Another unique attraction is offering virtual tours in light of the ongoing global health crisis, giving people the chance to visit one of the creepiest places in the world — Bran Castle, a 14th-century castle in Bran, Romania that allegedly inspired Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.”[Read more…]
Google Home, the speaker and voice assistant, now has the ability to play fun, themed Disney and Pixar games with the whole family. [Read more…]
If you are a movie lover tired of having your digital media purchases scattered across multiple platforms, you’ll be interested to know that Sony, Disney, Universal, and other studios have teamed up for the new Movies Anywhere service, which will unite your film collections from Google, Amazon, Vudu, and Appleinto a single app. And if you sign up now, you can receive up to five films for free.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and its waterpark, Adventure Island, are now featured in Street View on Google Maps.
Virtual visits are now available to all 10 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment locations, including the SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego; Discovery Cove, a swim-with-dolphins resort, and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s waterpark, both in Orlando; Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, both in Williamsburg; and Sesame Place in Langhorne, Penn.
In Tampa, nearly every inch of Busch Gardens was mapped using one of Google’s “Trikes.” A state-of-the-art camera automatically gathered photographs from the back of a modified bicycle. Google software then blended the images, creating the interactive and moveable 360-degree scenes Street View is known for.
“I began thinking about building a bicycle-based Street View system after realizing how many great places around the world aren’t accessible by car, but still would be perfect to include in Street View on Google Maps. The immensely popular SeaWorld parks are perfect examples of fun and interesting locations that our Trike can add to Google Maps, benefiting families and tourists around the world,” said Dan Ratner, Senior Mechanical Engineer on the Street View team & creator of the Trike.
All of the Central Florida theme parks except Disney’s are available on Google Street View (Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and Universal). Viewers can start by going to maps.google.com and searching for the park name. Then drag the orange “Pegman” icon (found at the top left of the map) for a “walking tour.”
We previously told you about being able to virtually walk through the streets of the Universal Orlando Resort via Google Maps. Now SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego have also been captured by Google and are navigable via their Street View technology.
Working with Google’s Street View team, nearly every inch of the parks was mapped using one of Google’s “Trikes.” A state-of-the-art camera automatically gathered photographs from the back of a modified bicycle. Google software then blended the images, creating the famous, interactive and completely moveable 360-degree scenes Street View is known for.
And the best way to make sure every show, splash, adventure and fave world-class thrill ride was mapped? The 250-pound Trike, complete with camera and GPS mounted on a mast, was pedal-powered by a Google staff member. It’s the ultimate mix of technology — both high and low.
Soon, Street View for Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay and Williamsburg, Va., Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa., Adventure Island in Tampa and Water Country USA in Williamsburg, will be available, so be sure to check back often.
Here’s how to get started: Street View visits to the parks are accessible via Web and mobile applications. Go to maps.google.com and search for any of the SeaWorld parks, Discovery Cove or Aquatica. Then drag the orange “Pegman” icon (found at the top left of the map) for a “walking tour.” Among the highlights -– also seen in “satellite mode” — SeaWorld visitors can look for the world’s most famous killer whale, Shamu.
We previously reported that Legoland in California was the first
theme park U.S. theme park to have a Street View on Google maps. But now Universal Orlando has been added. There’s no link for the Street View while looking at the normal top-down view on Google maps, but as you can see above, all of the areas highlighted in blue are available. [Read more…]
Nickelodeon theme park to open in New Orleans
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.
Google Street View Visits Legoland Park
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.
Disneyland’s Summer Nightastic Ends
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.