Check out the latest youth travel industry updates.


First SUPER NINTENDO WORLD in U.S. to open at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2023

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — SUPER NINTENDO WORLD™, the innovative, immersive and highly-anticipated themed land, will open at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2023, and will be the first SUPER NINTENDO WORLD to debut in the United States.

SUPER NINTENDO WORLD opened first at Universal Studios Japan to rave consumer and critical reviews in 2021. The U.S. debut of SUPER NINTENDO WORLD at Universal Studios Hollywood will transport theme park guests and Nintendo fans into the world of Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach to become part of their compelling universe.

The immersive land will be a visual spectacle of vibrant colors and architectural ingenuity located within a newly expanded area of the theme park, featuring a groundbreaking ride and interactive areas, to be enjoyed by the whole family. Themed shopping and dining will enhance the entire experience.


Visit Greater Palm Springs is now autism certified

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Visit Greater Palm Springs is now a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC), a designation granted by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). The CAC designation is awarded to organizations that have completed autism training to better understand and welcome autistic visitors and their families.

Visit Greater Palm Springs achieving the CAC designation is the first step in a movement to make the greater Palm Springs area a Certified Autism Destination (CAD). The CAD designation will offer visitors multiple trained and certified options to choose from when in the area, including entertainment, recreation and hotel options. Visit Greater Palm Springs is working with IBCCES to involve key tourism, hospitality and recreation organizations in the community to achieve this goal in order to attract more visitors and ensure inclusive options are available.

The focus on ensuring accessibility is important, especially with 1 in 44 children in the U.S. diagnosed with autism (according to the CDC) and 1 in 6 people with sensory needs or sensitivities. Travelers with disabilities take millions of trips every year, but there are few destinations with a variety of options that have taken the extra step cohesively to better understand and enhance accommodations for these visitors.


BATMAN x SPYSCAPE attraction to debut in New York this summer

NEW YORK — BATMAN x SPYSCAPE, an interactive attraction created by Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment, DC and SPYSCAPE, is set to debut in New York City this summer.

It is being designed to transport visitors “on a top-secret mission to infiltrate an underworld organization … whose goal is to disrupt the Super Hero and Super-Villain communities,” the companies said.

While details on the attraction are currently scarce, more information will be released in the next several weeks. For more information, visit spyscape.com/batman.


Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind debuts soon at Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Disney Parks

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. —Starting May 27, guests visiting EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort can get ready to crank up the mixtape and blast through an awesome intergalactic chase through time and space in Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

This thrilling new family-friendly coaster matches the “grandosity” and fun of the blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy films, featuring those lovable cosmic misfits — Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora and Star-Lord. The attraction is another major milestone in the ongoing transformation of EPCOT and debuts as part of the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary celebration.

Located in the park’s newly renamed World Discovery neighborhood, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be the first “other-world” showcase pavilion at EPCOT.


National Atomic Testing Museum debuts brand-new exhibit

National Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas, Nev.
Credit: National Atomic Testing Museum

LAS VEGAS, Nev.– The National Atomic Testing Museum recently announced a brand-new temporary exhibit titled “Equipping Our Everyday Heroes.” The exhibit explores the personal protective equipment and new technology used by first responders in the field. The temporary exhibit is officially open to the public and will be on display inside the museum for a year.

The artifacts displayed in the exhibit are pieces of personal protective equipment and technology actively in operational use by first responders and are commercially available.

In addition to the artifacts currently in use by first responders, visitors can also learn more about up-and-coming pieces of technology soon to be implemented in the field, including the Wildland Firefighter Advanced Personal Protection System, Photovoltaic Energy Harvesting Fabric and Precision Outdoor and Indoor Navigation and Tracking For Emergency Responders. Guests can also watch educational videos related to first responders on a monitor displayed at the center of the exhibit as well as an interactive kiosk where guests can select from a menu of video options.

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Courtney Birchmeier oversees the editorial department at Group Tour Media. With half a decade under her belt in the group travel industry, she's eager to connect tour operators and group leaders with new destinations. It's a great day at the office if her dog, a chow/lab mix named "Kiwi," is in tow. In her free time, she enjoys reading (for fun, with no red pen in hand), sampling craft beer (New Holland Brewing's "Dragon's Milk," anyone?) and adding new destinations to her travel bucket list (like Salzburg, Austria).