Interview With Abby From Orlando Attraction Tickets

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Interview Tuesday is upon us once again and today we’ve turned the tables on one of our own.

Star of the hit Facebook live show, OAT Live, Abby has been chatting about Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and all things Orlando for a while now. If you haven’t watched her you’ve probably read one of her blog posts.

Lets get to know her…

Name: Abby
Company: Orlando Attraction Tickets
Position: Social Media Team

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get? Cheese, cheese and more cheese!
If you were an animal, what would you be and why? A Dolphin because they’re clever, entertaining and the best animal ever. 😉
If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction? Definitely a romance mixed with a horror.
Complete the sentence; I was once mistaken for . . . Chewbacca. 🙁
If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Jennifer Lawrence, Conor McGregor and Margot Robbie.

WORK

What was the highlight of 2016 for your company?: For me – Joining a great, successful team at Orlando Attraction Tickets.
What can we expect from your company in 2017?: Lots of new attractions and deals to be offered. We’re also looking to extend our social reach by taking advantage of live broadcasting.
Make a 2017 prediction…: I think that lots more rides will begin to have VR added to them.
Best Theme Park ride/attraction of 2016?: Mako at SeaWorld Orlando.
Best Theme Park/attraction food of 2016?: Mac and Cheese in Hard Rock Cafe.
Best Theme Park/attraction tip?: Take a bottle to fill up at water fountains around the park (you don’t need to do this at Discovery Cove as all food and drinks are included.)
Best kept secret in Florida?: Throw some coins into a fishes mouth in McElligot’s Pool at Islands of Adventure and then thank me later. 😉

Yey! Thanks Abby for taking the time to get involved with our interview series. You can catch Abby with her on screen husband Gavin, every other Thursday 4pm when OAT goes live. Make sure you visit our facebook page for all the latest news, tips and competitions.

You can read other interviews in the series here;

Here’s episode 3 of OAT Live;

Smiles included…

Jamie

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New Coaster at Fun Spot Kissimmee to be Called ‘Mine Blower’

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So the name for the new wooden roller-coaster at Fun Spots Kissimmee location has recently been revealed as ‘Mine Blower’ which gives us the impression that it is a ride that ‘blows minds’ and maybe themed around mine carts, what do you think?

The ride is due to open in summer 2017 and we do not yet know what the carts are going to look like but my guess is something like the Donkey Kong mine carts 😉

Here are some cool facts about the upcoming coaster..

  • Maximum bank angle is 115 degrees
  • It is going to be 2256 ft long
  • There are 11 different air times
  • Top speed is 48.5 mph
  • There is a 360 Barrel Roll ( You are going upside down, on a Wooden Roller Coaster!)
  • The first drop is 80.5 feet – that’s like 5 large giraffes stacked on top of each other..

It is the only wooden roller-coaster in Southeast United States that will feature a 360 degree barrel roll!

Mine Blower has been designed by the Ohio-based coaster design firm Gravity Group. Gravity Group built the first wooden coasters in China and the Voyage coaster at Holiday World in Indiana, which has been ranked as the best wooden coaster for 5 years in a row! This surely means that Mine Blower is going to be an amazing contribution to Fun Spot Kissimmee and one for true thrill seekers!

Don’t forget that admission into Fun Spot is FREE and you can purchase your unlimited armbands here.

Smiles Included,

Jess

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What Is UMA?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Big companies are constantly trademarking words and phrases, sometimes it means nothing at all…. however sometimes it gives us a glimpse at the future. We think Universal’s latest trademark filings might just be pointing towards its future…

The first trademark is Universal Pay (2 images);

Here’s what the trademark states –

i) Providing an internet website portal for the facilitation of financial transactions.

ii) Downloadable software to enable the user to make mobile payments; downloadable mobile device application software for managing, storing, and capturing credit card and debit card information; downloadable software for enabling processing of electronic funds transfers and payments; Interactive computer kiosks comprising of payment terminals for use in monetary transactions

Universal Messaging Assistant (4 images);

also know as;

UMA (4 images)

 

i) Providing a website featuring customised restaurant and hotel information and recommendations to users; Online restaurant and hotel reservation and booking services

ii) Providing a website featuring customised entertainment and theme park recommendations to users; Online ticket reservation and booking services for entertainment events and amusement park attractions

iii) On-line retail store services featuring tickets to theme parks, theme park attractions, and entertainment events; on-line retail gift shops

iiii) Downloadable computer and mobile application software for providing customised entertainment, restaurant, hotel, and travel information and recommendations to users; Downloadable computer and mobile application software for facilitating the purchase of theme park and entertainment tickets and merchandise; Downloadable computer and mobile application software for making restaurant and entertainment event reservations.

