Disney Springs to replace Downtown Disney!

Walt Disney World has announced that its popular Downtown Disney shopping and dining districts will be receiving a massive makeover and expansion transforming into a complex called Disney Springs telling a new story born of Florida’s past.

Legend of Chima comes to Legoland!

Legoland has announced a new area called the World of Chima, based on the popular Lego product line with tribes of mystical animal warriors is coming to Legoland this year.

Transformers Invade Universal Studios!

As the opening of Transformers: The Ride 3D draws near Universal have now opened the Transformers gift shop and the Transformers have arrived! The Transformers have invaded Universal Orlando allowing the crowds to have meet and greets with larger than life autobots that look absolutely incredible!

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2013

Excitement is in bloom at Epcot theme park this spring with the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival presented by HGTV which takes place between March 6th to May 19th 2013!

Antarctica by SeaWorld Opens May 24th 2013!

Orlando’s must see 2013 attraction - Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin - will open to guests on 24th May at SeaWorld Orlando. Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin will transport families into a rarely seen, icy world. Visitors will feel the majestic grandeur of the South Pole and see it through the eyes of a penguin on an exhilarating, first-of-its-kind family ride.

Friday, 13 April 2012

The Avengers Hits Cinemas This May

So hype is ramping up thick and fast for 'The Avengers Movie' even to the point where Disney has now got an Avengers themed monorail:
The movie poster shows exactly who is involved...
and the second trailer has been released which is looking pretty Bad Ass! So, can you wait until May? Maybe a ride or six on 'The Incredible Hulk Coaster' will help the wait? Remember to follow us on Twitter @FloridayUK and like us on Facebook FloridayUK

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Universal's Cinematic Spectacular & Parade Launch Date Announced

Universal’s Superstar Parade and Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories will officially grand open on May 8th! These two BRAND NEW entertainment experiences are the next chapter in Universal's ‘Year to Be Here’ after the re-launch of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man earlier this year.

However there is still no date set for the opening of Descpicable Me: Minion Mayhem, we're still told it will arrive in Summer 2012!

As always keep checking back for all the latest news and information!

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter @FloridayUK and like us on Facebook FloridayUK

Monday, 19 March 2012

Disney to Deploy Marvel Superheroes in Theme Parks

Walt Disney Co. is looking to bring some Marvel muscle to Disney theme parks.

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger told shareholders attending the annual meeting Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo., that the company has done preliminary design work that will one day lead to Marvel superheroes appearing in the theme parks along with Disney's other familiar characters.

"We haven't announced anything yet," Iger said. "But we're working on some concepts."

When Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4.3 billion in 2009, the Burbank entertainment company talked about incorporating the comic book giant's library of 5,000 characters throughout its various businesses.

Indeed, a new animated television series, "Ultimate Spider-Man," premieres April 1, kicking off a programming block devoted to Marvel characters on the cable network Disney XD. Marvel's big-screen presentation of "The Avengers" superhero mash-up reaches theaters May 4. Disney showed a trailer to investors at its annual meeting.

Iger didn't mention which Disney park might get an infusion of spandex-clad heroes. Its competitor, Universal Studios, has the rights in perpetuity for its Marvel Super Hero Island attraction, which includes rides based on Spider-Man, Dr. Doom, the Hulk and Storm, and features a number of other characters from the X-Men. The company also has a 10-year-plus deal for its Spider-Man attraction at Universal Studios Japan.

Click to Enlarge:

For the near term, Disney is focused on an ambitious theme-park project based on director James Cameron's blockbuster science-fiction fantasy "Avatar." Disney announced a long-term licensing deal last fall to develop rides and attractions based on the 2009 film.

The first "Avatar" land is planned for Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Iger told shareholders that the new attraction probably won't open until 2015.

Iger also announced an initiative to hire at least 1,000 returning military veterans over the next three years in a program dubbed Heroes Work Here.

Disney stockholders re-elected all 10 members of Disney's board, including Iger, who was formally elected chairman.

