Last week’s theme park news brought us information about expansions, celebrations and a possible new water park in Orlando. Of course all of the Central Florida attractions are in a constant process of upgrading and adding new features or events. While the new addition of Diagon Alley to Universal has brought a lot of guests to this Orlando theme park, they are not stopping there. Crucial to their success is to constantly renovate and reinvent what they offer – and they are.
Repeat Celebration: A Celebration of Harry Potter
If you follow Universal Orlando on Twitter, you know that the announcement was made last Thursday that they are planning a repeat “Celebration of Harry Potter.” This special 3-day event which will run January 30 through February 1 will repeat the very successful event held last year while Diagon Alley was being built.
General admission park guests will have the chance to experience the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo, attend Q&A sessions with Harry Potter film talent, visit the all-new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and much more! If you are planning to vacation in Orlando during this time, you should check out the vacation packages (including annual pass holder packages) which will go on sale at noon on August 21. They include:
- An exclusive Q&A session with select Harry Potter film talent
- An evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade
- Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade (one per person)
- Reserved seating for select Celebration events
- A specially themed Welcome Parcel
- Complimentary commemorative merchandise item
These packages sold out last year. For more information about the Harry Potter celebration, visit their web site or keep up with news on their blog. There are a few restrictions, so be sure to research your theme park ticket deal thoroughly.
New Orlando Water Park?
A rumor that surfaced last week concerns the trademark paperwork filed by Universal Studios, which might indicate a water park is in the plans. The company filed two trademark applications related to “water park rides” and “entertainment services in the nature of water parks,” according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Possible names included Volcano Bay and Wondersea Island.
Many ticket deals for this Orlando theme park already include a day at Wet ‘n Wild. This is because Universal recently bought the land this Orlando theme park is located on. Universal Studios will not go on record about their plans, but many rumors are going around. Will they tear down Wet ‘n Wild and build a state-of-the-art Universal-themed water park? Will they combine it with an expansion? A very large plot of land by Cabana Bay is being cleared out, so there are indications that something big is going to be built there.
It seems tourists are in favor of a new water park on Universal property. Those that purchase a vacation package would find little reason to ever want to leave the property! Time will tell how this rumor plays out.
Editor’s Note: Some of the mystery of the new water park has now been resolved. Universal plans to close Wet ‘n Wild and open a new Orlando water park in 2017 called Volcano Bay.
SeaWorld Expands Killer Whale Habitats
Expansion plans are in the works for the new killer whale pool at SeaWorld Orlando. This new expansion will be connected to the existing 7 million gallon pool inside Shamu Stadium. “This will not change the way shows are done,” said SeaWorld Orlando president Terry Prather. SeaWorld officials said the new facility has been in the planning stages for years. Other SeaWorld parks (except Orlando and San Antonio) are expanding their whale habitats that will nearly double the size of their existing killer whale homes.
These larger pools for killer whales are mostly in response to the “Blackfish” effect. Public opinion goes both ways. Habitat expansion is a sign that company continues to lead the way in marine mammal display and education. Yet many feel a bigger prison is still a prison.
One thing is for sure, the celebration of great tourism business continues in Orlando. Otherwise these expansions would not happen. It all combines to make Central Florida a great vacation destination.