Tuesday 22 December 2015

Movie World White Christmas - Quick Review

This is my 100th post for this blog!! How exciting, and what a good way to celebrate by doing a review of White Christmas!

Last Friday night, my family and I went to the White Christmas event at WB Movie World on the Gold Coast. This event has been running now for a number of years, and has become a wonderful family addition to this park's event roster to balance out Australia's most popular Halloween Event (Fright Nights).

We have been to previous years White Christmas, and this years even lived up to the previous ones that we have experienced. It was a great experience, however there are a couple of things that could still be improved for the event as a whole.

Firstly, I was glad to see that the stands had disappeared from the main square, which made for a much more open event. The addition of the Fairy Garden in the main square was nice, but I must admit that I expected more from this from the advertising/website.

As usual Santa's area and the Parade were fantastically themed, and the lights were very beautiful. The light show itself was pretty much the same as the previous one, if I remember correctly, but that isn't a big deal.

The biggest problem that I had for the night was the noise. The main street sound was just booming from when the event started until when it ended. It was genuinely to loud for my 3 year old to cope with, and we had to watch the parade and lights away from the main street. I totally expect it to be loud, but it doesn't need to be deafening like Fright Nights. This is a very different target market, and I think they would do better by just turning it down a little bit.

The only other major complaint that we had was that the Carousel was closed for maintenance. I understand that this might have been out of Movie World's control, but if there is ever a time that you want that ride running, this is the time. Still it helped having the Junior Driving School open, with some Christmas lights inside it, as my daughter really enjoyed that!

We didn't partake in the Christmas Buffet, but I did hear that the food there was excellent. We went for the burgers from Gotham, which had very long queues (again can't really be helped) but the food quality was really high! My advice would be not to plan to eat in the park during the event if you can avoid it (which is hard with kids, I know). It is such a short event, it is a shame to queue for 45 minutes for food in a 3 hour event.

Apart from eating before or after the event, the other major tips I would give, is to park at the back of the car park, as close to the exit as possible. We did, and got out in a few minutes, while I'm sure some people would have taken an hour to get out. The other big tip, is to get there early. They were letting people with White Christmas tickets into the park (with wristbands) from about 4-4:30, and you can fit a couple of rides in before they actually close the park, and confine you to the roped off area for White Christmas.

Overall the event itself worked great, and was very enjoyable!! Kudos to Movie World for doing a great job with this event!

Monday 21 December 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 22nd December 2015

It's been a quiet week this week, for the second last week in December, so let's get into this weeks Theme Park News Update!

On the local front, Movie World has re-opened the Green Lantern coaster. This coaster has been closed for nearly 9 months after a near catastrophic accident in March where one train derailed, and nearly flipped off the track. We were able to check out the newly opened coaster last Friday, running in all it's glory, when we went to the White Christmas event (which I'll write up a quick review for shortly).

In international news, this week marked the addition of metal detectors to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and Sea World. It is unclear at this time whether the co-ordinated action by the parks was related to some kind of threat, but it isn't particularly surprising. Universal Orlando has been trialling detectors at their parks in various guises and for specific events for some time. This is sadly inevitable, but if it makes the millions of tourists visiting these parks and the staff who operate them safer, then I am all for it.

At WDW, the new Skipper Canteen restaurant opened this week. This Jungle Cruise inspired table service restaurant has opened on the Adventureland Verandah space, and is the first connection to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers in a U.S. Disney Theme Park.

Over on I-Drive, approval has been given to build a 425 foot tall Star Flyer. This attraction will be not far away from the Orlando Eye which opened this year on I-Drive, and construction is expected to start next year.

On ThemeParkInsider.com today an interesting article has been posted today about the future of Knott's Berry Farm. In it Robert discusses the prospect of Knott's upcoming attractions helping it to get back to it's roots as a family park, rather than the "hard-iron" style park that it had been turning into. While this is all speculation, it is definitely interesting to consider, considering the evolution plan that Universal Hollywood has worked through in the last couple of years, and the revamp of DCA. This is a very tight market, with some very heavy hitters, so it's always interesting to keep an eye on what Knott's is up too!

While this isn't really a theme park, I think this is just a great story, so I think I would add this in this week. A Serbian-born Australian, who runs a recycling shop in Canberra called the Green Shed, has been working on a Amusement Park in the small town of Batocina in Serbia. Tiny, as he is known, has been working on a hedge maze, skate park, jumping pillows and a putt putt course. The area that he is building in has 75% unemployment, and very low standard of living, and his hope is that this little park will stimulate the local economy and create at least 50 jobs. What a great guy who has built a successful life over here, but what's to give something back to the community he came from!

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next time, Cheers!

Sunday 13 December 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 13th December 2015

I missed last weeks update, so here is a double Theme Park Nut News Update!

The big news from the last two week is from Orlando where we found out that the Skyplex development was approved, but more importantly we found out why Universal was against it! It turns out Universal has an option to buy 474 acres south of Universal Orlando Resort. Overcoming the transportation difficulties, this would make a great space for a third gate, although there would be a blood big pole coaster just across the road. Should be interesting to watch this development over the next couple of years.

On the other coast, we heard last week that Universal Studios Hollywood will be opening their Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the 7th of April. This WWoHP is an almost clone of the original WWoHP in Island's of Adventure in Universal Orlando, except that there will not be a Duelling Dragons coaster, and the Hollywood version of the Forbidden Journey ride will be in 3D (as it is in Japan).

Staying in the U.S., we had Legoland California last week give us a sneak peak of their upcoming attractions, as well as lighting their (seriously awesome) Lego Christmas Tree.

In Paris, Disney has announced a major refurbishment of 10 popular attractions in the next two years. This is good news for this resort, which has been on a well documented attendance slide for the past couple of years. Hopefully this injection will bring new life into the Disneyland Paris Resort.

Earlier in the year we reported that a plan had been proposed to build a non-Universal Universal park in Okinawa. It looks as though the purchase of the USJ Company by Comcast, the owner of Universal, may have squashed that prospect, but it appears that Okinawa has not given up on getting a major theme park to use this space. Last week we saw it reported that they were approaching the Oriental Land Company to build on this land. OLC are the local company responsible building and operation of the Tokyo Disney Resort, however there is no indication of whether Disney would be involved in building the park that is being discussed.

At home, we saw a tiny glimpse of the new Motorsport area that is forming the basis for the re-theme of the Cyclone coaster at Dreamworld (to open on Boxing Day), as well as few details on the new Rider Express system that is replacing the Q4U system. At Movie World, the Green Lantern ride is still not running, although they have claimed this will be running again before Christmas. They have however had their first White Christmas event for the year! We have also had a little bit more detail leak out about the big developments at Movie World, as outlined in this article on Parkz.com.au.

We also found out about the secret improvement that Aussie World was teasing in their recent emails, they have introduced Annual Passes. At $90 for the pass, this equates to about 2.5 days at normal rates, which isn't bad value if you live in the local area. This does however compare badly with the Gold Coast parks, who offer Annual Passes/Memberships at around the cost of 1.5 days.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next time, Cheers!

