Fun Spot America
Fun Spot America Orlando is situated at the top end of International Drive in Orlando, not far from Wet n’ Wild and Universal Studios and is very much in the vein of a traditional amusement park/midway with rides for the whole family.
It combines multi-level go-kart tracks, a Ferris wheel, thrill rides like roller coasters and a sky coaster, various carnival rides like bumper cars and carousels plus an amusement arcade with over 120 arcade games and a food court.
Unlike the main Florida theme parks, both parking and general admission is free, you just pay for the rides and attractions, either per ride or per day with an all inclusive armband.
Individual ride prices start at $3 and an adult armband is $34.95 plus tax. You can also purchase an annual pass. Look out for online discounts that can save you around 10% and remember that Fun Spot is part of the Go Card multi-attraction ticket deals.
Fun Spot makes it an attractive half day or whole day attraction for those families looking for something a bit different or on a budget or where not all the family wants to go on all the rides.
In fact Fun Spot America won an award for “Best Family Entertainment Center in the World” at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo in November 2012.
Fun Spot has recently undergone a major expansion with the additional of a number of new and pre-owned rides with a grand opening slated for June 8, 2013.
There are a total of five separate go-kart tracks, four for adults and one for small children. Unlike many other go-kart tracks, most of the tracks at Fun Spot are multi-level.
The four adult tracks are colour coded. The longest track is the yellow Quad Helix which as its name suggests has four levels. It’s a bit like racing in a multi-story parking garage!
The blue Conquest track is split over three levels whilst the red Thrasher track is only on one level but has the most extreme circuit with hairpin bends.
The green Commander track is being rebuilt with multiple turns and drops and when completed will be the longest and most extreme of the tracks.
With the exception of the Thrasher, all tracks have both single seat and dual seat karts so adults can chauffeur a younger driver. Thrasher only has single seater karts.
All tracks have a minimum driver height of 52 inches except Thrasher which is 54 inches. Note that most other rides also have minimum height restrictions.
The White Lightning is a hybrid steel-structured wooden roller coaster with an out-and-back banked layout, built by Great Coasters International. It will be Orlando’s one and only wooden coaster.
Total track length is a little over 2,000 feet with a 67 foot drop and the Millennium Flyer articulated trains will reach speeds of 48 mph. Ride time is around 1 minute 15 seconds.
The 1,200 foot Freedom Flyer is a 65 foot tall Vekoma suspended steel roller coaster built by Chance Rides. It is billed as a family coaster and has no inversions but will reach speeds of 34 mph.
They have now introduced a virtual reality option on their floor-less inverted Freedom Flyer roller coaster. A limited number of riders in the centre part of the coaster are given the option to wear a virtual reality headset if they so desire.
Unlike the Microsoft Hololens headsets on Destination Mars at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the Fun Spot headsets block out all vision of the surroundings as you ride across a desolate and overgrown city landscape.
The motion of the coaster is replicated in the scenes you see through the headset. There is also a button on the side of the headset that allows you to shoot at giant enemy robots but there is no scoreboard like some rides like Toy Story Mania or Men in Black.
There is no add-on cost for using the virtual reality headsets and the headsets are sanitised between rides.
As part of the initial expansion, Fun Spot America are installing one of the world’s tallest SkyCoasters at 250 feet high, formerly located at MGM Grand Adventures in Las Vegas. You cannot miss the iconic arch and tower structure but whereas the original design featured two towers, only one tower will be used at Fun Spot.
On the ride, you are winched to the top of the tower and then released. As you freefall, you swing back and forth through the arch.
This extreme ride combines the experiences of skydiving and hang-gliding and takes one, two or three people at a time. Total ride time is around five minutes.
It will be a separate ticket charge but you can get a discount if you have purchased a regular all day armband.
There is also a 300 foot SkyCoaster at Fun Spot’s sister park, Fun Spot USA in Kissimmee.
Other fairground/carnival rides include the Paratrooper and Scrambler which both spin you around, forwards and backwards and the 40 foot high Fun Slide.
Popular favourites are the Bumper Cars and rather novel Bumper Boats.
A more sedate ride is the 100 foot tall Revolver Ferris wheel which gives you a great view of International Drive and Universal Studios.
Several rides new to Fun Spot have been bought from other parks. The eight-seater S&S Power Screamin’ Swing thrill ride has been relocated from Georgia’s Wild Adventures whilst the Schwarzkopf Enterprise tilt-a-whirl ride was formerly known as Wheelie from Six Flags over Georgia. There is also the Himalaya pendulum ride, called Rip Curl with a beach theme.
There are a number of rides specifically for pre-school kids including one go-kart track called the Kadet which is aimed at the 4 to 6 year old, a traditional carousel, swings, bouncy castles, the El Paso train and spinning tea cups. One new ride is the Sea Dragon kiddie coaster.
As part of Fun Spot’s reuse of existing rides, the beautiful carved horses on the Chance Morgan Americana Double Carousel were rescued from Cypress Gardens when Legoland re-themed their carousel with Lego style horses.
Fun Spot is popular for children’s birthdays and they do special party deals as well as the indoor Party Spot which is a great place to hold a birthday party.
The Fun Spot Attraction Park originally opened on five acres in 1998. In early 2011, Fun Spot purchased an additional 10 acres effectively trebling the size of the existing park.
As part of a $20 million expansion they then announced a host of new attractions including roller coasters, a sky coaster, water park, parking garage and a change of name from Fun Spot Attraction Park to Fun Spot America.
The expansion will be in phases subject to funding with the first phase due to open in June 2013. The first phase will see the introduction of two brand new roller coasters (one wooden and one suspended steel coaster) plus a number of other rides relocated from other theme parks including a sky coaster, swing ride, spinning ride and double-decker carousel.
Also planned for the future is a 220 foot tall Windseeker ride and a 2 acre water park. However the purchase of an additional 10 acres of adjacent land in early 2013 could see an enlargement of the water park.
Original artwork for the water park show four Splashtacular slides, a Double BowlsEye with two tubes that feed into a single bowl, a 360Rush with vertical drop capsules, a SplashRally figure eight racing slide, a TwistedRacers mat racing slide and a lazy river with a spin-out.
Fun Spot USA in Kissimmee
A second park called Fun Spot USA (now known as Fun Spot America Kissimmee) is located in nearby Kissimmee at Old Town on Highway 192 and it operates a similar pricing structure.
See also: Go Card passes