Orlando is the place to be with so many major theme parks heading up plans for this Summer. We look towards the future this week and scope out more of the Fantasyland expansion taking place at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. We next review the recently opened Iceploration show at Busch Gardens Florida and we ponder the epicurean delights offered at the many restaurants in the park. Finally we check on SeaWorld Orlando and the race to get Turtle Trek 4D ready by April 27th. Let's dive in, shall we? There's Parkhopping to do!

Before we get started we would like to invite everyone out this weekend for a wonderful event at Universal Citywalk.

Orlando Parkhopper Open - Saturday, March 24th, 8pm
Join us for the "1st Annual" Orlando Parkhopper Open at the brand new Hollywood Drive-In mini golf course at Universal Orlando CityWalk!

Come meet members of the Orlando Parkhopper team as well as other MiceChatters!

We're having a "fancy dress" theme, so if you got them, break out your tuxedo t-shirts, feather boas and tiaras! This isn't mandatory, but encouraged if you can! This promises to be a fun event!

Get more information about this event on MiceChat and on Facebook

We do a lot of complaining around here, but today, we'd like to give credit the Magic Kingdom for focusing on the buildings of Main Street. The seemingly never-ending project continues.

Main Street Bakery.

IceCream Parlor is still closed

Buildings on center street are being cared for too.

Wherever you see fancy printed tarps, there's refurbishment going on. And that's a great thing!

These low boxes conceal what we think to be curb work

The Big Thunder Mountain Refurbishment continues and aesthetic enhancements are becoming evident. Many of the Railroad ties in the track have been replace now and they are working on the exterior of the load unload station now too.

The base of the final lift hill near the river.

Who can tell us what this red and white fabric on a stick is for?

Every inch of track is being inspected and cared for here.

The queue building and load/unload station was stripped down to the drywall.

This looks to be a very promising refurbishment folks.

Thankfully the water level is back to normal on the docks along the Rivers of America. The steel beams within the bridge are no longer visible.

Even though one small fraction of the Fantasyland expansion opened last week, the bulk of the project is still in progress. As you will see, most of the expansion is still behind walls.

Storybook Circus:
Although parts of the Storybook Circus area has soft opened to guests, it is far from finished. Notice the old meet-and-greet structures that will soon become meet-and-greet circus tents.

The "tents" butt up against the back side of the Little Mermaid show building.

Fantasyland Restrooms:
At the opposite end of the project, beyond small world and across from Peter Pan, is the new restroom project. The old clock tower structure was finally leveled recently.

Once complete, the current bathrooms on the other side will be removed and an expanded interactive NextGen queue will be built here for Peter Pan.

The Little Mermaid:
The show building and Pre-show area for The Little Mermaid is getting much closer to completion and the shapes of cartoonish bluffs are becoming more and more apparent.

Welding and wire mesh are being installed on the furthest end of the show building near the Storybook Circus.

Pathways in the foreground.

Peeking through what will soon be the Seven Dwarves coaster.

Surfacing is finishing on the facade and will soon be painted.

The details that are visible are very impressive.

Be Our Guest Restaurant, Belle Meet and Greet:
More progress at the Be our Guest Restaurant and Meet and Greet.

That faraway castle is really just a tiny model on top of the restaurant.

Seven Dwarves Mine Coaster:
Large retainer walls have sprung up in the center of the development for the Seven Dwarves Mine Coaster that will be the final project in the expansion to be completed.

Kevin Yee fills in the gaps here with another WDW photo update video. Excellent information here and a must see.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/FI7C_vC7RgU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>

Busch Gardens has become famous for its ice shows. At the beginning of Iceploration, we meet Austin, your typical tween/teen who loves playing video games. Austin's grandfather comes for a visit and takes Austin on an adventure to show him the world beyond his computer screen.

The first stop is the African plains, where Austin and Grandpa see gazelles, cheetahs, elephants and more!

Did you know Dumbo could skate?

The next stop is the ocean, discovering life under the sea.

From there, we head to the Arctic Circle (via dog sled of course).

Finally, we visit the Rainforest and experience the amazing creatures that live there.

Is that the Rainforest Cafe frog in the bottom center?

Iceploration is a great show that incorporates actors, skaters and live animals along with an original score and gorgeous costumes. Definitely check it out next time you're in the park!

There is, of course, an assortment of Merchandise dedicated to the show as well.

Transition to Coke products in the park is complete. Choices are Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Coke Zero, Cherry Coke, Fanta Orange and Minute Maid Lemonade. Bottles of other Coke products are available at various locations (such as Minute Maid Apple Juice & Orange Juice).

There is a reason why the Orlando Parkhopper readers voted Busch Gardens Tampa as having one of the very best line-ups of Restaurants at any theme park in Florida. The variety and food are all pretty amazing. What's more is that the cost is pretty reasonable too. Here are some of our favorite places to eat inside the park.

Garden Gate Cafe - All-You-Can-Eat Pizza & Pasta Buffet featuring:

Garden salad
Caesar salad
Variety of pizzas
Variety of pastas
Variety of sauces
Coca-Cola products
20 oz Dasani Bottled Water
Iced tea

Orang Cafe:
Yes, the name is strange, but the bites are tasty. This is a great place for on-the-go eating or something really quick.