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 1st December 2015

Just  a quick update this week, as there hasn't been a lot happening in Theme Parks for the start of December.

The big news on the Australian Theme Park front is there is definitely something big happening at Movie World. A number of planning applications have been submitted in the last few weeks which appears to indicate that more than just one attraction may be on the way to this Gold Coast park. It will be interesting to see in the next few months if we get an official announcement of what they are up too, and when we are going to see it!
We have also seen this week that the re-theme of Cyclone Roller coaster at Dreamworld, into the Hot Wheels Side Winder is going to officially open on Boxing Day.

In other theme park news, there has been some news out of WDW this week, where the Lumberjack show in Epcot's Canada pavilion has ended. The show was only a recent replacement for the rock group Off Kilter that performed in that pavilion for a long time. There hasn't been any indication of if there will be a replacement in the near future.

Over at Universal Hollywood, they have announced the dates for their Grinchmas Christmas event. This years event will have to work around the construction of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which is opening next spring. Theme Park Insider has posted a feature this week about the Zonko's Joke Shop at the upcoming Wizarding World this week.

At Universal Orlando, they have also extended the run of Beetlejuice's Graveyard Review into January.  Beetlejuice yet again proving to be hard to kill.

Finally over at Europa Park in Germany, it has been reported that they are planning a new kiddie coaster for 2016. No reports on the theme for this new ride, but hopefully further news will be coming in the next few months.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next time, Cheers!

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 24th November 2015

This will be the last update for November, I cannot believe how fast this year has gone! Let's get into another theme park news update!

There was lots of Australian news this week, so much so that I did an extra update on the weekend to discuss the 4 big issues that have come up. In short, Movie World is going to announce a new roller coaster, Aussie World is going to announce a new something, Sea World had to close to a grass fire nearby and everyone thinks that the Gold Coast is getting a Disneyland (except for me). We'll keep you in the loop on all of these as developments continue.

But there is a lot of other things happening in the world of Theme Parks. The big news stories this week have been about the IAAPA conference, and construction.

Starting with construction! We have seen construction updates on the Universal parks in Orlando and Hollywood from Theme Park Insider. The Hollywood update also gave us a peak at the west coast version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is going to make a huge difference to this park over the next couple of years. We have also seen construction updates from Dollywood where the Lightning Rod coaster is well under construction, and Six Flags Magic Mountain.

We also saw a couple more details of the Rivers of Light show that is coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom at WDW, as well as some construction from that parks new Avatar land, and their new restaurant called Tiffens.

This week the 2015 IAAPA conference kicked off in Orlando showing the new and exciting developments being made in the Theme Park industry this year. From this we had a number of reports, with interesting displays showing the new Cobra's Curse coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa, as well as the Walking Dead attraction we mentioned last week that Sally Corp. has designed. This attraction is yet to have a client attached to it, so it genuinely could end up in any theme park in the world at this point. Triotech also showed off their hands free interactive dark ride being developed for LEGOLAND, themed around the Ninjago series. This is a serious neat bit of technology, so good on Triotech for being an innovator in a very crowded marketplace.

There was a great legends panel also this year, which was focussed on the impact that Disney has had on the theme park industry. It had a couple of really interesting panellist that were able to give a good perspective from both inside and outside Disney. It is definitely worth the read to get a bit of understand about this giant dominant leader, and the continued effect its values have throughout the entire industry.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next time, Cheers!

Saturday 21 November 2015

Quick Australian News Update

I know it's to early for my normal weekly update, but it's such a big news week this week with IAAPA and all, I thought I'd get some big Australian news out of the way.

Firstly, a lot of talk about the Wanda theme park proposal, and the fact that they didn't deny it would be related to Disney. While I'd be the first to be overjoyed for a Disneyland in Australia, looking at the facts it seems unlikely. We know that Disney has knocked back proposals for the Gold Coast in the past. We know that Wanda is creating it's own theme parks with the Wanda brand, and these are not "Disney" style parks. We know that Wanda has had nothing to do with either the Hong Kong or Shanghai Disney Resorts. This hasn't stopped the hype of this taking hoed, with the Huffington Post, NZ Herald, Stuff.co.nz, Buzzfeed and just about all local media writing articles about. Once again, I'm the wet blank. Getting our own Wanda resort would be amazing, but I'd rate it about a 20% chance at this point. It being a Disney resort, I'd put at about 0.5%. That's only fractionally higher than I would put Disney coming hear by itself.

Moving on to real news, something big is coming to Move World. Parks.com.au have reported on the VRTP co-chairman Robert Kirby announcing there will be a major announcement of a "world's best" attraction at the Gold Coast park in the coming months. Clever detectives on the Parkz forums have found a development application for a rollercoaster at the shared Movie World/Wet 'n' Wild site. This is great news, so speculation is well underway at the Parkz forums. Early speculation seems to suggest that the Wild West area at the back of the park is the most logical place for expansion. At least one well connected forum member is very excited, so this could be great news!

We have also had little Sunshine Coast park Aussie World tease us this week with this little note in their FunMail newsletter:
"Oh, and I almost forgot! We're getting ready to announce something big at Aussie World - It's something that most of our fun loving guests have been asking us to introduce for a little while. We're getting ready to announce it to the world, but as our loyal tribe you're amongst to hear out about it. Make sure you read FunMail all the way to the end to find out more"
Now we can't get to excited for Aussie World, as the don't have as bigger budget as Dreamworld or Movie World, but still they have been making great choices in their last few investments. So again, great news!

Finally for this weekend, Sea World was forced to briefly close  due to a vegetation fire on the Southport spit yesterday. The park was only effected by smoke and reopened yesterday afternoon. It is expected to open as normal today, with cooler conditions reducing the risk of grass or vegetation fires.

I'll be back Tuesday with a full news update as normal! Until then, Cheers!

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 17th November 2015

There are a couple of standout issues that have dominated theme park discussions over the last week in Australia. But before we get to that, it is impossible to ignore the terrorist attacks that were committed in Paris last weekend. They have been universally condemned, and I have to add my voice to that chorus. These are shocking events, and they are awful to witness. I can't imagine the hate that would drive any person to act in that manner, it's truly horrifying. I hope that as a world we can unite against lunatics, regardless of ethnicity or religion, because that is what these people were, lunatics, plain and simple.

I'm sure everyone has read plenty on these attacks, but Theme Park Insider did have an interesting article about the attacks which closed the Disneyland Paris Resort for 3 days this week.

Now, on to happier news! We were all a little taken by surprise early last week, when it was announced that the Wanda Group was in discussions with the Queensland Government about building a new Theme Park at Coomera on the Gold Coast. You can read our earlier post about it here, but in short this is a very exciting development! We will be watching it closely, and let you know if we here any news about it.

We also got an exciting sneak peak this week from Disney Parks, who previewed the new Star Wars themed Season of the Force Event at Disneyland Resort, including the Hyperspace Mountain overlay of Space Mountain. Even though this is just a temporary place holder until they can get their Star Wars lands built, I must say this event is pretty cool. However, I may be a little biased, I am a fan. I may or may not be watching Empire Strikes Back as we speak.

