Bay News 9 - attractions The latest in attractions news from Bay News 9 en-us Wed, 24 Aug 2016 6:9:56 Wed, 24 Aug 2016 6:9:56 Copyright 2016 Bay News 9 30 <![CDATA[Steven Tyler responds to Disney editing Rock 'n' Roller Coaster video]]> Sat, 20 Aug 2016 2:00 PM Ashley Carter In case you missed it, Disney digitally altered Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler’s hand in the pre-ride video at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

  • Disney altered video before Rock 'n' Roller Coaster ride
  • Steven Tyler made "crude" hand gesture in original video
  • The video had played at the Disney World attraction for 17 years

The video, which plays before people board the attraction featured Tyler making a gesture known as “the shocker.” However, in the re-edited clip, Tyler’s hands now appears to hold up four fingers.

Once news of the “shocking” gesture and Disney’s decision to remove spread on social media, it didn’t take Tyler long to respond.

The rocker posted a photo of himself Thursday wearing a hat with an expletive written on it, making a similar gesture to the one that was originally in the video. In the caption he wrote, “WAY TO GIVE ME THE FINGER NOW WALT DISNEY WORLD…17 YEARS LATER.”

As previously mentioned, the original video played for millions of people for 17 years before anyone noticed and Disney decided to change it.

Earlier this year, Tyler visited Disney World and rode the coaster on his birthday.

Watch the edited pre-ride video below. Can you spot the difference?

<![CDATA[Universal's Celebration of Harry Potter set for late January]]> Thu, 18 Aug 2016 3:44 PM Bay News 9 Universal Orlando made its magical announcement for Celebration of Harry Potter on Thursday, but aside from dates and vacation package details, there is not much new.

  • 4th Celebration of Harry Potter set for Jan. 27-29, 2017
  • Features expo, demonstrations and talent Q&A

The fourth Celebration of Harry Potter is set for Jan. 27-29, 2017.

The event includes:

  • Celebration of Harry Potter Expo, which includes props and activities from Warner Bros., Scholastic and other Harry Potter brand partners;
  • Special panels and demonstrations;
  • Q&A sessions with film talent (lineup to be announced).

Universal also released its three vacation packages, which includes on-site hotel reservations, tickets and special guest access to all panels, along with a Friday night reception and free breakfast.

A top-of-the-line package starting at $479 a night also includes a special meet-and-greet with film talent, a Shutterbutton's Photography session and an extra breakfast ticket.

In the past, actors attending Celebration of Harry Potter have included Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and many of the other students.

There is also a package for annual passholders that includes hotel room nights.

More information on the vacation packages is available on the Universal Orlando website.

<![CDATA[Disney to cut evening hours at Animal Kingdom]]> Wed, 17 Aug 2016 8:59 AM Ashley Carter It appears extended evening hours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will soon come to an end.

  • Animal Kingdom nighttime hours to be cut, company says
  • Park could close as early as 6 p.m. by November
  • Animal Kingdom's Jungle Book show will end Sept. 5

According to Disney’s website, the park will begin closing as early as 6 p.m. this fall.

The park’s closing time was moved to 11 p.m. to accommodate its new nighttime offerings, such as nightly Kilimanjaro Safaris and the long-delayed Rivers of Light show.

However, guests will only have a few months to enjoy the park late at night.

Next month, Animal Kingdom will close at 9 p.m. Then in October, the park could close as early as 7 p.m. and 6 p.m. by November.

The early closing time could just be a temporary thing. Animal Kingdom is expected to extend hours when it opens its newest land, based on the hit movie “Avatar.”  

The park’s current nighttime show, Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, which has received mixed reactions since its debut, will close Sept. 5.

However, Disney says it will continue to offer the new nighttime experience, despite the early closure times. Andrea Finger, a Disney representative, released the following statement on behalf of the company:

"We will continue to offer new nighttime experiences at Disney's Animal Kingdom, including Kilimanjaro Safaris, the awakening of the Tree of Life, Tiffins restaurant and more. We will continue to adjust our hours and will remain open after sunset to deliver those experiences for our Guests."

<![CDATA[Universal Orlando reveals original houses, scare zones for HHN 2016]]> Thu, 11 Aug 2016 12:30 PM Ashley Carter Universal Orlando has revealed three original houses and five scare zones for Halloween Horror Nights 2016.

The three original houses include “Lunatics Playground 3D – You Won’t Stand a Chance,” “Ghost Town – The Curse of Lightning Gulch,” and “Tomb of the Ancients.”

Here are the terrifying details from Universal Orlando’s Blog:

Lunatics Playground 3D – You Won’t Stand a Chance

While Jack’s away, Chance has unleashed the horrors of her imagination. Her twisted delusions and reality are continuously blurred in a 3D playground of carnage. When the music box plays, the world shifts to her sinister theater of the mind. But when the alarm starts ringing, Chance is thrown back into the brutal reality of her incarnation.

