Friday, October 30, 2009


Universal Orlando 2010 Now Available

The 2010 edition of Universal Orlando: The Ultimate Guide To The Ultimate Theme Park Adventure is now available. It's slowly making it's way to bookstores, but you can order it online.

The new edition introduces Seth Kubersky as my new co-author and I couldn't be happier to have him on board. You may know Seth from his work at Orlando Weekly or in the regular Rocky Horror Picture Show extravaganzas at Universal Cineplex. He's a theme park pro, having worked at Universal in a variety of capacities on a number of attractions and special events.

The new edition contains the first guidebook review of Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and (thanks to Seth) an insider's preview of the new Harry Potter area in Islands of Adventure.

To celebrate the publication, The Intrepid Traveler is offering special pricing on the Universal book as well as on SeaWorld, Discovery Cove & Aquatica: Orlando's Salute to the Seas, also by yours truly.

And if you get them both, there's a very, very special deal that I think will be hard to resist. Get the skinny by clicking here.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009


"SeaWorld, Discovery Cove & Aquatica" On Kindle

My book, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove & Aquatica: Orlando's Salute to the Seas is now available in a Kindle version for the bargain price of $7.99.

It's sales rank is around 46,000 (out of 270,000+) so I guess it's getting some takers. Next time you're at SeaWorld, look for people reading their Kindle while they waiting for Shamu.

You can find it at the Kindle Store.

Oh, and the paperback version got some nice 5-star reviews. Thanks!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009


2008 Theme Park Attendance

Some interesting stuff in the 2008 TEAERA (pdf) report.

The new kid on the block, Aquatica, had 950,000 visitors or an average of 95K a month. But it opened in March, so if it had been open in January and February and had "average" attendance those months, that suggests an annual total of 1,140,000, putting it ahead of Wet 'n Wild but behind the two Disney waterparks. It'll be interesting to see what happens next year, as the word get out about what a spectacular park it is.

SeaWorld's attendance was down 2.9% at 5.9 million, but SeaWorld execs are squawking that the actual figure is higher, without providing specifics. Apparently, they're not angry enough to open their books to prove the assertion.

Universal Studios was up only slightly and Islands of Adventure was down 2.4%, leading some to speculate that people are putting off visiting until Harry Potter arrives.

But the 2008 numbers are only part of the story. Universal's 1st quarter 2009 attendance was down a whopping 20% over last year.

Makes you wonder why Universal thinks this is a good time to alienate some of their biggest fans.

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Monday, December 29, 2008


Prices Going Up at Busch Parks

Prices at all the Busch parks in Florida (except Discovery Cove) are going up.

Effective January 5, ticket prices at SeaWorld will rise $5 to $74.95 for adults and $64.95 for kids (plus tax).

Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa goes to $69.95 for adults and $59.95 for kiddies.

Aquatica will now be $44.95 and $38.95 for adults and kids respectively, a $3 hike.

Adventure Island, next door to Busch Gardemn Africa, will go up $2 to $39.95 and $35.95.

The "Pay One Day" policy for Florida residents is still in effect, taking some of the sting out of the price hikes and annual Passports are looking like a better deal, too, for those visiting and staying a while.

It's the second price hike in six months, so I'm not sure what it means. A Busch spokesman quoted in the St. Pete Times denied the price increase has anything to do with the recent sale to InBev, but I'm not so sure.

It could be Busch Entertainment's way of saying to their new owners "We're too profitable to sell."

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008


SeaWorld-Busch Gardens Platinum Pass Now an Even Better Deal

The recent price increase for Passports (annual passes) to the Worlds of Discovery Parks (a.k.a. the "Busch" parks) has made the 2-year Platinum Passport an even better deal than it was.

The incremental difference between the price of a Platinum Passport and the four-park, two-year Passport (SeaWorld, Busch Garden Africa, Aquatica, and Adventure Island) is now just $43, as opposed to $75 before the recent round of price hikes.

So if you're considering that four-park option, consider this: $43 extra gets you unlimited entry to all ten Worlds of Discovery parks! Not too shabby.

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Monday, June 30, 2008


Busch Parks Pushing Deals for Florida Residents

The Busch parks . . . excuse me, the Worlds of Discovery are pushing special "staycation" deals for Florida residents. From the press release:
The Worlds of Discovery announced today a new ticket that offers Florida residents a great new way to experience adventures found nowhere else in the world. Available starting today, the "Pick Two” combines visits to any two of the Florida Worlds of Discovery – SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island – for only $79.95.

For guests who want unlimited visits at a value unmatched by any other theme park, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld's "Pay for a Day” offer has been extended through Labor Day. With a Fun Card, Florida residents can enjoy unlimited admission through the end of 2008 to either SeaWorld or Busch Gardens for the price of a single-day ticket. The "Pay for a Day” offer is available online or at the parks' front gates, and will be the same price as a single-day admission.

As you may have noticed, Discovery Cove, which is very much one of "the Florida Worlds of Discovery," is not included in this deal.

I found this press release especially interesting for the way it pushes the Worlds of Discovery brand front and center. Maybe I'm reading too much in to all this, but it seems to me that SeaWorld et. al. are trying to look less and less A-B and more and more WoD in preparation for what seems like an inevitable spin off of the theme parks.

Of course, this promo also reflects the growing uneasiness of all the parks over what $4-plus gas is going to mean for attendance.

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