Category: Theme Parks
Tonight I attended the last Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party before Thanksgiving, just in time to celebrate Christmas in advance of eating the big turkey dinner. I’m still not totally feeling the Christmas spirit yet, though tonight’s event helped get the ball rolling a bit faster for me. I’m sure once Thanksgiving comes and goes, I’ll be ready to dive headfirst into all the red and green. But in the meantime, I enjoyed seeing Scrooge in the parade, the Christmas fireworks, and the included cookies and apple juice. It wasn’t cold enough to drink any hot chocolate, but at least it wasn’t hot out either. I don’t think we’ll be having a cool Christmas this year though. Summer seems to be here year-round in Florida.Tweet
Just when I started to get over the fact that Halloween has come and gone for 2011, I go to IAAPA (the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo) and marvel at what the haunt industry has come up with in the last year. Scare Factory had their usual assortment of animatronic ghouls floating around (pictured here), but their real show-stopper was a zombie shooting gallery that impressed the heck out of me. I would have bought it on the spot if it didn’t cost tens of thousands of dollars. I think it would fit perfectly into the midway areas of Halloween Horror Nights or Howl-O-Scream and hope it does show up there. I was also amused and disgusted by another company’s lurching zombie that spewed a horrific smell of death and decay as it lunged forward. It was quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever smelled – and yet it was awesome. IAAPA is great.Tweet
I previewed an exhibit at the Orange County Regional History Center showcasing years of artwork from Universal Orlando, with many excellent Halloween Horror Nights pieces. It was great to get a bit more HHN fun even after this year’s event has ended. And it’s a wonderful exhibit that’s sticking around through April. More info here.Tweet
I attended SeaWorld’s “Waves of the Future” expansion announcement, which they revealed details of their upcoming new attractions, Turtle Trek, Freshwater Oasis, and Antarctica. I’m looking forward to the latter the most, though details are sketchy at this point. But the media event itself was quite entertaining and fun, with SeaWorld putting on a great show set in multiple rooms within the Ports of Call area of the park. The first room “transported” us (via projections and lighting) to a tropical paradise and underwater. Then we were surprised to move through a bright blue tunnel into a room filled with ice sculptures and a few penguins for the Antarctica announcement. It’s always fun to see penguins up close and I suspect the new ride for Antarctica will feature these flightless birds in a fun new way when it opens in 2013.Tweet
I upgraded my Walt Disney World annual pass back in August to the Premium version to start getting 20% off merchandise instead of just 10%. The pass also gives me unlimited access to Disney’s water parks, which I’ve never had before. But since I upgraded, I haven’t found time to actually visit any of those parks… until this morning. Despite the fact that it was below 70 degrees when I woke up today (and snowing in other parts of the country), it was a good chance for me to hop over to Typhoon Lagoon for a few hours.
The chilly weather seemed to scare away most tourists, so the park was practically empty. I was able to hop on the slides as many times as I wanted with no wait and float around the lazy river for a while, without it being overcrowded. The water is heated and the sun was shining, so the lower temperature didn’t bother me at all. And I had fun.Tweet