Tag Archives: Florida

It was a fun run, but this was the final weekend for the first annual Epcot Festival of the Arts, (see my review and full coverage here.) In just a little over a week we'll be jumping right into Epcot's next big event, the Flower & Garden Festival! Gardens, topiaries and many food booths are already starting to show up all around Future World and World Showcase. Plus, a couple children's playgrounds are being constructed as well. Flower & Garden starts March 1, 2017, see my previous article for complete food menus and event information.

Also going on in the park, you can now purchase prints of all of the fantastic paintings featuring Figment from the "Brush with the Masters" scavenger hunt at the arts festival. Prints can be ordered through the Disney Art of Animation On Demand kiosks at Epcot and Disney Springs. You can choose an optional frame and your artwork is delivered to your home within a couple weeks. And finally, we check in on the construction of Choza Tequila, the new food stand opening soon at Mexico in World Showcase. Once open, you'll be able to get hand-crafted margaritas and classic Mexican cuisine like tacos, empanadas, chips and fresh guacamole. Check out the video and photo report below and stay tuned for more theme park updates!

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Universal's Volcano Bay will be officially opening May 25, 2017. I wanted to check in on construction this week now that scaffolding has started to come down around the 200 foot tall volcano, named Krakatau. The rockwork looks amazing, and has more color in it than I thought when only viewing it from far away. New ancient ruins have been added along the base of the volcano since I was last here. During my visit, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the water slides already have water running through them for testing!

I also got a good look at the new park's entrance plaza and new title lettering. They were paving the plaza's walk up while I was there. The I-4 entrance and exit lanes have been shifted temporarily for work that continues on the pedestrian tunnel beneath the road. This will lead guests to and from a tram drop-off area on the other side. Check out the video as well as photo report below and stay tuned for more regular Volcano Bay updates in the future as we inch ever closer to the grand opening date!


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Back in November, Bob Chapek, the Disney Parks Chairman, announced that Epcot will be getting a "major transformation" that will be making the park "more Disney, timeless, relevant, family-friendly" while also keeping the original vision alive. He told his team of Imagineers to "dream big" when thinking of ideas. As many blue sky bloggers have been openly wishing for for years, we may actually see Epcot be fixed in our lifetimes. Rumors have the budget for this park-wide update to be something like $300-400 million, with a large part going towards Future World in particular.

Future World is in a strange place right now. Rides that were originally informative have become thrilling. Buildings that were meant to show off technologies of the future have become business sponsored expo halls and character meet and greets. The Health Pavilion is rotting away, only being used a couple of times a year for festivals. And Universe of Energy wins the award for most awkward ride re-skinning of all time, forever trapped in 1996, and featuring an outdated 1970s view of dinosaurs.

Last September "The Sum of All Thrills" closed at Innoventions, the last fun thing left to do in that building. Innoventions West is permanently closed already, and East has only two small exhibits remaining. It's only a matter of time before they close as well and the original CommuniCore buildings are completely gutted to make room for something, who knows what. Check out the video and photo report below for the current state of things as well as some of the many rumors floating around the Disney-sphere about what we might see materialize in the near future at the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.


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01281-mts-still023There's lots of activity going on at The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World! The Tomorrowland rocks are completely finished being painted metallic blue and look great. The Carousel of Progress has received a shiny new sign to match its new paint scheme. And Disney is now offering private cabana rentals near Space Mountain. The cabanas seat up to 8 guests and will cost you $650 for the day. They include seating, small fridge with soda and water, small bags of chips, charging station, complimentary personalized mouse ears for everyone in your party and one novelty ice cream per guest. You also have access to a special Tomorrowland menu (menu food not included with cabana rental price) and a personal server will bring it to you. They don't look too great from the outside, just being event tents, but they're cozy on the inside. Are they worth $650? Maybe not. More than anything, being so far to the edge of the park makes it inconvenient. How often will your family find themselves this far away from the center of the park to take a load off? Not $650 worth of often, that's for sure.

01281-mts-still033Big Thunder Mountain has re-opened after its refurbishment. Swiss Family Treehouse has also re-opened. The Haunted Mansion has been closed for a four-day renovation. The exterior work on the mansion is complete and work has moved inside. It should re-open December 2nd or 3rd. The new street show in Liberty Square named The Muppets Present: Great Moments in American History has started running. And it's Christmas time at the Magic Kingdom. Decorations and music are in the air on Main Street, USA. Santa is meeting with children near City Hall. And the Jungle Cruise has been "transformed" into the annual Jingle Cruise, complete with corny x-mas jokes and decorations. Check out the video and images below and please Subscribe to the YouTube channel for more updates!


