Saturday 31 December 2011

Starting 2012 with a bang!

We all know that the Disney vs Universal Theme Park War has been battled intensely over the past few years, and it would seem that 2012 will be no exception. Just as Disney was poised for an exciting New Years Eve announcement, an apparent leak from Universal to awesome news site Theme Park Insider detailing some of the plans for the expansion to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (see!!!

I say apparent leak, because I am extremely cynical and it was the perfect time for this leak to occur.

As long as Theme Park Insider's source can be believed (and I do trust TPI and Rober Niles in general) we are in for an awesome attraction! First news, it is going where Jaws was located in Universal Studios Florida. Secondly, there will be a Gringotts Bank Roller Coaster/Dark Ride. The details of this ride sound amazing!! I really encourage you to check out the post above. It has scence by scene description and images of the ride vehicles. Thirdly, there is a second attraction that has not been detailed, but speculation is that it will be a Hogwarts Express that will connect the two Harry Potter areas!! We also get a single point of entrance, which appears to fit the theme of the secret entrance to Diagon Alley, with a 8,900-square-foot restaurant right next to it (The Leaky Cauldron anyone??). There will also be some kind of walk through attraction!

So what was Disney's big news? As expected they are going to open Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom for 24 hours on the 29th of February this year. A leap day suprise. Well suprising that they are going to run it from 6am to 6am. They are also having an extra night special for people staying during a certain period in February, and they are giving away vacation packages over the next 60 days! They also suggest that everyone stays tuned in for more special announcements very soon.

So does a leak from Universal trump an already speculated Leap Day celebration and a competition from Disney? I leave that to you to decide.

Thursday 29 December 2011

Update on What's Going On 2011

About six months ago I wrote up my list of my Top 10 things happening in the world of Theme Parks at the time ( Since we have reached the start of 2012, I thought I would be a good time to reflect on the entries on that list and how much things have changed since July.

10.  Carsland - California Adventure. Disney have really cranked up construction on this bad boy. We have seen some amazing rock artwork in the Radiator Springs background and recently we saw testing of Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. Looks like it will be a big addition to DCA, even if some of the online community aren't happy with the direction Disney is taking at the moment (See The Carsland Conundrum -

9. Hong Kong Disneyland Expansion. HK Disneyland has opened the first of their three new lands in the last 6 months. Toy Story Land has opened as seemingly a huge success. While the second land, Grizzly Gulch, will be opening in the middle of 2012, many of us are waiting with baited breath for Mystic Point and it's anchor ride Mystic Manor in 2013!

8. Buzzsaw - Dreamworld Australia. Buzzsaw has opened as a moderate success. The attempted theming by Dreamworld was better than many of their recent attempts, although many have struggle to see any sign of the backstory associated with the ride. The ride itself is the first of it's kind in Australia, and riders have been thrilled by being held by the single lap bar. It appears most of the problems (rumoured to be overheating) have not affected it during our Australian summer so far.

7. Mystery coaster - Warner Bros. Movie World Australia. "Rumoured to be an S&S El Loco with a Joker theme." Well I guess I was half right. The GREEN LANTERN COASTER officially opened at Movie World just before Christmas to much success. We took a brief look at it just before it opened (see While the online forums were concerned about the lack of theming, particularly compared to MW's Superman and Scooby Doo coasters, crictics have been plesantly suprised by the details that have been added. Many have predicted that they giant Green Lantern emblem may become an icon for the park.

6. Universal Wonderland - Universal Japan. I have heard nothing about this addition since July, which always adds interest with me. Other than  that it will open in spring 2012, and that it will feature Hello Kitt, Snoopy and Seasame Street, we know very little about this!

5. LC12 - Thorpe Park UK. The Swarm as it is now known is due for opening on the 15th of March 2012! We have started to see lots of construction photos of this ride, including some of the wreckages that you will be winging your way around. Very exciting!!

