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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. Busch Gardens, Disney parks offer mosquito repellent amid Zika fears

    Health

    Days after Gov. Rick Scott confirmed the first locally-transmitted case of Zika virus in Tampa Bay, Busch

    Busch Gardens has insect repellent available for all visitors at the Tampa theme park. [Times files]
  2. Your daily dose of cute: Baby hyena born at Busch Gardens said to be a sweetheart

    Florida

    Hyenas may have been the bad guys in The Lion King, but Busch Gardens says the 20-week-old baby spotted hyena born at the park on April 3 is a sweet boy.

    This 20-week-old baby spotted hyena was born at Busch Gardens on April 3 and debuting this week to park visitors. He is named ‘Mandazi’ for his sweet personality after a traditional pastry found on the Swahili coast, a park news release says.
  3. Mandazi is a 20-week-old spotted hyena.
  4. Universal Orlando announces dates for fourth year of A Celebration of Harry Potter

    Blogs

    Now in its fourth year, A Celebration of Harry Potter will once again bring thousands of witches and wizards to Universal Orlando in January.

    Thousands of Harry Potter fans will descend on Universal Orlando Jan. 27-29 for the fourth annual A Celebration of Harry Potter.
  5. Grim news kept people away from Disney, Universal and other theme parks, analysts say

    Florida

    ORLANDO — It's 9:01 a.m. and a stream of sweaty tourists is pressing through the entrance gates and hoofing it to the back of the park at Universal's Islands of Adventure. At this moment in early August, it's a 45-minute wait for the behemoth ride called Skull Island: Reign of Kong, which opened July 14. The wait …

    Analysts say crowds appear to have shrunk at Florida theme parks like Universal this summer. The decline could be attributed to the combination of tragic events that have struck the state this summer, including the shooting death of Voice singer Christina Grimmie at a local venue, the massacre at Pulse nightclub and a fatal alligator attack on a child at Disney World. LOREN ELLIOTT | Times
  6. The Rock 'n' Rollercoaster, featuring Aerosmith, has been operating at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando since 1999.
  7. Disney World wraps up the Main Street Electrical Parade's six-year run

    Florida

    The Main Street Electrical Parade featuring illuminated floats such as Cinderella's pumpkin carriage has entertained crowds at Disney World's Magic Kingdom for decades.

    The Main Street Electrical Parade will be discontinued at Disney World in October, the park says. [Disney Parks Blog]
  8. Column: School's back in, but the fun doesn't have to stop

    Events

    My primary memories from those long, lazy days of summer vacation involve waking up around noon and watching back-to-back episodes of The Price Is Right, Supermarket Sweep and Charles in Charge.

    With kids back in school, Disney guests can look forward to more manageable crowds.
  9. Universal's rehabbed Hulk coaster roars to life, King Kong looms large

    Florida

    One of Universal Orlando's most popular rides, the Incredible Hulk roller coaster, is busting out of the construction walls that have sheltered the green giant for almost a year of renovations. There is no doubt, puny humans: Hulk strong.

    The fan-favorite roller coaster the Incredible Hulk gets a new story line and vehicles as well as a smoother ride.
  10. Theme park news: Busch Gardens holds a Pokémon event, Kong ride opens at Universal

    Florida

    As we enter the height of vacation season, Florida's theme parks continue to roll out new attractions, including the official opening of the King Kong ride at Universal Orlando and a new lush Caribbean-themed hotel and some lures for Pokémon Go players.

    Universal's Islands of Adventure surprised visitors Wednesday with the official opening of its newest mega attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong. (Universal Orlando)