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11/12/2008 - Vicinity - Dixie Stampede Deal Falls Through

In a strange turn of events the deal to sell Dixie Stampede, as you might remember the deal was too good to pass up, has fallen apart. This leaves the 13-acre property without a buyer.

Orlando Premium Outlets, which was to purchase the property to use as part of an expansion, has said it now isn't interested in the site.

Michele Rothstein, a spokeswoman for Chelsea Premium Outlets, a division of mall-owner Simon Property Group and operator of Orlando Premium Outlets said, "We never said we were buying it; we said we are looking at it."

She went on to state that the mall owner had done its due diligence and wasn't going forward with a deal for undisclosed reasons.

As for the closed Dixie Stampede property, which occupies a prime location in Orlando's tourism corridor and is easily seen from I-4, its fate remains unclear.

According to Pete Owens, spokesman for Dixie Stampede LLC, said the company is searching for a new buyer. It seems that Dixie Stampede does not plan to move back into the empty building but with the current economic situation a new buyer for the property may be hard to find. The property has an assessed value of $14.9 million, according to the Orange County property appraiser.

"Dixie Stampede continues to search for another location in Central Florida for a dinner theater," said Owens.

11/10/2008 - Cypress Gardens - Cypress Gardens Closes Again

It looks like another closure is in store for Cypress Gardens. Park Officials say that the park has been struggling and will close again beginning this Sunday but they are promising that the 72-year old park will reopen next spring after a major overhaul that will include the elimination of the zoo, the roller coasters and other non-water rides.

The park, located in Winter Haven, was founded in 1936 and since then has went through several changes in ownership and themes. The park has also went through a couple of previous closures and has been having trouble finding their place, in recent years, with the on-slaught of mega-theme parks. The owners have tried introducing new rides and new shows, adding a water park, expanding the thrill rides area and expanding the conference business but this fall park hours were cut and discounted ticket prices were offered. Ultimately it wasn't enough to keep the park going though.

Land South Holdings LLC, the company that owns the park, announced this morning that Cypress Gardens would close after this Sunday for major renovation and will reopen in March 2009. The renovations to the park are going to be focusing on three areas - the ski show that was the park's original big attraction, the botanical gardens that made it famous for many generations and the water park that opened a few years ago. The zoo area and the rides area will be permanently closed.

Cypress Gardens co-owner Rob Harper said in a news release that the operating expense of running 38 amusement rides, a zoo, the botanical gardens, a ski show and a water park are considerable and it's obvious the park cannot successfully function as four parks in one.

11/7/2008 - International Drive - I-Ride Trolley Fare Increased

A rare fare increase for the riders of the I-Ride Trolley on International Drive began last month. This is the first-time in five years that the fare has been raised. The price of a single fare on the trolley rose 25%, from $1 to $1.25. That also raises the Unlimited-Use Pass to range from $4 for one day to $17 for two weeks.

11/7/2008 - Universal Orlando - Universal Orlando Announces Mannheim Steamroller Concerts

Universal Orlando has announced that Mannheim Steamroller will be performing two concerts to kick off their holiday events. The concerts will be held on December 6 at Universal Studios. The Platinum-selling Mannheim Steamroller is well-known for their Christmas instrumentals.

The concerts will be staged in the New York area of the park at 6 and 8pm. The group will be performing music from their new CD, Christmasville, a selection of their hits and music that was incorporated into the "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" show from last years' Grinchmas celebration at Islands of Adventure.

The concerts will be free with a paid admission to the park.

9/18/2008 - Walt Disney World and Disneyland - Disney Offers Free Tickets

Here's a great WDW deal that anyone can enjoy! Anyone showing up with a valid ID, that includes proof of birthdate, will get a free ticket on that day (their birthdate) in 2009 for one the the WDW theme parks or at Disneyland in CA.

The promotion was announced by Disney officials as they try to grab some of the income that comes from a new trend known as "celebration vacations", trips to vacation spots that people take to celebrate special occassions such as birthdays and anniversaries.

The concept behind the free ticket is that people don't celebrate these occassions alone. Therefore, Disney will get the income from the family, friends and their kids that come along to celebrate with them.

Whatever the motivation is for this we think it's a wonderful idea.

9/7/2008 - Coney Island - Coney Island's Astroland Closes

We don't cover Coney Island's historic Astroland but that doesn't mean it isn't near and dear to our hearts. Earlier reports were that there was a last minute deal that would keep Astroland open for another year. It seems that these reports were not only false but completely wrong and disturbing to the park's owner, Carol Hill Albert.

She sounded quite bitter as she relayed plans to close the park Sunday night in lieu of an agreement with the city or with private developer Thor Equities, which have competing plans for the 3-acre park.

"Despite rumors to the contrary, there are absolutely no negotiations going on, and there never were," she stated. Albert's family has owned Astroland for more than four decades.

According to Albert the uncertainty surrounding Astroland's future had created stress for the park's 400 employees and hampered the park's ability to acquire spare parts for the rides and that the park will be closed permanently. "We cannot risk the safety of our customers," Albert said.

The famous Coney Island roller coaster, The Cyclone and the 150-foot tall ferris wheel, Wonder Wheel, are both separately owned and landmarked by the city so they will not be affected by the closing.

Sunday's news of the park's closing drew hundreds to the park for one last chance to enjoy the parks rides and arcades.

This is indeed a sad day for Coney Island and all of us who love amusement parks.

9/3/2008 - Busch Gardens Africa - Tampa - Howl-O-Scream Introduces The Raven Twins

BGT sent out an email to registered members introducing the "Raven Twins". According to the email they are into walks on the beach and 19th Century taxidermy. But basically it seems that they are just looking for anyone that is alive.

They've also set up a special HOS website just for the "Raven Twins" (to go to their website click HERE). In actuality it's the official website for the 2008 Howl-O-Scream. Make sure you take time to "Meet The Twins". It's just one of the many wonderful touches that Busch Gardens has added to the site to make it fun.

We here at OrlandoRocks have also updated our Howl-O-Scream page to include the haunted houses, scare zones, shows, and special upgrades. Make sure you check it out and keep checking for more updates and photos from this years' event.

8/29/2008 - International Drive - Fun Spot Possibly Purchasing Rival Attraction

It seems that Magical Midway on International Drive, which opened in 2001, is up for sale. From recent reports it looks like another International Drive attraction owner is hoping to be able to purchase the property within a few days.

Mark Brisson, spokesman for Fun Spot of Florida (which now has two locations, one on International Drive and the other on 192 in Kissimmee), said on Tuesday that the company has made an undisclosed offer for the carnival-style attraction just south of Wet 'n' Wild. It seems that Fun Spot is not the only bidder though and the deal is not set-in-stone yet.

"We are scheduled to close this Friday (on the property)," Brisson said. "Our goal is to purchase it, but we cannot say that it will definitely happen until Saturday."

Brisson is also reported as saying that Fun Spot has no intention of closing the attraction. Instead Fun Spot plans to cover the park's go-kart tracks with concrete so the track can continue to operate when it rains. As of now the tracks are wood. He further stated that Magical Midway's arcade and other amusement rides at the location are operated by tenants. If Fun Spot purchases the attraction as planned, they would then decide whether to continue to outsource operations when the leases expire.

8/29/2008 - Las Vegas - Star Trek: The Experience Closing After 10 Years

After 10 years it looks like the trek is over. The Star Trek that is. Star Trek: The Experience will be closing, as of Monday September 1, 2008. The attraction will be closing on Monday with a decommissioning ceremony.

The attraction has drawn more than 3 million visitors since it opened in 1998, as many as 2,000 per hour, according to a spokesman for the attraction. The attraction incorporated all six versions of the television franchise that spanned almost four decades and spawned 10 movies.

"We've got people flying in from all over the world," said Chad Boutte, the attraction's spokesman. The attraction's owner, Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. (owners of Cedar Point and Kings Island in OH and Knott's Berry Farm in CA), and the Las Vegas Hilton, the property owner, couldn't come to an agreement on terms for a new lease. The two worked as a typical landlord and retail tenant, with Cedar Fair keeping all revenue from the attraction, hotel spokesman Ira David Sternberg was quoted as saying.

The lease is not up until December 31 but it will take four months to disassemble the model ships, strip away the starry sky and return the props-turned-artifacts to Paramount Pictures Corp., which owns the Star Trek franchise.

Fans of the franchise, Trekkers or Trekkies (there is some confusion even among fans as to what they prefer to be called), are outraged about the closing. Many have been writing memories about the exhibit and complaints of its closing in notes on walls inside the attraction. Many have also been calling the hotel and exhibit offices to complain. Star Trek message boards have been inundated with speculations on what will happen to the "Experience". Most of them unfounded.

This is a sad turn of events and this attraction will be missed in Vegas. It's a shame that the parties involved couldn't come to some sort of an agreement to keep it alive and "trekking".

8/29/2008 - Walt Disney World Resort - Micheal Phelps at DisneyWorld

Michael Phelps, Olympic gold medalist in Swimming (for those of you that have been in a cave for the past couple of weeks), will go where everybody goes after a big win or award, DISNEYWORLD.

Phelps, who won eight gold medals in Beijing breaking Mark Spitz record of seven golds along with a variety of other records, will be the honored guest of the Magic Kingdom as part of the "American's Homecoming Parade" at the park.

8/22/2008 - Disney's Night Kingdom - Disney's Night Kingdom Gets A New Name

It seems that the great minds at WDW have had a rethink and made some decisions concerning Disney's Night Kingdom, WDW's proposed Discovery Cove type park.

Reports are that the name of the park will be changed and at this point it looks like the Imagineers are trying out Disney's Jungle Trek as the parks new moniker. Also, the park's hours of operation will be changing. Initially the thoughts were to have the operating hours be 4pm to Midnight. Now it seems that, in an effort to make a better profit and to increase the park's capacity, the hours will be 12pm to 2am.

In an attempt to save some money on construction and operating costs it seems that now instead of five ziplines in the park there will only be two and the meal plan (which originally was for each guest to be served an elegant dinner by the park's cast members) will be changed to a do-it-yourself all-you-can-eat buffet.

The individual "lands" that had originally been planned to be built inside of the park are now gone and the park will be a global village which will feature individual buildings and structures that will represent different areas of the world.

Most of the originally planned "adventures" are still intact with animals, a cave to explore and more, as well as, a stage show in a state-of-the-art theater - which was originally going to be large enough that all the parks guests would be able to view the show at once. The park will now have a much smaller theater, which helps cut costs, that will have several shows daily.

The park will also now have four different phases to it's operational day. Different groups of guests going into the park during each of the phases for a five hour experience. With all of these changes one constant is the ticket prices.

Although WDW is looking to cut corners to save on construction and operating costs the savings will not be passed on to the park's guests. Ticket prices are still being estimated at around $300 per person.

These changes and other ideas for the park will be part of a survey that some of the guests at the WDW Resorts will be asked by cast members to answer within the next week or two.

