Thursday, May 28, 2015

Universal Orlando Announces New Water Park, Volcano Bay Opening in 2017!

Tons of news out of Central Florida this week and Universal isn't going to sit back and let everyone else have all the fun. It's been rumored and speculated for a very long time, and finally, Universal Orlando Resort has officially revealed the plans for their first ever water park, Volcano Bay!

This new addition will be located just south of Cabana Bay, and while we're a little light on details, the folks at Universal are promising to redefine the water experience for their guests.

No clue what that means, but the concept art definitely makes a statement, no way around that one! From the looks of it, we have a high speed slide that comes out from somewhere inside the central volcano, a wave pool, a kids area, a few tube slides around the backside of the volcano itself and, if you look closely enough, there's another side inside volcano as well!

According to the announcement, Volcano Bay will feature a little something for everyone throughout it's sprawling tropical theme.
The park will feel as if it is set in picture-perfect tropical islands, formed by a massive volcano – and it will have something for every member of the family. It will feature radically-innovative attractions, peaceful moments of relaxation and an experience that we hope will change the way guests think about water theme parks.
I'm sure that more details will emerge as they've already broken ground on the park and we've got a long way to go until that 2017 opening date.

So, stay tuned right here for more info out of Universal Orlando and their newest addition, Volcano Bay. Also, don't forget to follow along with us on Twitter, Google+, Tumblr and Facebook for all the latest as well!

Busch Gardens Tampa Announces Cobra's Curse Coming in 2016!

Yep, that's right, yet another coaster announcement out of Central Florida. However, unlike it's sister park,  Busch Gardens Tampa is going a slightly different route with their newest coaster. They've gone a little more family friendly with Cobra's Curse!

This is a great thing that they're doing, as everyone has to start somewhere. The Egyptian archeological dig theming fits in great, as it will be located right alongside Montu. So, while kids might not be big enough for one of the best coasters in the world, they'll still have something pretty special to experience themselves right in the same area of the park.

Cobra's Curse, built by Mack Rides, is the newest addition to the coaster line up will feature some really interesting elements and many of them never seen on a spinning coaster. Ride cars will feature 8 riders per train, each featuring two cars with two rows each. Not only is it a spinning coaster, but it also has a vertical lift hill. Yep, that's right, going straight up an "elevator style lift" which takes riders up to 70ft before they start down their wild ride through the excavation site at speeds up to 40mph. 

What happens over the course of the ride is definitely interesting! During the first segment, riders will experience elements both forwards and backwards as the train will lock in place for those sections of the ride. Then, after the second lift hill (yep, two lift hills!), the ride unlocks and becomes free spinning for the remainder of the nearly four minute long ride.

Really is some new and unique elements to this one. I can't say that I've ever heard of a coaster doing all of this while keeping things in the "family friendly" end of things. Should be a pretty big hit.

Check out the announcement video below:

That's a lot to take in and it looks like Busch Gardens Tampa is adding in a great addition for the younger and less thrill prone folks out there. Heck, even I'm looking forward to giving this one a spin when it opens, never can have too many coaster experiences out there!

Stay tuned for more on Cobra's Curse out of Busch Gardens Tampa and be sure to follow along with us on Twitter, Google+, Tumblr and Facebook for all the latest!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

SeaWorld Announces Mako, Florida's Tallest, Longest and Fastest Coaster, for 2016!

SeaWorld Orlando has just announced the newest addition to their coaster line up and it's a big one. Their two coasters, Kraken and Manta are considered two of the best coasters out there and now they've shot for the moon and are bringing in the 73mph, 200ft tall Mako for

Named after the fastest shark on the planet, it should bring some big time thrills to the Central Florida area without question. So, just what do we get this new coaster at SeaWorld Orlando? Well, here's the breakdown of just what the ride will include. 

After a 200ft drop, riders will race across 4760ft of track at speeds of up to 73mph and full of plenty of awesome airtime. The layout definitely looks like it's gonna be interesting, and reminds me of Nitro, which is never a bad thing at all.

Not only that, but the ride will also be the cornerstone to an all new area of the park that's 100% dedicated to world of sharks. That's not even getting into how awesome the entrance plaza for the coaster looks.

This, combined with Manta, makes two of my favorite coaster themed entrances out there. Sure, this one hasn't been built yet, but if it's anything like that? Yeah, I'm sold.

This is a huge investment for the park and it will be the tallest, fastest and longest coaster in all of Florida. Yep, you read that right, and their hashtag of "Nothing Faster" is true, at least within the state. This now gives SeaWorld their third coaster by the venerable design house of Bolliger & Mabillard, and from the looks of it, B&M have done another bang up job in the park.

Stay tuned for more updates on this one as we get them from SeaWorld Orlando and be sure to follow along with us on Twitter, Google+, Tumblr and Facebook for all the latest!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Nintendo and Universal Announce Partnership for Theme Park Attractions!