These trademark filings seem to suggest to me that instead of heading down the TapuTapu route for the rest of their parks that perhaps they’re looking to build an all-consuming app that incorporates the obvious ticket and fastpass option but also extends to restaurant/hotel bookings, merchandise purchases and interestingly, recommendations.

Could UMA be the future of Universal?

Smiles included…

Jamie

 

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Pandora: World of Avatar Ride Requirements

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So on our last Facebook Live we had a couple of questions about Pandora: The World of Avatar and in particular, will the rides be included in Fastpass+ and what d’ya know Disney released this exact information yesterday!

Lets start with Avatar Flight of Passage, Disney’s description of Avatar Flight of Passage is making me so impatient.

“Get a banshee’s-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of Pandora on a rite of passage you won’t soon forget! Deep in the heart of the Valley of Mo’ara, discover Avatar Flight of Passage—an all-new expedition that lets interstellar explorers like you climb atop a mountain banshee for a breathtaking, first-person flight over the moon’s incredible landscape. Bonding with a mountain banshee is a crucial step in the life of a Na’vi hunter—and flying on the back of one of these powerful winged creatures represents an important rite of passage.Now, as a visitor to Pandora, you’ll finally have the chance to test yourself in a similar way! “

The height requirement for this ride is 44 inches which is approximately 3.6 feet. The age interest is kids, tweens, teens and adults. Most importantly, can you use FastPass+ for Avatar Flight of Passage? The answer is yes. Wooo!

Next up is Navi River Journey, Disney’s description on their website gives me goosebumps..

 “Glide down a gentle, mysterious river and feel a sense of wonder as the full beauty of Pandora reveals itself. Located within the Valley of Mo’ara, Na’vi River Journey offers explorers an experience that has to be seen—and heard—to be believed! As your expedition begins, climb aboard a reed boat and drift downstream. After coasting through a series of caves, and passing by exotic glowing plants and amazing creatures of the rainforest, you’ll soon find yourself face-to-face with the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. The adventure comes to a conclusion as the Shaman demonstrates her deep connection to the life force of Pandora—and sends positive energy out into the forest through the power of her music!”

Sounds beautiful doesn’t it? What’s better is that there is no height requirement for this ride as well as the age interest being for everyone meaning the whole family can enjoy it together. You can also book your Fastpass+ on the Navi River Journey. 🙂

 

Next is Valley of Mo’ara, this isn’t something that I knew a lot about so looking on the Disney website has really got me excited to have a wander around the valley..

 “Walk about through the Valley of Mo’ara and get ready to discover a world like no other! There’s more to Pandora than expeditions like Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey… much more! All around its enormous floating mountains, you’ll quickly uncover the valley’s one-of-a-kind dining and shopping experiences—along with sights, sounds and experiences that include: Exotic plants that come to life with beautiful bioluminescence each night, A Na’vi-built drum circle containing instruments playable by all, Na’vi totems and other cultural items found throughout the land, Brand-new Wilderness Explorers challenges and badges to collect. You may even come across tour guides from Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE), scientists from the Pandora Conservation Initiative (PCI), or even an eclectic expat or two!”

There is no height requirement and the age interest is for everyone. There is no Fastpass+ available for the Valley of Mo’ara as there will be no queue lines.

With the opening of Pandora: World of Avatar on the 27th May getting closer and closer we are loving any information that Disney are releasing about it.

Welcome to Pandora—a world similar to Earth… but distinctly unique in so many ways!

I don’t know about you but I really can’t wait and i’ll definitely be booking my fast passes for the Navi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage!!

Smiles Included…

Jess

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Interview With Geoff Dobson From SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment 2017

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Its time to bring out one of the heavy hitters of our Interview Tuesday series (still not a thing). Geoff from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is the current holder of the most “reads” title which he earned in 2015!!!

