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Orlando Parkhopper

Universal Orlando's new parade, Lagoon show, SeaWorld construction and progress

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by , 05-07-2012 at 09:31 PM

Spectacular cinematic fantasies and parades aplenty are the heroes of today's Orlando Parkhopper. Universal Studios Orlando previewed its new Superstar Parade this week and it is impressive. Next, we preview the new lagoon show, Cinematic Spectacular. It's not officially open yet, but we'll let you know what we thought of the technical rehearsals. Then we head over to check on the progress at Despicable Me. Uni has a triple play this summer with a ride, show and parade all joining the roster. Then we head down the road a bit to see what the latest news from SeaWorld Orlando is. Disney isn't opening anything new this summer, that creates an opportunity for SeaWorld and Universal to steal some extra visits away from the Mouse. Does it all stack up?

Epcot will be turning 30 years old this fall. To celebrate, MiceChat will be holding a gala event in World Showcase on September 29th. Proudly announcing . . .


Come celebrate EPCOT's 30th Anniversary in style with a live taping of MiceChat's Communicore Weekly! Join co-hosts Jeff Heimbuch & George Taylor, along with Kevin Yee, Dusty Sage and the Communicore Weekly Orchestra, for a fun-filled night of fandom and frivolity as they tape a special hour long episode of the hit show, Communicore Weekly.

Join us on the evening of Saturday, September 29th 2012 in the Norway Pavilion Special Events Lounge in EPCOT's World Showcase for this one of a kind event!

Your ticket includes:

  • Admission into the live taping of CW in the Norway Pavilion of EPCOT (note: admission into the park is NOT included)!
  • Meet special guest, Ron Schneider, the original Dreamfinder!
  • Decadent dessert reception!
  • Short scavenger hunt event hosted by Kevin Yee before the show will be available to those who would like to participate (prizes will be awarded)!
  • Prizes, giveaways and more!
  • The chance to be a part of EPCOT and Communicore Weekly history!
  • Endless Five Legged Goat stories and perhaps even a real life Bathroom Break!
  • Illuminations viewing
  • Exclusive late night ride after park closing on a selected EPCOT attraction to cap off the evening!

Fun, games, Epcot history, celebrities, and live performances of the catchy Communicore Weekly theme songs. This is an event you won't want to miss, but you'll want to act fast, there are a maximum 75 seats available.

For assistance planning your travel to this event, please contact You'll receive one free admission to this event with every room you book (minimum 3 night stay) through Fairy Godmother Travel (purchase your event ticket now and you will receive a gift card from Fairy Godmother Travel for for any free event tickets you earn).

Come early and stay late. We are also planning an early Halloween event for Friday, September 28th and a Sip and Nibble around Epcot's World Showcase for Food and Wine festival on Sunday, September 30th. More information about these two additional events will be available soon.

For more tickets and more information, be sure to visit

Universal announced, via Facebook, that they would be debuting their new parade to park guests this past Saturday night. Of course, we jumped right in the car and headed over. This parade is high energy, fun and really appeals to younger park guests.

Despicable Me leads off

Followed by Sponge Bob

There's even a Disney-style parade stop

The cuddly characters from Hop

Dora is in the mix

The music track in the video is not the full final version, on the 8th, they will debut the full soundtrack with Lyrics and narration.

The walls came down around Gru's house at the new Despicable Me attraction. The facade is stunning in real life and feels like a movie come to life. We cannot wait to experience this ride this summer.

Universal has been testing out their new night time show Universal's Cinematic Spectacular, because of the length of the lagoon and the numerous firework launch locations, photography and video of this show does not do it justice. This show is a great way to end your day at the Universal Orlando Resort.

With the new additions this summer at Universal: Hollywood Mini Golf, Cinematic Spectacular, Superstar Parade, Reanimated Spiderman, Despicable Me ride, CityWalk Promenade... The Universal Orlando Resort is making a great case as to why you should visit them this summer. When compared with what Disney has opened this summer, Universal is making a VERY strong case.

With turtle trek now open and pulling in big crowds, our focus now shifts to the construction of Antartica and the revamped Dine With Shamu experience.

Demolition of the old penguin encourer area is complete.

When the Orlando ParkHopper was at the grand opening for Turtle Trek we were able to get official word on the current status of the Dine With Shamu experience. They are still in the R&D phase for the quick rising floor and they currently do not have an ETA yet on when we can expect this attraction to reopen. We will continue to monitor the progress and let you know when we hear more.

Communicore Weekly on the MiceTube

This week, Jeff and George take us to the Country Bear Jamboree. We find out all about its history and even where the Disneyland version ended up.
George reviews Tom Bricker's photo eBook, "Sunrise to Sunset" with its glorious Disneyland images. We'll show you Walt's OTHER window on Main Street. Jeff and George debate wheter Animal Kingdom is a half day park. And they also show us the world's largest Hidden Mickey.

If you enjoy these awesome Communicore Weekly videos, please be sure to share them with your friends and leave a comment.

Is today's update missing something? Wondering where the usual Disney World coverage is? This past Friday, we introduced MiceChat's newest column, Dateline Disney World. This new weekly article, focuses on the Walt Disney World Resort and all that is going on there. While Orlando Parkhopper will continue to bring you Disney coverage as it breaks, this week we encourage you to check out our amazing new weekly MiceChat feature on Disney World.

When it comes to Water parks in Orlando, there is more than just Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard beach. Wet n' Wild is one of the largest water parks in the country and is situated right in the center of the Orlando action.

