Ripsaw Falls ride closed after catching fire

A water ride that caught on fire at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure will remain closed for several weeks to repair the damage and undergo seasonal maintenance, officials said Sunday.

Universal spokesman Tom Schroder said fire officials are working to identify and correct the cause of the fire that started in the roof of Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls on Saturday and forced its evacuation.

The maintenance for the ride was originally scheduled for later this month. Schroder did not say when the park plans on reopening the attraction.

The smoky, two-alarm fire erupted on the roof of an area through which cars that look like logs carry passengers, said Orlando Deputy Fire Chief Greg Hoggatt. It grew quickly.

“That type of material puts out a lot of black smoke,” he said.

Forty firefighters, including some from Orange County Fire Rescue, were called to the scene. The fire was tamed in about half an hour and extinguished in an hour, Hoggatt said. A few guests were checked at the park first-aid room, but none required hospitalization. No damage estimates were available, Schroder said.

A park guest, Anthony Rosa, said he was in the Harry Potter area when he saw smoke from across the lake in the center of the park. A moment later, he smelled burning plastic.

A large crowd began walking across a bridge and away from Ripsaw Falls, Rosa said. The number of those evacuated was not immediately available, but Schroder said dozens of people were in the area.

Rosa said he wouldn’t go back to the ride immediately even if it reopened.

“It’s a bit concerning,” he said. “I’d definitely be second-guessing it the whole time.”

Investigators are considering an electrical problem from components such as air conditioners or ride controllers, or an accident, Hoggatt said.

Susan Gartner, a chaperone with the marching band from Wamego High School in Kansas, said she was eating when she saw black smoke rise out of Toon Lagoon. She began trying to contact other chaperones and students, who said they saw flames shooting out of the ride.

“Thank goodness” they were OK, Gartner said of the students.

Schroder would not say what compensation might be available to park patrons who were forced to get off the ride.

“In a situation like this, we would always work with our guests and do what is right,” he said. “We’re happy to work with our guests and make them feel that they’re accommodated.”

Toon Lagoon, where the water ride is located, reopened about 90 minutes after fire and dark, billowing smoke closed it shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday, officials said. Toon Lagoon also is home to Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges.

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Discovery Cove, Orlando, Florida

Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive tropical getaway based in Orlando, Florida and the only place to experience the most exciting animal encounters the world has to offer. Swim with Dolphins and feel the mysterious, inspiring connection that draws you in and holds you captivated. Don a mask and snorkel in the Tropical Reef, a breathtaking underwater world teeming with thousands of exotic tropical fish and graceful rays. Take time to enjoy the songs and vibrant colors of birds from all over the world in the Explorer’s Aviary.

Also in June 2011 you can experience a new attraction called “Grand Reef”. ill combine a white-sand beach, palm-lined island and underwater grottos filled with moray eels, reef sharks and scores of other tropical fish. Activities will range from snorkeling with eagle rays to crossing a rope bridge over a shark-filled lagoon.

The Location:

6000 Discovery Cove Way
Orlando, FL 32821

Opening times:

Discovery Cove is a full day adventure with operating hours of 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily. Check-in begins at 8:00 a.m.

Some tips for you:

  • If you are planning on visiting Discovery Cove during the summer or near a holiday, you should book your reservation at least one month prior to your intended visit to ensure availability as these timeframes tend to book early.
  • Discovery Cove provides all guests with swim vests and/or wetsuits, a mask and snorkel, towels and beach chairs. Discovery Cove will also provide guests with a sample of specially formulated sunscreen that is safe for use in the animal habitats.
  • Guests should bring their own swimsuits, and, if they choose, water socks or rubber pool shoes, hat, sunglasses and cover-up or dry clothes.
  • Discovery Cove guests may not wear jewelry, for the safety of the animals.
  • Discovery Cove provides complimentary transportation to and from SeaWorld Orlando on the day of the Discovery Cove visit. We also provide complimentary transportation to Busch Gardens Tampa for guests whose Discovery Cove package includes admission to Busch Gardens.

