Sunday 19 May 2024

May 19th Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

- Tiana's Bayou Adventure will use a virtual queue when it opens at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom June 28, it was announced this week. As a major suprise it won't be sold as an Individual  lightning lane, instead being featured as a standard lightning lane option in the Genie+ app. Previews for DVC members will start from June 12th, and for Annual Passholders from Jun 13 on selected days.

- Here in Australia, Warner Bros. Movie World has opened its new coaster Flash: Speed Force. This half pipe coaster has been moved over from neighbouring Wet'n'Wild water park, and repainted. They also put out an extensive update this week about how Superman Escape has had an issue with haudralic launch system which is causing an extended unexpected downtime. The coaster is expected to be closed for at least 6 weeks, while engineers come over from Germany to fix the ride. In the meantime they have delayed the repainting of DC Rivals, which was due for it's extended maintence this month. It will now re-open in the next two weeks. They have also said they've moved forward plans to change the queue for Superman Escape so that riders can have their belonging with them until the very end of the queue line.

- Europe's first Peppa Pig theme park opens this weekend in Germany, next to its Legoland Deutschland theme park in Günzburg.  This is Merlin's second stand-alone Peppa Pig theme park, following the original installation at Legoland Florida in 2022 and coming in advance of its third opening, later this year near Dallas.

- Europa-Park has reopened the Alpine Express 'Enzian' and the Tirol Log Flume which were destroyed by fire last year. The area in the Austrian version of the park, is known as Magical Valley of Diamonds, and is now completely re-opened. Europa-Park also has created an all-new Yomi Adventure Trail with suspension bridges, climbing elements, and slides above and around the Magical Valley of Diamonds. Finally, the park also has redesigned its Gemstone Grotto shop in the area.

- Universal Orlando shared a final construction tour of DreamWorks Land in advance of its official opening next month, with Annual Pass previews starting May 24. DreamWorks Land opens officially on June 14.

- WDW has shared a beautiful preview of Disney Dreams That Soar drone show, which will run May 24 through September 2 above Disney Springs. More than 800 drones will form familiar Disney characters and scenes during the nine-minute production, which play twice nightly and feature a new original song.

- Kings Island's Camp Snoopy expansion opens on May 24, but the Cincinnati-area theme park is sharing a first look at Snoopy's Soap Box Racers, it's new Vekoma Family Boomerang coaster.

- At Cedar Point, Top Thrill 2 has closed just week's after it opened. On social media, Cedar Point said that "Top Thrill 2 is currently experiencing an extended closure as Zamperla (the ride's manufacturer) completes a mechanical modification to the ride's vehicles."

You can watch our News in a Nutshell videos on YouTube or TikTok, and catch up with us on Instagram or Threads.

And you can find our weekly podcast about theme park news called Nuts About Theme Parks, on all good Podcasting platforms.

Sunday 12 May 2024

May 12th Theme Park News in a Nutshell

This week's Theme Park News

- At Tokyo Disneyland Resort we’ve seen the first media previews of Fantasy Springs at DisneySea. Check out coverage from many people but especially TDRExplorer to see glimpses of the new land and new attractions: Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Journey, Rapunzel’s Lantern Festival, Peter Pan’s Never Land Adventure, and Fairy Tinker Bell’s Busy Buggies.

- In the US Pixar Fest marketplaces (food booths) at Disney California Adventure as part of Pixar Fest. The food stands offer a variety of bites and drinks inspired by Pixar films "Inside Out," "Elemental," "Luca," "Turning Red," "Soul," and "Ratatouille."

- WDW has announced the opening of their next DVC villa the Island Tower at Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows will begin welcoming guests this December.

- The DisneylandForward proposal won final approval from the Anaheim City Council this week, clearing the way for expansion at the Disneyland resort.

- Disney has announced its Halloween plans. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party returns to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom starting Friday, August 9 this year. One the west coast, Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party will return to Disney California Adventure for 27 nights, starting Sunday, August 25. around the world, Hong Kong Disneyland will bring back its Halloween celebrations, including House of De Vil-lains, the "Let's Get Wicked" show, and Nightmare Before Dinner experience, on September 12 and continuing through October 31. At Disneyland Paris, the Disney Halloween Festival will run October 1 to November 3. And the Tokyo Disney Resort will stage Disney Halloween from October 1 through November 7, with new theming and entertainment at Tokyo Disneyland.

