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Orlando Parkhopper

Blastaway Beach opens at Wet n' Wild, Busch Gardens Summer Nights and more

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by , 06-04-2012 at 10:07 PM


It's a deluge of fun this week as Wet N' Wild opens a brand new play area for Kids and adults. The Blast Away Beach is the park's newest addition and we were there for the opening. But that isn't all. We have a variety of activities happening in Central Florida this week that will be big on fun and easy on the budget. And there's one last hoopla in us as Star Wars weekends comes to a close at Disney Hollywood Studios. C'mon gang, let's park hop!



On Saturday June 2nd, Wet N' Wild in Orlando opened their new play area Blast Away Beach! The new play area, has been designed for young and old to play together. The Slides have been designed for parents to ride down with their kids, or without their kids!

Wet N' Wild kicked off the event, by inviting the families of local school children who entered a content to draw Blast Away Beach. The winners with their family and friends got to be the first ones to experience this new attraction.






Blastaway Beach is fun for all ages




After a short speech by the President of Wet N' Wild, the ribbon was cut, and the kids were allowed to run wild! It became clear that this new water playground will be a favorite for kids at Wet N' Wild, and if playing side by side with your kids isn't your style, there is plenty of shaded seating around the area where parents can put their feet up, relax, and just enjoy the beautiful Florida weather!









The energy level was high, as kids were asked to contain themselves and wait for the ribbon cutting!









Extra wide slides allow parents and kids to slide together!








The new play area was enjoyed by young and young at heart. Congrats to Wet n' Wild on a fun new attraction for the Orlando area.




EPCOT 30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!




EPCOT is about to mark a milestone. Few 2nd gate parks are as iconic or beloved as this park. Join MiceChat as we 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 MiceChat@FairyGodmotherTravel.com. 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 MiceChat.com/store



You may have noticed that the Orlando Parkhopper's focus has shifted. While we still include the Disney Parks, we have broadened our scope to share with readers the many more things there are to do while in the Central Florida area. But we have also introduced an entirely new column.

The following excerpt is from our new weekly Friday column by Cory Disbrow entitled, Dateline Disney World





This week saw the closing of Snow White's Scary Adventures at 40+ years of operation at the Magic Kingdom. Here is a little photo tour/tribute to the attraction!









Even on its next to last day of operation, it had posted 40 minute waits!













The loading area of the attraction:













The ride vehicle:


And some shots from on the ride. This was one of my favorites to photograph because the ultra dark environment made for a big challenge in nailing the shots.



















Who knows what will happen to the Seven Dwarfs Mine gift shop?


My guess is that it will stay since the Mine Train ride will be right across the way, but we will probably see next week when walls go up!


I am really quite saddened by the closing of this attraction. It was a quaint and charming Fantasyland dark ride that has been open since Day 1 all the way back in 1971. The fact that it is being closed to make way for a meet and greet is the real salt on the wound, too. While I understand the need for meet and greets, I dislike them, and it could have very easily been put in the New Fantasyland or kept solely at the Town Square Theater on Main Street. Here's to hoping the new Mine Train roller coaster is a worthwhile replacement to this Magic Kingdom classic!


CONSTRUCTION KINGDOM:
Lots of news to report on in the New Fantasyland this week, in particular over in Storybook Circus. The 2nd Dumbo spinner was testing when I was there this week!


It was a little odd that they were only letting the elephants go up to about the height of the construction walls, but it was good to see progression knowing that we are getting closer and closer to the targeted July opening.


Over at the Casey Jr. water play area, Disney has installed trees!





This comes as a nice surprise, as I thought this area was not tapped to have much foliage, and it looks great.










Disney has continually kept my hopes high and my interest in this Fantasyland project, and the addition of more and more foliage makes me very happy.

Over at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, there hasn't been much more vertical construction, but I noticed more supports going down on an angle. They are the grey color, which means they should be for the hills that surround the attraction.


The new meet and greet area for Pooh and Tigger has been taking forever, but has showed signs of progress this week.


I'm pretty confident that all of the scaffolding is down on Prince Eric's castle at the Little Mermaid attraction:


Work continues on the Castle Wall that will divide old and new Fantasyland.





These shots are from the second floor balcony of Pinnochio Village Haus:










At the Beauty and the Beast area, work continues on Maurice's Cottage:


Detail on Gaston's Tavern is becoming more obvious:


And roofing has started to be installed on Bonjour! Village Gifts:



If you want to read more of this article from Cory CLICK HERE
Dateline Disney World
appears every Friday on MiceChat.






Come to Disney Hollywood Studios June 8th through 10th for the final Star Wars Weekend.




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 DisneyWorld.com. 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.



Going up! Disney World Raises Ticket Prices
On Sunday, Disney World raised ticket prices by up to 10.6%.

Ticket Type
Old price
New price
% Change
1 Day $85 $89 4.7%
2 Day $168 $176 4.8%
3 Day $232 $242 4.3%
4 Day $243 $256 5.4%
5 Day $251 $268 6.8%
6 Day $259 $278 7.3%
7 Day $267 $288 7.9%
8 Day $275 $298 8.4%
9 Day $283 $308 8.8%
10 Day $291 $318 9.3%



  • The park hopper option for over 2 days has gone up as well from $55 to $57
  • Water parks have gone from $49 for a one day, one park to $52



Pass Type
Old price
New price
% Change
Basic AP $519 $574 10.6%
Premium AP $649 $699 7.7%


Many families will find it challenging that a child's AP is now the same as for an adult - $574. We are curious how Disney can justify a 3 year old's ticket costing $574 when they aren't tall enough to ride hardly anything in the parks.



