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Photo Gallery: Crazy post-Christmas crowds at Orlando theme parks

January 6, 2014

2014 is nearly a week old, and Christmas 2013 may already seem like a lifetime ago. But according to Orlando’s theme park holiday crowds, the festive season has only just barely ended. Thanks to the holidays falling mid-week last year, the peak tourism season was extended through Sunday, January 5. As a result, Central Florida’s attractions were packed for the past two-plus weeks to a degree I haven’t seen since before the Great Recession.

Click to see these photos as a slideshow.

Universal Orlando

Let’s start our survey of theme park holiday crowds at Universal Studios Florida, which drew long lines with its Despicable Me…

…and Transformers rides…
…along with the Macy’s holiday parade.
The newly-expanded Simpsons area is also popular, even in the rain.
Even non-headliners had substantial lines. This is the usually-empty “single riders” queue at Men in Black:
Finnegan’s bar was nearly as busy as during Halloween.
An unusually long line at Starbucks:
The often-overlooked Twister had a short wait but a full house:

Universal closed out their Christmas season by closing the current version of their long-running Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue show. The final performance was packed with fans, as well es friends and family of the cast and crew, most of whom won’t return after the show is revamped.

Read this report on the final performance, then watch the last show for yourself:


Walt Disney World

A few miles down I-4, Disney’s Animal Kingdom was busy on the final day of the theme park holiday crowd season, where I arrived just in time for the last running of the Christmas-themed parade.

Many guests were saying goodbye to the Festival of the Lion King, which closed in its current location (along with the rest of the Camp Minnie Mickey area) to make way for James Cameron’s Avatar-land.

Here’s a look at the last Lion King show, at least until a new stage is constructed in the park’s Africa section.


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