So lets get to know the current OAT champ

Name: Geoff Dobson
Company: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
Position: Sales Manager

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?  Peanut Butter M&M’s, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup’s, Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut butter frosting… do you get where I’m going with this answer?
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  Probably my pet dog Hercules, he has an amazing life, when he’s not eating, sleeping or demanding cuddles he’s out on long walks with his doggy friends… oh and he usually gets more space on the sofa than me as well.
If someone made a movie of your life would it be a drama, a comedy, a romantic-comedy, action film, or science fiction?  Some friends would suggest that “I love a drama” but really my life isn’t that dramatic… If we went through the process of elimination i would be left with a romantic-comedy/drama. The only action in my life is running for trains or running for more peanut butter chocolates!
Complete the sentence; I was once mistaken for . . .  Shamu, I wear a lot of black and white and eating all those chocolate peanut butter treats is taking its toll.
If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Definitely the same three that I had to my dinner party in last year’s interview: Joanna Lumley, Dame Judi Dench and Helen Mirren I find them all very funny and fascinating.

WORK

What was the highlight of 2016 for your company?: We opened Orlando’s tallest, longest, fastest rollercoaster, Mako, at SeaWorld Orlando. Of course, I am biased but it’s definitely the best rollercoaster in Florida!
And over at Busch Gardens, we launched the family friendly rollercoaster, Cobra’s Curse, where riders get to take on the ‘snake king’ and come face-to-face with live snakes in the queue line. The ride runs backwards and twists and spins at certain points, it’s an entirely new coaster experience.
What can we expect from your company in 2017?:  Florida’s first Virtual Reality rollercoaster experience will  be opening at SeaWorld Orlando this summer as firm favourite, Kraken, gets a tech-makeover. We also have a new night time show, Electric Ocean, which will fill the park with lights, music and entertainment.
Over in California, we have a brand new educational Orca Encounter which will enable visitors to get up close to killer whales and learn about how different behaviours are used in the wild to hunt, navigate and communicate. This will kick off at SeaWorld California this summer and will be introduced at the other SeaWorld parks, including SeaWorld Orlando, by 2019.
Make a 2017 prediction…:  It’s not a prediction, it’s a fact – Virtual Reality on Kraken will be amazing!
Best Theme Park ride/attraction of 2016?:  Mako at SeaWorld Orlando, without a doubt. When I found out that SeaWorld was building Orlando’s longest, tallest and fastest coaster I was super excited and it didn’t disappoint. The first-time I went on it, it blew my mind! It’s my first experience of a hypercoaster and the airtime and weightless feeling that you experience after that first drop is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered.
Best Theme Park/attraction food of 2016?:  There are so many great places to eat in the parks, one of my favorites, especially if you’re looking for something a little special is Sharks Underwater Grill at SeaWorld Orlando. Fine dining, fine wines and views you won’t find anywhere else in Orlando. It truly is a special place to eat.
If you’re considering Sharks Underwater Grill be sure to reserve a table in advance as it is very popular.
Best Theme Park/attraction tip?:  Don’t forget to book your SeaWorld Park Extras in advance to make the most of your holiday. It’s the best way to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime experiences like feeding a giraffe or meeting a penguin.
The best place to sit on Mako is at the front so you see the 200ft drop, and for Manta the opposite is true – the best seat in the house is at the back where you feel the maximum G-Force.
Be sure to get to the shows early to bag the best seats, I’d recommend getting there 20-30 minutes before the show is scheduled to commence.
Best kept secret in Florida?: The seasonal shows and events that take place in the parks such as Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld Orlando and Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. These events are often included in your general admission ticket and are great fun for all of the family. Plus we have brand new events coming in 2017 such as The Seven Seas Food Festival and our brand new summer spectacular Electric Ocean at SeaWorld Orlando. With free parking now included with our 3-Park Ticket and Discovery Cove Ultimate packages, there’s no excuse for not popping back to catch these.

