Monday, December 18, 2017
Travel

Theme park guide: Universal Orlando rolls out parade, new rides

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem: This ride based on the film Despicable Me replaces Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast. In the 3-D ride, guests are enlisted to join the minions as part of Gru's latest mission through his super-villain laboratory. No opening date has been announced (simply "coming this summer").

Superstar Parade: The first daily parade in the park's history debuted earlier this month. It has costumed characters from Despicable Me, Hop, Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants and amenities such as onboard audio systems, animatronics, confetti cannons, bubble machines and trampolines.

Cinematic Spectacular: The high-tech movie-themed lagoon show voiced by Morgan Freeman also began earlier this month. It has iconic movie images set against cutting-edge waterfall screens and pyrotechnics in the park's lagoon. It runs at the end of the day. See video at tampabay.com/things-to-do.

Summer Concert Series: R&B singer Al Green, country singer Josh Turner and rapper Lupe Fiasco will perform on select dates this summer on the Music Plaza stage, as will ZZ Top, 3 Doors Down and the cast of the TV series Victorious. The concerts are on Saturday nights from June 9 to July 14 and are included in regular admission.

Islands of Adventure

Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man: The park has updated its popular attraction, but don't expect a totally new experience. The story line and mechanics are mostly the same, but the HD technology makes it feel like new. Look for cameos by legendary Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee.

For ticket options and multipark deals: universalorlando.com.

CityWalk

Hollywood Drive-In Golf: The entertainment, dining and retail complex outside of Universal's two theme parks now has putt-putt golf seven days a week, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. It has two courses, one with a horror movie theme and one with a sci-fi movie theme with sound and lighting effects and multilevel challenges. It costs $13.99 to play one course ($11.99 for ages 3-9). They have a "double-feature" to play both for $24.99 ($20.99 ages 3-9).

Blue Man Group: A high-tech remake of the popular show opened in February. Along with familiar drum bits, music and comedy skits, there's also lots of wizardry, like when the Blue Men seamlessly blend with virtual counterparts as they pass in front of and behind screens. The show runs 90 minutes; tickets were bumped up $5 to $89 for 10 and older, $29 for kids 3 to 9.

Wet 'N Wild: The Universal-owned water park is opening Blastaway Beach in June, a splash zone designed especially for families. It will be themed around a 60-foot sand castle and will sport 17 slides alongside more than 160 soakers, jets, waterfalls and water cannons. Wet 'n Wild says the new playground will be the largest of its kind in Florida.

Sharon Kennedy Wynne and Times staff

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