Abby’s Pre-Orlando Adventure

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Its nearly time…….

If you watch our bi-weekly Facebook Lives you’re bound to know that i’m due to go on a ‘Super Fam’ trip and in particular, how excited I am about it! Well it’s time and i’m finally leaving tomorrow¬†to embark on what is sure to be the best trip EVER.

If you follow our Facebook or Instagram accounts you’ll be seeing loads of videos and photos from yours truly over the next week including all things Disney, Universal and SeaWorld. Before I start packing (yes I know I’ve left it very last minute) I thought I would give you guys a run-down of what my trip is going to involve.

Soooo.. I arrive in Orlando at 5pm -ish on Sunday and by 9.30pm i’ll be at Universals Halloween Horror Nights!! Nothing like throwing us in at the deep end aye?! I’m absolutely terrified but also mega, mega excited for this (I do feel sorry for the people who are going to have to keep picking me up off the floor in the houses though) The house i’m most excited for is SAW: The Games of Jigsaw, SAW hasn’t featured at HHN for 8 years now and i’m pretty eager to see what’s going to be involved this time around.

For the first few days i’m going to be staying at Universals Cabana Bay Beach Resort which I’ve heard is very nice indeed. ūüėõ On my first full day i’ll be visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley, Hogsmede Village and Universal Studios. I’m absolutely buzzing to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – I’ve heard so many amazing things about it and I just can’t wait to see it all for myself and i’m especially excited for¬†¬†Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts‚ĄĘ.

On to the next day.. On this day I will be visiting Volcano Bay in the morning and Universals Islands of Adventure in the afternoon, woooo!!! I can’t wait to ride Krakatau‚ĄĘ Aqua Coaster¬†and teeny bit scared to do¬†Ko‚Äôokiri Body Plunge‚ĄĘ¬†I feel like this is going to be a fantastic morning and I can’t wait to get loads of snaps of the Volcano! For Islands of Adventure I’ve been warned not to wear white tops or any denim and this is because i’m bound to get ABSOLUTELY SOAKED on the water rides.. Hopefully it’s a warm day (oh I forgot to mention, the weather forecast for next week is BEAUTIFUL.) Oh i’m also very eager to ride The Incredible Hulk Coaster We have a surprise evening with Universal on this day and i’m super excited to see what this is going to be, of course, i’ll keep you updated!

Day 4 is the day i’m most excited about… anyone who knows me will understand why. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to swim with a dolphin and now i’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to do it YAY!!! If you haven’t guessed already, i’ll be visiting Discovery Cove in the morning. I’m not going to lie there will probably be some tears buy hey, who cares it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity! After Discovery Cove i’ll be travelling over to Busch Gardens where I cannot wait to ride all the big coasters and ALL of the pressure is on me to ride Falcons Fury.. i’ve got this!

On day 5 i’ll be visiting SeaWorld in the Morning , Aquatica in the afternoon and back to SeaWorld for the evening! ūüėČ Very excited to ride Manta and Mako at SeaWorld as everyone in the offices always raves about how good they are. Especially excited to be lucky enough to ride them in the dark also! Psyching myself up for Ihu’s breakaway falls at Aquatica!

I’ll be staying over night at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, ready for day 6.. On day 6 i’ll be visiting EPCOT in the morning and Animal Kingdom in the afternoon. Can’t wait to visit all of the different countries at EPCOT and i’m so buzzing for Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom, the reviews i’ve read about Avatar –¬†Flight of Passage have all been great so I cannot wait to experience it for myself too.

On the 7th Day i’ll be off to Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, I am really looking forward to seeing Cinderella’s Castle, meeting all of the characters and getting to experience the iconic rides and attractions such as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. I also hope I get to watch Happily Ever After, could possibly shed a tear or two here as well!

On my last day I get to go SHOPPING at the Orlando International Premium Outlets and the Florida Mall, I’ve got all my pennies saved up for this I’m just hoping i’ll have enough room in my suitcase!! After that it’s home time ūüôĀ ūüôĀ

Only 1 more sleep¬†to go and i’ll finally be off!! If you would like to follow my action packed week make sure you keep checking our Facebook and Instagram as i’ll be trying to post as much and as often as possible.

