With the busy summer season now behind us, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment is looking ahead to 2019.
New attractions range from a full Sesame Street-themed land at SeaWorld Orlando to a new swing ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg to a Premier Rides Skyrocket II coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa, with a Skywarp Horizon coaster likely to be announced for SeaWorld San Diego in the coming weeks.
With two new coasters, a massive kids land, and a new swing thrill ride all confirmed by the still struggling theme park company, one might think SeaWorld is planning to add lower-budget rides in the coming years, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Theme park news site WildGravity Travelsleaked new details on what the SeaWorld has in the works through 2020. The blog post claims that the information comes from sources familiar with SeaWorld’s plans and that the site “can only speculate” regarding some of the details.
Multiple sources have independently confirmed to that the details found within the WildGravity Travels post are nearly identical to ones shared in an internal marketing presentation that took place at SeaWorld just ahead of the Busch Gardens Tampa 2019 media event, where new coaster Tigris was announced.
The blog post begins with a look at the Busch Gardens Tampa, where SeaWorld officials have strongly hinted at Rocky Mountain Construction bringing a new wood-steel hybrid to the park, using some features of the Gwazi coaster that is currently standing but not operating. The blog post notes that a picture showing the 2020 plans include a photo of the recently opened RMC Steel Vengeance hybrid coaster. However, it’s unclear what picture the blog post is referring to.
Sources familiar with the marketing presentation have privately confirmed that a photo of Steel Vengeance was used in that meeting to discuss the yet to be announced 2020 plans for Busch Gardens Tampa. The current timeline calls for the new BGT coaster to open around April 2020.
At Busch Gardens Williamsburg, a new eight-story-tall Screamin’ Swing, known as Finnegan’s Flyer, has been confirmed for 2019, along with a new water coaster next door at Water Country USA. The 2020 plans call for a family thrill coaster that will have multiple launches and will be visible from the bridge in the Italy section of the park. If the speed posted by WildGravity Travels, 76 mph, is correct, this would be the fastest coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. It should open by the summer of 2020.
In Texas, the supposed 2020 plans call for the longest wooden coaster in the state. Few details of what exactly the coaster will feature have been confirmed, since the attraction is still in early development. It is unclear what design firm will be awarded the contract for the new ride. Previous rumors have pointed to a new turtle-themed area with an updated version of Turtle Trek. While not explicitly mentioned in the WildGravity Travels post, the new wooden coaster may be a part of this new area of the park that, according to recently published government documents, will also include two carnival-style flat rides.
Also not mentioned in the blog post is what SeaWorld may be looking to do at Aquatica San Antonio. That park is thought to be getting an update that might cause one or more attractions in it to close, with at least one animal habitat within the park also closing.
An expanded and updated orca habitat may also be in the works, according to theme park news site Behind the Thrills.
While that site had initially said this expansion would be the previously announced Blue World Project, in a more recent blog post, they seemed to walk back those claims, only stating that the San Antonio park would be getting an expansion to the orca stadium and more pools for the orcas. Once finished, one possibility may include SeaWorld moving some of the orcas found at other parks to the newly expanded SeaWorld San Antonio pools.
The blog post where Behind the Thrills laid out these plans also includes many of the details WildGravity Travels had first reported on. Despite being filled with numerous yet to be announced projects, the Behind the Thrills post was shared by SeaWorld’s official Twitter account with the account stating, “Yep, you could say that we’re ready to knock your socks off. Stay tuned for even more exciting park updates!” It is unclear if SeaWorld is confirming all of the projects mentioned in the article, or if they’re merely sharing a fan’s hope for the future.
Despite being asked for clarification, SeaWorld has yet to reply.
While no details of the 2020 plans for SeaWorld San Diego have been shared, we are seeing more information regarding the Skyline’s Skywarp Horizon coaster highly rumored to be heading to the park in 2019. WildGravity Travels notes that their “source” stated that the 2019 attraction will have an “infinity loop track with an airtime hill and an inversion element.” That description is practically a direct quote from Skyline’s own description of the Skywarp Horizon coaster. Locally based tourism news site Orlando Park Pass confirms that this yet-to-be-announced coaster will interact with a highly themed area filled with rockwork and water features similar to those found at Disney Springs.
