Archive | Spotlight Orlando Attraction

KidsTown at Orlando Science Center Expanded

The Orlando Science Center (OSC) has expanded KidsTown, a popular attraction for kids of all ages. It is now three times bigger at 11,000 square feet, offers new activities and appeals to a wider age group. With the grand opening happening just this past weekend (Oct. 22-23, 2016), your kids will want to revisit KidsTown again.

Now Open! KidsTown at OSC

KidsTown has moved to the second floor making easier access from the parking garage. Walk over the pedestrian walkway and the new attraction will be on your left. The entrance is also the only exit, making it safer for parents to monitor active children. The entire area is roomier and visually appealing. You can move through various sections spending as much or as little time in each experience.

If your child has a favorite activity at OSC, don’t despair. Nature Works, All Aboard, Science Park, Engineer It, DinoDigs and Our Planet and other popular attractions are still present. The 7 new hands-on zones include:

  • Orange Grove presented by Dr. Phillips Charities
  • Isaacs Family Climb Time
  • Harriett’s Kidstown Theatre
  • Kidstown Studio presented by Florida Hospital for Children
  • Toddler Town presented by Community Based Care of Central Florida
  • Drip Drop Splash presented by James M. Cox Foundation
  • Explore It presented by Publix Super Markets Charities

Activities at KidsTown

The first activity you’ll be able to experience at KidsTown is called Orange Grove. This popular activity as been a favorite for years. Now, however, you not only get to “pick” the “oranges,” you also get to see how they move from the factory to the market. This part of KidsTown is a great tribute to Dr. Phillips’ first orange factory in Orlando, which still stands on the corner of Princeton Street and Orange Avenue.

Family ClimbTime is another great activity. Who doesn’t love to climb? This multilevel course has something for every ability focusing on kids between the ages of 4 and 7. There are rope bridges, slides, stairs and other obstacles. Older kids and parents may need to duck while climbing but will find the activity a lot of fun.

Other Fun Things to Do

Down the “shadow” hallway (15 colorful lights throw shadows on the opposite wall) is a large room divided into four distinct activities. First is Drip Drop Splash. This area includes a water table where your child can rearrange obstacles changing the path of the water’s flow. Make it rain with a simple turn of a wheel. While this isn’t necessarily a splash zone, do expect a lot of dampness.

Secondly, this area includes Harriett’s KidsTown Theatre and KidsTown studio. Hear stories and see performances in this area. Arts and crafts and other activities will take place in this section as well. If your child loves to play dress-up, check out the costume shelf. This is a great way for your child to express themselves and pretend.

If you have younger children (infants to 2 years), ToddlerTown will be a great treat. Let your little one crawl, push, pull, lift and experiment. The peek-a-boo activity is great fun and will definitely entertain your little one.

Explore It

KidsTown Explore It at OSCWithin the Explore It area, children can put science to work. An 18-foot-tall structure with wind pipes dominates this area. Colorful scarves are sent through see-through vacuum pipes. Once they exit, they gently glide down to the floor. Kids of all ages love to watch and participate.

An oversized Lite Brite is also featured in the Explore It area. Light up the room with the kaleidoscope-projection board with lights that you twist on and off as well as change colors. It will light up any child’s face!

Orlando Science Center Information

OSC is located at 777 E. Princeton, Orlando, FL 32803 and is open daily (except Wednesdays) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Membership allows entry at 9:00 a.m. The cost is $19.95 for adults and $13.95 for kids 3-11. While KidsTown is re-experienced for the next several weeks, “timed tickets” will be issued to keep the area from being over-crowded. You can reserve your time at the admissions desk, or if a member, in advance online. Call 407-514-2000 or go to osc.org for more information.