See you all soon!!

Smiles Included,

Abby

 

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s Retired Attractions

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Of course, we have looked at Disney and Universal’s retired attractions so there is only one other place to look…SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment! Anheuser Busch (better known as Budweiser, Abby’s favourite drink) bought SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment in 1989.

During the ownership time’s of Anheuser Busch, there was a hospitality lounge where you would get free beer samples and be able to see Clydesdales whilst sipping your beer!

In 1992 they introduced their first simulator ride to SeaWorld Orlando, Mission: Bermuda Triangle, based on the real life Bermuda Triangle (Devil’s Triangle). This was then re-themed into¬†Wild Arctic which was combined with the amazing animal exhibit when you exit the ride. Here you can view the gorgeous Beluga whales and walruses.

Wild Arctic is also known for having seasonal changes every so often including turning into¬†The Polar Express at Christmas time! Although this wasn’t seen last year, you never know if it will return! I hope so because I love The Polar Express!

SeaWorld used to have a fairly large penguin habitat which was upgraded into¬†Antarctica: The Empire of the Penguin¬†a trackless dark ride in 2013. You’ll meet Puck the Penguin and be able to follow him on his adventures around the Antarctic. You can even choose whether you would like a ‘mild’ or ‘wild’ experience!

Once you disembark from the ride, you’ll enter into the breathtaking penguin exhibit. When I say breathtaking, it literally will take your breath away with the freezing cold as well as the beautiful penguins! Some might call this a ‘2 for 1’ attraction, with the ride and the animal exhibit. Another 2 for 2 attraction is¬†Manta. It opened in 2009 and has one of, if not the smoothest tracks in the world and is a one-of-a-kind ride with riders taunted by a head-first, face-down inverted nose dive. At the end of the ride you have the Manta Aquarium and the Stingray Lagoon.

SeaWorld is also known for it’s many stunning shows. The most popular and well known show has got to be¬†One Ocean¬†where you can capture Orca’s performing the most amazing flips and somersaults. One Ocean opened in 2011 after¬†Believe was there from 2006.

Over in Tampa Bay, you can visit Busch Gardens which is also part of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment!

Python was the park’s first roller coaster that opened in 1976 with corckscrew and U-turns. Python was demolished in 2006 to make way for¬†Jungala.

Busch Gardens also had African Queen Boat Ride which closed in 1989 to make way for Tanganyika Tidal Wave which is still in the parks to date so you can get a soaking on a hot, sunny day!  Crazy Camel was a coaster that closed in 2003 to be replaced by Sand Serpent which is also still around today.

Sandstormer was an oribter ride that was running from 1980 all the way through to 2013 before they took it down to make way for Falcons Fury which opened in 2014. Not only that, but there was Rhino Rally that opened in 2001, another water boat ride but this one was closed down for Cheetah Hunt to open in 2011.

The one ride that most people know about closing down in 2015 has to be¬†Gwazi. I think me and Gwazi had a love hate relationship like most people! At 90 feet tall it was the park’s only wooden roller coaster!

 

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment also own¬†Aquatica¬†and¬†Discovery Cove however Aquatica being their newest park, nothing has yet been replaced and Discovery Cove is already perfect just the way it is! ūüôā

What else can you think of that’s no longer at any of these parks that maybe you’re happy are no longer there, or that you’re sad to see them gone?

Smiles Included…

Louise

 

Top Secrets at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We’re coming to the end of my secret stories on the parks but before we go, we’ll take a look at Busch Gardens. Just like at SeaWorld, Busch Gardens cater for everyone! It’s probably the best park for thrill seekers and animal lovers! Although it’s about an hours drive from the other parks, it’s so worth it!

