Saturday 15 June 2024

June 16th Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

-  Universal Studios Florida officially opened it's new DreamWorks land this week, which took over the space of the former Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone. The land features play areas and meet and greets themed to Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Trolls. The former Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster has become Trolls Trollercoaster.

- Universal Orlando also debuted its newest nighttime spectacular, CineSational: A Symphony Spectacular. This is the first show at Universal Orlando to heavily feature drones.

- Finally, at Islands of Adventure Universal has opened a new castle projection show, Hogwarts Always. Hogwarts Always traces a young wizard's or witch's first year at Hogwarts, from receiving their admission letter to buying supplies at Diagon Alley and arriving on the Hogwarts Express all the way through to the awarding of the House Cup at the end of the year.

- Universal Orlando also previewed their new Epic Universe Preview Centre this week, mostly because all of the worlds Theme Park media was in Orlando.

- Walt Disney World Resort has gotten final legal approval to go ahead with $17 billion in expansion plans over the next two decades. The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has approved a development deal with Disney that will guide additions and expansions at the resort over the next 20 years. It's been widely reported that the now-approved development deal allows Disney to build a fifth major theme park and two minor parks at the resort, in addition to expanding hotel and retail space. Disney also must contract at least 50% of construction work to Florida-based companies and spend at least $10 million on affordable housing projects. 

- Also at WDW, the all-new Country Bear Musical Jamboree will open in Frontierland's Grizzly Hall in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom on July 17.

- Epcot has opened their new Communicore Plaza which features a new live show called ¡Celebración Encanto!. The new area, which replaces the long-gone Communicore West building, also includes the Commincore Hall events space plus an indoor Mickey & Friends character greeting area. There's also a "Festival Favorites" food stand that will be serving popular items from EPCOT's various food festivals.

- In Italy, Gardaland has opened its new drop tower ride. Wolf Legend is a 82-foot Drop & Twist Tower, themed to a curse that turned a giant wolf to stone.

- In the UK, Thorpe Park has re-opened Hyperia, it's new Mack rides Hypercoaster, which had to close just days after opening. Thorpe Park said, "Once again we want to thank everyone for their understanding and patience. Now it's time to forge your wings of steel, conquer the seemingly impossible and embrace your inner fearlessness onboard the UK's tallest, fastest and most weightless rollercoaster.



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Saturday 8 June 2024

June 9th Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:


- Tokyo Disney opened Fantasy Springs this week. the largest park expansion in the resorts history, which features minilands based on the movies Peter Pan, Frozen and Tangled. As part of the opening Tokyo Disney Resort presented a video tour of its Fantasy Springs expansion, "The Fantasy Begins," including views of the "port" at night with character and cast performances, accompanied by drones.

- The Tokyo Disney Resort has also announced that their upcoming nighttime spectacular will be called "Reach for the Stars." In addition to the traditional collection of Disney and Pixar characters, the new show will be the first at Tokyo Disney to feature characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

- Legoland New York has set the opening date for The Minifigure Skyflyer gondola ride, which will open on June 24. To celebrate the grand opening, Legoland New York is planning a record-setting disco dance party. The park is offering the first 2,500 guests who register online free same-day admission to the park for the party. In addition to registering online, you must arrive 8:30am on June 24, wearing "glitter/sequin apparel, sparkly tutus, disco ball themed accessories, [or] other disco-themed duds" to get in.

- Knott's Berry farm have announced that the newly redesigned Camp Snoopy officially will open to guests on June 27. New rides in the land will include Snoopy's Tenderpaw Twister Coaster, a Zamperla family coaster that takes the place of the old Timberline Twister, Sally's Swing Along, a Zamperla Super Happy Swing, Camp Snoopy's Off-Road Rally, a Zamperla Convoy Dino Jeeps ride that replaces Rocky Mountain Trucking Company, and a newly themed Beagle Express train ride.

- Disneyland Resort has closed the  Club Pixar dance show at Disney's California Adventure, and is also preparing to close the Doctor Strange: Mysteries of the Mystic Arts show, which will close June 30th. It's worth pointing out that this isn't related to the Disneyland parade and character performers voting to joining the Actor's Equity Union, and that the Club Pixar dancers are in fact represented already by a different union.