4. Fantasyland Expansion - Magic Kingdom. This may be the most documented theme park construction which is happening at the moment. It has been hard to avoid news about this enhancement. It looks like it will look amazing once it is complete, and should be opening in stages early next year!

3. Legoland Florida. This new Merlin park opened in October and has been a huge success thus far. Indeed just 2 days ago it had it's first sold out day of the holiday period (joining the closures Islands of Adventure, Magic Kingdom, Disney Hollywood Studios and Disney Animal Kingdom in one of the biggest theme park days in recent years!). We reported on the opening briefly in October (see and we are really looking forward to visiting it one day!

2. Shanghai Disneyland. Ground has broken, and yet we don't know much about this park! We have seen a few leaked maps and photos, but there is still a lot of questions that are going to answered in the next 12 months. I have been assured by a couple of sources that this resort is going to be a genuine game-changer. We are looking forward to more news in 2012 and 2013, for the eventual opening in 2016.

1. Expansion to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Islands of Adventure. There was very little public information when I first wrote about the prospect of this expansion. One thing has become certain in the meantime, it has been confirmed there will be an expansion. We don't know when. We don't know where. However even the confirmation of the expansion has generated a huge ammount of press for the WWoHP juggernaut (the news itself partly overshadowed the announcement of WWoHP being added to Universal Studios Hollywood). Speculation is that the expansion will tie in with the imminent closure of Jaws inside Universal Studios Florida. This will be a big potential expansion if this is true, which may add "London" into USF which could include Diagon Alley and a Gringotts ride. People have also suggested a likely connection between USF and IoA via the Hogwarts Express. As I said, nothing has been officially announced so we may be waiting for a few more years yet, but personally I can't wait!!

So there is a quick round up of how things have changed since the start of July. This is such a dynamic industry that even some of the information here is likely to change within the next 6 months. We will try to keep you up to date as we move into 2012!!!

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Movie World - Green Lantern

Last night we headed down to WB Movie World for their White Christmas event which was an awesome night!!! It also gave me a chance to have a good sticky beak at the new Green Lantern Coaster which is going to open at some point this month (some thought it may open tomorrow but I think most of us are expecting Boxing Day). Firstly, the coaster itself looks great! While it's position is slight odd in terms of the park overall, it certainly is very visible when you arrive at the park. Here is a shot from the car park to show you what I mean:

It was also the first time that I had seen Green Lantern included on a Movie World Map which I thought was cool. This also gives a away a few clues about the ride aswell:

First thing to notice is the entrance definitely goes the long way over the creek, and then comes back to the station house. Secondly the exit seems to have a path under the lift hill around the bottom and joining up with a bridge back into the gift shop (although a second path also leads down from the other side of the station meeting the same bridge). Thirdly, there is a viewing platform on the gift shop side of the creek. There is a great deal of construction still going on but I grabbed some picks so you can see what I mean.

Firstly, the Entrance:
For those who haven't seen Movie World recently, this is right next to where the Batwing is located. You can see the Viewing Platform on the left, the entrance path in the centre and very cool sign on the right!

Next some of the work still being done from the front of the ride. Fences going up, lots of turf being laid, and lots of scaffolding on the Station House:
Next the Station House:
Notice the stairs coming both sides of the station, which both lead towards the black fench in the foreground. I think riders will exit on the left of this photo and go under the lift hill and back round, and the other stairs will be an staff/emergency exit. It is hard to make out, but they appeared to be putting what looked like huge cartoon drawings on the roof or the station house. This may match those which have been rumored for the long walk over the creek. Still more work to be done I'd say.

Lets look at the Exit Bridge more closely:
The first photo is from the front of Movie World looking in. This is the first clue that this bridge is not as stand-alone as the map suggests. You can also see the other side of the viewing platform on the left. As you can see from the second photo, it is a raised area on the Green Lantern side of the Entrance Bridge. This was still having fences installed yesterday. This ramp leads straight into the DC Comics gift shop.

