Florida Travel

News from the theme parks and other attractions

Raptor Encounter opened Friday at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Raptor Encounter opened Friday at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. UNIVERSAL ORLANDO


Halloween Horror Nights 25 will be the longest ever — 30 nights — and will have nine haunted houses, the most ever, the park announced this week. The event will also have more scareactors running loose in the streets than ever before.

Although Universal did not announce the themes of its haunted houses, it did say that Jack the Clown — a character created just for Halloween Horror Nights 15 years ago — will return. Jack’s story is that he is a former carnival performer and psycho child killer who rose from the dead.

Halloween Horror Nights will kick off Sept. 18 and run to Nov. 1. 

▪ Raptor Encounter: The folks at Universal invite you to meet their newest resident: a 9-foot tall, growling yellow-eyed velociraptor.

Friday, the park staff introduced a new attraction at Islands of Adventure, Raptor Encounter. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the encounter is similar to a meet-and-greet attraction, although this character, while obliging if you want to take a selfie, is menacing.

The attraction is located between Camp Jurassic and the Jurassic Park Discovery Center and coincides (almost) with the release of Jurassic World June 12.


Ross Lynch met his double at Madame Tussauds Orlando this week, a slim blonde in raggedy jeans.

The museum, which opened May 4, unveiled a wax figure of the music, film and television star on Thursday. It was wearing clothes that Lynch had donated, including a leather jacket and pink boxers. Tussauds’ artists took more than 300 measurements of the Disney Channel actor to create the wax figure.


Among the 27 rescued manatees that SeaWorld has cared for this year is an injured mom who was fitted with a wetsuit that keeps her buoyant while allowing her calf to continue nursing.

The mother, estimated at 10 years old, and her calf, probably between 2 and 3, were rescued neat Satellite Beach and taken to SeaWorld on Mother’s Day, May 10. The mother had a collapsed lung that most likely was caused by a collision with water craft and interferes with her buoyancy. The calf was not injured.

The mother got a wetsuit made of hot pink neoprene that helps her float and allows the veterinary team to draw out trapped air and fluids and also allows the calf to nurse.

▪ Admission: SeaWorld has raised the price of its daily tickets — $97 at the gate, an increase of $2 — but dropped the price of its advance-purchase weekday tickets (Monday through Friday only) by $5 to $70.