Chicken Nuggets
Hot Dogs
Loaded Fries
Kids Meal Chicken Nuggets
Fresh Fruit
Potato Twister
Soft Serve Sundaes
Funnel Cakes
Assorted Coca-Cola Products

Zagora Cafe:
This location is worth a stop.

Double Bacon Cheeseburger
Chicken Fajita Wrap
Veggie Wrap
Turkey Wrap
Hamburger Platter
Cheeseburger Platter
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Chicken Tenders
Kid's Hot Dog Meal
Kid's Meal Chicken Nuggets
Fresh Seasonal Fruit
Assorted Coca-Cola Products
Assorted Ice-Cold Beer on Tap
Assorted Desserts

Kenya Kanteen:
Another quick counter serve place, Kenya Kanteen offers the basic menu items.

Hot Dog Basket
Turkey Leg Basket
BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
Loaded Fries
Fresh Fruit
Funnel Cakes
Soft Serve Treats
Assorted Coca-Cola Products
Assorted Ice Cold Beers

Zambia Smokehouse:
The Smokehouse is one of our very favorite places to eat in the park. The prices are pretty reasonable and the food is actually very very good. It's located right next to Sheikra and the log ride.

BBQ Chicken and Ribs
Smoked Beef Brisket
Chicken Strips
Specialty Sandwich
Entree Salads
Kids BBQ Meals
Corn on the Cob (seasonal)
Smokehouse Baked Beans
Macaroni and Cheese
Hot Apple Cobbler
Warm Bread Pudding
Assorted Coca-Cola Products
Assorted Ice-Cold Beers on Tap

Crown Colony Restaurant (upstairs):
Of course, if you haven't been yet, you must give the Crown Colony house a try. There is a full bar and lots of seating. Nice!

Fried Chicken Dinner
(All You Care to Eat, Served Family Style)
Fried Fish Dinner
(All You Care to Eat, Served Family Style)
Chicken Carbonara
Crown Colony NY Strip Steak
Salmon Platter
Captain's Choice
Chicken Salad
Albacore Salad
Vegetable Platter
Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich
Serengeti Light Sandwich
Complete Kids' Menu
Fresh Baked Desserts
Assorted Coca-Cola Products
Assorted ice-cold beers for guests 21 years and older

Bengal Bistro:

Catch of the Jungle Fish
Fish Wraps
Freshly Prepared Grilled Hamburgers
Chicken Caesar Salads
Italian Sandwich
Veggie Wrap
Meatball Sandwich Platter
Kids Catch of the Jungle
Kids Hot Dogs
Assorted Desserts
Fresh Seasonal Fruit
Assorted Coca-Cola Products
Assorted Ice-Cold Beers

Desert Grill:
The last stop on the menu map that we suggest you try is the Desert Grill.
Baby Back Ribs
Southwest Chicken Salad
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo
Meatball Sub Sandwich
Italian Sausage Sandwich
Corned Beef Sandwich
Carved Turkey Sandwich (Lunch Only)
Chicken Caesar Salad
Kid's Hot Dog Meal
Kid's Spaghetti Meal
Assorted Coca-Cola Products
Assorted Ice Cold Beers on Tap
Assorted Desserts

What makes this restaurant unique is that it is also a theatre.

While this doesn't even begin to cover the entirety of dining options at Busch Gardens Tampa, we feel it is safe to say that the options are impressive in that they are reasonably priced and quite tasty for theme park food. Visit for the rides, stay for the food.

Even with the crowds, SeaWorld is pressing forward and working furiously to get their newest attraction Turtle Trek 4-D opened by April 27th, 2012.

At the moment, it looks like they are painting and adding the finishing touches. We are really looking forward to reviewing this new attraction!


This past week SeaWorld, like the rest of the Orlando theme parks, has been slammed with Spring Break crowds.

Demolition and clearing continues at the old Penguin Plaza, as they prepare to start construction for the new Antarctica land to open in 2013.

A small bobcat tractor is down in the old penguin habitat pool clearing ground. This is seriously going to a big land!

Congratulations has to go to LoonAZ for guessing last week's Hidden Parkhopper by posting..."Looks to me like the Hidden Parkhopper is one of the sticky notes from the Spiderman queue.

*Specifically the one that says 'Noreen was looking for you ...call her' "

Good job! Let's try this again. Look into the magnifying glass below and see if you can figure out where the park hoppers are this week. Post your guess in the comments area below. If you are the first to answer correctly, you will be featured in next week's update. GOOD LUCK!

Want to meet up with other Disney fans while at Disney World? Several of the Orlando Parkhopper team members are part of a group that meets every weekend.

Join the public Facebook group and get notified of events (the locations are different every time.)

If you appreciate this column, share this page with your friends and don't forget to click that Facebook thumbs up button at the top of the page (it give us the encouragement to bring you even bigger and better updates)!

Please join us in thanking the fantastic and talented crew of writers, photographers and news contributors who worked so hard this week to bring you the latest information from the parks. This week's team included:

- Eric M. Davis (King Eric)
- Miles Bresin - Miles' Photos
- Kevin Yee
- Aimster - Pictures by Aimster
- Editors: Fishbulb, Dustysage

Thank you all for reading, we hope you have a wonderful week and are inspired to explore the amazing variety of attractions on your next visit to central Florida. We'd love to hear your comments below.