Orlando’s Walt Disney World is no longer the top themed attraction when it comes to social media reviews in Florida – the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has taken over.
“Back in 2014, we were number three in the land of all the theme parks and destinations that are here in Orlando,” Therrin Protze, chief operating officer of the visitor complex, said during a Tuesday luncheon in Cape Canaveral. “With a lot of hard work, a lot of love and a lot of experience for our guest enhancements, we have now trended number one, destroying the ‘House of Mouse’ for social media.”
With an aggregate rating of 4.7 out of 5 across several social media platforms, the visitor complex not only surpassed the Orlando Science Center and SeaWorld, but also Universal, Legoland and Walt Disney World. The rating includes TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google and Facebook.
Protze, speaking to a packed monthly National Space Club Florida Committee luncheon at the Radisson Resort at The Port, laid out the visitor complex’s record-breaking achievements last year — and where it’s headed in the coming years.
Attendance has been expanding, he said, and has surpassed the 1.5 million guests that visited during the space shuttle program 2006. Future projections show the visitor complex is “trending for another breaking year.”
Focus now shifts to growing and modernizing the visitor complex, Protze said, and his team has plans to modernize the look and feel.
“The one thing that our guests always talk about is they want to feel space,” he said. “By the end of this year, toward Christmas, right before we hit our next holiday season, the place will look completely different.”
Some new additions include:
- The inclusion of the last United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, which should be on display by September 2019.
- A new, modernized look for “Main Street,” which is the area between the Rocket Garden and Atlantis center that includes the entrance to the bus tours and gift shop.
- New concession stands that will feature more thematic elements, such as a redesigned Milky Way ice cream shop.
- Using futuristic renewable energy “cassettes” embedded into walkways, visitors will be able to “launch” a rocket by jumping on tiles to generate enough energy. The tiles would also connect to smartphones to convey more information about NASA initiatives and the tiles.
But 2019 isn’t just a year for expansion: With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing just over the horizon, the complex plans on updating exhibits at the Saturn V Center to mark the July 1969 achievement.
“We are just getting started,” Protze said. “You have Apollo 50, there’s more infrastructure supports, all sorts of things that are happening.”
Source: Florida Today