Moving from one George Lucas science fiction to another, sad but expected news announced this week with the Michael Jackson short film Captain EO set to close on December 6th. The film, which was brought back to Epcot at Walt Disney World after Michael Jackson's death, will be replace by a collection of Disney and Pixar short films.

Not all bad news for Epcot this week, with the opening of the Colortopia Exhibit in Innovations East. Sponsored by Glidden Paints, the Exhibit includes 3 venues that focus on the "emotional potential of color": "Power of Color", "The Color Lab" and "Color of our World".

Today, Universal Hollywood has announced there new Annual Plans for the coming year, which have not surprisingly included price increase. With the expected opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to occur early next year, some have theorised that the fact that the week of March 21st has been added to the blackout dates for the lower Annual passes might mean this will be the opening time for this particular attraction.

In international news, we have seen construction updates on the DreamWorks Moscow park and Universal Studios Beijing. GCI have just finished construction of China's tallest and longest roller coaster at Wanda's Nanchang Theme Park. And we have seen our fist real glimpse inside the new Pirates of the Carribean ride at Shanghai Disneyland courtesy of the ThemeParX.

It has also been rumoured that one of the world's best little parks Efteling in the Netherlands is almost ready to start work on a new trackless dark ride for 2017. Almost everything Efteling does is amazing, so they have high expectations to live up to with this new ride.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next time, Cheers!

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Potential New Gold Coast Theme Park

News broke today that the Chinese company the Wanda Group is working with the Queensland Government on attaining land for a brand new Theme Park at Cookers on the Gold Coast! This is huge news, as this has enough potential to actually happen.

The news was broken by the Gold Coast Bulletin, who spoke to the General Manager Xie Hong, who disclosed that project is still in negotiations with the State Government. Mr Xie met with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk when she was in Beijing in October, and Tourism Minister Kate Jones will fly to Yunnan next week to visit the Wanda Xishuangbanna International Resort.

Never one to underestimate, News.com.au has republished the same article from the Gold Coast Bulletin under the headline, 'Is Australia about to get a Disneyland?'. While this is an exciting development, it is far to early to make such grandiose claims. There was also a write up of the story published in bmag.

What do we know about the Wanda Group? We know that they opened a brand new Theme Park and resort in Yunnan province, China, in September this year. We also know that spent US$2.5 Billion on that complex. We know that they plan on becoming the World's largest travel company. You can read more about the construction of their current projects on the ThemeParx forums. We know the Wanda Group is happy to invest in Australia, having bought the Hoyts cinema chain in June this year. They have also invested directly in the Gold Coast, having a 55% stake in the Jewel Hotel and apartment complex, as well as supporting Jetstar running direct flights to the Gold Coast from Wuhan.  Add this to the visits from senior state government figures, and this is definitely a genuine prospect.

Let's hope that Australia's Wandaland is more successful than Australia's Wonderland. We will follow any developments with this project over he next few months, and keep you informed.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 10th November 2015

Welcome to this week's Theme Park Nut News Update!

Starting in the US this week, Knott's Berry Farm has announced plans for their 75th Anniversary, including that wooden coaster specialists GCI will be revamping the Ghostrider coaster, and that Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant will also be having a refurbishment.

The IAAPA Attractions Expo opens next week, and the first little  bits of information about displays are starting to come out. This week we saw a sneak peak of the attraction showcased at the Sally Corps stand, a Walking Dead themed dark ride. Who knows where it will end up, but it sounds cool.

At WDW, we got the announcement of the name for the upcoming boat ride as part of the Avatar expansion at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The Na'vi River Journey will open alongside the Flight of Passage when Pandora - The World of Avatar opens in 2017. Disney has also announced this week that Star Wars Weekends will no longer run in May, with the Season of the Force event replacing it starting this December. This is not really a surprise, but it is a shame to not have the event near Star Wars Day anymore.

There is an interesting pair of articles on Theme Park Insider about Sea World, one questioning what is going wrong with the theme park chain, and a follow announcing the changes coming to the parks over the next couple of years. Who knows what the future holds for this chain but it I clear that new CEO Joel Man by has his work cut out for him.

From the Dubai this week, we got more details on the Motiongate theme park project. There further details on the Hunger Games and How to train your Dragon sections of the park. This project is certainly ambitious, it will be great to see what actually gets built here. Staying in Dubai, there was confirmation this week that the second 20th Century Fox World is being built there for a 2018 opening. Interestingly this park is not being made by the same company behind 20th century FoxWorld in Malaysia, so these two Parks may end up having very little in common.

In Sweden, theme park High Chaparral has offered to take in 400 Syrian Refugees during their off season. They have also offered to teach the refugees how to ride horses. Very impressive work from this little Swedish parks.

At home, Movie World has started an extensive refurbishment of their Carousel. There has also been a ridiculous storm on the Movie World Facebook page where a bunch of nutbags have been complaining about Movie World having a prayer room. Most Theme Parks, Shopping Centres, Hospitals and Universities in Australia have prayer rooms, and just like Movie Worlds they are open to people of all faiths. I am for being inclusive of all cultures and religions, and if something as simple as Prayer Room can help someone feel comfortable, then I support it whole heartedly. If you don't like it, then don't go. Don't go anywhere where people feel tolerance for other people. I'm sure you'll be missed.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next time, Cheers!

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 3rd November 2015

The big news in Australian Theme Parks this week is the potential re-opening of the Green Lantern Coaster at Movie World. The coaster was closed in March after 13 passengers were left stranded on ride, some with minor injuries, when their train dislodged from the coaster track. Investigations have shown that a design flaw caused a bolted joint to fail, causing the almost tragic accident. The offending bolt has been redesigned by the ride manufacturer S&S Worldwide, and stress tested over the last couple of months.

The other Australian news this week was the success of the various Halloween events at the Australian parks over the last weekend. It certainly sounds like Fright Nights and the Halloween FestEvil were very popular again this year. Hopefully these events keep running, and we are able to avoid some of the darker aspects that have been seen at the U.S. events in the last year. Just this week a scareactor has pressed charges after being kicked in the face by a guest at one of the Universal Horror Nights events.

In overseas news, Universal has recorded it's highest ever summer attendance this year. It has been reported that their profits for that time were up an astonishing 23%. This has been a big year for Universal, so I guess we'll see what the next 12 months bring, with the addition of the slightly confusing Race Through New York feature Jimmy Fallon.

Over at WDW, we have got the first real details about the Rivers of Light show at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The details from an Audition call for dancers, that is specifically looking for Bollywood style performers. The show promises to have beautiful floating lanterns and laser water effects.

At Disneyland Resort, is has been suggest that Jungle Cruise is going to close for much of 2016, adding to the general closure of most of the west side of Disneyland for the Star Wars land construction.

In Dubai, the multi-studio theme park Motiongate Dubai has announced that Sony will be adding attractions based around Zombieland and Underworld. I think the Zombieland drop tower could actually be well done, if they show a little respect to how it is used in the movie. It would be sad to see this as just another plonked Drop Tower with little theming. Only time will tell!

