By Lauren Wong
It’s a thrilling year for Orlando as they have announced the plans and future grand openings for new theme parks that could be bigger than Mickey Mouse and Cinderella’s castle. Heading to the area will soon look different different as the city is expected to unveil Volcano Bay water park in Universal Studios and Pandora coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom this coming May.
Being less than two hours from these attractions, it could make for an exciting road trip and reason to visit Orlando for UT students.
Volcano Bay is a new water park opening on May 25 at Universal Studios in place of Wet ‘n Wild. The main attraction is the 200-foot-tall Volcano, “Krakatau.” It towers over the park and has a flowing waterfall during the day and lava at night. There are four new attractions to the park including the “Volcano”, “Wave Village”, “River Village”, and the “Rainforest Village.”
Volcano Bay isn’t only adding new water rides to Universal Studios but an alternative to the traditional way of waiting in line for your turn. As you enter Volcano Bay, everyone receives a TapuTapu wristband. With this, whenever you see a totem you simply tap your TapuTapu and it will hold your place in line allowing you to explore the park in the meantime. When your time to ride comes, your wristband will notify you and you can go enjoy your slide – a.k.a. no more standing in line. Your band also allows you to unlock surprise features around the park such as lighting effects, water jets and more. All this information and more specifics can be found on universalorlando.com.
Dominik Cydzik, a freshman majoring in Biochemistry, hopes to be able to visit this upcoming park in the future.
“The last Blizzard Beach outing organized by UT was a lot of fun and it was the first time I experienced a U.S. water park. I hope they have another event like that to the Volcano Bay,” Cydzik said.
Pandora is opening May 27 in Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. This park is themed after the movie Avatar, which came out in 2009. The opening of this park has been anticipated for years and many had lost hope that it was ever going to be opened, but finally a date has been realised. This movie was the top-grossing movie in history and earned nine Oscar nominations according to Wikipedia. This park’s goal is to place you inside this blockbuster movie.
Features in this park include two new rides, “Flight of Passage” and “The Na’vi River Journey.”
According to disneyworld.com there is a lot to look forward to, “magnificent floating mountains and an iconic nighttime jungle filled with bioluminescent flora, this sprawling new land includes innovative expeditions, along with themed dining and shopping opportunities.”
Freshman nursing major Kaylee Romagna shares her excitement, “Avatar has always been one of my favorite movies and I was so thrilled when I saw the announcement that Disney is opening this new park so soon.”