During a special preview of D23 Expo 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek unveiled a first look at the epic, richly detailed model of the Star Wars-themed lands under development at Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif. and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla. This stunning exhibition, on display in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ “A Galaxy of Stories” pavilion at D23 Expo, is yet another example of the breathtaking new worlds, immersive storytelling and transformational guest experiences that set Disney apart.
“To say we are excited for the Star Wars-themed lands to open in 2019 is an understatement,” Chapek said. “All along, we have said this will be game-changing, and through the model we can begin to see how truly epic these immersive new worlds will be.”
OWA’s 21-ride themed amusement park, The Park at OWA, located in Foley, Alabama, will officially open its doors to the public July 21, 2017. Designed as a family fun destination, The Park at OWA will offer each and every guest a unique adventure.
Beginning opening day, guests will enjoy everything The Park at OWA has to offer: 21 rides (including the Rollin’ Thunder); a variety of midway games; quick service dining options; and the Parkside Gift Shop filled with one-of-a-kind Park at OWA treasures. The Park opens at 10 am daily.
Tickets will be available online at VisitOWA.com beginning July 18, 2017 at 10 am. Tickets may also be purchased on site opening day at The Park at OWA Admissions Office. Group discounts and packages will be available and more details can be found at VisitOWA.com.
“Our Tribe is excited to offer a family destination near Alabama’s beautiful beaches that will create memories this summer and for years to come,” commented Poarch Creek Indians Tribal Chair and CEO, Stephanie A. Bryan. Ms. Bryan continued, “We are also proud that OWA is positively impacting families living in Foley and the surrounding region through the job creation generated by this development.”
While The Park at OWA is set to open July 21st, the retail and dining tenants at OWA will open in phases beginning early in September 2017. The announced tenants include Wahlburgers, Sunglass World, Fairhope Soap Company, Alvin’s Island, Hershey’s Ice Cream Shop, and Utopia among others.
The Park at OWA’s official opening day promises to be full of fun and thrills. We invite you to spend this special July 21st plummeting down the Rollin’ Thunder coaster, spinning on brightly colored teacups, and enjoying classic midway games.
For more information regarding opening day details, please go to VisitOWA.com.
New this summer, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom is launching its Summer Culinary Series, offering guests a dining option with all-you-can-eat classic American summer fare. Served in the brand new Parkside Pavilion catering facility, the series features a variety of menus created by executive chef Malo Jones.
The Summer Culinary Series begins with a Pitmasters Ribfest from July 8th – 9th. The menu includes all-you-can-eat ribs with an array of homemade BBQ sauces, hamburgers, hot dogs, and more. The series continues with a Tex Mex Festival, offered on July 15th – 16th and July 22nd – 23rd. Guests can build their own chicken fajitas and indulge in Mexican hot dogs, tex mex steak chili, and more.
Both events will be hosted inside Dorney Park’s new catering facility, Parkside Pavilion from 5:30 PM – 8 PM. Parkside Pavilion hosts a full chef’s kitchen and offers extensive culinary options for group outings and accommodates over 2,000 guests. Additional amenities include self-serving lines and digital signage.
Admission Tickets and entry to the Summer Culinary Series start at $53* and can be purchased online at https://www.dorneypark.com/play/events/summer-culinary-series or on the day of visit. Season Passholders receive a special deal and can purchase tickets to the Culinary Series events for $12* online only prior to the event. Season Passholders with the All Season Dining Plan can purchase tickets to the Culinary Series for only $5*.
Chef Jones has been enhancing the guest experience by expanding the dining services offered within the park. Guests are now able to choose from 95 different meal options at 19 different locations with an All Season Dining Plan and can enjoy a personalized menu at the new Chef’s Grill that includes rotating weekly specials and healthier dining options, such as Asian Crispy Wonton Salad. Chef Jones has a strong culinary background having worked in a number of different venues and cuisines, as well as experience in teaching and is a seasoned veteran in contract food services.
The arrival of summer spotlights a great American tradition: family summer travel. And as families look for ways to pack adventure into their limited time off – and please all ages – parks and attractions that offer a broad range of rides and activities, such as Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson, rise to the top for weekend get-aways as well as full vacation trips.
Cited for a combination of “scream-worthy” thrill rides as well as family attractions and rides for smaller kids, Silver Dollar City was recently named to the list of Best Amusement Parks for Families from TripAdvisor’s family travel site Family Vacation Critic, and in Top-Rated TripAdvisor Attractions in 50 States. Carried by outlets from MSN Travel and AOL to the Today Show’s website and Facebook, the national recognition gives families more reasons to vacation in Branson, profiled along with Silver Dollar City as one of the 17 Best Affordable Destinations in the USA by U.S. News & World Report. And for true thrill seekers, Silver Dollar City’s world-famous wood coaster Outlaw Run was recently recognized by MSN Travel as one of the Most Terrifying Roller Coasters in the World for the Ultimate Thrill.
