I’m Off On The Visit Orlando Super Fam Tomorrow

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Eeeeekk!!!! I have been the lucky one this year to be selected for the Visit Orlando SUPER FAM! I have been chosen to go over to Orlando and experience the parks next week for the whole week! We will be squeezing in everything you could possibly think of, which most people struggle to squeeze into their 2 week holiday! So here’s a quick overview of my itinerary and what I’m looking forward to the most.

I’ll be taking over the Orlando Attraction Tickets Instagram account so you’ll be able to follow my adventures.

We arrive on Monday evening (19/09/16) and will be taken to our first hotel, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort where we will be staying for the first 3 nights of our trip.

Our first full day in Orlando will begin at Disney’s Magic Kingdom park where we will get to experience all of the sights and attractions that the park has to offer including Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, before enjoying lunch in the heart of the magic, right by Cinderella’s castle. As a self proclaimed Disney fanatic, I cannot wait!!!

Walt Disney World

Once lunch is over with it’s time to head over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the home of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. These two rides  have got to be 2 of my favourite attractions in Orlando. .

Day 3 and it’s over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to check out their attractions, landscapes and animals. My favourite attraction here is Expedition Everest so I can’t wait to experience this.

The evening of day 3 will be spent at Disney’s Epcot where we will dine watching the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Illuminations is a breathtaking firework show with laser lighting effects across the World Showcase Lagoon!

Epcot

Now that we’ve had our Disney fix, it’s time to head over to our next resort where we will be staying for the next 4 nights the brand new Universal’s Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.

Thursday is going to be a busy day, in the morning we’re heading to Discovery Cove first to experience a once in a life time opportunity, swimming with dolphins. Discovery Cove is all inclusive remember, so make the most of the buffet all day!

Quickly dashing away, we will begin our journey over to Busch Gardens Tampa where we will be able to experience the thrills of Falcons Fury, SheiKra, Cheetah Hunt and the all new Cobra’s Curse. No one in our office has been to Orlando since Cobra’s Curse has opened, so I can’t wait to come back and brag about it to everyone!

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Friday will be day 5 of our trip and we will be making our way over to the home of Shamu to watch One Ocean as well as jumping on the thrill rides like Manta, Kraken and the new one-of-a-kind, hyper-coaster Mako. Believe it or not, I’ll be the first person in our office to ride Mako too! ;)

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Afterwards we will be popping next door to Aquatica where I can finally experience Ihu’s Breakaway Falls. I wanted to do this last year but the weather wasn’t great on the day we planned to go so I missed out! :( Ihu’s is the newest slide at Aquatica with the world’s longest drop tower of it’s kind. I’m not a very strong swimmer but the slides here at Aquatica are too good to miss.

Later on, our SeaWorld host is taking us back to SeaWorld to enjoy the the park in the evening for a special, SeaWorld hosted event. I can’t wait to find out what this is going to be!

The following morning we’ll be off to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with the Hogwarts Express, Escape from Gringott’s, Dragon Challenge and the Forbidden Journey. In Universal Studios, the 3D rides are insane including Transformers: The Ride 3D, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and The Simpsons Ride. Although not a 3D ride, my favourite is Revenge of the Mummy!

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Next is spending the evening at I-Drive 360 on International Drive to experience the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye and hop on stage with some of the pop icons at Madame Tussauds.

For our final day in Orlando, we’ll be spending it at Universal’s Islands of Adventure where the newly refurbished Incredible Hulk Coaster is ready and waiting. I’m also pretty excited about getting soaked on Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges as this is one of the attractions that I’ve never had the chance to experience. Not forgetting Skull Island: Reign of Kong as this will be another of the new rides that no one here in our office has experienced yet!

Universal are treating us to the Blue Man Group which is a unique show combining music and outrageous comedy, before making our way to the world’s largest Hard Rock Cafe for tonight’s final dinner of the trip together.

I think it’s safe to say I’m going to need another holiday by the time I get back but I cannot wait!!

Smiles Included…

Lauren

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Golden Ticket Award Winners 2016

Hey Thrill Seekers,

It’s that time of year again when the whole world votes for the ‘Best of the Best’ in the amusement industry. ‘Amusement Today’ select the winners of each category via their panel of voters and the theme park equivalent of the Oscars.

