A week or so ago I headed out to Florida for a work trip so I took it upon myself to head out a day early and visit a couple of parks that had long been on my "theme park bucket list". Despite multiple trips to FL I had just never managed to get to these two parks.
They were both totally worth the wait as both were amazing.
Written by Gregg Condon
Flying into MIA at about 6am ... flying out of MIA at about 7am on my way to TPA.
If that seems like a quick connection in an airport as big as MIA ... you are correct.
After a quick breakfast at IHOP (seriously, I could NOT find a Waffle House on the way from the Airport) it was time for Busch Gardens Tampa.
Wouldn't you know, just as the park was about to open a huge storm hit. It wasn't even one of those 5 minute FL storms, it was a good 1/2 hour.
Good thing after that though is we had a relatively dry day.
Our first stop of the day was Cheetah Hunt ... and in typical Intamin fashion the ride was down.
We did get to ride later in the day and I loved it. Would have loved to ride more, but the ride just was having a bad day.
So while they were figuring out what's going on with the Intamin, we headed to Cobra's Curse.
Totally loved this ride. Unexpectedly longer than I thought it would be.
Next up was Montu ... and wow, this B&M did not disappoint. Fun in the front and the back.
Some more of Cobra's Curse
A lot of the rides at Busch Gardens go near walkways, so I'm guessing this has been an issue in the past?
Tunnel of Humidity
Ok, Falcon's Fury.
I'll be honest, I'm not a "screamer" when it comes to rides, unless we're just being silly. But VERY rarely does a ride make me scream from freaking me out. This one did. And it was AMAZING.
I had thought they should add the same seats to Lex Luthor at SFMM, I'm re-thinking that. It may be too much. Lol.
Scorpion was great fun as well.
Oh yeah, some of Team Park Journey came out for the day as well. We had so much fun.
Boo, Kumba was closed. Guess I'll have to come back. Shucks.
Mad Kitty ... seriously, he did NOT like us, well me.
Well, if you insist. =)
Most amount of wet we've ever gotten on a log flume ever. And it was glorious.
I don't get why these dive machines get such hate. Are they the most intense rides ever? No. But they sure are fun.
Flaming-O's for my wife.
The Kangaroos are down for rehab. Not sure if drugs or physical. =)
So after a fun day at Busch Gardens, and having had only an hour or two of "plane sleep" I drove out to Orlando.
Instead of going to sleep in my hotel I decided to go find Shake Shack. I honestly didn't even realize it was at the same place as the Orlando Eye.
The next morning it was up bright and early for SeaWorld. Well, I slept for like 11 hours in the hotel, and it was again ... amazing.
Ok, here it is kids. I've gotten a LOT of flack over the years due to my dislike of Tatsu at Magic Mountain. I'm just not a fan. I would have much preferred a flying coaster that had some tunnels or hugged the terrain a bit, not just built on top of a hill. It's an eyesore, it needs a paint job, it's got no pacing ... shall I go on.
Which brings me to Manta
I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved, LOVED Manta. I don't understand how anybody who has ridden both of these coasters could put Tatsu above Manta. Manta has EVERYTHING a Flying coaster should have. Aerial stunts. Check. Pretzel Loop. Check. Awesome looking trains. Check. Near misses with Rocks and Water. Check. Great ops. Check.
I really loved this ride if you can't tell.
A little slo-mo of the part of the ride nobody has ever seen. Lol.
Oh, my other favorite part of the park, for those of you who know me this is NO surprise.
This area blew me away. And the Penguin Encounter at SeaWorld San Diego is a pale comparison.
But more on that in another article soon.
I know the ride gets a lot of hate, and it's probably pretty justified, but I enjoyed it for what it was.
If you are riding this thinking it's going to be Pooh at TDL you will be SORELY disappointed.
OMG, Penguins. I could have stayed in here all day if it wasn't so cold.
Love the underwater viewing.
NEED!! (No I didn't buy it)
Journey to Atlantis was a lot of fun. I was warned not to sit in the front row. I did not sit in the front row. I see why I was warned not to sit in the front row.
Where to even begin with this ...
Yes, you read that correctly, 354 seconds between dispatches. And that doesn't even include the ride cycle time. This VR thing HAS to die. I would have loved to ride this more than once, but I couldn't handle it. It was ridiculous.
I did wait for a front row ride, but because of how they have the VR "Bags" set up, it didn't matter.
Another ride that seems to get a lot of hate for no apparent reason. Solidly in the middle of the B&M Hypers, but that's not a bad thing AT ALL.
First ride it was raining, and I was in the front row. It stung.
As you can see, it wasn't busy. I rode this 8 times in about 45 minutes. Could have ridden more if I didn't have to walk around every time.
Had to pay a visit to the Sharks
And the Turtles
Alright, that's going to wrap it up. I had an amazing two days at two amazing parks.