Ghost Town – Curse of Lightning Gulch

When lightning strikes, the curse of Lightning Gulch comes to life and this ghostly town appears. These doomed souls — who once went searching for gold — found death and destruction. And now they seek others to join them. As thunder cracks, flashes of lightning will lead your way through the treacherous wild west nightmare.

Tomb of the Ancients

An ancient evil has surfaced, and immortal beings from the past have returned to rule mankind. It was only a matter of time until “The Ancient Ones” were unearthed. Now these makers of chaos are loose from the pits of hell — and the whole world will pay.

With the announcement, Universal released two sneak-peek videos that offer a closer look at the frightening new additions. Watch both of them below.

Five original scare zones have also been announced: “Survive or Die,” “Banshee’s Lair,” “Dead Man’s Wharf,” “Vamp 1955,” and “A Chance in Hell.” Read the descriptions below.

  • Survive or Die: A global catastrophe has ruined Earth’s atmosphere. One group of survivors secured a machine that provides clean air. The two other surviving groups are on the hunt to gain control of the machine and are recruiting new members to help them. You can either join them or feed their starving ranks.
  • Banshee’s Lair: Travel deep into the forest where evil spirits and horrific creatures of the ancient world roam free. Mother Nature’s magical barrier of vines has been torn away and the modern world has found the entrance to this corrupted grave.
  • Dead Man’s Wharf: When a fishing vessel named Annabel Lee never returned to the harbor and was lost forever, the wharf was left uninhabited as a memorial to her. Now, a strange fog has rolled into the village. And the long-lost fishermen’s spirits seek to punish the town that left them.
  • Vamp 1955: Welcome to Hollywood High School’s 1955 Homecoming Parade. Everything is in place, until the greasers roll into town with fangs instead of switchblades. It’s a procession of chaos with vampires ready to take a bite out of anyone in sight.
  • A Chance In Hell: Get ready for the audition of a lifetime. Chance may be locked away, but that hasn’t stopped her. As the alarms ring and the bloody remains of those who tried to stop her lie around, she’s busy recruiting cell mates to join her biggest act yet.  

Halloween Horror Nights will take place at Universal Studios Florida on select nights from Sept. 16 through Oct. 31.

For more information click here.

Ghost Town – Curse of Lightning Gulch

Tomb of the Ancients

<![CDATA[Disney World ending Main Street Electrical Parade]]> Thu, 11 Aug 2016 10:30 AM Ashley Carter The Main Street Electrical Parade will soon end its run at Walt Disney World this fall, according to the Disney Parks Blog.

  • Main Street Electrical Parade to end on Oct. 9
  • Parade will head to Disneyland for limited time
  • No word on what will replace the parade

Visitors will have until Oct. 9 to see the glowing, spinning floats one last time.

After that, the parade will head to Disneyland Resort for a limited-time engagement.

The parade has been a favorite with visitors since it first debuted in 1977.

In its announcement Wednesday, Disney didn’t say what would replace the parade.

Many people took to Twitter to express their shock over the news.


<![CDATA[Florida on a Tankful: Golf miniaturized at Walt Disney World]]> Thu, 11 Aug 2016 5:00 AM Scott Fais The summer of 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of miniature golf. To celebrate, Walt Disney World just completed a refurbishment on a different type of link, designed to challenge and inspire.

For more than 20 years, the resort has turned mini-golf upside down.

"I like to consider it real golf, but miniaturized,” Disney Guest Experience Manager Jeffrey Saunders said with a sly grin.

The more than 1,400 feet of "precision putting" take on new meaning at Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course.

“The Fairways” course at Fantasia Gardens resembles a real 18-hole course, but on a smaller scale.

"It's only with putters,” says 9-year-old Trent Walden while standing on a mound of AstroTurf designed to be a course hazard.

The Walden family celebrated summer's last hurrah before school started with a morning round of golf. Here, there are no windmills, corkscrews or fiberglass creatures. Instead, the 18 holes resemble a real 18-hole course, on a smaller scale modeled after miniature golf.

"I would say the hardest hole and feature would be the first one," Trent says. "There is so much slope sending you off, away from the green."

With putters in hand, Trent and his twin sisters discovered this is quite the challenge.

"What was your average putt on the course?” We ask.

“One hundred,” Trent’s sister Janie says.

Janie joined her twin sister Conley in a fierce round on the links.

"So, did you have the best score?” We asks.

“No,” Conley responds.

Just like a traditional game of golf, there are hazards to contend with.

"Stay out of the sand. Stay out of the water. Stay out of the bushes,” Saunders with Disney says.

The course was designed by Disney’s famed Imagineers to be challenging.

"I would give this a 10, it is probably the hardest golf course in Central Florida from a miniature golf-size level,” Saunders said.