- First quarter financial reporting in the us this week. At Six Flags, attendance for the three months ending March 31 was up 6% over the comparable period one year ago, to 1.7 million visitors. Total guest spending per capita was down 8%, however, to $74.35. That led to a 6% drop in revenue, to $133 million. The result was an 18% increase in net loss, to $83 million.

- At Cedar Fair, attendance jumped 27%, to 1.35 million, over the same period in 2023, despite the company's parks being open for just 117 total days in the quarter compared with 161 operating days during the same time in 2023. However, average guest in-park spending dropped 6%, to $60.53 and costs were up 10% for the quarter, leading to a net loss of $133 million. Both companies confirmed in their statements that their merger of equals will conclude in the next quarter.

- Attendance rose 2.1% at United Parks & Resorts (which is the new name for SeaWorld parks and resorts) for the first three months of the year, compared to the same period on year ago, the company reported this week.

- Disney's Experiences segment, which includes the theme parks and Disney Cruise Line, reported revenue of $8.39 billion for the three months ending March 30, 2024. That's up 10% from the same period in 2023. Operating income was up 12% for the quarter, to $2.286 billion. The International parks in Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai led the segment, with 29% growth in revenue and 87% growth in income for the quarter. Disney also noted strong results at Walt Disney World in Florida, though it also noted lower results at Disneyland in California. Disney said that attendance was up at Disneyland, but lower occupied room nights and inflation offset those gains. 

You can watch our News in a Nutshell videos on YouTube or TikTok, and catch up with us on Instagram or Threads.





And you can find our weekly podcast about theme park news called Nuts About Theme Parks, on all good Podcasting platforms.

Saturday 4 May 2024

May 5th - Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

- Universal Orlando's new DreamWorks Land will open June 14.  June 14 will see the debut of a premiere its new nighttime lagoon show, CineSational: A Symphonic Spectacular, and a new castle projection show with Hogwarts Always.

- Universal Orlando also revealed details about the third land at its upcoming Epic Universe theme park - Super Nintendo World. which will be a clone of the USJ land including the soon to open Donkey Kong Country land.

- Legoland California has announced that new Lego World Parade will debut on May 24th.

- Universal Hollywood have announced that a new terrain coaster Fast & Furious: Hollywood Drift will open in 2026. The Intamin coaster will feature trains modeled after cars featured in the "Fast & Furious" movies. The ride vehicles also will feature 360 degrees of rotation along the coaster's track to create "a seamless sensation of drifting cars as guests spin in motion at furiously fast speeds," according to Universal's press release.

- The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions [IAAPA] said today that it expects to see an overall 2% increase in attendance at the theme parks and attractions it represents in the United States this summer. Wahl said that IAAPA members expect to see a cumulative 7% increase in consumer spending this year, as well. That would put projected total spending on U.S. attractions at more than $32 billion in 2024.

- Disneyland Paris is adding a scene from the Pixar movie Up to their version of the Storybook Land ride, Le Pays des Contes de Fées. Carl and Russell will join the miniature scenes on the ride, accompanied by Carl's balloon-lofted home.

You can watch our News in a Nutshell videos on YouTube or TikTok, and catch up with us on Instagram or Threads.

And you can find our weekly podcast about theme park news called Nuts About Theme Parks, on all good Podcasting platforms.

Saturday 27 April 2024

April 28th - Theme Park News in a Nutshell

This week's Theme Park News: 

- Oriental Land Co. - which owns and operates the Tokyo Disney Resort - announced this week that it will close its Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters ride in October to make way for a new ride based on Wreck it Ralph to open in 2026.

- The Tokyo Disney Resort announced that "Vacation Jamboree" will run at the Country Bear Playhouse from May 17 through November 7. It's the first time in five years that the show has run at the resort.

- A government filing in Shanghai has revealed Disney's plans for its first-ever Spider-Man-themed roller coaster. The new coaster will be the previously announced new attraction to be built next to Shanghai's Zootopia land, which opened last December. The plans also state that an official announcement of the project is set to be May 2nd.

- Universal's theme parks reported a modest increase in income, coupled with a decline in earnings, for the first three months of 2024. Comcast reported that its theme parks segment saw a 1.5% increase in revenue for the quarter, to $1.979 billion. Higher operating costs drove Adjusted EBITDA down 3.9% for the parks during the first quarter of 2024, to $632 million.

- Lots of Pixar is happening at Disneyland resort with the return of Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular, new parade, Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration! and an interactive Dug meet and Greet forming part of the Pixar Fest running through to August 4th.

