Theme Park News

Busch Gardens welcomes new baby giraffeBusch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed a new baby female reticulated giraffe on Tuesday, just in time for the New Year. At 5 foot, 7 inches tall and weighing approximately 127 pounds, the newborn calf was born to father, Jafari and mother, Tesa. The newest addition brings the park’s reticulated giraffe population to 18.

Guests will have to wait to see the calf until it’s a little older. Mamma and baby are currently in an area out of guest view so they can closely be monitored by zoo staff to ensure the baby is nursing and growing properly. When they’re ready the pair will join the other animals on the Serengeti Plain. The birth is a part of a successful long-term breeding program at the park.

In other Orlando theme park news, Universal Orlando is saying goodbye to its iconic attraction Jaws on Monday, Jan. 2. Universal announced last month that it was replacing the shark fest and its accompanying Amity area with a new attraction. No word yet on what will replace the popular ride but we imagine it’ll be something spectacular! You can experience one last Jaws ride this weekend during Universal Orlando’s many New Year’s Eve events.

Both Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure will be open for extended hours on New Year’s Eve- from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. New Year's Eve festivities in both parks include party zones that will feature DJs, character appearances and a fireworks display at midnight. But best of all, the New Year’s Eve fun is included with regular park admission.

Walt Disney World ® will have its own New Year’s Eve fun including a special presentations of the “SpectroMagic” parade and several nighttime fireworks displays at Magic Kingdom ™. "Holiday Wishes" lights up the sky early in the evening and guests who make it to midnight can see “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks, which begin just before the New Year starts.

At Epcot ™ celebrate the New Year with DJs and evening dance parties spread throughout World Showcase and lasting late into the evening, as well as a special presentation of the “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” lights, lasers and fireworks display.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios ™ says farewell to 2011 with multiple presentations of “Fantasmic!” a spectacular of Disney ® movies and music. The park will also feature a special “Lights! Camera! Happy New Year!” fireworks spectacular, as well as a DJ dance party around the Sorcerer Hat Stage.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom ® will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on December 31. Guests can enjoy one of the final presentations of the romping character cavalcade “Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade”.

Have a Happy New Year. will be right back here Tuesday for more Orlando theme park news.