Saturday, October 10, 2015

What's hot after dark at Florida's theme parks

In summer, when the most pleasant time of the day is at night, Florida's theme parks extend their hours and add concerts, parades, fireworks, and other special events. Here's a roundup of some of the activities.


Shamu Rocks is the highlight of SeaWorld AfterDark, which runs through Aug. 15. The show is a combination of rock-and-roll, killer whale performance, and a light show.

In Sea Lions Tonite, a comedy show, sea lions, otters, and walrus parody other SeaWorld shows and attractions. And there's a spectacle of fireworks, fountains and music.

Info: 1-888-800-5447; Check out a special admission deal - $5 admission for kids 12 and under with the online purchase of a single-day adult admission through Dec. 31;; 407-351-3600.


The Magic Kingdom brings back the Main Street Electrical Parade and a new fireworks show, Epcot has a series of tribute concerts, and Hollywood Studios has evening dance parties.

The Main Street Electrical Parade returns for the first time since 2001 with 23 floats illuminated by a half-million tiny lights. Tinker Bell leads the parade, accompanied by Pinocchio, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and other characters.

Hollywood Studios hosts the Rock 'n' Glow Dance Party on Tuesday and Thursday through Sunday on Hollywood Boulevard. The party features a DJ and a live rock band.

Epcot has "Sounds Like Summer," with tribute-band concerts every night to July 31. The schedule: July 4-10, Satisfaction - A Tribute to the Rolling Stones; July 11-17, Slippery When Wet - The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute; July 18-24, 2U - A Tribute to U2; and July 25-31, Beginnings - A Tribute to Chicago.

Concerts are at 5:45 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. at the America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase.

Info: 407-934-7639;


At Universal Studios, a summer concert series runs every Saturday night through July 17.

The schedule: July 10, Rob Thomas; July 17, Counting Crows.

The concerts are at 9 p.m. at Music Plaza, in front of the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster.

Info: 407-363-8000;

Busch Gardens

At Busch Gardens Tampa, a stage show, dance contest, and a comedian are on the marquee for Summer Nights, which run through Aug. 15.

Kinetix is a nightly stage show with musicians, singers, dancers, and artists performing contemporary rock in Gwazi Park. Jeff Civillico, a juggler and comedian, invites audience participation in his shows, which are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings at Marrakesh Theater. DJs play dance music every night, but on Fridays and Saturdays, guests can compete in the Dance Challenge. Winners receive park tickets.

Info: Busch Gardens, 1-888-800-5447;

Adventure Island, Busch Gardens' water park, has Islands Nights, a celebration of island life, three nights a week through Aug. 14. Stiltwalkers, exotic birds, a steel drum band, and a DJ perform. The park's main beach has Polynesian dancers and a fire performer. There's live music on the deck at Mango Joe's, the park's cafe, ranging from Latin to beach party music. Islands Nights takes place 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Adventure Island requires separate admission from Busch Gardens.

Info: Adventure Island, 10001 N. McKinley Dr., Tampa, 1-888-800-5447;

Miami Herald
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