8/22/2008 - EPCOT - Disney's Kim Possible Coming To EPCOT

In late 2008 guests to EPCOT will have a new attraction to enjoy. Disney's Kim Possible World Adventure will guests of all ages a chance to become secret agents, with Team Possible, and will try to save the world from villians and their inventions.

Guests will receive an official "Kimmunicator" at kiosks which will be located throughout EPCOT. The interactive, handheld "Kimmunicator" is designed to help guests with their mission. Using state-of-the-art technology the "Kimmunicator" will connect the guests with Kim Possible characters who will provide clues to help stop the villians from taking over the world. The device will also let guests control top-secret equipment hidden inside World Showcase pavilions, creating a fully interactive adventure.

The adventure can be played in seven of the World Showcase pavilions (Norway, Mexico, Japan, France, Germany, China, United Kingdom). Each pavilion will feature an unique mission which will include distinctive visual events and a different villian from the animated series.

"Disney's Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure is an example of a next generation attraction that offers fun and excitement for the entire family," said Jim MacPhee, EPCOT Vice President.

8/20/2008 - SeaWorld - Shamu To Be Freed?

Reports are that an animal rights group says that a supporter wants to buy one or more of the SeaWorld properties from the theme parks' new owner so it can free all the animals, even the killer whales.

It seems that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) says that an undisclosed donor wants to buy at least one of the SeaWorld parks, then free the animals and replace them with virtual-reality or animatronic displays.

"We are very interested in this offer because the intelligent, social animals imprisoned at SeaWorld are...denied everything that is natural and important to them - all in the name of entertainment," PETA wrote Aug. 14 to Carlos Brito; CEO of InBev NV/SA. InBev is to acquire the SeaWorld parks as part of the $52 billion acquisition of Anheuser-Busch.

Lisa Wathne, PETA spokeswoman, said the Norfolk, VA group's donor wants to remain anonymous and doesn't want to disclose how much he could come up with. "We don't know how high this donor will go, but he is serious. Whales, dolphins and other marine life are very important to him," according to Wathne.

The animal's freedom will come at a hefty cost according to Stock Analyst Jack Russo of Edward D. Jones & Co. The Orlanda-based theme park unit could be worth $5 billion to $6 billion. The SeaWorld Ohio park was sold in 2001 for a reported $110 million.

A Busch Entertainment spokesman, Fred Jacobs, said that allegations of animal cruelty are unfounded and he termed the offer "a publicity stunt."

We just wonder how many of these animals were born in, for lack of a better term, captivity and would not necessarily know what to do in the wild. And how funny would it be to be out on a cruise ship and all of a sudden be watching a bunch of dolphins or whales putting on a show for passers-by!

6/25/2008 - International Drive - The Great Orlando Wheel Officially Announced

The Great Orlando Wheel was officially announced Wednesday afternoon by company and tourism officials. The Great Wheel, a $200 million observation wheel, is going to be built on a site just south of the Orange County Convention Center.

The Singapore company behind the wheel, Great Wheel Corp., touted the 400-foot tall wheel as a first point of contact for tourists to the Orlando area, a place where they will get a bird's eye view of much of what Central Florida has to offer.

"It's really going to help people really understand Orlando and understand what they can do here," siad Florian Bollen, chairman of Great Wheel, Corp.

The Great Orlando Wheel, inspired by the London Eye, will be the first the company has planned in North America. The company hopes the attraction will be a hub for social events, as well as drawing tourists to the area. The wheel's glass capsules, which measure 38 feet by 16 feet, can accommodate board meeting, birthday parties and other events. Weddings are a near-daily event at the company's first wheel, which opened in Singapore earlier this year, Bollen said.

Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty is expecting the attraction to enhance the city's ability to market major conventions.

"I think this will be a tremendous asset to us," said the President of the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau Gary Sain.

This will be a great addition to the Central Florida area and should be a big draw for tourists.

6/20/2008 - International Drive - Giant Observation Wheel Coming To International Drive

It seems that Orlando will be the new home to a massive observation wheel similar to the London Eye. Reports are that The Great Wheel Corp., a company based in Singapore, will be visiting Orlando next week to announce details of their plans on the project which will be located in the International Drive tourist area. The announcement from The Great Wheel Corp. is expected on Wednesday when it hosts a media event marking the start of construction. The announcement is also expected to include an opening date for the oberservation wheel and the local companies working on the project.

Rumors started flowing last summer about the giant wheel, which is rumored to be 400 feet high. The Great Orlando Wheel Corp. purchased 20 acres near SeaWorld and the Orange County Convention Center for $38 million last August.

This would make Orlando the first North American site for The Great Wheel Corp., which has built or announced project in Beijing, Singapore, Berlin and Dubai among others.

6/3/2008 - Universal Studios Hollywood - More Information Released About the Universal Studios Hollywood Fire

Officials at Universal Studios Hollywood have announced that workers using a blowtorch on the roof of a movie set building facade accidentally set the fire that destroyed movie sets and exhibits at Universal Studios Hollywood. They had been using a blowtorch to heat asphalt shingles to apply to the roof, according to Los Angeles County Fire Chief Michael Freeman. They finished about 3am PT and followed policy of standing watch for one hour, then left for a break, he said.

A security guard spotted the fire and reported it at 4:43am PT, Freeman said.

The fire started on a streetscape that features New York brownstone facades, then destroyed a King Kong exhibit, the courthouse square from "Back to the Future" and a streetscape that was featured in "Spider-Man 2" and "Transformers". It also gutted a building housing 40 -50 thousand videos, but Universal Studios President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer said duplicates of all the reels and videos were kept in a different location.

Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk both reopened Monday, giving visitors to the park a view of a real-life disaster.

It was reported that the smell of smoke was still hanging in the air and visitores on the Studio's Tram Tour applauded firefighters as they drove past the dozen or so fire trucks that remained on the lot. The tram only briefly passes by the fire scene.

The low water pressure, which forced firefighters to use water from lakes and ponds at Universal, may have been due to the volume of water being poured on the blaze - 18000 gallons a minute at the peak, according to Freeman. He further stated that the studio's water systems were up to current county code.

None of the 30 sound stages on the lot were damaged, and the New York streetscape will be rebuilt, said studio spokeswoman Cindy Gardner.

The preservation of the sound stages meant the fire was "not disastrous for the overall industry," said Jack Kyser, Chief Economist at the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. Sound stages are in high demand by producers and are expensive to build, he said.

"It's a real shame," stated Art Director Francois Audouy. "There's a New York street at Warner Bros. and Paramount, as well. But Universal's was considered a very unique option for filmmakers to create that New York look." Audouy helped shoot the final battle scene of "Transformers" on the New York streetscape, and said it was the longest and widest of its kind in Southern California.

As always, we are going to be adding any new information about this tragedy as it becomes available.

6/2/2008 - Universal Studios Hollywood - Park Expected To Re-Open Monday After Major Fire

Monday, in the wake of Sunday's fire, firefighters patrolled the damaged sets and facades to make sure there were no flare-ups. Authorities are trying to find out whether the fire, that destroyed some of the most famous movie backdrops, were made worse by low water pressure.

The firefighters efforts to put out the fire, that at one point was two city blocks wide, were hindered because of low water pressure which forced the firefighters to get reserves from lakes and ponds on the 400-acre property. The fire was contained to the backlot but burned more than 12 hours before finally being totally extinguished.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Michael Freeman stated that the water pressure situation was a challenge and that the fire moved extremely fast.

Authorities will investigate the water problems to see whether they reflect a larger shortfall in the area according to County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. "There's no question that there was a lack of adequate water pressure at least in the perception of a lot of firefighters, " he said. "We're going to find out what the problem was."

Damage estimates are not yet available but are expected to be in the millions.

Air quality concerns, due to the smoke, and a request from fire officials prompted the South Coast Air Quality Management District to send a chemist to get air samples at the scene, said spokesman Sam Atwood. The results of the tests are expected sometime Monday morning.

As previously reported no visitors were seriously injured although several firefighters suffered minor injuries. Ten people suffered minor injuries including nine firefighters and a sherrif's deputy. The deputy and one of the firefighters were injured in an explosion in the building where the videos were housed at around 2:30pm PT, authorities said.

NBC Universal President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer estimated that there were 40 - 50 thousand videos and reels in a video vault that burned but said that duplicates were stored in a different location. Firefighters managed to recover hundreds of videos and reels.

Two facades, New York and New England streets, used for movies such as "Bruce Almighty", "Spider-Man 2" and "Transformers" and as tourist displays were a total loss according to Los Angeles County Fire Inspector Darryl Jacobs.

The city streetscape has recently served as a backdrop in television shows like "Monk", "Crossing Jordan" and "House", said NBC Universal spokeswoman Cindy Gardner. A set used for the Clint Eastwood-directed movie "Changeling" also was destroyed according to Meyer.

The courthouse square and the famous clocktower used for "Back to the Future were severely damaged and thought to not be salvageable according to authorities. The King Kong exhibit, which is part of the Studio's Tram Tour was a complete loss.

Hundreds waited outside the gates to the park for hours on Sunday only to be turned away when officials decided not to open. The adjacent Universal CityWalk also was closed. Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk are both expected to reopen on Monday.

The MTV Movie Awards, which was broadcast live Sunday night from nearby Gibson Amphitheatre, was held as planned.

The fire was believed to be one of the longest-running commercial fires in Los Angeles County history. "It is one of the longest fires to extinguish because of its complexity and size," said County Fire Capt. Mike Brown.

6/2/2008 - Universal Studios Hollywood - Cause of Fire at Universal Studios Hollywood Released

The mystery behind the Universal Studios Hollywood fire has been solved. It seems that workers using heating tools to fix a New York streetscape accidentally started the fire that destroyed part of the backlot at the studio.

It appears that the workers followed proper fire-prevention guidelines before using the tools around 3am PT. The fire was found about 90 minutes later. It eventually destroyed about three and a half acres of the 400-acre park. Damages, as of now, are not confirmed but estimated in the millions.

6/1/2008 - Universal Studios Hollywood - UPDATE! Fire Contained at Universal Studios Hollywood

Latest news reports concerning the fire at Universal Studios Hollywood is that a set from "Back to the Future", the King Kong exhibit and a video vault containing more than 40000 videos and reels have been destroyed. Fire Capt. Frank Reynoso now reports that the fire has been contained.

Officials are reporting that the courthouse square from "Back to the Future" has been destroyed and the famous clocktower from the movie has been damaged.

According to NBC Universal President and Chief Operating Officer Ron Meyer 40 to 50 thousand videos and reels were damaged in the video vault but, thankfully, there are duplicates in a different location. According to Meyer no movies or TV shows were permanently lost in the fire, which remains under investigation. Some videos, which included music videos and television shows, would have duplicates, but no movies from the Universal catalogue were damaged.

There is only one television show, The Ghost Whisperer", that uses eight locations on the Universal lot for filming, that could experience delays in filming.

The King Kong exhibit is one of the stops on the Studio's Tram Tour where a robotic ape shouted at passing tour passengers. The exhibit was destroyed according to Meyer. He was stated as saying that he didn't think the exhibit was salvageable.

The fire was under control by 9:30am PT but it continued to release black smoke into the sky from combustible props and canisters of video in one of the studio's vaults.

