Saturday 25 March 2017

News Update - 26th March 2017

Starting in WDW this week, at Disney's Hollywood Studios a new show has been added to the roster at night in the Theater of the Stars. The awkwardly named The Music of Pixar LIVE!: A Symphony of Characters will feature a live orchestra playing Pixar movie hits, which are numerous these days.

Over at Disney's Animal Kingdom reservations have opened (and reportedly sold out) for the DVC previews for Pandora from May 13-22. We've also had details about the ordering process at the restaurant in Pandora. The Satu'li Canteen will be the first at WDW to support mobile ordering through the My Disney Experience app. We are seeing more details coming out about this land as the WDW marketing machine winds up,  this week was all about creating "real" environments.

At Universal Orlando Resort, we've had it confirmed that the Wet'n'Wild site, which closed last year, will be converted into 4000 hotel rooms. There is definitely a need for more onsite accommodation, so this seemed like the obvious use of this land.

A few weeks ago we talked about Shanghai Disneyland having a problem with scalping of Fastpasses. This week we've seen Disney add a new paid Fastpass program called Premier Access. For as little as US$10, a fastpass for one of the big 7 attractions can be purchased effectively cutting out scalpers and increasing profit.

Staying in China, the Zhonghong group has bought a 21% share in SeaWorld from the Blackstone group (who previously part owned Universal Orlando). It's not clear what action the group plans to take, but I would expect given their current operating issues these parks would not have been heavily expensive.

At home, a fan made video has popped up online this week with a rendering of the upcoming Movie World hypercoaster. It's worth noting that there are a lot of assumptions made in this rendering, so we definitely can't consider it real. But it is definitely cool!

We also got confirmation this week of the colour of this coaster, as the first track pieces were spotted. To my personal surprise the new coaster is going to be pink. Bets are still being made as to the theme of this coaster. I had expected either Wonder woman  (Blue and Red) or Flash (Red and Yellow). So pink has me scratching my head for sure. Time will tell!!

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

Saturday 4 March 2017

News Update - 19th March 2017

Its been almost three weeks since my last update. Life can be overwhelming! Sorry about that! On to a long news update!

One of the strangest Theme Park stories this week was an English mum who set up GoFundMe page for a trip to Walt Disney World. Now this wasn't illegal but the GoFundMe has morphed into largely a charitable fundraising platform, rather than the personal fundraising platform it started as, so acts like this are now poor form.  Personally  I don't have a problem with people doing this. I won't pay for your holiday, but i won't stop you asking. Anyway!

At Walt Disney World itself, it was announced earlier this month that the Cirque Du Soliel show La Nouba which has a permanent residence at Disney Springs, is due to close at the end of the year. Nothing has yet been announced as the replacement, but I really hope that it is another Cirque show.

The focus at WDW has turned to Animal Kingdom where we've seen more details released on Pandora: The World of Avatar. While I'm excited for this, if I hear the word bioluminescence much more I'm going to scream. If you are interested you can see everything we know about Pandora here. We also saw the full opening of Rivers of Life nighttime show.

At Universal Orlando, the Race through New York featuring Jimmy Fallon soft opened earlier this month. Theme Park Insider had a review of this new attraction, showing that this ride is much more than just another flying cinema ride.

Going further north, Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced this week they are adding US's first VR Motion Simulator. We've seen many VR coasters in the last year but this is the first specialist VR attraction being constructed during this new VR boom. So it'll be good to see what it's like!

At Disneyland Star Wars fans are getting pretty excited as two Imperial AT-AT Walkers under construction. They also celebrated the 50th anniversary of Pirates of the Caribbean this week.

If you can't wait for Star Wars Land, Legoland California has expanded it's  Star Wars miniland to include new scenes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. These look seriously cool but no doubt you all know that I love Lego and Star Wars.

Outside of the US, Efteling in the Netherlands is deep in construction of its 4th dark ride Symbolica at the moment and this week gave a sneak peak of the ride vehicles.

At home, Movie World has released the second in their series of Ride Safety videos, which detailed why rides have emergency stops. The video was even picked up by Theme Park Insider! Of course they say what we've been saying for a while, E-Stops are a necessary evil in a well designed attraction.

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

Thursday 2 March 2017

News Update - 2nd March 2017

It's time for another Theme Park Nut New Update.

Just the other week, while talking about Disney buying out Paris resort, we mentioned that Universal's owners Comcast had bought out a controlling 51% share of the Universal Studios Japan Resort. Well this week, Comcast bought out the remaining 49%! This can only be good news for USJ as the resort continues to thrive over the next few years leading up to the Tokyo Olympics.

At Disneyland Resort, we also saw this week the opening of the Red Rose Tavern, the temporary Beauty and the Beast overlay of Village Haus. From all reports, there were ridiculous queues and they did sell out of "The Grey Stuff" at least once. Interesting that the Grey Stuff in Disneyland is different to the Grey Stuff in WDW. Anyway, if you want a review of a number of the dishes (including the Grey Stuff) then check out Theme Park Insider.

Also at Disneyland this week, we've seen a change in policy over marking space before the daily parades. The new rule is, that you can't save space before the parade route is marked out, and that if you don't stay in your space, you lose it. This has a lot to do with the changes to the night time entertainment at the park, and it is probably just preventative before the situation got much worse.

I don't know if this is news or not, but some prominent French politicians went to Disneyland Paris to have pot shots at Donald Trump over his continued rubbishing of France. Fair enough too!

And because it's never to early to start thinking about Halloween, Universal Orlando announced the date for this years Halloween Horror Nights. The event will be on for 34 nights starting from September 15.

At home, Movie World have the released the first in their short series of videos on Safety and Maintenance. You can watch the video on YouTube and Facebook, and it's really good to see a bit of behind the scenes information. Interesting choice to have Green Lantern Coaster in the first video, given the incident that occurred on this ride 2 years ago.

All of this comes in response to last year's fatal incident at Dreamworld, which this week was reported to have cost the park $95.4 million dollars. In the half yearly results, the park reported that attendance is down 27 percent.

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