Maybe. But maybe not.
There was already enough bad news when you heard or read this one: “Disney World’s Attendance Slips.” But if your reaction was similar to ours, you thought:
So attendance was down.
And the very next day you may have read that Disney profits were up.
It’s obvious that Disney Orlando ticket buyers (and Universal Studios Orlando ticket buyers and other theme park attendees) are paying more these days for your favorite theme parks.
But that is boring news.
The only reason you might care about lower attendance is that it might mean shorter waiting lines…and wouldn’t that be nice?
And the second news part of all this…if Disney and Universal are making more money, who is surprised?
And who cares, anyway?
Please Disney: continue to make money and add more thrilling rides to astonish us and at the same time, do something more about those long lines.
The real news, at least for most of us, is what is happening this summer. No, it’s not just warm weather.
Plenty of daylight and sunshine at
Disney World Orlando Resort and other parks.
You’ve certainly heard about it.
They are opening a record wave of rides and attractions.
And some of what might be called “daring” food offerings as well.
Coasters getting ready to roll
It’s a real roller coaster ride. And by that, we mean real roller coasters.
And Star Wars, too. And king-size new attractions.
Etc. Etc. Etc.
You may have heard about some of them but here we’ll try to mention the most significant ones.
But also some more details have come out.
So we’ll show you some previews and insider looks…
We’ll get into what you can expect this summer when you get your Disney World tickets (or visit other area theme parks).
The Orlando area’s promotional agency is known as Visit Florida. And they had a lot to brag about.
Or reasons for you to come here as summer approaches.
Here’s what they said:
“From the colossal return of King Kong to a ‘Galaxy Far, Far Away’ coming closer than ever, to the launch of the tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster----Orlando’s newest attractions are bigger, bolder and better than ever.”
Yes, some bragging there, sure.
Let’s start with coasters.
You remember the Hulk
But let’s look first at an old favorite re-opening.
We’re thinking here of the “Incredible Hulk Coaster” at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes fact to you to digest and perhaps pass on to others:
Modern military aircraft was an inspiration for the design.
Or so revealed Neil Engel, a show producer for Universal Creative.
And when can we try the Hulk out?
All we know is you should be able to board it in late summer.
But we also know it’s a completely new version of waiting lines and the ride itself.
New immersive effects and high-tech components will help us experience what it’s like to be Dr. Bruce Banner.
You certainly know it has twists and turns.
Previews and some released information show that you will immediately see the major changes in this beloved coaster.
Entering the line, you will see the towering figure of…who else…the Hulk. That should get you in the proper mood, anyway, though it’s only an image of him holding up pieces of the track (these are said to have come from the original track).
The queue or line area will give you a hint of what’s to come.
New story line too
The story line here calls for General Thaddeus Ross to ask for volunteers. They’re needed for a new experiment.
The general is doing bio-radiological experiments. You will pass by the high-tech equipment in his laboratories.
Your only clue is that you will get a high level of radiation through “Hulk-a-fication.”
This is dangerous because the life-altering process was first introduced by Dr. Bruce Banner.
You already know what it does?
More than just muscles
But you can’t trust it as being just a new positive power, can you?
You will see the Gamma core that basically supplies the massive energy (don’t be afraid of it…you are protected by a think pane of glass).
You will see others transformed into Hulks themselves.
Then rushed to the Gamma accelerator that will give you superhuman strength…
You’re prepared now for a real ride -- very unlike the old one.
This new one is sleeker. More dynamic.
On board, a new in-seat audio system has an original score created by Patrick Stump, known for his work with the rock band “Fall Out Boy.”
Then, you’re speeding…call it rocketing along…a new launch tunnel with wow-creating special effects.
But in another world…
At the park where Pottermania first began, another old friend is returning.
Kong's new home will be in Islands of Adventure's Jurassic Park area.
If the attraction will be similar to Universal Studio Hollywood's King Kong 360 3-D…which most people suspect…the ape will have more than dinosaurs to beat up.
As yet, no previews to get a better idea of what is coming.
But a wild ride is expected with enormous…by enormous we mean bigger than ever….animatronic creatures at “Reign of Kong.”
Seeking Kong off-road
We do know you will board huge off-road vehicles to explore ancient temple structures. You will be fighting off oversize terrors of the time.
In other words, king or super-size monsters to match Kong himself.
In another coaster ride elsewhere…
SeaWorld Orlando showed off its Mako hypercoaster during a media event. It gave a much better idea of what it will be like.
Here’s what we learned:
One of the best things about the ride is that when you’re getting slowly…or so it seems…to the very top, you keep waiting for the track to stop curling when…suddenly…you’re going straight down.
Or so it seems.
When you recall that Mako has a 200-foot drop.
Yes, that’s just a number. But 200 feet is a long, long ways.
It also has speeds of 73 miles an hour. Or faster than you are supposed to go driving on your local interstates.
Mako is first since Kraken
On the new ride, you can’t help but notice the nearby Kraken (and perhaps want to try it after this glimpse).