There were no civilian injuries or deaths in the fire but at least four firefighters suffered minor injuries.

As always we are staying on top of this saddening story. We will bring you anything new on the fire as it becomes available.

6/1/2008 - Universal Studios Hollywood - Latest News About the Universal Studios Hollywood Fire

The fire at Universal Studios Hollywood is reportedly under control at this time. Universal Studios Chief of Operations Ron Meyer stated at a news conference that, "We were lucky today. Nothing irreplaceable was lost."

Universal Studios Hollywood theme park was scheduled to open at 9am PT today but the opening was delayed until noon and plans are for the park to be open regular business hours on Monday. The Studio Tram Tour will bypass the King Kong exhibit.

We will be bringing you any new updates on the fire when they become available.

6/1/2008 - Universal Studios Hollywood - Universal Studios Hollywood Fire Update

Now that more information is coming in from fire officials at Universal Studios Hollywood it has been determined that the fire, which destroyed a set from "Back to the Future", a King Kong exhibit and a streetscape, started on a sound stage featuring New York brownstone facades around 4:30am PT. The fire was contained to the backlot but it took about 400 firefighters several hours to put the fire out. Cause of the fire is still under investigation. Damage from the fire is expected to be in the millions. The videos from the video vault that was damaged during the fire is said to include footage from television series including "Miami Vice" and "I Love Lucy".

According to Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge the scene looked like a disaster film. Reports are that at one point the fire was two city blocks wide.

All three sites were also either damaged or destroyed in a fire that occurred at Universal Studios Hollywood in November of 1990. The 1990 fire caused $25million in damages and was found to have been started by a security guard who was later sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to arson.

The fire will not affect the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, which is broadcasting live this evening from the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk, according to MTV.

This is a sad day for lovers of Universal Studios but the good news is that there were no deaths and that all injuries were minor. We will keep watching this story and let you know if any new developments become available.

6/1/2008 - Universal Studios Hollywood - More on Universal Studios Hollywood Fire

The fire on the backlot of Universal Studios Hollywood is still raging on. Latest reports are that the fire is contained in the backlot and that two firefighting helicopters have been brought in the help in the effort.

At least one building has burned and as many as three blocks of movie facades have been destroyed so far according to Fire Inspector Daryl Jacobs. He further stated that facades are constructed of heavy timber and they tend to burn quite freely.

CNN has reported that three studio sets and the Cyclone ride were damaged although this report has not been confirmed.

We will be staying on top of this story and be bringing you the latest news as it becomes available.

6/1/2008 - Universal Studios Hollywood - Latest Fire Reports From Universal Studios Hollywood

According to reports by NBC News firefighters have reported that the King Kong exhibit building will be a total loss. Two helicopters and about 200 firefighters are working to try to protect the film vaults located on the backlot.

The studio officials have said that Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk would be open Sunday for normal business hours. Some adjustments will be made to the studio tour but no other rides or attractions will be affected.

6/1/2008 - Universal Studios Hollywood - More Information on the Universal Studios Hollywood Fire

According to an interview given to MSNBC by Fire Inspector Daryl Jacobs the fire began before dawn in facades on New York Street, New England and Brownstone Street. The efforts of the firefighters on hand is an aggressive defensive attack meaning that the fighting is from the outside with heavy streams and GPMs (gallons per minute). The explosions seen earlier in the fire were believed to be propane tanks and it was not known whether these explosions started the fire or not. The fire is not currently controlled but will hopefully not spread to any other buildings or facades. It is inconclusive how many buildings have been destroyed or damaged. As of yet no injuries to firefighters or citizens have been reported.

We are keeping with this story and will be bringing you more information when it is released.

6/1/2008 - Universal Studios Hollywood - Universal Studios Hollywood Ablaze

According to a report from a Los Angeles fire official a large fire is buring on a lot at Universal Studios Hollywood. The fire was reported just before dawn today on a sound stage on the backlot. So far no injuries have been reported.

LA Fire Capt. Frank Reynoso has said that filming could have been happening at the time and that there has been at least one explosion. The fire is reportedly contained in the backlot though.

Thus far about 100 city and county firefighters are assisting the studio firefighters in trying to put out the fire.

Please keep checking as we'll be updating this story as information becomes available.

4/15/2008 - Walt Disney Studios - Walt Disney Studios Legend Dies

OrlandoRocks is sad to report the passing of a Disney legend. According to Walt Disney Studios Vice President Howard Green animator Ollie Johnston has passed away, at the age of 95,of natural causes Monday April 14, 2008.

Johnston was the last survivor of the Walt Disney's so-called "Nine Old Men". He contributed animation and direction to such Disney classics as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Song of the South, Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland.

4/8/2008 - Walt Disney World Resort - Walt Disney World Recieves Another Award

Walt Disney World has recieved yet another award but this one comes from an unlikely source. The resort has won an award for its cocktails.

Cheers Magazine has named the Blue Glow-Tini the "Best Chain Signature Drink" and Walt Disney World has won the "Best Chain Overall Beverage Program". The magazine, which is for full-service restaurants and bars, said that Walt Disney World's attention to themed detail and operational efficiency has deemed the resort the winner.

This is just one more reason why WDW Resort is one of the top vacation spots in the world.

2/23/2008 - Universal Orlando - Universal Orlando Reports Record Earnings

Universal Orlando recorded a company record $92 million in profit in 2007. This is more than two times the amount it made in 2006, the company announced Friday.

In addition to its fourth quarter earning report for 2007 Universal City Development Partners also announced that combined total attendance for Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure was up 3% in 2007. Universal reported that the per-capita spending by visitors also increased a whopping 6% over 2006.

2/11/2008 - Animal Kingdom - Kilimanjaro Safari Re-Opens

The Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom will re-open this morning, according to park officials. This re-opening comes one day after a fire, in the engine compartment on one of the ride trucks, which sent one woman to Celebration Health after she injured her knee jumping from the vehicle.

2/10/2008 - Animal Kingdom - Kilimanjaro Safari Closes After Fire On Truck

Sometime between 3 and 4pm a fire broke out near the front of one of the trucks on Kilimanjaro Safari at Animal Kingdom. Three fire and medical vehicles, from Reedy Creek Fire District, were dispatched to the scene. The fire was mostly out by the time the fire crews arrived at the scene.

The fire was caused by an engine hose that had failed which resulted in a fire in the engine compartment. Four guests asked for medical help at the scene. Only one of them, an unidentified woman who complained of a knee injury, was taken to Celebration Health. The injury occurred when the woman jumped from the truck.

The attraction was then closed for the rest of the day, which is standard procedure when an accident or malfunction occurs, but will likely re-open in the morning. Crews at the park are inspecting the hoses on the other trucks.

12/10/2007 - Magic Kingdom - Grandma Arrested at Magic Kingdom for Carrying Weapons

A 63 year old Grandmother from Pennsylvania was arrested Sunday for trying to enter WDW Magic Kingdom with a loaded handgun, knife and scissors,she was visiting the park with her grandchildren. The weapons were found during the routine safety checks that have been implemented since the terrorists attacks of 9/11. The woman told the investigators that she travels with the silver Beretta .32-caliber semiautomatic handgun and had forgotten that she was carrying it. Seven live rounds were in the magazine of the gun but the chamber was empty. Deputies reported that they also found a pair of scissors and a locked-blade knife in the woman's purse.

Orange County Jail records show that the woman posted a $2,000 bail early Monday morning, on the charges of carrying a concealed weapon, and is now out of jail.

12/7/2007 - EPCOT - Spaceship Re-Opens After Refurbishment

EPCOT's beloved Spaceship Earth is about ready to be re-opened. The icon of EPCOT will be re-opening in the next week or so after an extensive five-month refurbishment.

Changes have been made to content, new interactive components have been added and enhancements to items that have been a part of the attraction since its original opening have been completed.

The attraction, which has always centered around communication through the ages, has been changed to be about inspiration and innovation. A new narrator, Judi Dench, guides riders through the years. Click on one of the Spaceship Earth links to view more information on the refurbishment.

11/6/2007 - Universal Studios - Earthquake Replacement Announced

Well we've all thought for a while now that Earthquake, at Universal Studios, may be going the way of Kongfrontation and now it's official. TPTB at Univeral Orlando have verified that the attraction has been closed and will be replaced within weeks (re-opening prior to the holiday rush in December) with Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Ride, which has no specific movie tie-in.

The new ride is said to include "blockbuster celebrity talent, new ride elements, new digital technologies, interactivew components and a new storyline."

6/28/2007 - Universal Studios - Universal Studios Inks Deal with New Line Cinema

In recent news Universal Studios has made a deal with New Line Cinema to make Jason (Friday the 13th), Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street) and Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) a part of Halloween Horror Nights this fall. This marks the first time that New Line Cinema has allowed any theme park the rights to use the characters.

The "powers to be" at Universal have declined to release any details as to how the characters may be used except that they'll appear throughout the event in haunted houses and in the streets.

6/9/2007 - Islands of Adventure - Harry Potter Island

Well it's common knowledge now that Universal's Islands of Adventure has made the announcement that there will be a "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" themed area by late 2009. This area will feature rides, shops and restaurants themed around the widely popular Harry Potter series of books by J. K. Rowling, which also spawned a series of movies. Ground breaking is due to begin later this summer.

The plans for the island, which will be approximately 20 acres, will include part of the "Lost Continent" area of the park and part of the employee parking and backlot area used for park support.

Now the question that is on everybodies minds is what part of "Lost Continent" will be changed and will these changes include the extremely popular Dueling Dragons coaster and the Flying Unicorn.

We will bring you more on this story as details are released.

5/14/2007 - Islands of Adventure - New Lagoon Show at Islands of Adventure

The Passholder Newsletter became quite an eye-opener this month with the reveal of a few details about the new lagoon show at Islands of Adventure. The show will run from June 15th to August 18th. The newsletter describes the show as, "Thrills and excitement take to the water as world-class athletes perform aquatic acrobatics on high-speed boats, jet-skis and wakeboards on the Islands of Adventure lagoon."

5/7/2007 - Magic Kingdom - Pirate and Princess Parties

Walt Disney World had such a great response from their Pirate and Princess Parties that they are going to be bringing it back starting August 11th for 8 nights. For more information including dates of the event click on the link.

4/24/2007 - Universal Studios - New "Mega-Attraction" Announced by Universal Studios

Well, what we've all known (or at least speculated) since last summer has finally been confirmed by the powers to be at Universal Studios. With the closing of Back To The Future, which finally officially closed March 30th, it was only a matter of time until the rumors became fact. Today, April 24th, Universal announced that there will be a new "mega-attraction" opening at both Universal Orlando and Hollywood in Spring 2008. And what will that ride be, you ask? None other than The Simpsons (at this time it seems that everybody is either calling it "The Simpsons" or "The Simpsons Ride").

