Bay News 9 - attractions The latest in attractions news from Bay News 9 en-us Tue, 26 Jul 2016 8:13:40 Tue, 26 Jul 2016 8:13:40 Copyright 2016 Bay News 9 30 <![CDATA[Disneyland to live stream ‘Paint the Night’ parade]]> Mon, 25 Jul 2016 4:00 PM Ashley Carter Have you ever wanted to see the Paint the Night parade, but couldn’t make it to Disneyland? Well, you’re in luck!

The Disney Parks blog will live stream the parade tonight, as part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration.

Paint the Night features innovative floats, vibrant costumes, special effects, music and 1.5 million LED lights. The nighttime parade takes place on Main Street, U.S.A and was created for the park’s 60th anniversary celebration, which continues through Sept. 5.

The live stream will begin at 8:50 p.m. and a link will be provided on the Disney Parks Blog website.

Throughout the month of July, Disney has live-streamed shows from the park including the new Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show.

<![CDATA['Guardians of the Galaxy' ride coming to Disney California Adventure Park in 2017]]> Sun, 24 Jul 2016 10:28 AM Ashley Carter One of Disneyland’s most popular attractions is getting an extreme makeover.

  • "Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT replacing Tower of Terror
  • The new attraction will keep the free fall but have new visual and audio effects
  • It will open at Disney California Adventure Park in 2017

After months of rumors and speculation, Disney has confirmed some fans worst fears: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, the elevator ride based on the “Twilight Zone” television show will close for good in January. It will be remade into an attraction based on Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige made the announcement Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con.  The news was also posted on the Disney Parks Blog.

The new ride will be called “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!" 

Along with artist renderings of the attraction, Disney offered this description of what guests can expect:

Deep inside his fortress-like collection, the mysterious Taneleer Tivan (aka The Collector) is displaying his newest acquisitions, the Guardians of the Galaxy. They are trapped in customized display cases, suspended over a vast abyss. Unbeknownst to their unscrupulous captor, the intrepid Rocket has escaped and is enlisting the Collector’s VIP guests for help. Guests board a gantry lift, which launches them into a chaotic and hilarious adventure as they join Rocket in an attempt to break his fellow Guardians out of captivity.

Disney representatives say that the new “Guardians of the Galaxy” attraction will keep the free fall sensation from the Tower of Terror, but the rest of the ride will be overhauled with new visual and audio effects.

The new Guardians will “anchor a broader universe of Super Heroes that will grow over time at Disney California Adventure park,” according to the Disney Parks Blog.  So, more Marvel attractions are on the way?

The Walt Disney Company bought Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in 2009. Since then, the company has released several successful movies featuring popular Marvel characters.

Right now, Disney has not announced any plans to change the Tower of Terror ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Phew!

“Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!" will open summer 2017 at Disneyland.

WATCH the announcement video below:

<![CDATA[Winter Park business lets you ski, snowboard in the summer]]> Tue, 19 Jul 2016 1:24 PM Allison Walker Torres There's probably no better way to beat the heat than to hit the snowy ski slopes of the big mountains.

Or, you can just pretend to be there. 

WinterClub Indoor Ski & Snowboard is a Winter Park attraction that is the closest thing to hittin' the slopes without catching a flight.

"Essentially, it's very similar to Astro-turf," general manager and expert skier Jeff Penkins told us about the slope. "We have it infused with a lubricant and we hose it down with water and that's what creates the slick surface to simulate the snow."

Your first order of business is to gear up. You're using real ski boots and real skis.

"Ours aren't sharpened and they're not waxed," he said. "If they were sharp, they'd tear up our carpet."

The slope is like a huge, huge treadmill set at a good incline. Your instructor starts you off slowly by having you grip the bar at the base of the slope, looking in a mirror. Achieving balance not just on your skis, but on "snow" moving underneath you can take a minute. (Note: The instructors control the speed at all times. If you start to lose control, they instantly stop the motion so that you won't shoot up like a cartoon character.)

"One of the best things about these slopes is not only are they adjustable with the speed, but the angle can go up," he said. "This machine can go all the way up to 21 degrees. We can easily simulate a double black diamond -- this machine can go up to 20 MPH and you're essentially creating movement equivalent to, like, 35-40 MPH on the slopes, which is great - indoors."