An interesting sidelight about Mako is why you might want to try it.
It’s the first time in seven years that SeaWorld Orlando had a thrill ride (the Manta coaster).
So it fills a void for teens and older coaster riders who want that experience.
As you may recall, its attraction is also that it will be the tallest and fastest in the entire Orlando area.
And officials say it will appeal to all members of your family, no matter their ages…though the very young and the very frail might want to skip it.
They might want to concentrate on the redesigned areas around “Shark Encounter.”
The two-acre Shark Realm will have a “Shipwreck Reef” with interactive and educational areas for non-thrill seekers
The queue or waiting line will have an under-the-pier look. Its wooden composition will provide that.
For non-riders, there’s also education
You’ll also see a shipwreck motif in the loading station.
Of course, stops with information about sharks should satisfy the more educational-minded riders.
The coaster train itself will have seven rows with four passengers seated across.
A blue-colored panel above will show below the surface food figures for sharks.
No, not people for eating or for food, as SeaWorld makes clear.
Sound and visual effects will get you in the proper mood.
Mako is classified as a hypercoaster, meaning fast, with "relentless" air time and no inversions.
The design of the thrill ride calls for nine moments of "air time," the weightlessness that riders experience when topping a hill or heading into a curve.
Mako will have no inversions, or upside-down stretches, and, thus, no over-the-shoulder harnesses.
You should be able to ride it after June 10.
Busch also part of coaster boom
As for buyers of Busch Gardens Tampa tickets…you will also soon be getting its largest coaster -- 2100 feet of track. A lot, in other words.
If a human being measures say five feet…for an easy to figure comparison…that is the length of 40 humans stretched out.
It’s called “Cobra’s Curse.”
It could be broken down into three stages.
In the first, you go up a 90-degree vertical lift. Surprise!
Or maybe not.
You get there.
You are now facing King Venymuss.
He’s not a real king.
Because he or she is not human.
But an 80-foot snake.
Gold, in color.
The second phase gives you something you might not have expected…but perhaps should when encountering an 80-foot snake…you have the good sense to go backwards.
Backwards…didn’t you expect that?
You want to get away. From the huge snake.
The final phase is a free-for-all.
Not entirely free. It spins you in a pattern randomly based on weight distribution.
For more new thrill rides
For other thrills while in the area, there’s something new and very different to try.
It’s a free event June 11 called “Fly into Summer” at Aerospace Discovery.
The Florida Air Museum, which you may not have heard that much about (no promotional budget such as Disney or Universal).
It’s in nearby Lakeland.
This family-friendly event includes free admission to Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum.
This is known as the Official Aviation Museum of the state of Florida. Attractions here do not…we repeat, do not…include roller coasters.
But they do offer STEM.
STEM is a term short for (science, technology, engineering and math).
It usually refers to jobs but in this case, it is exhibits and attractions based on scientific arts and crafts.
Educational, in other words (for families, or kids, or the kid in you, as we said).
But there are other G-rated events here such as a scavenger hunt, etc. Also, movies.
For G-rated families
Check their web site (www.sun-n-fun.org) for other events.
In other non-major park news, the Calypso Cay Resort in Kissimmee this summer should be opening its so-called “High Action Adventure” products.
These include a “FlyWrite Zipline, Extreme Air Jumper, Rope Quest and Balloon Battles.”
The Zipline alone is a 300 foot journey.
Or the Jumper will take you up to 25 feet high.
Water battles are another choice on a custom rope course.
And also at Disney, some new food that in many cases can be easily dubbed adventurous.
The new dining options just about everyone is looking forward to at Disney Springs are opening or have by now.
There are several new options.
These include “D-Luxe Burger,” where you definitely want to dare another part of your body, your taste buds, to the El Diablo.
It’s a classic cheeseburger with a bite: That comes from chorizo, and other ingredients.
Also worth trying: gelato. But not in a cup or bowl. But as a milk shake.
Cakes and pastries, always in demand here, will be a high point of Amorette’s Pattisserie. You can watch chefs preparing classic macaroons or chocolate-chocolate chip cookies.
Dare to try it
Canada is hardly known for adventurous food. But the Daily Poutine will show you why residents of that country like their unusual French fry toppings. These include beef poutine gravy (yes, why the restaurant got its name), fried yucca or black beans and other toppings only the adventurous would associate with French fires.
And how about sake?
Yes, a drink. But “YeSake” at their new kiosk offers a bourbon version. Or a freeze (good timing in the hot summer).
And Sprinkles, which we have reported on before. Dubbed part of a long line from the first cupcake bakery (so says the Food Network).
With ATM sold cookies. Also vegan and gluten cakes.
And we should not forget nearby LEGOLAND.
There’s a variety of new attractions and movies.
For the younger crowd, the kids here for the first time can build and race their own boats at the attraction’s water park this summer.
It’s also a good way to cool off after sampling all of the season’s hot new attractions. ###