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Orlando Parkhopper

Sea World's New Dolphin, Busch Gardens New Park App & Fantasyland Pics!

Rating: 3 votes, 3.67 average.
by , 08-07-2011 at 08:34 PM

Get ready for a great Disney World and Orlando attractions update today because we are taking you to new heights. . . literally! The Magic Kingdom's massive Fantasyland construction project is really progressing, and we've got some detailed shots for you today along with some very unique aerial views. Plus, all sorts of news from the rest of Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Tampa. Here's what's new this week plus a couple great features:

  • Feature of the Week: Kilimanjaro Safari
  • Tiki Room Gets a New Sign
  • Fantasyland Construction Update Pics
  • Grand Floridian Spa Set to Temporarily Close
  • Sea World's New Dolphin
  • Jimmy Neutron's Attraction Set to Close Permanently
  • Busch Garden's New In the Parks App
  • Kennedy Space Center : A Lisa Mills Trip Report



We'll take you high above the Magic Kingdom today to see what's going on with the Fantasyland Expansion site. Then we'll zero in on some close up detail shots. Our huge thanks go out to Scott Keating Photographic Arts for these first two remarkable images.

Looking from behind the Fantasyland construction toward the front of the park. Note the circus tents and new Dumbo building in the lower right. You can see that land has already been prepped for the construction of the Dumbo spinners.

This shot gives us a great look at the Ariel right in the upper middle and the Be Our Guest restaurant in the upper left. It also give us a very good sense for the huge scope of this project.

Now, let's look at some of the details . . .

Rock work surrounds the building for the Be Our Guest Restaurant. Although this castle may look huge, that is an optical illusion. It is just over a story tall and quite small as you can see from the 2nd aerial shot above.


Isn't it lovely to see such a classic look return to the Magic Kingdom? We simply can't wait. And luckily shouldn't have to wait long. The attraction may be soft opened later this week.

The Leaky Tikis are one of my favorite details to photograph in all of Walt Disney World. They are so richly designed and oddly humorous that every time I see a photo of them they bring a smile to my face. I can almost hear the "dun dun dun dun dun" of the Tikis as I look at this photo, in fact.

Photographing them usually presents considerable challenge. Not because it's technically difficult, but because during the day, this area is always inundated with small children, making it difficult to get a clean shot. Instead, I usually opt for photographing this at night, when it's cooler out and people are less likely to want to get "misted." I decided to use an extremely long exposure here to over-expose the sky and blur the palm trees as they blew in the wind. I think this helps isolate the Leaky Tikis even more as they tower in the frame. - Tom Bricker

at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Every park in Walt Disney World has attractions that people rush to once the park opens. At Disney's Animal Kingdom, the choice is between Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Even though Everest is the newer of the 2 attractions, it seems the Safaris generally still holds its popularity. There are a few reasons for this: of course, the cynic could say it's the overall lack of attractions at the park, which limits the number of options available. However, Kilimanjaro Safaris developed its reputation with good reason. The ride, a celebration of the entire theme of the park, brings this idea to new levels. Of course, Imagineering is all about being transported to another location or world, but with the Safaris we really are in Africa, on safari, with wild animals roaming around. We get the thrill of bumpy trails, the uncertainty of what or where the animals are, and the satisfaction of seeing the animals up close and personal. Of course, underneath the Imagineers used all the tricks in their arsenal to create this world and to make it believable and enjoyable. And, once you board the vehicle and the journey begins, I'm not thinking about the next ride to run to or the when to use my Fastpass, I'm looking for the next animal on my safari. And that is the greatest success Imagineers can achieve. - YoyoFlamingo


Grand Floridian Spa to Close
Grand Floridian's Spa will be closing for a total of 18 months to make changes for an upcoming expansion project. No word yet on what that expansion might be but its easy to speculate that this might have something to do with the blueprints that we reported weeks ago for a planned DVC expansion in the same resort.

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A new dolphin was born at Sea World, July 26th at 9:36 a.m. The calf weighed in at 35 pounds and was 40 inches long. For a possibility to see the dolphin bonding with its mother, park guests should head over to SeaWorld's Dolphin Nursery, where pregnant dolphins, new mothers, their calves and experienced moms live together.

As this attraction will be officially closed on August 18th, you better head down to the park by the 17th in order to take one last blast on this spaceship.

Busch Gardens Release New App
Busch Gardens has just launched a new interactive application for both Ipod and Android based systems. The new app will utilize GPS technology to pinpoint the exact location of guests to help them get the most out of their park going experience. Some of the highlights will include walking the guest directly to the location of their choosing, where their favorite animal habitat is located and what time the next show starts.

Showtimes & Ride Descriptions

Restaurant Information & Bathroom Locator

Direct Location Mapping & Main Menu

Media get glimpse inside Legoland
Members of the media were given a glimpse into the new park Legoland, scheduled to open October 15th, in Winter Haven, FL. They were given sneak peeks of Castle Hill, the Royal Joust, Merlin's Challenge and Hideaways, DUPLO Village and Fun Town. The family theme park is expected to include more than 50 rides, shows and attractions tailored to families with children aged 2-12.