Yey!!! Thanks Geoff for taking the time to get involved once again with our little interview series. I love Geoff’s answers and his tip is spot on. One thing though, he definitely does not look like Shamu. 🙂

You can read other interviews in the series here;

Smiles included…

Jamie

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Cirque du Soleil’s ‘La Nouba’ to close in December

Hey Thrill Seekers,

The popular “La Nouba” show performed at Disney Springs by Cirque Du Soleil is set to come to an end on the 31st December. Recently the show has welcomed many new acts; the most recent additions include a duo of comedic clowns followed by a troupe of world-famous break dancers and a real-life couple skilled in the rarely-seen art of aerial bamboo.

The show first debuted in 1998 and was the second Cirque show to have a permanent home. According to Disney there have been more than 8,500 performances of the show which has been seen by over 10 million guests!

Jerry Nadal, Senior Vice President of the Resident Shows Division for Cirque du Soleil said;

We are incredibly proud of the success that La Nouba has had for nearly two decades

We want to thank Walt Disney World Resort for a wonderful run over the years. We look forward to announcing what’s next.

Jerry’s words do suggest a new show could be coming and we’re expecting news shortly however that new stopped us from speculating…  we believe the new show could be “Toruk ” the new Avatar inspired show that Cirque are already touring because, you know, who do we know who’s opening a Avatar themed area????

We will of course keep you all updated.

Smiles included…

Jamie

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How to use your TapuTapu at Universal’s Volcano Bay

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We looooooooove when Universal give us any information on Volcano Bay, in fact we spend our days anticipating the next influx of information 😉

I’ve been taking a look into some information on how to use the new, exclusive TapuTapu’s. If you don’t already know (I mean, where have you been?!) TapuTapu’s are the new ‘wearable’ queuing system that is set to eliminate waiting in lines by using ‘virtual queues’ in Universals brand, spanking new water park – Volcano Bay. You can also use it to control multiple interactive experiences throughout the park.

Here’s a picture and some steps on how to use the TapuTapu:

  1. Pick up your  TapuTapu wearable as you enter the park. It’s yours for the day.
  2. Look for the symbol in step 2 around the park and use your TapuTapu to get a return time, play and more.
  3. Touch your TapuTapu on the symbol at a ride entry totem. That check you into the virtual line and gives you a return time.
  4. Go play around the park. The TapuTapu will tell you when it’s time to head back to the ride.
  5. Touch the symbol on the totem again and proceed through the ride entrance.
  6. You can also use the TapuTapu to play with interactive surprises around the park.
  7. Don’t forget to return the TapuTapu wearable when you exit Volcano Bay.

So when you arrive you’ll be given a TapuTapu straight away and remember to keep your eyes peeled for totems marked with the Volcano Bay logo which are situated at the entrance to the rides, once you touch your TapuTapu to the totem you will then have a place in the virtual line and will be notified by your wearable when it’s time to ride.

I love the idea of the interactive surprises – a bit like the interactive wands at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! You” be able to  control streams of water spurting from whales in Tot Tiki Reef. Shoot water cannons at other guests snaking down Kopiko Wai Winding River or illuminate images in the volcano’s hidden caves.

Don’t forget to return your TapuTapu at the end of your visit 😉

What are you most looking forward to at Volcano Bay and what do you think of the virtual queuing system?

Smiles Included…

Jess

 

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Jimmy Fallon Ride To Open With New Queuing System

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So we can now officially say that Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is going to open NEXT MONTH eeeekkk!

With a new ride comes a new way to tackle a challenge, a huge one being reducing queues inside the parks. Universal have recently been testing a Virtual Line system that is apparently going to be incorporated with the Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon which is due to open on the 6th April. They carried out some trial runs on Despicable Me Minion Mayhem recently and are of course going to be using a virtual line queuing system in Volcano Bay.

Universal have announced that the Jimmy Fallon ride will be the first to have a virtual line – with all of the hype surrounding this attraction i’m not surprised that Universal are looking for a efficient way to cut queuing times for visitors!

Basically, guests will be able to reserve a spot in the queue via the Universal Orlando Resort app or resort kiosks and then wonder around the park until they are notified to return to the ride where they, theoretically can then go straight on the ride without having to wait in any line.

If you’re as excited about this ride as some of us here at the OAT towers are then you’ll surely know what while Jimmy Fallon is in Orlando he is planning on taping the  Tonight Show episodes from April 3rd to April 6th. If you’re a huge fan then you could request tickets for the tapings however they did sell out in about 10 minutes! The guest appearances for the shows at Universal have not yet been announced.

