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Orlando Parkhopper

Avengers Merch in CityWalk, Despicable Me Store Open, Win Gatorland Tickets, More

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by , 05-14-2012 at 09:19 PM

Are you ready for the most parkhoppy update ever from Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, Gatorland, SeaWorld, and more? After two weeks of blockbuster numbers, you'd expect to see Avengers Merchandise popping up in the parks, but what about at CityWalk? Speaking of Universal, the brand new Despicable Me attraction is getting ready to open to guests and the first activities related to the ride are beginning to open. Next up, we take a look at the latest in the Magic Kingdom expansion and explore other little tid bits in the park. Finally we round things out with a way for you to take part in a live taping of Communicore Weekly on September 29th. And did we mention free tickets to Gatorland! You won't want to miss out on your chance to win!

Rock out this summer at Universal Studios! Select nights June 9-July 14, you can catch 7 OF MUSIC'S BIGGEST STARS performing live in the Summer Concert Series, right next to Orlando's most exciting, cutting-edge rides and attractions.

The Summer Concert Series performances are included with your admission to Universal Studios Florida.

Artists confirmed so far:
June 9: The Cast of Nickelodeon's "Victorious"
June 16: ZZ Top and 3 Doors Down
June 23: Josh Turner
June 30: Al Green
July 7: Lupe Fiasco

For more information, please visit:

The Avengers have invaded Universal's CityWalk.

Sadly, it's just a merchandise cart

Near ET, the old Sponge Bob store is being rethemed.

More walls have come down, and more signs have gone up! And Universal has been hosting a Despicable Me dance party in front of Gru's house. The characters are already meeting guest! We can't wait to see more.

The walls came down around the queue giving us a peak into the "minion training."

Universal has already opened up the gift shop that guests pass through as they exit the attraction. It is full of great new merchandise all themed to Despicable Me.

Our friends at Gatorland want YOU to see their unique brand of WILD Orlando fun. They've given the Orlando Parkhopper two tickets to give away. Just answer the question below in the comments section. If you answer correctly, you will be entered to win one set of TWO TICKETS into Gatorland!


Here's a hint... GATORLAND WEBSITE:


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 Gatorland online HERE or call 1-800-393-JAWS.

Summer Nights June 23 through August 12!
Summer Nights at SeaWorld is a nighttime spectacular and the best place to be when the sun sets. Celebrate summer with exciting, nighttime shows, including a high-energy, rock ‘n roll Shamu Rocks, the hysterical duo of Clyde and Seamore in Sea Lions Tonite, and Reflections, a spectacular fireworks and fountains finale. Enjoy Summer Nights at SeaWorld every evening June 23-August 12.

For more information, visit:
Summer Nights | SeaWorld Orlando

The progress on the Fantasyland construction is moving along.

You can see here that they merely skinned the existing temporary structure for the circus tents.

More work is going on near the carousel

Magic Kingdom park has been conducting a test of a new Disney's Fastpass System for the past two weeks (May 1-15). Guests have been randomly selected to participate prior to their arrival at the Magic Kingdom. Participants were asked to select a FastPass itinerary based on their preferences of attractions and time of day.

Participants were given an RFID FastPass keycard that could be used based on their itinerary at the following Magic Kingdom Park attractions:

  • Buzz Lightyearís Space Ranger Spin
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mickeyís PhilharMagic
  • Peter Pan's Flight
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Town Square Theater

Guests could only use the card on the date, times and attractions listed on their itinerary.

When the Guest arrives at the attraction at their predetermined time, the FastPass keycard would be scanned on the Mickey Head at the Fastpass entrance.


If the card is currently valid, the Mickey Head will light up green and the guest will be admitted. If there was an issue (wrong date/time, invalid) the Mickey Head will turn blue. The Cast Member at the entrance would then check their Tablet computer and will be able to see the issue at hand.

Also available to the Cast Member on the tablet is the Guest Name, and other minor information (if it is their Birthday/anniversary, First Visit Etc).

If the Guest needs to review their itinerary, they may check their email confirmation or visit a Fastpass Kiosk located at Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain, Mickey's PhilharMagic, Stitch's Great Escape! or Guest Relations at City Hall.

The same process would be repeated at the
merge location as well.

Do you think that this new FastPass system is a good thing? Is there too much planning already involved or would this simply add to the magic once you had arrived. What does this mean for the local, day guests?