For more information click here

3/16/2007 - - Thea Awards Presented to Two Local Attractions

Two of the Thea awards for this year, which is presented by TEA (a trade association that represents the themed attraction industry), was awarded to Animal Kingdom's Expedition: Everest and SeaWorld's Believe. The awards are giving to honor outstanding achievement in the creation of compelling places and experiences. Expedition: Everest was given the award for outstanding attraction and Believe was honored as on outstanding live show. This was the 13th year for these awards and this year they were presented at the association annual gala in Anaheim, CA.

3/15/2007 - Universal Studios - Back To The Future Closing Date Officially Announced

The good folks over at Universal Studios have finally released on their website the closing date for Back To The Future. According to their report the DeLorean's will be officially leaving as of March 30, 2007. So you better head over there quick to get that last wonderful ride "Back To The Future" before it's gone forever.

3/8/2007 - - Infringement Suit Filed

It seems that the Safety Braking Corp. has filed a lawsuit against NBC Universal, Disney, Six Flags, Busch Entertainment, Cedar Fair and well just about everyone, over the usage of magnetic braking technology that is used on various rides. The company is claiming that these companies infringed patents won in 1994 and 2003. Safety Braking Corp. hold the exclusive licenses to these patents.

The company has asked for a jury trial, an order to stop any infringement and royalties in the complaint that was filed March 1 in Federal Court in Wilmington, DE.

3/8/2007 - Magic Kingdom - Monsters, Inc. Comedy Club Opening Date

WDW has finally released an official opening date of Monsters, Inc. Comedy Club at Magic Kingdom. They have set April 2nd as the official opening date although it seems, from reports from guests, that the attraction still has quite a few bugs to work out.

3/6/2007 - SeaWorld Orlando - SeaWorld Announces Aquatica Water Park

SeaWorld announced, in a very elaborate celebration, on March 5, 2007 that they will be building Aquatica, a new water park, in Orlando. Aquatica is going to be, as described by SeaWorld, a "whimsical one-of-a-kind park" that is going to be located on International Drive across from SeaWorld Orlando.

They have released some preview artwork that can be found by going to the SeaWorld Orlando website and clicking on the Aquatica advertisement. As well as, downloads for wallpaper and AIM icons and a special webcast of the announcement.

2/26/2007 - CityWalk - Ellen DeGeneres Show Taping at CityWalk

Make sure you mark March 30 - 31 on your calendar. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is going to be returning to CityWalk to tape three episodes. Ellen's show has won a Daytime Emmy Award and has made her one of today's most popular television personalities. The show combines celebrity interviews, music and Ellen's own unique style of observational humor. For ticket information click the link below.

Ellen at CityWalk

2/23/2007 - - WDW Waterparks AP Special for Florida Residents

It seems that WDW has decided to start giving Florida residents a little helping hand when it comes to purchasing an annual pass for their two waterparks. They have decided to start offering a Florida Residents pass for just $59 for adults and $47 for children. These passes are good for after 2pm entry into either of the parks. They are also offering unlimited access passes for $99.95 for adults and $80 for children. Considering it's $39 to get into either park for one day the after 2pm pass is a great bargain.

2/23/2007 - - Disney Princess Wedding Gowns to be Released

We usually only report on what is going on at the parks but this was one story I couldn't pass up letting readers in on.

It seems that the Walt Disney Co. is going to finally cash in on the fact that so many women want to be princesses. The company is going to be using its long list of imaginary princesses as their inspiration for a new line of wedding gowns. The new gowns are going to pay homage to Cinderella, Jasmine, Snow White, Ariel and Sleeping Beauty.

The gowns, which will only vaguely resemble the costumes made famous in Walt Disney movies and storybooks, will retail from $1100 to $2900 and will initially only be available from one location in Central Florida, Solutions Bridal in Winter Park.

Disney will only be offering 34 gowns to begin with but the line will be expanded to include bridesmaid dresses, flower-girl dresses and jewelry in October.

The decision to release the dresses at this time ties into the "Year of a Million Dreams" theme that is going on now at Disney parks.

2/2/2007 - Walt Disney World - Wide World of Sports To Add Indoor Sports Field

Disney has announced the plans to add a 70000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art indoor sports field to the Wide World of Sports. No exact details are known at this time but we will bring them to you as soon as they are released.

1/31/2007 - CityWalk - Tattoos Coming To Universal Orlando

Rumor has it that Hart & Huntington Tattoo Shop, the ink behind A&E's Inked series, is going to be opening a shop in CityWalk at Universal Orlando. They are supposedly going to be opening up in the old GLOW! location on Lombard Street (the winding walkway leading to the second level). I think this is a weird thing to have at a theme park but we'll just have to wait and see how well they do.

1/29/2007 - Universal Studios - Steve Miller Band Added To Mardi Gras Line-Up

The Steve Miller Band has been announced as the March 31st headliner at Universal Studios Mardi Gras. This rounds out the list of performers for this great event. For a complete list of performers (headliners and French Quarter) click the link below.

Mardi Gras 2007

1/22/2007 - Universal Studios - Sean Paul Added To Mardi Gras Line-Up

Sean Paul has been added to the line-up of headliners concerts for Mardi Gras at Universal Studios. He was added as the headliner for the March 24th concert. That leaves March 31st as the only unannounced concert for the event.

1/17/2007 - Anheuser-Busch Parks - Here's To The Heroes Program Extended

The "Here's To The Heroes" program at all Anheuser-Busch parks has been extended through 2007. This program provides free theme park (one-day) admission to members of the Armed Forces and their families (up to three direct dependents) for one park per year. This program began in February of 2005 as a way for Anheuser-Busch to thank military men and women for their service and sacrifices that they and their families make.

1/17/2007 - Walt Disney World - Walt Disney World Voted "Best Theme Park" Again

Walt Disney World has once again been voted the "Best Theme Park" by the readers of Travel Weekly magazine. This is the fourth consecutive year that Disney has won this award.

1/17/2007 - Cypress Gardens Adventure Park - Cypress Gardens Adventure Park Adds Python

There is a new addition to the Cypress Gardens Adventure Park. The park has added a 300 pound, 14 foot Burmese python to its collection. The python, which is a female named Cleopatra, has a waist measurement of 18 inches and it took five animal trainers to lift her into her new glass-paned enclosure. Cleopatra was a donation to Cypress Gardens by Reptile Shack.

1/12/2007 - Six Flags - Six Flags Sells Seven Parks

The CNL Income Properties of Orlando and a Jacksonville based management company are purchasing four amusement parks and three water parks from Six Flags Inc. for approximately $312 million.

The parks sold are: Darien Lake, which is near Buffalo, NY, and covers 978 acres and includes a 21000 seat amphitheater; Elitch Gardens, a 62 acre thrill park in Denver; Frontier City, a 113 acre western themed park in Oklahoma City; White Water Bay, a 21 acre water park in Oklahoma City; Splashtown, a 53 acre water park in Houston; Waterworld, a 23 acre water park in Concord, CA; and Wild Waves and Enchanted Village, a 67 acre water park and theme park near Seattle.

10/13/2005 - SeaWorld - SeaWorld To Make Changes

It seems that the time has come for Shamu to get a makeover. The Orlando Sentinel has reported that SeaWorld's most popular attraction will be getting an update with the changes debuting next May. The new show will be called Believe and will once again feature killer whales and their trainers performing to an original musical score. This is the first change made to the Shamu show in eight years. The construction for the new three-story set, which will include more than 80 feet of screens, is due to begin in January.

This isn't the only changes in the plans for SeaWorld though. The park is planning on adding three new rides for children to help renew the parks image. The new rides will include a Shamu themed kiddie coaster, a jelly-fish shaped samba tower ride and oversized beach buckets that will spin and whirl. These rides are supposedly going to open around the same time as Believe.

The SeaWorld company just recently won design approval for their new water park plans that will be built east of International Drive and south of Sea Harbor Drive. This new water park is scheduled to open in 2007.

8/25/2005 - CityWalk - Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. To Open At CityWalk

You would think that the site of Decades Cafe (which was also once Motown Cafe) at CityWalk would be a prime location for a restaurant but it seems that either the location is bad or is it just that there are too many other choices. Theories will be put to a new test when Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. opens in this location.

According to reports this new restaurant, with locations already in 8 states includiding two in Florida and 3 International locations, will be opening sometime early next spring. The chain began in Monterey, CA in 1996 and features menu items with movie themed names.

8/16/2005 - Cedar Point - Cedar Point Puts Demon Drop On The Selling Block

It seems that Cedar Point is attempting to sell the Demon Drop for $250K. This use to be one of the most popular attractions at the park but with the ride additions through the years it has lost its popularity. The Demon Drop opened in the park in 1983 and was manufactured by Intamin.

8/16/2005 - Animal Kingdom - Expedition Everest Test Runs

The buzz these days is that WDW is starting to run full speed tests through the mountain on Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. Hopefully sources are right on this one because this attraction is very anticipated.

8/16/2005 - California Adventure - Mickey's Halloween Treat Coming To Disney's California Adventure

Disney is once again going to attempt putting on a Halloween celebration in one of its parks in California. This time they are going to hold it at Disney's California Adventure instead of Disneyland as they had attempted once before. That celebration was overshadowed greatly by the Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt.

The dates for this new (in a way) event will be October 21, 22, 28 and 29 from 7:30pm to 10:30. Keep in mind that there is a separate ticket needed for Mickey's Halloween Treat (the new event) just as it is for Mickey's No-So-Scary Halloween Celelbration at Magic Kingdom.

7/30/2005 - Disneys California Adventure - California Screamin' Remains Closed During Investigation

California Screamin' at Disney's California Adventure remains closed after an accident Friday evening that sent 15 guests to area hospitals with minor injuries.  Those injured were released later that evening. The accident, which occurred at approximately 6:40pm, happened when one of the trains crashed into the back of another train.

The ride will remain closed while the state conducts an investigation into the accident. State Department of Occupational Safety and Health Inspectors arrived at the site within two hours of the crash and then returned at 8 a.m. Saturday where they spent another seven hours investigating the accident. The preliminary results of their investigations are showing that the accident was likely caused by operator or computer error.

7/28/2005 - SeaWorld - SeaWorlds Halloween Spooktacular

SeaWorlds Halloween Spooktacular will be returning in 2005 for the following dates: Oct. 8-9, 14-16, 22-23 and 29-30. This fun event combines the excitement of SeaWorld with a frightening Halloween twist.  For more information on this event click here.

7/28/2005 - Busch Gardens - Howl-O-Scream Dates Released

The dates for this years Howl-O-Scream celebration at Busch Gardens have been released. This dates are as follows: Sept. 30; Oct. 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-23 and 27-31. For more information and pics of this great event click here.

7/27/2005 - Magic Kingdom - Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

If you are looking for a Halloween celebration for the whole family then head out to Walt Disney World's Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. This event is fun for all ages (but geared more towards the youngsters in the family) and will be held Sept. 30; Oct. 2, 6-7, 11, 13, 16, 20-21, 23, 25, 27-28 and 30-31. Advance ticket prices for this years event will be $34.95 plus tax for ages 10 and older and $27.95 plus tax for ages 3-9. Tickets purchased on the day of the event will be $39.95 plus tax for ages 10 and older and $32.95 plus tax for ages 3-9. For more information and pictures of this event click here.