Penkins says the carpet isn't too forgiving, so it might humble the expert skiers at first. But for beginners, he says it forces them to learn the proper technique right off the bat.

WinterClub Ski has two indoor slopes. It's stocked with snowboards off all sizes, and even sleds. If you haven't worked out your quad muscles lately, you'll feel a beautiful burn.

A spokesperson says they're still enrolling for summer camp, and have started enrollment for fall ski boot camps.

For private and group session pricing, you can visit their official site.

<![CDATA[Busch Gardens hosts 'Pokémon Go' lure-a-thon]]> Sat, 16 Jul 2016 5:45 PM Bay News 9 It was a Pokémon Go thrill seeker’s dream!

Busch Gardens hosted the ultimate Pokémon Go event on Saturday, July 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pokémon trainers were encouraged to wear their team colors and try to level up as many Pokémon as they can!

Pass Members got exclusive access to seven PokéStops with activated lure modules in the Egypt area of the park from 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. during the Pass Member Cobra's Curse exclusive ride time.

<![CDATA[Busch Gardens, SeaWorld host Pokemon Go events]]> Fri, 15 Jul 2016 11:55 PM Bay News 9 Trying to catch 'em all?

Busch Gardens and SeaWorld Orlando are hosting Pokemon Go masters all day Saturday.

  • Busch Gardens, SeaWorld hosting Pokemon Go events
  • Special times for pass members, general public

The theme parks in Tampa and Orlando are promising dozens of lure modules at PokeStops throughout the parks.

SeaWorld Orlando is hosting a special event exclusively for pass members from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday, which comes with early ride times.

Then, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., all park guests can track Pokemon.

Busch Gardens is hosting its event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. throughout the park, with a special event for Pass Members from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in the Egypt area, which includes a special ride time for the new Cobra's Curse.

Interested guests can find more information at the Busch Gardens Facebook page and the SeaWorld Orlando Facebook page, including tips and rules.

Pokemon Go is the recently-released online game that lets players track and catch Pokemon in an augmented reality format. The game is wildly popular, spawning meetups across the country, including at theme parks.

<![CDATA[Lineup released for Epcot's 'Eat to the Beat' concert series]]> Thu, 14 Jul 2016 1:08 PM Ashley Carter The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is only a few months away.  To get the excitement going, Disney has released the lineup for the festival's Eat to the Beat concert series.

  • 8 new acts join the lineup
  • Hanson, Sister Hazel and 38 Special returning
  • Epcot Food & Wine Festival, Sept. 14 - Nov. 14

In previous years, artists like Hanson, The Pointer Sister and Sister Hazel have performed. This year, eight new acts join the 18-band lineup.  New musical acts include Wang Chung, BoDeans, Plain White T’s, Jeffrey Osborne, Toad The West Sprocket, Living Colour, Soul Asylum and Delta Rae.

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival runs Sept. 14 through Nov. 14. Performances take place at the America Gardens Theatre at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. each night of the festival.

Here’s a full list of the lineup, which is subject to change:

Sept. 14-15                Wang Chung, “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” – NEW!

Sept. 16-18                STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas “We Built This City”

Sept. 19-20                Air Supply “All Out of Love”

Sept. 21-23                BoDeans, “Closer to Free” - NEW!

Sept. 24-25                Fuel “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)”

Sept. 26-28                Sugar Ray “Fly”

Sept. 29-30                Los Lobos “La Bamba”

Oct. 1-2                     David Cook “Light On”

Oct. 3-4                     Wilson Phillips “Hold On”

Oct. 5-6                     Blues Traveler “Run-Around”

Oct. 7-9                     Plain White T’s, “Hey There Delilah” – NEW!

Oct. 10-11                  38 Special “Hold On Loosely”

Oct. 12-13                  Jeffrey Osborne, “On the Wings of Love” – NEW!

Oct. 14-16                  Tiffany “I Think We’re Alone Now”

Oct. 17-19                  Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx “Lady”

Oct. 20-21                  Christopher Cross “Sailing”

Oct. 22-23                  Toad The Wet Sprocket, “Walk on the Ocean” – NEW!

Oct. 24-25                  Chaka Khan “I Feel for You”

Oct. 26-27                  Billy Ocean “Caribbean Queen”

Oct. 28-29                  Living Colour, “Cult of Personality” – NEW!

