Category Archives: Attractions

New Year Brings New Values at Four Florida Parks

Visitors and Florida residents can now choose from a variety of new admission products for the Busch Gardens and SeaWorld family of parks that provide more value and flexibility.

For tourists visiting Florida, the NEW “Choose Your Adventure” ticket option simplifies vacation planning so guests can enjoy multiple visits to four of the Sunshine State’s most popular theme parks. The program allows guests to customize their ideal itinerary AND receive substantial savings for each additional park or visit — the more they visit, the more they save.

Guests can create their own favorite theme park adventure across the following four parks: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, SeaWorld Orlando, Adventure Island Tampa Bay and Aquatica Orlando.

For example, when tickets are purchased in advance, online, special prices are as low as:

  • One visit to any park – $79
  • Two visits to any of the parks – $99
  • Three visits to any of the parks – $109
  • For the ultimate adventure deal — the new Length-of-Stay ticket provides 14 consecutive days of unlimited adventure to all four of the popular Florida theme parks, along with free parking at each, for one low price of $139.

FLORDA RESIDENTS

There also are new values for Florida residents who are looking to visit all year long, with incentives for purchasing early in the year.

  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island “BOGO Fun Card”: Now through February 29, guests who buy a Fun Card to Busch Gardens also will receive a FREE Fun Card to Adventure Island.
  • SeaWorld Orlando “Preschool Card”: For a limited time, SeaWorld Orlando will offer kids ages five and younger a FREE Preschool Card valid for unlimited admission through December 31, 2016. Cards must be registered online and redeemed in the park by May 27, 2016.
  • Annual Pass: The best value at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is the Annual Pass with unlimited admission all year, free parking, no blockoutdates and special benefits. NEW this year for Pass Members are enhanced Instant Rewards – a 12-month calendar of exclusive offerings each month such as discounts, ticket offers and free gifts. With a new reward each month, there is incentive to purchase early and enjoy the full year of offers. With EZ Pay, Annual Passes start at just $14 per month for one park, and $18 per month for both parks.

To learn more about the new ticket offers visit BuschGardensTampa.com or SeaWorldOrlando.com and join the conversation with @BuschGardens, @SeaWorld onFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Busch Gardens Tampa Recognized As One Of The World’s Top Amusement Parks

Busch Gardens® Tampa was recently recognized as a winner in the 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ awards and in USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice awards.

TripAdvisor recognized Busch Gardens as one of the Top Amusement Parks in the World. The leading travel site highlights the World’s top attractions, based on the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for amusement parks worldwide gathered over a 12-month period.

Adding to the excitement, Busch Gardens’ Iceploration show was a winner in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest for Best Amusement Park Entertainment. Nominees are chosen by a panel of relevant experts, which include a combination of editors from USA TODAY and 10Best.com, relevant expert contributors and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties. Voters are then given four weeks to vote for their candidate of choice.

Busch Gardens is the ultimate family adventure, combining world-class thrill rides, live entertainment and more than 12,000 animals. Venture across the Serengeti Plain® and race like a cheetah aboard Florida’s first triple-launch coaster Cheetah Hunt®. Plus, enjoy the fully-remodeled Pantopia® with shopping, dining, live entertainment and North America’s tallest freestanding drop tower, Falcon’s Fury®.


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Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Announces New Lands, Entertainment and Experiences

Disney announced a line-up of new attractions and entertainment coming to its theme parks around the world during the D23 EXPO 2015 in Anaheim, California.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek gave 7,500 lucky fans a behind-the-scenes look at what’s to come.  He was joined by Imagineers working on these projects as well as legendary filmmakers James Cameron and Jon Landau who shared new details about Pandora – The World of AVATAR including the names of the land and E-ticket attraction – AVATAR Flight of Passage.  Fans also got a chance to see Marvel legend Stan Lee in a cameo appearance where he posed as an unsuspecting fan during Iron Man’s dramatic entrance.

Among the many announcements Chapek shared were new and enhanced Star Wars experiences coming later this year to theFlorida and California theme parks, plans for a new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and more details on Pandora—The World of AVATAR, which is already under construction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Chapek also shared that Soarin’ Around the World will make its U.S. film debut at Epcot and Disney California Adventure taking guests to new places around the world.  Additionally, fans got a preview of exclusive video of the first Marvel attraction planned for Disney parks, coming to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2016.