Shareholders also approved the company's executive pay plan in an advisory vote.

[ Source: Orlando Sentinel

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Hollywood Drive-In Golf Now Open

Universal Orlando Resort has officially opened central Florida's newest and most outrageously-themed miniature golf experience 'Hollywood Drive-In Golf at Universal CityWalk'. Featuring two 18-hole courses based on classic drive-in era horror and sci-fi movies, this all-new venue is the only place where the entire family can enjoy teeing off through the open mouth of a giant space worm or the basement laboratory of a towering haunted house.

To celebrate the grand opening, some of Universal Orlando's iconic characters were on hand. Universal's classic monsters (including Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein's Monster and the Bride of Frankenstein) putted their way through a creepy cemetery on 'The Haunting of Ghostly Greens' course. On the opposite side, Men In Black agents and Frank the Pug played 'Invaders from Planet Putt' (a course themed after the alien science fiction films of the 1950s).

The course was Designed by Universal's Creative team in partnership with Adventure Golf Design and Development, Hollywood Drive-In Golf is now open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Admission rates to play one course are $13.99 plus tax for adults and $11.99 plus tax for children (ages 3 to 9).

For more information on Hollywood Drive-In Golf, visit www.CityWalkOrlando.com.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man Now Open!

Today, Marvel Super Heroes & dozens of Spider-Man fans gathered to celebrate the grand re-opening of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man!

The day started off bad as Dr. Doom and Green Goblin started harassing reporters and kids, but they were quickly chased away by Spider-Man and some of his superhero friends.

Although the storyline for the ride remains the same, the award-winning attraction now features stunning all-new enhancements, including digital high-definition ride animation, a new highly-sophisticated Infitec 3-D projection system, a rockin’ new music score and all-new 3-D “Spider-Vision” glasses.

When the ride begins, you’ll hear a new musical soundtrack has been added. It and the sound in general sound great. But its when you first see Spider-Man that you really notice a difference. Not only are all the screens crystal clear, but you’ll have a hard time telling when the physical props and walls end and the screen begins. (Many of the physical props have been updated as well.)

While the animation has been re-output in HD, they didn’t simply output the same film you’re used to. The characters have some new looks, and the details are amazing. You can see threads on Spider-Man’s suit. You can see rats scurrying in the background. But the animators have added a few new things too. You’ll likely notice things you hadn’t before, whether it’s because the screen is so sharp, or because they simply weren’t there before. One scene now has your scoop vehicle bumping knocking Green Goblin off the top of a building and you can see him falling all the way down in the background. In fact Universal says hundreds of new details and effects have been added including a cameo appearance from Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee.

You can view the sneak peek videos for the ride at the official mini-site: http://www.universalorlando.com/spider-man

Who’s ready to ride? We know we are!

[Partial Source: AttractionsMagazine]

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Stan Lee Comments on Spider-Man Ride Refresh

Everyone's talking about it! Including comic book icon and Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee.

We are agonisingly close to the re-opening and we can't wait! Are you excited? Leave your comments below!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Real Housewives of Disney Parody (VIDEO)

Saturday Night Live has parodied the "Real Housewives" franchise by introducing 'The Real Housewives of Disney' during a sketch.

Featuring such characters as Belle, Jasmine, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Snow White the skit parodies the antics which take place on the "Reality" shows by showcasing booze, snide remarks, fights, tears, and even a “Housewife” who thinks she can sing.

Check out the video below:

Did you find this outright hilarious? Leave your comments below!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Spider-Man to Re-Open March 8th and Launches New Microsite

It's finally here! Universal Orlando has announced the re-opening date of 'The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man' as March 8th 2012.

The Offical Universal Orlando Facebook page posted:

"Alerting All SPIDEY Fans! On March 8 your favorite Webslinger will be back in action as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man reopens with stunning enhancements including 4K Digital High-Definition Animation, New 3-D 'Spider-Vision' Glasses & More! Will we see you there?"