When Disney raises prices, we like to remind you of the many wonderful things there are to do in Orlando that don't cost very much money. Enjoy this list and let us know what other events and fun things there are to do in Orlando on a budget:

CUPCAKE LOVERS' WEEKEND:
At the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, a resort oddly surround by the Walt Disney World Resort, next weekend is a fantastic time to visit, as it offers a celebration of something we all love: cupcakes!

June 15-16 is Cupcake Lovers' Weekend, which includes a whole slew of cupcake centered activities, such as a cupcake bar, decorating tips, displays, cupcake flavored martinis, and even "savory" cupcakes in their restaurant, Harvest Bistro and Sena Lounge, which features entrees in cupcake form! A whole bunch of activities will be scheduled for the weekend, part of their Summerblast! celebration. Sounds pretty delicious to us!
Summerblast! Specialty Weekends at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

First Annual Tarpon Springs Wine Walk Satuday, June 9th:
Stroll the shops along the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks on Dodecanese Blvd. from 4pm to 8pm in this inaugral event with wine sampling, hors d'oeuvres and special promotions. Tickets are available online atwww.spongedocks.net ($20 in advance, $25 day of the event). For more information, call 727-942-9463.

Tarpon Springs Wine Walk

Florida Aquarium Celebrates World Ocean Day:
The Florida Aquarium in Tampa is celebrating World Oceans Day Friday-Sunday with special activities, presentations & crafts. This special event is included with admission ($21.95 adults, $18.95 seniors, $16.95 kids).

The Florida Aquarium | Tampa Aquarium | Florida Aquarium in Tampa Florida

Classic Movies:
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa is hosting a free screening of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" Friday, June 8 at 8pm. Local food trucks will be on hand for a variety of food offerings. (600 N. Ashley Dr, Tampa, FL 33602 - MAP)





Busch Gardens’ Summer Nights amps up the excitement each year, and 2012 promises to offer even more after-dark entertainment and fun for the whole family with a new Latin-infused show at the Desert Grill and, for the first time ever, an amazing fireworks finale every night of the event.

From June 9 through August 12, guests will experience extended park hours, special entertainment, high-energy DJs and the thrill of riding world-class coasters in the dark, including Busch Gardens’ newest coaster, Cheetah Hunt.

The award-winning Kinetix show returns to Summer Nights with nightly performances of its rock-fueled blast of music and acrobatics. Kinetix’s high-energy performances include live musicians, singers, dancers and artists from around the world. Their thrilling performance, along with modern music and pyrotechnic effects , will pump up the crowd every night in Gwazi Park at 9:00pm each night. Gates to Gwazi Park open at 8:00pm, so be sure to arrive early to ensure a good spot and enjoy the Party Starters’ pre-show interactive games and dancing.

New for Summer Nights this year:

Nightly Fireworks Display
Celebrate the perfect end to the evening with an amazing fireworks finale. Busch Gardens lights up the sky every night of the event with an incredible aerial display set to popular music. The best views are in Gwazi Park, right after the nightly Kinetix show, but the fireworks are visible from all over the park


“Let’s Get Loud” at the Desert Grill
Singers, dancers and musicians heat up Summer Nights with popular contemporary music and dance, incorporating the Latin flair of Miami’s South Beach. “Let’s Get Loud,” a Miami Dance Party, opens June 9 and will feature music and dance infused with Hispanic heat from well-known artists like Gloria Estefan, Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin.

On Fridays and Saturdays, the Party Starters will host dance challenges all day throughout the park and pick the most outgoing guests to compete in the Dance-Off competition that evening. The Dance-Off will be a three-round competition starting at 7:00pm at the Desert Grill. The audience will pick the winner with “the best moves” by applause, and first prize is four tickets to come back to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

Park hours for Summer Nights are extended until 9:00pm Sundays through Thursdays and until 10:00pm Fridays and Saturdays. Summer Nights is included with a day’s paid admission or any annual pass.





GATORLAND SLASHES PRICES FOR LOCALS:

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.

Ticket includes 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.

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


We skipped the Parkhopper last week, but we are back with a new challenge. Let us know where you can find the hidden Parkhopper this week. Post your answer in your comments below and you could be featured in next weeks column.




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, Aimster - Pictures by Aimster, Fishbulb & Dustysage

SEND US YOUR PHOTOS AND NEWS FROM THE ORLANDO PARKS - Contact [email protected]

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.



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Comments

  1. mratigan's Avatar
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    Thanks
  2. DisneyDrums's Avatar
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    That picture is easily in Fantasyland, and I think it's the work on the new castle wall.
  3. mre200200's Avatar
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    I'm thinking the photo is from the railing of the Blastaway Beach area at Wet 'n Wild.
  4. Petchaurus's Avatar
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    I am so sad that they are closing Snow White. It was easily one of my favorite dark rides in Florida. Florida's decisions always leave me scratching my head. 40+ years and lets just get rid of it? I know that there is a mine cart ride going in but one thing that keeps Disneyland charming is that they DON'T get rid of a lot of their old stuff.

    On a positive note I am feeling better about the care and attitude towards Florida as I feel there is a certain energy and momentum building there that could be good.