There was also a court ruling this week that slightly opens the door to the prospect of the Lord of the Rings franchise appearing in theme parks in the future. The case is between heirs of J.R.R. Tolkien and Warner Bros. Studios over what the exact rights that Warner Bros. purchased was. The battle still has a long way to go, however if the Warner Bros. Studios are found to be in control of the rights for theme parks, then you can bet that it will follow it's mega-franchise brothers (Harry Potter and Star Wars) into U.S. theme parks sooner rather than later. The smart money would be on Universal trying to get control of this property. While it certainly doesn't have the same pull as Harry Potter, it is a richly details environment that could easily give a handful of entertaining experiences to fans.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next time, Cheers!

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Halloween Events in South East Queensland 2015

This weekend is Halloween, and for the first time in a while we have the 31st on a Saturday which has given our parks the perfect opportunity to expand their Halloween celebrations. Here is a quick rundown of what is happening at 4 South East Queensland parks this weekend.

Sea World
Sea World will be holding a day time Trick or Treasure event for families on Saturday and Sunday. There will be treats and costume prizes all included with park entry for these two days.

Dreamworld are hosting a very special version of their Screamworld out of hours event, with a family Halloween theme. Tickets from $30 online, although they have sent out discounts by email for annual passholders. Sounds like it will be a cool little party with laser shows and trick or treating.

Aussie World
This little Sunshine Coast park is bringing back it's Halloween Fest-Evil over 3 nights this week. Tickets to this hard ticket event are limited and cost $30 online. For the first time this year, they are running an Adults Only night on Thursday, which should be interesting. The event promises mazes and rides, as well as a dance club on the Adults-Only night. One of my best friends will be visiting this Thursday, so I'll pass on any feedback she has on the event.

Movie World
The big show in terms of Halloween events in Australia is Movie World's Fright Nights. The event has been running every Friday and Saturday night in October and has it's finale on Halloween night this Saturday. This is the big one, and it is definitely not a family friendly event. If you want to have a truly scary experience this Halloween, this is my pick. Tickets start at $50. With mazes themed to Friday the 13th, Wyrmwood and Wolf Creek, as well a shows and scare zones, this is not one for the faint hearted.

Theme Park Nut News Update - 27th October 2015

It's been really quiet week in theme parks, but still a couple of surprises worth noting in this week's News update.

Starting at home, Dreamworld has officially announce he name of the re-theme of the Cyclone rollercoaster, the Hot Wheels Hot Lap. This revamp is going to form part of a Motorsport precinct at the end of Ocean Parade. In other news, the also added some benches, next to the SBNO Eureka Mountain Mine Ride which has had swirling rumours all around it this year. Touché Dreamworld!

On Theme Park Insider this week they have an interesting article about Sexual and Verbal Harassment of staff at Halloween events in the US. By the sound of it this is becoming a real issue and there aren't any easy answers. I totally agree with Robert on TPI about this, people have no rights to touch park staff, regardless of the nature of the event.

Over at WDW it ha been announced that they adding another Character dining option at DHS, Minnie's Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine. I think this one sounds pretty cool, I will have Minnie and the gang in Holiday outfits celebrating the most wonderful time of the year.

Other things happening in the theme park world this week, a 93 year old riding the world's first VR Coaster.  Also Thorpe Park's new attraction for 2016 will feature Derren Brown, the English mentalist and illusionist. And finally Epcot has replaced the Spirited Beasts exhibit with a cool new exhibit called Kawai: Japan's Cute Culture. That looks totally awesome to me, but I kind of love that aspect of Japan.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next time, Cheers!

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 20th October 2015

Welcome to another week's Theme Park Nut News Update.

The big news this week is Star Wars. The latest trailer for Episode VII The Force Awakens dropped today. What does that have to do with Theme Parks? Well, Walt Disney World announced this week that they will be hosting a hard ticket Premiere Party. So that means I'm not corrupting my blog talking about the new Trailer! I thought it was great, but I'm now going to have to stop reading or watching anything about this movie, it's overhyped already and it's still 2 months away!

Theme Park Insider has a good take on today's release with an article in the OC register about why fictional properties like Star Wars have taken over from non-fiction in theme parks.

Over at Universal Hollywood, their own superstar fiction franchise is taking shape a Harry Potter closes in on it's December opening. There was even  a sighting of the Flight of the Hippogriff coaster testing.

The main news out of central Florida this week was that the county board has recommended against approving the World's tallest coaster on International Drive, a part of the Skyplex development. The coaster would have been a unique Polercoaster standing 570 feet tall called The Skyscraper. With strong opposition to this from Universal Orlando, it seems like it this project might never get off the ground.

It's a bit of a quiet tome in Australia's parks. Cyclone at Dreamworld is closed for it's V8 make over. Over at Adventure World, they have opened a new record breaking tornado slide called Kracken. To keep this story cycling, Disney and More blogged about the recent article on Disneyland Australia and how close we came.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next time, Cheers!

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 13th October 2015

It's the middle of October, which means two things Halloween and price rises. A lot has been written about the Annual pass price rises at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, and the small parking changes at Universal Orlando, but for me it's par for the course. Disney and Universal want to control profit and demand and price is their only real lever. Deal with it folks, this stuff costs big money.

But that's not the only thing that has happened in the Theme Park world in the last two weeks.

In Japan, Universal have given us further details on their upcoming Jurassic World themed coaster, The Flying Dinosaur. I think this sounds seriously cool, and if it works well, it is a lock to com to Universal Orlando in the next 5 years. The ride will open at the Osaka park next year,and will be the world's longest flying coaster.

We saw some great shots of the construction at Shanghai Disneyland courtesy of Stefan Zwanzger of ThemeParX. This centre castle does look beautiful, but I still wish it was themed to a specific princess, rather than just a generic Storybook castle.

At WDW, Downtown Disney has officially been reborn into Disney Springs. And just as excitedly, they've opened a new exit from the I4, straight into it's parking garages. Well maybe that undersells Disney Springs. I do think it will be great when it is complete, however for now it is a bit of an upmarket hodge-podge.

Disney has announced a new attraction coming to the attraction desert of Disney's Hollywood Studios: Club Disney. Well it really is only a dance party in the new Sunset Showcase flex-theatre, but at last it's something. And it's opening in 6 weeks!

Staying briefly in Orlando, there are reports of a 400 acre plot going up for sale east of Universal Boulevard by the end of the year. Keep your eyes on that, could be very valuable real estate.

In the UK, on of the writers fortieth site Ars Technica wore his Apple Watch to Thorpe Park's Fright Nights, and tracked his hear rate to see just how scary it was. The verdict was that the rides were more exhilarating than the mazes. While interesting, I suspect a huge amount of variance would occur between individuals at an event like this.

In Denmark, Tivoli Gardens is adding two small rides for 2016. I'm actually surprised they have room to fit in any more rides. It's a beautiful little park, but so space poor that it isn't funny. Still good on them for squeezing a few more rides in!