I did get over to Disney Springs and Hoop De Do Review later in the day with more of Team Park Journey, and that was amazing as well. Maybe I'll put that report up one of these days. =)
Hopefully you enjoyed this report, I will be visiting FL a few more times for work soon so I'm looking forward to trying a few more parks I have yet to get to and seeing more of the state.
SEAWORLD® ORLANDO UNVEILS NEW ATTRACTION LINEUP FOR 2017
Only virtual reality experience in Florida, expanded culinary events, up-close
with dolphin calves and exclusive Pass Member benefits just some of the highlight
Orlando, Fla. (September 27, 2016) – Today SeaWorld Orlando announced its lineup of new attractions, shows and events for 2017, delivering meaningful and fun vacation options for guests.
“We look forward to introducing many new experiences to SeaWorld Orlando in 2017,” said Donnie Mills, Park President, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and Aquatica Orlando. “We are constantly looking at ways to inspire our guests with up-close animal encounters and thrilling attractions. Now, with so many new additions our guests and pass members have more reasons to visit again and again.”
These experiences include:
Kraken® Virtual Reality (VR) Roller Coaster- Summer 2017
SeaWorld Orlando will debut its first digitally enhanced ride experience as the legendary Kraken roller coaster is transformed into a virtual reality (VR) roller coaster experience. Using new technology, this thrill ride will be the only VR coaster experience in Florida.
Guests will embark on a deep sea mission alongside sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past, including the mighty Kraken. A custom digital overlay with uniquely designed headsets, fully integrated both mechanically and electronically into the coaster train delivers a new one-of-a-kind adventure. The addition of VR to this fan-favorite brings a new level of excitement and interest in Kraken, giving guests the opportunity to experience the coaster in a completely new way.
Dolphin Nursery - Summer 2017
SeaWorld Orlando’s Dolphin Nursery will become more interactive in 2017, giving guests the opportunity to get up close to mother and baby dolphins in all new ways.
Large-scale acrylic windows will offer up close viewing, including multiple levels to give kids a face-to-face perspective with dolphin calves. New slide out areas and lifting floor will also allow for easier access to mom and baby for the veterinary and animal care teams.
The next generation of multi-purpose digital displays will allow SeaWorld educators to share information about dolphin behavior, biology and conservation with our guests by interacting with video from the team’s educational and animal care content.
Seven Seas Festival - Starting February 2017
SeaWorld Orlando’s popular music and food events will expand to a total of 14 weekends in 2017 as part of the Seven Seas Festival. Inspired by street food from Asia, the Caribbean, South America and the Mediterranean, this expanded festival will bring new culinary offerings to guests throughout the park. Plus, guests will be able to indulge in a variety of international, local and seasonal craft brews on tap giving their taste buds a worldly delight.
Flamecraft Bar - Summer 2017
Continuing the park’s food and beverage focus, a new dining location adjacent to the SeaFire Grill along the waterfront area will provide a great place to pause for a drink in a casual atmosphere. The Flamecraft Bar will feature 16 seasonal craft brews and a new menu to tempt the taste buds.
Electric Ocean- Summer 2017
Electric Ocean will debut next summer at SeaWorld Orlando as a brand new, end-of-day spectacle event. As the sun goes down, the lights and energy go up, offering guests a different kind of fun after dark. The ocean comes to life with bioluminescent lighting, music and pathway entertainment, immersing guests in a glowing sea of wonder.
Nautilus Theatre - Summer 2017
Continuing the park’s focus on entertainment, events and shows, an entirely new experience is coming to the Nautilus Theatre. The dedicated summer show will debut Memorial Day weekend.
Aquatica Pass Member Pavilion – Spring 2017
As part of SeaWorld’s ongoing commitment to Annual Pass Members, the Aquatica Pass Member Pavilion will open just in time for spring break. The exclusive pavilion will feature concierge service, complimentary sunscreen, a private entrance to Banana Beach, private animal encounters and additional offers.
Rudolph The Red-Nosed ReindeerTM & Friends, SeaWorld Orlando - 2016 Christmas Celebration, continuing in 2017
Beloved Christmas character Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends, including Clarice, Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster and Yukon Cornelius, and Rudolph themed attractions will be making their debut as part of the 2016 Christmas Celebration™ at SeaWorld Orlando.
Rudolph & Friends will return for the 2017 season, with additional Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-themed experiences for families to enjoy the Christmas spirit even more.
The best way for guests to visit SeaWorld Orlando is with an Annual Pass or Fun Card and by purchasing a pass now, guests can get three months free. Also available now is the brand new Transferrable Pass allowing Pass Members to bring a different guest each time they visit SeaWorld Orlando or Aquatica Orlando.
Visit www.seaworldorlando.com for more information.
About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 28,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.
The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection of over 800 species of animals. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company.