Last year I reported a story in Orlando Attractions Magazine about how Southern Star Amusement had “given up” on its attempts to reopen a park at the site of the former Jazzland/Six Flags New Orleans citing lack of interest and funding. Month after month, however, I’d read a story about continued buzz about the New Orleans site.
On Tuesday, Nickelodeon, the city of New Orleans, and Southern Star Amusement announced an agreement to open a Nickelodeon theme park – Nickelodeon Universe New Orleans. While there are Nick theme lands within other parks, including Universal Orlando, this will be the first ever freestanding Nick park. New ride construction is planned as well as refurbishing of existing rides from the old Six Flags. Water park attractions and traditional dry attractions are planned. Interestingly enough, no local public funds will be utilized for the construction. Rough estimates set the opening as soon as the end of 2010.
The above photo is of a Blue’s Clues ride at Nickelodeon Universe at Kings Island, Mason, Ohio.
If you have ever used Google maps, you know what a powerful tool it can be. Likewise, it’s a fun online pastime. For example, input “Lake Buena Vista, Florida” and click on satellite. Zoom in. Closer. No, closer! You can identify all of your favorite rides and landmarks around Walt Disney World. Now try this one – Las Vegas, Nevada. Find the Las Vegas Strip. Click on “Street View”. Now you’ve got a 360 degree view of the Strip at street level, just like you were there. How do they do that? Well, Google drives its various vehicles down the street in selected cities with a 360 degree camera mounted to the top, records, and posts the recording in a “street view” that is completely interactive.
This week, Legoland in Carlsbad, Calif. has become the first park to have its very own street view on Google Maps. You can explore the park in complete point of view perspective. How’d they get those images with the narrow amusement park walkways? Check out the picture of Mr. Google on his bike with the 360 degree camera in tow. Well, don’t take my word for it on this – it is so cool: Visit maps.google.com then search for Legoland California.
If you’ve been wanting to get out to Disneyland in California for Summer Nightastic, I hope you’re going tonight! Tonight marks the end of the special summer entertainment for Disneyland although I believe some of the improvements will stay.
Fantasmic made several upgrades. The film portions that project on the giant screens of water are sharper and brighter than ever. Images are now in high definition. The finale incorporates the evil queen Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty transforming into a 40-foot dragon.
The classic Main Street Electrical Parade got an update as well. Several new floats have been added including Tinkerbell spreading her pixie dust over the whole parade.
“Magical” is the fireworks spectacular. Perhaps the most magical part of this fireworks show is the addition of Dumbo flying from Sleeping Beauty Castle. Personally, I hope Dumbo becomes a permanent upgrade. Magical continues on until Labor Day.
• Andy Guinigundo is the author of the Out of The Loop column in Orlando Attractions Magazine. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and three daughters. He grew up frequenting theme parks around Ohio and making trips to Orlando with his family. While for most of the year, he’s out of the Orlando loop, he tries to visit Florida at least once a year.