7/6/2005 - Kennedy Space Center - Kennedy Space Center Adding New Attraction

Kennedy Space Center has announced plans for a new multi-million dollar simulator attraction, The Shuttle Experience, to be added to the Visitor Complex. KSC hopes that this new attraction will bring up the "wow" factor and attract more visitors.

The new attraction will simulate a shuttle launch and landing and being built where a mock orbiter display is located now.

7/5/2005 - Universal Orlando - UO Fireworks Return

It's one of my favorite times of the year. The spectacular fireworks show at Universal Orlando returned July 4th. The fireworks were delayed for a short time due to inclement weather but when they did start they definitely were worth the wait.

This years fireworks will run from July 5th to August 13th at 9:50.

1/29/2005 - Islands of Adventure - Hulk Re-opens After Computer Glitch

Amidst rumors that there was a terrible accident on the Hulk (if you'd seen the helicopters flying overhead and the emergency vehicles present you would have thought so too) was the resounding truth that the "accident" that occurred at Universal's Islands of Adventure was merely a computer glitch.

The coaster was closed for about four hours after a computer glitch that triggered the ride's emergency brakes, bringing the coaster to a screeching stop.  According to spokesmen from the park the ride was designed so that operators can stop the coaster and unload guests at three points on the track in case of an emergency.

Why all the emergency vehicles, you ask?  It seems that one of the cars overshot an emergency unloading platform (to be specific the one at the brake station) stranding the four passengers in the front row for more than 90 minutes.  Orlando Firefighters had to help them reach the catwalk with the use of the cherry picker.

No one was injured and the ride was re-opened around 2:30pm.

1/17/2005 - Universal Studios - Fear Factor Live

It is finally official.  Universal Studios will be adding a Fear Factor attraction making it the first NBC show to get integrated into the park.  The show will be called Fear Factor Live and is set to open in May at both Universal Studios Florida and Hollywood. 

The show will have guests participate in a scaled-down version of Fear Factor.  Universal plans on running five to eight shows a day.  Although only a small number of guests will take part each show, designers are planning on building in ways for the audience to get into the action. 

The Florida version will be staged in the old Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show theater which has been sitting empty since the show closed in 2003.  There has been no word on the cost of the new show.

1/17/2005 - Magic Kingdom - New Height Requirement on Stitch ride

Magic Kingdom has added a height restriction on the Stitch's Great Escape attraction.  The 38" requirement is to deter parents from taking small children on the ride.

1/17/2005 - Epcot - Wonders of Life to Temporarily Re-Open

The Wonders of Life pavilion, including Body Wars, Cranium Command and the Making of Me, will be re-opening from February 13th to February 26th.

1/17/2005 - Magic Kingdom - It's a Small World Re-Opening Date Announced

Magic Kingdom will be re-opening It's a Small World on March 18, 2005. Some of the new additions completed during the almost year long refurbishment work is refurbished characters and sets, new state-of-the-art digital sound, a redesigned entrance area featuring enhanced accessibility and more stroller parking (which was very much needed), and 2 new animatronics.

1/14/2005 - Busch Gardens Tampa - Tram Tunnel Opens

The tunnel under the road between the parking lot and the entrance to Busch Gardens is now open.  This tunnel will eliminate the, what seems to be endless, wait on the tram to cross the road.  Something has needed to be done at this intersection for quite some time and BGT has finally done it.

1/13/2005 - Universal Orlando - GE To Keep UO Shares

General Electric Co. will be holding on to its shares in Universal Orlando at least until 2006 according to reports.  Terms of an old agreement with Blackstone Group (a New York private-equity firm that owns the other half of UO) either company could've bought out the other companies share after February 1, 2005.  The new agreement will prevent both companies from selling their shares to each other or any other company until after January 1, 2006.

1/13/2005 - Universal Orlando - 2-Park Preferred Passholders January Specials

Universal Orlando is giving 2-park Preferred Annual Passholders a late (or early, depending on how you look at it) Christmas present.  For the month of January the passholders can purchase up to six multi-day theme park tickets at 20% off the regular price.  Normally passholders would get 15% off of these tickets.  Passholders can also get three Express Passes at once.

At CityWalk simply present your 2-park Preferred Annual Pass at CW Guest Services and receive one free Party Pass, plus save 20% on up to four more Party Passes for your friends.  Other savings that are being offered to passholders in January are 20% off food and beverages (excluding alcohol) at Pat O'Briens, 20% off food and beverages (excluding alcohol) and priority seating at Jimmy Buffetts Margaritaville and Latin Quarter, free admission (excluding Saturday nights) at Bob Marley-A Tribute to Freedom and the groove, and free admission to Bonkerz at CityJazz Thursday - Sunday nights.

The resorts are getting into the deal too with rooms at Royal Pacific Resort starting at $119, Hard Rock Hotel starting at $139, and Portofino Bay Hotel starting at $149.  Plus if you book now you receive a complimentary room upgrade.

1/7/2005 - Disney Studios - Millionaire Taping at Disney Studios

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire will tape 25 episodes at Disney Studios soundstage from January 12 - 16. They will have a Walk In and Win on January 15th. All you will have to do is show up and be randomly selected for the audience. This will give you a chance to end up in the hot seat where you'll play for $1M. A random drawing will be held to determine who will be in the audience. For more information on the Walk In and Win or the other tapings click here: Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Taping.

1/7/2005 - Walt Disney Co. - Eisner Gets $7.25M Bonus

Michael Eisner got a $7.25M bonus for 2004 after facing a shareholder revolt that would've cost him his title.  This is the first time since 2000 that Eisner has received this bonus which comes in addition to his $1M salary and $57,473 in other compensations.  Eisner received a 13% raise in pay for 2004 for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 after Disney's board cited a "greatly improved performance".

1/7/2005 - Pleasure Island - Jazz Club Closed

The Pleasure Island Jazz Company has officially been closed.  There is no word on what will be in its place.

1/7/2005 - WDW Resort - WDW Restaurant News and Contemporary Renovation

Rumors and news abound on the restaurant front at WDW Resort.  For one, it has been reported that the Contemporary Resort (including the California Grill, Concourse Steakhouse, and Chef Mickey's) will be going through a major refurbishment.  There is also word that they may be planning a new restaurant with more of an adult atmosphere.

There is a rumor that Epcot will be making renovations which will give special focus on the restaurants surrounding the World Showcase (this may be a good sign for a new restaurant for the America pavilion).  This rumor has went around before but this time it looks very promising.  One thing we do know for sure is that the rumor that WDW was going to try to make the restaurants accessible without admission to the parks has been scrapped.

1/6/2005 - Universal Orlando - Fear Factor Tapings at UO

Visitors to UO this weekend will have the opportunity to watch the taping of three Fear Factor stunts (with paid admission to IOA and USF to see the tapings at each park).  The scheduled times (subject to change) are 9am on Friday Jan. 7th at IOA, 9am on Sunday, 5:30pm on Saturday Jan. 8th at CityWalk, and 9am on Sunday Jan. 9th at USF.

1/5/2005 - Walt Disney Co. - Disney Surprises Orange Bowl Attendees

Fans attending the FedEx Orange Bowl game in Miami got a special added treat during the third quarter of the game Tuesday Night.  Disney gave away an estimated 72,000 theme park tickets which can be used at any of the Disney's worldwide theme parks.  The ticket give-away was part of the kickoff of the marketing campaign for the 50th anniversary of DisneyLand.  In May, Disney will begin an 18-month celebration of DisneyLand's anniversary.  The celebration will be held at all 10 of the Disney theme parks worldwide.

1/5/2005 - Busch Gardens - Busch Gardens Raises Ticket Prices

Busch Gardens has raised its daily admission price to $55.95 for adults and $45.95 for children ages 3 to 9, and increase of $2 per ticket.  The park also raised the price of its Fun Card tickets by $2 which brings the prices to $61.95 for adults and $51.95 for children.

The prices for the Florida residents has been cut though after a down year in attendance.  The new Florida residents price is $49.50 for adults, the lowest in 3 years.  These tickests can be purchased online and must include a Florida mailing address.  Residents will also be asked for a Florida photo ID with a Florida address at the park gate.

12/30/2004 - Downtown Orlando - Capital Citrus Bowl Parade

An estimated 80,000 people are expected to fill the streets of Downtown Orlando for the Capital One Citrus Bowl parade today.  The parade will begin at 11am but people started arriving along the two mile route extremely early this morning to get the best seats for the parade.  This years parade will include five floats, all decorated with citrus fruits, as well as floats from the major theme parks in Central Florida.

12/30/2004 - SeaWorld - LSU Tigers visit SeaWorld

The LSU Tigers, in town to face the IOWA Hawkeyes in the Capital One Citrus Bowl, got a chance to visit SeaWorld and get up close and personal with Shamu and the other aquatic inhabitants of the park.  The members of the LSU football squad, with Head Coach Nick Saban (who will be the Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins next season) enjoyed a warm, sunny Central Florida day at the park after being greeted on their arrival by a wind chill close to 35 degrees.

12/30/2004 - Downtown Orlando - Capital One Citrus Bowl

The LSU Tigers will face the IOWA Hawkeyes in the Capital One Citrus Bowl at the Florida Citrus Bowl in  Orlando on January 1, 2005.  The game will begin at 1pm and will air on ABC with a pregame show beginning at 12pm.  Both teams come into the game with a 9-2 record.

12/29/2004 - DisneyLand - Guests Injured at DisneyLand

It seems that one park guest at DisneyLand was hospitalized and three others recieved minor injuries when they collided with a Genie float during a parade.  The investigation is ongoing to find out what exactly happened.  As of now it isn't clear whether they were struck by the float or if they ran into the path of the float.

8/23/2004 - Cypress Gardens - Cypress Gardens Re-Opening Delayed Again

It seems that the fates once again dealt a mighty blow to Cypress Gardens.  This historic park has been through a lot (park closure, selling of property to a new investor, and a semi-overhaul) but the worst assault occurred on Friday, August 13, 2004 when Hurricane Charley decided to attack the park with all its force.  It seems that the eye of the hurricane passed directly over the attraction with severe winds, rain, and tornadoes that touched down in the park's historic botanical gardens destroying trees and inevitably changing the tropical gardens that have stood for years. 

Thankfully the Banyan Tree, which is a historic fixture of the park and was planted by the park founders Dick and Julie Pope, survived with only minor damage.  Clean up started immediately on Saturday morning as employees of the park arrived to assess the damage.

The four new coasters that are under construction at the new area of the park were not damaged but the park did have structural damage totaling between $3.5 and $5 million.

All of this damage has once again setback the very anticipated re-opening of the park to sometime in November.

8/11/2004 - Walt Disney Co. - Walt Disney Shows Strong Earnings

The Walt Disney Co. got some good news yesterday.  It seems that the third-quarter earnings were strong thanks in part to a good showing from its Orlando theme parks.

The attendance for the months of April, May, and June were up 20% at the WDW theme parks compared to this same period last year and hotel occupancy was up 9%.  Such increases are believed to be attributed to the addition of such new attractions as Mission Space and Mickey's Philharmagic, as well as the opening of the Pop Century Resort.