Since White Christmas is a night event we also got a quick look at what Green Lantern at night! So I thought I would leave you with a quick shot of the Green Lantern symbol on the from of the car in all it's glory! Hopefully we will start getting some stories of people riding this beast in the next 10-12 days!

Monday 12 December 2011

Legoland Australia?

I was just reading about the upcoming Legoland Malaysia on Screamscape and saw this article:

One particular passage caught my eye:
" Legoland Malaysia is the first Legoland in Asia and the sixth in the world. Other Legoland are found in Denmark; United Kingdom; Germany; Florida and California, both in the United States.

In the pipelines are plans to bring Legoland to South Korea, Australia and Japan."

Australia?? Did I miss something? I've heard about locations being picked for Legoland Japan, and about Merlin buying Sydney Aquarium. But Legoland Australia is news to me! Having visited Legoland Billund in Denmark I am extremely excited about this project. I have no idea if this is really is acurate news, but I will post as soon as I hear anything about it!!

Sunday 20 November 2011

Theme Park Credentials

I thought it was about time I outlined my theme park credentials, and in particular which are my favourite parks from around the world. I've been to 18 parks across 3 continents. I'm lucky that I grew up in an area of Australia with easy access to our local parks, and that my parents took holidays which visited parks in America.
Starting of with Austrlian parks, I have been a frequent visitor to the 3 Gold Coast parks: Dreamworld, Movie World and Sea World. I know these parks backwards. Dreamworld and Movie World are particular favourites of mine, which have memories ranging from my early childhood through to last month. I have also just recently visited Aussie World on the Sunshine Coast, which is a small but fun family park. When I was young I also visited the now defunct Australia's Wonderland in Sydney, which was also a great little park. And the very short-lived Leyland Brothers World.

With my family growing up we took 2 separate U.S. vacations which visited two of the world great theme park hubs, Southern California and Orlando. Across the 3 trips we visited Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood, SeaWorld and the 4 parks of Walt Disney World. I would put Disneyland and Magic Kingdom as the best theme parks that I have ever been to. While there were some other fantastic exprences in other parks, those two parks are still the standard that I judge all others by. People who know me know that I go on and on about how much I love Disney parks.

Finally my beautiful wife and I travelled to Europe last year and visited 4 parks while we were over there. They were Prater, Europa Park, Legoland Billund and Tivoli Gardens. All of these parks were wonderful for different reasons, but I will always hold Europa Park and Tivoli in my heart as two of my favourite parks.

So there you go, that's my theme park background. I have lots of parks I still want to see, and I want to visit a few of these parks again, but I think that might be a post for another day!

Friday 11 November 2011

Commonwealth Games 2018

Today it was finally official that the 2018 Commonwealth Games are going to be hosted by the Gold Coast. This will is a huge win for the Australian theme park industry as it will bring thousands of international visitors into the area which is home to the 3 major Australian parks Dreamworld, Movie World and Sea World. All 3 parks are currently in the midst of major redevelopments with major rides and new experiences either just completed or in the pipeline.

Dreamworld has just opened it's second new ride for the year, and a major drawcard, in the Buzzsaw. They have also just announced a major partnership with Dreamworks to be completed in 3 phases over the next year or so. You can see the local news report here:

Movie World has completed the track of their new multi-million dollar Green Lantern Coaster. This is predicted to open in December (by Boxing Day at the latest). They have also closed a couple of their older attractions (the Looney Tunes River Ride, and the Batman Adventure The Ride 2) with the suggestion that they will make way for exciting new attractions. It is also rumoured that the oldest major coaster the Leathal Weapon is going to be getting new smooth trains, and also potentially a retheme!

