Tag Archives: thrill rides

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.


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!

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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.


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 Guide, I-5 Exit Guide, I-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

 

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.


For more I-4 attraction 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!

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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.


For more I-4 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!

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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.


For more I-4 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!

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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.


For more I-4 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 Guide, I-5 Exit Guide, I-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

 

“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?


For more I-4 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!

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Top 5 Spring Break Destinations

Where are we going on Spring Break in 2016?

After a long winter, Spring Break couldn’t come soon enough for many of us. Google has determined the top Spring Break destinations based on searches related to Spring Break travel. Here are the top 5 destinations where US travelers may be headed this year.

Panama City Beach, Florida

Panama City Beach, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide
Gulf of Mexico view from Panama City Beach – Panama City, Florida

Panama City Beach is a city in Bay County, Florida, United States, on the Gulf of Mexico coast. The city is often referred to under the umbrella term of “Panama City”, despite being a distinct municipality from the older and larger inland Panama City to the east, making Panama City and Panama City Beach two separate cities. Panama City Beach’s slogan is “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches” due to the unique sugar-white sandy beaches of northwest Florida.

Panama City Beach has been a popular vacation destination, especially among people in the Southern United States. The city is also a very popular spring break destination, sometimes having been referred to as “The Spring Break Capital of the World,” due to about 100,000+ college and high school students who would arrive during the months of March and April.

South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island, Texas | I-4 Exit Guide
Beach of South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island is a resort town in Cameron County, Texas. It is part of the Brownsville–Harlingen Metropolitan Area. The town is located on South Padre Island, a barrier island along the Texas Gulf Coast accessible via the Queen Isabella Causeway from the town of Port Isabel.

South Padre Island is home to many watersport activities, with personal water craft rental, kiteboarding and dolphin watches being the most popular. Other favorites are horseback riding adventures on the beach and ecological tours that explore Padre Island National Seashore.

In March, the island is a popular spring break destination for college students from around the world. The rest of the year it is a popular family resort destination, with July being the most crowded.

Disney World, Bay Lake, Florida

Disneyworld's Magic Kingdom | I-4 Exit Guide
Main Street of the Magic Kingdom at Disneyworld, Bay Lake, Florida

The granddaddy of all theme parks, and the number one vacation destination, Disney World is a perennial favorite for Spring Breakers. Disney World, is an entertainment complex in Bay Lake, Florida, near Kissimmee and Orlando, and is the flagship of Disney’s worldwide corporate empire. The resort opened on October 1, 1971, and is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an attendance of over 52 million annually.

Disney property covers 27,258 acres, housing 27 themed resort hotels, nine non–Disney hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, four golf courses, one nine-hole walking golf course for young golfers, two themed miniature golf courses, one camping resort, a downtown-like shopping district, and other entertainment venues. Magic Kingdom was the first and original theme park to open in the complex followed by Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which opened later throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida

Universal Orlando | I-4 Exit Guide
Hogsmeade Village inside Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida

Spring Breakers aren’t necessarily looking for an ocean view and sandy beaches. If you’re a theme park fan and yearn for state-of-the-art attractions and entertainment, this is the place. The Universal Orlando Resort, commonly known as Universal Orlando, is a theme park resort in Orlando, Florida. Universal Orlando is the largest property operated by Universal Parks & Resorts, is the largest resort in Orlando, Florida, and is the second-largest resort in Greater Orlando after Walt Disney World.

Universal Orlando consists of two theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure), a night-time entertainment complex (Universal CityWalk Orlando), and four Loews Hotels (Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Cabana Bay Beach Resort).

Cocoa Beach, Florida

Cocoa Beach Florida | I-4 Exit Guide
View of the Atlantic Ocean from Cocoa Beach, Florida

Cocoa Beach is a city in Brevard County, Florida. It’s a destination year-round, and one of America’s favorite Spring Break locations. You’ll find 6 miles of ocean beaches with excellent beach access from one end of the city to the other, 3 oceanfront parks, a 27-hole public golf course on the Banana River, excellent hotel / motel accommodations , and a wide range of dining choices to fit the taste buds and budget of everyone.

Be awed – Watch a space launch from the Beach! Kennedy and Cape Canaveral Space Launch Centers are just a few miles to the north. Even the locals come out to watch the spectacular views of day and night launches. Or spend a day visiting the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex – less than 30 minutes away.

Cocoa Beach is just minutes from Florida’s fastest growing port – Port Canaveral. Embark from the world class cruise terminals aboard affordable cruises to exotic Caribbean destinations or take a day cruise aboard a casino ship. Deep-sea fishing boats and day sails are also available at the Port.

Source: Google Trends, Jan. 2011–Jan. 2015, Travel, United States.
Source: Google Data, Feb. 2015, United States.


For more I-4 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 Guide, I-5 Exit Guide, I-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

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.


For more I-4 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-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide, I-75 Exit Guide and I-95 Exit Guide.