Where to stay:

There are quite a few locations that you can stay at which are near discovery cove there are moderate to luxury hotels –

Moderate 3*

Hotel provides more complete facilities than a budget hotel, including upgraded amenities and level of comfort, and dependable service. Will also typically have an onsite restaurant, children’s activities, business facilities, valet parking, and concierge service.

11000 Westwood Blvd
Orlando, FL 32821

6850 Westwood Drive
Orlando, FL 32821

Deluxe 4*

Hotel provides upscale, first-class accommodations, along with a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail. On-site full services, including top-rated dining facilities, beauty salons, valet service, 24-hour room service and possible spa amenities also are available.

6677 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, FL 32821

8701 World Center Drive
Orlando, FL 32821

4040 Central Florida Parkway
Orlando, FL 32837

Luxury 6*

Hotel provides upscale, first-class accommodations, with a very high level of service and close attention to every last detail. On-site full services, including top-rated dining facilities, beauty salons, valet service, 24-hour room service, and full luxurious spa and in-room amenities.

4012 Central Florida Parkway
Orlando, FL 32837

Disney Dream Cruise Ships Vital Statistics

• Port: Port Canaveral

• Tonnage: 128,000 tons

• Length/Beam: 1,115 ft./125 ft.

• Total Staterooms: 1,250

• Total Passengers: 4,000

• Amenities: First water coaster at sea, AquaDuck. Atrium lobby features Enchanted Art: still artwork that comes to life when a guest walks in front of it. Virtual portholes in all inside staterooms which offer a real-time view outside the ship from high-definition cameras. Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab youth areas include living characters: Disney characters appear on a 103-inch plasma screen to talk, joke and play with passengers.Goofy’s Sports Deck, Nemo’s Reef water-play area, Quiet Cove Pool and Cove Bar for adults only, Pixie Hollow kids area, children’s and teen activities, family pools, various restaurants including three adult-only establishments, spa and salon, and much more.

• Staterooms: Concierge family oceanview stateroom with verandah, deluxe family oceanview stateroom with verandah, deluxe oceanview stateroom verandah, deluxe family oceanview stateroom, deluxe oceanview stateroom, deluxe inside stateroom, standard inside stateroom, concierge 1-bedroom suite with verandah

• Inaugural Sail Date: Set for January 26, 2011

• Shipyard: Papenburg, Germany

• Country of Registry: Bahamas

• Officer Nationality: International

• Web site:

If you haven’t already seen the amazing images of the Disney Dream just follow this link;

Pictures of the Disney Dream Cruise Ship

Orlando Thrill Theme Park Unveils 14 Ride Idea’s

14 rides, 8 Roller Coasters!!! Its sounds like music to my theme park ear’s… Its the Orlando Thrill Park

Chuck Bell, spokesman for the Orlando Thrill Park stated that the park would include rides from several manufactures including Intamin, Vekoma, Chance Morgan, Mack, S&S Power, U.S. ThrillRides and Mondial.

If plans are agreed and financing secured the Orlando Thrill Park will be situated on International Drive.

Orlando Thrill Park would have no themed environments, no costumed characters, no dark rides and few if any shows, Bell said. Instead, it would be all about the biggest, tallest, fastest, longest, steepest and greatest thrills.

No price tag has been pinned to the new park, but by my estimate the ride inventory alone would top $100 million. Bell said he hopes OTP would serve as a proving ground for the latest and greatest from the amusement industry, showcasing one-of-a-kind, prototype, record-breaking, envelope-pushing, adrenaline-based extreme rides.

Bell pointed to two parks as inspiration for Orlando Thrill Park: Cedar Point in Ohio and Six Flags Magic Mountain in California, both parks are considered to be heavyweights in the battle for the title of  “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.”

14 Theme Park Rides for the Orlando Thrill Park

Theme Parks and Augmented Reality

Just when you thought you couldn’t get enough blogs about Theme Park related Iphone Apps another one turns up.