The thrill seekers have so many coasters at Busch Gardens including Falcon’s Fury, Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra, Montu, Kumba, Scorpion an the new Cobra’s Curse! Could you want anymore coasters in one park?! You’ve also got Congo River Rapids and Stanley Falls to cool you down with a bit of a splash too.

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For all you animal lovers, Busch Gardens give you the chance to get up close and personal with some of the most beautiful animals in some once in a lifetime opportunities. Walkabout Way is just like being in Australia with all of the kookaburras, kangaroos and wallabies. Not only that but you can also hand feed the kangaroos and wallabies! Be sure to check out the feeding times in the morning when you enter the parks.

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Serengeti Safari is a well known attraction at Busch Gardens but a lot of people still don’t know that there is an amazing feature on this safari where you can hand feed giraffes! That’s right..they will come over to you on your safari truck and eat right out of your hands!

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Over at Jungala you can see some the most breathtaking endangered animals such as Bengal tigers and orangutans. You can even soar through the trees on Jungle Flyer. If you enter Jungala from the bridge and look closely at the water rocks you’ll see the word ‘Jungala’! ūüėČ

Just to show you even more of the care that they take over their animals, their Animal Care Centre is right inside the action in the park. You can go into the centre at any time of day (inside park opening hours of course) and if you’re there at the right time, you might even be able to watch the treatment. This could be anything from an x-ray to surgery!

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Busch Gardens really is an incredible park that you will never forget!

Sadly, we have come to the end of our secrets but be sure to let us know of anything else that you find on your holidays!

Smiles Included…

Louise

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Top 10 Orlando Attractions 2016

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We’ve seen the top 5 attractions in each park and now it’s the big one, the top 10 attractions in Orlando overall.

1st Place: Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts – Universal Studios.

2nd Place: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – Islands of Adventure.

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3rd Place: Expedition Everest – Animal Kingdom.

4th Place: Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster – Hollywood Studios.

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5th Place: Soarin’ – Epcot.

6th Place: Crush ‘n’ Gusher – Typhoon Lagoon.

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7th Place (joint): Summit Plummet – Blizzard Beach & Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Magic Kingdom.

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8th Place: Hard Rock Cafe – Universal City Walk.

9th Place: Manta – SeaWorld

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10th Place: Falcons Fury – Busch Gardens

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So it is clear to see that the Harry Potter attractions are extremely popular amongst our thrill seekers and why wouldn’t they be, they really are incredible.

With the opening of Volcano Bay next year I wonder how different this list will look at the end of 2017?! If you’re heading out to visit the parks don’t forget to leave your feedback and vote for your fave attractions!!

Smiles Included,

Jess
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Busch Garden’s Top Attraction’s 2016

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Without a shadow of a doubt Falcons Fury is your favourite attraction at Busch Gardens Tampa and why wouldn’t it be?

Falcons Fury is the first drop coaster of its kind in the whole world! It stands at 335 feet tall and riders will travel at speeds of up to 60mph whilst diving towards earth – exactly like a Falcon.

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When at the top of Falcons Fury, Busch Gardens have added a little extra surprise for you.. (if you haven’t been yet and don’t like spoilers skip the next three lines) You will pivot 90 degrees whilst in mid air resulting in you being face down – in a dive position. Then the next thing you know you’ll be hurtling towards the ground at crazy speeds – probably screaming all the way.

Second Place: Cheetah Hunt – This multiple launch coaster will push you back in to your seat many times with three accelerations and super quick twists and turns throughout the 3 and a half minute sprint.

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Third Place: SheiKra – An incredible dive coaster. You’ll head 200 feet upwards, have 4 seconds to take in the view and then plummet straight back down at 90 degrees reaching up to 70mph!

Fourth Place: Congo River Rapids – This is a white water rafting experience like no other. You’ll travel in and out of mysterious caves and just hope that your side of the raft doesn’t get soaked by the waterfalls!! (unless it’s a really hot day then you’ll be hoping for the opposite!)

Fifth Place: Montu – A wicked coaster for any thrill seeker. Seven inversions, a batwing inversion, vertical loop, weightless roll and a simultaneous loop and roll.. You are sure to be blown away by this extreme coaster!

