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Please welcome back guest author Jessica Floria:

atlantis-ksc-entrance

Words cannot describe the feelings that encompass you when experiencing the new Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Center for the first time, or even the second or third time. More than 10 companies were responsible for bringing this exhibit to life. From construction of the building, moving the shuttle in and tilting it to the right angle to the cinematic pre-shows, simulators and overall lighting and sound of the building these companies worked closely together for more than a year to perfect their one common goal; presenting the story of Atlantis and displaying it with the honor it deserves. When asked what each company was most proud of, representatives of the companies did not state their role in the exhibit. Instead each glowed and gestured towards Atlantis.

atlantis-ksc-exhibit

Guest begin their experience by walking underneath a full scale, 184 foot tall, replica of the shuttle’s external tank and two solid rocket boosters. Once inside the building guests are taken into the pre-show area for two cinematic and multimedia productions that show the journey of Atlantis, from a paper shuttle to the extraordinary orbiter it became. After the two shows, Atlantis looms before you in all of its beauty and wonder. Suspended in air at a 43.21 degree angle with its payload bay doors open and its Canadarm out ready to work, guests get views of the shuttle only seen before in space.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Long one of the favorite attractions in Orlando, the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, languished at the woefully under attended Islands of Adventure (IOA) theme park. However, thanks to some deft wand work from Harry Potter, IOA is seeing huge crowds and money for attraction upgrades seems to be flowing.

Spider-Man has just returned from a short down period where they installed a number of upgrades. But the biggest, and most spectacular, is the new High Definition 3D Projection and accompanying new animation. The attraction relies giant screens and a mix of real world sets to make the each guest feel like they’re in the movie with the web-slinger as he saves you from an assortment of baddies.

The attraction still suffers from its abrupt start and sometimes out of sync special effects, but all in all it remains one of Orlando’s best and, with these revisions, might again vie for best attraction overall (it’s close cousin Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is tough competition).

Of course, there remains the oddity that Disney now owns the Marvel brand, and yet Universal Orlando has the rights to 12 or so of the main Marvel characters in Orlando. It seems obvious Univeral has no intention of letting Disney get back these rights anytime soon. But I have to wonder if Disney’s lawyers aren’t working ferociously somewhere to route around that.

A very short ceremony was held to mark the attractions return to operations.

As they reanimated the attraction film, the creative team added hundreds of new details and effects.  Guests will see moss swaying in the wind, rats scurrying through the streets and hear electricity arching so close it will raise the hair on the back of their necks.  And for the first time ever, Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee will make a cameo appearance inside the attraction.  Lee was meticulously animated in 3-D and placed in more than one scene inside the new animation.