Sea World is currently working on incorporating the Nickelodean licence that they acquired in the last 3 months (which used to be owned by Dreamworld). They are currently producing a "spectacular" parade based on Sponge Bob Square Pants, and working to incorporate Dora into their current child friendly zone. Sea World promises to boom most from the Commonwealth Games, given it's close proximity to the heart of the Gold Coast.

Lets hope we see the good times keep rolling as we get closer to the Games in 2018!!

You can read more about the Commonwealth Games win here

Thursday 3 November 2011

Europa Park Terenzi Horror Nights 2010 vs WB Movie World Frights Nights 2011

Today marks one year since my visit to Terenzi Horror Nights at Europa Park in Rust Germany, and since I have recently visited the local equivalent, I thouhght it would be fun to Review the 2 experiences head to head. I've broken the events down into clean comparable parts, and for fairness I will treat each part equally when giving the final verdict.

Movie world do a good job with redesigning the entrance of the park for Fright Nights. They cover the main gates, add lots of the smoke and add lights to the fountain. It is a good mood setter. At Europa Park, you enter through a side enterance of the park, which itself is not exciting at all. However, to get in to the main part of the event you MUST go through a maze. This works as the perfect mood setter for the night, as you are suddenly your scare cherry is popped without you getting a choice. It is the perfect way to start a night like this.
Verdict: Europa Park

Movie world had a few good lighting effects, some smoke and some roaming scare actors. It didn't ever feel spooky and at times it almost felt family friendly. It did not help that the night we went was extremely busy. Europa Park had a lot more smoke, a lot less light and a lot more scare actors. This made for a much better experience in the park, because you could never relax. On the night we were there (which I would assume was a quiet night), there would have been 1 scare actor for every 10 guest roaming free in the park. When people were scared and "attacked" by actors, it wasn't just one, it was sometimes 3 or 4. They also had a better variety of roaming actor. Ghosts, zombies, chainsaw killers, crashed stunt drivers, trailer trash, clowns, etc. You couldn't wait to be left alone, but when you were left alone you were just as scared because you know it would be long before they were getting you. The low number the night improved the atmosphere greatly.
Verdict: Europa Park

When we went to Movie World, it was an incredibly busy. This meant that, we didn't get a map when we entered the event. Luckily (because I am a theme park nut) I had printed out maps for our group before we came, and boy were they useful. There were very very few signs at all with the location of the mazes. Because of this a couple of the mazes which were in unusual spots outside the normal park (Zombie Apocolypse and Saw), were almost empty at the start of the night. Europa park was better, but not much better. Getting into and out of the event was difficult and badly signed. Inside the venue, it was much better than Movie World. When we left, it took us 30 minutes to find the exit, and part of the way through the exit we took a wrong turn into the back stage area. Both needed more signs, and more maps.
Verdict: Draw

In terms of the rides running during the halloween events, Movie World wins hands down. Even though they shut the 3 major rides at 9 o'clock, which left only the Scooby Doo spooky coaster running for the last two hours, there was far more choice of rides at Movie World. Having said that because of the crowd, the lines for rides made them prohibitive. We waited for over an hour to ride the Scooby Doo spooky coaster, which we only wanted to do because it is so much better at night (I know that sounds stupid for an indoor coaster but it's true). The Superman Escape had much more than an hour wait when we arrived, and it wasn't worth waiting for. At Europa Park, there was only really one ride going which was Pegasus the smallest of their coasters. Having said that, we rode it twice with an total wait time of about 3 minutes. Is having 1 ride with no line better than having 4 rides with hour long waits?
Verdict: Movie World (Just)

The night that we went to Europa Park, there was not shows operating. When we went to Movie World there was two major shows, of which we only saw one. I must say from all reports, we made a mistake. We heard good things about the "Damned" aerial show, but we decided to make time for the Vampire Burlesque show. I can't say this strongly enough, it was dreadful. In a night which is so short, with such long lines it was a mistake to wait for this show. I am extremely tempted to give this section to Europa Park because this show was so terrible.
Verdict: Movie World (Just)