Kissimmee Ghost Tour: Year-round Attraction

A ghost tour featured in a major theme park during Halloween may vanish like, well, a ghost. However, in Kissimmee a year-round attraction may be even scarier.  Haunted Kissimmee offers a ghost tour of the unexplained spirit world.  This night-time walking tour boasts that there is enough REAL paranormal activity here, there is no need for special effects or props. Your informative guide will explain to you all about Orbs, and you are very likely to come back from this tour with actual Orbs in your photos.

ghost tour photoThe guides will take you on a 90-minute walking ghost tour to visit some very historical, very haunted places. Places such as The Kissimmee Library, Susan’s Courtyard Café, the Orange County Regional History Center, the train station, the playground and more!

The Kissimmee Library is thought to be one of the most active sites in downtown for the paranormal. Faucets turn on and off by themselves, and books fly off shelves. As it turns out, the building was a sawmill. Three women were murdered there in the early 1900’s.  A great place to eat is Susan’s Courtyard Café. It is a lunchtime favorite of many locals. However, you may notice a woman staring out one of the café windows. This is thought to be a ghost of a woman murdered there by her husband.  The local playground is believed to be haunted by young Isabella, a 7-year old girl who used to love to play on the swings.  Many people have reported seeing the swings swinging when there is no wind at all.

Well, I don’t want to ruin it for you by telling you ALL of the haunts. You need to check this out for yourself.  If you’re not a believer now, this tour may change your mind. At the very least, it will be intriguing.

Be sure to bring a camera with extra memory and batteries. Take several photos right in a row. When you look at them later, you may see an Orb in one, but not the other one. Also, take photos with people in them. Supposedly spirits need our energy to appear.

Times and days of the ghost tour vary upon the season. Be sure to make a required reservation. Their office hours are 6:30-8pm at 321-251-5204, or you can go to their website to reserve your spot. Parties of 6 adults or more reserve a private tour most nights!

Details About the Ghost Tour

Cost:
Adults $19, Children 8 to 12 years old, $9
7 and under free
An adult MUST accompany children 17 and younger

  • Wheelchair & scooter friendly
  • Special tours available, which include hearse tours and rentals, private tours, midnight tours, group tours.
  • Please Note:  They reserve the right to cancel a tour due to weather, lack of participation or special events in the downtown area.

Remember, this Kissimmee attraction is only 10 minutes from Capone’s Dinner and Show, so on certain dates, you may be able to catch Capone’s matinee or early show and then go to the Kissimmee Ghost Tour afterwards.  Check Capone’s website for show times.  Both attractions will give you something to remember!

Spotlight: Fun Spot America – Great Entertainment

Fun Spot America has offered great a entertainment value in Orlando since 1997 when the first of two locations opened. The International Drive location go-kart tracks became a famous attraction for local residents and tourists alike. A second location on Highway 192 in Kissimmee opened in 2007 with other rides, such as the SkyCoaster. Both locations offer plenty of arcade games, thrill rides and family fun.

The famFun Spot Americaily-owned and operated amusement parks have used the tag line, “It’s HUGE!” for years. Now more than ever, that statement rings true. Their International Drive location has recently expanded from 5 acres to 15 acres with even more room for growth. This expansion includes a food court, new flat rides, a new go-kart track and two new roller coasters.

Fun Spot America Highlights

Fun Spot America has bragging rights in a couple areas. For one, the Kissimmee location SkyCoaster ride is the tallest in the world at 300 feet. The Orlando location’s SkyCoaster is second at 230 feet. This thrill ride provides a great view of the attraction area, as you are lifted high up into the air. Hang on! You’ll be swinging and swaying as you drop down to your original location.

Secondly, the White Lightning roller coaster is Orlando’s only wooden coaster. It is a steep, twisting ride with drops and plenty of airtime. Located at the International Drive location, it is paired with another coaster called Freedom Flyer, a suspended steel roller coaster with inverted rolls. Kissimmee’s location has plenty of thrill rides too. Included in their lineup is the Rockstar Coaster that contains sharp tight corners producing plenty of G-forces. One ride found at Kissimmee and not Orlando is the fun Bull Ride. Perfect for the cowboy-wanna-be in your group.

