Universal temporary attraction closures

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We do usually only have positive vibes here on our award winning blog (disclaimer: this blog has never won an award… but it should) however we do have to write about the less happier stuff from time to time so that you’re in the know with everything happening at the Orlando parks. Don’t worry, they’re not closing down the Wizarding World or only playing classical music on Rip Ride Rockit.. there’s just a few attractions closing down for a short period to allow for seasonal maintenance.

Hogwarts Express – will be closed on the 17th January 2019 for seasonal maintenance.

Jurassic Park River Adventure – will be closed from the 7th January 2019 until the 25th January 2019 for seasonal maintenance (and for the dinosaurs to go on a quick holiday)

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls – Will be closed from the 28th January 2019 until the 22nd February 2019.

Remember all attractions need maintenance from time to time to keep us all safe while having a blast (or getting soaked in the case of Ripsaw Falls!)

Smiles Included,

Abby

Interview with Renee from Fun Spot

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Today is an important day.. ‘why? i hear you ask.. well its the second Tuesday Talk of course!

This week we get to know the lovely and bubbly Renee from Fun Spot!

Funspot Kissimmee

Name: Renee Ambos

Company: Fun Spot America Theme Parks

Position: Director of Sales

Getting to know you..

How would you describe your job to a child?  

My job, here at Fun Spot is about bringing families together to celebrate each other, create fun and make memories.  Plus you get to go on Roller Coasters and drive go-karts  every day!

What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you watch it?

Family Feud, I also watched it with my dad and sisters when I was little.  I think we would have dominated that game!

If you could choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Bruno Mars – 24K Magic

Work..

Describe your theme park / attraction using only 3 words.

Surprising, relaxing, and understated

Favourite theme park / attraction of 2018?

Mine Blower at our Kissimmee Park – only Wooden Roller  going completely upside-down in Florida!

What is going to be BIG for your company in 2019?  

We are not quite making those announcements just yet!!!  However, I will say.  Summer 2019 at the Orlando park!

Tell us a fact about your theme park / attraction that most people don’t know.

Our Season Passes for 2019 cost less than one Single Day at the big parks!

What is a must do for first time visitors to Orlando?

SkyCoaster at night for sure!

Great answers Renee and I totally agree with her first time visitor answer! The skycoaster is awesome! check out me doing it (not at night though) below!

Tune in next Tues where we meet another great partner! Check out our previous interview here:
Interview with Philip from Kennedy Space Center

Smiles Included,

Abby

Everything we know about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Last week I wrote about all of the new details we have learned about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and yesterday some anonymous sources leaked information to Attractions Magazine, especially about Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and it’s sooooo cool!

I mentioned in my last post that it sounds as though there was going to be 2 parts to the attraction – a different ride vehicle for each part with a trackless section and this now appears to be true. Lets see what we have discovered from the leaked information..

Pleaseeee be aware that this hasn’t been confirmed by Disney so is still purely rumours and the below contains a hell of a lot of SPOILERS.

There is a blue transport ship currently on display at Hollywood Studios which has also previously been featured in other displays and art concepts. It is said that guests will be loaded on to this ship (first ride vehicle) which will then spin 180 degrees. Large screens and sound effects will make guests feel as though they are taking off from planet Batuu into space. During this journey the whole entire ship will be taken over by the First Order who will ensure the ship lands inside one of their Star Destroyer Hangars.

It sounds like guests will then be treated just like real rebels by The First Order as they exit into the hangar they will be told to ‘move along’ whilst trying to take in their surroundings – animatronic stormtroopers, TIE fighters and even a view of space. This will be one of the largest rooms in the attraction. The First Order will then instruct guests to enter individual load rooms (12 in each room is my guess from the image of the ride vehicles) which will be themed to prison cells. Once in the prison cells a droid will give the infamous safety talk whilst keeping you up to date with the story (i know i’d definitely be paying close attention to this so that i don’t end up asking my peers ‘whats going on now’ throughout the ride!)

The 12 in each loading room will then be split into 2 groups of 6 to board two different First Order vehicles (2nd ride vehicles) which will be accompanying each other throughout the rest of the attraction and will not be separated for more than a few seconds throughout. The vehicles are going to be trackless and will navigate through 4 showrooms. It is said that no room will have more than 2 vehicles in it at a time so this means there will be eight different ride vehicles navigating at a time meaning a continuous stream of guests going through the sequence (that is if they have more than just the 8 vehicles obviously).

