- Disney Dollars Gone
- STK Restaurant
- Dr. Beach Ratings
- Epcot Food & Wine
- New Disney Attractions
- SpaceX Landings
- Theme Park Attendance
- Universal Seasonal Pricing
- Frozen Games
- Mako Soft Opening
- Fun Spot Partnership
- Free Monthly Desktop Wallpaper
- June Events
- Weather Forecast
- June Books
June 1, 2016, #132
Bringing you the latest news from the Sunshine State.
Hi subscriber, welcome to the June 2016 newsletter of the Florida Review & Travel Guide.
Many of the new Disney attractions and shows are now open with more to follow in June as well as SeaWorld’s newest roller coaster, Mako.
Florida beaches again make the top 10 in Dr. Beach’s annual USA beach survey and SpaceX continue to recover the first stages of their Falcon 9 rockets with two successful barge landings in May.
Not unsurprisingly in 2015 Disney dominate theme park attendance numbers but Universal again makes spectacular growth.
Read on for all the details on these stories and more.
Disney Dollars Gone
Disney has stopped the sale of their paper Disney dollars and replaced them completely with Disney Gift Cards.
Anyone with Disney dollars can exchange them for US cash equivalents at Guest Relations, hotel resort front desks and concierges.
Our aim is to bring you the latest news on what is happening in Florida each week with stories from the theme parks, beaches, resorts and everything else that Florida has to offer.
Make sure that you add "[email protected]" to your email address book/whitelist to guarantee receipt of future newsletters.
STOP PRESS - STK Restaurant
The new STK Orlando restaurant opened at Disney Springs on May 25. STK Orlando is the largest of 11 STK restaurants worldwide and features rooftop dining, a bistro bar, private dining room and a fire pit.
Dr. Beach Ratings
Stephen Leatherman (aka Dr. Beach) has published his 2016 top beach list and three Florida beaches made the top 10.
In previous years if a beach made the number 1 spot it was removed from future year rankings but for 2016 that has changed and now prior winning beaches are to be included again so it is no surprise that Siesta Beach which won in 2011 has come in second place this year with Grayton Beach State Park at number 6 and Caladesi Island State Park at number 9.
Read more about Florida’s top beaches.
Epcot Food & Wine
Disney has announced the dates for this years 21st Annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival presented by Chase.
The event offers a range of activities for the whole family and runs for 62 days from September 14 to November 14, 2016, up from 53 days last year.
Admission is included in the standard Epcot admission ticket.
Read more about the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
New Disney Attractions
Disney opened a number of new attractions and shows over the Memorial Day weekend and others will open in June.
Read more about the latest Disney attractions.
In early May, SpaceX repeated their successful recovery of the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket when it made a perfect touchdown on their autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS) called "Of Course I Still Love You”, positioned off Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean. They then repeated the process with their next launch in late May.
When deploying satellites into a high altitude earth orbit, the Falcon 9 rocket has insufficient surplus fuel to make it back to the Kennedy Space Center, so in these instances, SpaceX attempt to recover the rocket using their barge. This brings the successful recovery of the first stage to a total of four.
Read more about upcoming rocket launches.
Theme Park Attendance
Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and Economics practice at AECOM have published their annual theme park attendance report for 2015 and again Florida and Orlando in particular did very well.
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.
All of Florida’s major players saw significant growth in 2015 except for the SeaWorld group of parks again which only grew by 0.3%.
Read more about theme park and water park attendance for 2015.
As predicted, fuel prices have started to rise again as we head towards summer. The average pump price per gallon for regular in Florida is around $2.33, up another 12 cents on last month.
You can always find the latest pump prices at GasPriceWatch.com.
Universal Seasonal Pricing
Universal Orlando has followed Disney and Universal Hollywood by introducing seasonal pricing for one day tickets bought at the gate. Online, advanced purchase and multi-day ticket pricing is unchanged.
A one day one park ticket bought at the gate today in high season will now cost $119 for adults or $114 for children (plus tax), a rise of $14. Online prices are $105 and $100 respectively (plus tax).
The one day park to park ticket will cost $169 adults or $164 for children (plus tax), also a rise of $14. Online prices are $155 and $150 respectively (plus tax).
Read more about Universal ticket prices.
Between May 27 and August 21, guests at Disney’s Blizzard Beach can take part in the winter-themed Frozen Games with Olaf and Kristoff who will both open and close the games each day plus giving updates on team progress.
Guests can join Team Olaf or Team Kristoff and take part in:
- Ice Pail Relays - teams pass pails of water from one to another to try and fill a container at the end
- Snowball Toss - pairs compete throwing snow-themed water balloons
- Ski Pole Limbo - limbo with a ski pole
- Slide Races - race down the Toboggan Racers water slide
All activities are included in the regular admission to Blizzard Beach.
Read more about Blizzard Beach.
Mako Soft Opening
SeaWorld has started soft opening trials of their new roller coaster, Mako ahead of the official opening date on June 10, 2016 as part of their summer celebrations, Summer Nights Presents Summer of Mako.
Read more about Mako.
Fun Spot Partnership
Fun Spot America has partnered with Old Town USA in Kissimmee and will move and operate four of their rides at Old Town. The rides are Crazy Couch, Tilt-A-Whirl, Paratrooper and a carousel ride. They will also operate a new ferris wheel that is being constructed at Old Town and due to open in September 2016.
