Tag Archives: attractions

Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration is Now Officially Open

Universal Orlando Resort’s all-new nighttime lagoon show – Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration – is officially open at Universal Studios Florida. Guests now have a brand-new way to cap off their day in Universal Studios as they enjoy an “epic cinema under the stars” in the heart of the theme park.

The show seamlessly blends panoramic water screens accented by multi-layer water screens, pyrotechnics, lasers, projection mapping and more than 120 dancing fountains to transform the lagoon and surrounding buildings into a vivid celebration of beloved characters from Universal attractions and some of the world’s biggest films. And guests will watch it all come to life in an all-new dedicated viewing area designed specifically for the show.


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Guests will witness moments from the Harry Potter film series conjured by way of spells, terrifying roars from Jurassic World dinosaurs, high-octane action from the Fast & Furious films, mischief by the Minions from Illumination’s Despicable Me and more come to life each night in the heart of the Universal Studios lagoon.

Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration runs select nights this summer. Guests can now enjoy two spectacular nighttime shows during their visit to Universal Orlando Resort this summer – Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration in Universal Studios Florida and The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

For more information, dates and times for Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

Roaring Springs Splashes Into ZooTampa at Lowry Park

ZooTampa at Lowry Park kicks off the summer with a splash as it introduces its brand-new family water adventure, Roaring Springs presented by Pinch A Penny. Following the debut of a refreshed, contemporary identity featuring a new logo and revitalized vision, ZooTampa launched its most thrilling expansion to date with the opening of Roaring Springs.

Roaring Springs will allow guests of all ages to discover a hidden part of Florida full of unexpected adventure and thrills. Explorers will board a boat and gently drift along a crystal-clear spring surrounded by native landscape and wildlife. The journey takes a sudden turn when the elevation drops. Guests will feel a rush of adrenaline as they experience a 3-story splashdown. The less adventurous can also revel in a rip-roaring splash on Lookout Landing, the bridge overseeing the attraction.

The journey continues as guests get back to nature and see a hidden part of Florida that remains untouched – a Florida that requires no filter. The area will combine old Florida charm with a nod to the original Florida way of life. Explorers will catch a glimpse of black bears, alligators, panthers, Key deer and other native species as they trek along the winding Florida Trail.

Roaring Springs is a welcome and refreshing escape for the entire family from the Florida heat. The attraction is also the Zoo’s largest expansion in ten years.

“Part of our mission is to create exceptional, personalized experiences that connect people with wildlife and each other in fun, immersive ways,” said the Zoo’s CEO, Joe Couceiro. “Roaring Springs will provide thrills for guests while the continued transformation of the Florida Region improves the Zoo’s capacity to rescue threatened native wildlife throughout the state. With these enhancements, the evolution of the Zoo continues and gives our guests reasons to keep coming back.”

The water adventure is set within the town of Roaring Springs featuring a traditional Country Store with Florida souvenirs and local novelties. Joe’s Diner serves classic Florida favorites, including adult beverages and food options – from conch fritters to fish tacos to frozen rum drinks. Adults can indulge in these treats while kids enjoy the town’s new play area.

The Zoo’s family membership continues to provide Tampa’s best values for the whole family for an entire year including previewing Roaring Springs, unlimited admission to the zoo, and all seasonal events for 12 full months from the date of purchase.

Guests who purchase memberships or admissions to the Zoo are helping support the Zoo’s mission to protect and preserve wildlife. For more information on ticket pricing and benefits visit the website at zootampa.org/tickets.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

Nearly 42 Million Americans Will Kick Off Summer with a Memorial Day Getaway

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and Americans will kick off the season by traveling in near-record numbers. According to AAA, more than 41.5 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, nearly 5 percent more than last year and the most in more than a dozen years. With nearly 2 million additional people taking to planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transportation, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects travel delays on major roads could be up to three times longer than normal, with the busiest days being Thursday and Friday (May 24-25) as commuters mix with holiday travelers.

“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”

The vast majority of travelers – 36.6 million – will hit the road this Memorial Day, 4.7 percent more than last year.

Read the complete AAA article…

From Fantasy to Free-Falling: Orlando’s 10 New Summer Attractions

Named one of Travelocity’s Coolest Places to Go in 2018 for Family Travel and AAA’s Top Domestic Summer Destination, Orlando has a fresh lineup of thrilling attractions arriving this summer, giving travelers 10 new reasons to explore the destination, including those inside Orlando’s legendary theme parks, as well as beyond.