The first room you enter will be a blue room where a ‘rogue droid’ will hack into the First Orders system and take over control of guests vehicles which will suddenly ‘take off’ to start the escape mission. The second room will be themed to the hallways inside a Star Destroyer and guests will come face to face with Kylo Ren (animatronic Kylo Ren might i add) who will scare off the rogue guests with his lightsaber and as the ride vehicles back up they’ll take a different route into the AT-AT room which is room number 3 of 4. The buddy vehicles will separate briefly at this point as they travel up individual lifts to more than 40feet high – the AT-AT walkers will be nearly to the size scale that they are in the films (Remember this land and its attractions are all about immersiveness!) each one of the AT-AT’s will have moveable heads which can breathe fire…

The two ride vehicles will then exit the lift and pair up again as they both go under an ‘elevated area’ which will feature both Kylo Ren and General Hux (animatronics) in deep discussion about how the Resistance have come to save the guests. It sounds as thought the pair will not hear that they have company so the guests will quickly sneak away into the 4th room ‘the gun room’ which is said to not actually feature the likes of stormtroopers wondering around like the promo video. 🙁 There will however be a row of the large guns shooting off and guests will get to feel the power on the shots and recoils. There will also be screens (windows to space) showing the resistance fleet getting blasted. Guests will then come face to face with Kylo Ren once again where he will nearly grab them but a huge blast will hit the Star Destroyer just in time causing Ren to get sucked between a broken piece of the ship and the guests :O

From there the guests will get some intel from the resistance about some escape pods – the hacked vehicles will then input the coordinates supplied by the resistance and take off. Unfortunately they have one more encounter with Kylo Ren just before they can fully escape. He uses THE FORCE to keep guests still as he makes his way toward them but luckily a wall suddenly collapses which diverts his attention letting the guests escape, each vehicle will back up into its own escape pod. From there comes another twist as this ride becomes more thrilling than i ever imagined it to be since most peoples focus has been on the Millennium Falcon attraction! Apparently the escape pods are actually lift shafts that will drop guests from the highest point in the show building (remember guests are still 40feet up!), along with the addition of giant screens guests will feel like they have just blasted off into space!! It is said that there may also be windows in the escape pods which will show other ‘guests’ falling through space back to Batuu. Its still not over though as guests will take on a crash landing into an old warehouse before entering the unloading area.

How COOL does Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance sound? I know right! remember the ‘First Order vehicles’ are trackless which i think will work sooo much better than a track for the above ride concept!

Who else is now even more excited for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to open this Autumn?!

Smiles Included,

Abby

‘Incredible’ Celebrations at Hollywood Studios

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Hollywood Studios is definitely the park to watch this year with loads of new attractions opening and of course Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Disney have also announced a limited time event coming to Hollywood Studios next week that will transport guests into the world of The Incredibles.

Beginning on the 18th January Pixar Place at Hollywood Studios will reopen and it has been transformed into a Municberg city block where guests will be able to take part in loads of ‘incredible’ experiences.. see what i did there? 😉

The Edna Mode Experience
It looks as though Edna Mode is heading to Hollywood Studios, and is bringing a pop-up gallery filled with original Super Suit designs, awards, sketches, and more with her. Guests will also get to meet Edna in her own dedicated area! i bet this will be a great meet & greet as Edna has SASS.

Super Shindig dance party
The Community Chair, Bev, will be hosting a special dance party, which is being billed as “the most incredibly interactive party Municiberg’s ever seen”. During this regularly-scheduled dance party guests will be able to learn new dances, play games, and meet popular Incredibles characters like Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone.

Jack-Jack Interactive hunt
Jack-Jack is my favourite character from The Incredibles and he is of course going to be causing mischief during this celebration! Guests will learn that Jack-Jack has gone missing and will need to follow his trail around the street party, looking for evidence and clues related to his powers to find him. It sounds like there will be plenty of interactive surprises looking for him!

No limited time event would be complete without special food and merch would it? A Municiberg Gift popup shop will be the place to go for all your incredible merch and the Neighborhood Bakery will be serving up incredibles themed treats such as a Num Num cooking, Hero Sandwich and Mrs Incredibles mask with cheese…. not really sure on the last one!!

Who’s excited for this? I definitely am!