- Fifteen people had minor injuries from a tram crash at Universal Studios Hollywood last week. A Universal spokesperson released the following statement to local media: "There was a tram incident at the theme park tonight that resulted in multiple minor injuries, confirmed by the LA County Fire Dept. We are working to support our guests and understand the circumstances that led to the accident."

- Ryan Gosling has turned out for the preview of Universal Hollywood's The Fall Guy Stuntacular Preshow. The special version of the pre-show also featured "The Fall Guy" film director David Leitch, and two of Gosling's stunt doubles from the movie, Ben Jenkin and Logan Holladay.

- Cedar Point will enforce a strict "no loose items" policy on its Top Thrill 2 roller coaster when it opens for the season on May 4th. But the park will not be providing free lockers or bins for riders to store the items they cannot take on the ride. The park said on its website. "Due to the later revision, the integration of lockers into the queue, similar to those at Steel Vengeance, was not possible. We encourage riders to leave any loose articles with a non-rider. If you wish to rent a locker, they will be near the entrance for a nominal fee."

- Europa Park has opened it's new Voltron Nevera roller coaser this week. Anchoring the park's Croatia land and themed to Croatian inventor Nikola Tesla, Voltron's theme is that you are being transformed into electrical energy. The coaster features a recreation of Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower, which the inventor built to test his plans for wireless transmission of electricity.

- Legoland California have announced the stars of their Lego World Parade

  • Fire Chief Freya, who will lead the parade on a Lego City firetruck float,
  • Scuba Diver, who will ride aboard her Lego City Deep Sea Adventure-inspired float,
  • Scallywag Pirate, who will be seeking treasure aboard his pirate ship float,
  • Lloyd, a ninja who will appear on the Lego Ninjago Dragon float,
  • Hopsy, who is a bright red Lego Duplo Bunny who will ride on the float at the "tail end" of the parade.

- Efteling in the Netherlands has announced it's create electric powered fake steam trains for the next trains for it's historic Steam Train attraction. Efteling has set goals of becoming climate-neutral by 2030 and climate-positive by 2032, neither of which would be possible with an authentic coal-burning steam train ride in the park.

You can watch our News in a Nutshell videos on YouTube or TikTok, and catch up with us on Instagram or Threads.

And you can find our weekly podcast about theme park news called Nuts About Theme Parks, on all good Podcasting platforms.

Saturday 20 April 2024

April 21st - Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

- Disney Experiences announced that Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris will be renamed Disney Adventure World when its World of Frozen land opens. The new World of Frozen, whose opening date has not been announced, will sit next to Adventure Bay, a 56.75-acre-foot body of water that will be equipped as a future home for entertainment spectaculars in the park, with fountains, music, lights and special effects capabilities. The promenade to Adventure Bay, Adventure Way, will include a new attraction, Raiponce Tangled Spin - a Tangled-themed spinner ride, and The Regal View Restaurant and Lounge, which will offer Disney Princess meets as well as views of the Bay and its entertainment.

- Universal Studios Japan's Donkey Kong Country expansion will now be opening in late 2024 rather than spring as originally announced.

- Universal Destinations and Experiences has entered a public feedback period for its proposed theme park in the United Kingdom. As part of they have release an indicative master plan of how the 476 acre plot could be used. The land is located in Bedford, which is about an hour North of London. You can see more and give feedback at Let's hope that they are going to be branding this park Universal Studios UK and not the first rumoured name Universal Studios Great Britain.

- The Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks are about to revamp their procedures for accommodating guests with accessibility needs. The changes come after use of Disney's DAS [Disability Access Service] pass among guests has more than tripled at the Disneyland Resort over the past five years, according to park officials. The DAS pass will remain, however Disney is putting together a new team of cast members and medical experts to determine which guests will get that accommodation, which allows guests to use Lightning Lanes after waiting the equivalent of the standby queue elsewhere. Starting later this spring, Disney visitors no longer will go to Guest Relations for accessibility passes. Instead, they will go to the new team, who will recommend accommodations based upon visiting parties' description of their needs and how they are accommodated elsewhere. Park officials said that they want to ensure that DAS is reserved going forward for guests with developmental disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, who are not able to wait in queues, rather than have it continue as a catch-all solution.

 - Universal Stella Nova Resort will open January 21, 2025, while Universal Terra Luna Resort will open February 25, 2025 on Universal's new south campus, located near the Orange County Convention Center. In a new concept video, we saw lots of details about these two moderate resorts.

