Interview with Renee from Fun Spot

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Tell Me Tuesdays is BACK!! … Well it is Tuesday after all. 😉 This time we welcome back Renee from Fun Spot. Renee is A great lady and one of our faves here at OAT.

Lets get to know her even better! 😀

Name:   Renee Ambos
Company:  Fun Spot America Theme Parks
Position:  Director of Sales


What did you want to be when you grew up? Dr. Dolittle – who doesn’t wish they could talk to animals.  Plus I grew up on the farm, so that skill set really would have helped!

If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life what would it be and why? I would say stuffed cabbage, because I’d never have to cook a meal again!  Thanks to my partner!

What movie title best describes your life? Tarzan – I love the outdoors and getting away from the concrete jungle, but I clean up ok too!

If you were stranded on a Desert Island and could only take 3 items what would they be and why? String, Cup  with a lid and a Hatchet. I think the hatchet itself makes loads of sense.  The string would be to tie up any loose ends around the place.  The cup would ideal hold the rain water for me to drink.  With that said, hopefully I’d make it out alive!

Would you rather be able to time travel into the past or the future and why? Future,  Keep moving forward!!!!

How would you describe your theme park / attraction using only 3 words? Four story go-karts!



What was the highlight of 2017 for your company? In 2017 our Fun Spot Kissimmee location, next door to Old Town opened up Mine Blower!  It’s our newest Wooden hybrid Roller Coaster that drops you 80 ft and takes you straight into a barrel roll!  In case you missed that, YES this wooden roller coaster goes upside down!

What are you most looking forward to in 2018? 2018 is going to be an interesting year.  We are going to be focusing on our in park guest experiences.  We know that “you” have a choice when you are booking your Orlando Vacation.  What sets Fun Spot apart is our guest experience once you are in the park.  We treat you like family, not a customer.   Fun Spot may not have any characters or castles, but we do offer that perfect half day experience at a price that doesn’t break the bank.  If  you have not been to the park yet. I’m telling you, you won’t make that same mistake after the first time you’ve been.  I  promise you.

PLUS we just purchased our 3rd park location in Fayetteville, Georgia just 20 miles south of the Atlanta airport.  The park is currently under renovations, and is looking to open Spring 2018.

Favourite Theme Park ride/attraction of 2017? Mine Blower will knock your socks off. It’s high intensity, with a smooth ride. There is nothing better than dropping 80ft and going straight into a barrel roll. It really is a Roller Coaster for the adrenaline seeker.  With the dips and turns the ride is unexpectedly amazing.  This ride is a beauty that packs a punch.

Best Theme Park/attraction tip? I highly recommend visiting Fun Spot on your arrival or departure days.  The key here is you want to have fun, but still take it easy.  With virtually no queue and free admission for none riders.  Stay for as little or as long as you like. Did I mention that we are open until midnight 365 days a year.  If you are lucky enough to visit during non-peak season.  The major Theme Parks close earlier in the off season.  You can just pay for the children to go on the rides, and the adults can enter the park for free and enjoy themselves a pint.

Tell us something we don’t know about Florida… Over in the Cocoa Beach area, during the summer time. It is bioluminescence season.   If you don’t know what I’m talking about, think of putting your hand in water at night, and the water glows everywhere you move!  I have a stand up paddle board, and you can watch all the little and BIG fish swim under your boards and around you. Remember the water glows, so you can get an idea of how amazing mother nature really is. It’s spectacular to see, and remember no flash with your cameras!

A cracking interview from Renee and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank her for getting involved. Our own Teresa has visited Fun Spot this year and absolutely loved Mine Blower! You can purchase Fun Spot tickets directly from Orlando Attraction Tickets.