Smiles Included,

Abby

Universal Confirm Mardi Gras Line up

Hey Thrill Seekers,

As has become the norm as soon as we either start or finish an episode of OAT Live one of the parks inevitably releases some new information and yesterdays episode was no different.

Universal have confirmed the 2019 Mardi Gras line up and its a good one. Running from Feb. 9th until April 4th at Universal Studios Florida you can expect nightly parades, live concerts, Cajun cuisine and beads, soooo many beads!

Although Universal are rightly proud of the food and parades its the live music that guest generally go mad for, this year the line up currently includes;

Concert Lineup

  • February 9 – BUSH
  • February 16 – Gavin DeGraw
  • February 17 – Dan + Shay
  • February 23 – Macklemore
  • March 2 – To be announced
  • March 9 – Becky G
  • March 10 – Sean Paul
  • March 16 – Steve Miller Band
  • March 17 – Ziggy Marley
  • March 23 – NF
  • March 24 – Pitbull
  • March 30 – To be announced
  • March 31 – To be announced

I mean who doesn’t love a bit of Sean Paul.

New Nighttime Parade Theme

During Mardi Gras you can expect to see a parade like no other including 12 floats, colourful dancers, stilt performers, oh and de we mention beads!!! Soooo many beads! This year’s new theme is right up OAT’s street as its called Party Animals! You’ll see floats and performers dressed as their spirit animals from all over the world like the arctic, jungle, ocean, swamp and more. I think my spiritual animal is probably a Sloth… totally built for parties…

French Quarter Food and Drinks

Universal have also confirmed that The French Quarter Courtyard is getting a new culinary twist this year. All food and drinks will be served in tasting sizes. You’ll now be able to enjoy a variety of the New Orleans dishes during your visit.

To add to the excitement, the culinary team has whipped up new and returning fan-favorite food and drink options. We’re talking beignets, frog legs, crab etouffee, and crawfish! Plus, we’re going to have a signature Mardi Gras cocktail, craft beer flights and more.

French Quarter Entertainment Lineup

You can’t have the French Quarter Courtyard without the beats of the Big Easy. Catch these authentic New Orleans bands performing daily in the French Quarter.

  • February 9 – 17: Dirty Bourbon River Show
  • February 18 – 27: Naughty Professor Brass Band
  • February 28 – March 18: Free Agents Brass Band featuring Honey Bannister
  • March 19 – April 4: New Breed Brass Band

The best bit, if you’ve purchased a Universal 3 park explorer ticket from Orlando Attraction Tickets you’ll have access to this event for FREE….

Smiles included…

Jamie

OAT Live – Episode 36

Hey Thrill Seekers,

New Year, new OAT Live… and we’re at episode 36!

Abby, Gavin and Producer Teresa talk through all the latest Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and LEGOLAND news plus there’s a Kennedy Space Center competition you might want to enter.

To enter the competition simply share the video on facebook, tag a friend and type in the comments “You’re out of this World”. We’ll pick 5 winners randomly, all entries must be in by the 17th Jan.

Thanks for watching…

Smiles included…

Jamie

More details arise about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We’re calmly (not really) anticipating the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s edge in Hollywood Studios and there’s a
lot we already know about Galaxy’s edge but lots of new – what may seem small – details seem to be popping up that are getting us even more excited.

The name of the planet is Batuu which was mentioned in last years Solo: A Star Wars Story. My guess is that they went with this planet because it is not widely known which allows room for all guests to feel included with the story no matter how much Star Wars knowledge you have.
We also know the name of the village – Black Spire Outpost:
The largest settlement on the planet Batuu, Black Spire Outpost is an infamous stop for traders, adventurers, and smugglers traveling around the Outer Rim and Wild Space. Off the beaten path, this outpost has become a haven for the galaxy’s most colorful — and notorious — characters. Widely known for the petrified remains of its once towering ancient trees, the spires now stand guard across the river valleys and plains and have long captured the imagination of travelers to this planet. To the first settlers, these petrified spires became more than just landmarks; they became the heart of the outpost itself.