“From Disneyland’s 60th anniversary celebration to the anticipation of Shanghai Disney Resort, we’re in the midst of unprecedented growth and expansion around the globe,” said Chapek. “With these new announcements, we continue our legacy in creating innovative attractions, worldwide entertainment, and magical lands that take our guests into the worlds of stories they love.”

In addition to these announcements, Chapek talked about the exciting news announced earlier in the day by Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger for plans to bring Star Wars-themed lands to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando and Disneyland park in Anaheim.  Each 14-acre land will transport guests to a never-before-seen planet with two signature attractions, including a customized secret mission on the Millennium Falcon and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle.

Details on each of the projects include:

Star Wars Enhancements & New Experiences
From a new Star Tours adventure to Star Wars Launch Bay, from a new Jedi Training Academy to “Season of the Force,” soon guests will be part of both new and enhanced experiences at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue – Later this year, Star Tours will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, giving guests a new adventure in the Star Wars galaxy.
  • Star Wars Launch Bay – This interactive experience will take guests into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with special exhibits and peeks behind-the-scenes, including opportunities to visit with new and favorite Star Wars characters, special merchandise and food offerings.  Star Wars Launch Bay will be located in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and in Tomorrowland at Disneyland park.  Also at Disneyland park, Star Wars Launch Bay will share the space with the reimagined Super Hero HQ, featuring opportunities to meet and take photos with super heroes like Captain America and Thor, as well as experience the returning Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries.  Both experiences will be available for guests later this year.
  • Jedi Training Academy — A favorite of younger fans is reimagined with a new experience that includes new characters and a new villain to battle from the popular Disney XD series “Star Wars Rebels.”
  • Season of the Force – This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both coasts.  In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment throughout the land, themed food locations and more. Guests also will be thrilled to climb aboard Hyperspace Mountain, a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction, in which guests will join an X-wing Starfighter battle. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will close out weekend nights with a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies.

Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida
The reimagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studios will take guests to infinity and beyond, allowing them to step into the worlds of their favorite films, starting with Toy Story Land.  This new 11-acre land will transport guests into the adventurous outdoors of Andy’s backyard.  Guests will think they’ve been shrunk to the size of Woody and Buzz as they are surrounded by oversized toys that Andy has assembled using his vivid imagination.  Using toys like building blocks, plastic buckets and shovels, and game board pieces, Andy has designed the perfect setting for this land, which will include two new attractions for any Disney park and one expanded favorite.

  • Family-friendly roller coaster – All on the back of Slinky Dog, this coaster will zip and zoom, plunge and coast as it takes guests on a fun, toy-filled adventure throughout the new land.
  • Alien saucers attraction – The famous little green aliens from the movie will take guests around for a spin in their very own flying saucers.  The music, lighting and sound effects add to the flurry of action, while “The Claw” looms over.
  • Toy Story Mania! – Guests glide into the Toy Story Midway Games Play Set  and take aim at 3D objects in a variety of fast-paced games, with an expansion that adds a third track to this popular attraction.

After Dark at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Pandora – The World of AVATAR  

As part of the largest expansion in the park’s history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will immerse guests into the world of Pandora, and the entire park will transform after dark with new nighttime entertainment experiences, offering guests longer days than ever before to experience this one-of-a-kind theme park.

  • “Rivers of Light” – Expected to open next spring, “Rivers of Light” will be an innovative experience unlike anything ever seen in a Disney park, combining live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. “Rivers of Light” will magically come to life on the natural stage of Discovery River, delighting guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris – This popular attraction will be extended for a new nighttime adventure next spring, where guests will travel through the African savanna amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.
  • Pandora – The World of AVATAR – Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will journey into the magnificent world of Pandora at this new AVATAR-themed land – a world that includes floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and the winged creatures known as Banshees, giving guests a transformational experience they will never forget.
    • AVATAR Flight of Passage – This E-ticket attraction, the centerpiece of Pandora, allows guests to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience will give guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage.

Soarin’ Around the World in Florida and California
Next year, guests at Epcot in Florida and Disney California Adventure in California will journey to far-flung lands and fly above some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders when the new Soarin’ Around the World makes its U.S. debut.

