Tag Archives: thrill rides

The Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2017

Family Vacation Critic, TripAdvisor’s family travel site, has just named the Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2017 – naming the best parks in the U.S., and sharing the year’s newest attractions and highlights for every age group.

“Amusement parks are one of the most quintessential summertime activities for families,” explains Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of Family Vacation Critic. “But for those traveling with family members of various ages – including kids-at-heart – finding a park that caters to thrill-seekers and the younger set isn’t always so easy. This list includes parks that successfully cater to both, and those that also have exciting new features for the 2017 season.”

Read more…


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SeaWorld Orlando Is Ready To Unleash Your Summer

Just in time for summer vacation, one of the fiercest underwater legends has come to life in an entirely new way. SeaWorld Orlando’s original roller coaster offers an adventure for thrill-seeking guests unlike any other when Kraken Unleashed opens to the public June 16.

Kraken Unleashed is a first-of-its-kind virtual reality roller coaster in the United States, with fully integrated headsets. The completely immersive experience takes riders on an exploratory journey under the sea. As they sail along the powerful coaster track, complete with deep dives, steep turns and seven complete inversions, a fully integrated story unfolds. The result is a fantastical voyage past gigantic sea monsters, and an unexpected, unforgettable encounter with the legendary Kraken sea monster.


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“After providing thousands of imaginative and thrilling experiences on SeaWorld’s first roller coaster, Kraken, we wanted to give our guests something new,” shared Brian Morrow, Vice President of Theme Park Experience and Design, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment. By creating a custom digital overlay and using technology to tell the story, we developed an entirely new virtual reality coaster. Our guests can now travel through the depths of the ocean with the mighty Kraken herself. The result is a seamless and completely unique expedition on a well-loved roller coaster.”

All three of Kraken’s 32 passenger trains have been equipped with the virtual reality experience. Guests choose their journey when they board the coaster; braving the virtual reality experience or riding the traditional way. The custom designed headsets are fully integrated both mechanically and electronically into each coaster seat. Each seat has also been individually programmed to provide an individual guest experience that cannot be matched.

The grand opening of Kraken Unleashed marks the beginning of an exciting summer at SeaWorld Orlando. Park guests will find something new around every corner, with the investment of new experiences to compliment the park’s extraordinary animal encounters.

“Summer at SeaWorld has never been better,” said Jim Dean, Park President, SeaWorld Orlando. “The debut of Kraken Unleashed means there is a new thrill leader in town. In addition to Orlando’s tallest and fastest coaster, Mako, and the destination’s only flying coaster, Manta, we now have this new technology for a virtual reality experience that takes SeaWorld to a whole new level of excitement.”

Kraken Unleashed is just the start, with more reasons than ever to visit SeaWorld. Electric Ocean, the park’s all-new evening extravaganza kicks off this Saturday, June 17. Guests are transported to an exotic world of light and sound complete with fantastical dancers, glowing sea creatures and high energy DJ entertainment. The entire event crescendos into a nightly display of fireworks and lasers that will leave everyone breathless. From the new bubble spectacular show, “Pop,” to the return of fan favorites “Shamu’s Celebration: Light up the Night” and “Sea Lions Tonite,” guests can play all day and plan to stay through the night.


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Now Open: Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando Resort’s Third Amazing Theme Park

A revolutionary water theme park has risen at Universal Orlando Resort – Universal’s Volcano Bay is now open.

The park’s first guests gathered inside the new water theme park to enjoy an authentic, South Pacific dedication ceremony commemorating the opening of Volcano Bay. The ceremony featured special performances by an array of authentic Maori entertainment, ranging from water dancers to “Haka” war dancers. The moment culminated with an eruption from the mighty 200 ft. Krakatau volcano – the park’s stunning icon.

Volcano Bay is Universal Orlando’s third theme park and the next chapter in the award-winning vacation destination’s evolution. Universal Orlando is part of the NBCUniversal Comcast family, which has invested significantly in the destination’s unprecedented growth. In just seven years, 25 new experiences – entire themed areas, attractions, restaurants, and hotels – have been added across the destination. Universal Orlando now has 5,600 rooms across its five (soon to be six) on-site hotels.