This year they are adding a play area called Blastaway Beach which is one of those requisite playgrounds that are always seen at these types of places. But that addition aside, they have some pretty interesting stuff going on here.

The park features the largest collection of multi-person, group slides of any park in the country. One of the slides, Disco H20, is a four person raft slide that features music, lights and water for a unique experience. Another, The Black Hole is a two person raft ride with color and sounds at every turn.

There are also packages available for out-of-towners and Florida Residents alike.

Adult Admission
$48.99 + tax


Adult Admission
$24.50 + tax

Check HERE for dates and availability

We will be visiting Wet n'Wild in a future update.


Summer Florida Resident Special
Adults - $9.99 per Person
Children (3-12) - $9.99 per Person
Seniors (55 yrs. and older) - $9.99 per person
Offer Valid: May 5 -June 30, 2012

Proof of Residency Required, Per Adult. All rates are plus tax.

Florida residents will also be allowed to apply the cost of their admission towards the purchase of an annual pass with extended benefits that include 30% admission discounts for accompanying guests, 50% off the Adventure Hour, 20% off Rookie Wrestling Experience & in-park photography stations, 20% off Gift Shop purchases and 10% off food & beverages within the park.

At these prices a family of four can visit Gatorland for about half the cost of ONE adult ticket at any of the larger area theme parks!

Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve, combining “Old Florida” charm with exciting new exhibits and entertainment. The park opened as a roadside attraction in 1949. Today, it provides affordable-priced family fun with thousands of alligators, crocodiles, an aviary, breeding marsh with observation tower, petting zoo, nature walk, educational wildlife programs, Gatorland award-winning gift shop, Florida’s best train-ride, restaurant, Gator Gully Splash Park and one-of-a-kind reptilian shows including the Gator Wrestlin’ Show, Gator Jumparoo and the Up-close Encounters Show. And, don’t miss the world’s largest collection of giant white alligators in the new White Gator Swamp and the all new Screamin’ Gator Zip Line featuring over 1,200 feet of high flying thrills, five intense zip lines and a massive 150 ft. suspension bridge.

To find out more about “Orlando’s only Theme Park with Bite and Attitude”, visit us online at: or call 1-800-393-JAWS.

Congratulations go to The Hopper for guessing last week's Hidden Parkhopper by posting..."The hidden parkhopper looks like the hair of the Leemurs"

Good job! Let's try this again. Look into the magnifying glass below and see if you can figure out where the park hoppers are this week. Post your guess in the comments area below. If you are the first to answer correctly, you will be featured in next week's update. GOOD LUCK!

Want to meet up with other Disney fans while at Disney World?

Several of the Orlando Parkhopper team members are part of a group that meets every weekend. Find out more about the weekly meets (often hosted by Kevin Yee) on Facebook HERE

Please join us in thanking the fantastic and talented crew of writers, photographers and news contributors who worked so hard this week to bring you the latest information from the parks.

This week's update was brought to you by
Eric M. Davis (King Eric), with assistance from Cory Disbrow, Fishbulb & Dustysage


Thank you for reading, we hope you have a wonderful week and are inspired to explore the amazing variety of attractions on your next visit to central Florida. We'd love to hear your comments below.

If you appreciate this column, share this page with your friends and don't forget to click that Facebook thumbs up button at the top of the page (it give us the encouragement to bring you even bigger and better updates)!

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  1. mratigan's Avatar
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    Great thanks
    HP bubble dots on the car/spaceship in Gru's house at USF
  2. Dustysage's Avatar
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    That new Universal parade looks Disney quality. The live music and colorful costumes remind me of Disneyland's Soundsational. With a new attraction, parade, and nighttime spectacular, Uni is really stepping things up this summer!

    Really looking forward to MiceChat's Epcot 30th anniversary event!
  3. Malin's Avatar
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    I love the new focus on the other parks. The addition of WDW Dateline has really helped free up space for the other parks like Universal and SeaWorld who have really stepped it up lately. The new Parade looks great and for me reminds me more of the Pixar Play Parade.

    Although how can you say WDW is not opening up anything new this Summer. A new children's play area and another Dumbo spinner. ;)
  4. BrianFuchs's Avatar
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    Parkhopper is the costume of the baby chick character from Hop float.
  5. jcruise86's Avatar
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    Thank you for an excellent update!
  6. almandot's Avatar
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    Not a single site is saying what TIME the universal parade is at =P
  7. Fishbulb's Avatar
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    Universal may have a brand new parade and lagoon show and then a re-themed new ride on the horizon but at least Disney thought to build another water play area and a fourth spinner for the magic kingdom. .
  8. WDW1971's Avatar
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    Great update, like the focus on other parks such as Uni ans SW.

    HOP seems kinda weird to get a parade float. One would think they would reserve it for a more popular series. Still though, it looks great.
  9. mainejeff's Avatar
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    Why does Universal insist on shoving HOP down everyone's throat???
  10. Fishbulb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainejeff
    Why does Universal insist on shoving HOP down everyone's throat???
    For the same reason that Disney shoves things like Tinkerbell and the bad DVDmovies down pour collective throats as well. Because someone out there likes it and they need a return on their investment.
  11. KingEric's Avatar
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    I have to say that my nephew (who is 3 years old) went CRAZY over HOP! The float with all the candy, the chicks, and the rabbits had him clapping and dancing!