This is where the two parks differentiate themselves. I want to be clear, this is not about quantity. Europa park had more mazes, and shorter lines for mazes. Forgetting all that, the mazes at Europa Park were better. Not just a little bit better, but a LOT better. Heart-poundingly, running for your life, terrifyingly better. The mazes we saw at Movie World were formulaic and recycled. They had good scares, but nothing beyond what you would get in a haunted house. The Europa Park mazes where almost dangerous at times. You could feel the tension in every room of every maze. So scary that you would choose to hang on to people that you didn't know for protection. We did run as if we were running for our lives. They also had very different structures from each other, you didn't feel like you were walking around a warehouse at any time. The maze in the specially grown corn field was the absolute highlight of the night. I still have nightmares about that.
Verdict: Europa Park (Easily)

Final verdict
I know that 3-2 looks incredibly close, but really it isn't. If I could choose between the two events, it would be Horror Nights 100 times out of 100. Movie World Fright Nights had it's plus's certainly, however the main advantage of it (the rides) is ruined by the fact that Movie World over sells tickets to this event. It has potential and I enjoyed myself, don't get me wrong, but I would say that it is half the attraction that Terenzi Horror Nights is. I wouldn't hesitate to go again, if I was even remotely close to Germany in october. I will probably go to Fright Nights again, but I will definitely try and find a quiet night.
Winner: Europa Park Terenzi Horror Nights 2010!!!!!

Monday 17 October 2011

Legoland Florida

Earlier in the year I posted the Top 10 things going on in Theme Parks around the world at the moment, and this week marks the opening of number 3 on my list: Legoland Florida!! There are a lots of people on the web doing tours of the park for the Grand Opening which are awesome. The mix of "pink knuckle" rides and fun attractions mean that this will be a park to visit when visiting central Florida.

Here are a few good links:

Sunday 25 September 2011

Aussie World

A trip to Aussie World on Queensland's Sunshine Coast with the family gave ample opportunity to do a full report on this little park. Surprisingly, this was my first time to Aussie World. While it is not in the same league as Dreamworld and Movie World on the Gold Coast, this little park certainly hits above its weight. It is definitely children oriented, but with a couple of little rides to keep the parents entertained. Well maintained, friendly staff. A half day park that exceeded my expectations. Definitely check out the Wild Mouse Coaster, if you like rough rides!

Of most interest to me was the new ride, the Giant Redback.

A Standard Zamperla Disc-O coaster added earlier this year gives a fun thrill for those interested. Think of it as the little brother of the Shockwave at Dreamworld. Being constructed next to this ride is a new water ride to be called the Water Shed Plunge. Here are some shots of the progress.

Movie World Australia News

With a simple note on the website maintenance page (, Batman Adventure - The Ride 2 is scheduled for termination. It is a shame, but such is life! I guess it is possible for it to be reboot in conjunction with the new Batman movie series or possibly the video game series. Could we see Batman The Ride 3?? The rides location is very close to the currently being constructed Green Lantern Coaster, could we see part of this ride being recycled for the new coaster??

Sunday 18 September 2011


People who know me, know I love all things European. Especially German. So good news that America's favourite european based theme park Busch Gardens Williamsburg is adding a Black Forest themed coaster called "Verbolten" in 2012. Strong theming and a good pun; this sounds like it will be a heavy hitter. Time will tell!I must admit I wasn't thrilled by the graphics in the release video (, but I tend to be harsh on things like that. Still conceptually a great addition to the park!

Australian News

News on a couple of local parks who have been working over the last few months.

Dreamworld Australia has opened Buzzsaw. As expected, it is a ghost-town themed Skyloop. From the reviews, people have been enjoyed it. The recommendation is the theming is a little hit and miss (typical of Dreamworld) but if you read the back story on the website ( you should be able to see what they were aiming for! There have been some complaints of delays while staff get trained, but it is mostly a very positive opening for Dreamworld.