In Australia, The Cyclone coaster has been closed as part of V8 Supercars retheme coming to Dreamworld this year. Meanwhile at Movie World the Green Lantern Coaster has started going through more rigorous testing in the last week. Speculation is that both coasters are likely to be open for the Summer holidays as long as no further issues occur.

Don't forget that Movie World is running Fright Nights in the lead up to Halloween!

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next time, Cheers!

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 29th September 2015

It's only been a short week since our last update, but here is another short theme park nut news update!

As we mentioned last week, Halloween festivities are well and truly underway in the US. Last week, we focused on the Universal events in both California and Florida. This week Disneyland in California has had more focus, with articles on Theme Park Insider for Mickey's Halloween Party and Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay. I am particularly fond of the Holiday overlay of Haunted Mansion, because it uses one of my favourite movies as it's source: Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas.

Speaking of overlays with movies that I love, the Star Wars overlay of Space Mountain, Hyperspace Mountain has been given a November opening. This means we get to enjoy some Star Wars fun just in time for the new movie, which is coming out this December. It also means that the parks will be able to celebrate Star Wars on one side of the park before they even start building Star Wars land on the other side of the park. That Star Wars build sounds as if it is going to take a few attractions in the Big Thunder Ranch area, with predictions that they will be down for at least a year!

Over at WDW, there has been a movement to shut down the third party reservation sites, that have been clogging up the Advanced Dining Reservation system at the site. This is good, since any opportunity that Disney can give to make it fair for the everyday visitor is a good thing.

Last week we reported that Comcast was looking to buy a controlling share in the Universal Studios Japan resort. This week, we find out that it has paid $1.5 Billion for a 51% share. I think that is good news all round.

Honestly this has nothing to do with Theme Parks, but the Florida Mall in Orlando has just opened a ThinkGeek shop. That's just cool!

In the UK, it has been said that Alton Towers is considering re-opening the Smiler roller coaster after it's June accident, that resulted in a number of very serious injuries. It has been reported that they have been discussing the re-opening of the ride with the victims of the accident, who (not suprisingly) haven't been that excited to hear it may re-open. It was always a question of when not if the Smiler would re-open given the cause of the accident, but it is still something that has to handled sensitively.

In Australia, at Sea World on the Gold Coast, the Nickelodeon Land has opened! Just in time for the school holidays! It looks really neat and I'm impressed that Sea World has spent so much getting this area ready.

Elsewhere in Australia, not a lot has been happening. There was a minor incident on the Tailspin ride at Dreamworld, where one of the plains was reportedly stuck upside down this weekend.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next week, Cheers!

Thursday 24 September 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 24th September 2015

It's been more than two weeks since my last update. Slack, I know! Anyway, here is another big Theme Park Nut News Update.

The biggest news over the last few weeks has been the starting of the big Halloween events at the US theme parks, with the Disney Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties and Universal's  Halloween Horror Nights kicking off this week. The benchmark in terms of Horror at Halloween is clearly Universal and the web is full of coverage of these events at the moment. Check out the trip reports for Universal Studios Hollywood by Theme Park Insider and Screamscape and for Universal Orlando by Theme Park Insider and Screamscape  as well.

In Australia, Dreamworld will be joining in on the Halloween fun this year with a special Halloween Screamworld. Movie World is of course holding the ever popular Fright Nights every Friday and Saturday in October, which is as close as we get to a HHN event down here.

In other news, over in Japan Comcast, the owners of NBCUniversal, are in talks to purchase a controllîng stake in Universal Studios Japan. The park, which is the most visited non-Disney theme park in the world, is currently owned by a holding company, which is not unusual for international theme parks. Adding this into the Comcast stable directly would be a big win for Universal. Equally a big win, we saw last week the Universal Studios Beijing has been officially announced. The park is set to open in 2019 at the resort, which has space allocated for a future second gate. This will become Universal's second multi-park resort after Universal Orlando.

Staying in China, Hong Kong Disneyland has celebrated its 10th Birthday however it's not all good news. Financial analysts are worried about how the economic sandwiching going on in Hong Kong might impact general tourism in the area of the next few years. Put simply, HK is a special economic district in China with it's own  currency which is tied to the US Dollar. When China is booming and US is flats, things are great in Hong Kong, but for the first time in 20 years the US is improving while China is sliding which is double bad news for Hong Kong. In some good news from the Disneyland park there, we saw a glimpse of he upcoming  Ironman Experience last week, which looks rather cool.

Over at Disneyland Resort, the super popular Aladdin the musical at Disney California Adventure is closing to be replaced by yet another Frozen attraction. This has led a few people to questioning the longevity of the Frozen franchise, and whether Disney îs right to be putting all it's eggs in that basket.

At WDW, we have found out another victim of the breaking of ground for Star Wars Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights which will run for a final time this year. The event has been a Christmas tradition at the resort since 1995, and it will be sorely missed. We can only hope that it will return somewhere else at WDW in future years. The best idea I've heard is bringing the lights to the upcoming refresh of Downtown Disney, Disney Springs. That would be cool.

There have also been a couple of interesting innovations announced in the last few weeks. At Legoland California and Billing, Ninjago The Ride will be a world first interactive dark ride controlled by motion. The ride has been designed by Triotech and will be open in 2016. Europa Park has opened a world first coaster experience this week with the opening a Virtual Realty Coaster experience. This is essentially riding a coaster but watching an entirely different scene. The possibilities for this kind of technology is quite amazing, so I can't wait to see where it goes next.

Rocky Mountain Coasters has also shown the first glimpse of an interesting development, a single rail coaster. This an interesting piece of R&D, but at the moment it seems unclear what the advantage to the would be, but always interesting to see what is happening behind closed doors.

Finally, Cedar Point have announced they will be opening the world's longest, tallest and fastest dive coaster in 2016, Valravn. Dive Coasters are fairly extreme casters, so this will be a solid addition to this Ohio parks roster.

At home we've heard more rumblings about Australia's Wonderland in Sydney being reborn however it has been met with a lot of scepticism on fan forums. We also seen the Eureka Mountain Mine Ride rumour pop up its head for he 4th game this year. The only real news that we have had are more photos and names of attractions in the Nickelodeon Kids land at Sea World on the Gold Coast.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next week, Cheers!

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 8th September 2015

You might have noticed that I missed last week's blog. It's been a busy couple of weeks, so I better catch up!

For local theme park fans, the biggest story of the last fortnight was  the article in the Gold Coast Bulletin about how close we came to having a Disneyland on the Gold Coast. Reportedly it was shot down at the very top by Eisner himself who wanted to go after Hong Kong rather than Australia. While I can totally understand this call it is a shame to come so close and yet miss out. It would have been amazing. Although you can never say never, it seems the golden financial time for Queensland and Australia to invest in such an attraction has long past. We might be waiting a long time for another chance to have a Disney park.

Over at Disneyland resort we have got our first view of Luigi's Rollicking' Roadsters at California Adventure. As rumoured this appears to be a close relative of the Aquatopia ride from Tokyo DisneySea, without the water of course.

