Tag Archives | orlando theme park news

Theme Parks Start Year with Resident Ticket Specials

As we enter a new year, there are already a couple of exciting Orlando theme park ticket deals to share. There are also some announcements concerning Central Florida attraction closings. Out with the old, in with the new!

Seaworld Orlando

Preschool Passes

SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens are offering children between ages 5 – 3 free passes in the way of a Preschool Pass. Children 2 and under are already free. The passes will be good through December 31, 2015! The children must be Florida residents and register online. For a younger family, this is a fantastic deal. There are no blackout dates.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Parents can purchase an annual pass so that the entire family can attend the theme park over and over again. With the kids being free, an all-day outing is very affordable. It also makes it easy to go to the theme park for a couple of hours at a time, keeping those little ones busy!

Florida Resident – Discover Disney

Disney has brought back a Florida resident special called Discover Disney. Every year this discounted ticket package is a little different. While the cost changes, the value is still pretty good. Guests 3 and older are allowed to visit 3 Disney theme parks for the price of $139 (up $10 from last year). Spend one day at 3 different parks, or opt in for the more expensive cost of $159 and spend four days at 4 different parks. The visits do not need to be on consecutive days.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you like the idea of hopping from park to park, add on a park-hopper option for $24.50 which will allow a lot of freedom when visiting these Orlando theme parks. There are also specials that will allow water park access (burr!) and golfing.

If it has been awhile since you’ve gone to Disney, this is a good time (and price) to discover it again. This special theme park ticket must be used by June 4, 2015 – visiting all of the parks/days. There are blackout dates during Spring Break (March 30 to April 9) at the Magic Kingdom park. If your relatives from out of state want to join, expect to pay about $274 each for the same deal. Just goes to show what a cheap ticket this is!

Attractions Closing

Many attractions and Orlando shows closed during the year of 2014. They include:

Disney’s Hollywood Studios –
• American Idol Experience
• Studio Backlot Tour
• Legend of Jack Sparrow

Epcot Shows –
• Off Kilter
• Mo’Rockin
• Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps
• World Showcase Players

Universal CityWalk –
• NASCAR Grill

Wet ‘n Wild
• Bubba Tub

SeaWorld
• “Clyde & Seamore Take Pirate Island”

Fantasy of Flight
• closed its doors to the public

Old Town
• Windstorm Coaster

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: In the early part of 2015, Busch Gardens will close the Gwazi roller coaster. This is the wooden coaster which opened in 1999 with two tracks – Tiger and Lion. The Tiger side is the only side now being used as the Lion side was closed in 2012. If you miss Gwazi and still want to experience a wooden roller coaster, go to Fun Spot on I-Drive. They opened White Lightning last year. You may also find another wooden roller coaster in Florida at Legoland. Coastersaurus opened in 2004. You may know it by the name of Triple Hurricane.

Avatar Land Coming to Animal Kingdom

It will be a few years before theme park goers can enjoy the new Orlando attraction, but Avatar Land is coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Mark 2017 on your calendar. A project this big and detailed will surely be worth the wait.

It has been two years since Disney secured the theme park rights to this blockbuster film franchise. Our first look into this new attraction includes an artistic rendering depicting guests totally immersed in “Pandora,” the fictional planet in which the 2009 film featured. Park visitors will be able to walk among floating mountains with beautiful cascading waterfalls. They’ll float down a jungle river with bio-luminescent plants, and be able to soar in the sky “riding a Banshee,” given enough imagination.

Avatar coming to Animal Kingdom

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

The attractions in Avatar Land will include at least these four experiences:

  1. A soaring-style attraction
  2. An immersive boat ride
  3. A walk-through attraction
  4. Multiple themed restaurants and stores

Avatar is currently the highest grossing movie of all time. How Disney will make it suitable for young children is to focus on the imaginative creatures, intriguing characters and the strong theme of family and loyalty. They will not focus on the plot of the movie. The issue will be when a young child experiences the theme park and then asks to see the movie! What will parents say? Perhaps the movie sequel in this franchise slated to be out in December of 2016, will focus on less violence.

The addition of Avatar/Pandora will help Animal Kingdom’s night-time attendance. Some guests attending this Orlando theme park feel it is currently a half day or short day attraction. Some days during the year, it closes as early as 5:00 p.m. With a nighttime show with floating lanterns, water screens and glowing creatures, Disney will captivate their guests for several more hours. In some ways, this new Orlando attraction may even be better experienced at night! A lot of focus is going into new technologies in the park’s development and nighttime features are sure to benefit.

Some people are concerned about the safety and health of the real animals at this Orlando theme park. The additional hours and noises could possibly impact them. Pandora’s animals are imaginary creatures, so there is no concern about their addition.  Disney has assured us that the real animals will be taken to an area away from the night activities and not suffer in any way. Time will tell.

This new attraction coming to Orlando will be an exciting one to experience. Waiting more than 3 years will be the hardest part! During the coming years, parts of Animal Kingdom will be under construction and not so attractive. Let’s just hope anyone visiting this theme park between now and when Avatar Land opens will excuse the dust and return to see the final product. By the way, 2017 will also mark the year when the Orlando International Airport’s expansion is set to be complete. The expansion almost doubles the airport’s capacity…perhaps to accommodate all of the Avatar fans!

