Theme Park News and Announcements 2015: Busch Gardens, Kings Dominion, and Universal Orlando

Maybe because it’s National Tourism Week, or maybe I’m just paying more attention than normal, but there are all kinds of interesting announcements coming from the theme park world lately. From partnerships between competing parks to reduced tickets and major brand partnership announcements, it has been a newsy couple of days. Granted, I live for theme parks, so I may be biased in that respect.

I thought I would share a few quick snippets of the latest news. Check out the links for even more information.

Virginia Tourism Gets a Lot More Thrilling

Photo: Busch Gardens/Kings Dominion

Photo: Busch Gardens/Kings Dominion

On Tuesday, May 5, two of my favorite Virginia parks came together for the first time in 15 years to present a joint Virginia tourism marketing plan. Marketing representatives from Kings Dominion, in Doswell, Virginia (just north of Richmond), and Busch Gardens, in Williamsburg, met on the grounds of the State Capitol to announce a joint ticket offer and a new digital marketing plan to attract vacationing travelers from Northeast areas such as Philadelphia and New York. The campaign also partners with the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Richmond Region Tourism, and the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance.

The gist of the campaign is “Why drive all the way to Orlando when we have world-class theme parks right here in Virginia?” As somebody who started their working life at Kings Dominion and is in current collaboration with Busch Gardens (I’m an Ambassador Blogger/Thrill Chaser, in case you weren’t aware), I think this is the most awesome idea ever.

Follow this link to find out more information. There is a greatly reduced ticket option that includes a day at Kings Dominion and a day at Busch Gardens. How great is that?

Busch Gardens’ Food & Wine Festival Value Ticket

Photo: Busch Gardens

Photo: Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens has come out with an incredible ticket offer especially for its Food & Wine Festival. The event runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from May 22 through June 28. The festival will also be in operation on Memorial Day, which is Monday, May 29, 2015.

Themed kiosks located around the park serve sample-sized portions of delicious dishes from Germany, Scotland, Spain, the Caribbean, and a whole host of others. New tastes for 2015 are the cuisines of Asia and the French Quarter.

The Food & Wine Festival Value Ticket allows guests admission to the park on select days for $30. That is 60 percent off of a regular single-day admission ticket. The offer is only available online, and the tickets can only be used after 2:00 p.m. on select days. This is a great opportunity to try out the Food & Wine Festival for the first time or as a date night or girls’ getaway.

Busch Gardens’ Food & Wine Festival Value Ticket can be used on:

  • May 22, 25, 29, 31
  • June 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28

This is a limited time offer, and only six discounted tickets may be purchased per transaction. Click here for a peek at last year’s event.

Really Big News Out of Orlando

Photo: Universal Orlando

Photo: Universal Orlando

On Wednesday, May 6, Universal Orlando announced the groundbreaking attraction, “Skull Island: Reign of King Kong.” Scheduled to open in the summer of 2016 at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, this new land will be an intense, all-new adventure brought to life in an expertly themed environment. If you’re ever been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you’ll get an idea of Universal’s ability to create these elaborately realistic worlds.

Universal Creative is working closely with Peter Jackson, the director of 2005’s movie “King Kong,” to immerse guests in this incredible adventure. Details on the main ride have not been officially released as of yet, but it will transport guests into a wild and mysterious world of unknown creatures, ancient temples, hostile natives, and a perilous jungle before meeting the colossal King himself.

And now, some of the biggest and most unexpected (to this theme park fanatic, anyway) news yet … Universal Parks & Resorts has just partnered with … wait for it … NINTENDO! The two entertainment giants plan to bring the world of Nintendo games and characters to life at Universal’s theme parks. This partnership will greatly expand the popularity and intellectual property of Nintendo.

Just imagine the possibilities … a life-size Mario Kart game or obstacle dodging á la Donkey Kong or any number of Pokemon, Starfy, Kirby and The Legend of Zelda themed rides and attractions. I’m not real up on my video games characters, so I’ll let you create your own gamer ideas. I’m very excited to see how this will all turn out, though. Click here to read more about Nintendo and Universal’s new venture.

Photo: Universal Parks & Resorts

Photo: Universal Parks & Resorts

Universal Parks include Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Universal Studios Parks in Singapore and Japan.

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