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Who turns 50 this 12 months? See which sights will mark important anniversaries in 2023

Get away the candles. We now have one other 12 months of theme park anniversaries and birthdays to watch. Listed below are just a few of the notable, extra spherical events that will likely be celebrated with numerous quantities of confetti in 2023.

Shamu involves city

SeaWorld Orlando turns 50 in December. It was Central Florida’s second main theme park to open, beating Circus World in Haines Metropolis by just a few months and Epcot by nearly a decade.

The Orlando Sentinel mentioned the “$20 million marine attraction” was anticipated to attract 2.2 million guests in its first 12 months regardless of the headline-hogging gasoline scarcity. It was additionally reported that the park—then referred to as Sea World of Florida—had spent $1 million in landscaping. Its parking zone held 3,000 vehicles.

Opening day exhibits included “Shamu Goes Hollywood” and “Dingling Brothers’ Circus,” that includes a 2,000-pound elephant seal named The Google. An advert for the park touted a two-ton killer whale and being “simply 6 minutes from Walt Disney World.”

Every day admission for an grownup was $4.50. A Constitution Gold Go, legitimate for one 12 months, bought for $8.

Enjoyable native reality: The total size of the Holland East-West Expressway — aka the 408 — opened the identical day as SeaWorld. The freeway’s value: $89 million.

Additionally turning 50 in 2023: Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom.

Epcot strikes fjord-ward

In June 1988, Epcot’s World Showcase added a Norway pavilion. Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja had been available for the event, in addition to the Norwegian Royal Guard drill staff and 150 Norwegian college students set to work at retailers and eateries.

“Pc glitches” prevented the debut of the world’s Maelstrom experience till the following month. A part of the Sentinel’s description of the experience was “the 16-person ship appears to teeter getting ready to a waterfall that appears out over the Norway pavilion’s courtyard, however is saved on the final minute by a troll.” There’s additionally a point out of a North Sea oil rig, fjords and through-the-exit film.

An Epcot advert mentions a three-headed river troll, 12-foot polar bear, white-water rapids and a backward enterprise over a waterfall. It consists of the phrase. “All you want is the center of a Viking.”

Maelstrom floated alongside till October 2014. The experience was closed and transformed, re-emerging as Frozen Ever After in June 2016.

The destiny of ’98

The massive information of ’98 was the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the fourth and, to date, ultimate park cog of Walt Disney World. Human star energy included Michael Eisner, Michael J. Fox, Stevie Marvel, Jane Goodall and Regis Philbin. An episode of ABC’s “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” was filmed at DAK earlier than the park opened to the general public.

One other ’98 beginner was WonderWorks Orlando, the upside-down edutainment attraction that opened in March on Worldwide Drive.

And Common Studios launched Rock the Universe, a multi-night Christian-music pageant. At first it went head-to-head, right down to the identical ticket value, with Disney World’s Night time of Pleasure, which ran that occasion from 1983 by means of 2017. Amongst Rock the Universe’s first headliners had been Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys and Michael W. Smith.

Common transforms

This 12 months marks the tenth anniversary of the opening of Transformers: The Journey 3D at Common Studios. The attraction was wedged right into a metropolis block inside the park. Variations already had debuted at Common parks in California and Singapore (One opened in Bejing in 2021). “It is essentially the most action-packed experience we have ever executed,” Common Inventive’s Thierry Coup mentioned earlier than the opening.

Additionally turning 10 this 12 months: the White Lightning and Freedom Flyer coasters at Enjoyable Spot close to Worldwide Drive.

Looks as if yesterday

You do not hear lots of champagne corks popping for a 5-year mark, however that is the place a handful of sights stand. In 2018, Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened Toy Story Land, SeaWorld Orlando launched Infinity Falls and Common Studios debuted Quick & Livid: Supercharged within the area that was as soon as Catastrophe and, earlier than that, Earthquake.

Make a want, everybody.

E-mail me at dbevil@orlandosentinel.com. Subscribe to the Theme Park Rangers publication at orlandosentinel.com/newsletters or the Theme Park Rangers podcast at orlandosentinel.com/journey/sights/theme-park-rangers-podcast.

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