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My Journey Through Antarctica at SeaWorld Orlando

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What to say about SeaWorld Orlando’s newest land and attraction – Antarctica. I was invited to SeaWorld for a special press preview, but was only able to experience the attraction as designed once. It broke down on my second ride and then they kicked us out for a VIP party. So I have a few opinions, but they’re mixed results based on incomplete data. Since they did invite me to the event, I will do my best to explain.

Antarctica as a land encompasses an attraction, a store, and a restaurant, but sadly no restrooms. The store and the restaurant I found to be top quality. Although I did not get to sample the food, I’m sure Chef Hector did a great job preparing the international flavored options (American, Italian, and Asian). The store, as you might expect was full to the brim with great penguin themed merchandise. They’ve also introduced a build your own penguin cup booth. More on that in a future post.

While SeaWorld is in competition with the other local parks, they’ve taken a different angle to their themed design. Unlike Belle’s Village in New Fantasyland or Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure, SeaWorld is not trying to put you ‘in the movie’, just ‘in the mood.’ The mood being set by tons of hand carved ‘ice’, various south pole elements, and some fun penguin representations. There’s no story being told, but you do feel like you’re in a wondrous place representative of Antarctica. Read More »My Journey Through Antarctica at SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando’s Aquatica Returns After 2pm Pass

One of the blessings of living in Central Florida are the late summer nights of warm weather and good light. Sure they’re periodically interrupted by rain storms, but if you’re a local and don’t mind changing plans at the last minute, there’s little more enjoyable… Read More »SeaWorld Orlando’s Aquatica Returns After 2pm Pass

SeaWorld Orlando Now Caring for Wounded Florida Sandhill Crane

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A few years ago SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment gained its freedom from the adult-beverage company formerly owned by the Busch family and started off on its path to independent corporatehood. It had a choice to make about a few issues that were central to the parks brand. The beer factory past was easily disposed with, but the environmental stewardship was always integral to SeaWorld’s existence. AB had been using it largely as corporate goodwill, not that there’s anything wrong with that; but the new company would have to make conservation central to its existence if it wanted to claim a unique brand that had a chance of success in an already crowded theme park and entertainment industry.

For the most part, SeaWorld has done a good job promoting its conservation work, but I think it could do better. For instance,  did you know that right now, among the dozens of animals it has in special care is a Florida sandhill crane. You see these everywhere all over the area, but some idiot decided to use one for target practice. So SeaWorld sent out its rescue crew to Pine Lakes, FL, and then transported to the park for further care and rehabilitation.Read More »SeaWorld Orlando Now Caring for Wounded Florida Sandhill Crane

Viva La Musica – SeaWorld Orlando’s Latin Festival

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I had the pleasure of being invited to attend the first Saturday for SeaWorld Orlando’s 2013 version of Viva La Musica, their Latin music festival. We encountered a legion of Daddy Yankee fans, some amazing food, great salsa music, and plenty of opportunities to mingle with exotic animals.

There are still 3 days left to enjoy the festival which will feature music from:

  • Saturday, April 20 – Willie Colón (salsa)
  • Saturday, April 27 – Grupománia (merengue)
  • Saturday, May 4 – El Gran Combo (salsa)

Plus there is amazing food from Chef Hector Colon who has cooked up traditional Latin favorites like arroz con pollo, mofongo con carne frita, alcapurrias and bacalaítos. The pork and chicken skewers we had were wonderful and the skirt stake with chimichurri cause was also amazing. Be sure to try the yucca fries too.Read More »Viva La Musica – SeaWorld Orlando’s Latin Festival

The THRLLD Report

A few months ago we added THRLLD.com to The Disney Blog family as a place to report on and discuss events happening in the rest of the themepark and entertainment world and to remove a little of the off-topic chatter from what is now an… Read More »The THRLLD Report

An Orlando Journey Into the Future

Unless you are living under a rock (which would be incredibly uncomfortable), you realize the affect that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has had on the Orlando tourism community. Everyone is filled to the brim with new projects that, they hope can match and/or topple Harry Potter in the themed and immersive environment category… or the bring in millions of people and billions of dollars category too! I thought, you can never look too far into the future… so here is a preview to what will, supposedly, make you travel to the Orlando area in the coming years!

Positive Coming Attractions:

  • This December 6th, the east coast’s Carsland equivalent will finally be unveiled in the Magic Kingdom. New Fantasyland containing: Enchanted Tales with Belle, Gaston’s Tavern, Be Our Guest Restaurant, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, Pete’s Silly Sideshow, and officially, Storybook Circus, will FINALLY open after years of “looking-over-the-wall” photo updates. In 2013, the Princess Fairytale Hall will open, in the former Snow White’s Scary Adventures building. And the expansion will finally be ending (unless they announce a phase 2 with Pixie Hollow…I wish!) with the opening of the Seven Dwarves Mine Coaster. Can you believe that this was all announced back at the first D23 Expo in 2009?! If feels like so long ago!
  • Test Track will re-open at the end of this year after a rather extensive rehab and rethemeing. The concept of being inside of a computer seems like a great fit for an aging Future World attraction that needed a lift (and a nip…and a tuck…). We will see how Tron-y this new Test Track looks this December.
  • Although not at a theme park, I am super excited for Spiltsville to be coming to Downtown Disney. We have one in Tampa and it is an awesome place. This incarnation will be a two story, 36-lane bowling alley version of the usual 1 story, 12-lane concept. The uniqueness of Splitsville comes from two factors, first being that while you bowl, a waiter comes to your table…as it is a sit-down (or play-up?) restaurant as well as a bowling alley (BTW, best chicken tenders anywhere!). The second factor comes from the design of the place, the lanes aren’t set up in the normal long, side-by-side fashion of the old-fashioned alleys, they are scattered throughout the building giving it a much more personal experience. Get ready to bowl your brains out in late fall of this year.
  • Seaworld has also jumped on the immersive environment bandwagon by announcing Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. This will take the place of the former penguin exhibit at the park. Not a lot of details have been announced about the project as of now, but the concept art is astounding. A publicity photo was recently released and has led to speculation that the ride in the land will be using a trackless ride system similar to the one used on Pooh’s Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland. I am really excited to check it out in the spring of 2013.

Read More »An Orlando Journey Into the Future