Smiles Included,


REAL Lightsabers at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge?!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

This is the first time we’re talking about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2018 and this is definitely an exciting one…

We pretty much know for sure that Galaxy’s Edge is going to be super immersive and interactive. For example, how you fly the Millennium Falcon can affect how you are treated within the land. Disney haven’t really confirmed any other ways that the land will make guests feel as though they are really in another Galaxy however, a new patent called ‘Audience Interaction Projection System’ may have just given us a pretty concrete idea of another way Disney are going to have guests ‘fully immersed’ in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

It looks as though Blooloop have discovered some patents that lead us to believe that Disney may be developing a system that will ‘allow guests to carry a physical hilt that can interact with an augmented reality apparatus of some type’ according to the patent the physical hilt will contain positioning and motion sensors – sort of like a Wii controller. The patent doesn’t specifically mention Star Wars however they do point to weapons that look like lightsabers and mentions ways in which users can use the technology to interact with the environment and fight enemies. It looks as though it will also include a speaker for audio feedback and the ‘lightsaber’ will vibrate when the blade is engaged and make noise when it’s waved. Maybe there will be a part of the Disney App or a new App altogether where guests will be able to see how well they are doing? Who knows!

The patent states the following:

 “An audience interaction projection system provides a lighting feature that provides a new way for an audience member to participate in an entertainment experience; e.g., theatrical performance, theme park feature, concert, sporting event, movie, etc. The audience member may actually feel as if they are launching powerful beams of laser-like light toward objects on the stage.”

The patent also appears to discuss Drones and how the lightsabers could be able to communicate with drones . The patent states “Multiple LEDs can be activated in sequence at various times to give the user the impression that the movement by the user of the faux lightsaber is deflecting multiple laser beams,”

Now the ‘blades’ of the lightsabers wouldn’t be physical and i’m not a very ‘techy’ girl so from what I understand and from an image provided with the patent which shows a person holding a lightsaber. There is a projector beaming light toward it. The projector technology would then be able to project visible light that is invisible until it hits the intended device — again, a lightsaber — and “rendering the visible light as a beam that appears to emanate from the object rather than from the light source.”

Obviously the interactive wands at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter were, and still are a huge hit with guests as you can use the wands to interact with various different types of physical props around. Surely it would be obvious that Disney would introduce lightsabers although there is always the costs, logistics, safety and time to take in to consideration. Oh and also the fact that Disney file patents all the time with some never seeing the light of day again but it would a very smart move in my opinion.

We still have no confirmation or way of knowing if this is really going to happen but as Walt Disney himself has said, if you can dream it, you can do it and Disney have clearly had some dreams about this… 😉

Smiles Included,



Mmm Doughnuts…

Hey Thrill Seekers,

If there’s one thing I like as much as roller coasters its doughnuts… So Universal have just made my day with the announcement that Voodoo Doughnut is coming to Universal CityWalk this spring.

Voodoo doughnuts, the unique shop hailing from Mississippi has gained a cult following for their scrumptious fried creations.

Never heard of them… well here’s Universal’s lowdown!

Who: Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon created Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon in 2003. The pair had enjoyed experimenting with unique flavors to create eccentric pastries and they turned their passion into the phenomenon that is Voodoo Doughnut. As they say, the rest is history.

What: Voodoo Doughnut will open at Universal CityWalk, Universal Orlando Resort’s entertainment and dining complex. Loved for its sinfully delicious, delightfully weird lineup of fried creations, Voodoo Doughnut will feature signature originals and one-of-a-kind delectables such as the Dirt Doughnut, the Bacon Maple Bar, Grape Ape and, of course, Voodoo Doll doughnuts.

When: The new Voodoo Doughnut location is set to open at Universal CityWalk in Orlando this spring. We’ll provide a specific date, so stay tuned here.

Where: Since their Portland origins, Cat Daddy and Tres have continued to spread their unique flavors across the globe with several new locations including a few more in Oregon and shops in Denver, Austin and CityWalk at Universal Studios Hollywood.
The Universal Orlando shop will feature the same eclectic pink theming and irreverent names that can be found in current Voodoo Doughnut locations. It will be located next to NBC Sports Grill & Brew, just steps away from the iconic Universal Globe and Universal Studios Florida entrance.

Why: Delicious doughnuts… Need we say more! Your mouth should be watering at this point.

We’ll keep you updated when we find out the exact date Voodoo opens.

Smiles included…


Interview with Tori from Grayline

Hey Thrill Seekers,

It’s that time of the week again.. it’s Tell Me Tuesday ;). I’m aware that it is just as bad, if not worse than Jamie’s ‘Interview Tuesdays’ but i’ve put it out there now so I have to roll with it.