The winner's board keeps track of the best score each day for the Fairways course, along with what awaits next door. In the meantime, a second miniature golf course with scenes featuring parading ostriches and tutu-wearing hippos sits right next door. 

The Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course is described by Walt Disney World as “perfect for families and beginner golfers.”  Here, find the traditional twirling obstacles and fountains set to music from the 1940s film “Fantasia.”

Yet, leave it to a 7-year-old for more than color commentary as summer comes to an end.

"I liked it because it was really fun. I played with my family," Conley says with a warm smile.

It’s a feeling Jeffery says he sees all the time.

"When guests leave our courses, they’ve had a great time,” Jeffery said.

Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course is open late, until 11 o'clock nightly. To see a map of the course and learn prices, click here.

Tankful on Television
You can catch new Florida on a Tankful stories each Thursday and Saturday on News 13 and Bay News 9. New editions play at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m. Classic Florida on a Tankful stories can be found each Friday and Sunday on Bay News 9 and News 13 at the end of each hour starting at 6 a.m.

Tankful on Demand

Catch Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais on your time, now on Bright House Local On Demand, Channel 999. Use your remote to scroll to the right to the TRAVEL category. Then SCROLL DOWN to TANKFUL.

Scott Fais joins Travel Monthly

Catch our own Scott Fais as the Florida Correspondent on the On Demand travel magazine, Travel Monthly. Each month, Scott joins other travel reporters from across the United States as they showcase a wide variety of attractions, diners, parks and landmarks from across America. See Travel Monthly nationally on Time Warner Cable channel 411. And here at home on Channel 999.

<![CDATA[Video: Superheroes ride revamped Hulk roller coaster]]> Mon, 8 Aug 2016 4:57 PM Bay News 9 Universal Orlando opened its revamped Incredible Hulk roller coaster with help from some major superheroes.

  • Hulk roller coaster reopened last Thursday
  • New queue, new track, new ride vehicles

The coaster reopened last Thursday, but on Monday Universal shared videos of several Marvel heroes, including Storm, Captain America, Spider-man and Cyclops, riding attraction.

The video also shows non-super people giving their first impressions of the ride.

Digital Media Producer Ashley Carter got to experience the revamped Hulk last week, along with the all-new Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Check out her review of the rides and see video from her trip.

<![CDATA[Universal Orlando: Kong reigns, and Hulk is back]]> Sat, 6 Aug 2016 7:00 AM Ashley Carter Two new attractions have recently opened at Universal Orlando: Skull Island: Reign of Kong and The Incredible Hulk Coaster.

  • Universal Orlando launching 2 attractions this summer
  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong recently opened
  • Hulk coaster set to open soon; media invited to ride Wednesday

People have been waiting with anticipation for both rides, and let me just say, they won’t be disappointed.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong

Skull Island was the first new attraction to open at Islands of Adventure this summer. After months of waiting, the ride is worth it. It’s a sensory overload.

The queue is dark and terrifying, with characters jumping out at you around different turns. Watch out!

You’re then greeted by a witch placed inside a skull who chants while fire fill the skull’s eyes. The room darkens, and the chants grow louder and louder.

You then board a ride vehicle that will take you on an expedition. This is when the fun really starts.

By the way, you’re wearing 3-D glasses for this one. So most of your time spent on this ride is looking at screens.

After the vehicle travels through the large door, you enter begin to encounter the creatures of Skull Island. It doesn’t matter which side of the ride you sit on, terrifying creatures are everywhere. On the left, on the right.

And then Kong appears and begins to battle the creatures. The vehicle bobs and shakes as creatures are thrown against it and Kong jumps on top of it. You feel every bit of the action.

Without giving all the surprise away, I’ll just say Skull Island is fun and terrifying and features fantastic animatronics.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Hulk is by far the best new attraction, and now, one of my personal favorites. For those who have ridden Hulk in the past, there are some familiar touches. At the new entrance to the ride, pieces from the old coaster are prominently featured.

During a Q&A with ride engineers at a media preview Wednesday, we learned that the path for the coaster is the same as the old one, but everything else is different.

Inside the new queue, guests will see bright, swirling tubes filled with strands of DNA, as well as a gamma ray accelerator. It’s a really cool sight to see while waiting in line.

After you make it upstairs, you are treated to a new video that shows someone getting hit with gamma radiation and transforming.

But the ride is the best part. The track is new, the ride vehicles are new — and yes, the rumors are true, the ride is so much smoother.

Speakers have been placed at riders’ feet, pumping out sound effects and music. And, of course, the rest is drops, turns, loops and plenty of G-forces.

Hulk is back. RAWR!!!

As of right now, Universal has not offered an official opening date for Hulk. Representatives would only say “soon.”