To go along with this, Universal have launched a Micro-Site for the ride offering sneak peeks at exclusive video from the attraction.

The Offical Universal Orlando Facebook page posted the following message announcing the site:

"Alerting All SPIDEY Fans! YOU can help unlock SNEAK PEEKS of the new high-definition ride animation from The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man before it reopens next week! Visit www.www.universalorlando.com/spider-man to see how!"

We definitely can't wait to see what this ride has in store, can you!?

Disney's Habit Heroes Closed After Bully Claims

Disney has closed a new theme park exhibit promoting healthy eating and exercise, but not because it was ineffectual. The reason? It was deemed too offensive to overweight children.

Habit Heroes, an attraction at Disney's Epcot resort in Orlando, Florida, used obese cartoon villains called Snacker, Lead Bottom and The Glutton to highlight the dangers of junk food, too much television, and inactivity.

But critics accused Disney of taking "the side of the bullies" by reinforcing stereotypes of overweight children and stigmatising them for their condition, prompting the entertainment giant to shutter the attraction for a "retooling".

"Disney, a traditional hallmark of childhood happiness and joy, has fallen under the shadow of negativity and discrimination," said the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance in a statement criticising the exhibit and an accompanying online game.

"The use of these stereotypes, traditionally used to torment overweight kids, will potentially reinforce and strengthen a cycle of bullying, depression, disease, eating disorders and even suicidal thoughts."

The new attraction was part of Epcot's Innoventions area, intended to showcase futuristic ideas in a child-friendly way. Groups of up to a dozen were led through a series of rooms by a pair of animated fitness fanatic buffs called Will Power and Callie Stenics, learning of the dangers of unhealthy habits as they went.

Disney said that Healthy Habits, which was the subject of a "soft opening" several weeks ago to gauge public reaction ahead of its planned formal launch this week, will remain closed indefinitely.

A message on its website apologised that it was "down for maintenance".

"We've heard the feedback," said spokeswoman Kathleen Prihoda. "That's why we have a soft opening, so we can open it up to others and listen."

The exhibit was partly funded and promoted by Florida insurance company Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which said it was surprised by the outcry and an online petition urging its closure.

"Our goal is to ensure that the attraction conveys a positive message about healthy lifestyles in a fun and empowering way," spokesman John Herbkersman told the Orlando Sentinel.

"To work on further improving and refining the experience, the attraction is closed for the time being. We look forward to officially opening it soon."

Peggy Howell, public relations for the fat acceptance group, said she wanted to see Disney using non-obese characters to illustrate the exhibit, including a "medium-sized" teenager at a computer highlighting not enough exercise or a "thin youth" gorging on a large lunch, exposing gluttony.

"Disney theme parks and characters have always been associated with positivity and joy," she said. "All children, regardless of body size, should be free to enjoy the 'happiest place on Earth'."

Disney, meanwhile, insists it remains the perfect destination for visitors and employees of all shapes and sizes. In 2006 the company redesigned its costumes to allow for the expanding waistlines of cast members, and later that year unveiled a revamp of its theme park catering to operations to introduce fresh fruits and vegetable and reduce artery-clogging oils and sugars.

So what do you think? Do you agree with this decision or disagree? Vote in the poll below!

[Source: The Guardian UK]

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Opens March 7th!

Excitement is in bloom at Epcot theme park this spring with the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV!

Watch Disney spring to life with colorful flowers and gardens, dazzling Disney character topiaries, live music and fascinating programs. Held March 7, 2012 through May 20, 2012, this special event beckons you to be inspired by nature at its finest.

Behold brilliant botanicals, unique gardens and so much more! See how green your thumb can be as some of the nation's top designers help you plan everything from planting your first garden to enhancing your home's curb appeal. With expert advice from HGTV and DIY designers and Epcot gardening experts, you're sure to be inspired!