Volcano Bay was brought to life by Universal Creative – the same team responsible for bringing so many other groundbreaking experiences to life within Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Volcano Bay is a next-level water theme park – combining spectacular storytelling and incredibly immersive guest experiences with innovative technology exclusively designed for Universal to give visitors a fun-filled, hassle-free experience with their friends and family.

“Universal’s Volcano Bay sets a new standard on every level – from the attractions to how our guests experience them,” said Tom Williams, Chairman & CEO – Universal Parks & Resorts. “Our new water theme park is the perfect complement to the rest of our incredible destination. It provides our guests with spectacular entertainment experiences and innovative technology that helps them enjoy more of what matters most – connecting with each other and having an amazing time together.”


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Spanning 25 fully immersive acres and featuring something for everyone – from perfected relaxation to incredible thrills – Volcano Bay is unlike any other water park in world. It offers an immersive environment filled with unbelievable detail and innovative technology to enhance fun and remove hassles. Volcano Bay features:

  • More than 30 experiences including 18 unique attractions such as a multi-directional wave pool with sandy beaches, a peaceful winding river, twisting multi-rider raft rides, speeding body slides that drop from the top of the volcano into the waters below and more.
  • The TapuTapu wearable – included with guest admission and specifically designed for use within Universal’s Volcano Bay. Features of TapuTapu include:
    • Virtual Line Access: TapuTapu allows guests to virtually wait in line for rides while enjoying other areas of the park. Their wearable will simply alert them when it’s time for their ride.
    • TapTu Play: Guests can enjoy many TapTu Play experiences throughout the park – like controlling streams of water spurting from whales in Tot Tiki Reef, shooting water cannons at guests snaking down Kopiko Wai Winding River, illuminating images in the volcano’s hidden caves and more.
    • TapTu Pay: Guests can make purchases throughout the entire park with their TapuTapu wearable, eliminating the need to carry cash, credit cards or a wallet throughout the park.
    • TapTu Snap/My Universal Photo Access: Guests can take advantage of special interactive photo opportunities and selfie-spots throughout the park as well as photo opportunities on Volcano Bay’s attractions. Their wearable will automatically link those photos to their account so that guests can view, share and purchase them at their convenience.
    • Locker Access: After renting their lockers, guests will be able to access them with a touch of their TapuTapu wearable.
  • Beautifully-themed dining locations featuring more than 60 delicious, South Pacific-inspired dishes – ranging from jerk mahi sandwiches to fresh island chicken salad to decadent chocolate pineapple upside down cake.

For more information about Universal’s Volcano Bay, visit www.universalorlando.com.


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World’s Tallest River Rapids Drop Coming to Seaworld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando announced its latest world-class attraction, Infinity Falls, to debut summer 2018.

Thrilling rapids will roar through the brand new rainforest river experience, while adventure-seeking guests plunge down the world’s tallest river rapid drop.

“We are constantly looking at new ways to amaze our guests – Infinity Falls will do that, and more,” said Jim Dean, President of SeaWorld Orlando Parks. “From the excitement of the thrilling rapids, to the unique vertical lift element, it will be an adventure that appeals to the entire family. Infinity Falls continues our commitment to investing in our park, and developing new ways to entertain and inspire our guests with meaningful, fun-filled vacations.”

To bring Infinity Falls to life, designers were inspired by the rainforests of South America and the flowing rivers found within. Each raft will twist and turn through a lush jungle environment as guests experience the feel of exhilarating Class IV rapids. A unique vertical elevator will lift each raft for a dramatic launch into the river, 40 feet below.

“Water makes up more than 70% of our planet,” said Brian Morrow, Vice President of Theme Park Design Experience. “We developed Infinity Falls to tell new stories that showcase the beauty and sheer power of water and the amazing wildlife that lives in it. The result is a new river rapids adventure for our guests to explore, and actively help freshwater ecosystems in a way that only SeaWorld can bring to life.”