Attraction Tips and Deals

  • The destination’s only official visitor center, operated by Visit Orlando, offers deals, unbiased expert advice and Instagram-worthy photo ops for guests. The Visit Orlando center is located at 8102 International Drive in the heart of Orlando’s tourism district.
  • For those buying attraction tickets online, Visit Orlando is offering an additional 5 percent off already-discounted tickets from May 14 through June 10 by using promo code SAVE5 at VisitOrlando.com/tickets.

Movies and Fantasy Worlds Come to Life

  1. Universal Studios Florida will put visitors right in the middle of the action with the new Fast & Furious- Supercharged ride, based on the popular film franchise, where an after-race party turns into a high-speed race to escape a criminal cartel.
  2. Disney’s Hollywood Studios opens Toy Story Land on June 30, featuring two new attractions, along with new dining and merchandise locations. The rides Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers will take visitors right into Andy’s imagination as they join beloved characters in their adventures.
  3. Walt Disney World Resort will make Orlando even hotter with their Incredible Summer, featuring all-new character entertainment and special events. At Magic Kingdom, guests can party with The Incredibles’ Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible and Frozone, while Guardians of the Galaxy’s Star-Lord and Gamora team up with an alien band at Epcot to play tunes from those movies’ soundtracks.
  4. Madame Tussauds Orlando’s “Justice League: A Call for Heroes” will allow guests to jump in on the action as a loyal sidekick to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s Batman starting May 25. Replica props and costumes related to each superhero character’s wax figure will provide an added dimension of authenticity and realism to the immersive experience.
  5. LEGOLAND Florida Resort put the pedal to the plastic when The Great LEGO Race opened on March 23. The thrill ride experience is the first VR roller coaster experience designed for kids, and features Lego minifigures, a rocket-powered surfboard and an espresso-fueled scooter.

Outdoor Adventures and Record-Setting Thrills

  1. SeaWorld Orlando debuts Infinity Falls this summer, a whitewater rapid adventure raft ride through a lost jungle. The journey will send guests through fountains and waterfalls before dropping 40 feet – a world record for a river raft ride – into churning whitewater.
  2. Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark brings big thrills this summer with Ray Rush, featuring three ways to get soaked. First, water jets launch the raft in a burst of speed. Riders then spin through a water sphere before swooping across giant manta wings.
  3. The Orlando Starflyer, the world’s tallest swing ride, opens on International Drive June 1. At 450 feet tall, the ride offers open-air views of the destination for up to 24 guests at once, swinging them through the air at up to 60 miles an hour at top speed.
  4. Orlando Watersports Complex debuted Central Florida’s first Aquapark, which features a modular series of inflatable, interlocking climbing obstacles, pathways and slides for hours of watery fun. This water park also offers wakeboarding, wakeskating, wakesurfing, kneeboarding and waterskiing for children and adults.
  5. Nona Adventure Park promises to please thrill seekers and outdoor adventurers this summer, with rock climbing towers, an inflatable water park, a bistro and snack bar, a pro shop and the world’s first solar-powered water ski and wakeboard cable park.

The Orlando Destination
Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, Orlando – Theme Park Capital of the World® is the No. 1 family vacation destination and most visited destination in the United States. An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

A New Record for U.S. Travel: Orlando First to Surpass 70 Million Annual Visitors

Tourism officials announced today a historic milestone in the travel industry as Orlando became the first U.S. destination to surpass 70 million annual visitors. In 2017, 72 million visitors traveled to Orlando, an increase of more than 5 percent over the prior year, once again making it America’s most-visited destination.

Visit Orlando, the region’s official destination tourism and marketing organization, shared the number today at a special gathering of more than 1,000 tourism and community leaders.

“Our record-breaking year was achieved despite international headwinds and the statewide effects of Hurricane Irma,” said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. “In 2017, our destination launched new consumer experiences on a significant scale and our marketing efforts leveraged increasing consumer confidence in the United States. We also continued our focus on communicating the unique emotional connection visitors have with Orlando.”

“Orlando’s record-setting visitation affirms the city as a leader in the U.S. travel industry,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “The success in Orlando is great, not just for this iconic destination, but for travel as a whole. As the U.S. overall looks to regain its share of the global travel market, this new milestone in Orlando is a welcome reminder of the resiliency of this industry.”

Orlando reached a host of new milestones in 2017 including:

  • Record number of U.S. visitors
  • Record convention attendance: The Orange County Convention Center welcomed an unprecedented 1.53 million attendees (+5.0 percent).
  • Record airline arrivals: Orlando International Airport became the busiest airport in Florida, with 44.6 million passengers (+6.4 percent).