  • The lobby bars will be Nova Bar at Stella Nova Resort and Luna Bar at Terra Luna Resort.
  • The quick serves will be Cosmos Cafe and Market at Stella Nova Resort and Omega Cafe and Market at Terra Luna Resort.
  • And the pool bars and grill will be Galaxy Bar and Galaxy Grill at Stella Nova Resort and Moonrise Bar and Moonrise Grill at Terra Luna Resort
  • Each hotel will offer 750 double-queen guest rooms that sleep up to four guests, as well as "spaceship-styled" windows, making them the only of their kind now in Orlando.

- Disney has given us more creatures for their new Princess and the Frog ride, with a team of frogs joining the musical shenanigans.

  • Felipe the Frog – The band's leader
  • Mayra the Frog –The most ambitious of the four frogs, she has been practicing her instrument since she was a tadpole, according to Disney's backstory
  • Mondo the Frog – The group's drummer
  • Isabel the Green Tree Frog – The youngest member of the group, she also plays the conga drums

- Universal Studios Hollywood is bring in a temporary stunt show called "The Fall Guy Stuntacular Pre-Show" will open April 27 and run through May 19, in conjunction with the opening of the Fall Guy movie, which opens May 3rd. This new pre-show will play in front of the WaterWorld stunt show.

-  The new Real Madrid World theme park officially now is open at Dubai Parks and Resorts. It is a retheme of the former Bollywood Parks Dubai park.

- Holiday World has sent passengers out on the first test runs of its new coaster for 2024. Good Gravy! is a Vekoma family boomerang coaster that is set in the park's Thanksgiving themed land, and it's first passengers were dressed in turkey costumes.

- Dorney Park in Pennsylvania is opening it's new Dive Coaster Iron Menace to a series of special events over the next few weeks, before the parks opening for the season on May 10th.

- Meanwhile Kennywood also in PA has announced that The Steel Curtain will remain closed for the 2024 season.

- Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced the opening date for its revamped Loch Ness Monster, Loch Ness Monster: The Legend Lives On will open officially May 10 at the Virginia theme park. Busch Gardens has replaced 900 feet of steel track on the 1978 Arrow Dynamics Custom Looping Coaster, as well as added new show elements to the ride and its queue.

- Intamin release a video of the newly installed trains for Europe's first installation of its single-rail coaster model. Mahuka will open later this month at Walibi Rhône-Alpes in France. The Intamin Hot Racer is the second installation of the model, following Big Dipper at Sydney's Luna Park.

- Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort has become the first theme park restaurant in the US to be awarded a Michelin star. 

You can watch our News in a Nutshell videos on YouTube or TikTok, and catch up with us on Instagram or Threads.





And you can find our weekly podcast about theme park news called Nuts About Theme Parks, on all good Podcasting platforms.

Saturday 6 April 2024

April 7th - Theme Park News in a Nutshell

 This Week's Theme Park News:

- This week saw the start of the Season of the Force event at Disneyland resort, which also meant the debut of new Star Tours scenes featuring Din Djarin, Grogu, Andor and Ahsoka. The event also introduce Sabine Wren as a walk around character, and also the return of the adorable BD-X droids in Galaxy's edge.

- Bob Iger shared a new "creative inspiration" image of what a potential avatar experience at Disneyland Resort could look like, as he hyped up the DisneylandForward proposal at the annual Disney Shareholder meeting.

- At Epcot, it's been announced that Test Track will close June 17 for its extended refurbishment. This week we also saw concept art for the new facade for the attraction.

- Walt Disney Imagineering has re-announced two major projects for Walt Disney World this week, with reporters getting a glimpse at the Beyond Big Thunder Mountain expansion at Magic Kingdom, and the Tropical Americas rethemeing of Dinoland USA at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The only actually new information in these announcements was that Disney will be filing permits for construction in Magic Kingdom, west of Frontierland very soon, and new clearer concept art for the Tropical Americas land. Speculation around the new animal kingdom land, is that it will feature the Dinosaur ride themed to it's brother attraction Indiana Jones, as well as and Encanto area and potentially a Coco themed carousel.

