Today we come back from our break with a round-up of the news. Then during the Main Event we have the original Dreamfinder, Ron Schneider, join us to chat about Walt’s Frozen Head, his views on Orlando tourism and the future of the industry.
In this special episode dedicated to Universal Orlando’s 25th Anniversary we are joined by an old JAWS skipper, a guest who took in family throughout the 1990s, a local who spent much of their free time there in the ’90s and a current fan boy. Jake hosts this round-table discussion on what makes Universal Studios Florida so special. Jaws, Kongfrontation, Hitchcock, Hanna-Barbara, and more are discussed in the special edition of the Orlando Tourism Report.
After 15 years in service Gwazi, one of only three wooden coasters in Central Florida, will be close on February 1 of this year. The ride, found in the Morocco section of Busch Gardens Tampa, holds the title for the most fly-bys on a dueling roller coaster.
In recent years the ride has gotten noticeable rougher with the lack of wait on even busy days pointing to a lack of interest from most park guest. Busch Gardens did install new trains in 2010, this helped some with the roughness but many still seem to complain about the roughness. Park merchandise has noticeable not included the ride in recent years as well.
The coaster had a Lion and a Tiger side with the Tiger side being closed near the end of the 2012 season. Since then only the Lion side has run. (Check out the video below to see a ride-thru on both sides.)
“No decisions have been made about what lies ahead for Gwazi or for the future plans of that area of Busch Gardens,” said Park President Jim Dean. “But, we are always looking for ways to enhance guests’ experiences, so stay tuned for more news.”
Also closing at Busch Gardens is the Pantopia Grill. The dinner theater is found in the spectacularly themed Pantopia land yet inside it remained similar to how it looked for many years. Busch Gardens has confirmed that the dinner theater is being remodeled and will reopen with a new food court model, similar to the Expedition Cafe found in Antarctica at SeaWorld Orlando. The new restaurant will offer windows with Italian, America, Asia and Mexican cuisine. The Busch Gardens Tampa blog mentioned menu items at the new restaurant including; “rotisserie chicken, flatbread pizza, teriyaki chicken, shrimp lo Mein and panini’s.”
Craft beer and Starbucks coffee will be also be available in the new dining pavilion. The new restaurant will be known as Dragon Fire Grill and is expected to open later this year.