You'll find more than 100 topiaries throughout Epcot theme park—including more than 75 Disney character topiaries! Highlights include character topiaries representing Buzz, Woody and Lotso from Toy Story 3, Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars 2, and other classic favorites.

Also, enjoy unforgettable live music from the 1960s and 1970s during the Flower Power Concert Series. You'll find a different artist every weekend during the festival at America Gardens Theatre. Show times are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.

So...whether you want to improve your gardening skills or simply savor colorful scenery, a spectacular array of experiences awaits you at Epcot theme park during this year's festival. We'll see you there!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Disney's Fantasyland Update: Storybook Circus

Disney have today announced that the Storybook Circus element of the Fantasyland expansion currently underway at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World will be open to guests by late March 2012. This will mark the first of several phases of openings for this massive expansion.

The first of the attractions to be opened includes one half of the re-imagined ‘Dumbo The Flying Elephant’ that features a new interactive queue area unlike any before. The ‘Big Top’ tent will house games and interactive play elements as well as seats and will operate a ticketed system as opposed to the traditional queue line. Here you will be given a numbered ticket when you enter and will be allowed to play to your hearts content before your number is called for you to prepare to board an amazing flying elephant.

Another attraction opening to guests is ‘The Great Goofini’ a re-themed version of the popular ‘Goofy’s Barnstomer’ found in the former ToonTown area of the Magic Kingdom. The new Fantasyland railroad station will also open allowing guests to take the Walt Disney Railroad to enter this brand new area.

When the area is finished it will feature large multicoloured circus tents, themed shops and even Casey Jr. himself in addition to these brand new attractions. It is currently unknown when this second phase of opening will occur.

Disney have also announced that ‘Snow White Scary Adventure’s’ will close on May 31st 2012 to make room for the new home of the famous Disney Princesses as a part of this expansion.

As always, be sure to check back for updates on everything Orlando!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

NBA All-Star Game 2012

This February, the NBA is bringing one of the most entertaining sporting events to Orlando -- NBA All-Star 2012. Returning for the first time since 1992, when Magic Johnson made his dramatic comeback on the court, The NBA All-Star 2012 game is a unique experience that celebrates the NBA's greatest athletes.

NBA All-Star weekend, it's been 20 long years! Welcome back to Orlando! Where magic happens! At least when reality doesn't interfere ... and the recession stops by ... and the lines shorten at Walt Disney World ... and the screams grow fainter at Universal Studios ... and the foreclosures deliver a swift kick to Kissimmee ... and unemployment soars like steamy afternoons in July.

Yes, like many cities, especially in Florida, the epicenter of the economic earthquake, Orlando is trying to rally. When disposable dollars dried up and tourism took a hit, well, just imagine the Magic without Dwight Howard. (You might hear about Dwight oh, once or a million times this weekend.) The double whammy of real estate woes and squeezed family budgets threaten to cripple the world's greatest tourist destination.

Suddenly, the city that loved to slap an exclamation point next to its name -- come visit Orlando! -- was stuck with a question mark instead. As in, when does relief arrive?

One basketball-fueled weekend won't exactly tip the Central Florida economy into the black all by itself. Still, the goal for Orlando is to be that same city that hosted the 1992 All-Star Game, the one where Magic! (Johnson) happened. To that end, Orlando will trot out the Amway Center, a $480 million symbol of hope that was built smack in the middle of hard times. Orlando doesn't get the game without it, doesn't sell its recovery to a big audience without it and doesn't reinvent itself without it.

"Part of the context of building this building was attracting the NBA All-Star game and other events," said Alex Martins, chief executive officer of the Magic. "We said a new building wasn't just about the Magic. It was about our city and what we were missing. All the big concerts were going to Tampa. We haven't had a conference college basketball tourney since the early 1990s. No major organizing sports body has brought anything to us since early 90s."

And just think, a few months ago, the NBA season and the weekend itself were in jeopardy of not happening, phased out by a lockout. The game was promised to Orlando on May 4, 2010, and hotels and businesses were banking on the windfall.