In addition to the openings of new attractions, resorts and dining venues, Orlando’s visitation benefited from new and adjusted destination marketing strategies from Visit Orlando.

  • Domestically, Visit Orlando recognized the potential of the country’s growing positive economic indicators and increased marketing initiatives focused on U.S. audiences, with a special emphasis in the important Northeast region. Domestic visitation for 2017 grew to an all-time record total of 65.86 million.
  • Internationally, with several key markets facing uncertainties, Visit Orlando maintained its extensive marketing, brand and publicity programs to retain Orlando’s leading position as a top international destination, with 6.15 million visitors.
  • Swiftly addressing potential concerns after Hurricane Irma struck in September, Visit Orlando quickly launched initiatives to demonstrate how Orlando tourism areas rebounded. This was accomplished through social media and publicity campaigns that used authentic visuals of real guests, in real-time, enjoying and commenting on the status of the destination.

About Visit Orlando
Visit Orlando, The Official Tourism Association®, represents the most visited destination in the United States, with a presence in more than a dozen countries around the world. Visit Orlando, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents every segment of the area’s leading industry.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

There’s Something New for Thrill Seekers at U.S. Theme Parks and Water Parks in 2018

Record numbers of theme park visitors are preparing for thrilling and memorable new experiences as the unofficial theme park season opens Memorial Day Weekend.

According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ IAAPA Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook Report (2017 to 2021), in 2018 the anticipated U.S. theme and amusement park attendance estimate is 398.5 million and guest spending will grow to an estimated $23.58 billion.

Roller coasters are a big part of new development across the country this season, and an abundance of new rides and experiences—more than 70 according to an early 2018 IAAPA compilation—include water slides, kiddie rides and new themed lands.

“There really is something new for everyone this season,” said Susan Storey, communications director, IAAPA. “The industry is innovative and dynamic, and this year many destinations are debuting their own ‘spin’ on amusement park favorites, infusing speed and height with twists and turns and even unexpected ‘surprise’ elements. The best part is many of these experiences were created for the entire family—kids and adults—to enjoy together.”

According to park guest surveys, roller coasters remain the top-rated ride of interest to park guests, and 2018 will see many new coasters deliver big thrills, added Storey.

With 12 roller coasters, four giant swings, four towering rides and, many more unique experiences to excite visitors, parks across the country are ready for a season filled with fun. Family entertainment centers are a segment of the attractions industry that continues to grow and expand, offering an array of experiences from golf and go-karting to ziplines and trampolines. These traditionally smaller destinations provide a mix of activities designed for parents and kids to experience together. Families can also soak up the fun at the nation’s water parks, with many new water slides and water attractions making a splash all season long.

The list of new attractions is available at http://bit.ly/2G7DCOd

“Summer is synonymous with the attractions industry and our member facilities continue to create new and memorable experiences for their guests,” said Storey. “This year is truly an exciting one for the business of fun.”


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

I-4 Ramp to Adventure Way Closing Nightly Thru May 3

Motorists looking to head to the attractions area at night could encounter the nightly closure of the westbound Interstate 4 (I-4) exit ramp to Adventure Way.

The ramp closes from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. thru May 3 to assist with ongoing work at the Kirkman Road (State Road 435) and I-4 interchange.

Modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving through the work zone.


For more I-4 construction information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

Unwind Oceanside at Cocoa Beach Uncorked Food and Wine Festival

Showcasing Central Florida’s most-renowned chefs, restaurants and breweries, the second annual Cocoa Beach Uncorked Food and Wine Festival takes place April 28-29 at Alan Shepard Park.

The two-day celebration of food, wine and craft beer offers attendees a chance to indulge in the finest tastes the region has to offer, while unwinding along Cocoa Beach’s spectacular oceanfront.

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Legoland Florida Debuts New Virtual Reality Coaster

Brick fans, start your engines! The newest attraction at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort combines roller coaster thrills with virtual reality (VR) technology to put guests in the center of an action-packed road rally where the laws of physics and aerodynamics only loosely apply.

Now open at the multi-day vacation destination, The Great LEGO® Race invites guests into a virtual world where they’re the star of a rollicking race against several LEGO minifigure competitors – all while taking an exciting roller coaster ride.

Wearing optional VR headsets while riding the roller coaster, guests experience the point of view of a LEGO race car driver with action taking place in every direction — up, down, forward, backward and all points in between — in a dazzling environment where everything is made of LEGO bricks.