Iron Man Unveiled for Hong Kong Disneyland
Iron Man landed at D23 EXPO today for a special appearance, and soon Hong Kong Disneyland guests will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with the Super Hero himself. Set to open in 2016, Iron Man Experience will be the first Marvel attraction at any Disney park, taking guests on an epic adventure over the streets and in the sky above Hong Kong.  The adventure will begin at the new Stark Expo where guests board the Iron Wing to take flight and battle Hydra alongside fan-favorite Avenger, Iron Man.


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Margaritaville Resort Coming to Orlando

Margaritaville Holdings LLC, and Encore Capital Management announce the development of a Margaritaville Resort community in Orlando. Guests will be transported to paradise and a vacation state of mind through the Margaritaville branded resort that will include a hotel, vacation ownership and vacation homes. Inspired by the lifestyle celebrated in Jimmy Buffett’s iconic songs, the resort will become an oasis for relaxation and fun – that “one particular harbour,” and will offer many experiential opportunities including a “FinCity” arcade, a St. Somewhere Spa, a planetarium and the Son of a Sailor fishing school, paddleboarding and kayaking. Ancillary to the Margaritaville Hotel, Encore is developing its own proprietary brands for food and beverage outlets, which will be owned and operated independently by Encore or its subsidiaries.

“This vacation resort – offering such a variety of lodging options – will make Margaritaville available to everyone looking for a port of paradise in Orlando,” said John Cohlan, CEO of Margaritaville Holdings LLC. “Margaritaville is about escapism, relaxation, and vacation and we are excited to partner with Encore to develop such an exceptional experience.”

The 300-acre community will be located on US Highway 192 near State Road 429 in western Osceola County. The project will include an expansive aquatic amenity and lake with beach area. The community will also feature 170,000 square feet of retail and a regional water park.

“We’re excited to partner with an established lifestyle brand and develop a unique resort offering in this key area of Central Florida,” said Encore co-founder and Managing Principal, Art Falcone. “There is no other lifestyle brand that knows how to vacation like Margaritaville and we look forward to building this destination experience in Orlando.”

Photo Update: A Ride On The Orlando Eye

While construction of some of the other parcels are still underway, “I-Drive 360” a new entertainment, dining and shopping complex is now open.

The 400′ Orlando Eye stands proudly, it’s 30 passenger capsules, each holding up to 15 passengers slowly rotating day and night. Passengers enjoy a 360-degree view of Central Florida below. Every cabin offers guests the comfort of air-conditioning, bench seating, lighting and audio effects for the 20-minute flight experience.

We took a ride on the wheel this week. Here’s our photo update. Click photos for a larger view:

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Main Terminal Building and the entrance to the Orlando Eye.

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Main Terminal Building and the entrance to Orlando Sea Life Aquarium.

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Main Terminal Building Food Court which includes Little Italy, ChickeNow, DJ’s Mexican Grill, and China Max.

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Main Terminal Building and the entrance to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Main Terminal Building. Food court and Orlando Sea Life Aquarium entrance.

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Aboard the Orlando Eye. On the way up looking down at the I-Drive 360 courtyard.

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Aboard the Orlando Eye looking north towards Sand Lake Road and Universal Studios.

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Aboard the Orlando Eye. Same view looking north, just a little higher…

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Aboard the Orlando Eye. Looking northeast with Universal Boulevard below and the Orlando city skyline in the distance.

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Aboard the Orlando Eye. Looking east with the Lockheed-Martin plant in the foreground.

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Aboard the Orlando Eye. Looking northwest with intersection of International Drive and Sand lake Road in the foreground.

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Aboard the Orlando Eye. On the way down, looking south, with the Orlando Convention Center on the left.

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Aboard the Orlando Eye. Looking southwest towards Disneyworld. EPCOT’s Spaceship Earth can be seen on the horizon to the right…

 

I-Drive 360 | I-4 Exit Guide
Aboard the Orlando Eye. Looking south, with Universal Boulevard on the left and International Drive on the right.

 


 

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SeaWorld Announces Mako Hypercoaster Coming in 2016

SeaWorld Entertainment, a leading theme park and entertainment company, has announced big thrills for vacationers in 2016 at SeaWorld Orlando.