"That would have been a blow to our city," Martins said. "I told David Stern he'd better put me in witness protection if that happens."

So the city that knows something about entertaining will happily host a slam dunk contest that may or may not involve an economy car, a handful of hip-hop parties to which you're not invited, and the debut of the ballyhooed box office attraction that promises to dwarf both Space Mountain and the Harry Potter Hogwarts ride. Yes, Jeremy Lin is in the house!

"Everyone will see that Orlando's not bad, and will put on a show," said Howard, who then refused to say if he plans to stick around for the after-party.

Back in '92, Orlando was exactly the type of city that professional sports craved that decade. It was a medium-sized 'burgh suddenly flush with new money and enjoying a population boom, where people quickly began to multiply faster than Palmetto bugs and strip malls.

The NBA expanded to Orlando three years earlier and success was instantaneous; sellout crowds crammed a then-brand new arena (the Orlando Arena, later known as Amway Arena) that astonishingly became outdated in about 15 minutes.

Not only was Orlando defined as Las Vegas for children, but also professional athletes, who built airplane hanger-sized mansions in lake-dotted communities like Isleworth, home to Tiger Woods, Shaquille O'Neal and many others.

In a sense, Orlando's growth and popularity arc was a lot like the NBA's in the 80s, when prosperity ruled and troublesome signs weren't visible on the radar. The NBA had Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan; Orlando had Mickey, Goofy and, in a few years, Shaq and Penny Hardaway. Theme parks were swelling, orange groves were cleared for housing developments -- it was as if Orlando had cashed in on the lottery, like the Magic did when a pair of ping-pong balls turned into Shaq and Penny.

Golf courses sprung up everywhere, further hiking real estate prices ever so unrealistically, as well-moneyed northerners snapped up second homes and timeshares. And they also bought choice seats at Magic games to see a team that was supposedly the next dynasty. Or as Shaq once said, regarding he and Hardaway, "the next Magic and Kareem."

But then Shaq left for Hollywood in 1996 as a free agent, Penny hurt his knee (several times), Grant Hill arrived as damaged goods in 2000 from Detroit as a free agent. Even though another ping-pong ball became Howard, the No. 1 pick in the 2004 Draft, he's not sold on spending his foreseeable career in Orlando.

And this was the good news.

"Central Florida was one of the hardest hit in terms of housing," said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "Home building is pretty much non-existent right now. We had an extreme correction in terms of market price and number of foreclosures.

"Tourism was down double digits. We had three straight years of double-digit decline in our tourist development tax. People postponed or didn't do vacations. It was a significant decline in our tourism economy. We came back strong in the last year, with 51 million visitors. But it's going to be a slow, steady recovery. We had a presentation by our convention and visitors bureau the other day and they mentioned it would be impossible to purchase the type of advertising and exposure that we'll get from the All-Star Game."

At least Orlando's timing was solid, in another sense. All the bonds and financials were secured for the construction of Amway Center (along with a new performing arts building) just prior to the economic uppercut. Amway Center, not to be confused with the soon-to-be-bulldozed Amway Arena, was the town's boldest project in recent history. In a spirit of cooperation that's uncommon in cities, especially in the midst of historic decline, city, county and team officials made it work. The public-private partnership ensured the arena was finished on time and on budget.

"It was certainly challenging but also some advantages as well," Martins said. "We were able to stretch the construction budget further than we could've imagined because the construction industry had nothing else going on. As many disadvantages as one could perceive when building in a down economy, the workforce was available, material pricing was low and we had no major delays.

"We walked into the building with all the suites sold, had highest corporate partnership in the history of the organization and the highest season ticket base in the history of the organization. And I think that speaks to how starving our community was for a first class building."

As for the impact of the weekend, "it will be $100 million. The theme parks will get a shot in the arm at a time of the year when they don't get their highest visitation. This comes at a necessary time."