Oct. 30-Nov. 1            Hanson “Get the Girl Back”

Nov. 2-3                     Soul Asylum, “Runaway Train” – NEW!

Nov. 4-6                     Delta Rae, “Bottom of the River” – NEW!

Nov. 7-9                     Boyz II Men “Motownphilly”

Nov. 10-11                 Sister Hazel “All For You”

Nov. 12-14                 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy “Go Daddy-O”

<![CDATA[Disney releases menus for Epcot Food & Wine Festival]]> Thu, 14 Jul 2016 11:12 AM Ashley Carter The favorite time of the year for most Disney World enthusiasts is almost here: The 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

The popular festival begins Sept. 14 and runs through Nov. 14 at Epcot and will feature 30 international marketplaces.

Disney has revealed the food and drink menus for this year’s event on its official website. Make sure you arrive with an appetite, because everything sounds amazing.

The festival is also known for its amazing concerts. Disney has also released the lineup for this year’s Eat to the Beat concert series.

For a complete list of this year’s marketplaces and menus, click here or see full list below.



  • Buttered Chicken with Micro Cilantro and Naan Bread
  • Berbere-style Beef Tenderloin Tips with Onions, Jalapeños, Tomato and Pap


  • Simonsig Pinotage
  • Indaba Chenin Blanc
  • Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz



  • Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies
  • Lamington: Yellow Cake Dipped in Chocolate and Shredded Coconut
  • Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Pepper, Onion and Snap Peas


  • Yangarra Estate Vineyard Shiraz
  • Bulletin Place Unoaked Chardonnay
  • Coopers Brewery Extra Strong Vintage Ale
  • Château Tanunda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling



  • Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies
  • Lamington: Yellow Cake Dipped in Chocolate and Shredded Coconut
  • Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Pepper, Onion and Snap Peas


  • Yangarra Estate Vineyard Shiraz
  • Bulletin Place Unoaked Chardonnay
  • Coopers Brewery Extra Strong Vintage Ale
  • Château Tanunda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling



  • Pão de Queijo: Brazilian cheese bread
  • Crispy pork belly with black beans and tomato
  • Escondidinho de Carne: Layered Meat Pie with Mashed Yucca


  • Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black Beer
  • Carnaval Moscato Sparkling White Wine, Serra Gaúcha
  • Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça



  • Schöfferhofer Zitrone Weizen-Mix
  • Hacker-Pschorr Hefe Weisse
  • Radeberger Zwickel Pilsner (Unfiltered)



  • Canadian cheddar cheese soup served with a pretzel roll
  • “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce


  • Moosehead Lager
  • Neige Premiere Apple Ice Wine, Québec
  • Fielding Estate Red Conception



  • Ricotta and Zucchini Ravioli with Rustic Tomato Sauce
  • Grilled Beef Skewer with Romaine, Apricots and Feta Cheese
  • Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with a Caramel Drizzle


  • Festival Chardonnay, CA
  • Festival Cabernet Sauvignon, CA



  • Chicken Pot Stickers
  • Sichuan Spicy Chicken
  • Black Pepper Shrimp with Garlic Noodles
  • Beijing Roasted Duck in a Steamed Bun with Hoisin Sauce


  • Tsingtao Lager
  • Strawberry Plum Wine Cooler with Takara Plum Wine
  • Ritzy Lychee with Courvoisier Cognac VS and Smirnoff Vodka
  • Kung Fu Punch with Smirnoff Vodka and Bols Triple Sec
  • Happy Peach with Dekuyper Peach Liqueur and Myers’s Dark Rum
  • Mango Bubble Tea with Assam Black Tea and Milk



  • Red Wine Chocolate Truffle
  • Ghirardelli® Chocolate Raspberry Torte
  • Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel


  • Fonseca Bin No. 27 Port
  • Justin Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Rosa Regale Sweet Sparkling Wine
  • Blandy’s Alvada 5yr-Old Madeira



  • Pimento Cheese Dip with Pretzel Crisps
  • Charcuterie Plate: Country Pâté, Cured Meats and Crostini
  • Piggy Wings: Fried Pork Wings with Korean BBQ Sauce and Sesame Seeds


