Earlier this week, carnival games and vendor kiosks were removed, and construction walls went up around a portion of the old Triceratops Encounter area, which has been defunct for almost a decade.
That matches work described on a demolition permit filed with the city of Orlando in May for Project 791 in that 1.36-acre area. Contractor documents indicate the project includes construction of “a new attraction” and estimates that demolition and construction will take 18 months.
A document reviewed shows a roller coaster track layout for that area, which we’ve reproduced above. The document shows the queue starting on the southern edge of the waterfront by the Discovery Center.
Records indicate the Raptor Encounter attraction currently in that area will be relocated as part of the construction.
The demolition permit for the area is in the final stages of approval, according to the city website.
Permits to construct the actual coaster have not yet been filed, city records show.
Universal spokesman Tom Schroder declined to comment for this story.
In a tweet last week, Universal said in response to a question about the Jurassic Park section, "We've got some exciting plans and look forward to more exciting details to come."
A diabetic koala at the San Diego Zoo was euthanized Dec. 13 after a bout with pneumonia, KNSD reported.
Quincy developed pneumonia a few weeks ago and his health continued to decline, the television station reported.
The marsupial had been fitted with a glucose monitor in June to monitor his Type 1 diabetes, which was diagnosed in February, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
"Quincy was well known to the public for being one of only a few koalas that have been diagnosed with and treated for diabetes," zoo officials said in a statement to KNSD.
Quincy became a model for people with diabetes, particularly children, the television station reported.
"They have something to relate to," Janet Gidner, a spokeswoman for Dexcom, the company that equipped Quincy with the monitor, told KNSD. “They can see that a cute little koala can take on the disease.”
Gidner’s two children both have Type 1 diabetes.
Zoo officials said Quincy would be missed.
"(Quincy's) story touched countless people around the globe who are living with diabetes," the zoo told KNSD.
A man who was banned from Disney World several weeks ago for unfurling a giant Donald Trump banner in the Magic Kingdom has been banned again.
He said that after Disney officials took away his annual pass in September, they had a change of heart and let him back in.
The picture of Don Cini's latest antics last week show him riding down Splash Mountain with a "Trump 2020” sign, and on Expedition Everest, he held a “Keep America Great" sign.
WFTV in Orlando, Florida, spoke with him from New York on Monday via Facebook Messenger.
"They never mentioned the fact that there was some kind of safety issue on the ride. That I was holding up a sign and I shouldn't be doing that," Cini said.
Disney revoked his annual pass, which he says he had for 24 years.
He said that a few weeks ago, Disney called and said he was no longer banned and he agreed not to hang any more flags.
Disney’s park rules state that "the usage of any flag, banner or sign to incite a crowd" is prohibited.
"And I wanted to actually abide by their rules, and not hold up a flag to incite a crowd, but I kind of wanted to test them," Cini said. "I just really wanted to find out whether or not it had to do with unfurling a flag, or what was written on the flag."
Cini shared pictures of deputies issuing him a trespass warning last week.
It says he's banned from all Walt Disney World properties, including theme parks, water parks, resorts and Disney Springs.
Cini says he now plans to unveil a much bigger 50-foot wide flag sometime next week and somewhere in the United States.
New documents filed this week in Orange County, Florida, offer a first look at plans for Universal Orlando’s fourth theme park.
The plans will transform 540 acres of empty land near Lockheed Martin. That’s in addition to the construction of two hotels on the old Wet ‘n Wild property as part of the 4,000-room Endless Summer Resort.
“I see a very big easel for Universal Orlando and Comcast to paint through over the next few years,” said theme park analyst Rick Munarriz. “Universal now has the coloring book; now they just need to show us their crayons."
Documents filed with the county this week show plans for major infrastructure upgrades.
There will be 100 acres of new roads and more than 5,000 parking spots.
Munarriz said 5,000 parking spots seems like a conservative number.
“So I’m thinking there's going to be a transportation system to get people from the resort to the new resort,” Munarriz said.
