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Orlando Parkhopper

Sea World's One Dream, Jack Hanna at Busch Gardens and Cheetah Hunt Testing!

Rating: 4 votes, 4.50 average.
by , 04-24-2011 at 05:40 PM

We have wonderful video of the new show "One Ocean" at Sea World Orlando, which opened on Friday, it's an entirely new show that replaced the popular "Believe", with new songs, costumes and tricks. Busch Gardens moves full speed ahead on Cheetah Hunt and Jack Hanna stops by to teach us about what he's known for, animals! Closer to home, we take a look back at Cinderella Castle, how much it's changed through the years and talk about how it hold's a special place in the heart's of all of us. And thanks to DCA's Little Mermaid attraction we get a sneak peak at the animatronics that will be headed to Magic Kingdom next year, for our version of the attraction.



Fireworks Over Cinderella Castle by Tom Bricker (WDWFigment), on Flickr

Photographing Cinderella Castle is often one of those things that "serious" Disney photographers avoid doing. Since itís the most photographed icon in all of the world, itís viewed as over-photographed or ďtoo obvious.Ē I disagree with that sentiment, and I think it is a serious mistake. Cinderella Castle is unquestionably one of the most photogenic structures at Walt Disney World (or anywhere, for that matter), and it deserves to be photographed.

My goal is to take images I think cool of things I like, and share those with others, who hopefully share similar sentiments. Whether watching fireworks framed by the Castle or the Kiss Goodnight, the emotional response Cinderella Castle invokes every time I see it is seriously like nothing else.


As Tom pointed out, Cinderella Castle invokes magical moments that families remember for a lifetime. For some, it's showing their children the castle for the first time and seeing the look on their faces or a nervous suitor trying to find that right moment to propose to a lucky lady. I'm sure if you ask any guest visiting the Magic Kingdom, they could easily recall what their favorite memory is in regards to this wondrous castle.

So this week we take a look back at this beautiful example of faith, trust and pixie dust.

Unique views from a lofty perch!

Anyone remember this version of the castle?

How about we revisit the 80's?


YouTube - The Music Behind The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea Adventure

The good news about the DCA version of The Little Mermaid attraction opening in June is that for those of us who are eagerly anticipating the WDW version, we get a glimpse of the attraction a good year or two before opening. While we've caught glimpses of the set, Ursula, and Ariel, the DisneyParks blog recently ran a story about the music of the attraction. While the music itself might not be a surprise to anyone who is a fan of the movie, the video also includes some shots of the King Triton and Eric animatronics used in the attraction. We can't wait to see this finished to travel under the sea with all our favorite sea creatures (excluding Nemo and friends of course).


Flower Power Concert Series Lineup (remaining dates)
  • April 29 - May 1 - Paul Revere & The Raiders
  • May 6-8 - Davy Jones
  • May 13-15 - Hermanís Hermits starring Peter Noone

In addition to the Concert lineup for Flower and Garden, HGTV, the official sponsor, is bringing you events with a different celebrity host, every weekend during the festival.

HGTV Line Up (remaining dates)
  • April 29-30, May 1 - John Gidding, Curb Appeal: The Block
  • May 6-8 - Frank Fontana, Design on a Dime
  • May 13-15 - Vern Yip, HGTV Design Star

A Festival Guide is available for those that would like more information.

Have you ever been evacuated off a ride at a Disney park? You'd be surprised how infrequently that happens to me. I've logged perhaps 4,000 visits (turnstile clicks) to a Disney park, going on maybe 12,000 rides (this is a real conservative guess--it could be as high as 40,000 rides) and I've been evacuated off a ride a grand total of maybe 3-4 times. Perhaps my luck is singularly bad. (Or singularly good, depending on how you're counting).

This weekend I got to see Big Thunder Mountain Railroad go inoperative ("101" in Disney-speak) while I was on the ride. We crested the second lifthill after the town of Tumbleweed, and lurched to an unexpected stop. Turns out the other trains were stopped too, also in their brake zones.

A lightning rod right by our car.

I seldom get this much time to photograph the themed elements.

After a few moments, we lurched forward again, and I'm talking a painful lurch. Then we stopped again in the earthquake scene, and again right before entering the station. After we got off the ride, we saw people streaming out of the line, as if told to leave. I'm guessing the ride went down for maintenance--did we just witness a particular kind of "cascade" failure, where they were able to cycle cars forward but not run in normal operation until they fixed the spacing and timing issues with no one on the trains?

Big Thunder has always been photogenic.

