Welcome to Theme Park Wrap-Up, a monthly series where we take a look at what’s going on in and around the Florida theme parks and attractions.
This month was particularly busy, with both new experiences and announcements galore from Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort, along with construction updates from SeaWorld Orlando. Let’s jump right into it!
Walt Disney World
Over in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we got to shrink down to the size of a toy and play in Andy’s backyard with the opening of the all-new Toy Story Land!
This 11-acre park includes two new attractions, Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers, as well as the classic 4D midway attraction, Toy Story Mania. Guests can enjoy nostalgic bites from the quick-service restaurant, Woody’s Lunch Box, and see roaming characters like the Green Army Men and Woody, Jessie and Buzz throughout the land.
Walt Disney World also made a few announcements in addition to the new land opening. First, a new annual pass option for Florida residents has been introduced: the Florida Resident Theme Park Select.
Priced at $439, this pass includes at least 325 days of access to select parks, and at least 175 days of access to all four parks. This is the perfect pass for guests who enjoy visiting Walt Disney World regularly, but don’t mind which park they visit.
Even though we’ve just barely reached the halfway point of summer, planning for the holidays is already underway at Walt Disney World, and part of the celebrity lineup for this year’s Candlelight Processional at the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays has been revealed.
A traditional part of the holidays at Walt Disney World, this year’s Processional includes returning narrators like Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Jodi Benson, and Pat Sajak. Dining packages are on sale, and the event will begin Thanksgiving Day, November 22, for the first time ever.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando had its own fair share of announcements and debuts this month as well.
On July 16, the park’s new nighttime spectacular, Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration, officially opened at Universal Studios Florida.
This nighttime show utilizes panoramic water screens, pyrotechnics, lasers, projection mapping and over 120 dancing fountains to turn the park’s lagoon and its surrounding buildings into a colorful celebration of characters from Universal’s attractions and films. Guests can enjoy this new addition most nights from a new dedicated viewing area in Central Park.
We also saw new announcements for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights event, with two new scare zones, Revenge of Chucky and Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and an original house, called Slaughter Sinema.
In the Revenge of Chucky scare zone, guests will enter a toy fair with terrible twists on childhood toys. Possessed toys, like deadly board games and menacing monkeys will stalk the streets looking for innocent prey. Guests will also come face-to-face with the world’s deadliest doll himself, Chucky.
Over in the Killer Klowns from Outer Space scare zone, a galactic circus tent filled with klowns from another world can be found, with the sickly-sweet smell of cotton candy luring guests in. But beware, you could be spun into a disgusting human hybrid treat yourselves!
Going along with this year’s 1980s theme, we also got an announcement of an original house, titled Slaughter Sinema. This horror show takes place at a local drive-in in Carey, Ohio. You’ll smell the popcorn, hear and see trailers for faux B-movies you’re about to experience, like “Pumpkin Guts,” “Cult of the Beast Baby,” and “Amazon Cannibals from Planet Hell.”
Halloween Horror Nights kicks off on September 14, and runs through November 3.
Electric Ocean, SeaWorld Orlando’s nighttime celebration of light and music, is well underway at the park, running on select dates through September 2.
Guests can dance the night away at Club Sea Glow with performers dressed as playful sea creatures and DJs spinning tunes, or enjoy shows like Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up the Night and Ignite, a firework and fountains spectacular.
We also got a construction update on the forthcoming river rapids attraction, Infinity Falls, which is scheduled to open this summer. In a photo released by the park, we can see that the ride was “topped off” with the final piece of a massive tower. No specific opening date for this new attraction has been released.
Catch more theme park happenings, news and updates here next month, or every day at AttractionsMagazine.com!
Brittani Tuttle is a writer with Attractions Magazine, the only publication that covers all the major theme parks and attractions worldwide. In addition to the magazine, there is “The Attractions Show” online, an email newsletter, podcast, app and more. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit AttractionsMagazine.com.