A Message from the Florida Regional Rep

Hello everyone in the Florida Region! If you would have told me a year ago that 2020 would be filled with more surprises than an RMC Hybrid coaster, I would have laughed it off. But here we are, in the middle of a pandemic, double hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and unprecedented theme park regulations.

I know this year hasn’t been the best for Theme Park events, especially in Florida, but I hope everyone knows that I have been weighing pros and cons of hosting events throughout this entire year. Unfortunately, the cons had outweighed the pros on almost everything I had planned. Our White Lightning 10k event along with a planned Halloween event have been postponed to at least 2021, and I feel that our IAAPA Meet & Greet will not happen as well (it is too soon to tell at this point).

However, we may have some great news coming soon, so make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for email notifications from the Florida region to receive our future event invites and news.

Also, for those of you looking at my picture, that is my newborn son, Owen (and one of my cats, Nox). Owen was born June 20th this year and has been a blessing to both my wife and I. He has also kept me pretty busy throughout the past few months!

One of my duties as a Region Rep is to make sure our members are happy. I really appreciate feedback because this tells me what is important both for a region standpoint and in our events. If you’d like to talk with me for any reason, or send in feedback or ideas, please drop me an email. I really do love to hear from our members!

Thank you all and stay safe out there!


Busch Gardens Announces Iron Gwazi for 2020

For three solid years, coaster fans would dream and wonder what would become of Gwazi at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida.  After it’s closure in 2015, it stood dormant for an extended period before any type of plan was released to the public.  In early 2019, a limited amount of information was released putting the final nail in the coffin for the iconic dueling wooden coaster that fans had either loved or hated: Gwazi would be reborn as a new Rocky Mountain Construction I-Box coaster.

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Ride Review – Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon

Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon is expected to open to the public April 6th in Universal Studios Orlando.  Passholders were invited via e-mail to attend a scheduled preview as long as they were early enough to respond to their e-mail.  I was not one of those lucky enough to schedule my preview online.  Instead, during normal operating hours, my group (along any other guests who “asked”) was invited to test out the new “Virtual Queue” for the attraction. Continue reading

Mako Ride Review

Sea World Orlando is home to a couple of very good roller coasters. They started out with Kraken, the first B&M Floorless coaster in Florida, then opened Manta, the only B&M Flying coaster in Florida.  Now, recently opened to the public, Mako is the only B&M Hyper coaster in Florida.


Mako Entrance Queue Area during Media Day Event – Photo by Michael Christopher

I personally was not there for opening day, but I was able to attend the Media Event on the day before and I had multiple opportunities to ride.  I will admit, when the POV was released, I was not entirely impressed as I was comparing it to other B&M Hypers like Goliath (Six Flags Over Georgia), Dimondback (Kings Island), and Apollo’s Chariot (Busch Gardens Williamsburg).  The ride seems short and condensed, it seemed like there were only a few good hills and it seemed too short in the videos.  I think I can safely say that I was proven completely incorrect!

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Mako Opening Weekend Photo Contest

Rules and Instructions of Contest

Hello and thank you for showing interest and support for the new coaster Mako at Sea World in Orlando, FL.  We’d like to provide just a few rules and instructions for our Photo Contest.  This is a fun and interactive contest.  Please submit your questions on our Facebook page or e-mail Michael Christopher directly at mchristopher@aceonline.org.

Date of Event: June 11th and June 12th, all photos must be submitted by 11:59PM on 6/12
Location: Sea World Orlando, Orlando, FL Continue reading

Rezoning Approved for Skyplex Orlando

On December 1st, the Orange County Commissioners unanimously approved the rezoning of 11.46 acres to allow the developers to continue moving forward in preparation of the construction of a massive entertainment tower on International Drive in Orlando.  More than 50 people voiced their opinions in front of the Mayor and Commissioners, mostly praising and welcoming the new entertainment structure.  “I think it’s a great vote of confidence in our region and in tourism and I think it bodes well for the future, ” stated Dr. Sean Snaith, an Economics Professor for UCF.

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Revisiting IAAPA Expo 2015

Ah yes, IAAPA…The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.  Every year they take over the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida for the biggest attractions exposition ever.  This year was no different; with over 9 miles of vendors and 31,000 attendees, there wasn’t anything “small” about it!  This was my 4th year attending and I’ll touch base on a couple of announcements, both in and out of Florida.

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