After a successful Florida Chrismahanukwanzakah in 2009, it is that time of year again for the festivities of the holidays. With school on break, I've had some extra time to hit the Florida parks.
My major gift for the holidays was my new Sony Cybershot HX5V camera, meant to replace my aged but faithful Pentax Optio s5i. The new camera has some incredible features like a Handheld Twilight mode and an intelligent panoramic mode, both of which you will see in use in this photo report.
Backlight correction is a wonderful feature of the new camera...
The interior of Manta's aquarium is just so unique in design!
Looking into the main aquarium...
Leafy sea dragons are mesmerizing to watch in person...
Looks just like the concept art from way-back-when.
The school of fish is almost as interesting as the rays themselves.
The popup is always great for photo ops...
Yeah, I know. We found Nemo...
Of all of the seafoods I've ever eaten, sea urchin is the only one I've disliked.
I've just waiting for the 7th Chevron to lock.
Manta's lift hill looks nice at night. Note: At the bottom of the lift, a new themed net cover has been added.
It's beginning to look a lot like Chrismahanukwanzakah 2010~
Be back soon!
A few days later, we went to Universal, and it was truly packed!
You know it's busy when Green Eggs & Ham is open.
Here's the Green Eggs & Ham platter. Looks great, right?
Here's hoping Mythos survives whatever Potterfication the rest of the Lost Continent may endure in 2011.
Loving the view...
The space behind the Jurassic Park Discovery Center was used as a holding/queueing area for guests waiting to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Due to the holiday rush, the former Triceratops Encounter has been re-opened temporarily as the Triceratops Discovery Trail.
For the love of Larry!
Although the paddocks have re-opened, the former queue for the attraction is not currently accessible.
A closer look at the former section of the Triceratops Encounter queue.
Having never experienced the attraction before, it was neat to see the extra layers of detail in Jurassic Park.
This fence seems to still be active, unlike the ones at the Jurassic Park River Adventure.
Or maybe not.
Details are delicious.
I decided to be a fool and touch the fence. Big mistake!
I was pretty impressed with Topper (the Triceratops) and how detailed the animatronic was. Topper is supposedly one of three unique Triceratops (one in each paddock), each with a different personality/program for the experience.
The attraction was completely refurbished for its re-opening, with the three dinosaurs receiving new skins before their debut.
Another look at Topper...
Topper's pulse is monitored on the screen on the right corner of the paddock's interior.
A look at the paddock from the outside.
One more for Larry...
Time to play around with my camera!
Panoramic mode decided to send these riders on a journey...
"Lightspeed to Endor!"
At the intersection of Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park, Wizarding World ticket distribution was going on.
Time for some panoramas!
The main entrance plaza...
It never gets old.
I love this one for some reason...
Here's CityWalk from one end to the other.
Over at Universal Studios, the park has received a new addition in the form of the Holiday Village.
Curious George decides to play King Kong for the day. He's just hangin' around...
The Holiday Village is similar to the Horror Nights and Mardi Gras setups done annually in the same location. Small kiosks and food stands.
Over at Richter's Burgers across from Disaster!, three new Coca-Cola Freestyle machines have been installed. Wisely enough, there is a checkout booth to the right of the machines for guests to pay for only the sodas or refills--no waiting in the main line just to experience the joy that is the Freestyle!
Time for some index-friendly Polar Express-madness!
The Polar Express Experience is a seasonal overlay of the park's popular Wild Artic simulator. During the overlay, the ride's entrance queue, pre-shows, the simulator's interior, ride film and the immediate post-show experience is altered to fit the story of the film.
This year, a model of the Polar Express engine was added to the ride's entrance. In addition, they had an acapella conductor group singing throughout the day.
They were actually pretty entertaining too!
The from of the Polar Express...
The first gift of Christmas!
It is an impressive set piece, even though everyone knows he's only impersonating Hannukah Harry.
There's a special ornament on the tree. Can you find it?
I sacrificed my hand's nerves to make this art for you.
A panoramic of Santa Town/Base Station Wild Arctic.
The belugas were surfacing at Santa Town...
The Christmas tree is as tall as the complex's ceiling.
A minor clash of concepts.
One more look at Santa and his sleigh...
The Santa Town facade closes at with this themed archway.
One last look at Santa Town... And into Base Station Wild Artic we go!
He's just waiting for the Bryan and Adam Show to return...
They are selling hot chocolate at the exit of the ride for the holidays.
Added details keep up the theme til the end.
I don't exactly believe, but its a fun ride all the same.
The windows have even been covered with a Santa Town view.
The back section of the park is opened up for the SeaWorld Christmas Celebration starting at 5:00 pm.
I protect all bears in my flock.
A site rarely seen these days...
It should be noted that Sea of Trees is actually on the water.
This game had guests pulling a candy cane, with the end having a color signifying what prize you get.
They had nuts.
Personalized embroidery is fun...
They had a cart for chocolate-dipped goodies.
Looks tasty and fun!
And there's more...
Drink prices for reference.
They had a band at the start of the evening, all of whom were students at the University of Central Florida. Go Knights!
Apparently there is a story behind these yellow poinsettias.
They had a new character, known as Shivers, out for photos. Never heard of him before this experience.
They were even giving out samples of the kettle corn.
Another photo op.
Looks like I caught a tour group on the ride.
Another nice sunset on Manta!
Manta under the full moon...
"That's no moon... That's a coaster!"
Back at the Christmas Celebration after sunset, the path lights up with fall icicles.
It really is a spectacle to see!
The photo op lights up at night!
A nod to TPR past.
Also new this year is the Sea of Trees.
Another group of performers came to the path later that evening.
Looks pretty nice, right?
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
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