It wasn't that disruptive for me--in fact, I kind of liked it. After that many visits, you cheer (sometimes out loud) when something out of the ordinary happens. I'm sure it was more disruptive for those first-time visitors, and equally irritating for those who were waiting in line. Still, Disney has a pretty good track record for up-time on their rides, and it ought to be celebrated. I just don't usually think about it until I'm confronted with the negative example... which is admittedly rare indeed.


The Orlando Parkhopper is looking to add crew members. If you are a frequent visitor to the parks and take good photos or have your pulse on theme park news, we'd love to speak with you. Please contact [email protected].
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Last Friday, One Ocean premiered at SeaWorld Orlando. The successor to the wildly popular Believe, the new show has an all new score, set, costumes and never before seen behaviors. Eric, our resident Sea World expert, attended a show on Saturday and captured the entire performance.

Long lines to see the new show!

The New Set is fully revealed.

The video below does not do the show justice, and it recommended you see it in person. Please keep in mind that with the new fountains, if you are in the first few rows you are guaranteed to be drenched from head to toe.

What do you think about this new show?

YouTube - Manta Roller Coaster splash down at SeaWorld Orlando

A short, but fun look at some random things going on at the Universal Orlando Resort.


Owl post, selling wands.

Downstairs at the Jurassic Park restaurant.

"Real" dino eggs at the Discovery Center.

Triceratops Paddock was open this weekend.

Hogsmeade is always photogenic.

Disaster, from inside the subway car.

Mardi Gras booths by day.

Jimmy Neutron's simulator is scheduled to close for good this year, but it's open on busy weekends for now.

Blue Man Group.

This past weekend at Busch Gardens, animal expert Jack Hanna was at the park to celebrate Earth Day and talk about different kinds of animals.

Some of the animals Jungle Jack brought with him were...



Fennec Fox




Bald Eagle

Cheetah (this is NOT Kasi, the new cheetah cub at the park)


Jack put on an incredible show and taught the audience so much about the animals and why they're so important to save. I highly recommend coming out to the park next year when he's back. You won't be disappointed!


In other park news, the Cheetah Hunt coaster started testing late last week! We're just about a month away from the grand opening on May 27th! This past Saturday, every time they sent a train out, the employees in the Caravan Crossings gift shop that's located under the figure 8 tower would come running out to watch!

These shots were taken from the train

Some more Cheetah Hunt merchandise. The number of different shirt designs is really amazing. Something for everyone. I've seen a total of at least 9 different shirt designs available.

This design also comes in grey.

You can now see Kasi, the new cheetah cub, and his puppy pal, Mtani, in the Jambo Junction section of the park daily.

Sign just inside the entrance gates advertising the new duo.

Kasi was fast asleep when I was by. He's so cute though! He's 9 or 10 weeks old now.

In other news, the carousel in Timbuktu has been reassembled after a lengthly refurb, but is not yet open to guests. I saw maintenance working on it while I was there.

Glory at the Gardens Festival
May 7 & 14
Glory at the Gardens is a jam-packed festival of live music and fellowship, plus you get access to all of Busch Gardensí thrills, animal encounters and world-class entertainment.

  • May 7:
    • Mary Mary
    • Lecrae

  • May 14:
    • Michael W. Smith
    • Sidewalk Prophets

Children's Art Festival
April 30th - Maitland Art Center - Maitland, FL
Free for children and $5 Adults
The Maitland Art Center will transform the campus into a visual environment focused on "the Magic School" where potions, prisms and pendants are discovered and created and the "Other Realm" where art activities and live entertainers engage the imagination through hands-on learning and performance.

Taste of Pinellas
May 20 - 22 - Vinoy Park - St. Petersburg, FL
A Taste of Pinellas, Tampa Bay's beloved waterfront festival is getting ready for another spectacular year of food, music, and fun!

Mount Dora Blues and Wine Festival
May 20 - 22 - Mt. Dora, FL
Three days of great entertainment from the areas best blues talents, with just a touch of jazz.

Disney On Ice: Let's Celebrate
May 20 - 23 - Tampa, FL
Make an ordinary day extraordinary when Disney On Ice presents Letís Celebrate! brings more than 50 Disney characters to your hometown for one colossal party on ice! This action-packed, all-new show features a magical montage of celebrations, and is set to a blend of contemporary music and favorite Disney songs.

Florida Anime Experience
May 27 - 29 - Orlando, FL
The Florida Anime Experience is a new fan convention designed to focus specifically on Japanese animation, manga and popular culture.


Don't forget to check out the other areas of MiceChat that offer news, updates and photos about the other Disney Parks around the World!