We Close with a night time look at Main Street and the refurbishments there:

The Bakery really seems to stick out with the work going on.

We LOVE Star Wars Weekends. Such a fun change of pace for the Studios park. The annual event takes place each Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 18-June 10, 2012.Here’s the scheduled celebrity lineup for Star Wars Weekends 2012 (subject to change):

Weekend 1 (May 18 – 20)
• Ray Park – (Darth Maul – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
• Jerome Blake (Rune Haako/Mas Amedda – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
• Dee Bradley Baker (voice of Clone Captain Rex and Clone Commander Cody – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend 2 (May 25- 27)
• Andy Secombe (Watto – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
• Ray Park (Darth Maul – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
• Tom Kane (voice of Yoda – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend 3 (June 1 -3)
• Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
• Silas Carson (Nute Gunray/Ki-Adi-Mundi – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
• (Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice talent – currently TBD)

Weekend 4 (June 8- 10)
• Michonne Bourriague (Aurra Sing – Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
• Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett – Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
• Daniel Logan (Boba Fett – Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones)
• Nika Futterman (voice of Asajj Ventress – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Activities & entertainment (subject to change)
• “Hyperspace Hoopla”: This high-energy, one-of-a-kind show is a chance to see some of the famed Star Wars characters performing like never before. It will take place on a stage in front of the Sorcerer Mickey hat on Hollywood Blvd., and is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. each event evening.
• Autograph Opportunities: As always, there is no additional charge for the celebrity autograph sessions at Star Wars Weekends.

The autograph lines will once again be handled via a FASTPASS-type system. The meet-and-greet session/autograph opportunities are extremely limited, so guests need to arrive early to receive a FASTPASS. Please refer to this link, which will take you to the official Star Wars Weekends event page on There, you’ll find more detailed information under “Celebrity Autographs.”

• Star-Studded Event: Keep in mind, autograph opportunities are not the only place to see the celebrities. Star Wars stars take part in fun throughout the day in Star Wars-themed talk shows, behind-the-scenes presentations, the gala “Legends of the Force” parade and more.
That is all that we have so far. The weekend events and appearances can change at any time so please check back for more updated info as the events get closer.

We see that the vertical construction on the DVC units has begun here.

Summer Nights Returns June 9th!
Stay for an explosive encore as Busch Gardens lights up the sky every night this summer!

At Summer Nights, Cheetah Hunt after dark gives the graceful predator a new twist, and Kinetix returns for a rock-fueled blast of music and acrobatics every night on the Gwazi Park stage.

NEW this year, it’s the perfect end to the perfect evening with an amazing fireworks finale every night, right after the show.

Summer Nights runs from June 9 through August 12, 2012.

For more information, visit:
Summer Nights | Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Epcot will be turning 30 years old this fall and 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. The show will be filled with Epcot history, trivia, and special guests.

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

Congratulations go to BrianFuchs for guessing last week's Hidden Parkhopper by posting..."Parkhopper is the costume of the baby chick character from Hop float."

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), Spark In The Dark, Aimster, 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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Updated 05-15-2012 at 08:35 AM by Orlando Parkhopper



  1. Alberto Cortes's Avatar
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    answer for the tickets is Owen Godwin in 1949 great update by the way
  2. RossMidlane's Avatar
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    Not sure but is the Hidden Parkhopper the retheming on the Sponge Bob store?
  3. Terrytiger's Avatar
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    I second the answer of "Owen Godwin in 1949".
  4. operkill's Avatar
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    Owen Godwin, 1949

    And I also agree that the hidden park hopper is from the re-theming of the Sponge Bob store
  5. gimpyfig's Avatar
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    Is it the sight balloon that was seen over the Polynesian resort this week?
  6. WDW1971's Avatar
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    Great update.

    Really loving how Minion Mayhem is turning out. A plus is that its an actual Universal movie, when was the last time Universal developed a new ride based on one of its movies?
  7. Squirrel Mahn's Avatar
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    The hidden parkhopper is the Spongebob Squarepants store at Universal. Great update too!
  8. masterman626's Avatar
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    I don't think that the new Fastpasses should replace the old system because for at least the average day visitor not on vacation it would be a hassle. Over here in California getting rid of the current system would never fly, not with almost 1 million AP holders who only spend a few hours on a spur of the moment trip. If I'm talking out of my ear because I'm misinformed I'm sorry. But I think both systems could coexist and that would increase the overall experience of everyone.