  • Orlando Brewing OTown Weiss, Orlando, FL
  • Florida Beer Company Passport 20 Belgian-Style Tripel Ale, Cape Canaveral, FL
  • Two Henrys Blueberry Vanilla American Wheat Ale, Plant City, FL
  • Concrete Beach Stiltsville Pilsner, Miami, FL
  • 3 Daughters Bimini Twist IPA, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Shipyard Midnight Snack Milk Stout, Clearwater, FL
  • Beer Flights also available



  • Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin “Yellow Label” Brut
  • Dom Pérignon Brut
  • Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé
  • Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial
  • Hard Soda Floats with Vanilla Soft-Serve (alcoholic) – Best Damn Hard Root Beer Float, Sprecher Hard Cherry Cola Float or Sprecher Hard Orange Cream Soda Float
  • Soda Floats with Vanilla Soft-Serve (non-alcoholic) – Coca-Cola® Float, Grape Fanta® Float or Strawberry Fanta Float



  • Chicken and Dumplings: Stewed Chicken with Mushrooms and Spinach
  • Pickled Beet Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese, Minus 8 Vinaigrette and Toasted Walnuts
  • Loaded Mac ‘n' Cheese with Nueske's® Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions


  • Woodchuck Raspberry Hard Cider
  • Wyder's Dry Pear Hard Cider
  • Two Henrys Elderberry Hard Cider
  • Florida Orange Groves Mango Mama Wine



  • Croissant aux Escargots: Escargot Croissant with Garlic and Parsley
  • Soupe à l’oignon au Gruyère et Cognac: Gruyère and Cognac Onion Soup
  • Boeuf Bourguignon: Cabernet Sauvignon-braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes
  • Crème Brûlée Caramel Chocolat: Caramel and Chocolate Crème Brûlée topped with Caramelized Sugar


  • Kronenbourg Blanc 1664 Pale Lager
  • Chardonnay, Bourgogne Blanc, Mommessin, La Clé Saint-Pierre
  • Merlot & Cabernet Blend, Bordeaux, Château les Graves de Barrau
  • St-Germain Sparkling Kir: Sparkling Wine and St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • Frozen Daiquiri Ice Pop: Strawberry Puree with French Caribbean Rhum Clément
  • La Passion Martini Slush: Vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka, Cranberry and Passion Fruit Juice



  • Roast Bratwurst in a Hard Roll
  • Schinkennudeln: Pasta Gratin with Ham and Cheese
  • Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sauce


  • Radeberger Zwickel Pilsner (Unfiltered)
  • J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Kabinett, Mosel
  • Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese, Mosel
  • J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling, Mosel



  • Spanakopita
  • Loaded Greek “Nachos”: Pita Chips, Meatless Sausage Crumbles and Vegan Tzatziki
  • Chicken Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce featuring Oikos® Greek Yogurt
  • Oikos Greek Yogurt Vanilla Cake Soaked in Ouzo with Yogurt Whipped Cream and Pistachios


  • Domaine Skouras Moscofilero
  • Domaine Siglas Assyrtiko
  • Alpha Estate Axia Syrah Xinomavro



  • Spicy Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad and Nori Rice
  • Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole® Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise


  • Florida Orange Groves Sparkling Pineapple Wine
  • Kona Brewing Company, Big Wave Golden Ale
  • Mai Tai featuring Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum



  • New England Lobster Roll
  • Smoked Beef Brisket and Pimento Cheese served on Griddled Garlic Toast
  • Freshly Baked Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Icing


  • Samuel Adams Rebel Grapefruit IPA, Boston, MA
  • Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale, San Francisco, CA
  • Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, Milton, DE
  • La Crema Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
  • Cambria Estate Winery Benchbreak Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County
  • Frozen Orange-spiked Tea featuring Florida Cane “Orlando Orange” Vodka



  • Seafood Fisherman's Pie
  • Irish Cheese Selection Plate: Irish Cheddar, Dubliner and Irish Porter
  • Warm Chocolate Pudding with Irish Cream Liqueur Custard


  • Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale
  • Bunratty Meade Honey Wine
  • Twinings® Pumpkin Chai Tea Frozen Cocktail with Caramel Vodka
  • Twinings Pumpkin Chai Tea and Caramel Shake (Non-alcoholic)



  • Jamaican Beef Patty
  • Mojo Pork with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice and Pickled Red Onions
  • Pescado con Coco: Seared Grouper, Pigeon Peas and Rice with Coconut Sauce
  • Quesito: Puff Pastry with Sweetened Cream Cheese and Guava Sauce


