Dragon Challenge Coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure to Close in September 2017

Dragon Challenge coaster at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando.

Universal Orlando has announced the thrill ride Dragon Challenge at Universal’s Islands of Adventure will be closing in September 2017 to make way for a new Harry Potter-themed attraction.

The coaster was originally known as Dueling Dragons, and was one of the main attractions when Islands of Adventure opened in May 1999.

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Busch Gardens Tampa to Close Gwazi Coaster in February

GwaziAs part of the ongoing renovations at Busch Gardens Tampa, word comes the theme park has decided to shut down its wooden rollercoaster Gwazi on February 1, 2015.

Billed as Florida’s first dueling wooden coaster, Gwazi features two side-by-side tracks that cross seven times at speeds of up to 50mph. The name comes from a fabled creature with the head of a tiger and body of a lion, and the two tracks are named “Lion” (the yellow side) and “Tiger” (the blue).

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Fun Spot America Holds Sweet 16 Birthday Bash June 14 with $16 Armbands and Amazing Race Auditions

One of the Orlando area’s favorite attractions, Fun Spot America will celebrate it’s Sweet 16 Birthday on June 14 with special pricing and more.

Fun Spot AmericaGuests at Fun Spot’s two locations in Orlando and Kissimmee will be able to purchase one-day unlimited ride armbands for only $16 from 10am to noon, either in person or online. Regular price is $40, so that’s quite a savings! Guests can also purchase $16 Sky Coaster flights all day until closing time.

Once you purchase your armbands (up to 6 people), you can stay and play or come back another day this year.

The first 1600 in-park guests will receive Fun Spot bags, T-shirts, pens, sunglasses and other fun giveaway items, too. In addition, there will be in-park entertainment such as magicians, face painters, stilt walkers and more.  Guests can also purchase specially priced souvenir cups for $4 with unlimited refills for that day.

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Walt Disney World Releases Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Full Ride-Through Video

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

One of the most anticipated theme park openings of 2014 is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, and this week, Walt Disney World released a video ride-through of the upcoming attraction.

It’s not designed to be a thrill ride like Big Thunder Mountain, but it is definitely more exciting than a rollercoaster like Goofy’s Barnstormer.

No opening date has been announced yet, but expect this mine train to be open for business sometime in the next few months. In the meantime, you can enjoy this virtual ride on the new attraction, courtesy of Disney Parks.

Fun Spot to Expand International Drive Location in 2012

Their tagline is “it’s huge!” and local amusement park The Fun Spot is about to live up to that with plans to expand their original location at the north end of International Drive.

Among the additions planned are adding on to the already popular go-kart section, as well as installing several rollercoasters. The park says they will also be installing a SkyCoaster ride, which has proven to be very popular at the company’s second location in Kissimmee, next to Old Town.

An all-day pass currently costs around $35. Once the expansion is finished, reps for the Fun Spot say that price will go up, but It will still be cheaper than spending a day at one of the big three theme parks. The SkyCoaster will probably be priced as a separate ticket, just as it is at the Kissimmee location.

Have you ever spent the day at one of The Fun Spots? Do you feel it’s a good value for the price paid? Let us know in the comments.

Legoland Florida to Hold Grand Opening on October 15

It’s been months in the planning and even longer in the building, but the due date is finally here. Legoland Florida will open to the public on Saturday, October 15, 2011.

 

Located about 45 minutes south of Disney, on the former grounds of Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Legoland Florida is the newest of the company’s five theme parks worldwide. It’s also the largest, with 150-acres to explore and play in.

Aimed at families with children age 2-12, the park has more than 50 rides, shows and attractions. For the older kids, there are interactive Lego models to play with, and four rollercoasters to ride, most of them rather mild compared to most of what’s offered at Orlando’s big three theme parks (Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld).

Though most areas of the park are geared towards all kids, DUPLO Village is designed for the toddlers and pre-teens, and the younger ones will also enjoy LEGO City. Most all rides have a minimum height of 36″, and some require an adult or other rider 48″ or taller to accompany the smaller riders.

Of course, this being Legoland, there are areas to build things with the bricks and adults will get a kick out of Miniland USA, an area with scaled down replicas of cities like Las Vegas and New York City. There is also a Florida area, with recreations of popular state areas like Key West, Daytona International Speedway and the Kennedy Space Center. I was hoping for a Star Wars Lego Miniland area, like their San Diego park has, but alas, no.

Single day tickets online are $65 for adults and $55 for ages 3-12 and seniors 60 and older. Annual passes are available starting at $129 for adults and $99 for kids/seniors. You can also buy a lifetime pass good for all Legoland parks for $2500 per person, regardless of age. Buy admission online to save time and money at the entrance. Otherwise at the gate, single day tickets will be $10 more.

Park hours are a 10am daily opening, with park closing most days 5pm. Holidays the park may stay open to 6 or 7pm. Check the schedule online to be sure.

Don’t want to drive all the way to Winter Haven? No problem. Legoland offers a special shuttle bus that offers roundtrip service from the Orlando Premium Outlets – Vineland Ave to Legoland Florida, for only $5 per person. It leaves once a day at 9am and returns in the evening after the park closes.

For more information on Legoland Florida, or the company’s four other theme parks (Carlsbad/San Diego, California; Billund, Denmark; Gunzburg, Germany; and Windsor/London, England), visit Legoland.com.

[Images © LEGOLAND Florida]

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