — all 450,000 or so of them.

Woodstock’s financial backers were not so lucky. They took a bath — and not a mud one — to the tune of $1.3 million.

Spitz called Woodstock “the beginning of the end of the ’60s” because it, along with the moon landing, represented a bright period after the deaths of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and before the breakup of the Beatles and the deaths of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.

Woodstock is legendary for many reasons, but what made it magical was the value people placed on one another.

“If these are the kids that are going to inherit the world,” Max Yasgur said at the time, “I don’t fear for it.”