Universal Orlando has acquired more land around the site of its third theme park. 

As first reported by Jack Witthaus of the Orlando Business Journal, Universal has purchased two parcels of land along Universal Boulevard from CPR Money LLC, a Boston-based company. This includes a 22-acre property to the west of the current Lockheed Martin facility and close to the TopGolf Orlando complex, and a 34-acre parcel close to what is expected to be the entrance for the new Universal complex. 

View of the 22-acre acquired by Universal (CBRE)

View of the 34-acre acquired by Universal (CBRE)

According to the Orlando Business Journal, Universal will pay $48 million for the properties  — or more than $857,000 per acre. 

Universal confirmed on Aug. 1 that it will be building another theme park called Epic Universe. The existing 750 acres near the Orange County Convention Center had been pieced together in recent years by Universal. While no official opening date has been announced, the expectation is the park will debut sometime in 2023.

Disney Skyliner now open

The Disney Skyliner gondola system officially opened Sunday, providing guests with another transportation option between four Disney resorts and two theme parks. 

The first day of full operations featured long lines at the stations, with temporary extended queues created using tape. Most reports indicated the lines moved quickly thanks to near-constant loading, but BlogMickey.com did report in the afternoon that the queues got so long at the station for Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort — the hub for the whole system — that guests were being advised to take buses instead. 

The lack of air conditioning inside the Skyliner cabins has drawn mixed reviews. Orlando Informer said the vents on the gondolas provided “surprisingly refreshing airflow,” and other guests have pushed back on the idea that the cabins will get too warm. 

In contrast, BlogMickey said when the gondolas stop and there’s no more airflow, cabins quickly become unpleasant in the Florida heat. Tom Corless of WDW News Today said in his review that on a 78-degree day, a short stop made the cabin “awfully muggy and noticeably harder to breathe.” 

SeaWorld Rescue Run set for Jan. 25 

SeaWorld Orlando will be holding a charity fun run early in 2020 with the inaugural SeaWorld Rescue Run

The 3-mile course will run through the theme park’s rides and animal enclosure before runners cross the finish line at Shamu Stadium. A separate run will be held for kids aged 7 and under. 

Registration will cost $50 per person, with a 10 percent discount for SeaWorld employees, annual passholders, as well as members of the military. All proceeds from the run will benefit the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund.

Editor’s note: Universal Orlando considers Volcano Bay a “water theme park” and thus refers to Epic Universe as the resort’s fourth, not third, theme park. Orlando Rising has chosen to stick to the traditional definition separating theme parks and water parks in its reporting.

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