Yet again it has been proved that OAT thrill seekers are by far the most brave and daring by choosing Falcons Fury as the favourite attraction at Busch Gardens. (waaaay more brave than our own Kelly who bottled Falcons Fury when she visited!)

Smiles Included..

Jess
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2014’s Most Genius Orlando Theme Park Introductions

Hey Thrill Seekers,

To make yourself stand out in the world of theme parks you’ve got to try and not only get onboard with the next big IP but also think outside the block.¬†In 2014 we were spoilt with the amount of new and innovative attractions that the major theme parks dropped on us. Here are just a few of my favourites.

Hogwarts Express

Whoever it was that sat in the Universal boardroom and said “ummm how about we link the two Wizarding Worlds with a train” is an absolute genius. ¬†Not only is it totally unique but it fits in to the whole look and feel of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

If I had a pound every time we were asked if our tickets include the use of the Hogwarts Express I’d be a very rich man. Actually I could probably buy my own Hogwarts Express! (Just so you know our tickets do include use of the Hogwarts Express)

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the train is just to move people around the park but no, its also a theme park ride in itself. Depending upon which way you travel you’ll experience an adventure¬†that pops you right in the middle of your own JK Rowling¬†story.

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Falcons Fury

I’ve been in conversations about this ride at Busch Gardens Tampa where the phrase “its a bit of a one trick pony” has been bandied around… To a certain point this is probably true, but what a trick it is!

Drop rides have been around for a long time, so to make them standout you have to come up with something pretty special. Yeah you can build it taller than anything else in the skyline, and Busch Gardens has done this but you need something else to make it stand out.

How about we drop you at a 90 degree angle so you’re facing the floor!? Yep that will do it!

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Interactive Wands

Yep its back to Universal and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. When it was first revealed that Universal would be building Diagon Alley one of the things we took a stab in the dark predicting was interactive wands. Sometimes you chuck something out there and it comes true.

Through out Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade you’ll notice little symbols¬†on the floor, these symbols tell the visitor that they can use their interactive wand here. The young Wizard follows the instructions on the symbol to¬†cast the spell. More information can be found in our post – Yes interactive Wands at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are cool

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Disney’s My Magic+

When you spend a few billion dollars implementing something totally unique within the theme park world you pretty much deserve to be on this list.

Disney’s My Magic+, My Disney Experience or Disney’s FastPass Plus whichever you prefer allows customer to pre-reserve fastpass slots on their favourite rides and attraction even before they step in to the park. Not only this but in a genius piece of adding value customers can also attach their credit/debit card details to their account which is connected to their ticket so they can purchase additional bits within the parks.

The system has been mostly received as a positive and although its cost Disney a huge chunk of its profits this long term investment is sound. It also puts pressure on the other parks to come up with an alternative to the antiquated express pass system.

You can find out more about Disney’s My Magic Plus here.

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I wonder what 2015 will bring. Hopefully some more exciting and innovative creations…we can only wait.

Smiles Included…

Jamie

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Kelly V’s Falcon’s Fury…

Hi Thrill Seekers,

Anyone who follows our facebook page would probably know that last week I was lucky enough to be part of a familiarisation trip hosted by the awesome guys and girls at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. I was quite the envy of the office because I would have the first opportunity to see and ride Busch Gardens latest thrill ride, Falcons Fury.

Now our office is full of adrenaline junkies the crazier the better and we have a reputation as a company of doing every ride! We’ve never ever had someone visit Florida and bottle out of a ride. So I was told several times before I left not to let the team down on the 335 ft monster… I promised them I wouldn’t let them down!

I’ll let you know more about my trip via other blog posts but today’s post is ME V’s Falcons Fury!

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So the day had come to take on Busch Gardens, Tampa. Busch Gardens Tampa is a Safari themed park which is home to some of the most mind blowing rides in Florida and of course some beautiful animals.