Some cool new things we have found out include a shop that will feature customisable droids which can be designed by guests through an interactive experience. It is said that the droids will then react in ways that reflect their design. For example if you design a droid to be afraid of something and that something comes near it will signal fear. There is also rumours that droids owned by members of the same group may recognise each other when near – these sound expensive right?
Another shop will be run by Dok-Ondar who is a collector (mentioned in Solo) and it sounds like this character will be an animatronic in his own booth where guests will be able to interact with him, maybe for a bit of bartering on prices? 😉
As well as these two shops will be the outdoor market which is one of the exotic market places of Batuu where you can find in-universe toys and souvenirs which are said to be exclusive. Imagineers want this part to be ‘romantic and ancient’ and have visited various marketplaces in Instanbul and Morocco for inspiration! The stall in the image below is run by a “Toydarian”(who sells toys) which Trowbridge has said was introduced in Episode I: The Pantom Menace” on Tatooine. Apparently there will also be a pod-racing engine at the market that will be used to roast meat!

Lets not forget the two rides Milennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance:

In Smuggler’s Run a pirate named Hondo Ohnaka has made a deal with Chewbacca for the use of the Millennium Falcon. Guests will fly in teams of 6 and their actions will affect the experience within the whole of Galaxy’s Edge. The attraction entrance sounds like it will be subtle so that it doesn’t stand out or become an eyesore in the immersive land. This ride will
“place guests behind the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy in one of three unique flight crew roles.”

In Rise of the Resistance guests will be put in the middle of an epic battle between the Resistance and the First Order. It sounds as like there will be 2 parts to this attraction with 2 different ride vehicles, firstly a shuttle to the battle ship and then (see below) a 6 person vehicle with a droid at the front which we think will be a lot like Transformers over at Universal. Groups of guests might even be “captured” ordered along by the enemy, before making their escape aboard a trackless troop transport. Maybe that’s where you will be taken from one ride vehicle to the other?

Also, we know that Oga’s Cantina  will serve  yummy food and drink to bounty hunters, pilots, smugglers, locals, galactic travellers and you when it opens next year.
Oga’s Cantina is the kind of establishment that attracts some of the most interesting and disreputable characters in the galaxy. And you never know when a stormtrooper or a familiar face will show up. Patrons of the cantina come from across the galaxy to sample the famous concoctions created with exotic ingredients using “otherworldly” methods, served in unique vessels. With choices for kids and libations for adults, the cantina will make for a great stop!

I didn’t think we could get any more excited about Galacy’s Edge set to open in fall this year but i think it’s safe to say that we can!!

Smiles Included,

Abby

Interview with Philip from Kennedy Space Center

Hey Thrill Seekers!

Welcome to the first instalment of this years series of interviews which we have now named ‘Tuesday Talk’ 

First up we have Philip Briton from Kennedy Space Center who you may remember from our OAT live episode!

Name: Philip Britton

Company: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Position: UK & Ireland Account Manager

Getting to know you..

How would you describe your job to a child?

I work with Space Rockets, Astronauts and talk to lots of people about exploring space and reaching for the Stars!

What was the last thing you watched on TV and why did you watch it?

Channel 4 news last night. Keeping up with domestic and world events in an informed manner is important to me

If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?

I don’t really watch many movies but have always liked aircraft, Top gun was and remains a favourite. I don’t really think a story about my life would sell too many box office tickets!

If you could choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?

At University in 1994 – 97 it was the height of Britpop and a musical revolution. Oasis were and remain hugely influential to me, most songs from Definitely Maybe and What’s the Story Morning Glory?, would suffice and on a coin toss it would be Columbia v Some Might Say!

Work..

Describe your theme park / attraction using only 3 words.

Inspirational / Educational / Real!

Favourite theme park / attraction of 2018?

KSC and Space Shuttle Atlantis

What is going to be BIG for your company in 2019?

50 years since man 1st set foot on the moon and a number of commemorative events will happen across the year.

Tell us a fact about your theme park / attraction that most people don’t know.

KSC is the only place in Florida you can watch a rocket launch into space from, It’s a fantastic experience and everyone should try and get to see us.

What is a must do for first time visitors to Orlando?

One day at KSC will open your eyes to mans achievements both past and present in our quest for the stars and what the future of space exploration will bring…..with the Journey to Mars.

So there we have it. I’d like to thank Philip for his time, i’m yet to visit Kennedy Space Center but everyone here who has been has absolutely loved it and i would loveeee to see a rocket launch one day!!

Come back next Tuesday for another instalment of Tuesday Talk!

Smiles Included,

Abby

What’s coming to the Orlando parks in 2019?

Hey Thrill Seekers!