8/10/2004 - Walt Disney World - Disney's Play 4 Days

WDW has decided to bring back the Play 4 Days promotion that allows Florida resident to visit all four of the WDW theme parks on any four days between July 30 and November 21.  The cost is $119 per person, plus tax.

8/10/2004 - Universal Orlando - UO HHN Ad Wins Effie Award

It seems that there is more good news for UO.  The HHN commercials that featured the Caretaker have won an Effie Award from the New York American Marketing Association.  The annual awards recognize the most effective advertising campaigns from the previous year.

8/10/2004 - Disney - Disney Auction

Disney is going to be selling memorabilia and memories as part of an effort to drum up business for Disney's Visa credit card from Bank One.

The sale will be an auction where bidders will get to choose from 25 Disney-related items, including private golf lessons at WDW, an original vehicle from Space Mountain DisneyLand, and a private skating party with the stars of Disney On Ice.

The sale isn't just open to anybody though.  You have to be a cardholder of Disney's Visa from Bank One to participate in the online bidding which will be taking place from September 27 to October 4.

The proceeds from the auction will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and Free Arts for Abused Children.  More information can be found at  www.DisneyDreamAuction.com.

8/3/2004 - DisneyLand Paris - Euro Disney Revenue Falls

Euro Disney seen a 3% fall in revenue in its April to June quarter and has postponed a deadline for lenders to approve a restructuring plan to September 30.  They are also reporting that they expect a "significant increase" in the parks net loss for the current fiscal year. 

Revenue for this quarter fell to $321.1 million from $330.7 million just a year ago.  In addition to the revenue problems, Euro Disney also faces mounting costs due to restructuring and a resumption of royalty payments to the companies biggest shareholder, the Walt Disney Company.

According to Euro Disney, its $24 million available cash and $51.4 million of unused credit from Walt Disney are enought to tide it over until the debt waivers expire at the end of September.

8/2/2004 - Islands of Adventure - IOA #1 Again

Islands of Adventure has once again been voted the #1 theme park.  This is the third consecutive year that visitors to ThemeParkInsider.com have voted IOA #1.  The site polled approx. 8,000 readers to find out which theme park they prefer.

That wasn't all though.  UO was #1 in four of the following seven categories:

Best Theme Park:  Islands of Adventure

Best Attraction:  Spiderman

Best New Attraction:  Revenge of the Mummy

Best Restaurant in a Theme Park:  Mythos

Best Family Attraction:  Festival of the Lion King

Best Theme Park for Kids:  Legoland CA

Best Hotel at a Theme Park Resort:  Disney's Grand Californian Hotel at DL

8/2/2004 - Walt Disney World - WDW Donates to local Charity

Last week Walt Disney World donated $1,000 and supplies such as utensiles, washcloths and Disney toys and t-shirts to the United Cerebral Palsy of Central Florida.  Mickey and Minnie Mouse greeted children from the nonprofit organization's local development centers as Walt Disney Entertainment manager Gene Columbus presented the agency with the check and the supplies.

7/31/2004 - - Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp Begins

Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp begins today at Disney's Wide World of Sports. There is no admission charge for the camp. Below is the schedule for this years training camp.

DatePractice Sessions
July 31 - August 28:30-10:45am; 2:45-4:45pm
August3 8:30-10:45am; 2:45-3:55pm
August 4 - 5 8:30-10:45am; 2:45-4:45pm
August 6 8:30-10:45am; 2:45-3:55pm
August 7 8:30-10:45am
August 8 8:30-10:45am; 2:45-4:45pm
August 9 8:30-10:45am; 2:45-4:30pm
August 10 8:30-10:45am; 2:45-3:55pm
August 11 - 12 8:30-10:45am; 2:45-4:30pm
August 13 11:15-11:45am (Walk-through)
August 14 Bengals at Bucs 7pm
August 15 No Practice
August 16 2:45-4:30pm
August 17 8:30-10:45am; 2:45-4:30pm
August 18 8:30-10:45am; Camp Breaks

7/18/2004 - Universal Orlando - Local Hotels win Award

Two of the resorts at UO have recently won a Gold Key Award from Meetings & Conventions Magazine.  Portofino Bay and Royal Pacific both won this prestigious award that the magazine gives out annually as a recognition of excellence among meeting properties.

7/18/2004 - International Drive - Rosen Plaza Wins Award

The Rosen Plaza Hotel, located on International Drive, has won a Pinnacle Award from Successful Meetings Magazine.  It's the eighth year that the hotel has won the award.

7/15/2004 - Magic Kingdom - 20K Leagues Under the Sea Lagoon

It seems like they have drained the lagoon and are doing some construction at the old 20K Leagues location but all reports are showing that there isn't going to be anything else going in there at least for the near future.  From what we're hearing they are merely going to fill in the lagoon with dirt, add plants and leave it at that.  It seems that the only part of the old 20K that will be remaining is two walls from the ride building that will remain as retaining walls.  Reports are that when the wall comes down there will be a six foot ridge all around where the lagoon use to be.

7/15/2004 - Disney's Wide World of Sports - Tampa Bay Bucs Training Camp Returns

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will return to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex for the 2004 training camp July 31 - August 18.  This training camp will give Bucs fans a close-up look at this years team.  The training camp sessions are open to the public and are free.  Keep an eye on the site for a tentative schedule for the Training Camp.

5/21/2004 - Universal Shanghai - Universal Shanghai

There have been a lot of rumors lately about the scrapping of the plans to build Universal Shanghai.  These rumors worsened after the layoff of the two dozen employees that were hired to work on the plans for the park.  From what we've been able to find out, from some pretty reliable sources, is that Universal is waiting for the go ahead from the Chinese government.  They had expected the decision from them much sooner than is now anticipated so it became necessary to layoff the employees but only until they are given the green light.  We are trying to find out more information on this and will let you all know as soon as we do.

4/30/2004 - Fun Spot - Fun Spot Acquisition

All reports are showing that Fun Spot has indeed purchased the SkyCoaster and will soon be taking over the new G-Force attraction at Old Town. They are going to rename the attraction Fun Spot Extreme Park or Fun Spot at Old Town.  They are also in negotiations to purchase the entire eight acre site with plans of add batting cages, multi-level go-karts, and more amusement type attractions over the next year.  Keep watching for further developments on this venture.

4/30/2004 - Magic Kingdom - 20,000 Leagues Gone

It's been reported to OrlandoRocks that the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Lagoon has finally met it's demise.  It seems that Disney has begun to drain the water from the lagoon.  This attraction has been closed for about 10 years but I can't imagine that this was an easy decision.  Even to think they're draining the lagoon saddens us because it was such a wonderful attraction at Magic Kingdom for so many years.

4/24/2004 - Cypress Gardens - Cypress Gardens Adventure Park

Some good news has come for some of the 530 former employees of Cypress Gardens that lost their jobs when the park suddenly closed in April 2003.  Kent Buescher, the new owner of Cypress Gardens Adventure Park (nee Cypress Gardens), announced at a reception for him at the Winter Haven Chamer of Comerce the other day that the park will be hiring about 350 workers.  Currently the park is looking for Management Team employees including managers for public relations, human resources, operations and revenue operations as well as a receptionist.  The park's front-line positions will start being filled about a month before the park reopens. 

He also revealed the plans for the park include adding 36 thrill rides.  The master plans have Cypress Gardens Adventure Park being like two parks in one.  After entering through the Main Gates there will be two separate pathways to take guests on two totally different adventures. 

The western pathway will take guests through a craftsmen's village, such as the one's at Dollywood and Silver Dollar City, then on past the water-ski stadiums and finally leading into the beautiful botanical gardens that were a crowd pleaser for the past 67 years.

The eastern path will take guests past the new Star Haven amphitheater, which will have a maximum capacity of 12,000, and on into the area of the park that will be home to the 36 new rides.  Of the new rides there will be four roller coasters, two water rides and a drop tower that will simulate a 120-foot free fall.  Ultimately the final destination on this pathway will be a water park that is set to open in the Spring of 2005.

The park opening goal date is July 1, 2004 but if more problems arise the opening date could be pushed back to as late as October 1, 2004.

4/19/2004 - Cypress Gardens - Cypress Gardens Delays Opening

Now it looks like Cypress Gardens will not be reopening until July 1, 2004.  It seems that there was a lot more termite damage in some buildings than originally thought and some construction delays so the Grand Opening date had to be changed.  The powers to be at the park are suppose to be making an announcement about a new master plan for the park later today so I guess we'll all just have to wait and see.

4/19/2004 - Disney Studios - Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Much to our pleasure WDW has confirmed dates for this years return of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights.  The dates for this years event will be from Nov. 24, 2004 - Jan. 2, 2005.  There is still just rumors about where the event will be located within Disney Studios as Residential Street has been leveled to make way for the Lights, Motor, Action! Stunt Show.  Hopefully WDW will make the location known soon.

4/19/2004 - WDW Resort - WDW Additional Security Program

It has been reported that WDW will start testing a few metal detectors at the parks to see if they should start a random screening program.  This program would consist of installing the metal detectors at the main entrance of each of the Orlando parks and then guests would randomly be selected to pass through them.  This would be in addition to the current bag check system that the guests already pass through.

3/31/2004 - Disney Studios - Backlot Tram Tour Reopens

The Backlot Tram Tour will re-open on April 4 and is supposedly going to still follow the old route.  A lot of rumors have been going around that there was going to be a new route (and each rumor seem to have the route going a different way) but it seems that, at this time, they will stay with the old.  We will be interested in seeing what they do in the future.

3/29/2004 - Magic Kingdom - Its a Small World

It has finally been confirmed!!!  It's a Small World will be closing later this year so that Disney can perform a multi-million dollar rehab that will include new boats, lighting, and audio.  It's about time that Small World gets an overhaul!

3/28/2004 - WDW Resorts - Disney News

Disney has once again announced that they will be raising their admission price.  The price is now going to be $54.75 up from $52.

Another Disney story of note is the expansion to the Wild World of Sports complex.  The expansion will include four baseball diamonds and some multi-use fields for soccer and football.  This expansion will be a 20-acre addition.

3/28/2004 - I-Drive - Magical Midway

Magical Midway has added a new Funtime Spring Shot like the one at Old Town (only smaller).  Although the ride is not opened it looked like it is about ready.  What was really strange was that the Space Shot is still there.  From what we had heard the Spring Shot was suppose to replace it.  We'll have to wait and see.

3/14/2004 - Epcot - Universe of Energy Loses ExxonMobil Sponsorship

Epcot's Universe of Energy is no longer sponsored by ExxonMobil as of Saturday March 13, 2004.  Exxon's contract with Disney expired on this date and there was no renewal of the contract.  Disney is said to be in talks with several companies about picking up the sponsorship.

Exxon's name has also been dropped from the three gas stations on WDW property.  The stations are currently closed for renovation until March 30.  It's been reported that Amerada Hess Corporation has inked a deal with Disney to sponsor the gas stations and WDW's Wide World of Sports new Sports Fields venue but is said to have no interest in sponsoring Universe of Energy.

