Tuesday 24 February 2015

Theme Park Nut New Update - 24th February 2015

Welcome to the last Theme Park Nut News update for February 2015.

The big news this week was that the (expected) annual Disney ticket price rises occurred. Now what makes this years most significant, is that is the first time that the day ticket price at any Disney theme park has exceeded US$100. A one day ticket to Magic Kingdom at WDW is now US$105. There are rises across the board for the US Disney parks, and it is expected that Universal will follow suit in the next few weeks.

Screamscape had some photos this week of construction of Avatar the land of Pandora (name may not be correct). On the west coast, at Disney California Adventure Luigi's Flying Tyres has official closed for good, to be replaced with some kind of trackless Cars ride.

Staying with Disney, they named a new Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek. No pressure dude, but we are watching you.

In Universal Orlando this week, something strange happened. Water bottles were banned from being taken into the parks and City Walk, for two days and then allowed again. They stated that it was a temporary measure, and it was not related to a specific threat against the parks. Very strange. Just as strange, it has been announced that Sharknado 3 is going to be filmed and set at Universal Orlando. I must admit that the first thought was, 'Wow, they made a Sharknado 2?' I know it was a cult-hit, but I saw the first one and I'm not going to watch the second one. I'll wait to see how much the third one is about Universal. I may watch it.

Speaking of trashy movies, I watched Escape from Tomorrow. That movie is really weird. I didn't really enjoy it, but I did like seeing a lot of Magic Kingdom in a movie!!

Dark ride manufacturer Sally Corp has posted an interesting video peaking inside their operation. Interesting!!

Going to Europe, Efteling has put up another video of the construction of Baron 1898. This is perhaps the best one yet. I think this is going to be a great attraction!

Once again the Australia park news this week revolves around Dreamworld. There has been continuing noise about the issue with  Buzzsaw. Although it sounds like no riders were ever in danger on the ride, the unexpected maintenance has now been extended one month longer than originally planned. So, something is getting fixed for sure.

The other news this week was found on the Parkz Forums were a keen-eyed fan spotted that the Ardent half yearly results stated that Dreamworld will be opening a V8 themed attraction at some point this year. We have no idea what this will be, but it is interesting to hear. They do already have two attractions themed to motorsport at the park, and there is speculation that it could be a revamp of either of those attractions (as they are anecdotally unpopular attractions. We will wait and see!

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

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 17th February 2015

It's a construction/refurbishment heavy update this week!
We all know that there is a lot going on at Disneyland Resort this year for the 60th anniversary kicking off in May, but with so much closed in the parks at the moment it had Theme Park Insider asking is it worth visiting theme parks during refurb season?  They also had a good round up of the little projects currently going on in Orlando with the Central Florida Construction update. And the biggest WDW news this week is that the Richard Petty Driving experience is closing to make way for transportation improvements.
Flying around the world a little, Alton Towers has announced that they are adding an Octonauts themed coaster to their park lineup. Let's hope that they use some water effects, otherwise this might be a little confusing for the little ones.
Most people have read that the master plans for Hong Kong Disneyland (and Shanghai for that matter) always planned to expand into a second park. However Screamscape reports that this might be sooner than expected, with height balloons seen over the empty lot next to Hong Kong Disneyland.
Let's hear more about construction:
In Australia, we've had some "unexpected" downtime for the Buzzsaw loop coaster at Dreamworld. It's a little bit unclear what the cause of the downtime is, there is a rumour that it was caused by a harness failure, but I can't say that for sure. There is also a little talk about the new Tailspin ride having a few unexpected closes in the last few weeks. There are still plenty of discussion about Eureka Mountain Mine Ride reopening, so it is not all bad news at Dreamworld.
 In the worst news for Australian parks in some time, there was a fairly major accident at the Hollywood Stunt Driver show at WB Movie World. One motor bike rider was injured but is reportedly in a stable condition in hospital. If you aren't squeamish, here is the link to a video of the accident. I feel really sorry for this guy, it looks like it would have hurt. Reportedly, Movie World has taken motorbikes out of the show, but it is unclear whether this is a permanent change. 
For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next week, Cheers!

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 10th February 2015

Welcome to the Theme Park Nut New Update for the 10th of February 2015.

And the big news, coming from Australia first, is that the rumour posted last week about the potential resurrection of Eureka Mountain Mine Ride at Dreamworld is looking more and more likely! Parkz is even reporting that they have heard that upper management has ridden the ride in the last few weeks, and given the thumbs up for the project to proceed. This is huge news, this attraction has been sitting dormant for 8 years and before last week, there was no sign that it would ever return. We will be keeping a close eye on this. Dreamworld has stated that there will be two new attractions this year, will this be one of them? Time will tell.