This week it is the turn of Tori from Gray Line who are a trusted provider of traveller experiences and sightseeing tours. We haven’t worked with Gray Line for very long but we are really excited for the future and being able to offer lots of different tours and Tori’s responses to some of our more random questions are just lovely. 🙂

Name:  Tori Sullivan-Eaton
Company:  EVP
Position: Gray Line Orlando


What did you want to be when you grew up?  I always wanted to work overseas in travel!  I’m from South Wales so I guess that worked out 🙂

If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life what would it be and why? A Lamb Sunday Roast – reminds me of home

What movie title best describes your life? Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

If you were stranded on a Desert Island and could only take 3 items what would they be and why? Family, iPod & Kindle (in my imaginary island they can be solar powered devices) :). With music and stories in my life, and my family close by I can be happy.

Would you rather be able to time travel into the past or the future and why?  Future to get a cure for Type 1 Diabetes and bring it back for my daughter 😉

How would you describe your theme park / attraction using only 3 words? Fun Sightseeing Tours



What was the highlight of 2017 for your company? We became # 1 on TripAdvisor for Tours in Orlando from over 90 companies – this was a pretty sweet achievement!  Upgraded vehicles and knowledge fun tour guides helped us reach this goal. It was a whole team effort.  Whilst its a constant battle to hold our spot, staying consistently in the top spots of the charts is an awesome achievement.

What are you most looking forward to in 2018?  We can’t wait for Kennedy Space Center to open the new Astronaut Training Experience.  We have been lucky enough to have a hard hat tour of the facility and we know our guests are going to super enjoy training to be Astronauts – its a major upgrade on the old facility, simply out of this world!  We will for sure have some packages featuring this facility.

Favourite Theme Park ride/attraction of 2017? Whilst of course Pandora in Disney Animal Kingdom is awesome, and cannot be beat for special affects – personally my favorite attraction this year I experienced just last week, ICE at the Gaylord Palms.  This year the theme is ‘Holidays Around the World’ – I loved walking around in the freezing air looking at all the displays showing holidays traditions made out of ice carvings, and the huge ice flag baubles were really cool!  This is included on our Snow, Ice and Gingerbread Holiday tour and is something different to see here in Orlando.

What is going to be BIG for your company in 2018?  Rocket Launches!!  Whilst NASA are preparing for the return of launching humans to space 2018 is going to bring a lot of test flights of the Orion Rocket, and we are excited to help guests view them unclose in 2018.

Best Theme Park/attraction tip?  Whilst I LOVE the big theme parks, be sure to take some time away from them, otherwise you will need a holiday to recover from your holiday.  Join Gray Line on a day to Clearwater Beach to relax on the white sands, or on a trip up to historic St. Augustines where you can meander the day away in the cobblestone streets and sidewalk cafes.  Be sure to spend some days away from the lines and the rides, you will be thankful that you did- it will recharge your batteries during your holiday in Orlando.

Tell us something we don’t know about Florida….  Outside from the Orlando area, Florida is a small town laid back State just aching to explored.  We have the oldest permanent settlement in the USA (St. Augustines), world renowned blue flag beaches (don’t miss a trip to Clearwater Beach) and we have many underground rivers that bubble up to make some of the cleanest spring water in the world!!  Come and snorkel on the Crystal River with us that flows from the Three Sisters Springs.  There is so many things to do away from the Orlando region – be to leave town and visit some of the other wonders of our State.

Thank you Tori for taking the time to answer our questions!

Smiles Included,


OAT Live Episode 21

Hey Thrill Seekers,

New year, new OAT Live…

Abby and Gavin are back with a new episode of the award winning* live show (*its won no awards). News was lacking this week so the dynamic duo cover a bit of Universal and a bit of LEGOLAND Florida then recap on what’s coming to Orlando in 2018 and answer some of your questions.

  The next episode will take place on the 25th January and will be hosted by Abby and Teresa.

Smiles included…


NEW Nighttime Light Show at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Hey Thrill Seekers,

I’m sure Gavin and I jinxed this. 🙁 The minute we finished OAT Live Universal announced a new nighttime Light show at Hogwarts Castle!