The addition of Infinity Falls is the perfect addition to SeaWorld’s ever-growing ride portfolio. From the roller coaster thrills of Mako, Manta and Kraken to the water flume fun of Journey to Atlantis, Infinity Falls will soon join the park’s famed attractions as a must-do experience in Orlando.

Infinity Falls will be the centerpiece of a newly themed surrounding area, fully immersing guests in a rainforest canopy. After riding the rapids on Infinity Falls, the entire family can explore the village and take part in interactive experiences that combine play with education to create a positive impact on freshwater ecosystems. SeaWorld’s Animal Ambassadors will also provide up-close encounters with animals native to South America.

Infinity Falls will open at SeaWorld Orlando in summer 2018.


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“Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” Is Now Open At Universal Orlando Resort

Guests joined “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon to celebrate the grand opening of Universal Orlando Resort’s newest ride, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. The all-new ride takes guests on an action-packed race through the Big Apple against Jimmy Fallon himself, and completely immerses them in the world of America’s favorite talk show – “The Tonight Show.”

Jimmy Fallon kicked off the celebration with a New York-style ticker tape parade in Universal Studios Florida that featured tons of confetti, a custom float and beloved Universal Orlando characters. Joining Jimmy on the float were “Tonight Show” house band The Roots, announcer Steve Higgins, and an array of characters from the show, including Hashtag the Panda, the Ragtime Gals barbershop quartet, and even Stepdad Gary from the popular “Ew!” sketch. The moment culminated with a countdown to the official opening of the attraction and a special ribbon cutting.


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“I’m happy. I’m grateful. I’m excited. This whole experience has been a real emotional rollercoaster simulator,” said Jimmy Fallon.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is the first ride at Universal Studios Florida to feature an all-new Virtual Line experience – allowing guests to enjoy other areas of the park while they “virtually” wait for their time to enter the attraction. For more information about “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” and the Virtual Line experience, visit the Universal Orlando blog at blog.universalorlando.com.


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Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay Releases More Details

In early summer 2017, a first-of-its-kind water theme park will erupt at Universal Orlando Resort – Universal’s Volcano Bay. It will be an innovative experience filled with incredible thrills and perfected relaxation. And on November 15, guests will have the chance to purchase tickets to experience it firsthand. Guests can receive a notification when tickets go on sale and updates about Volcano Bay by signing up for real-time email alerts.

Volcano Bay will span 30 fully immersive acres and feature a variety of experiences that range from daring to serene. Dozens of unique attractions will offer something for everyone, including a multi-directional wave pool with sandy beaches, a peaceful winding river, twisting multi-rider raft rides, speeding body slides that drop from the top of the volcano into the waters below – and more. And the best part – guests won’t have to wait in long lines to enjoy any of it.

Krakatau Aqua Coaster will be the star experience at Universal’s Volcano Bay – combining innovative ride technology with water theme park thrills to take families on an unforgettable adventure through the park’s massive icon – the 200-foot Krakatau volcano.

Guests will board specially-designed canoes and propel downwards – and upwards – through the volcano’s interior peaks and valleys. They’ll twist, turn and plummet along dark passageways, be launched through sparkling waterfalls and so much more.

Universal’s Volcano Bay will debut a new technology, the TapuTapu wearable, designed to make the guest experience throughout the entire park as hassle-free and fun-filled as possible.

Even more details about TapuTapu and its unique guest features will be released soon. More details about Universal’s Volcano Bay will be revealed over time.


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Is Another Major Theme Park Planned for Orlando?

Several Orlando area publications this week have reported that a “top U.S. theme park operator may be in the preliminary process of building a major tourist project on 200+ acres of land on Orlando’s International Drive.

The location includes land that is the current home of The Artegon Mall and includes a 78-acre parcel just south of the mall.

The Artegon Mall has been up for sale for several months. The mall sits on a 104 acre parcel that already comes with entitlements for retail, hotel and theme park use.

