Saturday 27 May 2017

News Update - End of May 2017

It's been pretty much the biggest month in the US theme park industry for the last few years, and to be perfectly honest for personal/professional reasons, I've been sitting on the sidelines. No excuses, time for a news update to round up all the thing that have happened over the last few weeks of May 2017.

Pandora: The World of Avatar
Over the last month we have seen the previews, soft opening and finally the dedication of Disney's single biggest investment on a single land at WDW resort: Pandora: The World of Avatar. The land is Disney's response to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter,  and their first real attempt to match that level of immersion. And it is spectatular. Anchored by two new rides, the Na'vi River Journey and Flight of Passage, the land sets a new standard for theming in a Disney park. The bulk of the criticism around this land is about the relvance of Avatar as an I.P., and how well it thematically fits into Animal Kingdom. It's always going to be hard to match perennial behemoth of Potter for relevance  (except if you are Star Wars). The real question is whether people will want to visit Pandora. For now the answer appears to be a resounding yes, but for an investment this large we will only know for sure in 5-10 years time.

Volcano Bay
I dont usually cover water parks on this blog, but when Universal Orlando claim it as a 3rd gate, I have to make an exception. Volcano Bay is described by Universal as a water theme park, and it certainly has pretty comprehensive theme with a standalone I.P.  This park has both started it's previews and opened in the last week. And it looks pretty cool! I'm taken with the layout, organization and theme more than the slides,  like I said I'm not one for water parks. This is much more than a replacement for Wet 'n' Wild, which Universal closed at the end of last year. However, with a sudden hard opening on a park full of innovations there are going to be some problems. The biggest for Volcano Bay have been issues with the TapuTapu virtual queuing system. But all in all it looks like another great success for Universal. Is it worthy being considered the 3rd gate of Universal Orlando? No. Will I keep covering it on this blog? About as much as I cover Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. For me a well themed water park, is still just a water park.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout!
Over on the west coast, Disney California Adventure opened it's latest attraction Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout. I would have called it a brand new attraction, but of course it isn't new at all. This ride is a complete re skin, inside and out, of the Tower of Terror. You can see a number of
reviews and POVs online now thwt show how th ride system has been repurposed quite successfully for the Marvel universe. Now doubt it'll popular short-term , but again it's the medium term which should be the test for this I.P.

In other news while all these openings have happened :
- Happily Ever After fireworks debuted at Magic Kingdom
- First attendance reports from Dubai Parks and Resorts are disappointing
- SeaWorld has expanded it's license for Sesame Street
- Halloween Horror Nights have announced a house based on Stephen King's The Shining

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


  1. argghhh to a house based on The Shining! I'm sure it would be incredible (incredibly scary!) lol :P

    1. I knew you and Ben would have loved the Shinning house! It would be so good. :)

  2. Appreciating the commitment you put into your site and in depth information you present. It's nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same old rehashed information. Wonderful read! I've bookmarked your site and I'm adding your RSS feeds to my Google account. yahoo login

    1. Thank you!! I appreciate that! I wish that I could do some more of these longer updates at the moment. I will get back to them, for sure, when time permits. But I'm now focusing on my shorter weekly updates on YouTube.