Grab your wands and robes because an all new projection mapping experience called The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle is coming to Universal and will have guests celebrate all four houses in all their glory by transforming Hogwarts Castle with special effects, music, lights and much more.

Each of the four houses – Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and HufflePuff will ‘wrap itself around the castle’ as they showcase their pride in their own unique ways in time with the moving music from the films. This will definitely give me goosebumps (maybe even a tear 😉 )

The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle is set to debut on Wednesday 31st January through to Monday the 5th February as well as from Wednesday the 7th February through to Monday 12th February. Universal have said that additional dates will be announced later so don’t fear if your holiday date isn’t above. Guests to A Celebration of Harry Potter (27th and 28th Jan) will get to see a preview too! (lucky Gavin!)

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Caste looked absolutely A-MA-ZING so if it is (and it will be) as fabulous as this then guests are in for a right treat! Just picture it now.. Hogwarts lit up in your house colour, wand in hand, soundtrack blaring, tear in your eye… Ahhh! 😀

Who’s going to Universal in Feb and will get to see this?!

Smiles Included


Universal Confirm Mardi Gras Details

Hey Thrill Seekers,

IT’S MARDI GRAS time… whoop whoop etc

From the 3rd February until the 7th April Orlando Attraction Tickets customers can get their PARTY on with GRAMMY Award-winning rapper, Macklemore; international superstar and recording artist, Sean Paul; and Billboard “Hot 100” pop group, Fifth Harmony, as they take the stage in the Music Plaza at Universal Studios.

As well as amazing live music guests can enjoy dazzling festival krewes, see stunning float designs during the nightly parade and taste mouthwatering Cajun-style bites.

Check out the full line-up:

Feb. 3: Sean Paul
Feb. 10: The Beach Boys
Feb. 17: Kelsea Ballerini
Feb. 18: Andy Grammer
Feb. 24: Macklemore
March 3: 311
March 4: Phillip Phillips
March 10: To Be Announced
March 11: Fitz and the Tantrums
March 17: Foreigner
March 18: Fifth Harmony
March 24: To Be Announced
March 25: BUSH

Plus the  sounds of the Bayou to The French Quarter Courtyard:

Feb. 3 – Feb. 20: Free Agents Brass Band
Feb. 21 – March 6: Naughty Professor Brass Band
March 7 – March 20: New Breed Brass Band
March 21 – March 31: Young Pinstripe Brass Band
April 1 – April 7: Dirty Bourbon River Show

On top of music and of course the bead catching, Universal are upping their parade game and introducing 6 new floats  based around a celestial feel. The nightly constellation-themed parade will feature dancers, colourful stilt performers and 12 handcrafted floats.

Check out these designs;


Virgo the Maiden 



Orion the Hunter


It looks like Universal’s Mardi Gras is going to be bigger and better than ever!!!

Remember: Entry is free with any Universal tickets purchased from Orlando Attraction Tickets.

Smiles included…


Interview with Larry from Eat & Play Card

Hey Thrill Seekers,

It’s that time of the year, where we get to know our suppliers a little better and ask all the important questions that everyone else is too afraid to ask.. 😉

Last year Jamie tried to make ‘Interview Tuesdays’ a thing, it’s not a thing and will never be a thing so here goes the launch of… Tell Me Tuesdays – creative huh?

First up is Larry Raubach from Eat & Play Card.. (this obviously isn’t Larry below but you’ll see why i’ve put this photo later 😉 )

Name:  Larry Raubach
Company:  Eat and Play Card (Orlando/NYC)
Position: Director


What did you want to be when you grew up? The co-founder of a destination pass.

If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life what would it be and why? Tacos. C’mon need I say more?

What movie title best describes your life? It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

If you were stranded on a Desert Island and could only take 3 items what would they be and why? Sunscreen, sunglasses and an “Eat and Play Card Desert Island.” My mom always says, “protect yourself from too much sun and paying more than you have to.”

Would you rather be able to time travel into the past or the future and why? The past most definitely. I’d like to spend more  time with the people who really matter.

How would you describe your theme park / attraction using only 3 words? Saves People Money!


