Saturday 26 May 2018

Europa Park Fire - 26th May 2018

This morning, in Australia, we woke to some very dramatic theme park news from German Theme Park Europa Park, where a large fire broke out in the Scandinavian area of the park. The initial images looked incredibly dramatic, as this fire roared up to 15m into the air, it was reported.

We had confirmation from Michael Mack, the managing director of Europa Park, that the fire had destroyed the Pirates in Batavia dark ride, and also the Norway section completely, however there was no recorded injuries, and the fire appears to be contained, as Iceland (the area behind it) and the Blue Fire Megacoaster appear to be unharmed.

I heard reports of staff from the park on their days off, and after there shifts joined firefighters in attempting to contain the blaze and manage getting the park evacuated safely. That is a fantastic effort by the staff and emergency services to both keep it isolate to the part of the park, which is completely surrounded by park, and to have no injuries recorded. I heard that only part of the park was actually evacuated, and indeed a number of rides continued operating while the blaze was brought under control. Which can be seen in the twitter photo above from the top of the Euro-Mir.

Scandinavia in 2010.

I feel a bit of a personal connection to this park, as it was during an overseas trip through Europe that my dormant obsession with theme parks was re-ignited and Europa Park was a very big part of that. We know that in time they will rebuild, but it's still tough to see such a highly themed area damaged in such a brutal way.

Our thoughts are with the staff of Europa Park that have poured their hearts into it. People in the industry know this park is a safe and well maintained park, so while it's to early to know the cause they certainly get the benefit of the doubt until we know more.

Let's hope that Europa Park can rebuild in a bigger and stronger in the future, as it is deservedly a very popular and loved park.

Friday 25 May 2018

News in a Minute - 25th May 2018

The theme park news for this week:

- Disney has narrowed down the opening windows for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. It will open in Summer 2019 at the Disneyland Resort and then in late Fall 2019 in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- Mobile food ordering is now live at Disneyland Resort, and alcohol is now avaliable at all table service restaurants at Magic Kingdom.
- The brand new HangTime dive coaster officially opened this week at Knott's Berry Farm.
- Six Flags has acquired five more amusement and water parks in the United States, although they have actually owned four of those parks previously.
- Disneyland Paris has had start-ups involved with an outreach program called the Castle Hub, do elevator pitches inside the Tower of Terror.
- DLP has also announced that WDW favourie Mickey's Philharmagic will open in the Discoveryland Theatre in October, around the same time as the refurbished Phantom Manor will re-open.
- If you are like watching theme park vloggers, British couple Krispy Smore and Floridians Tim and Jenn Tracker  have taken a surprise trip together to Tokyo Disney. So, check out all of their channels over the next few weeks.
- Disneyland Resort has given us a little bit more detail on the Incredicoaster, the re-theming of California Screamin', it will have a scene where you will smell chocolate chip cookies.

Friday 18 May 2018

News in a Minute - 18th May 2018

This week's theme park news:

- The TEA/AECOM Theme Index for 2017 came out yesterday, and the big winners this year are Disney's Animal Kingdom, Shanghai Disneyland, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, and Universal Studios Japan. Magic Kingdom stays atop the leader board globally with just over 20 Million vistors last year.
- At Magic Kingdom this week the fire-breathing Maleficent dragon float malfunctioned and caught fire during the Festival of Fantasy parade. No one was injured, and the fire while dangerous was put out extremely quickly but WDW staff.
- Legoland Florida is adding a new land called Lego Movie World in 2019, themed to Emmet, Princess Unikitty and their friends from the Lego Movie.
- IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai has announced it will close to guest for nearly 3 weeks starting later this month, during the Holy month of Ramadan, to enhance the facilities and overall guest experience.
- Disney have announced a hard ticket event to open the new Pixar Pier, the night before it opens, for a staggering $299 per person. While you'll get a lot for that, food, exclusive rides and a swag bag, that's still pretty steep for a few hours at a theme park.
- Dreamworld on the Gold Coast has announced they will soon open a new temporary Trolls Village attraction area, in the Dreamworks Experience section of the park.
- Warner Brothers Movie World is going to close their Scooby Doo Scooby coaster for 12 weeks starting in July, to put back some of the theming that was stripped from the ride early last year.
- Universal studios Japan this week debuted their new Harry Potter parade!
- At Disney's California Advenutre, Flo's V8 cafe has had it's menu dumbed down again to become another Disneyland burder joint.
- Universal have announced that cult Halloween movie Trick 'r Treat will be getting a house of it's own at the Halloween Horror Nights events in Orlando and Hollywood this year.

Thursday 10 May 2018

News in a Minute 11th May 2018

Here is this week's Theme Park news:

-Universal Studios Hollywood have confirmed that on September 3rd they will be closing the Jurassic Park - The Ride for an extended refurbishment. It will re-open next year sometime themed to the current series of Jurassic World movies.

- Disney CEO Bob Iger said during the company's quarterly earnings call that it is inevitable that they will look at building additional theme parks in China and elsewhere around the world.

- In Osaka, Universal Studios Japan has had an incident on the flying coaster, had an unfortunate emergency stop on the lift hill. All riders were evacuated safely, however it took nearly two hours to complete the evacuation.

- Disney officially confirmed this week that the Night of Joy christian music festival at Walt Disney World has been discontinued.

- Universal Parks & Resorts is nearly doubling the budget for its upcoming Universal Studios Beijing theme park from an estimated US$3.3 billion to US$6.5 billion, with the park likely to open in 2020 at the earliest.

- Epcot's upcoming space themed restaurant ha been confirmed to be going in the  space between Mission: Space and Test Track. They also poured concrete for the base of the Guardians of the Galaxy ride this week.

- Fenix, the new B&M Wing Coaster going into Toverland in the netherlands, has had it's track completed this week.

- Railblazer, the RMC single rail coaster, has had it's first test runs at California's Great America.

- Disneyland announced that "Redd" the red-headed pirate will become a walk-around face character in New Orleans Square this summer.

- WDW has added a new last minute one day ticket option that includes automatic fast pass selections, which can be hard to get at the last minute.

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