Disneyland has also raised the bar for upcharging guests, with the introduction of the $300 Jungle Cruise Breakfast. This isn't a surprise with Disney, as they know that they own the very top end of the theme park market, and they know that some fans will pay almost anything for a unique experience. Still, it sounds pretty cool.

At WDW, they have open yet another park restaurant for breakfast operation, this time the Sci Fi Dine-In Theatre. Although the strategy here is clear from Disney, this restaurant in particular will be a wacky choice for breakfast since it is set at night at a Drive-In movie. It could be fun though, and will likely be popular.

In Tokyo, the Tokyo Disney Resort have announced a fourth hotel, the Palm & Fountain Terrace Hotel. Strangely it is not an on-site hotel, as it is about 5 kilometres from the parks.

Six Flags have announced that they are bringing their popular Sally Corp dark ride Justice League: Battle for Metropolis to two more Six Flags in 2016. They are also adding, not surprisingly, a couple of new coasters, but I am much more interested in their new interest in dark rides.

At Universal Orlando, Disaster! the attraction has closed to make way for their upcoming Fast and the Furious ride. Sadly, I don't think it will be missed, but I am more interested in it than the new attraction. You can't stand in the way of progress at Universal though. Universal have also announced they will be expanding their moderate resort Cabana Bay by 400 rooms in the next 2 years.

And finally, Dreamworld has named their new Tiger Cub Kai.  This little guy is growing rapidly but still is so very cute!

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next week, Cheers!

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 25th August 2015

A much quieter week of Theme Park news this week. Let's get into a little bit of local news to start.

At Sea World, we are starting to see more and more construction in their new Nickelodeon Kid's area. There are more images on the Parkz forums showing water dummies at the station of the new kid's coaster, which should mean that testing is underway for this ride. I'm looking forward to see what it is like when it is all put together.

Dreamworld has run a very short competition to name their new Tiger Cub. The name for the cub is going to announced tomorrow morning, which will be nice. It has been awkward referring to him as just the cub.

Aussie World on the Sunshine Coast has announced the return of the Halloween FestEVIL this year, after it sold out last year. This year they will be running over 3 nights, with the opening night to be an Adults Only Night. It's great that this little park is starting to get into event nights, I'm sure it will have a big following!

In international news, Knott's Berry farm have announced a comprehensive restoration of GhostRider, their 1998 opened Wooden coaster. This park has been making substantial upgrades to their dark rides over the last 5 years, so it is good to see that they are also willing it give some love to their coasters.

Up north in Canada, Canada's Wonderland have announced 2 news rides to be added for 2016. They will be Skyhawk, a 135 foot tall Gerstlauer Sky Fly for thrill seekers, and Flying Eagles, a Larson Flying Scooters for the kids.

Over in the U.K., there has been a report in the Daily Mail that the Alton Tower's Smiler crash earlier this year was caused by human error. The report says that an engineer overrode the automatic safety lock holding the cart with passengers from the block break, which allowed the operator to dispatch the cart into the stalled cart. This has very much been the suspicion of a number of theme park blogs when the accident occurred that it would be more likely to be human error than a system error. This is still a pretty horrible accident regardless of the cause.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next week, Cheers!

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 18th August 2015

The big news this week in theme parks is no question the Disney D23 convention, however I've been a bit slack over the last few weeks with the local Australian Parks, so I'm going to start at home, and then finish with the new s from overseas.

As you saw from us this week the unnamed Dreamworld Tiger Cub has come out on display at the nursery on Tiger Island. There is not a lot to say about him thus far, except that he is really freaking cute. The park is going to be running a competition to name the cub, which they will be announcing details of in the next few weeks.

Also at Dreamworld we have seen a little bit of construction and destruction lately. The fountain has been under construction for some time now, and work is ongoing there. Rumour is that there will be a large Dreamworld globe, like Universal Studios, which would make a nice little place setter for the front of the park. We have also seen some demolition of the Ice Cream Parlor in recent weeks. It is entirely gutted, and I'm not sure why at this stage. I'll just say that I hope I haven't had my last rainbow icecream from there.

There is also been some pretty wild speculation on the refurbishment of Cyclone roller coaster, including reports that it will be running backwards by the end of the year. Personally I would hope that is speculation, I would rather a decent rehab and some new trains to cut down on the roughness of the ride. Time will tell!

Over at Movie world, there has been construction at both Dirty Harry's in the back of the park and the removal of kiosk at the front of the park. There have been rumors about new attraction without detail as of yet. No doubt they will be wanting to do something for 2016, but the moment we really only have guess. In some good news, there is definite movement on the Green Lantern coaster which had a horrible accident back in March.

Let's go over to the U.S.! In Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort has announced a refurbishment of their Incredible Hulk coaster. This enhancement sounds really interesting for an impressive but one-dimensional ride in a rich themed environment. Good on Universal for spending on rides before they need it. In other news, the "Lucy: A Tribute" attraction at Universal Studios Orlando closed to make way for Hello Kitty shop. This is a mixed blessing for me, as I always thought it would be cute to show my daughter (whose name is Lucy) about another famous Lucy, but at the same time she might also enjoy Hello Kitty. Just a little bit.

Staying in Orlando, SeaWorld's new Hyper coaster Mako is on it's way to the troubled park.Will this addition be too little too late to save this troubled theme park franchise, who can say.

And just a slight detour, the Beech Bend Amusement Park in Bowling Green Kansas has had a second accident in as many months, this time with a coaster derailing after the track disconnected. That is a big concern for this little park. Smells like some kind of sabotage to me.

Now, let's talk Disney!!

As you saw from our earlier post: D23 Round Up, there has been quiet a few announcements from the Disney D23 fan conference. The biggest of which was undoubtedly the official announcement of Star Wars Land at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios. These lands are significantly larger than initially rumoured, and with 2 E-Ticket rides, they should be very popular. The immediate speculation about where it would be built cleared up by accident at least for Disneyland, where a Tweet from the @DisneylandToday announced the location while chatting with a fan.

The other big stories from the event were Disney's Hollywood Studio is getting Toy Story Land, Epcot and Disney California Adventure getting Soarin' Around the World. We also heard further details on the Iron Man Experience in Hong Kong, the princessly expansions in Tokyo (New Fantasyland and Frozen) and everything Shanghai.

The big news that we didn't get was any details about the new name for Disney's Hollywood Studios. Any indication of when Star Wars Land or Toy Story Land would open.

Something a little bit cool for the real Disney nerds this week, as we saw two new connections to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. Firstly, a new restaurant at Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs) at WDW has tied Indiana Jones to the Society of Explorer's and Adventurers. We also heard in the official announcement this week name of the new Adventureland Veranda restaurant Skipper Canteen, that it's founder is linked to S.E.A. If you aren't familiar with the Society, they connect two of the most richly details Disney properties of recent time, the Tokyo DisneySea version of Tower of Terror, and Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland. Expect to hear more about this Society in coming years.

Finally this week, WDW has announced a new desert party for the Halloween event Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. This is a fascinating trend that Disney have started, to basically have a hard ticket event inside a hard ticked event. Having said that would I consider going, yeah probably I would. Disney sure know how to get the most (money) out of people.

