2014 witnessed some major new attractions opening in Florida’s theme parks plus the inevitable closures along the way. The biggest event was probably the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express train ride at Universal Studios Florida with its incredible old London theming.
The Florida Review & Travel Guide brings you the latest Florida news with details of special offers like discounted vacation packages, theme park tickets and other great offers from the best of Florida's resorts and attractions.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona kicks off the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) season and is one of the biggest sporting events at the Daytona International Speedway. It is North America’s most prestigious endurance sports car race, rivalling the 24 hours Le Mans race in France.
Busch Gardens has introduced their own Food and Wine Festival to rival that at Disney’s Epcot. In 2018, the festival runs over nine weekends (Saturday/Sunday) from March 3 through April 29 and admission is included with a standard ticket, Fun Card or annual pass.
The festival area opens at noon on festival events days and there is a preview day on Friday, March 2 with the Florida Orchestra featuring the Mambo Kings.
The Busch Gardens Generation Nature LIVE takes place over the weekend of February 7/8, 2015. Entertainment is included with the standard admission.
Bindi Irwin hosts the Generation Nature LIVE event, a high energy family show with interactive games and animal encounters. Bindi Irwin is the daughter of the late Steve Irwin and a SeaWorld Kids youth ambassador.
The SeaWorld Wild Days weekends in 2016 take place on three consecutive weekends in late January/early February; namely on January 16/17, 23/24 and 30/31 with different guests for each weekend. Entertainment is included with the standard admission.
Wild Days help connect guests with animals and wildlife and feature some of the world leaders in animal conservation, rehabilitation, preservation and rescue plus interactive shows/parties, up-close animal encounters and trainer talks.
On August 23, 2014, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will host the one-night only “Villains Unleashed” separately ticketed after-hours evening event.
More than 50 “evil” Disney characters will be present including classic baddies like Captain Hook, Cruella De Vil and the Queen of Hearts to modern day villains like Darth Vader and Boba Fett from the Star Wars films. Disney’s latest villain, Maleficent, is sure to make an appearance.
Each summer, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld run summer events and for 2017 both of them have revamped their offerings.
In 2017 Busch Gardens Summer Nights runs every night from June 16 to August 6. All entertainment is included in the standard park admission tickets and the park stays open until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings and until 9 p.m. every other night.
At Busch Gardens, you can ride the roller coasters at night including the new Cobra’s Curse and Cheetah Hunt, experience the Falcon’s Fury drop tower ride, explore the new Pantopia land, indulge in grilled foods and craft beers and then round off the evening with a fireworks display.
Sources: Amusement Business Magazine, Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and Economics practice at AECOM.
Orlando is known at the theme park capital of the United States and rightly so with seven of the top 10 North American theme parks located in Orlando. Worldwide, Disney’s four Florida parks make the top 10 list with Disney’s Magic Kingdom taking the top spot for more than 12 years now.
SeaWorld launched their “Sea of Surprises” celebrations on March 21 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first opening of a SeaWorld park in San Diego which opened in March 1964. SeaWorld Orlando opened on December 15, 1973.
The celebrations will run across all three SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio for around 18 months.
One of the first big festivals of the year at Walt Disney World is the annual spring time Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. Now in its 25th year, the festival runs for 90 days from February 28 to May 28, 2018 and admission is included with the standard ticket (except for special tours). Prior to 2016, the festival ran for 75 days.