Happy New Year! Now that all of the festivities are over and i’m as plump as Homer Simpson it’s time to get back to work… I mean it’s not really work when i’m talking about all the new and exciting new things we can now say are opening this year in our beloved Orlando parks!

Universal

New Harry Potter Coaster – Islands of Adventure
Let’s start with the one we’re most excited about here at OAT.. The new Harry Potter coaster coming to Islands of Adventure!!
Said to “combine a new level of storytelling with an action-packed adventure.”  we really cannot wait for this to open! Universal have been massively tight lipped about this attraction and it sure has done the job of filling everyone with anticipation about what we’re gunna get. All we know so far is:
For the first time ever, fly far beyond the grounds of Hogwarts™ castle on a thrilling roller coaster ride that plunges into the paths of some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures. Universal’s most highly themed coaster takes off in 2019. Only at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ – Hogsmeade™, at Universal Orlando Resort™.
Construction is well under way at Islands of Adventure and we hope for it to be open soon!

Disney

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Hollywood Studios
Next up is a whole new planet that our world is going crazy for! It’s been a long time coming since it was announced in April 2016 and we can finally say that it’s opening this year – in Fall to be precise (ish). 😍 Who else cannot wait to ride
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance?! 

Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railway – Hollywood Studios
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is going to be an immersive ride opening this year. Construction is expected to be finished by fall 2019. The attraction will feature an original story and theme song as it takes guests into the wacky world of the award winning “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts.

Lightning McQueens Racing Academy – Hollywood Studios
The show will be performed daily in the Sunset Showcase Theatre and there will be a giant wraparound screen that is said to be nearly 2 stories tall and more than 200 feet from end to end!
A lot of the action will be carried out on the giant screens and you will also be able to see a live Lighting McQueen jump into a giant racing simulator like what was used in the training in Cars 3 which is said to be a huge prop with moving parts and its own screen, again, just like the film!

Disney’s Skyliner
This brand new gondola system will connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT to four hotels: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort as well as the proposed 15th Disney Vacation Club property, Disney’s Riviera Resort.

NBA experience – Disney Springs
Developed by Walt Disney Imagineering in collaboration with the NBA, this one-of-a-kind destination will feature hands-on activities that highlight the action and excitement of professional basketball.
Visitors will be able to take part in hands on activities such as;

  • Execute the perfect slam dunk just like NBA superstars, captured by cameras surrounding adjustable baskets.
  • Access a team locker room that showcases up-to-date statistics and visuals of top NBA and WNBA players.
  • Track and improve their jump shots and passing skills in a replicated NBA Combine challenge, complete with a scouting report that highlights their stats at the end of the session.
  • Step onto the court and hear the roar of the crowd as they maneuver through a series of timed shots to aim for a high score.

Busch Gardens

Tigris
This is another COASTER that we’re super excited about, set to open in spring Tigris will catapult riders through an exhilarating array of looping twists with forward and backward motion, breath-taking drops, a 150-foot skyward surge, and an inverted heartline roll, all at more than 60 miles per hour. Tigris will race riders along more than 1,800 feet of steel track designed to mimic the awe-inspiring agility of the world’s largest and most powerful cat –the tiger. – A thrill seekers dream!

Aquatica

KareKare Curl
Holding two passengers per raft, this new slide delivers a high-adrenaline, weightless adventure. It looks as though it’s going to be a really cool addition to Orlando’s best water park!

SeaWorld

Sesame Street Land
Opening in spring we will finally be able to walk down the famous street, mingle with characters, see daily parades as well as have loads of fun on
SIX colourful, themed rides, including Elmo’s Choo Choo Train, Cookie Drop, Abby’s Flower Tower, Super Grover’s Box Car Derby, Big Bird’s Twirl ‘n’ Whirl and Slimey’s Slider!! Excited is an understatement.. especially to meet Abby Cadabby! 😉

LEGOLAND

LEGO Movie World
Last but definitely not least is the exciting LEGO Movie World, also opening in spring we are getting a whole new world at LEGOLAND Florida, complete with not 1, not 2 but 3 new rides! We’ve got LEGO Movie: Masters of flight, UniKittys Disco Drop and Battle of Bricksburg. There will also be opportunities to meet your favourite LEGO Movie characters such as Emmett.

2019 is going to be a BIG year for the Orlando parks and we can’t wait to see what announcements are going to be made this year too! Here’s a recap of what we can expect..

Which one are you most looking forward too?

Smiles Included,

Abby