1/30/2004 - Walt Disney Co. - Pixar and Disney Talks End

Well it seems that after many successful years and movies as partners Pixar Animation Studios has informed Walt Disney Co. that they are ending the talks to extend their distribution deal for Pixar's computer-animated films.  This is a big setback for Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Eisner.  It seems the relationship between Eisner and Pixar's Chief Executive Steve Jobs has been an obstacle to the Pixar-Disney relationship.

The current agreement will continue through the delivery of two more films;  "The Incredibles", being released later this year, and "Cars", being released in 2005.  Under the existing agreement Disney also has the right to proceed with sequels to such popular Pixar films as "Monsters, Inc." without Pixar's approval.  These sequels had not been done in the past due to Mr. Jobs opposition to such projects but now it is highly likely that these projects will be done.

1/30/2004 - Disney Lodging - Port Orleans French Quarter Re-opening

The 1,080 room French Quarter section of the Port Orleans Resort will be re-opening March 21, 2004.  WDW closed this section in early May 2003 as part of its two year renovation plan for Port Orleans, which will include the 2,048 room Riverside section.  The Riverside section has remained open because it's being renovated in phases.  The improvements have included the installation of new carpeting, furniture, and bathroom fixtures.

1/26/2004 - Disney Studios - Millionaire Show

We don't usually report on things like this but we found this interesting. It seems that Regis and ABC are at it again. There is going to be an all new Who Wants to be a Millionaire on February 22, 2004 and this time it's called Super Millionaire and it's worth $10,000,000. We're just wondering if they actually think this will breathe new life into this dead horse!!!

1/24/2004 - - Medieval Times Rehab

Medieval Times is going to be getting an approximately $2 million refurbishment.  This great dinner show is celebrating it's 20th Anniversary and is still one of the most popular attractions in Central Florida.  The renovation will reportedly provide a new look to the front entrance but not add any seating in the 1100 seat facility.  The Hall of Arms (the reception area) will be expanded and a new front courtyard area with the ticket booths moved inside is in the plans.  The tentative plans show the installation of a number of "water features", including a stream and waterfall as well as new landscaping.  The work is scheduled to begin in September and will take about 6 months to complete.

1/23/2004 - Cypress Gardens - Cypress Gardens

The deal that will hopefully save Cypress Gardens has finally been completed.  Yesterday a Non-Profit Conservation Group met the deadline that will let Kent Buescher, who owns Wild Adventures in Valdosta GA, take over the attraction next month.  Now it's possible for the conservation group's Florida office can exercise its option to purchase the 150-acre park including the botanical gardens, ski show, and Southern Belles.  The deal will close on  February 24th.  The park could re-open as early as Memorial Day Weekend.

Buescher has also said that he plans to invest another $35 million over the 18 months to refurbish the gardens, building, and a make a new entrance.  Supposedly there are also plans to add some coasters, bring back the ever-popular ski show, and schedule concerts.

1/23/2004 - Universal Studios - Revenge of the Mummy

It seems that the Storyboard Pencils of The Revenge of the Mummy have been taken off the Ace Storyboards site. They weren't on there long so I hope you all had a chance to check them out.

1/20/2004 - Universal Studios - Revenge of the Mummy

There is a really cool site out there that has some pencil storyboards of Mummy.   The site is called Ace Storyboards and they have some great pencil drawings of parts of the new ride.  Just click Storyboard Pencils and it'll be the pic on the left with the Mummy (duh!).  Make sure you check this out!

1/19/2004 - Magic Kingdom - Stitch's Great Escape

It seems that Mickey's Star Traders has closed so that they can proceed with their plan to make the second theater for Stitch's Great Escape exit into this shop.  The first theater will exit into Merchants of Venus.  They have set up a temporary shop in the Timekeeper's queue area.  No word on how long this process will take.

1/10/2004 - Universal Studios - Revenge of the Mummy

Rumors are running rampid about the opening date of Revenge of the Mummy.  We've heard everything from early April to late May.  The most reliable information we have received so far has the Annual Pass Holders Preview being set for around April 11th.  But as you all know this is not set in stone and could definitely change at any moment.

1/10/2004 - Universal Studios - Universal Orlando News

It seems that in the wake of SeaWorld raising its admission prices last week the other parks are starting to follow suit.  Universal Orlando has raised the single-day ticket prices by two dollars.  That makes the cost for an adult admission $57.46 up from $55.33.  The cost of a childs admission went from $45.75 to $47.88.  Also, the cost a the 2-day/2-park admission went from $103.26 to $106.45 for adults and from $91.54 to $94.74 for a child.  (These prices all include tax)

1/10/2004 - Epcot - Soarin Over California

It seems that guests have finally begun to see steel girders looming over the construction site for Soarin' Over California.  This attraction is not set to open until 2005 but the anticipation is starting to raise with the sight of progress on the construction.

1/10/2004 - Disney Studios - Backlot Tour

We got word that the Backlot Tour tram may not re-open as previously told.  It seems that with the Residential Street being gone and the construction of the new Stunt Show this would be logical.  As it is there isn't a lot to see on the tram ride anymore and it would seem that going by the construction would become more and more difficult.

1/7/2004 - SeaWorld - WaterFront

At last we can find out something from the local news (Central Florida News that is) about what has been going on at SeaWorld. It seems that once again we knew before it was revealed to the local guys the construction going on at SeaWorld is just an expansion to the Waterfront with some new shows but no new rides. An official announcement is scheduled for later this month.

5/17/2003 - Universal Studios - Revenge of the Mummy

Well it is about time that Universal steps up and announces what we have known since before Kongfrontation closed. There will be a new indoor coaster opening in 2004, Revenge of the Mummy. This new ride will integrate roller coaster technology, space age robotics, and pyrotechnic special effects. Other than this the information about this ride is being kept pretty hush hush. We will make sure we keep you all abreast of any further information we get.

5/5/2003 - SeaWorld - Passport Members Sneak Preview of Odyssea Spectacular

Passport Members at SeaWorld can get free tickets, seating is limited, for the Saturday, June 7 at 1pm sneak preview of the all new Odyssea Spectacular. These tickets are available at the Shamu Emporium.

5/5/2003 - SeaWorld - Passport Members VIP Party at SeaWorld

Gold and Silver Passport Members at SeaWorld will be able to purchase VIP Party tickets for the Friday, May 23 event are $10 which will include unlimited access to the Waterfront, unlimited food sampling in all the unique Waterfront restaurants (non-alcoholic drinks included), and entertainment throughout the evening. Tickets for this special event are available in advance at the SeaWorld entrance while supplies last.

4/22/2003 - Animal Kingdom - Expedition Everest

Disney officially announced its new attraction coming to Animal Kingdom. The name of the coaster-like ride will be Expedition Everest and is scheduled for opening in 2006.

4/22/2003 - Epcot - Mission Space

Good news has finally come out of Disney about the long awaited Mission Space. It seems that the ride will start soft opening previews on August 15th with the Grand Opening sometime in October.

4/10/2003 - Epcot - Theater in the China Pavilion

According to a pretty good source at Walt Disney World the refurbishment and new 3D movie in the China Pavilion will be re-opening some time around May 22.

2/23/2003 - - Permanent Security Baggage Check Points

On a trip to Disney this weekend a few of us at OrlandoRocks noticed that they seem to be building permanent structures for the Baggage check areas outside of at least Magic Kingdom. We asked a Cast Member at the entrance and she said that was exactly what was happening. It seems that the protection of their guests is going to be a permanent part of the Disney experience.

2/15/2003 - Animal Kingdom - Animal Kingdom Major Attraction

Rumor is that Disney will be announcing a new major attraction for Animal Kingdom. Working name is said to be “Forbidden Mountain” There is a lot of speculation as to what it will be like, but the consensus is somewhat “coaster like” with similarities with Mattahorn and Disneyland and maybe even Journey into the center of the Earth at Disney Japan.

2/15/2003 - Epcot - Epcot's Project Gemini

Epcot’s “Project Gemini” (a project to add some zing to Epcot) is rumored to be cut down a bit. Seems the latest plans are to replace the inside of Spaceship Earth with a more “Coaster Like” experience with a working name of “Time Racers”

The discussion board are full of people that seem not to like this idea but if you really think about it, it make good sense. Go to Epcot any morning at opening and see where 90% of the people go, Test Track! Combining thrill’s and High Tech is a winning combination and I think this attraction is sure to be a big hit.

12/8/2002 - Universal - Jimmy Neutron & Shrek 4D Opening Dates

Tentative opening dates have been rumored for the new Jimmy Neutrons Nicktoon Blast & Shrek 4D. Blast is rumored to be opening April 5th and Shrek opening on June 30.

12/7/2002 - Universal Studios - Mummy Coaster

Well, according to an Orlando Sentinel article, it is officially unofficial! Finally someone, who is keeping their name out of it to keep their job, is speaking out about something a lot of us have known since before Kong closed. This will be an indoor "coaster type" attraction, based on the Mummy movies, built in the building that use to house Kongfrontation. The big guys at Universal are still not confirming or denying this.

9/29/2002 - Epcot - Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2002

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – A hip new food-and-wine-tasting party, an outdoor concert series with name entertainment, an elegant Signature Dinner series and the prestigious Bordeaux Wine School program join the popular lineup of events Oct. 19-Nov. 17 at the seventh annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
Returning by popular demand around the park’s World Showcase are more than 20 international food-and-wine-tasting marketplaces, culinary demonstrations at The Terrace and “History of Beer in America” tastings and seminars by the Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams beer.

Dozens of performers ranging from acrobats to musicians add street-festival energy to the daily fun of this seasonal culinary celebration. Walt Disney World Resort guests can toast the festival with champagne and gather information at the new Festival Welcome Center across from the Future World Fountain and Innoventions Plaza. An exciting new “Discover Andalucia, Spain!” cultural experience celebrates the region’s olives and olive oils, famous tapas, fine sherries, skilled craftsmen and dazzling Flamenco dancers.

9/25/2002 - - Paul Pressler Leaves Disney

Paul Pressler is Leaving his post as Chairman of Parks and Resorts at Disney! He will be taking a position as Executive Chief at The Gap. Our personal opinion is that this is a positive thing for Disney. Pressler had a reputation of being frugal, and never seemed like the right fit for Disney Theme Park’s and resorts. Theme Parks need investment to keep bringing in visitors.

Pressler’s new position in a more retail centered environment may work well for both Presser and the Gap as well.

The big question is who will replace him. Names that come to mind our Al Weiss of Walt Disney World or Cynthia Harris from Disneyland. I guess we will know soon.

9/24/2002 - Disney Studios - Little Mermaid Rehab

The Little Mermaid at Disney Studios is once again going to be temporarily closed for rehab starting some time in January. The show is not going to be changed, this is just a routine refurbishment. This is the second time this show has been closed for these routine rehabs.

