Sea World/Busch Gardens changes...Happy Anniversary Emirates A380
Had a brief chat today with folks from Sea World/Busch Gardens in Florida, and found out all sorts of stuff that a 53-year-old guy who has kids that are all grown-up didn't know about.
I had heard something about the Sesame Street characters at Busch Gardens in Tampa, but didn't know quite what it's about. It's called Sesame Street Safari of Fun, and there are rides, shows and adventures with a Bert-and-Ernie-go-to-Africa theme. It opened just a couple months ago, and it fills a gap for Busch Gardens, said publicist Lauren Hoyt-Williams.
"We had a small, pre-school area but it didn't have the Sesame Street name," she said. "There's water play and a junior roller coaster (it's called "Air Grover"), and kids can meet with the characters for breakfast or lunch or see them at shows."
A couple years back they opened Jungala at Busch Gardens; a four-acre attraction featuring exotic creatures, a colourful village "hidden deep in the jungle" and underwater windows that offer a clear view of tigers swimming in a plunge pool. There's also a zip line for 6 to 13-year-olds (gotta try one some day, somewhere) and a three-storey climbing area for kids called Tree Tops Trails. Oh, to be a kid again.
Up at Sea World in Orlando, there's a cool-sounding ride called Manta (see photo), a "seamless blend of close-up animal encounters with a head-first, face-down thrill ride." Not quite sure what it is but I like the sound of "popping up" in a giant aquarium and being able to check out rays and a giant Pacific octopus. The owners also have Discovery Cove in Orlando, an all-inclusive adventure where you can swim with dolphins, rays and other exotic animals and fish and also hand-feed exotic birds. Finally, they've got Aquatica, a water park with a South Seas-theme and 36 water slides, plus six rivers and lagoons and 80,000 square feet of beaches.
My kids used to love Wild Water Kingdom in Brampton, as well as the water park at Canada's Wonderland, and I used to take time off to go to the Wet 'N Wild water park in Texas when I had a day off back when I covered the Blue Jays. The water slides are great, but I've always been a big fan of the lazy river, myself. And the wave pools. I love bouncing around in the waves and swimming in the waves, so those are always a lot of fun. A little nervous with the kids, at times, but fun.
Emirates' A380 superjumbo jet celebrates its first anniversary in Canada today after making aviation history one year ago when it touched down at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson Airport, marking the first commercial A380 flight to land on Canadian soil.
It's billed as the world’s largest passenger aircraft and the only one-of-its-kind in Canada, and it's been flying direct from Toronto to Dubai three times a week. They've pushed hard for the Canadian government to allow more services but have been met with resistance, partly because competitors are worried about their market share, I think.
“The demand for a direct service to Dubai from Canada has been overwhelmingly strong, with the A380 maintaining a 90 per cent load factor on the route,” said Mary Heron, Emirates' Manager for Canada. “Against some of the toughest operating conditions ever faced, the results for Canada have been hugely encouraging. This achievement reflects our success in maintaining our business as usual approach and remaining faithful to our strategy of product and service excellence."
DISNEY CRUISE SHIP UPDATE
Gene Sloan at USA Today reports the Disney Cruise Line is awaiting its first new vessel in more than decade, the Disney Dream. The final building block for the 2,500-passenger ship was lowered into place recently at a shipyard in Germany.
The maiden voyage is slated out of Port Canaveral, Fla. on Jan. 26, 2011.