Florida Travel

Theme parks: food & wine festivals


▪ Disney has announced dates for this year’s Epcot Wine & Food Festival: Sept. 25 through Nov. 16. This year’s will be the 20th annual festival, which has grown from a weekend event to 53 days.

▪ Meanwhile, Busch Gardens’ first wine and food festival this spring proved to be a hit and can be expected to return next year, said Travis Claytor, a park spokesman.

▪ This is the last weekend of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, with its Disney character topiaries, gardening seminars and exhibits, a mini food festival, and concerts (Herman’s Hermits, starring Peter Noone this weekend).

▪ Magic Kingdom kicks off its “Coolest Summer Ever” promotion by staying open for 24 hours — 6 a.m. to 6 a.m. — May 22-23.

▪ Visitors to Universal Studios theme parks may soon be able to jump on interactive rides inspired by fast-paced video games.

Universal and Nintendo Co., the world’s largest video game company, have formed a partnership to develop attractions based on the company’s popular video games and characters, such as Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, Pokemon and Legend of Zelda. The companies did not release any details of the partnership or which parks might get rides or how soon any rides might be built.

Industry experts say the deal reflects the growing importance theme parks place on creating attractions inspired by popular characters and stories, such as the Harry Potter and Terminator rides at Universal or rides based on the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies at Disney parks.