- WDI also launched a new  YouTube Series, called We Call It Imagineering, which featured new animatronics from the Tiana's Bayou Adventure ride, including Louis the trumpet playing crocodile, and several of the human characters from the movie. This week they also gave us the next round of new creature characters featured in the ride, who are:

- Octavia the Bobcat – a fearless kitten who plays the vaksin, a single-note horn instrument

- Pawpaw the Bobcat – Octavia’s grandfather, who taught her to play the vaksin

- Claude the Louisiana Black Bear – a horn-playing bear who loves to create with things found in the forest

- Bernadette the Louisiana Black Bear – Claude's mate and another horn player

- Sebastián the Louisiana Black Bear – Bernadette's cub Sebastián is a drummer

- Phina the Gray Fox – also a drummer

- Disneyland After Dark: Pride Nite returns to Disneyland June 18 and 20 this year, celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community and featuring themed entertainment and photo ops for event guests, as well as specialty food, drinks, and merchandise for sale. Tickets will be $159 per person and tickets will go on sale from April 9th.

- Finally, Universal Studios Hollywood has announced that they are being back the red and white striped "Glamour Trams" this summer as part of a celebration of the parks 60th Anniversary. The new version will also include a tram stop, for the first time in many years, where guests will be able to see an original tram, a King Kong backdrop, the original hanging Jaws shark, and a scale replica of the Hollywood sign.

You can watch our News in a Nutshell videos on YouTube or TikTok, and catch up with us on Instagram or Threads.





And you can find our weekly podcast about theme park news called Nuts About Theme Parks, on all good Podcasting platforms.

Friday 29 March 2024

March 30 - Theme Park News in a Nutshell

 This week's (early) Theme Park News:

- Universal Orlando Resort has revealed the details for the next land at its upcoming Universal Epic Universe theme park - How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk. They have confirmed they are bringing the "Untrainable" show that premiered at Universal Studios Beijing, which will be called The Untrainable Dragon. Other attractions in the new land will include:

  • Hiccup's Wing Gliders, an Intamin multi-launch roller coaster with a top speed of 45 mph.
  • Fyre Drill, a Splash Battle-style interactive boat ride, where "Ruffnut and Tuffnut invite teams of Vikings to compete to outscore and out-soak each other on this wet-and-wild boat battle."
  • Dragon Racer’s Rally, a Gerstlauer Sky Fly with a maximum height of 67 feet.
  • Viking Training Camp, a play area.
  • Haddock Paddock, a character meet with Hiccup and Toothless.

- Tokyo Disneyland is adding Marvel Characters to their version of It's a Small World, for a limited time. The attraction will be renamed It's a Small World with Groot. In a Press release, disney stated: "Groot from the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' film trilogy and his friends from Marvel Studios films are visiting Earth for vacation. Groot encounters his friends in various locations on Earth and experiences their regional cultures and music with them as well as with children from all over the world."

- Disney has given us a a sneak peak at the animal characters that will feature on Tiana's Bayou Adventure, the replacement for Splash Mountain.

Tiana's musical critter friends will be:

  • Byhalia the Beaver: A percussionist who builds musical instruments from natural materials in the bayou.
  • Gritty the Rabbit: Gritty plays a found-license-plate washboard.
  • Beau the Opossum: Plays an upright bass made from a gourd, using her tail to play some of the notes.
  • Apollo the Raccoon: Plays a squeezebox made from found objects in the bayou.
  • Rufus the Turtle: Apollo's companion in adventures, Rufus plays the harmonica in this band.
  • Timoléon the Otter: This fiddle player is the oldest member of the band and likes to share stories about the past.

- Orlando's giant observation wheel on International Drive, is now called the Orlando Eye, again, after the attraction was acquired by Merlin Entertainments this week. It was originally named the Orlando Eye, then subsequently ICON Orlando in 2018, then it changed again to be The Wheel at ICON Park in 2019.

- California's Great America is open for the season this week, and made good on it's symbolic Super Bowl bet with its Cedar Fair sibling Worlds of Fun, from Kansas City, by temporarily renaming coaster Flight Deck to be the Soaring Chiefs.

- Gardaland in Italy have this week took delivery of and installed the ride's 82-foot-tall purple octagonal tower for their new 2024 Attraction, revealing that the new attraction will be a "Drop & Twist Tower." A name has not yet been released for this ride, although the park has state that is have a theme based on indigenous Americans.

You can watch our News in a Nutshell videos on YouTube or TikTok, and catch up with us on Instagram or Threads.





And you can find our weekly podcast about theme park news called Nuts About Theme Parks, on all good Podcasting platforms.