One of the main figures in the construction of the building -- and the Magic -- is slowly withdrawing from both. Rich DeVos, the grandfatherly Magic owner, has gradually distributed much of his shares of the team to his children and even grandchildren, mostly for estate-planning purposes. At 85, Devos has the team run by Martins (who was the Magic's PR director during the '92 All-Star Game) and Dan DeVos, one of his sons.

"This team will be in our family for a long, long, time," said Rich DeVos.

The family patriarch mostly gets around by wheelchair these days and there's a groundswell of support within the family and the organization to win one for Mr. D.

"The pleasure he gets out of owning this team and what it does for this city has brought a dynamic to his life that maybe he didn't have before," Martins said. "If it weren't for him this arena wouldn't be built. He contributed more of his own money to this building than any owner has to a public facility. This will be part of his legacy. It's going to mean a lot for the economy when big events come here on a regular basis."

DeVos is both amused and touched by the sentiment, but he makes one thing clear.

"I want to win a ring," he said, "but it's not for me, it's for them."

And so Orlando, ever so gingerly, is taking steps toward better days. For the city and for the Magic. The arena is the common link between the two and will remain in place, well beyond the weekend, when Orlando hopes to get tourists to arrive and the Magic hopes to keep Dwight Howard from leaving.

The East Team looks like this:

G - Derrick Rose - Chicago Bulls
G - Dwyane Wade - Miami Heat
F - LeBron James - Miami Heat
F - Carmelo Anthony - New York Knicks
C - Dwight Howard - Orlando Magic

The West looks like this:

G - Chris Paul - Los Angeles Clippers
G - Kobe Bryant - Los Angeles Lakers
F - Kevin Durant - Oklahoma City Thunder
F - Blake Griffin - Los Angeles Clippers
C - Andrew Bynum - Los Angeles Lakers

So enjoy the weekend in Orlando! Where the city is out to prove it's on the turnpike to recovery! Oh, and spread the word, now is the perfect time to visit! Because Orlando has the most attractions in the world! Now featuring Jeremy Lin! (For a day or so, anyway.)

New Blue Man Group Show Opens Feb 24th


Enhanced Show Features New Stage, New Technology, New Music and New Experiences

Universal Orlando's Blue Man Group show is taking its unique and captivating brand of live entertainment to another level - complete with a new show environment, new music, new technology and new experiences.

New sections include Blue Men interacting with "GiPads" (think Gigantic iPads), a funny and perceptive look at contemporary modes of communication; and a pulsating new finale featuring an original Blue Man Group music score that will have guests jumping to their feet.

"The heart of our show is, and always has been, the Blue Man, and his inquisitive, wide-eyed take on the world," said Chris Wink, who co-founded Blue Man Group with Phil Stanton and Matt Goldman. "Our team of artists at Blue Man Productions has created fun, even astounding new visual aspects of the show, and our music team has given us a great new sound. We are really excited to incorporate these elements into the show at Universal Orlando Resort".

"This show will take one of Universal Orlando's most popular experiences to a whole new level," said Alice Norsworthy, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Universal Orlando Resort. "It's the perfect complement to the incredible entertainment we offer at our destination."

Several of the signature moments that have made Blue Man Group one of today's best-loved theatrical productions will remain in the show, although in most cases, they have also been updated. And as always, the production will fuse innovative theatrical spectacle with improvisation and vaudeville-inspired comedy, art, science and irresistible music performed by the Blue Man Group live band.

"Many of our audience's favorite pieces, including "Paint Drumming" and "Gum Balls/Marshmallows" will continue to be a part of the production - and yes, the first few rows will still need to wear ponchos," added Phil Stanton, Blue Man Group co-founder. "But we have developed some brand new elements of the show that provide a larger-than-life, rousing, interactive experience that I hope will really speak to all cultures and give some of our most devoted fans a new reason to check us out again."