The wild and wacky race pits guests against a LEGO pirate, wizard, surfer, trendsetter and pharaoh driving brick-built vehicles like a rocket-powered windsurfing rig, a stylish scooter fueled by espresso and an ornately canopied bed (called a “litter”) carried by mummy servants.

The adventure begins as guests step through the ride’s bold new entry portal, which features giant versions of several minifigure racers and their custom LEGO vehicles. The nearby queue is filled with colorful graphics representing each of the five racing teams, with themed elements to entertain waiting riders and video screens demonstrating the virtual reality experience.

Once guests are dispatched aboard the ride vehicles, sophisticated technology syncs the virtual visuals with the roller coaster’s twists, turns, drops and climbs, creating an all-new experience filled with action, surprises and humor — an experience only LEGOLAND could create.

Developed under the supervision of Merlin Magic Making, the company’s global creative and delivery division, The Great LEGO Race is the first virtual reality roller coaster experience designed for kids and represents the first time the LEGO brand and minifigure characters have been integrated with the state-of-the-art technology in a theme park attraction.

“The Great LEGO Race was inspired by the way kids play with LEGO toys at home,” said Candy Holland, senior creative director for Merlin Magic Making. “It’s a unique LEGO adventure that lets kids enter an epic, imaginary world made entirely from LEGO bricks, featuring a host of different themes and fun LEGO characters all mixed up together.”


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Honors Two Decades of Wild Encounters With 20th Anniversary Celebration

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will mark its 20th anniversary on Earth Day, April 22, with more wild adventures than ever before – kicking off spring and setting the stage for an incredible summer filled with all-new events and experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Commemorating the milestone year, the 500-acre adventure park will offer animal encounters, family-friendly activities, specialty desserts and more during an expanded Party for the Planet celebration April 22-May 5.

Over the two-week “Party for the Planet celebration, guests can attend conservation talks by animal-care experts and participate in enhanced interactions with some of the more than 2,000 animals that make their home at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited park.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch will take center stage for the year-long 20th anniversary. It’s home to fun educational exhibits and activities that help create awareness of animal issues. During the 20th anniversary, Rafiki’s Planet Watch will offer backstage experiences with experts where guests can learn about animal nutrition, visit the veterinary hospital and hear how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation.


Find Your Perfect Room Near Disney’s Animal Kingdom!


Guests can also commemorate their visits to the theme park with special photo opportunities. They can step into an oversized picture frame celebrating the park’s 20th anniversary. Other photo frames support Disney’s “Reverse the Decline,” an initiative created to help protect 10 threatened animal species. One recent success of the program was the birth of two critically endangered Sumatran Tiger Cubs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Just for kids is the chance to earn a limited-edition badge as part of the Wilderness Explorer program. The badge is one of many that youngsters can earn by completing fun activities throughout the park.

Party for the Planet will also include six different Tiffins Talks – themed dinners hosted by animal experts at Tiffins, the theme park’s signature, full-service restaurant. Watch the Disney Parks Blog for more information.

The 20th anniversary fun also includes a commemorative adventure guide, limited-edition merchandise, and a special-edition print created by renowned Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde. He will be available on April 22 from 1-4 p.m. to sign prints at Discovery Trading Company. Quantities are limited. For more information on Party for the Planet, visit Disneyworld.com/PartyforthePlanet.

Here are other experiences and adventures rolling out in 2018 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • April 22 will mark the debut of a brand-new show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar animated comedy-adventure film “UP.” The show will give guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his fuzzy friend Dug in a new adventure that includes encounters with exotic birds from around the world. This free-flying show will be performed multiple times daily.
  • A “dino-tastic” celebration with Donald and his friends will also premiere Memorial Day weekend in DinoLand, U.S.A. This dinosaur-themed party celebrates Donald Duck’s discovery that his bird ancestors were actually dinosaurs. DinoLand U.S.A. will feature colorful new décor and playful character greetings with rarely seen pals like Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and more. A DJ-powered dance party will mix tunes from the truck-o-saurus stage, capping the nighttime festivities.
  • Memorial Day 2018 commemorates the one-year anniversary of Pandora – The World of Avatar. Here, travelers are transported to a mystical world of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking new experiences. Inspired by the blockbuster film, AVATAR, the epic land invites guests to explore a glowing landscape, encounter a larger-than-life Na’vi Shaman of Songs and soar on the back of a banshee.

For more information about the 20th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, visit DisneyWorld.com/AnimalKingdom.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.