Surfacing at SeaWorld Orlando will be Mako, a 200-foot-tall hypercoaster that will reach 73 mph along 4,760 feet of steel track – nearly a mile long — and leave riders feeling both breathless and weightless. Named for one of the ocean’s fastest known sharks, Mako will be Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster.

“On Mako, guests will experience what it’s like to be this apex predator, surging through the water at top speed and chasing prey throughout a massive reef,” said Brian Morrow, Senior Director of Development and Design for SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “It will be a wild mix of fear, thrills and fun.”

The new coaster also will become one of the world’s few true hypercoasters, a group of roller coasters known for high speeds and steep drops and hills that create a feeling of weightlessness or “air time.”

SeaWorld’s new hypercoaster will be the centerpiece of the newly themed surrounding realm focused on sharks. The 2-acre plaza will be redesigned with new pathway theming and educational experiences, and feature Mako, Shark Encounter, Sharks Underwater Grill, and themed shops.


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Big Thrills Coming in 2016 to Busch Gardens Tampa

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a leading theme park and entertainment company, has announced big thrills for vacationers in 2016 at Busch Gardens® Tampa.

Busch Gardens Tampa will put a spin on thrills with a brand new family thrill ride – Cobra’s Curse. This spin coaster is the only one of its kind in the world, and only found at Busch Gardens in Tampa.

In addition to featuring a vertical lift, riders will experience several sensations on this whirlwind adventure of exciting explorations, including a forward-facing position, backward-facing position, and then the signature element of Cobra’s Curse, the free-spinning position.

“This isn’t your ordinary spin coaster. Busch Gardens is putting a twist on this attraction and taking riders on an unforgettable and exciting journey,” said Morrow.

Located in the Egypt area of the park, explorers will come face-to-face with an 80-foot snake icon, trek over the park’s Serengeti Plain® and discover the mysteries of an Egyptian archeological excavation.


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Volcano Bay At Universal Orlando Resort Will Be A Water Theme Park Built On A Bold Creative Vision

Universal Orlando Resort announced a project of remarkable vision: to bring to life an entirely new water theme park experience. Called Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort, it will join Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure and become the resort’s third incredibly immersive park.

Universal’s Volcano Bay will be a place for the entire family. It will be a whole new generation of experience that reimagines what it means to be a water park.

Imagine a place that offers radically innovative, thrilling attractions, peaceful moments of relaxation and an inspired guest experience that will forever change the perception of water theme parks. It will be set in a highly themed, completely immersive environment inspired by postcard-perfect tropical islands. And it will be the kind of special place that only the Universal team – the same team that has changed the face of Universal Orlando Resort in recent years – can envision and create.

Universal’s Volcano Bay will be located within Universal Orlando Resort, just south of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Work is already underway and more details will be released in the future.

Universal’s Volcano Bay is the next in a series of boldly creative experiences that have opened and will continue to open at Universal Orlando. It began with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in 2010 and quickly moved to Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Springfield, hometown to America’s favorite animated family, The Simpsons, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, eight new venues at Universal CityWalk, the breathtaking Cabana Bay Beach Resort and more. It will include Skull Island: Reign of Kong and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort in 2016.

And then – in 2017 – will come Universal’s Volcano Bay.


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Orlando’s Holy Land Experience Gaining Reputation as More Than a “Theme Park”

It’s a one-of-a-kind destination for fun, relaxation, and inspiration in the heart of America’s vacation paradise. It’s also a place where individuals and families are coming to receive a life-changing touch from God.

As tens of thousands of vacationers travel to Orlando, Florida over spring break to enjoy the area’s world-class attractions, many are making a point to spend a day or more at Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Holy Land Experience, the unique vacation and worship destination in the heart of Central Florida where the land of the Bible comes alive, and where people are experiencing God’s presence in a powerful way.

“This is more than a theme park,” explained Holy Land Experience manager Mike Everett. “From the quiet and peaceful garden spots throughout the park, to the dynamic and award-winning dramatic productions, interactive exhibits, and even the great play area just for kids — every facet of Holy Land Experience is designed to give individuals and families an unforgettable vacation experience while bringing them closer to the love and life-changing power of Jesus.”

Among the most popular venues in the park is the 2,000-seat Church of All Nations, a state-of-the-art auditorium and worship center that is packed throughout the day with guests who come to experience such acclaimed theatrical productions as Forgiven, The Four Women Who Loved Jesus, The Fullness of Time Has Come, Legna — and The Passion, an unforgettable reenactment of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, during which many Holy Land Experience guests receive a powerful touch from God.

