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!!