  • Presidente Pilsner
  • Frozen Mojito
  • Caribbean Sangria



  • Pennete alla Parmigiana: Baked Ziti and Chicken Parmigiana, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese
  • Spezzatino alla Toscana con Polenta: Tuscan-style Stew with Carrots, Mushrooms and Crispy Polenta
  • Cannoli al Cioccolato: Chocolate-covered Cannoli filled with Sweet Ricotta, Chocolate and Candied Fruit


  • Moretti Lager
  • Moretti La Rossa Double Malt Beer
  • Pinot Grigio, Placido
  • Chianti, Placido
  • Prosecco, Fantinel Borgo
  • Corbinello Spumante Dolce Rose, Montegrande
  • Fior d’Arancio Moscato Spumante, Montegrande
  • Frozen Margarita with Limoncello and Tequila



  • Spicy Sushi Roll: Tuna and Salmon with Kazan Volcano Sauce
  • Grilled Spicy Edamame tossed with Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce and Chili Powder
  • Garlic Shrimp: Marinated Shrimp sautéed with Garlic and Butter and served over Rice


  • Kirin Pale Lager
  • Sapporo Black Lager
  • Pineapple Breeze Sake Cocktail
  • Echigo “Northern Bloom” Junmai Sake



  • Taco de Camarón: Battered Shrimp served over a Flour Tortilla with Crispy Purple Cabbage and Chipotle Mayonnaise
  • Barbacoa Enchilada: Corn Tortilla filled with Beef Barbacoa and covered with Oaxaca Mole
  • Flan de Chocolate Abuelita: Mexican Chocolate Custard


  • Bohemia Pilsner with Floater
  • Mexican-style Red Sangria
  • Mezcal Pineapple Margarita on the Rocks
  • Jalapeño Margarita on the Rocks



  • Kefta Pocket: Seasoned Ground Beef in a Pita Pocket
  • Spicy Hummus Fries with Cucumber, Tomato, Onions and Tzatziki Sauce
  • Chocolate Baklava: Rolled Phyllo Dough with Toasted Almonds and Dark Chocolate Sauce


  • Casa Pale Lager
  • Les Trois Domaines Guerrouane White Wine
  • Moroccan Sangria
  • Mimosa Royale: Sparkling Wine and Orange Juice topped with Orange Liqueur



  • Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney
  • Steamed Green Lip Mussels with Garlic Butter and Toasted Breadcrumbs
  • Seared Venison Loin with Wild Mushroom Marsala Sauce and Kumara Dumpling


  • Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir
  • Kim Crawford Pinot Gris
  • Mohua Sauvignon Blanc



  • Beef Empanada
  • Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Purée
  • Roasted Verlasso® Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri


  • Verum Pinot Noir
  • Bodega Noemía A Lisa Malbec



  • Golabki: Pork-stuffed Cabbage in Tomato Sauce
  • Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream


  • Okocim O.K. Beer Euro Pale Lager
  • Donausonne Blaufränkisch Hungarian Wine
  • Frozen Szarlotka Apple Pie featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka



  • Traditional Scottish Lamb Stew with Neeps and Tatties
  • Fresh Potato Pancake with Scottish Smoked Salmon and Herbed Sour Cream
  • The Tipsy Laird: Whiskey-soaked Cake with Lemon Cream and Toasted Oats


  • Citrus Thistle featuring Hendrick's Gin
  • Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Aged Stout



  • Roasted Pork Lettuce Wrap and Kimchi
  • Korean-style BBQ Beef with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi
  • Vegan Korean BBQ with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi featuring Gardein™ Beefless Tips


  • iCing Grapefruit Sparkling Rice Brew
  • Bohae Bokbunjajoo Raspberry Wine
  • Soju Fruit Slushy featuring Jinro Chamisul Soju



  • Pork Tenderloin with Cannellini Bean Ragoût and Zinfandel Reduction
  • Seared Scallop, Truffled Celery Root Purée, Brussels Sprouts and Wild Mushrooms featuring Melissa’s Produce
  • Trio of Artisan Cheese
  • La Bonne Vie Goat Cheese served with toasted Craisin Bread
  • Karst Cave-aged Cheddar Cheese served with Fig Compote
  • Statesboro Blue Cheese served with Spiced Candied Walnuts
  • Artist Palette of Wine and Cheese
  • Trio of Artisan Cheese paired with Conundrum White Blend 25th Anniversary, Kurt Russell’s GoGi “Goldie” Chardonnay and Robert Mondavi Maestro Red Blend