Last, yet another new coaster seems to be in the works for SeaWorld Orlando. Featuring airtime and over-banked turns, this coaster still looks very much like a work in progress, with the location within the park yet to be decided.
Behind the Thrills mentions that the new coaster may be similar to San Antonio’s new Sea Rescue-themed Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster roller coaster. That coaster uses jet ski-like ride vehicles and stretches across the park’s lake. In Orlando, most of the lake sits unused except for sidewalks along the shoreline. The new coaster in Orlando could race across the lake just like in San Antonio, or it could be located in another section of the park, possibly in the Key West area, where the dolphin habitat is currently being upgraded. Most of the details for this attraction have yet to be determined.
A new orca show is also rumored for SeaWorld Orlando, though WildGravity Travels does not mention this in their attraction focused blog post.
The water coaster headed to Virginia’s Water Country USA is also rumored to be heading to Aquatica Orlando.
According to Behind the Thrills it will be located in the area between the two wave pools. This would make the new slide visible from International Drive, which runs along the western edge of the water park.
There are three parks that seem to have no new plans in the works. Sesame Place in Pennsylvania received a new Oscar the Grouch-themed wooden coaster this year. It’s likely that at least a few of the Sesame Street-themed carnival flat rides planned for SeaWorld Orlando’s upcoming Sesame Street land will also be added to Sesame Place. A dark ride rumored for the Orlando land may also eventually make its way to the Pennsylvania park.
Tampa’s Adventure Island water park received a new trapdoor-style drop water slide, so a new attraction for that park might not be in the works for at least a couple of years. That leaves Aquatica San Diego as the only SeaWorld park left with no details on what the future may entail. With so little focus on this water park, some are wondering if SeaWorld even plans to keep the park open in the coming years. It’s no secret that the park has struggled even more than the SeaWorld-branded parks to gain its foothold since the company purchased the parkfrom Cedar Fair in 2012.
SeaWorld seems serious about adding major new rides to almost all of their parks in the coming two years but before any of the 2019 and 2020 projects do open the company hopefully can get Orlando’s Infinity Falls ride open. That family raft ride was supposed to open in “Summer 2018.” The last day of summer is this Saturday, Sept. 22. It seems highly unlikely the ride will open before then.
Busch Gardens officials announced this morning that the Tampa theme park will launch their brand-new roller coaster in the spring of 2019.
At 150 feet up in the air and reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour, Tigris will become Florida’s tallest triple-launch coaster, says the company. It is also the first major ride to open since Cobra’s Curse, which made its debut two years ago.
The attraction will race riders both forward and backward along more than 1,800 feet of track and will be located in the Stanleyville area of the park adjacent to Jungala, which houses the park’s endangered Bengal tigers.
Joining Tigris will be a second thrill ride coming to the Gwazi area of the park. The name and nature of the attraction has yet to be disclosed, but the date has been set for sometime in 2020.
In addition to the new roller coaster, Busch Gardens has introduced a new Bier Festevent, where guests can sample beer and a snacks every weekend until Sept. 16. They’ve also begun offering complimentary beer to guests once again after a 10-year dry spell.
During a question-and-answer session this week, Comcast executives confirmed the company is considering a fourth theme park for Universal Orlando Resort and it could be called “Fantastic Worlds.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the patent application for “Fantastic Worlds” was filed last month and it said that name would be used for “entertainment services in the nature of amusement park and theme park services.” During the Q&A session, an analyst from Bank of America asked if the patent indicated plans for a fourth theme park.
“We are looking at it,” a Comcast executive said. “We love the theme park business. It’s one of our best, most consistent businesses.” By adding a new park, Comcast hopes to turn Universal Orlando Resort into a week-long vacation destination.
There’s no word on desired attractions for the new park, but they could include Nintendo-related rides. In 2016, NBCUniversal said Nintendo lands were planned for Orlando, Hollywood, and Japan in the future, and Super Nintendo World is slated to open at Universal Studios Japan in 2020.
