By Susan and Simon Veness...ATD's new weekly columnists
Find out what's been happening in the theme park capital of the world, in the parks and beyond in our Susan and Simon Veness weekly round-up!
It’s no secret we’re big fans of Orlando’s original “theme park”, and we’re delighted to hear Gatorland welcomed 70 new residents into their family this past week, among them the terrifyingly named Bonecrusher II, weighing in at 1400 pounds. Rescued from Everglades Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs, the gators made the journey to Gatorland along with (but not in contact with!) crocodiles, snakes, bobcats and other creatures in need of a good home. Now that summer is upon us we may have to check out the new additions, either during Gatorland’s Night Shine tour (how cool is it to throw bits of hotdog toward those glowing red eyes?) or their new Nighttime Zip Lining (which also features hog dog throwing).
Theme Park Expansion
Over on International Drive, Fun Spot has a big new expansion opening 8th June. The first phase of the expansion includes 2 new coasters, the 1200ft Freedom Flyer suspended coaster and 2000ft White Lightning wooden coaster. Serious thrill seekers won’t want to miss Skycoaster, which combines the exhilaration of skydiving and hang-gliding, plunging riders from a 250ft height before a gentle back-and-forth ‘glide’ above the park. If you’ve been to Fun Spot U.S.A. in Kissimmee, you’ve seen Skycoaster’shair-raising twin situated in the middle of the park, and undoubtedly heard the screams as riders plummet toward the pond below (no, they never actually hit it!).
New Ride at Busch Gardens!
We also received an email this week indicating Busch Gardens in Tampa will be “dropping some big news” soon. Rumour has it they will be adding a dramatic new drop tower attraction. We’ll give you all the details after the big media announcement on 11 June, so watch for a special edition blog on 12 June.
Reflections Spa at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa
To celebrate our own 8th wedding anniversary this week, we spent a day at Reflections Spa at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa, indulging in a relaxing couples massage and time in the sauna, the perfect foil after a long stretch of hard work or several days spent pounding the parks. While there, we noticed they offer an excellent alternative for little princesses preparing to meet their favourite Disney princesses. Princess Moments is Reflections’ special hair and make-up package exclusively for ages 4-12, starting at just $35, a significant savings over in-park appointments. We think it’s a great way to participate in the princess craze without damaging the budget.
Dining and Shopping
Travelex celebrated its Grand Opening at Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores this week, and with all the shopping our British visitors do it’s nice to know there is an easy place to change money, if necessary.You may also want to check out the new Off Airport Check-In for Delta, American Airlines, United, and U.S. Airways passengers.
Restaurant Recommendation: This week we’re recommending Frankie Farrell’s Irish Pub and Grille at Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, for its convenience to shopping and its selection of 25 beers on tap. Try the Blue Moon or Shocktop, with their refreshing orange tang, or the 321 Urban Wheat Ale from Chicago, a light ale perfect for the upcoming summer heat.
Favourite Quote of the Week.
This week we overheard a delightful comment from father to son at Walt Disney World's Epcot that we thought was well worth sharing; “Great attractions give you a sense of exhilaration, but the best attractions leave you with a sense of wonder.”
It's true what they say, the magic never stops in the theme park capital of the world, which means there's always a new memory to cherish...
Whether you're heading to Orlando for a special anniversary, to make the most of the Sunshine State's amazing shopping or to feast your eyes on Florida's native gators, be sure to check out Attraction Tickets Direct Orlando attraction tickets to create your own cherished Orlando memories!