Tuesday 7 July 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 7th July 2015

It's been a big week for theme park news (considering the time of year), so let's get into this weeks Theme Park Nut News Update.

Firstly, starting over in Walt Disney World, we heard of yet another closure this week, with DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney/Disney Springs set to close this year. This isn't really a surprise, with the overhaul of the whole area, and the fact that DisneyQuest has long been neglected as part of WDW's offerings. For those that haven't been, DisneyQuest was designed to be an "indoor theme park". For Australians think about Timezone on steroids. A mixture of simulator rides, and small attractions, alongside computer games of various types, over multiple floors. I visited once in 1999, which was before the decline in maintenance that signalled DisneyQuests death knell started. It was an interesting and different experience. While I totally understand why it didn't work as a chain, I think at it's prime it added something to WDW. Sadly that prime was a long time ago now. Whether or not your are excited about the NBA-theme restaurant that will replace it (I'm not), is kind of irrelevant, as something would have eventually replaced it regardless. Farewell DisneyQuest!

Even though this week had no closures at Disney's Hollywood Studios, we did have a couple of articles of interest from Theme Park Insider and Screamscape, on just how much of the park is closed or closing. We must be not far away from hearing concrete plans for this park. Even the new name would be interesting! I'm going to start calling Disney Florida Adventure if no one gives me a name soon. There was also an interesting article claiming that the new park will be called Disney's Hollywood Adventure, and includes other potential details of the park. I'm a little sceptical of this article, for one because Disney has moved away from the possessive apostrophe, and two there are lot of details that have been speculated over with no real official news from Disney. It's sounds great, but let's wait for D23 this year, to see if we get something official.

The Walt Disney company also load one of their legends this week, when animator and sculptor Blaine Gibson passed away aged 97. Blaine will be best remembered for his sculpting of the heads for many of the notable Disneyland attractions.

In Europe, we had an opening this week, at one of the best themed Theme Parks in the world! Efteling in the Netherlands opened their Baron 1898 themed dive coaster this week. This coaster is one of the most interesting openings of this year, and sets a pretty high bar for coaster theming from what I have heard. Well done to Efteling and all those involved. I would love to visit this park one day! It's totally on my list if I ever have another chance to visit continental Europe. You can check out a POV of Baron 1898 here.

Efteling has also announce that they will open a "new fairytale" in fairytale forest for "Pinokkio" at a cost of about €2 million next year.

In press news, I've got to congratulate Mekado Murphy on hitting all 4 WDW parks in one day. However, they deserve a kick in the pants for calling the Haunted Mansion "standard haunted house fare with a bit of technology thrown in". That's lifetime ban material right there, awful!

In local theme park news, Village Roadshow Theme Parks (owner's of Movie World and Sea World on the Gold Coast), this week launched a new ticketing model. The Village Unlimited Membership is a replacement for the VIP Magic Pass, with the biggest change that this membership is an annual contract billed on a monthly basis. At $9 a month, the membership, is only slightly more expensive than the existing Pass, but the contract nature of it is more likely to "hook" in guests which will be good for VRTP's bottom line. No longer will they have to renew, instead they will have to cancel their membership to stop the monthly membership. This will also smooth out the parks revenue stream over the year, which could be a good thing for their operations. No signs yet from the big competitor yet, if they are looking at a similar model.

Finally, one of the great theme park sites Theme Park Insider posted their annual Awards on the 4th of July holiday weekend. It's a very solid list of attractions, restaurants and parks winning the awards this year. The big surprise is in the best new attraction category where Justice League Battle for Metropolis, Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis beat out Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Robert Niles, editor of the Theme Park Insider, acknowledged that the ride suffered from it's early teething issues, and that if only ratings when it was in normal operation were considered there might have been a different result. However, to even be within spitting distance of Universal at the moment is a huge win for Six Flags. So well done to them!!

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


  1. That dive coaster looks so scary! Also Disney Quest sounds a bit like the SEGA Joypolis in Tokyo - I was thinking I'd hate it but it was pretty fun even if I didn't grasp a lot of the language based attractions and rides :P

    1. I would love to see SEGA Joypolis in Tokyo when we one day get to Japan. It sounded so cool!