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Magic Kingdom Update – Part II

Tonight I’m continuing my walk through Magic Kingdom and a bit of Downtown Disney. Part One covered much of the Fantasyland Expansion, problems with Splash Mountain, Skyway Station Removal, and more. Part two looks at some of the details that Disney is getting right.

When the Fast Pass for Mickey & Minnie and The Princesses first opened there were signs over head indicating which of the four machines gave out tickets for which queue. However, the machines themselves had no signage. This led Disney to a very simple indicator. Just place a Princess Mickey Hat on the Princess machines and a regular black Mickey Mouse Ears on the Mickey & Minnie machines. While cute, that was probably not the most effective way to do it. They’ve finally added new permanent signs to the FastPass machines.

As nice as these signs are, they’re still not doing much for traffic to the Town Square theater. Both fastpasses were running barely 40 minutes into the future and the wait times for the Princesses were never longer than 35 minutes and Mickey never much longer than 15.  I’ve heard that they’re already considering adding a tent to Storybook Circus for Mickey and Minnie and returning Town Square theater to meeting space for special events.

A new food cart appeared in Fantasyland a bit ahead of schedule for its eventual location in the Beauty and the Beast section of the Fantasyland Expansion. Maurice’s Amazing Popping Machine is great because it tells the story of Maurice being an inventor. It also has a wonderful specially themed menu and other fun touches. If they have to have outdoor vending, I hope it looks like this instead of…

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Screamin’ Gator Zipline officially opens at Gatorland

Disclaimer: My wife is an employee of Gatorland, however we attended as part of the media for this story, and her employee status has not changed our editorial review of the attraction. Early this morning while the fog was still wafting across the swamp, Gatorland… Read More »Screamin’ Gator Zipline officially opens at Gatorland

Turtle: The Incredible Journey – SeaWorld’s First Film will Premier in Orlando

When SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment was cleaved from the In-Bev/Anheuser-Busch mothership they immediately realized they could no longer rely on ‘Free Beer’ for their main brand identity. They would have to focus on Conservation. Instead of counting on free beer for word of mouth, they’ve adopted a formula that has been successful for their theme park competitors — integrate movies, tv, and other media into the brand.

SeaWorld’s first big venture along that current is a great tale of conservation befitting their new brand — “Turtle: The Incredible Journey”. Turtle follows the life and migration of a loggerhead turtle from hatching to maturity and a return to its original Florida nesting grounds.

The loggerhead turtle, a threatened species, has one of the longest and most difficult migratory patterns of any marine animal: Sea turtles newly hatched on the East Coast of the United States (usually in Florida) make their way from the sand into the ocean, and then begin a voyage that can span the entire Atlantic Ocean, only to return decades later to that same beach.

“This is a remarkable story crafted by one of the world’s most gifted documentary filmmakers,” said Scott Helmstedter, Chief Creative Officer for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. “Turtle: The Incredible Journey does what our parks have been doing for more than five decades: inspire, enrich and entertain. Helping bring this film and its powerful message of the fragility and beauty of our oceans to the public is what SeaWorld is and what we have always been about.”

National Geographic Explorer’s Nick Stringer directed Turtle, which SeaWorld Pictures calls a ‘Family Documentary.’ The film is narrated by Academy Award nominee Miranda Richardson, and will be released to theaters in both standard theatrical formats as well as 3D in selected locations. The movie will premier Friday, June 24th in Orlando.

Turtle looks to follow in the big box office numbers of March of the Penguins, and judging by its trailer, it just might get there.

Check out the trailer below the jump and let us know what you think:

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Gatorland To Open Screamin Gator Zipline, over 1,200 feet of thrills

Disclaimer: My wife is an employee of Gatorland, however we attended as part of the media for this story, and her employee status has not changed our editorial review of the attraction.

When visiting Orlando, don’t forget to schedule a day for some of the minor amusement attractions. Gatorland has just zipped out their newest attraction, which could move them to the top of many a traveler’s must do list. The Screamin’ Gator Zip Line is an exciting outdoor adventure that covers 1,200 feet of high flying thrills in an experience that lasts over two-hours. It opens officially June 16th, but is currently taking reservations based on availability starting this week.

“We spent a tremendous amount of time designing this incredible experience that combines the most modern safety features available in a zip line with the raw beauty and excitement of Gatorland’s natural exhibits and majestic animals,” says Mark McHugh, Gatorland’s president & CEO

The journey begins at the “Screamin’ Gator Adventure Depot” where participants receive their gear and meet their adventure guide for a short safety orientation. The “Gator Grunt Run” is an introductory zip line with speeds topping 15-mph. Named after the sound made by baby gators, this 247-ft. line launches from a 45-ft. platform and promises to provide participants with experience and confidence as they prepare for the thrills ahead.

Read about the whole experience below the jump:

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Legoland Florida sets out to hire 800 more Model Citizens

The announcement that LEGOLAND Florida would be coming to Polk County was greeted with the happy realization that the park would mean plenty of jobs for a region that had been hurting a lot in the recession. There have been hundreds of construction jobs created, a couple hundred of management and maintenance positions have been filled, and finally, the bulk of the expected 1000 jobs required to operate the theme park on a day to day basis are now open for applications.

If you’re interested in one of those jobs you must apply online at www.LEGOLAND.com/jobs. Most of the jobs will start in late September or early October leading up to the parks grand opening on October 15th.

As part of the announcement LEGOLAND released this footage of the park under construction, as well as someone applying for the job online. I love seeing what they’ve done to the Cypress Gardens property so far.

More details on the hiring spree below the jump:

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SeaWorld releases rescued Manatee “Lil’ Joe” into wild

Lil’ Joe ain’t so little anymore. The Manatee, rescued by SeaWorld Orlando and returned to health by SeaWorld’s animal care team, grew to 1515-pounds before being released into Lake Dexter in Astor, Fl. There Lil’ Joe will find several other manatees who will help him… Read More »SeaWorld releases rescued Manatee “Lil’ Joe” into wild

“Sounds Like Summer” lineup revealed for EPCOT

EPCOT Center’s World Showcase famously duplicates some of the best known landmarks from around the world, so it makes sense that their big summer concert series would feature duplicates as well. Technically these are tribute bands, who are not necessarily impersonators, but close your eyes… Read More »“Sounds Like Summer” lineup revealed for EPCOT