<![CDATA[Krampus coming to Universal's Halloween Horror Nights]]> Thu, 4 Aug 2016 3:41 PM Bay News 9 Universal's Halloween Horror Nights will get into the Christmas spirit this year with the addition of an old, dark holiday tale.

  • Universal's Halloween Horror Nights starts Sept. 16
  • Krampus will get a maze this year

Krampus will get its own maze at the annual Halloween event, starting Sept. 16 at Universal Orlando and Hollywood.

Krampus is an old Bavarian folk character, a horned demon who would punish naughty children during the Christmas season, in contrast to Saint Nicholas, who rewards good children. Krampus parades and events still happen throughout towns in the Alpine region of Germany and Austria.

Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures featured Krampus in a horror comedy in 2015. In the film, Krampus terrorizes a family. The maze will lift scenes from the film, including a band of dark elves and gingerbread men.

Other attractions coming to Halloween Horror Nights 26 in Orlando includes "The Walking Dead," "The Exorcist" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

To find event dates and ticket prices, head to

<![CDATA[Incredible Hulk Coaster officially reopens]]> Thu, 4 Aug 2016 2:24 PM Ashley Carter Universal Orlando executives weren't kidding when they said Hulk would be opening "soon" at Islands of Adventure.

The theme park officially marked the return of Hulk Thursday morning at Islands of Adventure, a day after News 13 got a peek at the new ride.

Several Marvel characters gathered for the official reopening ceremony before the park opened to the public.

Universal Orlando also changed the status of the ride on its website: The Incredible Hulk Coaster – Now Open

A screengrab from the Universal Orlando website announcing Hulk is back. (Universal Orlando)

The coaster has been under refurbishment since last September. Featuring a completely new track, new ride vehicles and on-board music, The Incredible Hulk Coaster follows the same path as the original ride.

The queue also received an upgrade with new lightning effects and colors.

The Incredible Hulk joins Skull Island: Reign of Kong as the newest attractions at Islands of Adventure.

<![CDATA[Universal Orlando: Hulk coaster set to open at Islands of Adventure]]> Tue, 2 Aug 2016 11:40 AM Ashley Carter This summer has been the “summer of new” at the theme parks: new attractions, new experiences.

First, Disney “awakened summer” and debuted several new attractions including Frozen Ever After, Soarin’ Around the World and nighttime Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Now, Universal is getting in on the action with its newest thrill rides Skull Island: Reign of Kong and The Incredible Hulk Coaster.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong has been open for a few weeks now. It’s one of the most interactive attractions Universal has to offer.

Guests are taken deep into a mysterious world with a mission: to discover creatures of unknown origin. The mission is led by a research team from the 8th Wonder Expedition Company. As you make your way through the temple, you encounter hostile natives before coming face-to-face with Kong himself.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster is probably one of the most highly-anticipated new attractions this summer.

The coaster features an all-new track (which Universal engineers promise will create a smoother ride), an updated queue and new entrance.

The storyline for the ride is also new:

Gen. Thaddeus Ross is calling for volunteers for a new experiment. Your only warning is that you’ll be subjected to high levels of gamma radiation through a process called Hulk-a-fication — a potentially life-altering process first introduced by Dr. Bruce Banner.

The end result is said to give subjects magnificent strength and a forceful amount of energy. Will you emerge as the military’s next super soldier … or something else entirely?

The Incredible Hulk has been undergoing refurbishment since closing in September 2015.

Universal has been testing the coaster for the last few days, with Hulk expected to officially get the "green" light sometime this week.

Universal is giving News 13 a chance to peek inside both attractions. We will be at Universal on Wednesday, covering all the excitement and thrills. Check back for updates on

You can also follow our Digital Media Producer Ashley Carter, who will be checking out the new rides, on Twitter: @therealCarterA.

<![CDATA[First responders to get into SeaWorld Orlando for free through September]]> Tue, 2 Aug 2016 11:07 AM Bay News 9 SeaWorld Orlando is saluting first responders by offering a day of free admission into the park for the next two months.

Now through Aug. 31, first responders can register to receive free admission in to SeaWorld through Sept. 30.

SeaWorld, Firehouse Subs and Cocoa-Cola are all participating in the event.

In addition to complimentary admission, qualified first responders receive up to four discounted tickets for friends and family for $49.50 per person — a savings of 50 percent off general admission.

Qualifying first responders include the following:

  • Florida Fire Rescue First Responders
  • Florida EMT/EMS Employees
  • Florida Law Enforcement Officers
  • Florida 911 Dispatchers

Qualifying first responders can go to for more information on how to register. Tickets must be used by Sept. 30, 2016.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment also has a tribute program called Waves of Honor. Created in 2001, the Waves of Honor military salute program provides free admission to the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks, and Sesame Place for active members of U.S. armed forces and as many as three direct dependents per service member. Information on current active duty and veteran ticket offers is available at