  • Round Pond Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford
  • Kurt Russell’s GoGi “Goldie” Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills
  • Conundrum White Blend 25th Anniversary, California
  • Vinum Cellars Pinot Noir, Monterey
  • Kurt Russell’s GoGi “Tiger” Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills
  • Michael David Winery Seven Deadly Zins Zinfandel, Lodi
  • Robert Mondavi Winery Maestro Red Blend, Napa Valley
<![CDATA[Skull Island officially opens at Universal Orlando]]> Wed, 13 Jul 2016 11:58 AM Ashley Carter King Kong‘s reign over Universal’s Island of Adventure has officially begun.

On Wednesday morning, Universal Orlando celebrated the grand opening of its newest attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong.

After much anticipation, the legend of King Kong comes to life in this new, unprecedented adventure. Here’s an idea of what guests will encounter when they ride Kong:

Guests are taken deep into a mysterious world with a mission: to discover creatures of unknown origin, according to Universal’s official blog. The mission is led by a research team from the 8th Wonder Expedition Company.

After making their way through ancient temple ruins and encountering hostile natives, guests board a massive expedition vehicle to explore other dangerous terrain, before coming face-to-face with Kong.

Members of The Today Show, including Natalie Morales and Al Roker, were in Orlando for the grand opening celebration.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong is one of several new attractions that have opened at Orlando-area theme parks this summer.

The newly redesigned Incredible Hulk Coaster is also set to open soon at Islands of Adventure.

Walt Disney World has also opened new attractions at its park, including Soarin’ Around the World, Frozen Ever After and nighttime experiences at Animal Kingdom.

<![CDATA[Lowry Park Zoo celebrates summer sunsets with extended hours ]]> Tue, 12 Jul 2016 5:22 PM Virginia Johnson Lowry Park Zoo’s Sunset Celebrations offer extended hours for animal viewing Friday and Saturday nights through August 6.

  • Sunset Celebration runs through Aug. 6
  • Guests see wildlife in a whole new light
  • Night is capped off with laser show finale

"We're able to give people more opportunity to interact with the animals and with each other,” said Scott Swenson, Lowry Park Zoo’s creative director for the Sunset Celebrations.

These interactions are improved by shedding new light on animal habitats. Soft, unobtrusive lighting can be found in the Orangutan living quarters—enough to see that one of the adults is wearing a human shirt his caregivers gave him during an enrichment exercise.

A baby orangutan interacts with some zoo visitors.

There is also just enough light to make out a mother with baby in tow making their way to a viewing window. The baby reaches its hand out into the light—against the glass--and a teenager presses his hand on the human side.

They match each other’s spot, and soon, three young children crowd in, almost giddy at the sight of the infant’s soft, round eyes peering back at them.

For the zoo, this is the goal—connecting with the animals in a special way.

“Especially tonight we've seen the Orangutans have been watching us as much as we are watching them," said Swenson.

Zoo keepers spent months acclimating the animals to increased foot traffic in the evening hours. They continue to offer up-close encounters with their many animal ambassadors--from the prickly porcupine to smooth Halflinger Pony.

The Storie family was visiting from Oviedo when their children Will and Kate had their own special moment.

"I just pet a horsey!” Will explained.

Kate emphasized this excitedly.

“I pet a horsey," she explained, at one point holding the microphone to explain how it felt soft—like fur.

Once again, another moment that fits right into the zoo’s mission—to help forge connections with humans and the zoo’s animals.

But what’s better than a pony? Try a laser light show.

"It's includes laser, music, video imagery, still imagery -- all from Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo,” said Swenson. “So it's a special way to say thank you for spending the evening with us at the special Sunset Celebration."

<![CDATA[7 rules when catching Pokemon at Legoland Florida]]> Tue, 12 Jul 2016 12:40 PM Bay News 9 Pokémon have made their way to Legoland Florida, prompting the theme park to set some ground rules for guests when playing the popular new app.