Central Florida Theme Park Has Its Own Springfield

Universal Studios Opens New Attraction

Springfield at Universal Studios Orlando

There are a lot of cities and towns with the name of Springfield. Now in Central Florida there is a new one! Universal Studios has opened its Springfield area, home of “The Simpsons” and now a fan’s dream visit to a town filled with iconic eateries, crazy characters and animation larger than life.

The Springfield area within this Orlando theme park used to be a World Expo eatery and sidewalk. Renovations happened gradually. Universal Studios did not have a big affair for the “grand opening.” A simple announcement that all was in place, is now bringing smiles to Simpson’s fans. After watching these entertaining characters on the television for so many years, who wouldn’t want to enjoy Duff Beer and flaming Moe drinks at Moe’s Tavern just inside the large food court?

The main attraction, The Simpsons Ride, opened in 2008. It allows guests to ride along with Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart and Maggie into Krustyland. See if somebody is out to sabotage the park. Krusty the Clown is up to his old self and is as shameless as ever.

Next to The Simpsons Ride is the all new Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl ride.  This spinning ride takes “foolish humans” into orbit on an intergalactic ride designed to do just as the ride insinuates – hurl. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Do not take a chance of eating prior to this ride. For those with sensitive stomachs, you have a fairly good chance of hurling your lunch! It is best to experience this ride on an empty stomach. For those of you that enjoy spinning rides, you’ll love it!

Bring your camera too. This area of Universal Studios is filled with photo ops. Have your photo taken next to Milhouse sitting on a park bench or with Chief Wiggum enjoying a pink-frosted doughnut. There are many other things to enjoy while visiting this Springfield, including:

  • Dine at Krusty Burger
  • Enjoy a Homer-sized helping of donuts at Lard Lad
  • Drink down a Flaming Moe at Moe’s Tavern
  • Have your photo taken at the Jebediah Springfield statue
  • Eat lunch at Bumblebee Man’s Taco Truck
  • Get the catch of the day at the Frying Dutchman
  • Grab a slice that’s “a-nice” at Luigi’s Pizza
  • Hang out at Duff Brewery and enjoy a Duff Beer
  • Go for an intergalactic spin on the area’s new attraction, Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl
  • Meet Krusty the Clown and Sideshow Bob – Universal’s two newest walkaround Simpsons characters

The attractions in Orlando are continually working on new rides and themed areas. If you are a Simpsons fan, don’t miss this new area within Universal Studios Florida. Step inside the hometown of America’s favorite animated family, The Simpsons, like never before. You’ll feel as if you’ve crawled into your television where animation has become real-life places all too familiar.

If you miss it, you’ll say “D’oh!” from now until you have another chance to hang with Homer. Universal Studios has done an excellent job of making this part of their theme park fun again. Visit Springfield and at least have a doughnut. After all, “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?” – Homer Simpson.

Krustyland at Universal Studios Orlando

Ring in the New Year, Orlando-Style

From shows, concerts, great food, dancing, and elaborate pyrotechnic displays, take your pick of all the ways you’ll ring in the New Year in O-town.  There are so many holiday celebrations going on and the area theme parks really know how to throw a New Years Eve party!

Holidays at Universal Orlando Resorts: Kick off 2011 with one of the prime New Year’s celebrations in Orlando! This party features live entertainment by rock star Bret Michaels, from the band Poison.  You’ll also get admission to seven unique clubs, each with live entertainment, and awesome food including jumbo shrimp and filet mignon.  Did I mention that was all-you-can-eat??  Party throughout CityWalk until 2am!  (Even without all that other great stuff, I’d go just to see Bret Michaels!)

Walt Disney World: Although the New Year’s Eve party at the Magic Kingdom is sold out, there are plenty of party hot spots at Walt Disney World Resort.  And, you still can get an up-close view of the dazzling Magic Kingdom fireworks at Tomorrowland Terrace. Another awesome place to catch Magic Kingdom pyrotechnics is the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort at California Grill.  An open bar, food, DJ, dancing, even a casino-style game room!  Several of the Pavilions at Epcot are hosting New Years Eve Galas as well, AND a primo view of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.  You can also dance your way into 2011 at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, where there will be party favors, lots of dancing, and a midnight champagne toast (VIP tickets available).  Check websites for additional costs.
Note: Magic Kingdom fireworks are at 8:30 p.m. and 11:50 p.m.

New Years Eve at SeaWorldSeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, Where The Season Meets the Sea is still going on with lots of family fun.  The Polar Express Experience is where this holiday classic comes to life as you board the legendary train.  Don’t miss the special holiday shows such as Shamu Christmas-Miracles, A Sesame Street Christmas, and Clyde and Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas, and the dazzling ice skating extravaganza, Winter Wonderland on Ice.  Then, the countdown at midnight to the Fireworks and Fountains Finale.  (Special Tours available.)  Check the website for show times and additional information.  Celebration runs now thru 1/2/2011.

Some of our other area attractions have special events going on for the holidays including Busch Gardens, with The Guess Who in concert and midnight fireworks show.  Also, Capone’s Dinner and Show is presenting a special New Years Eve Gala show, which includes their scrumptious dinner buffet and unlimited beverages.  The gala will include a DJ, dancing after the show, and champagne toast at midnight, along with plenty of party favors and snack bar.

Note:  Be sure to check the individual websites for additional information including cost and show times.