Thursday 2 February 2017

News Update - 2nd February 2017

It's time for another week's News Update!

Last Friday, at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast we saw yet another ride incident make the headlines with an E-Stop on Giant Drop hours after it's reopening  Riders were stuck at the top for a period of about 5 minutes, as a safety sensor was tripped. No riders were in any danger at any point during the incident.

We are now at a stage that no matter the what the nature of the ride incident at an Australian park, it is going to make the news. This is somewhat understandable for the general public given last years tragedy, but can be frustrating to theme park enthusiasts who understand a safe Emergency Stop is actually a good thing. This is the ride operating as desired, with safety sensors functioning as you would want; detecting an anomaly and shutting down the ride. An emergency stop is designed to stop an accident from occurring, so each time on of those happens, and the riders are safely and easily removed from a ride, this should be good news! followed up this week's incident with on an article about how safe Theme Park Rides are, and of course the answer is they are very safe. You are far more likely to be killed by being struck by lightning, than you are being INJURED on ride (let alone killed).

Just to show a different perspective on the issue, this week Theme Park Insider showcased some memorable breakdowns. It's true that a lot of Theme Park fans treasure the unique experience of a ride evacuation, and (as long as no one is hurt) they often make for great stories.

In Orlando, Walt Disney World has finally announced that July 2nd would be the closing day of DisneyQuest. It was announce, almost two years ago, that the "indoor Theme Park" was going to be replaced with a basketball themed restaurant and bar called the NBA Experience. There is no word yet on when the NBA Experience might open.

Across town this week at Universal Orlando, thousand of Harry Potter fans gathered to take part in the annual Harry Potter Celebration. This years celebration was made all the more poignant, with the passing of John Hurt, who played wand-maker Ollivander in the Harry Potter film series, only a few days before the event. There was a touching moment when a number of fans raised their wand's outside the Ollivander's in tribute to the late actor.

In slight more off beat news this week, a patent application has been uncovered this week from the Disney company of a trackless ride where the ride itself responds to emotional queues from riders. What Theme Park Insider have dubbed, the emotional roller coaster, responds to bio-metric sensors and cameras tracking the rider, and the ride or entertainment responds using "emotion/attention determination software" to give an enhanced ride experience. This really is a fascinating idea, where a ride could respond to you, or change the ride experience depending on what you think or feel. Imagine being able to alter a ride like the Tower of Terror, which has random drop sequences, so that the way the drop sequence play out responds to how the occupants of the ride are feeling.

And finally in some good news from Dreamworld this week, Saturday saw them open their brand new Lego Store. The first official Lego brand store opened on the edge of the park, with access from both inside and outside the park. The store is anchored by 10 life-size LEGO models including several 'Dreamworld-inspired' models including a tiger, koala and didgeridoo. Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson said it was hard not to be happy with the turnout to the opening day, with a queues "out the door and into the carpark".

That's it for this week's News Update . For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next time, Cheers!


  1. Oh the emotional responder is awesome and terrifying in one, maybe they'd be nice and tone down elements for those truly scared!

    1. Yeah it's the kind of power that is a little bit cool, but a little bit scary. I would think Disney would use it for good, as they are constantly trying to keep their rides kid-friendly. Still interesting research!!