A new ride called Head Rush 360 will be opening at Fun Spot America in Kissimmee on June 10 followed by a New York Burger Company food outlet and a new beer garden.
Read more about Fun Spot America.
June 2016 and July 2016 Desktop Wallpaper Calendars
The free Florida desktop wallpaper calendars are available in widescreen and netbook format as well as standard format so if you have a widescreen monitor or a netbook you can download a widescreen calendar.
Free desktop calendars for June 2016 (St Johns River at Blue Springs State Park) and July 2016 (Showcase of Citrus) are ready to download now.
Note that some of the larger files can be up to 1mb in size so if you are on a modem dialup line it will take a few minutes to download.
Click to view and then download the Florida free desktop wallpaper for June or July now.
June 14 is Flag Day and Father’s Day in on June 19.
Both SeaWorld and Busch Gardens start their Summer Nights events during June. SeaWorld’s Summer Nights Presents Summer of Mako runs every night from June 10 to August 7 and Busch Gardens Summer Nights runs every night from June 24 to August 7. All entertainment is included in the standard park admission tickets.
Adventure Island water park also starts their Island Nights on June 16. The event runs every Thursday through Saturday until August 6 and features sand sculpture artists, live performers, a DJ and games on the beach. The evening ends with Polynesian Fire Dancers.
June 4 and 5 are licence free days for salt water fishing and June 11 and 12 for fresh water fishing. More details can be found at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission site.
June marks the start of the hurricane season in Florida which officially runs until the end of November however Hurricane Alex formed in January followed by Tropical Storm Bonnie in late May.
All the major forecasters are predicting an active 2016 season. Read more about the tropical storm and hurricane predictions for the 2016 Atlantic season.
The rainy season has started early this year and in June, Florida will continue to see warmer weather with above average temperatures for the time of year and above average rainfall in the Southern half of the state.
Overall there will be long periods of sunshine interspersed with clouds, showers and the occasional thunderstorm.
In the North around Pensacola and Jacksonville there will be periods of sunshine interspersed with showers or thunderstorms. Daytime temperatures will be in the mid 80s to mid 90s with overnight temperatures between the low to high 70s.
Across the Central region, the outlook is similar with temperatures hitting the 90s. Daytime temperatures will be in the mid 80s to mid 90s with low to high 70s overnight. It will be warmer on the Gulf Coast with temperatures hitting as high as 97.
Down in Miami and the Keys, there will be less sunshine and more chance of thunderstorms with temperatures in the mid 80s to mid 90s during the day and low 70s to low 80s overnight.
Check out the rest of the weather for all of Florida including a live weather map, monthly temperature and rainfall charts across the State and the latest hurricane news.
June sees a host of children’s books including a couple for families travelling by car on Interstate I–75 or I–95 plus a series of interactive books on the various country pavilions at Epcot.
We are continuing to review the latest books.
June Book List
- Kids Love I–75, 2nd Edition: A Family Travel Guide for Exploring the Best Kid-Tested Places Along I–75 - From Michigan to Florida by Michele Darrall Zavatsky
- Kids Love Florida, 3rd Edition: Your Family Travel Guide to Exploring Kid-Friendly Florida. 600 Fun Stops & Unique Spots by Michele Darrall Zavatsky
- Roller Coasters: of Walt Disney World by Coddington
- Treats around the World: of World Showcase at EPCOT by Coddington
- Kids Love I–95, 2nd Edition: Your Family Travel Guide to I–95. 500 Kid-Tested Fun Stops & Unique Spots from the Mid-Atlantic to Miami by Michele Darrall Zavatsky
- France Pavilion Level I: at EPCOT World Showcase Disney World by Coddington
- Germany Pavilion Level I: at EPCOT World Showcase Disney World by Coddington
- Italy Pavilion Level I: at EPCOT World Showcase Disney World by Coddington
- Japan Pavilion Level I: at EPCOT World Showcase Disney World by Coddington
- Mexico Pavilion Level I: at EPCOT World Showcase Disney World by Coddington
- Morocco Pavilion Level I: at EPCOT World Showcase Disney World by Coddington
- Norway Pavilion Level I: at EPCOT World Showcase Disney World by Coddington
- United Kingdom Pavilion Level I: at EPCOT World Showcase Disney World by Coddington
- Walking The Keys To Happiness: Practical Advice And Humorous Memories From A Week Long Walk Of The Florida Keys by Tamara Scharf
- Central Florida Wildflowers: A Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Lake Wales Ridge, Ocala National Forest, Disney Wilderness Preserve, and More than 60 … by Roger L. Hammer
- We Report Space: A Visual Reminiscence of Florida Rocket Launches from CRS–3 to Orbcomm–2 by Members of the SpaceX CRS–3 #NASASocial by Jared Haworth
- Terrance Talks Travel: A Pocket Guide to the Florida Keys: by Terrance Zepke
- God Bless Florida
- Escape to Miami: An Oral History of the Cuban Rafter Crisis by Elizabeth Campisi
- The Hidden Mickeys of Walt Disney World by Kevin Neary, Susan Neary