November 1, 2023, 2:15 PM ·
Time for another round-up of theme park-related news from around the world. And this one is especially ground-breaking.
Universal Destinations & Experiences today marked the start of construction on its new affordable housing project.
Concept image courtesy UniversalCatchlight Crossings is scheduled to open in 2026, just south of Universal Orlando’s upcoming Epic Universe theme park. The project will include 1,000 affordable housing units on a 20-acre site donated by Universal. Wendover Housing Partners?is developing the project, which will include an on-site, tuition-free preschool, medical offices, retail space, and community amenities, including pools, a fitness center, and a community garden. The site on Destination Parkway also places it near the upcoming SunRail station at the Orange County Convention Center and Epic Universe.”Affordable housing is one of the region’s most pressing issues and today’s groundbreaking reinforces our commitment to be part of the solution and give back to the community that we have called home for more than 30 years,” Universal Destinations & Experiences Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer John Sprouls said.
Concept image courtesy Six FlagsSix Flags Magic Mountain also today announced the official ground breaking for its new solar carport. When complete, the 12.37-megawatt solar array and energy storage system will offset 100% of the park’s energy usage. The 637,000-square-foot carport will cover an estimated 3,544 guest parking spaces and 771 team member parking spaces, providing shade for those vehicles while people are in the park.”The Six Flags Magic Mountain solar project stands as the largest of its kind in the nation, boasting an impressive area exceeding 637,000 square feet of shade structures,” said Arno Aghamalian, CEO and Founder of Solar Optimum, Six Flags’ energy partner on the project. “The magnitude of this undertaking is a marvel in itself, and as we initiate the construction phase, we are excited to offer a glimpse into what this project will evolve into by the year’s end.”
On Friday, SeaWorld San Diego will be breaking ground for its new 2024 attraction, Jewels of the Sea: A Jellyfish Experience. November 3 is National Jellyfish Day, so the park is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony for the press before park opening, followed by a release of more details about the upcoming exhibit. Stay tuned.
Concept image courtesy Kalahari ResortsKalahari Resorts and Conventions has broken ground in Virginia for its fifth indoor water park resort. Located in Spotsylvania County, the 1.38 million-square-foot resort is slated to open in 2026. The new Kalahari Resort will offer 907 guest rooms and suites, a 175,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, 10 acres of seasonal outdoor pools, a 90,0000-square-foot Tom Foolerys Adventure Park, and 12 on-site food & beverage locations.
Inside the new Abu Dhabi airport terminal. Photo courtesy Mohamed Abdalla Al ZaabiAbu Dhabi’s international airport opened its new “Terminal A” building today. Airlines will begin transition to the new 183-acre facility over the next two weeks. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and 15 other international airlines already have made the move, with the UAE’s flagship airline Etihad starting November 9. The new terminal is three times the size of Abu Dhabi’s previous terminal and is built to handle up to 45 million passengers a year.To commemorate the opening, the Abu Dhabi government announced that the airport will be renamed Zayed International Airport, in honor of the UAE’s founder, effective February 9, 2024. The new terminal is located just about three miles from the Ferrari World, SeaWorld and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi theme parks on neighboring Yas Island, making access to those parks even more convenient for international visitors.Finally, remember the long-abandoned Six Flags New Orleans? Hurricane Katrina did in that troubled theme park back in 2005, and a Theme Park Insider reader documented the aftermath years later in A photo tour of the abandoned Six Flags New Orleans. Well, now developer Bayou Phoenix has taken control of the 227-acre site, after signing a 50-year lease with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, which owns the property. Bayou Phoenix plans multiple projects for the property, including a water park, hotels, retail and an amphitheater.But no ground breaking just yet. To keep up to date with more theme park news, please sign up for Theme Park Insider’s weekly newsletter. And to help support Theme Park Insider while saving money on discounted theme park tickets, please follow the ticket icon links our Theme Park visitors guides.