Universal Orlando Resort is currently expanding their hotel options, which could also entice guests to plan longer vacations. The new Aventura Hotel opens on August 16, a modern hotel within walking distance of Volcano Bay. They’re also introducing two new affordable hotels as part of Universal’s Endless Summer Resort: Surfside Inn and Suites opens in Summer 2019 and Dockside Inn and Suites opens in 2020.
Source: Orlando Sentinel
Walt Disney isn’t taking Comcast’s bid for 21st Century Fox lying down.
A week after Comcast launched an unsolicited , Disney returned with an amended agreement with Rupert Murdoch’s media giant for $71.3 billion, split evenly between cash and stock.
Fox has now agreed to the proposal, calling it “superior” to Comcast’s offer, though that doesn’t stop other companies from making a bid. The deal still needs to be voted on by shareholders.
The new offer shoulders Comcast’s bid out of the way as Disney looks to lock up Fox, which is home to marquee franchises like X-Men, Deadpool, Kingsmen, and Planet of the Apes; animated films like Ice Age; and TV assets like The Simpsons and edgy network FX. Disney’s raising of the ante underscores the increasing value of content, following .
Comcast had hoped the Fox assets would join a stable of entertainment outfits that include properties run by NBC Universal. Think The Fast and the Furious and the Jurassic World movies, plus a constellation of TV channels — not only those that have NBC in their names but also others like Bravo and Syfy.
Disney, meanwhile, could benefit as well from Fox’s wide range of television and film assets, which could feed into its streaming services, including a planned rival to Netflix sometimes referred to as Disneyflix.
Also at stake is the ownership of streaming service Hulu. Comcast, Disney and Fox each own a 30 percent stake in the business, and whoever wins the bid for Fox would get a majority stake.
The latest deal breaks down to $38 a share in cash and stock.
Comcast declined to comment. A Fox spokeswoman wasn’t immediately available for comment.
“The acquisition of 21st Century Fox will bring significant financial value to the shareholders of both companies, and after six months of integration planning we’re even more enthusiastic and confident in the strategic fit of the assets and the talent at Fox,” said Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger in a press release.
“We are extremely proud of the businesses we have built at 21st Century Fox, and firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace at a dynamic time for our industry,” said Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch in a separate press release.
Disney’s higher bid keeps the dream of a massive . Disney, which owns the film rights to the Avengers, could unify the comic book universe by bringing in-house Fox’s rights to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.
For some time now, it had seemed like a done deal. Back in December, Disney had agreed to purchase 21st Century Fox in a $52.4 billion deal that would have brought the movie studio, regional sports networks, FX and National Geographic cable channels and Fox’s stakes in Hulu and European pay-TV provider Sky to the House of Mouse.
Today, Comcast has made their move. In an attempt to keep their competitor from growing stronger, the Philadelphia-based cable company has reportedly made a $65 billion all-cash offer for the same assets Disney had previously purchased.
“We have long admired what the Murdoch family has built at Twenty-First Century Fox,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts reportedly wrote in a letter to the Fox’s Murdoch family. “After our meetings last year, we came away convinced that the 21CF businesses to be sold are highly complementary to ours, and that our company would be the right strategic home for them.”
Comcast’s offer is for $35 in cash per share, equaling roughly $65 billion. Disney still has a chance to match or top Comcast’s offer though, and under the terms of Disney’s proposed deal, if Fox was to pull out for any reason other than a regulatory block of the transaction, they would have to pay Disney a $1.52 billion fee.
Fox is schedule to hold an investor meeting on July 10 to address the sale of its properties, but can postpone the event if executives believe shareholders need to review additional materials.
Comcast already holds an impressive catalog of assets under its umbrella, including the NBC network, Universal Pictures, Universal Parks and Resorts, NBC Sports, cable programming and more. Adding the Fox assets would certainly bolster their production a great deal.
The deal is far from done for either side. Be sure to check back with Unofficial Theme Park News for more information as this story continues to unfold.