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Kids & Family

  1. Has American Idol been 'Frozen' out at Disney theme park?


    Disney World will close its American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park Aug. 30, much earlier than previously announced. The attraction based on Fox's long-time singing competition was supposed to close in January 2015; a Disney spokesman said the park isn't ready to reveal what's coming …

    (2009) The American Idol Experience  at Disney's Hollywood Studios opened in 2009 and will close next week. This "golden ticket" sign greets potential performers as they enter backstage.
  2. Busch Gardens visitors get to try new Falcon's Fury drop ride (w/video)


    The weekend brought a surprise for some Busch Gardens visitors when the park quietly allowed riders on the new Falcon's Fury — a good sign the drop ride will officially open soon.

    The band All-American Rejects gets ready to ride Falcon’s Fury. Below, the entrance to Busch Gardens’ new drop ride.
  3. Bronies young and old gather in Tampa this weekend for 'My Little Pony' convention


    Saddle up, bronies. The Brony Gala 2, a convention of fans of My Little Pony, returns this weekend bigger and better than last year's event. It has moved to a larger hotel, the Embassy Suites at USF in Tampa; expanded from one day to three days; and drawn voice actors and writers from the show. "Bronies" are the …

    Matthew Zadonia carries a stuffed animal from the My Little Pony cartoons as he stands with others at “BronyCon” Saturday, June, 30, 2012, in Secaucus, N.J. Scores of men in brightly colored costumes were among the 4,000 My Little Pony fans at this weekend’s “BronyCon” gathering in New Jersey for fans of a My Little Pony cartoon.  (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
  4. Clearwater to get an early glimpse at 'Dolphin Tale 2'


    As with any sequel, Dolphin Tale 2 is repeating what worked the first time around.

    Hope, left, and Winter work with trainers at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in 2012. Hope is also featured in the sequel.
  5. Sweet! Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest is Saturday


    Now in its fourth year, the Morean Arts Center's fundraiser brings out the creativity in both amateur and professional bakers for the Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest. They will show off their best-tasting and most artistically decorated creations for their chance to claim the coveted handmade glass cupcake trophy. …

    Madeleine Remkiewicz of St. Petersburg assists her son Anthony Mette, 7, with a cupcake at The Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest at the Morean Arts Center in 2011.
  6. 5 things to do under $5 Aug. 14-20


    1Water Works Park Festival: Tampa's new $7.4 million park will have a grand opening celebration Saturday with fireworks, food trucks, entertainment and children's activities from 5 to 9 p.m. The 5-acre park at 1710 N Highland Ave., near the historic Tampa Armature Works warehouse, includes an extension of the …

    Richard Danielson   |   Times
  7. Buy ticket now, get one for December at Dinosaur World


    August offers fans of Dinosaur World a "Dino Days" deal of a free ticket in December. Purchase a ticket in August ($16.95 for adults, $14.95 seniors, $11.95 for kids 3-12) and you get a free ticket to visit Dec. 1-19. The Plant City attraction, best suited for ages 3 to 10, has more than 200 life-size dinosaurs, …

    TP_350766_FLYN_dinasours_2 (2/29/2012) Logan Chambliss, 4, of St. Augustine reacts upon first entering Dinosaur World in Plant City on February 29, 2012. The mouth of a Acrocanthosaurus, above, and two Tyrannosarrus Rex are seen behind Logan in an area that is part of the 12-acre expansion which includes a 22,000-square-foot addition to the Prehistoric Museum, which features five animatronic dinosaurs. The dinosaurs pictured here new but are not animatronic.  It was Logan's first visit to Dinosaur World with his parents Mindi and Bryan and his grandparetns Dee and Joe Walker of Davenport.  "I like the dinosaur's because they are so cool!" he said.  Logan's grandfather Joe had seen Dinosaur World from the interstate driving from work and thought it would be a good idea to bring his grandson when the family visited.  [KATHLEEN FLYNN Times]
  8. Universal's Hogwarts Express in Diagon Alley reaches 1 million-rider milestone


    Well that didn't take very long. Universal Orlando announced this week that 1 million people have already ridden the Hogwarts Express, the iconic locomotive that connects the Wizarding World of Harry Potter sections of Universal's two theme parks. It reached the milestone a little more than a month after it opened July …

    Guests cheer Thursday at Hogsmeade Station as Universal Orlando Resort celebrated its one millionth rider on the Hogwarts Express, the iconic train that transported Harry Potter between Hogsmeade Station and King's Cross Station. Here, it transports guests between Universal parks. About 200 guests were given complimentary Butterbeer ice-cream, tickets and scarves.
  9. 'Frozen' still hot at Disney theme park, celebration extended


    The popularity of Frozen is still so strong that Disney's Hollywood Studios just can't, well, Let it Go. The park's summerlong events celebrating the movie have been extended another month, Disney announced Thursday. The themed series was supposed to end Sept. 1, but the park will extend everything through …

    This image released by Disney shows Elsa the Snow Queen, voiced by Idina Menzel, in a scene from the animated feature "Frozen." (AP Photo/Disney) NYET528
  10. Florida Aquarium has a splash with Shark Week


    If only the Florida Aquarium could be as "sharky" as Rob Lowe's viral promo for the Discovery Channel's Shark Week. Swoon. But no matter. The aquarium brings the goods with six species of sharks and themed activities for its own version. All week there will be scavenger hunts, learning activities and shark dive shows. …

    Sand shark at Florida Aquarium in Tampa.  Juliette Lynch | Times.