9/23/2002 - - MGM Studios Hunchback of Notre Dame Closing

Universal CityWalk will be holding their annual Surf & Skate on Saturday September 21 with shows at 3 – 5 pm and 7 – 9 pm. This years event features X-Games Gold Medalist Dave Mirra. Guests will get to see demonstrations by World-Class BMX riders and skateboarders by some of the todays top performers. Special V.I.P. Viewing seats are available for $10 per person, per show.

9/6/2002 - - Rent coming to Bob Carr

Rent is coming to the Carr Performing Arts Centre October 22 – 27. I got a chance to see this wonderful show in New York and if this performance is even half as good as it was there it is well worth taking the time to go see. Tickets are priced from $22 to $52.50.

9/6/2002 - - Epcot Food and Wine Festival

This years Food and Wine Festival at Epcot will be held from October 19 – November 17. Anyone who has been to Epcot for this wonderful event knows that it is one of the best. More information about this event will be coming soon so stop by often for updates.

9/6/2002 - - Universal Surf and Skate

Universal CityWalk will be holding their annual Surf & Skate on Saturday September 21 with shows at 3 – 5 pm and 7 – 9 pm. This years event features X-Games Gold Medalist Dave Mirra. Guests will get to see demonstrations by World-Class BMX riders and skateboarders by some of the todays top performers. Special V.I.P. Viewing seats are available for $10 per person, per show.

8/30/2002 - Busch Gardens - BGT Howl-O-Screen

September Friday 27th Busch Gardens Tampa kicks off the annual Howl-O-Scream. Our staff went last year and we were quite impressed. Busch has done a great job at this event and this year promises to be even better. Busch has also done a great job at their website so we will direct you there. We will put full pictures and video up when we go, the first night of corpse, ah I mean course. Anyway their site offers cool graphics and is just plain creepy, so check it out!
Howl-O-Scream Official Site

8/25/2002 - Islands of Adventure - Bill and Ted's Show at Halloween Horror Nights

Rumor is that the Bill and Ted’s show will be a recreation of the MIB Headquarters, including the “eggtron” screen and the Escape Tubes seen in the sequel. Characters are set to include the Scooby Doo gang, Austin Powers / Dr Evil and crew and the original Madman "Ozzy Ozbornes" family. There is even rumor that we may see Spiderman vs. Green Goblin flying on his glider at one point.

8/25/2002 - Seaworld - New Baby Killer Whale born at Seaworld

On Sunday August 25 SeaWorld welcomed a new addition as one of the killer whales gave birth to a 350 lb. baby after about an hour and half labor. Mother and baby are both doing fine.

8/25/2002 - Universal Studios - Macy's Parade coming to Universal Studios

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is coming to Universal Studios. Well a lot of it anyway. The Parade won’t start until Dec. 13th and it will continue throughout the Christmas and New Years holidays to Jan. 5th. It will include 16 floats and some of the signature giant balloons that will have already appeared in the Original New Your parade.

This is the first time the Macys parade will be repeated and will allow many people who have only been able to see that parade on TV see it up close and in-person. In fact some guests may be selected as balloon handlers!

8/23/2002 - Universal Studios - Universal's Kong Closing September 8th

Farewell KONG!
Kong’s last roar will be Sunday September 8th! Universal has announced that Kong will shut down and replaced with a new attraction. The park will say the final goodbye at 5:45pm. Passholders present will be given a commemorative Kong gift and time to take the final ride as the park closes to the normal guests. Rumor is that the ride may be replaced with a Mummy themed indoor coaster that sounds really cool, but we sure will miss Kong.

Here is our old description :
Come face to face with the movies biggest star: King Kong. Board your tram and try to escape the city of New York. Your attempt to stay away from this huge beast fails though, and you get a chance to have some really close encounters with this 40 foot monster.
Ride Time: 4 Minutes 30 Seconds.

8/23/2002 - Busch Gardens - Dolphins of the Deep Closing

It’s a sad thing but it was inevitable. This show will be closing as of September 2. Busch Gardens has decided that this 22-year-old show should be closed to make room for a new attraction. They will be putting a 750-seat theater in its place. The new attraction, called Haunted Lighthouse, will open next spring and will be a 25-minute, 3D adventure film based on a story by R.L. Stine, the author of the Goosebumps books. Good news though, the three dolphins, two sea lions, two otters and their trainers are all being relocated to Sea World Orlando. That means that we will still get to see these talented animals in the Central Florida area.

8/23/2002 - Islands of Adventure - Dudley Do-Rights RipSaw Falls

Well it seems all the rumors we have been hearing about a change at Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls is correct. We here at OrlandoRocks have been informed, by several employees, that they have started testing a new boat with 5 seats, each one with its own seat back. The boats without the seat backs have caused quite a problem because people do not seem to understand that if there is no one sitting in their lap they should not lean forward because of possible injury risks.

8/23/2002 - Busch Gardens - Busch Gardens Country Music Fest

Busch Gardens Tampa is having a Country Music Fest Labor Day Weekend. Performers include Colin Raye on Saturday August 31 and Sunday September 1, Bull Durham on August 31, and Stampede on September 1 and 2. They will also be having fireworks on Saturday and Sunday nights. The concerts are included with general admission or annual pass/fun card. You can purchase a special 3 day Labor Day Weekend ticket for $49.95.

6/25/2002 - - Universal Orlando to Unleash New Generation of Halloween Horror Nights.

6/24/2002 - Unviersal Florida - New Attractions for Universal Studios Florida Confirmed

7/26/2001 - Disney Studios - Bear in the Big Blue House Change

The Bear in the Big Blue House show at Disney Studios is set to change in the near future. The new show is not only going to have Bear but he will also be joined by other favorites from the Playhouse Disney shows. For a description of the now appearing show visit our Bear in the Big Blue House page.

7/26/2001 - Universal Studios - Rock the Universe

Universal Studios is gearing up for the Rock the Universe event. This years event is scheduled for September 7th and 8th. Universal dubs this event as a "heart-pounding, soul-stirring event". I like to just call it a chance to see some very talented musicians and have a good time. Guests appearing will include dc talk, Audio Adrenaline, and more.

7/26/2001 - Islands of Adventure - Poseidons Fury Change

Poseidons Fury has reopend with a totally new show. The new show centers around a geological dig of Poseidons lost temple and the battle between good (which contrary to the original show is now Poseidon) and evil (which is the new bad guy Darkanon).

7/9/2001 - Islands of Adventure - Poseidons Fury Reopens

Poseidons Fury has reopened with a totally new show. The new show centers around the uncovered reamains of the ancient temple of Poseidon and the battle between Poseidon and Darkanon.

4/2/2001 - Islands of Adventures - Poseidon´s Fury Changing

Poseidon s Fury had it´s final performance on April 21st. The attraction will be closed down for an estimated two months (tenative reopening date slated as June 22nd) after an extensive transformation. The theme of the attraction and the roll of Keeper will change into an Archelogical Dig theme with a likewise themed host/hostess. A whole new story will be woven around a archaeology dig site. it seems and we can expect major scenery and effects changes as they attempt to bring a whole new show to life. The only thing we are not sure about at this time is if the attraction will change it’s name and remove the whole Poseidon theme. (In other words... is this a rehab or a replacement?)

4/2/2001 - Islands of Adventures - Poseidon´s Fury Changing

Poseidon s Fury had it´s final performance on April 21st. The attraction will be closed down for an estimated two months (tenative reopening date slated as June 22nd) after an extensive transformation. The theme of the attraction and the roll of Keeper will change into an Archelogical Dig theme with a likewise themed host/hostess. A whole new story will be woven around a archaeology dig site. it seems and we can expect major scenery and effects changes as they attempt to bring a whole new show to life. The only thing we are not sure about at this time is if the attraction will change it’s name and remove the whole Poseidon theme. (In other words... is this a rehab or a replacement?)

3/1/2001 - - Who Wants to be a Millionaire

Disney Studios is expected to open Who Want to Be a Millionaire at soundstages 2 & 3 on April 7th. The lighting and stage look almost identical to the tv show. Regis comes on screen for an introduction, but has to be back in California to film the TV version. He calls out a guest host who did an excellent job. The game goes like this. There is a control with a-b-c-d buttons in front of every guest. Fastest Finger decides who get's in the hot seat first. As they asked the questions, the audience also answerrf them with the touch pad. If the person in the hot seat chooses to poll the audience the answers are already availble. Your correct answers are rewarded with points and the person with the highest points is the one that is picked to be in the hot seat next. All in all a good addition to the Studios for the 100 years of Magic Kickoff.

3/1/2001 - Unviersal Florida - Royal Pacific Hotel

The construction on the Royal Pacific Hotel at Universal Orlando is moving along very quickly. They already have the skeletons of many of the buildings up and it is amazing how much it is changing week to week. This just proves that Universal is not going to just sit around and be happy with being number 2.

3/1/2001 - - Who Wants to be a Millionaire

Disney Studios is expected to open Who Want to Be a Millionaire at soundstages 2 & 3 on April 7th. The lighting and stage look almost identical to the tv show. Regis comes on screen for an introduction, but has to be back in California to film the TV version. He calls out a guest host who did an excellent job. The game goes like this. There is a control with a-b-c-d buttons in front of every guest. Fastest Finger decides who get's in the hot seat first. As they asked the questions, the audience also answerrf them with the touch pad. If the person in the hot seat chooses to poll the audience the answers are already availble. Your correct answers are rewarded with points and the person with the highest points is the one that is picked to be in the hot seat next. All in all a good addition to the Studios for the 100 years of Magic Kickoff.

3/1/2001 - Unviersal Florida - Royal Pacific Hotel

Universal Orlando is apparently continuing with their push to be a contender in the Orlando Resort business. They have started taking bids on the new Royal Pacific Hotel and an official announcement will likely occur after the Hard Rock Hotel opens.

3/1/2001 - Unviersal Florida - Royal Pacific Hotel

Universal Orlando is apparently continuing with their push to be a contender in the Orlando Resort business. They have started taking bids on the new Royal Pacific Hotel and an official announcement will likely occur after the Hard Rock Hotel opens.

12/20/2000 - Animal Kingdom - Animal Kingdom Coaster

A new Top-Notch coaster for Animal Kingdom has been given the green light. Seems that the coaster will be built in the new land over by Camp Minnie and Mickey. This land is called beastly Kingdom. Rumor has is that this coaster will be ''off the shelf'' and purchase from a vendor for approximately 10 million dollars.

11/9/2000 - Magic Kingdom - Main Street Rehab

Rumor is that the alley on the left side of Main Street will be removed so that The Main Street Emporium can become one large shop that will span the entire length of Main Street.

11/9/2000 - Disney Studios - New Parade

The rumors surrounding the new Showbiz Magic parade are getting more firm. The latest is that the parade will have floats based on some of the parks attractions.

11/9/2000 - Disney Studios - New Parade

The rumors surrounding the new Showbiz Magic parade are getting more firm. The latest is that the parade will have floats based on some of the parks attractions.

11/9/2000 - Magic Kingdom - Main Street Rehab

Rumor is that the alley on the left side of Main Street will be removed so that The Main Street Emporium can become one large shop that will span the entire length of Main Street.

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