In international news, this week saw the confirmation of two expected pieces of news from Disney. Firstly, Disneyland Resort has confirmed the permanent closure of Luigi's Flying at DCA, to be replaced by a new trackless attraction. Secondly, Disney officially announced that Tom Staggs as the  COO and heir apparent to the Iger throne. As I've previously mentioned, I think he is a good choice, and I'm happy that he is progressing up the food chain at Disney.

Disney has also been making news in Shanghai, where they have released construction photos from Pirates of the Carribean to soften the blow for the opening date being delayed to 2016. This attraction looks amazing, I think this really could be the best version of Pirates yet, although this attraction is going to be so different it's not going to be fair to compare them. There was also some great photos of Shanghai from Stefan Zwanzger: The Theme Park Guy.

In Tokyo Disney, the OLC has announced that they are opening a Junior Woodchucks Restaurant and Meet and Greet. Although that doesn't sound like much, they are dropping a serious amount of money on this, so this might be an interesting one to keep an eye on!

I know that I write a lot about Disney, but they are so dominant that it is a little hard to argue with. This week they announced that the theme park division operating income increased by 20% over the last quarter, on the back of a 7% rise in attendance at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. Both had their best operating quarters ever in terms of attendance.
For the sake of balance, here is an article from Theme Park Insider about the differences in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that opened in Universal Studios Japan last year.

In other Australian news, Parkz has a great trip report from Sea World, while it isn't reopening a classic attraction there is plenty going on in this little park. The new dolphin show does look great!

And my tweet of the week this week was from a Japanese artist called Takumi, who has designed in amazing detail a Studio Ghibli Theme Park. I've always thought that Miyazaki movies would make an amazing theme park, they are so fantastic! And Takumi has certainly done them justice. Thanks to my great friend Fee for the tip-off on this one!

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

Tuesday 3 February 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 3rd February 2015

Welcome to another Theme Park Nut News Update for the start of February 2015.

There is no escaping this week's big news, and that was the announcement of the 60th Anniversary celebration details of the Disneyland resort. There is plenty of news out there to read for this, but the tall and short of it is that May 22nd everything in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure is going to be blue and diamond. Adding a nighttime parade and ramping up the night time fireworks.

With all the excitement about Disneyland, there isn't any stop to the debate about who is going to take over the Disney leadership at the end of Bob Iger's reign. This article  is an interesting read, but I'm not sure I agree with much about it. It's quite critical of Iger and very complimentary about his predecessor Eisner, which is actually a rarely heard view point. Always nice to hear a different point of view. It isn't as crazy as it sounds for Disney to outside hire the next CEO, but it seems a waste when it's been grooming two people for the role for the past 5 years.

Staying with Disney, because who am I kidding, I love Disney, iconic Imagineer Joe Rohde has popped up a couple of times in the need this week. Firstly, The Disney Blog posted a collection of really interesting instagram posts from Rohde about various aspects of the Animal Kingdom. Secondly there is a seriously cute video of Joe being interviewed by 5 year old Zoey. I really love that she asked about his earrings, because I've always wondered about that myself!

On the Disney rumor side, the big story  this week is that something is happening in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. Everyone is saying that the Hatbox Ghost is returning, but no one really knows.

Also, everyone watch out for the Tomorrowland movie. It could be awesome!

Just today, there has been rumors on twitter that Shanghai Disneyland's opening has been delayed. We'll keep an eye on it, and let you know when we hear something official from Disney.

Enough Disney!

There is a really interesting story today on Blooloop about The Theme Park Guy - Stefan Zwanzger. He has had an amazing life already, and he's looking for bigger and better things. Good on him!

In London, we have heard that the original Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter movies is set to join the attractions at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. We also saw this week some construction photos from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood (also some Springfield updates in there).

In Europe, we heard from Screamscape this week about the upcoming 2015 enhancements to Europa Park. Those guys are always busy!! Screamscape also reported that Russian park Divo Ostov is adding a clone of Europa Park's Blue Fire Mega Coaster, which is pretty awesome, because that is an amazing roller coaster.

In cute Australian news, Aussie World on the Sunshine Coast has launched Tiny Tots Tuesday. This is where children under 5, and their parents, can visit on a Tuesday morning for $10 each. I think it's a funny idea, but anything that helps this little park I will support.

Finally in the biggest craziest strangest news of the week, it sounds like Dreamworld is at the very least attempting to find out what it would cost to bring back the Eureka Mountain Mine Train. This would be an extraordinary turn around for the park, as this ride has been SBNO since November 2006. I'm really interested in this prospect, and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for any official news on this subject.

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