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01162-mts-still030Wow, what a difference a few months can make. The volcano, named Krakatau, has reached its incredible 200-feet-high goal and it can be seen for miles around. Around the open backside we can get a good view of many of the main attractions for Volcano Bay, including the highly anticipated water coaster, named Krakatau Aqua Coaster. The water coaster will use 4-person canoes as its ride vehicles taking riders throughout the volcano before plunging through a waterfall at the end. I cannot wait! In addition to the volcano, work is moving on to the park entrance, pedestrian tunnel (that leads to Tram drop-off,) and of course the two Cabana Bay expansion towers that border the new water park. The views from those rooms' windows of a towering volcano are going to be impressive. Check out the update video as well as snapshots and more details below. And stay tuned for a Universal Studios update coming soon!


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01146-mts-still015With all that's happening around Walt Disney World, it's easy to miss out on some of the smaller projects. While there's not a giant Star Wars land or new attraction being built at the Magic Kingdom, there's still a lot happening. So let's take a look. First off, Fall is in the air with pumpkins and other decorations lining Main Street, USA. But in the distance, you can already see Christmas lights being strung up on Cinderella Castle. The rocks at the entrance to Tomorrowland are receiving a new color scheme. The original red color worked when "Mission to Mars" was a popular attraction, but today's Tomorrowland has a more whimsical and timeless feel. These newly painted blueish metallic rocks fit the new aesthetic much better. Also in Tomorrowland, the Carousel of Progress has received a new paint scheme as well.

01146-mts-still058Big Thunder Mountain is closed for regular maintenance. The popular coaster ride should be re-opening by the end of November 2016. Swiss Family Treehouse is also closed for refurbishment. No word yet on a re-opening date. Exterior work is happening at The Haunted Mansion. Scrims are up along the bottom half of the mansion's facade and work walls line half the queue. It looks like awnings are being updated along portions of the queue as well. Minor work is being done on posts outside of It's a Small World. Both Mansion and Small World are still open during this construction. Check out the video and images below and of course, stay tuned for more theme park updates!


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CnQOiNZUMAAaUhAUniversal's newest attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Islands of Adventure is now officially open! The announcement was made during the Today Show with Al Roker and Tamron Hall earlier today. It has also been tweeted by Universal Orlando with them saying "Skull Island: #ReignOfKong is now open at #IslandsOfAdventure!" The attraction has been in soft open, or 'technical rehearsals' as Universal calls it, for a full month, but as of now will be officially listed as open in the Universal Orlando app and map, and will (hopefully) be open all day along with the rest of the park (starting tomorrow). You can see the official opening ceremony from earlier this morning below along with some more images as well. Check out our extensive coverage of the construction of Kong since the beginning here, and stay tuned for more theme park news and updates coming soon!


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Volcano-Bay-Full-Reveal-4Universal Orlando has released incredible details about all of the attractions and features of the upcoming Volcano Bay water theme park. Firstly, they have said that tickets will be available to visit the new park as early as June 1, 2017. This won't be the official grand opening date, but the park itself will be open by then. In addition to information about the four themed areas of the new park and 18 different attractions, Universal is also touting how this will change the way you experience a water park as well. "Here, there’s no standing in long lines. No wrestling with tubes. No waiting for the fun to begin. Which means you spend more time drifting leisurely down a winding river, plummeting down a tropical volcano, catapulting into pools of blue water, and reconnecting with your family." See all the great details below along with some new amazing concept art and stay tuned for more theme park news!


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P1070482Things have not slowed down over at construction for Universal's Volcano Bay, even after the minor fire last week. The centerpiece of the new park, the large volcano, is now nearly twice as large as it was during my last update. Many new water slides have showed up on property, including some that intertwine with the volcano. The wave pool, lazy river and more features are becoming more recognizable as well. Universal has said that the park will open with 18 different attractions! Hopefully they can keep this mighty pace and get this new water park open within a year, in time for summer 2017. Check out the video as well as complete photo report below. Plus, a new image of Volcano Bay and all its attractions for the new Universal Orlando map is also below. Stay tuned for more theme park updates coming soon!


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the-secret-life-of-pets-56378a2078351NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke told analysts at an investor conference last week that Universal is working on an attraction based on the upcoming film, "The Secret Life of Pets". While there have been rumors of a family friendly dark ride featuring the characters from this upcoming film coming to both Universal Hollywood and Universal Orlando, this is the first time we have had any confirmation on the matter at all. Burke did not say which theme park or parks would feature the attraction, but if rumors prove true we could see this new attraction appear at both coast's parks before the end of the decade.

Burke did go on to say "We are doing -- we have started a Pets attraction even before the film comes out, which if the film doesn't do as well as I think, it will be painful. But I think it will do very well." The Secret Life of Pets comes to theaters July 8. It was produced by Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures, the same folks that brought us Despicable Me and Minions. I believe that SLoP, as I am calling it, will do wonderfully at the theaters, and like Despicable Me, will feature characters we'll be seeing plastered on every product imaginable for years to come.

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Check out my recent park updates featuring new merchandise for The Secret Life of Pets that has shown up in Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. And stay tuned for the official announcement and more information about a SLoP ride (hopefully) coming soon!