Fun Spot America Roller Coaster

Attraction Ticket Deals

In addition to a wide variety of rides and arcade games, Fun Spot America offers a unique ticket deal. It offers free admission! Buy a single day pass which includes most of the go-kart tracks and rides ($40.95), then pay as you want for additional arcade games and the SkyCoaster ride. ($40 for a single rider, $35 each for double riders and $30 each for triple riders.) If you are unsure or have a limited amount of time, you can simply pay as you ride. Another unique ticket deal is their Chauffeur pass. This is perfect for a little one that needs to ride with an adult on certain rides. The cost is only $9.95 for an adult to ride along. The rest of the time, sit back and watch with free wi-fi. What’s not to like?!

In celebration of the recent grand re-opening a special ticket deal is being offered. For only $74.50 per person, you can attend either park for the rest of this year with no black out dates! While this deal does not include the SkyCoaster ride or Bull Ride, it does include Gator Spot and all other thrill rides at both parks. Hurry! This deal expires September 5th.

Other Offers

Fun Spot America offers ticket deals a few times a year. They often offer a great birthday deal in June. Speaking of birthdays, they offer a free single day pass on your birthday. If you want to have your birthday party at Fun Spot, they offer special packages for groups (rides/food/party space). They can also host group and corporate events.

Compare Fun Spot Locations

The two locations have many similarities. Both parks are usually open from 10:00 a.m. to midnight. This makes it a fun thing to do after the major theme parks have closed. It also provides a great half-day attraction if you are looking to fill your schedule. Here are the two location’s particulars:

International Drive Fun Spot America

  • White Lightning- Orlando’s Only Wooden Roller Coaster
  • 4 Go-Kart Tracks: 3 multi-level, 1 speed track
  • 7 Family/Thrill Rides including Paratrooper, Rip Curl and Revolver
  • World’s Second Tallest SkyCoaster at 250 Feet
  • Cadet Go-Kart Track designed for 4, 5 and 6-year-olds
  • 8 Kid Spot Rides for Preschoolers
  • Over 100 Arcade Games 2 stories of indoor fun

Kissimmee, Highway 192 Fun Spot USA

  • World’s Tallest SkyCoaster
  • Bull Ride
  • 4 Go-Kart Tracks: 2 multi-level, 2 speed tracks
  • 10 Family/Thrill Rides including Rockstar Coaster and Screamin’ Eagles
  • 8 Kid Spot Rides for younger ages
  • Over 60 Arcade Games – indoor fun

For half the cost of the big theme parks, Fun Spot America is a great bargain. It is a lot of fun and will remind you of what attractions used to be decades ago.

Another attraction at half price is Orlando’s best dinner show deal at Capone’s Dinner & Show. Tickets are 50% off when purchased online. It is another unique attraction that is fun for the entire family. Either attraction will “hit the spot” for fun at a bargain price.

Spotlight: Incredible Hulk Coaster – Islands of Adventure

If you’ve been missing one of the best roller coasters in America, you’ll be happy to know that the Incredible Hulk Coaster has re-opened at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Originally opened in 1999, this awesome attraction closed for renovation in September 2015. Now the popular ride is back up and gamma-charged…more than ever.

Located within the park’s Marvel Super Hero Island, the Incredible Hulk Coaster has been voted within the top 10 ten roller coasters in the USA for several years. Time will tell if the new improvements will keep this action attraction at the top. Improvements should help keep its status as a great roller coaster to experience, however, not much has changed.

Incredible Hulk Coaster

Incredible Hulk Coaster Ride Features

Originally the ride accelerated from zero to 40 mph in two seconds flat.  This hasn’t changed. The Hulk launches riders upward 150 ft. and reaches top speeds of 67 mph. This too is the same. The track or path the Incredible Hulk Coaster has not changed, although the track itself is all new. Therefore, it still has a total of seven inversions and two subterranean trenches. The ride, however, is a whole lot smoother. Gone are the brain-bouncing jiggles during the 2-minute 15-second ride.