Agents representing the Artegon Mall have declined comment on specific details but have confirmed that the 104-acre parcel could be combined with several adjacent properties to result in a 200 acre plus sale.

Six Flags, Cedar Fair and several other regional theme park operators have already been rumored to be the mystery companies looking to break into the Orlando market, but nothing has been officially reported.

Watch this website for further details as they become available.


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Seaworld Orlando Unveils Major New Attractions for 2017

SeaWorld has just announced an extensive list of first of it’s kind new rides, shows and events for it’s Orlando park  for 2017.

The announcement includes a virtual reality upgrade for it’s Kraken roller coaster, Dolphin Nursery, and numerous major entertainment options. Here are a few of the details:

Kraken Virtual Reality Roller Coaster: Seaworld will be retrofitting their Kraken roller coaster with headsets to give riders the sensation of traveling through the sea amid mythical and prehistoric creatures. Guests will embark on a deep sea mission alongside sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past, including the mighty Kraken. A custom digital overlay with uniquely designed headsets, fully integrated both mechanically and electronically into the coaster train, delivers a new one-of-a-kind adventure. The addition of VR to this fan-favorite brings a new level of excitement and interest in Kraken, for both new and returning guests. This thrill ride will be the only VR coaster experience in Florida.

Electric Ocean: A brand new, end-of-day spectacle event. As the sun goes down, the lights and energy go up, offering guests a different kind of fun after dark. The ocean comes to life with bioluminescent lighting, music and pathway entertainment, immersing guests in a glowing sea of wonder.

Dolphin Nursery: SeaWorld Orlando’s Dolphin Nursery will become more interactive in 2017, giving guests the opportunity to see mother and baby dolphins up close like never before. Large-scale acrylic windows will be created offering better guest viewing, including multiple levels to provide children a face-to-face perspective with baby dolphins. New slide out areas and a lifting floor will allow for easier access to mom and baby for the veterinary and animal care teams.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & Friends: Rudolph & Friends will return for the 2017 season, with additional Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-themed experiences for families to enjoy the Christmas spirit even more.

2017 Events: Seven Seas Food Festival, a popular music and food event at SeaWorld in San Diego and San Antonio, is now coming to Orlando in 2017. SeaWorld Orlando’s popular music and food events will expand to a total of 14 weekends and roll-up under the Seven Seas brand.


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I-Drive 360 to Spend $100 Million on New Attractions

The dust has barely settled on the new I-Drive 360 entertainment, retail and dining attraction in Orlando as they announce the addition of $100 million in new attractions.

According to the Orlando Business Journal, I-Drive 360 is ready to begin the next phase of development on the International Drive destination.

Development will include a new zip-line, rope obstacle course, indoor flight simulator and another tower thrill ride. A 400+ unit, five-story apartment complex is also proposed.

The permitting process will begin soon with plans to break ground “as soon as possible” next year. Some of the attractions could be open by summer 2017.


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“Skull Island: Reign of Kong” Is Now Open At Universal Orlando Resort

Excited guests gathered in Universal’s Islands of Adventure to help mark the official opening of Universal Orlando Resort’s newest mega attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong brings the next generation of the King Kong legend to life on an unprecedented scale. The adventure begins as guests are transported deep into a mysterious world, where their mission is to discover creatures of unknown origin with the 8th Wonder Expedition Company, the research team leading the excursion. After braving ancient temple ruins and encountering hostile natives, they board a massive 40-foot-long, 17-ton expedition vehicle to navigate the increasingly foreboding terrain.

The specially designed expedition vehicle, which operates on a completely trackless ride system, takes guests deeper into the ominous island, where they soon find themselves in the midst of a brutal struggle between beasts of unimaginable size and ferocity.

Then, as those creatures turn on the expedition, there is an even more enormous, earth-pounding presence. It is Kong – in the flesh. Towering nearly three stories tall, he is so close that you can feel his breath and sense his emotion. But is he friend or foe?


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