For more information about Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando Resort - or to purchase tickets - visit www.universalorlando.com/blueman.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Spider-Man Closes Feb 8th for Refurb

Universal have announced that Spider-Man will close on the 8th Feb 2012 in order for the HD upgrade to take place. The Official Facebook Page stated:

Attention Spidey Fans! The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man attraction will close on Feb. 8 as we finalize major, high-tech enhancements that will be ready for you in March! Soon, you’ll be able to experience all-new animation and an entirely new level of detail – from the stitching on Spider-Man’s glove to the electricity arching through Electro’s body. More details and a re-open date coming soon!

We will let you know as soon as a re-open date is confirmed.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Hollywood Drive In Golf: Photo Update

Universal Orlando is moving right along with Hollywood Drive-In Golf, its twin miniature-golf courses under construction at Universal CityWalk. We’re now seeing a lot of signage, big and small, plus a slew of tombstones and little green men. We’re at a point now where folks aren’t saying “What is that?” upon approach. It’s clearly miniature golf.

The courses are scheduled to open to the public sometime in February but here's a sneak peak of what is in store:

As you can see, work is almost complete on this great new attraction due to open in February. Be sure to check back for more news and updates as they happen!

Source: [ Orlando Sentinel ]

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Universal Announcement Roundup: The Year to Be Here

The wait is over and boy was it worth it! In today's press announcement Universal Orlando announced it's upcoming plans and has dubbed 2012 'The Year to Be Here'.

2012 will bring something new for everybody and there will be new additions across not only Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure but also CityWalk and Wet n' Wild.

From a new Blue Man Group show and newly re-created experience inside one of Universal Orlando’s most popular attractions to a stunning parade, spectacular nighttime show and brand-new blockbuster attraction based on an incredibly popular film – Universal Orlando Resort is bringing guests more new entertainment across our entire destination in 2012 than during any other year in their history.

The new experiences will begin debuting in February. Guests will discover the exhilarating entertainment of a new Blue Man Group show; marvel at breathtaking new animation and effects in The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man; dance and celebrate with their favorite animated characters during Universal’s Superstar Parade and relive memorable moments from Universal Pictures most powerful and beloved films during the nighttime show Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular – 100 Years of Movie Memories. And coming this summer – families will laugh together as they are transformed into minions for an incredible adventure inside the new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction.

Universal Orlando will also be marking the Universal Pictures Centennial Anniversary Celebration during 2012 with a series of events to be announced throughout the year.

“We are about to offer our guests a historic range of incredible new entertainment experiences,” said Alice Norsworthy, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Universal Orlando Resort. “This year will be filled with excitement and entertainment for the entire family.”

The new 2012 experiences at Universal Orlando Resort include:

Blue Man Group ~ Opening February 2012 at Universal CityWalk

Universal Orlando’s Blue Man Group show is taking their unique and captivating mash-up of high energy music, comedy, audience participation and collective exhilaration to another level. Featuring a new show environment, new music, new technology and new experiences, the show will allow audiences to join the Blue Men as they discover, engage and explore the world’s obsession with cutting-edge technology. Signature Blue Man Group moments combine with breathtakingly fun new pieces for an explosive evening of entertainment. New show elements include the curious Blue Men interacting with enormous “GiPads,” a funny and insightful look at contemporary communication vehicles, and a pulsating new finale with an original Blue Man Group music score that will have guests jumping to their feet. Look closely – you may even see the Blue Men take a spin on one of Universal Orlando's most popular attractions.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ~ Experience March 2012 at Islands of Adventure

Universal Orlando is transforming what is already one of the most amazing attraction experiences ever created into what will feel like an all-new adventure. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man will soon feature all-new, 4K digital high-definition animation, new high tech 3-D glasses and upgrades to the set, audio and lighting systems. The re-animation of the ride film will include an entirely new level of detail for guests to discover, including a cameo by legendary comic book icon and Spider-Man co-creator, Stan Lee.