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Each voter will be able to select one choice from each category. These choices are then tallied up and the most votes in each category will be the winner.

This years winners are:

CATEGORY WINNER
Best Amusement Park Europa-Park, Rust, Germany
Best Water Park Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas
Best Children’s Park Idlewild & SoakZone
Best Marine Life Park SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla
Best Seaside Life Park Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif
Best Wooden Coaster Boulder Dash, Lake Compounce, Bristol, Conn
Best Steel Coaster Fury 325, Carowinds, Charlotte, N.C.
Best Kids’ Area Kings Island, Kings Mills, Ohio
Friendliest Park Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Cleanest Park Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind
Best Halloween Event Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Studios Orlando, Fla.
Best Landscaping Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.
Best Christmas Event Smoky Mountain Christmas, Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
Best Food Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.
Best Shows Dollywood, Piegon Forge, Tenn.
Best Water Ride Valhalla, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, England
Best Water Park Ride Wildebeest, Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
Best Dark Ride Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando, Fla.
Best New Attraction of 2016 – Amusement Park Lightning Rod, Dollywood, Piegon Forge, Tenn.
Best New Attraction of 2016 – Water Park Massiv, Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, Texas
Best Carousel Grand Carousel, Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.
Best Indoor Coaster Revenge of the Mummy, Universal Studios Orlando, Fla.
Best Funhouse/Walkthrough Attraction Noah’s Ark, Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa.

The Orlando winners were:

SeaWorld Orlando – Best Marine Life Park

Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Studios – Best Halloween Event

Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Best Dark Ride

Revenge of The Mummy, Universal Studios – Best Indoor Coaster

Congratulations!

Smiles Included…

Louise

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I-Drive 360 To Receive Further Investment

Hey Thrill Seekers,

The introduction of Merlin attractions on I-Drive 360 has helped Orlando’s international drive service over 5 million people this year and has convinced owners Unicorp to continue investing heavily.

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Unicorp President Chuck Whittall told Orlando Business Journal;

We noticed I-Drive 360 has been so successful and popular that we started looking at how to bring more opportunities out here, The area is so nice and it draws people all the time, so why not give people more things to do.

The rumoured update is said to include 500 apartments on an existing parking lot behind the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, plus a new zip-line ride, another tower thrill ride attraction, a rope obstacle course and an indoor flight simulator at a cost of a staggering $100 million.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • The apartment complex will have between 400 to 500 units, each with up to 1,200 square feet of space, that will rent for an average of $1,500 per month. The building will be five stories tall and have various amenities like a rooftop pool that gives a view of the Orlando Eye.
  • A zip-line attraction that will run from the existing parking garage to I-Drive 360’s courtyard area
  • A rope obstacle course near Sea Life Aquarium that will allow guests to traverse tricky lines while several feet in the air above some of the I-Drive 360 rooftops.
  • A tower ride that will bring new thrills to the complex.

Details of the tower ride haven’t been made public but we understand Unicorp have a team looking at the possibilities.

More investment into Orlando can only be a good thing and these additions look to be perfect for I-Drive 360. We’ll keep you up to date when we hear more…

Smiles included…

Jamie

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Check Out This HHN26 TV Spot

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Are you heading to Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights this year? If so check out this creepy video spot advertising this years event…

Screams included…

Jamie

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Halloween At SeaWorld…

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Its getting closer and closer to Halloween and that means its time to hear a bit more from the parks about what they’re looking to do…

We’ll start with SeaWorld.

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Halloween meets the sea every weekend in October during SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular. This family-friendly event immerses guests in an underwater “fantasea” with trick-or-treating, whimsical pumpkin fish, sea-themed arts and crafts, and up-close animal encounters.

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place from 12 p.m. to park close every weekend, October 1-30. Like all special events at SeaWorld, Halloween Spooktacular is included with park admission.

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Spooktacular Highlights Include:

Waves of Trick-or-Treat Fun – Costumed youngsters can trick-or-treat for ghoulish goodies. Each sea-themed, trick-or-treat station features an assortment of candy favorites including Tootsie Roll and SunRype Fruit To Go, just to name a few.