New Features

One of the most notable new features of the Incredible Hulk Coaster is its queue. Lighting changes inside the building have been made, making it appear more modern. With so much green on the outside, Universal has left that hue out of this portion of the experience. The ride has shifted the focus from Bruce Banner to the rider himself. Read more about the storyline on Universal’s blog.

New Hulk RideThe ride entrance features a new Hulk statue hoisting a ride vehicle. An interesting fact is that the track the Hulk holds is part of the original ride’s rail! A nice way to recycle. The ride vehicles are all new and resonate with an all new onboard sound system. Music plays during the ride and is choreographed for a full effect of the ride’s movements. Featured is music by Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy. From a sudden (and I mean sudden) launch, through barrel rolls, cobra rolls and zero gravity, you’ll be repeating “Do not be afraid.”

The Incredible Hulk Coaster is a great ride. Now more than ever, you’ll be able to experience what it feels like to “hulk out.” Be sure to add it on your list of things to do if visiting Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure.

When vacationing in Orlando or the Kissimmee area, put Capone’s Dinner & Show on your list of things to do as well. Keep some “green” in your pocket and spend an evening with the ‘incredible’ Wise Guys. The cost for your entire group of super heros (a.k.a. your gang) makes this the best dinner show deal around. Since 1992 the show has charged up the audience without the use of gamma rays. Still, you’re gonna have a blast!

Spotlight: Mako Roller Coaster – SeaWorld

On June 10, 2016, SeaWorld Orlando opened a new attraction, the Mako Roller Coaster. It is (for now) the tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster among Orlando’s theme parks. It is so unique, it is classified as a “hypercoaster.” What makes Mako so hyper?

Mako Roller Coaster

Photo © SeaWorld Orlando

Mako Roller Coaster Facts:

  • it has a height of 200 feet
  • no inversions, yet you’ll experience plenty of weightlessness
  • nine moments of air time
  • no shoulder harnesses, only lap constraints
  • lockers are available near Mako’s entrance to store items that may fall out of pockets during your air time
  • high speeds – up to 73 mph
  • track is 4,760 feet long (nearly a mile)
  • the experience lasts about 3 minutes
  • 3 coaster trains with 7 cars per train and each train can carry up to 28 riders
  • Each coaster train weighs 21,418 lbs.
  • Must be 54” tall to ride

Even before and after riding the Mako Roller Coaster, you can become totally immersed in an all new realm. A realm of sharks! Within the queue (line to wait in for the ride), you’ll experience a 48,000-watt, intelligent surround-sound system that plays an original soundtrack. This soundtrack was inspired by sharks and is 32 minutes in length. There are interactive learning stations where guests can learn about different species of sharks. In addition, they can learn what sharks eat, facts & myths, and how humans are a threat to some sharks to the point of extinction. Very interesting.

Learning About Sharks

As with any experience at SeaWorld, expect a great learning opportunity now that the Mako realm has been added. An all-new Shark Touch Pool is now open. Guests can now touch a shark! Guests can also learn about and interact with other sharks (brown-banded bamboo sharks, white-spotted bamboo sharks and epaulette sharks) at the Relaxation Station located near Wild Artic. This newly added realm is all about sharks, and because of this, it is thrilling and creating quite a ripple.

The Mako Roller Coaster is a great reason to revisit this Orlando theme park. It is a roller coaster to put on your must-do list. If you enjoy thrill rides, you can also experience these other roller coasters while you are at SeaWorld:

  • Kraken – floorless ride with open air seating.
  • Manta – head-first, face-down through inversions and loops.
  • Journey to Atlantis – water coaster.
  • Shamu Express – perfect for younger children.

Mako sharks, also called “blue pointers,” are known for their speed and ability to quickly change course to pursue their prey.

Now you can experience the Mako shark’s movements to some degree by riding the Mako Roller Coaster. It will leave you breathless. For tickets and additional information on Mako and other attractions, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.

Mako Roller Coaster Thrill Ride

Photo © SeaWorld Orlando