Realparx claims to be the first company to mix augmented reality with Theme Parks to allow the customer an alternative way to navigate theme parks without having to constantly refer to a map.

The realparx app claims it will allow users to locate rides, shows, restaurants, toilets and shops by simply scanning their surroundings with their mobile.

Users will also have the ability to store locations that they wish to visit at a later date, for instance a ride that had a long queue. The app will also have integration with Facebook and Twitter allowing the user to share information with friends.

REALPARX for Guests

REALPARX lets users:

  • Navigate parks and attractions using AR. After launching the REALPARX app, users scan the surroundings. Digital titles appear and change in real time to match what the camera captures, allowing users to locate facilities and points of interest such as rides, show locations, restaurants, restrooms and shops.
  • Capture photos with AR data tags and geotags. With REALPARX, instead of a photo of someone simply standing in front of a rollercoaster or a water slide, users can include the name of the attraction in the photo without the physical sign.
  • Post pictures with AR data tags to Twitter and Facebook. Guests can share pictures and comments immediately.
  • Geotag an item—give it a title and description—to find it again later or show in a photo. Throughout the day, the geotag will appear in the viewfinder so guests can see where they are in proximity to the tagged item. Popular items to geotag include a car in a parking lot, a hot spot to meet for lunch, a favorite ride or a store with a favorite souvenir to purchase later in the day.

Universal Studios Hollywood lays out 20-year plan for future theme park attractions

A long-term plan for Universal Studios Hollywood envisions adding seven new theme park attractions over the next two decades while removing or relocating several studio backlot tour favorites, including the “Jaws” lake, the “War of the Worlds” disaster scene and the famed “Psycho” house and Bates Motel.

The $3 billion NBC Universal Evolution Plan lays out a proposed blueprint for the 391-acre Universal City property in the San Fernando Valley, including new movie studio production facilities, CityWalk retail space and a residential neighborhood.

Additionally, the plan calls for 146,000 square feet of new attractions at the movie and television theme park. Inside the park, the 20-year plan also calls for three current attractions to be replaced: the “Terminator 2: 3D” special effects show, the “WaterWorld” stunt show and former “Fear Factor Live” theatre.

Both the “T2” and “WaterWorld” shows, based on 1990s movies, have long been candidates for replacement. The former “Fear Factor” stage, which currently houses the relocated “Special Effects Stage,” has played host to a number of theatrical duds over the years, including “Spider-Man Rocks” and “Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Musical.”

The theme park plan also calls for the eventual removal of the Flintstones carnival midway games. No replacements for any of the theme park attractions have been announced. The “King Kong 360 3-D” drive-through movie, which made its debut this summer, and the Transformers special effects dark ride, scheduled to open in 2012, are not part of the growth plan.

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Walt Disney World Wait Times On Your iPhone

One of the most annoying things in the history of the world (well, to me anyway) is queuing! I just hate standing in line waiting….and waiting….and annoying everyone I’m with by constantly complaining about waiting…and then waiting some more….you get the picture right? Well, I have some good news for fellow ‘queue haters’ There are a few decent iPhone Apps out there that can help. They won’t eliminate the queues but they do the next best thing; they let you know the average ‘wait time’ for all the major rides at Walt Disney World Orlando.

I have reviewed a couple of these iPhone Apps below which I might add are FREE to download. The way these Apps work is pretty genius. People that are already standing in line have this App and submit their wait times. This makes each wait time relevant to that particular point in time….good eh?

FREE WDW Waits App

This was the first app I downloaded. It’s very easy, right off the bat you can download this App and understand how to use it.  FREE WDW Waits uses your ‘current location’ via GPS to let you know where the nearest ride to you is. You can see and submit wait times and add rides and add rides to a ‘favourites’ section.

Displayed wait times are based on app user submitted times and park crowd levels. Now with hundreds of thousands of users.

✓ Ride wait times for all 4 Disney World parks
✓ All times for each park displayed on the same screen
✓ See recent times submitted for each ride
✓ Submit a ride wait time if you are in the park
✓ See rides nearest to your GPS position
✓ Time displayed in minutes, a CL if closed, or dashes if unavailable

Visit for more info and demo video.

