Tuesday 27 January 2015

Theme Park News Update - 27th January 2015

Sad news to start off this weeks Theme Park News update. One of the most interesting Theme Park writers from the team at Theme Park Insider Daniel Etcheberry passed away last week. Daniel was an inspirational writer who wrote about his personal theme park experiences as a wheelchair user. I found his writing very informative. Here is one of his best articles. I'm sure I am not the only one in the Theme Park community that was touched by Daniel. I will always consider the accessibility of theme parks and theme park attractions because of him, and that is a wonderful legacy.

On to other news this week. Almost everything this week is about construction, so let's take a quick tour around the world for the theme park construction.

In Asia, The Theme Park Guy has a new construction update from Shanghai Disneyland, including an amazing photo of the central Storybook Castle. There is also a great post on his construction board ThemeParX about the new 20th Century Fox World in Malaysia.

From Europe, Screamscape tracked down some great construction photos from Efteling's Baron 1898 from Pretparken ParkPlanet. Airtimers posted a construction update from Europa Park, one of my favourite parks. Always interesting to see what they are up to.

In California, Construction has begun for Disneyland's 60th anniversary. This is a huge milestone for the park, and no doubt there will be a little bit of cash splashed to make the park look nice. I think that is one of the nice things about Disney, the thought that they'll get a little extra cash and they spend it cleaning up the park. There was also a height balloon allegedly spotted over Disneyland Resort.

There is a little bit of construction going on in Orlando too. There is some Orlando Eye Construction which got a little press this week. The big projects as always are Avatar and Kong, and this week we got a great Kongstruction update from Orlando Parks News. Over at WDW, Theme Park Tourist reports on the latest news out of Disney Springs (the new version of Downtown Disney at WDW) which is currently under construction. And on twitter Pluchiot had a number of Construction Photos of Animal Kingdom.

An interesting comparison was made on twitter by Carousel of Progress (@CarouslOProgrss).  I'll leave it for you to be the judge: 

There has been a lot of discussion about the rumoured third gate at Universal Orlando in the last few weeks. Theme Park Tourist has given a summary of some of the rumoured aspects of "Volanco Bay" as it's rumoured to be called. Screamscape also reports on what is called Universal Project N

And to end on a bizarre/disturbing note, here is story from Texas Thrill Seekers: Woman abandons infant child to break into amusement park because God and aliens told her so. To be honest, I don't know what to say about this story.

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

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Theme Park News Update - 20th January 2015

If you follow a lot of theme park blogs (like I do) you could be thinking that the only things happening this year are measles and selfie-sticks. But honestly, away from those issues there is stacks happening in the world of theme parks!

The big news that broke a week ago from WDW was that a huge new building is being added to the Norway pavilion in Epcot, to house a Frozen Meet and Greet. The sheer size of the building has started a lot of people talking. Is this going to be more than just a meet and greet? What is all that space for?

There was a couple of other interesting Disney related articles this week from ThemeParkInsider.com this week about what the delays in the release of the Avatar sequels means for WDW and also about the battle to replace Bob Iger. Not that makes any difference, but I'm a Staggs-man myself. Just putting that out there. Speaking of WDW's Avatarland, Screamscape posted a link to a Youtube video of someone flying a drone helicopter with a camera over the Pandora build site. It's kind of mesmerizing to watch.

Also check out Screamscape for some really interesting musing about Universal Orlando's potential new Water Park.

Staying in Florida, two pieces of news from Legoland Florida, as they announce a new land and the opening date for their new hotel. Got to be honest, I'm more excited about the hotel which is opening May 15th.

My least favourite story of the week, was about a particular New Zealand "haunted" amusement park, that used a photo of a guest wetting themselves to advertise their park, without the permission of the guest. At best this a crude publicity stunt, at worst it's cruel heartless humiliation. To be honest I don't really want to give this any more free press, but if anyone doesn't believe me see here. Personally, I think it's disgraceful, and I won't be ever visiting this park.

Moving a little bit closer to home, two little tidbits of information coming from the Parkz.com.au forums. Firstly the wacky worm coaster that has been installed, but is yet to open at Sunshine Coast park Aussie World is going to be called Bug Run! Cute enough for a kiddie coaster. Also, Dreamworld launched a new website this week, which caused people to question a few hilarious things. Firstly, Dreamworld doesn't know the difference between 12AM and 12PM, which resulted in two rides being listed as running for 12 hours longer than they should have. Secondly, it appears there were major factual errors in the Park History section of the new Dreamworld site.

I should say, if you are an Aussie you have to check out Parkz and the Parkz forums. It is the place for Australian Theme Park nerds.

