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Florida Theme Park Guide to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Busch Gardens and more

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By Michelle Stark, Anne Glover, Amber McDonald and Kelly Stefani, Times Staff Writers
Illustration by Steve Madden, Times Staff Artist
Developed by Alexis N. Sanchez

Are you a Florida theme park fanatic? Send your favorite memories, horror stories (we all have them) or park insider tips to our Things to Do editors at calendar@tampabay.com or post to the official Things to Do Facebook page.

  1. Top things to do this week: Adults take over Glazer Children's Museum, new theme park attractions

    Events

    ADULT SWIM: Grown Up Night

    Friday will be Grown Up Night at the Glazer Children's Museum. The adult playtime will be a '90s throwback party (remember those days?) and there will be experiences with snowboards, a Mars rover and a 360-degree freeze motion video from the museum's new Math Alive …

    The Kraken roller coaster at Seaworld will have virtual reality goggles.
  2. Disney sues local court alleging high taxes for Orlando theme parks

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Walt Disney Parks and Resorts wants a break on what it claims are "excessive" property taxes, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

    Walt Disney Parks and Resorts wants a break on what it claims are "excessive" property taxes.
[Handout photo courtesy of Walt Disney World]
  3. Photos: Baby walrus born at SeaWorld Orlando

    Attractions

    SeaWorld Orlando is home to a newborn whiskered walrus, according to a statement by the company.

    Kaboodle, a 14-year-old female walrus, gave birth to her first calf on June 3, 2017. [SeaWorld Orlando]
  4. Volcano Bay, with waterproof wristbands that eliminate lines, now open at Universal Orlando

    Attractions

    ORLANDO — Universal Orlando opened its third park on Thursday, this one a resort-style water attraction called Volcano Bay that features a waterproof wristband that promises to eliminate lines.

    Universal Orlando opened its third park, on May 25, 2017, this one a resort-style water attraction called Volcano Bay that features the first waterproof wristband that promises to eliminates lines. [Willie J. Allen Jr. | for Universal Studios]

  5. 6 essential things you'll need before going to a theme park this summer

    Florida

    With Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of summer, we're back with a new a guide to what's new or noteworthy in Central Florida attractions.

    Guests make their way toward the entrance of Universal Studios Florida, a theme park at Universal Orlando Resort, in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. The park, which has an entertainment industry theme, features rides and attractions related to movies and television series.
  6. These days, don't hit the theme park without an app and a phone charger

    Florida

    Emile Crawford stocks two back-up phone battery chargers these days when she takes her kids to Disney World. But she dare not venture into a theme park without a smart phone app, an accessory becoming as necessary as sunscreen in Florida theme parks.

    A wristband visitors will wear at the new Volcano Bay water park in Orlando, Florida. The wristband, called Tapu Tapu, tells you when it's your turn to get on a ride. It also lets you pay for food so you don't have to carry a wallet and opens lockers so you don't have to  carry a key. (Universal via AP)
  7. James Cameron, Zoe Saldana and more appear at Disney's Pandora

    Florida

    ORLANDO — As he stood on a stage at Disney World Wednesday, director James Cameron revealed his teenage dreams.

    Zoe Saldana tweeted a photo of herself from Wednesday's appearance at a new land in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Pandora -- the World of Avatar. The land is based on James Cameron film, in which she stars. Photo via Twitter.
  8. Universal Studios theme park is taking people inside 'The Shining' (w/video)

    Blogs

    It's only May, but Universal Studios is already teasing a big reveal for this year's Halloween Horror Nights: a haunted attraction based on Stanley Kubrick's horror masterpiece The Shining.

    A scene from the film version of "The Shining."
  9. VIDEO: Oscar winner Jon Landau stops by a preview of Pandora, Disney's 'Avatar' land

    Florida

    Oscar-winning film producer Jon Landau stopped by a media sneak preview of Pandora, the new land at Disney's Animal Kingdom based on the film Avatar.

    Na'vi Shaman of Songs celebrates with music in Na'vi River Journey ride at Pandora-World of Avatar land attraction in Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. [Associated Press]
  10. First look: Photos of Disney World's upcoming 'Avatar' land

    Attractions

    LAKE BUENA VISTA — It's not a movie set, but visitors to Disney World's new Pandora-World of Avatar land are in for a cinematic experience.

    A water creature floats in a pond at Pandora-World of Avatar land attraction in Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The 12-acre land, inspired by the "Avatar" movie, opens in Florida at the end of May at Walt Disney World. [Associated Press]