Here are the 9 biggest theme park stories of 2021 – WFTV
It’s been a big year for theme parks and attractions in Central Florida.
From a magical half-century celebration in preparation to a record-breaking and mind-blowing new roller coaster, it’s the biggest theme park stories that have taken the region to new heights in 2021:
The most magical celebration at World Disney World was arguably the biggest theme park news in the world this year. The resort officially kicked off its 50th anniversary celebration on October 1.
The start of the “EARidescent” celebration also brought new foods, new fireworks and new attractions, including Remy’s Ratatouille adventure in the expanded France pavilion at Epcot.
READ: Squeak Peek: Disney World Prepares To Open Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure At Epcot
The Channel 9 team looks back on 50 years of magic. Read their stories here.
READ: ‘I remember how magical it made me feel’: Channel 9 reflects on 50 years of Disney magic
The top of the roller coaster was born at Islands of Adventure this summer.
VelociCoaster is Florida’s fastest and tallest launching roller coaster. Inspired by the blockbuster Jurassic World franchise, it allows patrons to “feel the race to hunt” as they “run through the jungle alongside velociraptors”.
READ: Universal gives behind-the-scenes look at Jurassic World VelociCoaster
The route includes over 4,700 feet of runway and reaches over 155 feet in the air.
The roller coaster premiered in June and received rave reviews from thrill seekers.
As COVID-19 vaccines became available, theme parks began to lift their social distancing measures and fine-tune their mask mandates put in place after their reopening in 2020.
Read the story here.
The past year has seen the absence of many popular events at the Central Florida theme parks that typically draw huge crowds such as fireworks and vacation deals like Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.
In 2021, they made a big comeback.
SEE: EPCOT’s New Nighttime Show ‘Harmonious’ Will Take Disney’s Vision ‘To The Next Chapter’
Walt Disney World has launched two new nightly shows: Disney Enchantment at Magic Kingdom and Harmonious at Epcot.
After a year-long hiatus due to the pandemic, Halloween Horror Nights returned to Universal Orlando Resort this fall, officially honoring the 30th anniversary of the Eternal Scarecrow.
READ: SeaWorld’s Christmas celebration starts next week
As Walt Disney World kicked off its 50th anniversary celebrations, they made a big announcement for 2022.
Disney officially announced this year that the latest Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind family thrill ride, based on the irreverent Marvel films, will officially open at EPCOT in the summer of 2022.
READ: “This is AWESOME !!!”: Disney World president launches early in Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Guests will tour an ‘otherworldly exhibition pavilion’ of Xandar, one of the main worlds seen in the ‘Guardians’ films before taking off on a high-speed indoor roller coaster adventure that will feature featured the first reverse rollercoaster launch in Disney history.
Along the way, guests can expect to see some of their favorite characters, humor and of course hear some of the iconic music from “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
“They gave us great inspiration,” said Senior Creative Director Alex Wright. “The characters… have such humor and such personality, so we absolutely want to present that as part of our story. There are a lot of flavors from the movies making their way into the attraction.
READ: Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will bring thrills for the whole family to EPCOT from 2022
This fall, Disney officially let the Genie out of the torch with a new free digital service designed to create your best Disney Day, including a replacement for its now retired FastPass program.
The Disney Genie service, which can now be found in the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps, will have several features to help you maximize your park time, Disney said.
Learn more about the service here.
After a pandemic hiatus, Universal Orlando Resort announced in March that it was resuming work on the Epic Universe, which will be the company’s fourth park in Orlando.
Universal halted construction on Epic Universe in July 2020 due to the pandemic.
Universal said the restart will create hundreds of new jobs within the company and in central Florida.
READ »Universal Orlando Resort resumes construction of Epic Universe, the resort’s fourth theme park
The project will also create more than 14,000 permanent jobs.
“We’re excited to get back to working on Epic Universe and see what this moment means for our industry, our community, our business and our team members,” said Tom Williams, President and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts. “Our confidence in our collective future is stronger than ever. “
Epic Universe will feature a new theme park, entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants and more, according to Universal.
Construction of two new record-breaking attractions on International Drive began this year.
Officials staged a groundbreaking event for the new Slingshot and Drop Tower ride at Icon Park.
The new drop tower will be 430 feet tall and runners will drop to 75 MPH.
READ: Whoa! Construction of the record rides at Icon Park begins
“We are thrilled to welcome these new attractions to I-Drive,” said Maria Triscari of the Area Chamber of Commerce at the International Drive Resort. “We think they’re going to be a major boost to our total station estimate. (It) gives us even more attractions, more reasons for people to come and visit us.
Icon Park will become ‘Land of the Giants’ by showcasing three of the world’s tallest attractions – the Slingshot and Drop Tower will stand alongside the existing Starflyer, the world’s tallest merry-go-round, measuring 450 feet.
Good news if you have a “Peppa Pig” fan in your family: the first theme park based on the cartoon character is coming to Central Florida.
The Peppa Pig Theme Park, located next to Legoland Florida in Winter Haven, will officially open on February 24, 2022, the park announced this fall.
READ: Here’s when the Peppa Pig Theme Park opens at Legoland Florida
The Peppa Pig theme park will feature six rides, six thematic landscapes, an aquatic play area and more “oinktastic” experiences for the whole family based on the famous children’s cartoon.
READ: Rides, attractions announced for Peppa Pig Theme Park at Legoland Florida
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