What was the highlight of 2017 for your company? Welcoming some awesome power brands like Chili’s, Earls and Carrabba’s into the Orlando program.

What are you most looking forward to in 2018? That’s top secret.

Favourite Theme Park ride/attraction of 2017? Pandora! I’m a huge Avatar fan.

What is going to be BIG for your company in 2018? That’s top secret.

Best Theme Park/attraction tip? Eat offsite. The food’s better and so are the prices.

Tell us something we don’t know about Florida… His breakout single “Low” was #1 in the US for 10 weeks back in 2008. 😉

The last answer genuinely made me belly laugh, thanks Larry – some top answers there! Stay tuned for more Tell Me Tuesdays (bigger and better than Interview Tuesdays, I promise)…

Smiles included…


Universal Begin Construction Of New Wizarding Attraction

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Ever since Universal confirmed that Dragon Challenge would be closing we’ve been patiently waiting for an announcement for what would be replacing the well loved coaster.

We’ve speculated, you can read it here, and at the time the link looked solid however on Saturday we were informed about a reddit thread that might be shedding even more light on what we can expect at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

User Miker_Incredible (according to himself) is an active employee of Universal Orlando Resort and had this to say;

black supports have arrived and footers have been poured for the new Wizarding World roller coaster. It seems like it is going to be a suspended/inverted coaster, as the support-to-track connectors are “underneath” the support structure.

Hmm interesting. The revelation that the coaster would be a suspended/inverted type has led to speculation about exactly what the ride could be. The major theory which is supported by quite a few bloggers, is that Universal are looking to build something similar to Arthur at German theme park Europa Park.

ARTHUR is an inverted-spinning dark ride roller coaster which has been praised for its theming (Universal are all about the theming).

Riders are suspended beneath the steel roller coaster track in one of nine, 12-person vehicles. The 550-metre-long (1,800 ft) attraction features a theoretical hourly capacity of 1,600 riders. The ride features seven scenes both inside and outside the show building. Unlike most roller coasters, Arthur – The Ride does not require gravity for movement, instead it is powered by motors inside the trains. It begins with a spiral lift hill. The ride features animatronics by Life Formations and Heimotion, as well as other 4D effects such as water, wind and scents

The Arthur coaster is made by MACK rides and recently won the THEA Award for the Best Ride System. Arthur is most definitely a family ride with some thrills which does kind of fit the little information we’ve had from Universal. Take a look at this video to see what we might expect…

We’d expect Universal to ramp up the thrills a little bit but the mix of dark ride and coaster with both an indoor and outdoor experience does feel right.

We’ll keep you updated when we learn more…

Smiles included…


Universal Hint There’s More To Come In 2018

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Happy New Year!!!

2018 is expected to be another amazing year for theme parks in Orlando with Disney opening Toy Story Land, SeaWorld opening Infinity Falls and Aquatica introducing us to Ray Rush.

Today though Universal have dropped a little hint at what we can expect from them in 2018. On top of Fast & Furious Supercharged set to open in Spring 2018, they’ve stated we can expect information about;

The previously-announced ride replacing Dragon Challenge in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Yep with Dragon Challenge now totally gone from Islands we’ll be waited with baited breath about what Universal will be replacing it will.
An additional projection mapping experience at Hogsmeade castle

The Christmas spectacular was so popular it makes sense that Universal might be looking to add a permanent show.
Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular being replaced

We knew this was happening but we’re yet to find out what will be replacing Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular.  Rumours state it could be a movie themed show.

Something new going in where Terminator 2: 3D was

Yep we knew this was being replaced, what it is we’re not sure. Rumours seem to suggest a high octane IP. Some are guessing Jason Bourne…

A new venue coming to Universal CityWalk where Element was

Nope, I know nothing about this one.

Our expanding hotel collection

2 hotels are expected to be built on the old Wet n’ Wild land. We’ll get confirmation soonish I’d imagine.

The continued global expansion of our partnership with Nintendo. Our sister park in Japan has already broken ground on Super Mario World; I’m sure you can’t wait to hear what’s next.

Pretty self explanatory… we just have to wait to see if we can get involved in a massive Mario Kart simulator (we think its a yes).

We’ll keep you posted when we learn more.

Smiles included…