Regional Update: North America (July 2019)
OWA Amusement Resort Embarks on $100 Million Expansion
The OWA amusement park in Foley, Alabama, is set to grow.
The park announced a $100 million expansion that will include one of the Gulf Coast’s largest indoor water parks, accompanied by a 200-room resort hotel and a luxury family-friendly recreational vehicle (RV) park. The RV park is slated to open by the end of 2019, with the indoor water park and hotel slated to open in early 2021.
OWA (pronounced “oh-wah” and meaning “big water” in the Muscogee Creek language) is owned and operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. The park’s name was inspired by the 14-acre lake at the center of the 520-acre resort development. OWA says the new indoor water park will allow its guests a year-round opportunity to play in the water. This summer, OWA is debuting its new haunted dark ride “Mystic Mansion,” created by Sally Corporation, based on the company’s line of Ghost Blasters dark rides. A new Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen and Gift Shop, along with a 400-seat indoor theater for concerts and entertainment, is under construction.
When OWA launched in 2017, it was the first new major amusement park to open in the United States in almost a decade.
Universal Orlando Resort Creating New Open-Fire Dining Experience
Promising a dining experience like no other, Universal Orlando Resort debuts a new restaurant just outside Universal’s Islands of Adventure this summer. Named Bigfire, the highly themed eatery features open-fire cooking and allows guests to watch their meal being prepared from anywhere in the restaurant. To enhance the flavors of the food, dishes are prepared on a wood-fired grill using a variety of chosen wood—from cherrywood to pecanwood. Dishes include a signature bison burger, cocoa-rubbed top sirloin, freshwater trout, chili, and smoked salads.
The two-story restaurant will feature cast iron and wood design elements, mixed with camp lanterns and oversized plaid blankets. An outdoor patio offers comfortable seating and lawn games, along with s’mores for dessert that guests prepare themselves at their table. The new restaurant is located in Universal CityWalk between VIVO Italian Kitchen and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.