- Universal have announced they are bring A Quiet Place to this year's Halloween Horror Nights on both coasts. This represents a fascinating Sound Design challenge for Universal, as the contrast of the ultra quiet and suspenseful movie with a very rowdy and loud event could be difficult to overcome. I look forward to seeing how Universal stages this. 


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Sunday 2 June 2024

June 2nd Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

- Walt Disney World have shared a POV from Tiana's Bayou Adventure this week, which shows Tiana and Naveen planning a party, but needing to find a band. Luckily we come across Lewis and his friends.

- Disneyland debuted a new pre-show for its World of Color - One nighttime spectacular at Disney California Adventure, called Emotional Rollercoaster" "which promotes the upcoming "Inside Out 2," which opens June 14.

- Universal Epic Universe Preview Center will open at Universal CityWalk in Orlando. The preview center will include "a massive model offering a bird’s-eye view of the entire park" that will come to life via augmented reality on guests' mobile devices. Epic Universe merchandise and backdrop photo ops will be available in the preview center, which takes over the former Universal Legacy Store location. 

- One of Epic Universe's biggest rides has been given a new name. Universal Orlando's website now lists the Mack Rides racing coasters formerly known as Starfall Racers as Stardust Racers. The change comes after a lawsuit was filed in US federal court earlier this month over the name. In 2023, Universal filed a trademark application for "Starfall Racers," however an opposition was filed to that application. Earlier this month, Starfall Education Foundation filed a lawsuit against Universal City Studios in US District Court for the District of Colorado over the roller coaster's name.

- Universal Orlando is holding a special event for the start of Halloween Horror Nights. One night before it opens officially on August 30 at Universal Studios Florida, the park will welcome a limited number of fans for its first-ever Premium Scream Night

- Disneyland Shanghai will open The Adventure of Rhythm will debut June 3 on Adventure Isle's Storyhouse Stage. This musical will feature "a team of archeologists who specialize in researching music" as the excuse for the line-up of staged performances of tunes from a variety of Disney's animated movies. However the show will actually change from performance to performance, as they move through 5 musical styles, with 2 different musical adventures possible for each of the shows.


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Saturday 25 May 2024

May 26th Theme Park News In A Nutshell

This week's Theme Park News: 

- Fantasmic! nighttime spectacular returns at Disneyland in California, which sees the return of Maleficent, but this time she will stay as the evil queen rather than transforming into a dragon.

- Legoland California has debuted their Lego World Parade.

- Disney Dreams That Soar drone show debuted this week at Walt Disney World's Disney Springs.

- Thorpe Park is debuting Hyperia, the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the UK. It is a Mack Rides Hypercoaster that tops out at 236 feet and 80 mph.

-  Paramount Location-Based Entertainment & Experiences has announced a new Nickelodeon Hotel & Resort in Orlando opening in 2026. It is to be located within the 220-acre Everest Place development on west 192 in Kissimmee, this Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Orlando will offer more than 400 hotel rooms and condo units. This is a completely new resort, and not connected to the former I-drive Nickelodean Hotel, which is now the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites

- Kings Island today officially opens its Camp Snoopy expansion, including Snoopy's Soap Box Racers.

- Because it's the start of the summer season in the US, there is a bunch of new shows and experiences also debuting in the states including:

 - SeaWorld San Diego is opening its new Shamu & Crew Together Again stage show, BMX Blast! stunt show, and Pirates Ahoy! The Battle for Mermaid Cove show, as well as its So Much More to SEA 60th anniversary parade.

 - The Dolly Parton Experience exhibit opened this weekend at Dollywood.

 - the Rhythm of Nature ice skating show debuts at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

 - SeaWorld Orlando is premiering its Xceleration show and So Much More to SEA parade.

 - Potato Smash bumper cars debuted yesterday at Kennywood

- Universal Orlando has revealed a number of it's original IP houses and experiences for this year's Halloween Horror nights inlcuding:

- Triplets of Terror 

- Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America

- The Museum: Deadly Exhibit 

- Major Sweets Candy Factory

- Slaughter Sinema 2

- Goblin's Feast

- Disneyland cast members who perform as characters and in parades at the resort have voted to organize under the Actors' Equity Association union. Yes votes received more than 78% of votes cast. It's the first time that parade performers and characters at the Disneyland Resort have been represented by a union.


- Finally, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Disney has tapped a screenwriter and production team to develop a movie inspired by the famed Club 33 in Disney's theme parks.



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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."

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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. 


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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.


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