"Construction has gone to a whole new level with theming and painting going on the outside of buildings, to Lego models finding their homes in the park," Legoland spokesperson Jackie Wallace said. "We are eagerly anticpating our Oct. 15 grand opening."

Lisa Mills shares her day at the Kennedy Space Center.

With That Bus, How Can You Not Follow It All The Way To Kennedy Space Center.

A Beautiful Day


A Ticket Booth With Astronauts Floating Above, I Love It.

To Boldly Go…

Follow The Communicator

Star Trek Simulator. The Design Is Awesome. Simulation Not So Good.

Follow The Trekkie

Beam Me Up!

Star Trek Model & Gadgets


"City On The Edge Of Forever"

Stun! or Kill! Which Setting Do I Choose…Decisions…Decisions..

The Bridge

View From The Captain's Chair

- Lisa Mills

Kennedy Space Center - Star Trek Exhibit
Now through September 5th
Appearing for the first time in Florida, STAR TREK: THE EXHIBITION, presented by EMS Exhibits, Inc., is an interactive exhibit of authentic Star Trek artifacts from the past 45 years, featuring one-of-a-kind costumes, props and filming models from Star Trek television series and feature films. Together these elements offer, Star Trek fans and novices alike, an opportunity to experience first-hand the imagination, artistry, technology and meticulous craftsmanship that have made Star Trek the most enduring science fiction franchise in history.

Games People Play
Now through September 10th - Orange County Regional History Center - Orlando, FL
Starting with the pinball machine, journey through time to discover how electronic games have evolved, through the first computer games and rise and fall of the arcade, to the advanced game consoles of today.

Orlando Science Center - Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World
Now through September 11th
The National GUITAR Museum announced that its touring exhibition, GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World will launch worldwide at the Orlando Science Center. The 5,000 square foot will explore the history and evolution of the guitar-from lutes and lyres to modern high-tech instruments-and show how the instrument became the cultural symbol it is today.

Where the Past Meets the Future: The Art of Fay Grajower
Now through September 28th - Florida Holocaust Museum - St. Petersburg, FL
Boston artist, Fay Grajower, provides insight to viewers about the second generation of Holocaust survivors through her art. The artist uses her acquired memories of her mother’s and siblings’ experiences to work through issues of the past. Grajower commonly uses symbols and metaphors in her colorful, mixed-media artworks.

Women of Ybor: 125 Years of Influence
Now through October - Ybor City Museum - Ybor City, FL

A new exhibit honoring the amzing contributions women have made to Ybor City throughout its 125-year history is on display at the Ybor City Museum State Park. History is often told from a male perspective, while the equally-important female story often goes untold. This exhibit seeks to tell that story by exploring the role some of Ybor's earliest women had in shaping the town, as well as the positions women would hold as Ybor's history unfolded. You will learn of womens' contributions to almost every aspect of the community, including business, education, medicine, the arts, and civic life.

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!
  • MiceTube - Introducing MiceChat's new channel on YouTube. Kevin Yee and MiceChat Sarah have been uploading entertaining videos weekly, along with many other of your MiceAge and MiceChat favorites.
  • 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!
  • Vacationeering brings tips and tricks for creating magical vacation memories.
  • 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!
  • MiceDeals - We are just about to launch a brand new daily deals site for Disney and theme park fans. Every day a different deal. You won't want to miss out on these great deals for Orlando and Anaheim, sign up for the daily deal emails today!

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Updated 08-09-2011 at 03:06 PM by Dustysage



  1. Meville's Avatar
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    Great update! I really enjoyed the Safari attraction when we went to WDW, but it would have been better if the animals were a bit more active. I suppose there is always the Jungle Cruse for that!
  2. PeaJay18's Avatar
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    Thanks for another great update!
    AK is the one park where it's essential to get there for opening - the animals are much more active first thing, before the midday heat kicks in.
  3. Baloo's Avatar
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    great pictures of the fantasyland expansion. Those two first pictures really show the amount of land they have in that upper corner of the park. Makes you wonder why they just did not push back a bit more into the large tree filled area and brought the land closer to the train tracks. It would have given the new expansion much more room even if it meant that they would have more landscaped areas to make it feel like a real forest. They really should have pushed mermaid back more so that it was not so close to the Beauty and the beast area.

    The dwarf coasters would have benefitted from the extra room between the old fantasyland and new expansion. right now it seems like it will be in a crowded space between both
  4. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaJay18
    Thanks for another great update!
    AK is the one park where it's essential to get there for opening - the animals are much more active first thing, before the midday heat kicks in.
    Completely agree with you. As much as I hate to wake up early on vacation, I always do so for Animal Kingdom. The animals are much more active in the morning before the heat arrives.

    Great update today everyone! LOVE the Fantasyland expansion shots. Those aerial photos really show off how huge the expansion really is. I'm most curious about how they will fit in the Seven Dwarfs Mine ride so it doesn't block off too much of the back of the expansion.
  5. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Nice update!

  6. Tinkbelle's Avatar
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    One of the reasons Safari was popular with my family was that it is different every time you ride it. You see different animals doing different things and that keeps it fresh.
  7. JiminyCricketFan's Avatar
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    Nice update! I loved the attraction of the week. AK is great!
  8. Maverick's Avatar
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    Fabulous update as always, I laughed I cried, two thumbs up!