And on that bombshell, I'm done for this week!

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next week, Cheers!

Sunday 16 August 2015

D23 Parks and Resorts Round up

Today saw the Parks and Resorts presentation at the 2015 D23 conference in Anaheim, California. We got a sneak peak at the future of Disney theme parks both in the U.S. and internationally. We saw some new details about existing projects, as well as some official announcements of some heavily rumored projects at WDW and Disneyland. So here is a quick official Round Up of what has been announced at D23 so far.

Firstly, before the big presentation today, we heard an official name for the restaurant that is being constructed on the Adventureland Veranda, the Skipper Canteen. The restaurant (as suspected) will have a Jungle Cruise theme, with a cute little back story that ties it to the Society of Explorers and Adventures.

The next big announcement was Star Wars Land. This is the biggest announcement of D23 so far, for both WDW and Disneyland Resort. Firstly, both Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland are going to get a new 14 acre land. The expansions are the biggest in park expansions that either resort has ever had. It will be anchored by 2 E-ticket rides, one that is connected to the Millennium Falcon, and one that will be connected with the up coming Episode 7. There will also be a Cantina, which will reportedly be serving Blue Milk. The big twist thus far is that the land will be from a "new" planet which has never before been seen. It is unclear whether this planet will be featured in one of the upcoming 5 announced Star Wars movie, or if it will be an entirely novel planet.

The announcements about Star Wars were tempered by the statements that it is going to take some time. In the meantime both Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios will be featuring a temporary attraction called the "Star Wars Launch Bay" (into the former Innoventions pavilion at Disneyland and the former Animation pavilion space at Disney's Hollywood Studios). A similar attraction to this has been mentioned for Shanghai Disneyland also. We are also going to see an expansion to the Star Wars Weekends, to be the "Season of the Force" at both DHS and DL. There will be new fireworks for DHS and an overlay of Space Mountain for Disneyland called "Hyperspace Mountain". We also were told that there will be additional scenes coming to the existing Star Tours rides in the coming years.

Overall, this is a huge announcement, and if they can deliver on the hype they have built up it will be a huge delivery. We knew this was coming for DHS, but while there had been rumors about Disneyland, nothing to the scale of 14 acres had been suggested.

The second big announcement of this event was the official announcement of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios. This will be an add on to the existing Pixar Place land, which will include an extra track for Toy Story Mania, and at least 3 additional rides. There will be a new ride Slinky Dog roller coaster, which will designed for families. There will be a new spinner ride themed to the Green Aliens, which will include a reference to the dreaded "claw". There will also be a clone of the Army man drop ride from the existing Toy Story Playlands in Hong Kong Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios Paris. In all this looks better than the existing Toy Story Playlands, but it wasn't quiet the detailed Pixar expansion we were hoping for.

We saw some further details about the Avatar expansion at Disney Hollywood Studios. The only major news (other than a really impressive looking model) was that the flying ride will be known as the "Flight of Passage". Everything else mentioned had been previously showcased.

Oh, did you know there was going to be a Frozen ride at Epcot? Of course you did, it's been freaking everywhere for the last year. Nothing new here.

Over in Tokyo, we saw some details of the recently announced expansion to Fantasyland in Tokyo Disneyland, with the Alice in Wonderland and Beauty and the Beast mini-lands looking quiet impressive. We also heard a little about the upcoming "port" in Tokyo DisneySea themed to mega-hit Frozen. Like everything else in that park, it looks like it will be annoyingly breathe-taking.

Next we saw details of the Iron Man Experience ride at Hong Kong Disneyland. This ride looks like a more modern version of Star Tours, although a lot of people are comparing the action taking place to Transformers. It will be interesting to see if how Universal has stepped up the simulator ride experience in the last 10 years has had an effect inside WDI.

We saw some enticing details on the Shanghai Disneyland project. Nothing which hadn't previously been discussed as far as I can tell. I think the idea here was to stir up a bit of state-side interest in the Shanghai development. It would be good if this park had some international sales going for it, just in case it doesn't take with the local community in China.

We rounded out the major presentation with a bit of official news, that had been strongly rumored. Soarin' Over California at Disney's California Adventure and Epcot, will be getting a new global film next year and will become Soarin' Over the Horizon. This film will match the previously announced film for Shanghai Disneyland.

So that's a quick round up of what we know so far. The convention continues for another day, so we may yet get a few more details. We'd still love to hear the new name for Disney's Hollywood Studios, but that is looking less and less likely.

If you want to check out my twitter account, you will see about a thousand tweets shared from people who were attending today's D23 session and quiet a few reactions. I'll give more of the reaction when I do this weeks News Update on Tuesday. Until then, Cheers!!

Saturday 15 August 2015

Dreamworld - New Tiger Cub

Yesterday we had the opportunity to visit Dreamworld, and we were able to have a little peak at their brand new, as yet unnamed, Tiger cub. He was 3 weeks old yesterday, and completely adorable!

Here are some brief action shots, before he went off to sleep:

Hey Tiger, wake up!

In Dreamworld construction news, I can confirm that there is work going on in two places at the park. The front of the fountain near the main gate is still under heavy construction. It looks like a heavy duty stage or something like that is under way.

I can also confirm that the Ice cream Parlor has been completely gutted. including the walls on the lower level. All that is left inside is the air conditioning ducting. The roof, including the signage, is still present. So hopefully that means that the we will be seeing a return for this iconic ice cream venue, since it's unlikely to be useful for an attraction as far as I can tell.

Monday 10 August 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 11th August 2015

Another week of world Theme Park news has happened, so let's get down to it!

There have been a couple of coaster stories making news this week. It appears that Cedar Point may have accidentally released the logo and layout of their upcoming coaster for 2016. It appears a new version of their Android App was accidentally pushed live this weekend, before being removed. However, CoasterFeed was able to get a few images of the ride before it was removed.

Over at Dollywood, we have been given more details for Lightning Rod, their new coaster for 2016. It is going to be the world's first Launched Wooden coaster, and just quietly, it sounds pretty amazing. It's going to be built by Rocky Mountain Construction, who have been making some of the most interesting coasters in the last 5 years.

We are definitely getting into the pre-Halloween spirit with announcements this from Knott's Berry Farm  and Universal Studios over there upcoming events.

At Knott's Scary Farm, we are going to see a huge roster of attractions this year with 11 mazes, 3 scare zones and 2 live shows. One of the new mazes for this year is called "The Dead of Winter" which is based on a Snow Queen who has resurrected a team Viking warriors to avenge her family's murder. So it's Frozen. Well it might be a touch scarier than Frozen, but you can see what they are trying to do there. Well played Knott's!

Over at Universal, the big news is that Michael Myers is back. The iconic Halloween film villain will return in a new and horrifying maze based around his family home in Haddonfield, Illinois.

One place that is not giving us any Halloween news is Disney, but as always there is plenty of Disney buzz to go around.