Penelope’s Garden Party – This dynamic “underwater” environment comes to life each weekend with a live DJ, animal interactions, a variety of craft opportunities, bubbles floating overhead and whimsical sea-themed characters.

Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween – Celebrate a Spooktacular Halloween at SeaWorld with The Count, Elmo, Abby, and the rest of everyone’s Sesame Street friends! The Count is feeling lonely this Halloween, and it’s up to you and the loveable monsters from Sesame Street to get him into the Halloween spirit. Batty bats and spooky skeletons join the fun in a song filled stage show that invites you and your family to dance, play and sing along.

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Spooktacular Dance Party – Children join Princess Penelope and her under-the-sea friends for a Spooktacular Dance Party where they can participate in line-dancing favorites as clouds of bubbles fill the evening air. The party will kick off at the Village Square in the front of the park every event night one hour before park closing.

Looks like loads of fun at SeaWorld this Halloween, get yourself over there and let us know what you thought.

Smiles included…

Jamie

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New Wand Attraction Heading To The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Those eagled eyed sorts at bizjournals.com have spotted a new patent registered by Universal that seems to suggest a new attraction that might be heading to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Although the patent doesn’t mention the Wizarding World by name it does mention “wands” and the term “wizard themed game” within the filing and Universal would be crazy not to try and capitalize on Harry Potters popularity.

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Here’s what the patent states in relation to the ride vehicle;

configured to receive respective inputs from one or more riders via the vehicle interface circuitry, and wherein the respective inputs are related to one or more game features of a game environment; and a game controller configured to receive information from the vehicle interface circuitry related to the respective inputs; and provide instructions to modify the game environment based on at least one of the respective inputs

The patent seems to suggest that the attraction itself would be similar to the Men in Black ride already at Universal, with riders scoring points however the patent states that riders would be able to make conscious decisions that would shape the narrative.

The interactive game ride may also provide the benefit of a dynamic narrative that changes in response to interest from the game players. For example, if a family with small children is participating in the ride, the game may receive input on the player ages to select appropriate game environments. Alternatively or additionally, the player interactions with the game may also influence the game to provide feedback. In one example, the game is a series of puzzle rooms, and the actions that the players take within each scene or puzzle change the environment and allow different paths to be activated or different physical effects to take place

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Bizjournals also point out that the patent uses the example of a “wizard-themed game” that could have riders use different wands associated with characters and use those wands at specific moments to score points, competing with opposing teams or to accomplish a joint goal.

In certain embodiments, the score input may include input from external sensors that capture player motion, such as wand motion, and provide the motion characteristics as input to a score determination algorithm. If the wand motion is associated with a particular spell that is an effective spell for the game, the player’s score may be updated to indicate a successful ‘freezing spell’ or other spell has been cast

The idea sounds fun and would definitely attract us Muggles back to the park to test our own Wizarding prowess, with Universal’s Nintendo deal I wonder if they’ll be lending a hand to help create this video game style attraction?

We’ll keep you posted when we learn more…

Smiles included…

Jamie

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THE TWISTED TALES OF AN AMERICAN HORROR STORY WILL BECOME YOUR NIGHTMARE AT HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS 26!

Earlier today, Michael Aiello (Director of Creative Development for Entertainment at UOR) revealed the latest house for Halloween Horror Nights 26!

FX’s American Horror Story!

This all-new house will feature Season 1: Murder House, Season 4: Freak Show and Season 5: Hotel.

Here’s what Michael had to say;

Since this fantastic series began we’ve been watching and calculating how – if ever given the chance – we would translate it into a haunted experience. The most engaging aspect of American Horror Story is the fact that every season is a completely new storyline, with brand new environments and characters, not unlike Halloween Horror Nights.

First, we needed to decide how to capture all that content into a single house. The uber-maze or larger template we’ve adopted, most recently with our popular 25th Anniversary maze last year, was the most ideal format.

You’ll be confronted by the horrors that reside within the walls of the newly bought Harmon residence and evade the abominations that call it’s basement home.

You’ll witness the atrocities that befell many of the unfortunate souls of a roadside Freak Show and encounter Twisty, a maniacal and deformed clown performer.

Lastly, you will check into the Hotel Cortez and unlock the domain of The Countess, as she ensures your stay is anything but pleasant.