  • Legoland issues rules for Pokemon GO quest
  • App has become popular but can be distracting

Legoland rules for a safe Pokemon GO quest:

  1. Even a Pokémon Master must stay within guest areas. Please don’t climb any fences or follow any Pokémon into employee only areas.
  2. No catch is worth sacrificing your safety.  All play must pause throughout the duration of your ride until you exit the ride.
  3. Be sure not to bump into one of our more than 60 million Lego models — that could hurt!
  4. With more than 100 Pokémon to catch, be sure to stay hydrated.
  5. If you find a Pokémon at the Fun Town Pizza Pasta Buffet, let the nearest Model Citizen know, we prefer pepperoni over Poké Balls.
  6. If hours of play have unleashed the power of your phone, recharge in the Imagination Zone.
  7. If your wild encounter leads you to Wyldstyle, keep in mind she may need to stop for a selfie with another guest before you can make your catch.

Pokemon Go is the newest smartphone app from Nintendo that has users chasing 150 different characters to move up levels as they are walking outside.

It uses GPS and augmented reality, so you’re walking around your own neighborhood or at work seeing Pokemon.

Police warn don't use the app while driving and pay attention to your surroundings. Officers also say players should be aware of sharing their location which makes it easy for people to follow you.

<![CDATA[Disney Parks Blog to live stream Star Wars fireworks show]]> Sun, 10 Jul 2016 2:08 PM Ashley Carter Save the date. The Disney Parks Blog will live stream the new "Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular" fireworks show  on July 18.

The new show features scenes and music from the popular film franchise and includes laser projections and pyrotechnics.

"Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular" takes place in front of the Chinese Theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Disney hasn't announced a time for when the show will be streamed live.

However, it plans to live stream a different show every Monday for the rest of July.

It recently streamed its Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky on July 4 from the Magic Kingdom.

Here's the upcoming schedule:

  • July 11 - Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire, Magic Kingdom at 4:10 p.m. ET
  • July 18 - Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, Hollywood Studios
  • July 25 - Paint the Night Parade, Disneyland Resort

Each live stream will be available at the top of the Disney Parks Blog on the day of each show.

<![CDATA[New 'Frozen Ever After' and 'Soarin'' details from the masterminds]]> Fri, 8 Jul 2016 12:31 PM Allison Walker Torres The people who helped conceptualize or enhance a pair of attractions are revealing cool new fun facts from Epcot.

The theme park's newest attractions are Norway's "Frozen Ever After" and the Royal Summerhus, as well as "Soarin' Around The World" over in The Land. Disney gave us access to the completed attractions - for the first time - Friday morning.

Lauren Niederhiser is the assistant project manager at Walt Disney Imagineering. Her team of designers went to Norway to achieve the highest level of authenticity.

"[Our creative team] went to a couple of different areas in Norway, specifically Trondheim, which is a big influence on this specific cabin," she told us.

The cabin she's speaking of is the Royal Summerhus, where meet-n-greets with Anna and Elsa take place.

"We really wanted to make sure we had those Norwegian details in here," she said." We've got rosemaling everywhere, which is a traditional Norwegian-style of painting. We also have a lot of wood carvings, so really paying attention to those folk arts."

The Summerhus is a continuation of Princess Anna and Queen Elsa's story.

"It's not something we saw in the film, but really kind of hearkening back to when they were younger," she noted. "So this is the cabin that they visited with their family as children. So you really see a lot of their family heirlooms. It's a true re-telling of the story of their family and where they came from."

Next door, the new "Frozen Ever After" attraction uses the same track as the former Maelstrom. Niederhiser says the biggest pride and joy for her team is how they pulled off the animatronics.

"Our animatronics in "Frozen Ever After" are the most advanced that we have yet-to-date," she smiled. "They're all electric, which kind of allows us a new way to animate and bring them to life."

A 10-minute walk through World Showcase and into The Land is the revamped Soarin' attraction. No longer are you flying over California. Now, you're soaring over and through landmarks in 6 continents.

"It's a huge process [to choose locations]," said Jason Grandt, Walt Disney World Imagineering Art Director. "It's hard to pick, but we did the best we could."

The revamped Soarin' utilizes new projection, technology and 4-D effect, like scents.

"The camera rig that we designed for this film is one of the highest resolution anywhere," he said. "So the detail that you see is unlike any film, anywhere."

So how much of it is computer generated?

"In some of the scenes, there's "Disney magic," he smiled." And some, there isn't."