Monday 1 May 2017

News Update - 1st May 2017

As I said in my Pandora update, it's been a couple of weeks since my last update, and even though it hasn't been a super busy period, there is plenty to cover. So here is another Theme Park Nut News Update.

Earlier in the month Disneyland Paris celebrated its 25th anniversary. We detailed some of the additions to the park for the celebration last month, so you can check that our if you wish. Staying in Europe, Efteling has announced that there brand new dark ride Symbolica will be opening on the 1st of July. This highly anticipated dark ride looks like it will be an absolute gem, and a great addition to a park that is already known for it's dark rides.

Sea World Orlando has announced plans for a new River Rapids ride in 2018. This park continues its transformation towards a "thrill and animal" park, rather than purely an animal park, as it struggles to survive in a crowded Orlando market.

At Universal Orlando, it was announced a couple of weeks back that Island's of Adventure would hold a new night time seasonal show for Christmas projected onto Hogwarts Castle. This area of the park is already a site to behold at Christmas, and it's perfectly suited to Christmas celebrations, so this makes a lot of sense for Universal. On the other coast Universal Studios Hollywood reported a 60% jump in attendance compared to last year, due to the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (despite the Easter holiday period falling into the second quarter this year unusually).

For all the ultra-rich followers, Club 33, the exclusive members only club at Disneyland, is now coming to Walt Disney World in Orlando. There are no details as to where this Club will be based, but you can expect a pretty extravagant (and expensive!) restaurant to be opening sometime in the next 2-3 years. But most of us, will never see it.

Also at WDW (and much more relevant), is that we got a whole lot more details about Star Wars land as this year's Star Wars celebration kicked off in Orlando. Most particularly we heard that the land is going to be based around an outer-rim space port on the edge of the unknown region. The other major bit of information was that there will be some level of user control in the Millennium Falcon ride, and that guests will be treated different by the in-land characters on the basis of their performance on this ride. Disney is really betting on the kind of deep immersion that has been popular with the Potter franchise at Universal, so let's hope they can pull this off in Disney style.

Probably the most exciting for me this month was movement of one of the projects that has been rumored for a couple of months. Last week contractors were named to build a Gondola transportation system between Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and two resort areas (the Caribbean Beach and Art of Animation resorts). While it's no monorail, this will add plenty of transport capacity between these resort locations, which is great for those planning future trips to one of those resorts (Go Art of Animation!!).

And 'tis the season to open the new Dining Plan Off-season offers for this year, which can be a major saving for people that can take advantage of this offer.

And don't forget that this month we also will start seeing the soft-opening and previews of Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

At Disneyland Resort in California, we got the first sneak peak inside the Collector's Fortress, as details of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout ride come out. There is no question that it looks cool, but I want to see in 5 years time whether it is going to be as popular as the Tower of Terror was (it might well be, since the sequel to GotG looks like it's going to be a big hit).

Over the road as Disneyland itself, Pirates of the Caribbean celebrated the opening of the latest Pirates movie by have Johnny Depp doing a shift as Captain Jack Sparrow. This would have been a pretty unique treat for the park goers, as he was not only greeting guests outside the park, but also did a stint inside the attraction. Very interesting stunt, but still just a stunt.

Tokyo Disneyland is preparing for it's 35th anniversary. Highlights include the return of the It's a Small World ride, along with the normal anniversary stables, a new daytime parade, and a new nighttime projection show.

Tokyo DisneySea this week opened up their new ride re-theme, the Nemo and Friends Sea Rider, which replaces the Stormrider 4D attraction. This Pixar retheme shrinks guests down to Nemo size for an ocean adventure that looks like a lot of fun.

Over in Abu Dhabi, we got the first concept art of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi park, which for Australians, this is Movie World on steriods. It features a similar set of IP's as the Australian park (DC Comics, Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo), but with (seemingly) a much larger canvas to paint upon.

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

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