DISNEY WORLD

09Feb

The Walt Disney World Resort, known as Walt Disney World or Disney World, is an entertainment complex in Bay Lake, Florida (mailing address is Lake Buena Vista, Florida), near Kissimmee and Orlando, and is the flagship of Disney’s worldwide corporate empire. The resort opened on October 1, 1971 and is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an attendance of over 52 million annually.

Walt Disney World is owned and operated by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, a division of The Walt Disney Company. The property covers 27,258 acres (11,031 ha; 43 sq mi), housing 27 themed resort hotels, nine non–Disney hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, four golf courses, one nine-hole walking golf course for young golfers (no electric carts allowed), two themed miniature golf courses, one camping resort, a downtown-like shopping district, and other entertainment venues. Magic Kingdom was the first and original theme park to open in the complex followed by Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which opened later throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Designed to supplement Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which had opened in 1955, the complex was developed by Walt Disney in the 1960s. “The Florida Project”, as he called it, was originally to be built in hopes of differential in design and scheme from Disneyland with its own diverse set of rides. Walt Disney’s original plans also called for the inclusion of an “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”, a planned community that would serve as a test bed for new innovations for city living. After extensive lobbying, the Government of Florida created the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special government district that essentially gave The Walt Disney Company the standard powers and autonomy of an incorporated city. Disney died on December 15, 1966, before construction began. Without the creative mind of Disney spearheading the construction of Walt Disney World, the company instead created the resort very similar to Disneyland, just on a much larger scale, along with abandoning Walt’s concept of an experimental planned community.

GATORLAND

09Feb

Gatorland is a 110-acre (45 ha) theme park and wildlife preserve located along South Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, Florida. It was founded by Owen Godwin in 1949 and has been privately owned by his family since then. Billed as the “Alligator Capital of the World,” Gatorland features thousands of alligators and crocodiles, a breeding marsh with boardwalk and observation tower, reptile shows, aviary, petting zoo, swamp walk and educational programs. The park is known for buying and rescuing nuisance alligators from trappers that would otherwise be killed for their meat and skin. The Breeding Marsh area of the park was used in the filming of the 1984 movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

The operation also has an active road show providing alligator wrestling, pythons, lizards and other animals with an informative animal talk for private parties and benefits. In addition, Gatorland manages the live alligator display at the Gaylord Palms resort in Kissimmee, Florida. This park also has a snakes of Florida exhibit with the snakes like indigo snake cottonmouth and rattlesnakes.

The park is also known for its leucistic alligators.

Gatorland Express

The Gatorland Express, known as Ol’ Iron Horse Express prior to 2001, is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railroad attraction inside the park, which first opened in 1961 and was originally built by the Allan Herschell Company. The original locomotive was retired in 2000 and put on static display, while a brand-new locomotive built by Train Rides Unlimited was purchased and put into operation the following year. The new locomotive is the same model as the locomotive used at the nearby Green Meadows Petting Farm. An additional fee is required to ride the railroad and prior to the 2011 opening of the zip line, it was the only non-animal-related attraction in Gatorland.

Zip Line Ride

In the summer of 2011 Gatorland added a new attraction: a zip line that travels across a pool of alligators and past several of the existing attractions. The ride is approximately 1,200 feet (370 m) long, several stories high and for riders above 37 inches (94 cm) tall.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

09Feb

Universal Studios Florida is composed of themed areas and attractions based on the film industry. Visitors get themed dining and shopping, a variety of special events throughout the year, and may even catch an actual film crew at work on the backlot. The original theme park in the resort, Universal Studios Florida opened on June 7, 1990, as a theme park that lets visitors “Ride the Movies.” The themes of Universal Studio’s are targeted at making guests feel like they are in a movie set with rides, shows, and attractions inspired by popular film, television, and music productions. The park consists of eight themed areas – Hollywood, Production Central, New York, San Francisco, Diagon Alley/London, World Expo, Springfield, and Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure, opened in May 1999, is a theme park composed of seven distinct “islands” that are themed to various forms of adventures. Visitors start off in the Port of Entry and make their way through the various islands – Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, based on the popular Harry Potter franchise, is the only island added after the park opened; it opened to the public on June 18, 2010.

Universal CityWalk Orlando opened in 1999, over the former parking lot and entrance, as part of the expansion that created the Universal Orlando Resort. Guests arriving at the resort park in one of two multi-story parking structures, then travel via covered moving sidewalks over Universal Boulevard into CityWalk. From there, guests can proceed into either of the theme parks, Universal Studios Florida or Islands of Adventure. The Universal Store offers merchandise from both parks. CityWalk features shopping, nightclubs, dining venues, an AMC Movie Theater, and a Blue Man Group show. There are many night clubs at CityWalk including Groove, CityWalks’s Rising Star (a karaoke club with a live band), Red Coconut Club, and Bob Marley-A Tribute to Freedom (both a night club and restaurant). Some notable locations are The Cowfish Hard Rock Cafe, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Emeril’s, NBA City, and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Casual dining places include: Moe’s Southwest Grill, Burger King Whopper Bar, Panda Express, Red Oven Pizza Bakery, and Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar.

Wet ‘n Wild was founded in 1977 by SeaWorld founder George Millay as one of the first major water parks. In 1998, Wet ‘n Wild was acquired by Universal Parks & Resorts, adding it to Universal Orlando.[4] There are eighteen water slides and attractions at the water park. Popular attractions include The Storm, Bomb Bay, Disco H20, and The Surge. Wet ‘n Wild is located at the intersection of International Drive and Universal Boulevard, about half a mile south of the Universal Orlando parking garage.

Wet ‘n Wild will close on December 31, 2016, to be replaced by Volcano Bay. Volcano Bay is to be Universal Orlando’s on-site water park when it opens in 2017 on 53 acres (21 ha) of land near the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.