Theme park news: Epcot says goodbye to ‘IllumiNations,’ Universal skips Harry Potter fest

Cassidee Steadman
A recreation of Hogwarts, Harry Potter’s famous wizarding school, is pictured at Islands of Adventure. (Cassidee Steadman)

Upcoming changes to Florida theme parks include a show to replace Epcot’s “IllumiNations,” a “Guardians of the Galaxy” roller coaster and a new experience at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

‘IllumiNations’ pyrotechnic show ending next year at Epcot

After almost two decades, Walt Disney World is ending the pyrotechnic, light and fireworks show which nightly lights up the sky above its Epcot theme park.

The theme park resort said on its blog this week that the “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” show would be replaced with a new show once it ends in summer 2019.

“IllumiNations” debuted in 1999 as part of the theme park resort’s celebration of the new millennium.

The replacement show for “IllumiNations” will join a slew of other changes at Epcot, including a “Guardians of the Galaxy” roller coaster, a “Ratatouille”-inspired attraction and a new restaurant adjacent to Mission: SPACE. Park officials haven’t announced opening dates for those attractions.

Universal to skip Harry Potter fest to build thrill ride

Universal Orlando Resort says it won’t be hosting its annual celebration of all things Harry Potter next year, but don’t worry, Muggles.

It’s because the Florida theme park resort is planning a new thrill ride and other experiences at one of the two Harry Potter sections at its parks.

The resort said Sept. 21 that the construction of a new thrill ride and other yet-to-be-announced experiences at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in its Islands of Adventure park prevents it from hosting A Celebration of Harry Potter in 2019.

The annual celebration attracts actors from the Harry Potter movies for question-and-answer sessions, lessons on wand dueling and costume contests, among other events.

The resort says it looks forward to hosting future Harry Potter events.

Seaworld Orlando gets rid of VR goggles on roller coaster

John Raoux
SeaWorld Orlando announced it is eliminating virtual reality goggles on a roller coaster. Epcot and Universal Studios also announced changes. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

SeaWorld Orlando has gotten rid of virtual reality headsets that were installed on its Kraken Unleashed roller coaster a little more than a year ago.

News outlets report that park officials have confirmed that the headsets, which disappeared last month, are gone for good.

SeaWorld debuted the VR headsets last June as a way to freshen up the ride, which originally opened in 2000. The VR story followed the roller coaster’s movements as a virtual submarine evaded deep-sea creatures.

Park officials say cleaning and adjusting the goggles was slowing down the lines too much.

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