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Another Silver Dollar City Attraction, White Water water park garnered its own superlatives, named to the Travel Channel’s Top U.S. Water Parks, with the new half-million dollar Coconut Cove kids’ play area featured in MSN.com’s New Water Park Additions for 2017.
Now through July, Silver Dollar City features the family-focused festival Star-Spangled Summer, featuring the Harlem Globetrotters, with 9 new Guinness World Records for trick shots, in the final year of The Globetrotter Experience show. The festival also presents stunt dogs, champion cloggers and cartoon characters through July 16. Then the park’s night ride event Moonlight Madness, July 15 – 30, brings ride-in-the-dark fun on the park’s 40-plus rides and attractions, including Outlaw Run, named Best New Ride of 2013 worldwide and featured in Guinness World Records 2015. Also presented are evening street dances and performances by international touring group Rockapella.
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Another affiliated attraction, the Showboat Branson Belle, presents the new noon show Country On The Lake, a “Party on the Lake” concert cruise featuring hits from classic rock to today’s country favorites, plus the popular evening show Celebrate and Princess & Pirate Cruises for kids.
Information on Silver Dollar City, White Water and the Showboat Branson Belle is at 800-831-4FUN(386) or www.silverdollarcity.com.
Just in time for summer vacation, one of the fiercest underwater legends has come to life in an entirely new way. SeaWorld Orlando’s original roller coaster offers an adventure for thrill-seeking guests unlike any other when Kraken Unleashed opens to the public June 16.
Kraken Unleashed is a first-of-its-kind virtual reality roller coaster in the United States, with fully integrated headsets. The completely immersive experience takes riders on an exploratory journey under the sea. As they sail along the powerful coaster track, complete with deep dives, steep turns and seven complete inversions, a fully integrated story unfolds. The result is a fantastical voyage past gigantic sea monsters, and an unexpected, unforgettable encounter with the legendary Kraken sea monster.
Family Vacation Critic, TripAdvisor’s family travel site, has just named the Best Amusement Parks for Families in 2017 – naming the best parks in the U.S., and sharing the year’s newest attractions and highlights for every age group.
“Amusement parks are one of the most quintessential summertime activities for families,” explains Lissa Poirot, editor-in-chief of Family Vacation Critic. “But for those traveling with family members of various ages – including kids-at-heart – finding a park that caters to thrill-seekers and the younger set isn’t always so easy. This list includes parks that successfully cater to both, and those that also have exciting new features for the 2017 season.”
The list of the best amusement parks for families in 2017 include:
- Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH)
What’s New: Cedar Point Shores, an 18-acre waterpark located along Lake Erie with 17 water attractions for all ages, VIP cabanas, restaurants, shopping and live entertainment.
- Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN)
What’s New: Drop Line, a 230-foot tall drop tower, with a spinning gondola that offers riders a breathtaking view of the Great Smoky Mountains. Also joining the park in 2017 is Whistle Punk Chaser, a junior coaster positioned as a great first-coaster for younger park visitors.
- Hersheypark (Hershey, PA)
What’s New: Hershey Triple Tower offers three drop towers for park guests to choose from – Hershey’s Tower, the tallest at 189-feet high; Reese’s Tower, is the second tallest at 131-feet high; and Hershey’s Kisses Tower standing at 80-feet tall.
- Kings Island (Mason, OH)
What’s New: Mystic Timbers, a 3,265-foot long wooden coaster with a 48″ height requirement – making it an ideal coaster for riders of various ages.
- Silver Dollar City (Branson, MO)
What’s New: New Silver Dollar Food Days run from July 31 – August 20, highlighting favorite festival food like funnel cakes, kettle corn and milkshakes, and taking them to new levels.
- Universal’s Islands of Adventure (Orlando, FL)
What’s New: For guests visiting the park, plan a trip to Universal Orlando Resort’s newest water theme park, Volcano Bay – a 25-acre park featuring 18 unique attractions including a wave pool, winding river, raft rides, body slides and more.
- Universal Studios (Hollywood, CA and Orlando, FL)
What’s New: Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon brings guests a simulated race through New York City – a history of The Tonight Show, Hashtag the Panda and the Ragtime Gals barbershop quartet also join in the fun.
- Six Flags (Nationwide)
What’s New: Six Flags is unveiling new rides at each of its parks across North America, including Warner Brothers and DC Comics-branded rides and attractions.
About Family Vacation Critic
Family Vacation Critic® is a comprehensive online travel resource for families that offers reviews of family hotels, resort and destinations. The site features vacation ideas, family travel tips and an online forum for family travelers. Family Vacation Critic is published by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, Inc.