What do you think about Universal trying different ways  to reduce queuing inside the parks for attractions?

Smiles Included,

Jess

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SeaWorld’s Dolphin Days To Open This Spring

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Today SeaWorld Orlando announced they will launching a new show called Dolphin Days. The new show will replace the popular Blue Horizons show after an impressive 11 year run. Dolphin Days will immerse guests into the world of the ocean’s most playful ambassadors. Dolphin Days, will debut on Saturday 1 April, at the aptly named Dolphin Theatre and we can’t wait to see what they have in store.

In the new presentation, the audience will learn more about the individual personalities of each Atlantic bottlenose dolphin while witnessing the special bond they share with their trainers. A soaring rainbow of macaws and other tropical birds will also delight guests, uniting the mysteries of the deep oceans with the wonder and beauty of the skies above.

The new Dolphin Days will also present an interactive opportunity for young guests. During each show, one lucky young volunteer will be selected from the audience to learn first-hand from the training team in an up-close encounter with one of the dolphins and a green-winged macaw.

As guests are wowed by the agility, grace and aerial bows of the dolphins, they will learn how they can help protect dolphins in the wild. The addition of Dolphin Days is the latest example of how SeaWorld continues to provide families with experiences that matter. Through up-close encounters and unique shows like Dolphin Days, guests will leave the park inspired to care about this amazing species, and take action to help wild animals and the places they live.

Dolphin Days won’t be the only place to learn more about dolphins. The park’s new Dolphin Nursery will open in time for summer, offering an interactive educational experience for guests to see dolphins up close. The addition of virtual reality to Kraken and the new night-time spectacular Electric Ocean round out an exciting line-up of new attractions and shows opening this year.

Smiles included…

Jamie

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Universal’s Retired Attractions

Hey Thrill Seekers,

So we’ve already had a look at some of the old Disney attractions that are no longer with us and today we’re going to take a look at some of Universal’s retired attractions!

Back To The Future: The Ride was a simulator ride where you were riding in the DeLorean being chased through town! The ride then closed in 2007 before being replaced by The Simpsons Ride in 2008.

 

Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue was a live stage show that took place throughout the day and is well known as a ‘classic’. This closed in 2016 shortly after Disaster! – A Major Motion Picture Ride…Starring YOU! which closed in 2015. Both of these attractions closed down to make way for the all new Fast & Furious: Supercharged that is due to open in 2018!

Jaws was a legendary attraction in my opinion. I was only small when I went on this and it scared the life out of me when the shark sliced through the waves next to our boat! Sadly, Jaws closed in 2012 to make way for Diagon Alley which opened in 2014.

The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera was a simulator ride that takes on you a wild goose chase to save the characters that had been kidnapped! It closed in 2002 to make way for Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast in 2003. This was also a simulator ride but this time you’ll see Rugrats, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly Odd Parents and Hey Arnold before closing in 2011. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem then replaced it in 2012.

 

Back in 1990, Universal opened Kongfrontation, which in case you haven’t already guessed, was based on King Kong! A simulator ride that helps you evacuate Manhattan Island but Kong manages to grab your tram before dropping you when he’s fired on by police helicopters. Kongfrontation closed in 2002 and then in 2004 it was replaced with Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride.

Ghostbusters Spooktacular was a 20 minute stage show that began in 1990 before being replaced by TWISTER…Ride It Out which opened in 1998. Twister allowed you to step straight into the action of an action-packed film right in the middle of a tornado at it’s peak! Twister closed in 2015 to make way for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon due to open this year!

Nickelodeon Studios opened in 1990 and was a great place for the kids to have an in depth tour about different sectors of Nickelodeon and their production. This closed down in 2012 to be painted blue the following year. This was to prepare for Blue Man Group which opened in 2014!

Alfred Hitchcock: The Art Of Making Movies was a part 3-D film, part live action show which closed in early 2003 making way for Shrek 4-D in mid 2003 that still stands today!

The Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show was huge when it opened in 1991, featuring several cowboys performing stunts and explosions. In 2003 the show closed and was later replaced by Fear Factor Live in 2005.

What other attractions are you missing from Universal?

Smiles Included…

Louise

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