I awoke feeling extremely nervous, as this was the day I was going to be dropping face first at a 90 degree angle from 335 feet high, yep face down so you can see the ground hurtling towards you! I had told everyone at work that this was no big deal and I would be fine, deep down I was petrified. I remember the words spoken to me before I left Orlando Attraction Tickets office “Don’t let us down Kelly”…

The time came to get on the road, your Busch Gardens ticket purchased from www.orlandoattractiontickets.co.uk comes with free transportation to Busch Gardens¬†and the journey takes approx. 45 mins. When we’re about 5 minutes away from the park we all spot it! Yep I’m not even in the park and I can already see Falcon’s Fury peaking over the horizon.I imagined it to be high as I had seen pictures but actually seeing it for real I can honestly say I took a big gulp.

We were very lucky to be shown around the park by a Busch Gardens¬†tour guide, ¬†the great thing about being shown around by the tour guide was the large amount of information they are able to share with us, the downside for me was I didn’t know when I’d come face to face with my nemesis…

I didn’t need to wait long though as our guide decided there was only one way to welcome us and that was to head straight to¬†Falcon’s Fury. Although it can be seen throughout the whole park when I realised we were¬†heading straight towards it, it suddenly seemed a lot taller¬†than I’d imagined, standing under it brought a whole new level of fear.

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I kept telling myself I’d be fine, its only 335 feet high, it only hangs you at a 90 degree angle and it only drops you at a randomly determined! Eeekkkk! Very quickly my hands became very¬†sweaty and my legs which had been fine up until then turned straight to jelly…I took a deep breath and walked on to the entry platform and faced my¬†seat.

GULP! “Don’t let us down Kelly” echoed in my head and suddenly the fear took over, whilst everyone else got into their seats all I kept doing was looking up in sheer horror at¬†how high Falcon’s Fury¬†actually is. Everyone was now in their seats and were waiting for¬†me to take mine…¬†but by now I was in sheer terror mode. I’m not ashamed to tell you all¬†I shed a tear.

I couldn’t do it… Yep.. I totally bottled it and had to turn on my heels and exit the ride! Everyone on the trip understood my predicament and in my defence I wasn’t the only one to run away however I’m soooo disappointed with myself that I couldn’t get on it.¬†You would have thought bottling Falcon’s Fury was the end of it but it wasn’t I then had to tell everyone at work that I’d decided not to ride it, our run of never dodging a coaster or attraction was over!

The guys at the office were really understanding… and by that I mean they haven’t let me forget it and my new nickname around the office is “Bottler”!¬†I think actually getting on Falcon’s Fury would have been less traumatic.

You win this round Falcon’s Fury… but in the words of Arnie “I’ll be back…”

Smiles included…

Kelly

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Check Out The Winning Captions From Our Recent Facebook Competition

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Yesterday saw the end of our Falcon’s Fury caption competition. We had tons of entries via our facebook page¬†below are the 5 that were voted the best by the Orlando Attraction Tickets staff.

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Congratulations to all the winners and commiserations to those who weren’t picked. We plan to do some more competitions via our facebook page, so better luck next time ūüôā

Smiles included…

Jamie

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Tom Daley’s Brilliant Video Of His Falcon’s Fury Ride

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Not only is Tom Daley an Olympian he’s also now a bit of a TV star. Recently you might have seen him on his ITV2 show Tom Daley Goes Global¬† taking on risky challenges with his friend Sophie.

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This week Tom and Sophie took on Busch Gardens new attraction Falcon’s Fury… check out the video here!

This video really made me smile, probably because Tom is extremely likeable but also because his reaction to Falcon’s Fury is exactly what mine would be like… manic laughing! In contrast Sophie’s reaction is exactly how my wife would react… a prolonged scream. ūüôā

Are you like Tom or Sophie?

Smiles included…

Jamie

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Falcon’s Fury By Numbers

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Falcon’s Fury has now been open for a few weeks now and peoples reviews¬†have been extremely positive. Check out this cool little infographic about Falcons Fury.

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Have you ridden Falcon’s Fury yet, what did you think?

Smiles included…

Jamie

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