We’ve worked extremely close with the series creator, Ryan Murphy and 20th Century Fox, to insure it captures the series in every way possible.

As usual the amazing attention to detail will make this a must see at HHN 26!  if you are feeling brave you still have time to bag yourself some tickets to this ‘must visit’ event. Check the link below for details on Universal 2-Park Bonus tickets with HHN or the Frequent Fear pass!

Universal Orlando Resort Tickets

Smile Included…

Karl

 

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NBCUniversal Acquires Rights to J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World Franchise

Hey Thrill Seekers,

nbc-uni-logoFor those of you that like to keep up on the latest developments in the theme park world there was a very interesting development yesterday that could have an impact on content within the Universal Orlando Resort theme parks.

NBCUniversal announced an exclusive deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution for broadcast and cable network television rights in the United States to all of the films in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World franchise. Beginning July 1, 2018, all eight HARRY POTTER films can be seen on NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s USA Network and Syfy in a deal that also gives rights to air the films across all NBCUniversal television networks. The agreement includes exclusive basic cable rights to the new FANTASTIC BEASTS films – the first of which releases early November 2016. In addition, the partnership incorporates exclusive content and events for the Universal theme parks.

I’m sure you’re fascinated by this but what exactly does this have to do with Theme Parks I hear you cry?…

Well, In addition to the digital and broadcast tie up this deal will allow Universal Orlando to explore a range of new opportunities including fan events, movie screenings and promotional activities tied to the “Harry Potter” franchise and the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts” film series.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort, along with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando Resort, have become global entertainment phenomena. They offer guests immersive, expansive environments complete with innovative attractions, shops and restaurants. The lands bring the films to life in an entirely new way and immerse guests in the adventures of Harry Potter. Universal worked closely with J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. to create the areas to ensure they are as authentic as possible.

We will keep an eye on this as it develops – we’d love to see some Fantastic Beasts content…hint, hint :)

Smiles Included…

Karl

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Orlando Attraction Tickets Confirmed Finalist For Travolution Award

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Not one to blow our own trumpet but…… we’ve reached the finals of the Travolution Awards for best for experiences website. Yey!!!!!!

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The Travolution Awards are unique in recognising companies, brands and individuals who excel in the fields of online travel distribution, digital marketing and technology.

Judged by a panel of proven business leaders, experts and entrepreneurs, the awards are the UK travel industry’s highest accolade for innovation and excellence online. Companies and brands compete in a select number of categories, whilst entrepreneurs and rising stars were honoured in the individual awards.

This represents our 4th year in a row of making the final, hopefully this time we can bring the award home.

The winner is announced on the 29th November, so we’re crossing everything until then.

Smiles included…

Jamie

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Universal Confirms Krampus For Halloween Horror Nights 26

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Halloween Horror Nights 26 is shaping up to be a cracker we’ve got Michael Myers, Chance the Clown, The Exorcist, Leatherface and the Walking Dead plus Universal’s latest announcement.

UO-HHN-2016-KrampusCollaborating closely with filmmaker Michael Dougherty, Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures the HHN26 crew aim to bring authenticity to each terrifying encounter.

Here’s what they said;

The Engel home is decked out for the holidays and all of you are invited to join them. From the myriad of dark elves, gingerbread men wielding nail guns, and the engorged Jack-in-the-Box, to my favorite… the Teddy Bear, each room is full of its own horrifying moments pulled from the film.

You’ll not only try and dodge the invading dark elves around every corner, but will also have to keep your holiday spirits up, while sneaking past the looming presence of Krampus himself. Each encounter with Krampus holds its own unique perspective, as he gathers more souls for his sinister workshop.

The excitement for this property, and what it adds to this year’s event, is the same excitement as waiting to see what Santa has left under the tree. Mixing two cups of horror with humor, a tablespoon of trick, with a dash of treat, and you’ll receive the most gruesome holiday gift ever.

Remember, it’s better to give than receive… unless you’re Krampus. He only takes.

Halloween Horror Nights 26 is really taking shape now and there’s still time to grab yourself some tickets. We’ll continue to keep you updated as we find out more.

Screams included…

Jamie

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