The Florida Region hosted two events to coincide with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) 2013 Expo taking place in Orlando the week of November 19 - 22.
On Wednesday, November 20th, nearly seventy ACE members gathered for an evening at Fun Spot America in Orlando. This event provided the opportunity for local and visiting ACE members to enjoy the newly expanded park. For many it was their first time to experience the Great Coasters International (GCI) constructed White Lightning coaster. It is Orlando’s FIRST and ONLY wooden roller coaster and it is spectacular! From the swooping first drop, to the double-up-double-down and the 90-degree banked diving turn around, all in attendance raved about White Lightning. Also new to Fun Spot is the Vekoma suspended coaster Freedom Flyer. With its roomy seating, birds eye view of the park and surprise ending, it too earned high accolades! We were also treated to a Q&A session about White Lightning with Jeff Pike and Clair Hain of GCI. It was very informative and entertaining to hear about the planning and construction of the coaster.
On Saturday, November 23rd, fifty-six ACE members from the Florida Region as well as members representing many other states and Canada visited Florida’s newest park, Legoland Florida. Legoland Florida is a re-development of the former home of Cypress Gardens with the whimsical theming of Legos. Merlin Entertainment Group did an amazing job of repurposing and expanding the park with Lego theming while keeping many of the historical elements that existed in the original park. Our day began with a group ride on the unique Island in the Sky. This experience allowed all attendees to take early morning photos of the park. At the conclusion of the ride, we split into two groups to enjoy morning ERT on Lego Technic Test Track (a new addition to the park) and Coastersaurus with its brand new trains added that week. At 11:00 am we all gathered at Fun Town Pizza and Pasta Buffet for a private all-you-can-eat luncheon. During our meal we were honored to have guest speakers, Phil Royle, Manager of Product Excellence and a long time Merlin employee, and Head of Maintenance, Jim Miller. At the conclusion of lunch members headed back into the park to enjoy the rest of their day. With the fabulous weather and the awesome rides and attractions of Legoland Florida, a great day was had by all.
Chris Kraftchick & Robin Wilson