Whitney Lynn Rivera, an award-winning actress at Holy Land Experience, said that she and other actors have the opportunity to pray with guests during and after the productions, and individuals and families are powerfully impacted everyday. “People actually come to Holy Land Experience expecting to receive miracles,” she said. “People come here expecting to be healed. People come here wanting an encounter with God, and they get it!”

Les Cheveldayoff, who has portrayed Jesus at Holy Land Experience for several years, added that the presence of God guests experience during the dramas at the Church of All Nations permeates every inch of the park. “Throughout the day at Holy Land Experience,” he said, “wherever our guests find themselves, God is there to touch them in a life-changing way.”

Among the many unique and memorable interactive exhibits that bring the Bible to life and impact guests at the Holy Land Experience are:

– The Dead Sea Qumran Caves, a re-creation of the mysterious place where many ancient Bible manuscripts were discovered. The exhibit includes a replica of the Upper Room in Jerusalem, where guests can participate in a Last Supper Communion with Jesus and His disciples — and where many have found healing and wholeness.

– The Wilderness Tabernacle, the heart of worship for the children of Israel after their exodus from Egypt. In this awe-inspiring exhibit the High Priest takes guests on a journey through Israel’s ancient priesthood, culminating with a breathtaking depiction of God’s glory revealed above the Ark of the Covenant.

– The Great Temple, the holy place held in highest reverence among the Jewish people. This is a truly breathtaking representation of the temple that once stood on hallowed Mount Moriah in First Century Jerusalem.

– Calvary’s Garden Tomb, a convincing representation of the sacred place where Jesus was laid after His crucifixion — and from which He was gloriously resurrected!

– The world-renowned Scriptorium, a combination museum, library, and research center that holds a collection of priceless manuscripts, scrolls, biblical antiquities, and artifacts. The enlightening presentations that accompany the exhibits offer visitors a close-up view of Bible and church history.

There is also the exquisite Christus Gardens, that features a rare and beautiful art collection of antique figures depicting the life of Christ.

And younger Holy Land Experience guests will enjoy the Smile of a Child Adventure Land, where they can burn up plenty of energy on the totally safe rock-climbing walls and bouncy houses, have their faces painted, and join in kid-style worship and fun!

Guests emphasize that a day at the park is a deeply moving experience that brings tears of joy and worship, along with plenty of laughter and good old-fashioned fun:

– Betty from Colorado said that her day at the park “was one of the most spiritual and moving experiences ever…. I left filled with the Holy Spirit.”

– Linda from Georgia said that “I was touched with compassion by all of the live re-enactments. It really made the Bible come to life.”

– Victor from Florida said that his day at Holy Land Experience “made me laugh, cry, and feel the Lord’s presence.”

– Robert from Illinois said that “the anointing of the Holy Spirit touched my heart and moved me to tears.”

– Faye from Colorado, who came with her husband, said that “I felt like I was walking on holy ground everywhere we went…. Thanks, TBN, for giving us the Holy Land Experience.”

– And a group all the way from Malaysia commented that “we feel like we had a glimpse of heaven, and it made us feel closer to Him.”

Mr. Everett said that changed lives and renewed hearts “are the foundation of everything that goes on at Holy Land Experience, and we are privileged every day to see our friends and guests deeply blessed through their time spent with us.” He added that the traditional spring break and Easter season is a particularly popular time for individuals and families to visit the park. “We look forward to this time every year as so many people come to Central Florida for vacation, and thousands find rest, relaxation, and a lasting touch from God at Holy Land Experience.”

The Orlando Eye in Final Stage of Construction

The last major component in the construction on the Orlando Eye, the passenger cabins, is scheduled to begin this weekend.

Passengers will enter these cabins to ride the 400-foot-tall observation wheel that will give them a panoramic view of International Drive, the Orlando skyline and Central Florida. Each cabin will have air-conditioning, bench seating, lighting and audio effects, and interactive electronics that give riders information about their visual journey.

Merlin Entertainments Ltd. plans to debut three attractions, The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando Wax Museum and Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, as part of a massive project being developed by Orlando-based Unicorp National Developments Inc. and New York-based Circle Entertainment Inc.