Universal’s Superstar Parade ~ Opening Spring 2012 at Universal Studios Florida

Some of today’s most beloved characters and stories will bring new adventure to the streets of Universal Studios during Universal’s Superstar Parade – an all-new daily parade that features larger-than-life floats, state-of-the-art technology and hundreds of energetic street performers. Guests will sing and dance along with characters like the minions from Despicable Me, E.B. from the hit comedy, Hop, Nickelodeon’s Dora & Diego and SpongeBob SquarePants during the interactive experience. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy performances and character meet and greets prior to the parade at select locations throughout the day.

Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories ~ Opening Spring 2012 at Universal Studios Florida

Narrated by award-winning actor and recent Golden Globe - Cecil B. DeMille honoree, Morgan Freeman, Universal Orlando’s brand-new nighttime show, Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular, will celebrate the most powerful and emotional moments from Universal Pictures’ most iconic films – all on cutting-edge waterfall screens within the Universal Studios lagoon and surrounded by colorful fountains and pyrotechnics. The experience will take guests on a journey through epic cinematic moments filled with heroes, horror, laughter, good vs. evil and triumph. The new show opens this spring, runs all summer and then on select nights through the end of the year.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ~ Opening Summer 2012 at Universal Studios Florida

Universal Orlando’s newest attraction, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, will take guests on an unforgettable 3-D adventure with their favorite characters from the hit film – Gru, Margo, Edith, Agnes and the mischievous minions. The experience begins when guests enter Gru’s home, where they learn that they’re being recruited to become minions and undergo “minion training.” Things don’t go as planned, and guests find themselves on a wildly hysterical journey with Gru and his daughters. Once guests make it through training, they join an interactive, minion-inspired dance party where they can show off their best moves.

Universal’s Creative team is working closely with Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment to bring this all-new adventure to life in the most authentic way possible. In fact, the beloved characters in the attraction will be voiced by the film’s original cast: Steve Carell (Gru), Miranda Cosgrove (Margo), Dana Gaier (Edith) and Elsie Fisher (Agnes). The ride’s experience is being developed by the same creative team that brought you the award-winning film, Despicable Me. The motion-picture event Despicable Me 2 arrives in theaters on July 3, 2013.

Other New Experiences Opening this Year
Hollywood Drive-In Golf a unique 36-hole miniature golf experience inspired by the classic drive-in movie era, will open in February at Universal CityWalk.

A great, new immersive retail entertainment experience that will become home to SpongeBob SquarePants and other characters from the number one kids animated TV series, Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants. It will open inside Universal Studios this year.

Minutes away from Universal Orlando, the popular Wet ‘n Wild water park will open its first interactive family water play area this summer – allowing everyone in the family to splash and swim together. Amidst lush, tropical landscaping, the new area will feature 15 water slides and more than 100 soakers, jets, waterfalls and water cannons - making it the largest interactive water play experience in Florida.

Here is the full announcement video:

Are you going to 'Be There' this year? We know we are!

Let us know in the comments!

Monday, 23 January 2012

New TurtleTrek Artwork & Details

Back in November, SeaWorld announced a new 360 degree 3-D attraction by the name of TurtleTrek. New details and artwork have emerged as part of a new webisode series revealing a host of information for us to feast our eyes on.

Hosted by creative director Brian Morrow, the video shows off TurtleTrek’s “first on the planet” 3-D 360 degree dome theater and emphasizes the live animal exhibit that will accompany it.

The theater will present a 3D show that follow sea turtles on a journey “over hundreds of thousands of miles.” But like most of SeaWorld’s attractions, TurtleTrek will “blend” close-up animal encounters with the attraction itself, featuring not only sea turtles but also manatees.

Here’s a closer look at the artwork shown off in the video, including a complete cut-out building elevation, as well as a look inside the construction of the TurtleTrek dome screen.

SeaWorld Orlando is promising more details on the creation and testing TurtleTrek in the weeks and months leading to its Spring 2012 opening.