WDW FREE Wait Time Opening App Screen
Wait time displayed
submit your waiting time

Pros: It’s simple to use, it’s free, and it does exactly what you need it to do. Three awesome reasons to go and download it right now!

Cons: The refresh rate is slow (it’s around every 4 minutes; I hate to wait!) Personally I would add a ‘refresh button’ The ‘Near me’ option needs to encourage people to use it – if you don’t set it up when you first download the app but you later click on it you get the following message ‘Error Acquiring Location’ It should then offer you the chance to allow the App to ‘use your current location’ to enable the function to work but it doesn’t – This App has adverts on it – Graphics are basic.

Verdict: It’s a good App, its simple and it’s FREE! The pros definitely out way the cons with this App. I would recommend you go get this if you’re off to Walt Disney World Orlando.

More info: iTunes

Undercover Tourist – Walt Disney World Wait Time App

There is a lot going on with this iPhone App. Its main function it to provide wait times at WDW which it does in the same way as the App above. The eye pleasing graphics make the user experience just that little bit more fun as it has a ‘game type’ quality to it. But this App is more than just wait times. It gives you lots of extra information like a review of the rides, user ratings, parade times, where to eat, a 10 day crowd forecast a planner and it also has a little game on it to keep you amused when you’re in the queues.


. Detailed Maps and GPS Locator – Enjoy accurate wait times, integrated in real-time, with park maps for Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. All of these locations can be found in just one App!

. Real-Time Data Points – Save time with over 2,000,000 wait time data points, all enhanced by real-time user submissions.

. Rides – Pre-plan with detailed information, including photos, descriptions, ratings and height / age requirements. The App filters the rides by age, family and Fast Pass. It also allows for rides to be added to your touring plan and marked as one of your favorites.

. Disney Dining – Cruise through menus for Disney World and Downtown Disney restaurants with new Disney World Resort restaurants added weekly to the App. Restaurant ratings, cuisine, cost and photos are also at your fingertips and can be added to your Favorites list or inserted into your Activities Scheduler.

. Export and Import Scheduling Information – You can plan your entire day at the Walt Disney World Theme Parks. The Schedule can also be e-mailed to your
family and friends.

. Planner – You can see opening hours, parade times, recommended parks and other special events up to 10 days in advance.

. Traffic Light System – You can choose the best parks and rides with the lowest crowds for each day of your trip.

. GPS Tools – After a long day at the parks, you can locate your vehicle, yourself or members of your group … fast.

. Ticket Purchase – You will have the exclusive ability on mobile to purchase discount attraction tickets through Undercover Tourist, the most trusted name in discount attraction tickets.

. Ticket Copy – You can take pictures of all your theme park tickets to keep track of everyone’s tickets in your group. Note: This feature is not a guarantee for having your tickets reissued. Officially, theme parks do not have to reissue lost tickets; it remains at their sole discretion, so be sure to be careful!

. Play a Game – You can pass time while waiting with a fun tile match memory game for kids of all ages.

Undercover Tourist Walt Disney World Wait Time App Opeing Screen
Current wait times displayed
More information on rides

Pros: It’s FREE. This App is packed with great things to do. Its fun to use and gives you lots of extra ‘added value’ information. Its obvious the developers of this App have spent a lot of time thinking about what users would find useful.

Cons: It’s packed with adverts. You can ditch the adds by upgrading to a paid version of this App. If current location is not set up when you download the App it doesn’t point you in the direction of how to set it up if you then click on the ‘Location’ function later. No instructions on how to use some of the functions.

Verdict: Download this App. Its FREE damnit! Its packed with useful features and its fun to use – just how an App should be.

More info: iTunes

So there you have our pick on a couple of really useful Apps. Let us know if you have used either of these Apps by leaving us a comment or if there are any other similar Apps you’d recommend we’d love to hear about them.

For more information on Walt Disney World click the link.