  • Dateline Disneyland which is packed with great news and photos from the Disneyland Resort.
  • Weekend Update Offers a world of Disney theme parks as well as other sights and landmarks!
  • In The Parks offers news, updates and tips from Disneyland and other Southern California offerings.
  • SAMLAND - Your weekly look at some interesting tales from Disney history.
  • And you'll always find something of interest on the forums or MiceAge!

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Thanks to our fantastic and talented crew of writers, photographers and news contributors who work hard every week to bring you the latest information available:

Aimster - Pictures by Aimster
Kevin Yee - - A different look at Disney...
Eric M. Davis - Orlando Theme Park News
SummerinFL - SummerInFL Photo Galleries
Tom Bricker - Tom Bricker Disney Photography

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Updated 04-26-2011 at 05:54 AM by Dustysage



  1. Ukulele Guy's Avatar
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    Great update, loved the pictures, but...

    Absolutely NOTHING happened in WDW this week? Nothing?
  2. DOMINGUESS's Avatar
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    THANKS FOR THE UPDATE AND FANTASTIC PICS! As a fan who lives in and never been out of California, I love and appreciate every detail you've all captured in photo. Thanks for sharing, even the details of what takes place when a ride becomes 'inoperative'

    Very cool! Great work!
  3. Instidude's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, I remember the castle cake! I actually have a picture of it on my desk since it was from the first visit my wife and I took to WDW after we got married.

    I sure hope they never do that again.
  4. KingEric's Avatar
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    There is just so much going on in Orlando! It is pretty epic!
  5. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Fantastic update everyone. Thank you for the new Shamu show coverage. Also, that new Cheetah coaster at Busch Gardens looks fun!

    Eric, what is your opinion of the new One Ocean show?
  6. KingEric's Avatar
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    While I think the show is lovely, and has a great score, and the special effects are a welcome addition, I really really really miss seeing the trainers in the water.

    The trainers interacting with the whales behind glass feels very sterile.

    I can't wait until they install the safety features into the pools so that they can get back into the water with the whales.
  7. Marko50's Avatar
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    Glad you're getting a preview of Ariel's attraction - hope they don't slash the budget in FL as they're prone to do.
  8. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Kasi looks so cute!

  9. Not My Real Name's Avatar
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    Is Jack Hannah just as goofy in person as he is on "David Letterman"?

    Cheetah Hunt reminds me of Fahrenheit at Hersheypark; same company?
  10. triesch's Avatar
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    So, does King Triton mark the first appearance of a nipple on an audio-animatronic figure?

  11. BassBone's Avatar
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    I love the Binturong! He's so cute! (for those who don't know, binturong is the proper name for bearcat.)
  12. aimster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not My Real Name
    Is Jack Hannah just as goofy in person as he is on "David Letterman"?

    Cheetah Hunt reminds me of Fahrenheit at Hersheypark; same company?
    Jack was really great and he had a few stories that had the audience laughing. His knowledge of the animals is beyond impressive. I got to meet Jack before the show and he was really nice. I had my Duffy bear with me in his safari outfit and I got to take a photo of Duffy with Jack! He even signed Duffy's safari vest! How cool is that?

    As for Cheetah Hunt, it was built by Intamin, so yes the same manufacturer as Fahrenheit at Hersheypark. Intamin also built Maverick at Cedar Point. From what I've seen, they make some really awesome coasters.
  13. KingEric's Avatar
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    Can I just say kudos to Busch Gardens for the epic support structure on Cheetah Hunt! Every time I see it, I am more and more in love with it!

    Just stunning!
  14. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    Fantastic update!!!

    Kevin, oddly enough on our first trip to WDW, and my wife's first ride on Big Thunder (during MNSSHP) they got evacuated from the ride.

    Yet we have only been walked off 1 ride in all of our visits at Disneyland (Alice at the very end).
  15. SummerInFL's Avatar
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    ^I've never been evac'd at WDW, ever, but on my 1st trip to DL I was evac'd from Alice at the very end and then my 2nd trip last Dec. I was evac'd from Mr. Toad. (Where I got that SirClinks shot with the lights on. :P)
  16. Not My Real Name's Avatar
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    From what I've seen, they make some really awesome coasters.
    Intamin has been making coasters for over 50 years. They built the first vertical loop coaster, SFMM's Revolution in 1976. The very next year, they topped that with SFOT's Shock Wave, which has two vertical loops in tandem. People still stop at the edge of the freeway to watch the trains go through the two loops. They also built Montezooma's Revenge at KBF. Their rides are durable; all the 1970's coasters I've mentioned are still in service with minimal breakdowns.