Movie World Australia have also announce their upcoming coaster. The Green Lantern Coaster (!!! Continuing in the superhero mould it promises to be a modified El Loco coaster with the "steepest drop in the southern hemisphere". As long as they do some good theming this will be an excellent edition to the 2 Batman rides and the Superman coaster at the front of the park.

Monday 1 August 2011

WAR is coming!

Thorpe Park has announced the name of it's new coaster. THE SWARM!!! Check out a few little details about it at Looks like some fun theme work here! See how they put the WAR in SWARM... nice work guys!

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Construction Europa Park

I know I just did a Top Ten of my current favourite construction projects, but I'd like to throw in a number 11 if I may. One of my favourite theme parks is adding a new wooden roller coaster for 2012. Europa Park is adding Mythos to its stable of coasters. It has been reported to be 35 metres tall, and over 1 km of track. If it's done as well as most things with Europa Park, this will be a fantastic edition. Just outside my Top Ten. No doubt if I was going to be visiting there again soon, it would certainly be up there!

Monday 25 July 2011

What's going on?

Hey fellow nuts! I thought I'd start off by listing out what is going on in the world of theme parks that has me really excited. Some of them are rumours, some have started construction, but all of them have sparked my interest recently. So lets go, here are my Top Ten things going on right now:

10.  Carsland - California Adventure.  So I'm not a huge Cars fan, but it is a huge construction effort and it's Disney so it will be good.
9. Hong Kong Disneyland Expansion. Disney's smallest Magic Kingdom park is getting 3 new lands: Grizzly Trail, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land. Taking the parks land count to 7, this will finally bring it on par with the other Disneylands.
8. Buzzsaw - Dreamworld Australia. Sure it is just a new coaster, and a Skyloop rather than a full circuit coaster. But it is exciting for a park that is as slow to grow as Dreamworld. First Skyloop in Australia.
7. Mystery coaster - Warner Bros. Movie World Australia. Rumoured to be an S&S El Loco with a Joker theme. Again, this is just a coaster but still exciting for this part of the world. It beats Buzzsaw only because it is a mystery still!
6. Universal Wonderland - Universal Japan. Jamming in with Snoopy, are two new zones for Hello Kitty and Sesame Street! Very Japanese, sure to be a hit.
5. LC12 - Thorpe Park UK. Thorpe Park love thrills and love a theatric ride launch. Heavy investment and huge marketing effort will bring to life one of the wildest new coasters in years. Apocalyptic B&M Wing Walker with 4 inversions. All the plans have been leaked online, but still super exciting.
4. Fantasyland Expansion - Magic Kingdom. Construction is well underway at the biggest park expansion at the WDW Resort since Animal Kingdom. Should be tremendous!
3. Legoland Florida. I'm a sucker for a new park. Which raises a different question, is this a new park? The remaking of Cypress Gardens is still exciting because of the nature of Legoland parks. Truely fun for the whole family. Definitely a must see when in Florida!
2. Shanghai Disneyland. Ground has been broken on the latest Disney park. It promises to be the biggest Magic Kingdom style park yet! What else do we know about it? Nothing. Very little has been leaked about this project. Disney playing it extremely close to the chest. This is still one of the most exciting developments of this decade.
1. Expansion to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Islands of Adventure. It is a little bit cheeky that the top of my list of what is currently going on, is only rumoured to be happening. However, barring the world imploding in the next 10 years there will be an expansion to WWOHP. Rumours have mentioned Diagon Alley, Gringotts Coaster and even a new live show. People are quoting contracts that include additions to be made after the final movie is produced. Sources have mention areas being staked out backstage, but no concrete proof has yet been given. All we can say is that WWOHP has been enormous for Universal, and they no doubt want to keep the hype and good press going for as long as possible. Potter-mania is sweeping the world right now. I personally can't wait! Butterbeers all round!