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


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 or post to the official Things to Do Facebook page.

  1. Theme park news: Universal gets 'Exorcist' for Halloween, veterans get price break at Busch Gardens


    It may seem early to talk about Halloween, but for horror fans, there's a reason. Universal announced Tuesday that Halloween Horror Nights will welcome The Exorcist as a haunted house this year.

    Military veterans can take 50 percent off up to six single-day admission tickets to Busch Gardens through the end of May.
  2. Veterans get 50 percent off Busch Gardens tickets


    Military veterans can take 50 percent off up to six single-day admission tickets to Busch Gardens, a savings of almost $50 per ticket through the end of May.

    About 2,500 Florida National Guard members at Busch Gardens Tampa in 2006.

[DANIEL WALLACE | Times (2006)]
  3. New 'Frozen' boat ride to open in June at Disney's Epcot


    Disney World forecast a Frozen summer on Wednesday, revealing a June opening date for the new ride Frozen Ever After at Epcot as well as news on the expansion of its popular Soarin' ride, a slew of new nighttime attractions at Animal Kingdom and the final expansion of its shopping and dining area, Disney Springs. …

    This rendering shows Frozen Ever After, opening at Epcot’s Norway pavilion in June.
  4. SeaWorld announces opening date for Mako, Orlando's highest and fastest roller coaster


    Brace yourself thrill seekers, the fastest, tallest and longest roller coaster in Orlando will open June 10, SeaWorld announced Monday.

    Construction is near completion at SeaWorld of Mako, the fastest, tallest and longest roller coaster in Orlando. It will open June 10, SeaWorld announced Monday.
  5. Theme park news: Disney adds 'after hours' ticket, Busch Gardens Cobra's Curse track completed, Night of Joy lineup


    Recent spring break crowds have been epic at Walt Disney World, so maybe the news that a new $149 "after hours" ticket on select nights in April and May will sound like a good way to escape the mob and get on popular rides after the park closes.

    The new snake-themed family thrill ride called Cobra's Curse at Busch Gardens now has a giant serpent head and the final track piece has been installed for the ride scheduled to open this summer. 
The 4,475-pound track piece was bolted into place on Saturday, the theme park announced, marking the end of track construction and the beginning of the testing phase. 
[Busch Gardens Tampa]
  6. SeaWorld says it will end shows, killer whale breeding program (w/video)


    After years of pressure and sagging attendance, SeaWorld is moving away from Shamu and its signature killer whales.

    An orca whale performs during an One Ocean show in October at SeaWorld San Diego. [San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS (2015)]
  7. Legoland announces five new attractions for the park's 5th birthday


    Legoland announced big expansions to the Winter Haven theme park and resort Tuesday, with the goal of making the kid-centric park a major player in the Florida vacation scene.

     LEGOLAND Florida just outside Orlando. . (PHOTO/LEGOLAND Florida, Merlin Entertainments Group, Chip Litherland).
  8. Tampa Bay Kids Triathlon will have kids run, bike and swim through Adventure Island


    Adventure Island in Tampa is opening up its lazy river and the Busch Gardens parking lot for a kids triathlon on Saturday, and athletes will get a ticket to stay and play in the water park.

    For the Tampa Bay Kids Triathlon, kids 6 to 14 will swim in the park’s lazy river, bike through the Busch Gardens parking lot and run in a grassy field.
Adventure Island
  9. What's new and insider tips for the 2016 Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival


    For its second year cooking up the Food and Wine Festival, Busch Gardens is still tweaking its recipe for drawing crowds — and getting them to spend more money on food and drinks.

    Carol Miklavic, Denise Psarras and Jan Parmerto enjoy drinks at the inaugural Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival in 2015. 
  10. BeBe Winans, Clark Sisters added to SeaWorld series


    Gospel and R&B singer BeBe Winans and multi-Grammy award winners The Clark Sisters, above, have been added to SeaWorld Orlando’s Praise Wave, a series of Christian music concerts over the next three Saturdays.