Last week we mentioned the land that Disneyland had bought close to the Disneyland resort. Theme Park Insider followed up the many new reports on this purchase by putting a little bit of cold water on the fire. Rightly so too, as the article points out Disneyland Resort already had control of these properties before the purchase, and that we are a long way away from these properties being used to alleviate the current space stress imposed on the Disneyland Resort.

Disneyland has brought back fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster, and interestingly enough for the moment these are "off-the-grid" fastpasses. I don't know what the idea of bring them back is, but when all else fails blame it on the coming of MyMagic+.

Here is not the biggest surprise of the week Disney Keeps Making Money. Not just some Money, but lots of money. $2.5 Billion in profit for the Quarter. At this rate, they could be earning a Billion dollars a month in a few years time. Extraordinary.

The biggest news for next week in the Disney universe is the annual D23 convention in  Anaheim. At this event last year Disney teased us about the possibility of  a Star Wars land at WDW, with their Orange Harvest display. This time, what do fans expect from Disney? The big hope is SOMETHING about the future of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We know that things are happening there, but it would be good to get a sense of the grand plan from Disney's perspective.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next week, Cheers!

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 5th August 2015

I'm a day late with my blog this week! I blame work for keeping me busy last night. Anyway! Time for this week's Theme Park Nut News Update.

The big news this week came from our own Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, who chose July 29th, International Tiger Day, to announce the birth of their new Tiger cub! The cub, a boy, was born a few days earlier on July 25th. He's yet to be named, and expected to make his public debut in the Tiger Island nursery in mid-August. Dreamworld has started up a cub club for those that are interest in the latest updates about the little guy.

For just a taste of the cuteness, here is a video that Dreamworld posted on Twitter:

Speaking of Twitter, I followed a really fun Twitter feed this week called Wonderland90s. As it's bio says it is "Having some fun tweeting about what might be going on at Wonderland if it was the 90's". It's a good one for Aussies who grew up in the 90s, like I did. I am still sad that Wonderland isn't around anymore, I only ever got one visit! Still check out Wonderland90s for a good laugh!

Over in the U.S., Disneyland Resort has launched a new version of it's app. Don't be fooled, this is the first in a series of small steps towards MyMagic+ at DLR. Screamscape had some really good information this week about Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters which is replacing Luigi’s Flying Tires at Disney California Adventure. The ride is going to open in early 2016, and will replicate the dance moves of an Italian family gathering. Should be interesting! Disneyland Resort has also bought some additional property in the area in the last few weeks, which is always an interesting development!

At WDW, we are starting to see a few changes that many suspect are related to the wider plans to use up the unused capacity at the park. This week it was extending the hours of the Garden Grill restaurant at Epcot. As with the changes part of MyMagic+, Disney is moving towards trying to pull as many guests out of circulation as possible. While they don't want you wait in queues, they are also realize that a happy guest, that is spending time (and money) not on an attraction is the most effective way to keep average happiness/spend up.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next week, Cheers!

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 28th July 2015

It's been a fairly quiet week for theme park news this week, I guess it is that time of year. This week we heard a couple of construction updates from the Orlando parks, with the most interesting being the one posted on Theme Park Insider. In this article they outline a theory about what the Wet'n'Wild water park at Universal Orlando, will be turned into once the park closes at the end of next summer, Hotel towers. This makes a lots of sense, as building up the hotel capacity at the resort is a must for the future, and it seems to be clear that Universal are not going to be adding a a new park in the tiny space.

We also heard this week that Universal Orlando has started accepting reservations for the new Sapphire Falls resort. The resort is due to open next summer.

Six Flags has become the latest theme park chain to ban the use of Selfie Sticks inside their parks. This is a good move, as from all reports they have really become a safety hazard, particularly in the U.S. parks.

Before this week, I had never heard of Beech Bend Park, in Bowling Green Kentucky. Unfortunately this week this little park made big news, when a kid's ride fell over mid operation. Thankfully the injuries noted were minor, and ambulances weren't required to attend. A very scary event, that could have been much worse!

Closer to home this week, we have seen the closure of the Dockside Tavern at SeaWorld on the Gold Coast. Renovation of this restaurant are certain to the complete redevelopment of the adjacent kids area into a Nickelodeon land. Most frequent visitors to Sea World have eaten at the Dockside Tavern, and particularly it's top level has always been a great place to watch the nearby dolphins in relative peace. It will be interesting to see what it becomes after these developments.

Finally, Disney has confirmed, that there are going to be details at the upcoming D23 Convention relating to their Parks and Resorts. All theme park enthusiasts are waiting with baited breathe to know if we are going to hear about the future of Hollywood Studios. We do know for sure that we are going to hear about Shanghai Disneyland, and 60 years of Disneyland (and specifically the Jungle Cruise). Hopefully this years D23 will live up to expectations.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next week, Cheers!

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 21st July 2015

This weeks update is going to be 95% Disney, so just for balance, let's start off talking about Universal!

This week, Universal Orlando and Hollywood announced another maze for the upcoming Halloween Horror Nights events: Insidious: Return to the Further. If you are not familiar with the Insidious francise, the Further is sort of like a spooky smoke filled ghost dimension. It's perfect for a maze, and by the sounds of it this maze will feature elements from all 3 movies.

Now, let's get on with the Disney!

This week we saw a huge amount of detail about Shanghai Disneyland released. We finally have a clear picture of what is going to be present for opening day, and the line up looks spectacular. Particular highlights include the Tron Lightcycle, the new Pirates of the Caribbean and the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto ride inside the castle. It will be interesting how Disney's attempts to make the park feel authentically Chinese, will go. Regardless of how well it assimilates, this is a beautiful park in a huge market, so it should do well! Can't wait to see some point of views of the new rides!!

We also heard reports from Screamscape that the Star Wars Launch Bay attraction, could be soon featured at Disneyland and WDW's Hollywood Studios. These rumours suggest that we might see these attractions open before the Shanghai Parks open, which would be cool.

The big theme park news this week, is Disneyland in California had it's 60th Birthday. While diamond theme celebrations have been going on for most of the year at Disneyland resort, last friday was the actual big day for Disneyland, and by the sounds of it a huge crowd came out to celebrate it. On the whole it sounds like the event went well, except for the lack of phone/data/wifi signal in the overcrowded park. Everyone's eyes are on Disney now, as they will need to address these bandwidth issues before it imports MyMagic+.

However, let's not dwell on that, This was a day to celebrate Disney and theme parks in general. Disneyland was the first theme park, it was a new breed. It was more than an amusement park, and it's hard not to argue 60 years later that it was better than an amusement park. Although Disneyland will never be complete, and the park now looks very different to how it did in 1955, the park still has the soul that Walt (and 1000s of others) instilled in the park.

Congratulations to Disneyland on an amazing milestone. While people will argue about whether Magic Kingdom is better, or whether Universal is challenging Disney, no one can argue that Walt built something amazing. It can be duplicated, and challenged, but it certainly cannot be replaced. It's hard to imagine anyway that Disneyland won't be just as popular in 40 years time, for it's 100th birthday.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next week, Cheers!