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Theme park news: Epcot marks 35th birthday, Legoland gets virtual reality, Daytona revs up holiday lights

This Sunday Epcot will mark its 35th anniversary with a special ceremony at 10:01 a.m. followed by a day of exclusive swag and a special fireworks show.

The morning ceremony on the Fountain View stage will mark the moment in 1982 Disney opened its second theme park in Florida. Its name came from the acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a utopian city of the future planned by Walt Disney himself. '

It has since shortened to simply Epcot and these days is known best as a foodie destination, with its International Food & Wine Festival going on right now through Nov. 13.

On Sunday there will be live entertainment including the Voices of Liberty and Mariachi Cobre. The day will end with a special edition of the fireworks show called IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. It's already one of Walt Disney World's best, with pyrotechnics, lasers and lighting effects. Show time is at 9 p.m.

Throughout the day there will be merchandise sales, including the exclusive "I Was There" collection sold on Sunday only at a pop-up shop near the Art of Disney.

Virtual reality at Legoland

The virtual reality craze on coasters has mostly been aimed at thrill seekers, like those looking for an extra oomph on SeaWorld's Kraken. Now Legoland, the Winter Haven theme park aimed at the under 10 set, is turning its Project X roller coaster into a new experience called The Great Lego Race VR Coaster.

Project X, a twisty, zippy steel coaster in the Lego Technic section of the park, will have an added layer of a story that riders will see as they don special goggles. Lego minifigures such as Trendsetter, Pharaoh, Surfer Girl, Wizard and Pirate Captain will be part of the story, and a rocket-powered surfboard and an espresso-fueled scooter are also going to be in the mix, a Legoland news release said.

It is scheduled to open sometime next year.

Daytona revs up the lights

A new drive-through holiday light experience is coming to Daytona International Speedway starting Nov. 17.

Dubbed the Magic of Lights, the spectacle will be put on by Ohio-based FunGuys Events. It will be 1.5 miles long, the Speedway announced, and the route will travel behind the ticket and tours building and under the stadium, with more than a dozen giant scenes made up of 400 displays.

Tickets at the gate will be $25 per car or $20 if purchased in advance. Oversized vehicles such as large vans and limousines will be $40-$50. There will also be front-of-the-line passes for cars $40-$45. daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.

Theme park news: Epcot marks 35th birthday, Legoland gets virtual reality, Daytona revs up holiday lights 09/28/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 3:57pm]
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