Nintendo and Universal have announced, what on the surface, appears to be a monster partnership today. Talk about completely out of left field with this one, but the possibilities are endless!

In the deal, Universal Studios theme parks around the world will be working with Nintendo to bring some of the most iconic and loved video game characters and worlds to life in the form of new attractions. Just what they'll be is anyone's guess, but you can get they're going to be extremely interesting given Universal's recent history with new rides.

“Nintendo has created remarkable and imaginative worlds filled with captivating stories and beloved characters. Now, for the first time, those stories and characters will be brought to life in entirely new ways – only at Universal theme parks.” a press release said.

There's not really much else to go on with this one, other than that and we don't know if this deal is only for Universal's parks in Singapore and Japan, but seems unlikely they'd limit it to just those two given the scope of Nintendo's popularity in the US as well. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, is slated to talk with investors in a conference call later today so perhaps a bit more information will be given on this then. If not, we'll just have to wait for the official release from Universal and Nintendo about just what all this is about.

That said, what properties would you like to see Nintendo and Universal bring to life? Legend of Zelda? Mario? Metroid? There's literally too many to list here so definitely let us know what you'd love to see in the comments!

For now, stay tuned as we'll be updating this one as soon as new info comes out and of course, follow along with us on Twitter, Google+, Tumblr and Facebook for all the latest!

via +Fangirl Review 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Skull Island - Reign of Kong Coming to Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure!

Time to put to rest all the speculation, King Kong is finally coming back to Universal Orlando after a 14 year hiatus. It's been fairly well known this was coming, but today it's all official, and what better way to celebrate the park's 25 anniversary than with one of the most iconic Universal characters of all time?

The new ride, being built between the Jurassic Park and Toon Lagoon sections of Islands of Adventure, is being touted as a "multi-experiential" experience that will feature a variety of elements and effects that immerse riders into the world of Skull Island.

So, what else can we expect? The Orlando Business Journal sat down with Universal Creative Executive Producer, Mike West, and he had these tidbits to share on just what we'll see with this massive new addition to the parks.
"We will take guests to Skull Island and to Kong. It's a combination experience of walking through the queue and then the ride. You enter through Skull Island and go through dense jungles, meandering temple ruins and mazes, and along the way, you run into hostile natives and other unimaginable giant creatures on this journey."
That's not all though, West went into a bit more detail on some actual ride elements and the experience as a whole as well;
"A lot of tension and excitement. When you get on the expedition trucks, the first part is outdoors approaching the 72-foot-tall great wall. There are beautiful wooden doors and flames shooting on each side. You then drive up through the doors and you enter a dark cavernous cave with deep chasms with other creatures within. You'll take another turn where you are submerged further into this island where it becomes a fight for survival meeting small and large prehistoric creatures face-to-face."
Definitely sounds like an intriguing mix of things going on, and by the looks of the concept art for the attraction, the ride vehicles should be pretty intersting as well. I'm getting some some flash backs to Indiana Jones at Disneyland with this one, or the long since abandoned Jurassic Park trucks that Universal had planned many moons ago. Toss in this tidbit from West and it seems even more likely that these are going to be some rather large vehicles, "The ride vehicle is one of the biggest we have built. But the scale, while big unto itself, seems to fit the environment."

Some out there are thinking that it may be very similar to Kong 360 at Universal Hollywood, but the feeling from West is that this one is going to be unique in a lot of ways. His comment about 3-D and how their use of it varies leads us to think that differences will be there without question as well, "We have 3-D imagery. But, in the context of Hollywood, it was used out there as part of the film. Ours isn't film. It's about creating an environment with great 3-D imagery, but with a whole new facet to it."

Add it all together and mix in the fact that it possibly has the longest run time of any attraction at Universal in it's history and that's something right there for sure! Skull Island - Reign of Kong will open sometime in 2016.

Stay tuned right here for more news and updates out of Universal Orlando and be sure to follow us on on Twitter, Google+, Tumblr and Facebook for all the latest!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Holiday World- Thunderbird Media Day Ride Review

Thunderbird Media Day and Ride Review

 Holiday World recently opened their newest and only steel coaster, Thunderbird. The team here at ISI was lucky enough to be invited for the Media Preview and to do a review of the ride, needless to say, we were all excited!

 While it was cold, it was also a clear and bright day in Indiana when we first laid eyes on the wing coaster the park has been teasing us with for months.

While not a fan of wing coasters in general, I was hoping that the new Thunderbird would change my mind on the matter. In the past I've found this style of coaster nice but rather lacking in the thrill factor, they seem almost too relaxed in my opinion..

...then Thunderbird happened.

Holiday World- Thunderbird POV and Video

 POV and On-Ride Video of Thunderbird at Holiday World

  As always, we here at ISI love getting POV and On-Ride video. The staff of Holiday World during Media Day (mainly Stephen, you rock!) indulged us to our fullest!

 The park and employees were amazing in supplying us with all the POV and On-Ride footage our little blogger hearts could beg for!