The plans do not show exactly what's coming, but Universal has trademarked the name “Universal's Fantastic Worlds.”
The new Nintendo Land, including Mario Kart and a Donkey Kong roller coaster, was supposed to be built at the KidZone section of Universal Orlando. But analysts said those rides, which are already designed, will likely go into a new park.
“[Universal] really needs to step up its game if it's going to compete with what Disney has coming in three years. That is why we have this new playground coming,” Munarriz said.
Want to experience the great outdoors this weekend? You're in luck: Hundreds of parks across the country are offering free admission Saturday, Sept. 22, for National Public Lands Day.
According to the National Park Service, the event, held each year on September's fourth Saturday, "celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation and general health." The event is marking its 25th anniversary this year.
Although participating parks will waive admission fees Saturday, they may still charge for concessions, camping, tours or other services, KGUN reported.
Several parks also will be holding volunteer projects. If you'd like to participate, "you will receive a fee-free day coupon to be used on a future date," the National Park Service said.
Park-goers are encouraged to share photos on social media with the hashtags #NPLD, #FindYourPark and #NPSVolunteer.
Smithsonian magazine would like you to be their guest at a museum this weekend.
Museum Day is an annual “celebration of boundless curiosity,” according to Smithsonian.com. The organization will provide free admission for two people at nearly 1,500 museums across the country on Saturday, Sept. 22.
For more information about Smithsonian magazine Museum Day, click here.
The world’s tallest spinning ride, the Starflyer, will be opening soon in Orlando, Florida.
The ride will be 450 feet tall and is set to open in June along International Drive.
Developer Chuck Whittall has spent a lot of money to swing business into I-Drive. He has invested nearly a billion dollars between the Coca Cola Orlando Eye and the I-Drive 360.
The Starflyer will be 50 feet taller than the Orlando Eye.
"To the very top, it's 450 foot. Riders will actually fly at 400 feet; slightly over 400 feet,” Whittall said. "We just finished the certifications on it, and we're just making sure it's working absolutely perfectly."
Whittal said he’s also working on a second phase of I-Drive 360. He is developing a new hotel and more retail space, and putting several hundred million dollars into building apartments to get people to live on I-Drive.
"I think I-Drive is the go-to destination for conventioneers and for half-day experiences,” Whittall said. "Once you get tired of the theme parks, you still want to have fun and do things. We offer all that here."
Developer Josh Wallack told WFTV’s Jamie Holmes that he’s also sinking hundreds of millions into I-Drive.
First came Mango's and the Hollywood Plaza Complex is next. It will be a rooftop restaurant with a 360-degree view of Orlando.
The biggest hurdle remains traffic on I-Drive.
The restaurant is on top of a parking garage with 880 spots.
"This is now the I-Drive entertainment district, and we are looking to make this downtown Orange County,” Wallack said.
When you think of Tiki bars and exotic tropical drinks, you probably don’t think of Pittsburgh. But starting this spring, you’ll be able to cruise the three rivers – Tiki style.
Cruisin' Tikis Pittsburgh will offer two-hour sightseeing charters on the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers starting in May. Each 16-foot boat fits six people. They’re BYOB and children are allowed.
Cruisin' Tikis already operates service out of the following locations:
If you plan on riding the three rivers, you'll get some great views of the city skyline and stadiums.
A Florida beach has been named the nation's best in TripAdvisor's annual Travelers' Choice awards.
The travel website announced Tuesday that Clearwater Beach was the best in the U.S. in 2018, climbing from No. 4 in 2017. The beach also topped the national list in 2016.
Meanwhile, Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, took the award for the best beach worldwide.
A cold wave is sweeping almost all of North America, and as temperatures have dwindled, we’ve seen some pretty bizarre things. But one of the coolest and most beautiful sights right now has to be Niagara Falls, where Jack Frost painted a spectacular scene that looks like something straight out of Narnia.
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