New Attractions Announced for 2008
In 2008, Orlando will see a rise in new attractions and changes at Orlando’s major theme parks. SeaWorld Orlando will unveil a brand new water park, Aquatica, in March. Universal Orlando Resort will showcase America’s favorite television cartoon family, “The Simpsons,” in a simulator ride this spring. And, fresh attractions and shows abound at newly renamed Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios). The park kicks off its celebration with Toy Story Mania!, a 3-D ride; “Block Party Bash,” an interactive Disney parade; and “Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage!,” introducing a whole new cast. More new Orlando attractions will be announced during the coming year.
Gatorland broke ground on a $4 million complex, which will add 19,000 square feet (1,765 square meters) of retail, meeting and office space to the attraction. The new area features an open-air admission pavilion that incorporates the historic gator-mouth entrance, a meeting facility and a shopping area. The complex is projected to open in summer 2008. The attraction is fully operational during construction.
The Holy Land Experience has eliminated its $5 parking fee in light of increased attendance numbers and the park’s desire to bring in more visitors. Tickets for the attraction are $35 for adults and $23 for children ages 6-12.
Scenic Lake Tours has added a new nature tour to its offerings. The two-hour tour includes a short scenic boat tour and nature walk on Makinson’s Island nature trail, where hikers can view eagle nests, owls, mountain goats, raccoons and wild pigs. Admission is $50 for adults and $30 for children.
Terror in Orlando opened on International Drive. The haunted attraction offers two unique horror experiences, Mayhem Manor and 3-D Funhouse, with plenty of scares for everyone. The manor showcases the bizarre experiments of Dr. Morphius Mayhem, while the funhouse features the sinister world of Kilmor the Clown. The attraction is open daily with seasonal hours. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children ages 12 and under.
Titanic – The Experience, has relocated to the Orlando Science Center, and will be featured through the end of 2008. The attraction first opened in 1999, when it was located on International Drive. It showcases a variety of artifacts associated with the famous ship, as well as sets that include an exact replica of the ship’s grand staircase. Admission to the exhibition is included in regular science center pricing, which is $14.95 for adults and $9.95 for children ages 3-11.
New in 2008 Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Studios Florida unveiled plans for a new ride, which will be based on FOX’s blockbuster hit series, “The Simpsons.” Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson–stars of TV’s longest running series–will ride along with guests in the new attraction, which takes them on a hysterical, almost unimaginable adventure. The ride will open spring 2008.
Universal Orlando Resort replaced its Earthquake attraction with an all-new ride, Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride…Starring You, which opened in late 2007. The new ride offers guests an experience combining the best, most dramatic elements of Earthquake with a new story line, blockbuster celebrity talent, ride elements, digital technologies and interactive components.
New in 2008 Walt Disney World
Disney-MGM Studios theme park has been renamed Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The new name, which reflects how the park has grown from representing the golden age of movies to a celebration of the new entertainment that today’s Hollywood has to offer, debuted in January 2008. The park will unveil the following attractions in 2008:
Toy Story Mania! involves an interactive “Toy Story” competition inspired by the film. 3-D glasses put guests in the middle of the action as they board vehicles and zip into a world of exciting midway-style games hosted by their favorite characters. The ride is set to open in summer 2008.
“Block Party Bash” encourages guests to play, party and dance at the new interactive Disney parade, which opens in spring 2008.
“Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage!” introduces a whole new cast of friends engaging children in singing, clapping and dancing. The new show opens in February 2008.
Epcot opened a new gallery exhibition, “National Treasures.” Three dozen artifacts from American history are on display in the American Heritage Gallery of the American Adventure pavilion, including items from Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington Carver. Most of the items are on loan from museums and private collections and will be rotated over time. The exhibition is not permanent, but there is currently no planned end date.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has announced that its theme parks will extend their popular “Year of a Million Dreams” promotion through the end of 2008. The program is highlighted by daily prize giveaways like FASTPASS tickets, free concessions or a stay in the Cinderella Castle suite. So far, more than 846,000 dreams have been awarded to guests at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
Information courtesy of Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau