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!!!

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