Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Simpsons Ride Opens

The Simpsons Ride is now open for business at Universal Studios Florida and the reviews are coming in.

I especially liked Dewayne Bevil's write-up for the Sentinel. More commentary can be found at the DIS Boards.

Bevil confirms an observation that I have been making for a long time: Universal has some of the best queue lines in Orlando.
The comic bits are so engrossing that the line stands still even when visitors could be moving toward the actual ride. Oversized posters tout attractions within Krustyland -- The Sea Captain's Queasy Time Lagoon and Sideshow Mel and Mr. Teeny's Musical Revue. It's one of the most entertaining pre-shows in town.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Simpsons Ride Goes Green

The Simpsons Movie has an eco-friendly theme and sop, apparently, will the ride about to open at USF. From a press release:
“The Simpsons Ride” will achieve a power savings of over 55,233 watts per hour and cumulative power savings of 662,796 a day during the busy summer months of operation compared to average usage by the simulator-based attraction that previously occupied the new ride’s site.

The newly minted, environmentally conscious “The Simpsons Ride” represents the largest lighting installation of LED lamps in theme park ride history. The attraction will be illuminated with 2,582 LED lights, expending just 27,675 watts per hour as compared to 82,909 watts consumed per hour by standard incandescent lighting.

Energy conservation also extends to Variable Frequency Drives installed within the attraction to efficiently control the electrical power supplied to the ride’s many motor-driven components. This system will ultimately reap a power saving in excess 50 percent by incrementally increasing the necessary motor speeds used in controlling the ride’s countless behind-the-scenes technical controls.

A custom-written software program designed to oversee the Ride’s master control system will reconfigure power usage supplied to the ride’s hydraulics system resulting in significant energy consumption.


The keen to be green trend also extends to the resort hotels which are jumping on the green bandwagon in a big way.


Going Up!

$4 gas has come to Orlando.
"We're seeing $4 a gallon in many places already, and those who don't see $4 exactly, are certainly going to feel $4 pain," oil and gas analyst Peter Butel said.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Dotty Disney Dame Does Time

Remember the dame who attacked another guest while waiting in line at the Happiest Place on Earth®?

Well, justice has been done.

Monday, April 21, 2008


City Jazz Replaced By Rising Star

Somewhere, Miles Davis is blowing taps, sweet and cool.

It's been a long time since City Jazz has had anything to do with jazz. Now Universal has officially recognized that fact by rebranding the place as Rising Star, a karaoke joint with a difference.

The difference is that the music is live, provided courtesy of an onstage band. You tell them what you want to sing and they play it! There will be backup singers and a host. I don't think you'll be able to play "stump the band." From what I gather, you'll have to choose from a "large selection of songs."

A peek inside showed that the Jazz Hall of Fame memorabilia and the jazz era murals along the walls have been covered by curtains, giving the once-gorgeous space a dark, faceless look.

The cover charge has been set at $7.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008


Discovery Cove Photo Update

The dolphin swim photographers and videographers are now SeaWorld personnel (The task used to be handled by a third-party contractor.) Here are the latest fees:

Adventure Package $135
-- 5 6x8" prints
-- 1 pair of key rings
-- digital photo CD

Basic Package $50
-- 3 6x8" prints
-- 1 pair of key rings

Additional Items
Pricing for individual items varies according to whether or not you have ordered one of the packages above.

with package
6x8" prints $10
4X6" & 4 wallet size $10
Poster (16x24) $25
Poster (24x36) $35
Interaction DVD $50
Digital photo CD $90

a la carte
6x8" prints $20
4X6" & 4 wallet size $20
Poster (16x24) $35
Poster (24x36) $45
Interaction DVD $75
Digital photo CD $125

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Jungala Previews

Passport holders can get an uncluttered preview of the new Jungala area at Busch Gardens Africa on weekends only through April.

Just show up bright and early at 8 am (a little earlier is probably better) and show your passport at the Nairobi gate for early admission.

It will be worth setting the alarm a little early. I've been touring the area the last few days and, even though it's not compltely finished yet, it is another triumph for Busch. The tiger and orang habitats are spectacular and the tweener interactive play area is another success on the scale of Land of the Dragons.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008


Holiday Inn Universal Gets Rebranded

The Holiday Inn Universal Studios, one of the closest hotels to Universal Orlando, will be renamed the 3 Palms Universal, according to a report in the Orlando Business Journal.

It's a new brand. Laqunch date is set for May 1.


SeaWorld Getting a New Coaster

Well, it's official. That big stretch of dirt where there used to be flamingos and other small attractions will be home to SeaWorld's most expensive ride ever.
It will be part thrill ride and part animal attraction, a theme that visitors will experience from the time they take their place in line until the time they leave the post-ride area, said Joseph Couceiro, vice president of sales and marketing for SeaWorld's parent company, Busch Entertainment Corp.

"It's going to have animal components, marine-life components. It will have a very unique, state-of-the-art ride, a roller coaster if you will, that will provide a sensation of gliding," Couceiro said. "The combination of the animals and the ride is what makes it special."

Just weeks ago, some SeaWorld employees were gamely trying to put off anyone who suggested the new attraction might be a coaster. Others, of course, were spilling beans freely.

The scuttlebut I've heard suggests that the coaster will tilt riders into a prone position -- hence the reference to "gliding" no doubt.


Jungala Debuts at Busch Gardens Africa

The much ballyhooed new area at Busch Gardens Africa (or as everyone still insists on calling it, Busch Gardens Tampa) has opened.

Jungala replaces a good chunk of the Congo area around the old Claw island tiger habitat.
The Tampa theme park known for both its roller coasters and African animal exhibits is opening Jungala this weekend, offering a couple of new, small rides and focusing attention on new, close-encounter showcases for its Bengal tigers, orangutans and a handful of other animals.

The 4-acre area, centered on an African-village-themed courtyard of shops, restaurants and exhibits, offered a preview Thursday but officially opens to the public Saturday. The new area replaces several of Busch Gardens' old Congo-area attractions, including the Python roller coaster and the tigers' original habitat, Claw Island, which closed in fall 2006.

The rides are not quite thrill rides and not quite kiddie rides, but something in between. The stated aim is to appeal to kids too big for Land of the Dragrons and not yet ready for the mega-coasters.

Busch has posted video of the press opening. The Orlando Sentinel article, linked above, also has video.

More on Jungala, including pix, can be found here.

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