ORLANDO, Fla. — The internet is chockful of theme park experiences via videos, storytelling, quizzes and discussion groups. Here are five ways we had a taste of the Orlando attractions recently even though they are shut down as a safety and health precaution during the coronavirus pandemic.
JUST LIKE BEING THERE — ALONE
You can virtually stroll through the theme parks via the Visit Orlando Virtual Tour. Stops include Central Florida’s theme parks, International Drive locations plus the Winter Park, Sand Lake Road and Lake Nona areas. The parks were photographed while mostly empty, giving them an almost-live look at this point. You can get visuals of the parks in other ways such as Google Earth, but one fun feature of the Visit Orlando version is that you scoot from spot to spot. So when you go from, say, Universal Studios’ Jimmy Fallon ride to the Fast & Furious: Supercharged ride, it’s like motoring along on a jacked-up Segway.
The Play Disney app is typically for in-park experiences, but trivia quizzes that can be played from any location have been added. Look for “Mickey & Minnie’s Trivia Time — Mouse Rules Apply.” Some of the questions are quite simple (Name Donald Duck’s nephews). Some of it historical (That time there was a sorcerer’s hat in front of the Chinese Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. … How tall was that?). Some of it is tricky. I was tripped up by the silhouette of a character. (Spoiler!) Who would expect Donald to wear Mickey ears?
On the Apple Music app, there’s a slew of Disney film soundtracks available, but if you search on “Disney Parks Music” you can listen to theme park favorites including this Epcot trio: “One Little Spark” (Epcot’s Journey Into Imagination), “Canada (You’re a Lifetime Journey)” and the soaring and inspirational “Golden Dream” (American Adventure). Other parks are represented too. A fun and different one is a playlist from Oga’s Cantina, the bar inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
In the educational materials released by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, there’s an option for “animal sounds.” They will make you want to help a beluga whale and to back away slowly from a Florida panther. (Go to www.seaworld.org.)
Universal has started a #UniversalatHome series, which includes an onboard video of the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster at Universal Studios. I found it on Facebook, set it for a full screen experience and let a primal scream go.