SeaWorld Orlando has narrowed the opening window for its next roller coaster. 

Pipeline, a first-of-its-kind “surf” coaster from Swiss coaster firm Bolliger & Mabillard, will open sometime in May.

The coaster will have riders placed in a standing position while going through a 60-mile-per-hour launch, one inversion, and five airtime moments along its 2,950 feet of track. Pipeline will be the seventh coaster at SeaWorld Orlando and one of three being added across the SeaWorld chain in 2023, along with Arctic Rescue at SeaWorld San Diego and DarKoaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

DeSantis board lawyer says Disney’s Reedy Creek deal ‘riddled with illegality’

Disney’s last-minute agreement to maintain its control over what used to be called the Reedy Creek Improvement District failed to follow state laws and wouldn’t hold up in court, a lawyer for the board handpicked by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.

The meeting of the board for what is now called Central Florida Tourism Oversight District dealt with an agreement Disney arranged just before DeSantis signed a law having the state take over the district. The law has been characterized by Disney as retaliation against the company’s stance against the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law enacted in 2022. 

In a move that has garnered national headlines and ridicule from DeSantis’ political rivals, the Reedy Creek agreement snuck by his administration’s notice. The new board argued last month that it essentially stripped the board of most of its power over Disney World and voted to hire outside law firms to void the agreement. One of its new attorneys, David Thompson, claimed Wednesday that the Reedy Creek board failed to follow state requirements to notify affected property owners — which would all be Disney employees — of the new agreement. 

“Disney’s efforts are riddled with illegality, and they will not withstand judicial scrutiny,” Thompson said, according to The Orlando Sentinel.  

Legislation to nullify the agreement is also moving through Florida’s Republican-dominated House and Senate. Disney has previously said in a unsigned statement that, defended the agreements in an unsigned statement which said, “All agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law.”

The DeSantis-picked board voted Wednesday to give itself “superior authority” over Disney World property, unanimously voting to terminate the current members of the district’s Planning and Zoning Board and appoint themselves in their place. The district’s board consists of DeSantis’ own political donors and conservative activists.

North Carolina Democrat tries to attract Disney theme park with new bill

Taking advantage of Disney’s ongoing battles with DeSantis, Democratic North Carolina state Sen. Michael Garrett has introduced a bill aimed at attracting a Disney theme park to the Tar Heel State. 

Called the Mickey’s Freedom Restoration Act, the legislation would create a committee to “develop strategies that encourage family amusement parks” to move to North Carolina. 

“North Carolina is a great place to do business,” Garrett said to WXII-TV in Winston-Salem. “I welcome the Walk Disney Company and all other businesses seeking refuge from the culture war madness currently gripping the great state of Florida.”