This week was the Star Wars Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort, and my very favourite story this week is extremely tenuously related to this. It is the story of an Australian man walking around Australia to raise money for Monash Children's Hospital, who was bitten by a potentially deadly snake. He was completely unharmed because the snake was unable to bite through the Stormtrooper armour that he has been wearing for the entire trip! How good is that!! What a champion this guy is! Best of luck to him!

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

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Theme Park News Update - 13th January 2015

Here is a quick round up of the last week in theme parks!

I told you in last weeks update to follow TDR Explorer, and those that followed my instructions would have seen why when they posted the best photos of 2014 at Tokyo Disney last week. They also delivered us a year in review for 2014. The Tokyo Disney resort is truly a beautiful resort, and some of those pictures are just magical. I must admit that seeing one of my family members visiting DisneySea this week, made me incredibly jealous. One day I'll get there!!

Something that I will never probably even attempt, let alone achieve is riding every WDW attraction in 24 hours. Sounds impossible? Well, followers of Parkeology know that it isn't, and now they have released a video of their extraordinary WDW46 challenge victory. Well worth checking out!!

Staying in the States, there were two very different articles that peaked my interest this week. One from our good friends at Theme Park Insider, where they are viewing the legal changes to make Gay Marriage Legal in Florida, through the prism of how it will be good for the Florida Theme Parks (particularly WDW). On the other end of the spectrum we have an Theme Park Review post with a Twisted Colossus Construction Update. The Twisted Colossus conversion is one of the more interesting roller coaster changes in progress at the moment, and I'm intrigued to see how the final product turns out.

I thought I would put in here my favorite tweet that I saw last week. Check out this WDW tech treat from Ian Brennan (@nannerb):

The major Disney construction news of the week was the closing of Condor Flats at Disney California Adventure. While Soarin' (the only attraction in this land) gets an upgrade, it sounds like a subtle re-themeing of the land into Grizzly Peak Airfield will take place. I wouldn't hold your breathe for anything amazing, but worth keeping an eye on it.

In Europe, Gardaland have named their up coming B&M Dive Coaster - Oblivion - The Black Hole. You've got to give them points for style at least.

In Australian Park News, the Gold Coast Bulletin has reported what seems to be a very honest account of how our Sea World protects its animals in the face of criticism that it is an "aquaprison". It's a very revealing article, and there is a clear push for Sea World to distance itself from the troubled US SeaWorld chain. I highly recommend giving it a read.

Sister park Movie World announced on it's facebook page today that it is running a film festival called the Stage One Film Festival hosted in the Roxy Theatre. Tickets are available here.

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

Monday 5 January 2015

Theme Park News Update - 6th Jan 2014

It's time to round up the Theme Park News from the first week of 2014!

There is never a quiet week in Theme Parks, there is always something happening around the world. Today we kick-off in Denmark, where Legoland Billund has announce that the 20-tonne X-Wing Starfighter (which was previously stationed in New York's Time Square) will be added to the park this year! Staying in Europe (sort of), Screamscape is reporting that the first pieces of Efeling's new dive coaster Baron 1898 have been fabricated in the US. This is an exciting development and Baron 1898 promises to be one of the best themed attractions being built this year, so it always exciting to get news about it.

In Orlando, things have passed the Christmas/New Year peak, and starting to quiet down again (thankfully). There is a great post on the Orlando Theme Park News site about the up coming Skull Island at Islands of Adventure. Well, it's not official that Kong is returning, but let's face it the whole theme park world would be shocked if this turned about to be anything other than Kong.

If you thought the New Years period was busy in US parks, check out this shot from Tokyo Disneyland! By the way, everyone should be following TDR Explorer which does amazing coverage of the best theme parks in the world (there, I said it, the best! Come at me WDW).

Staying with Asian Disney Theme Parks, reports come through yesterday that Hong Kong Disneyland has broken ground on it's third onsite hotel Disney Explorers’ Lodge.

But the big international new this week, is that the Hat is coming down. Reportedly today is the last day that the Sorcerer's Hat at WDW's Hollywood Studios is clear to be seen without demolishing crews (and some Disney fans) taking a hammer to it. At the same time as the Christmas decorations come down, so does the Hat. Personally I'm excited to see the next stage of Hollywood Studios, so I'm not going to miss the Hat. But I'm sure some people will.

In Australian theme park news, it has been hot as anything at our theme parks over the last week. Dreamworld has started a new version of it's night time event "Screamworld" which includes Rides and Slides. Prices start around $20 for this hard ticket event.

The most interesting story in local theme park news this week was this hilarious article  in the Sydney Morning Herald about the complaints over Luna Park Sydney's Hair Raiser ride.  My favorite part is 'One neighbour claimed the "hoony" ride led to increased "violence on the street and drunken behaviour" '. Those hoony children and their ugly 37m drop towers. As I said, hilarious!

Our thoughts and prayers are with the southern states of Australia who are suffering through horrible Bushfires this week also. Stay safe and look after yourselves!

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