Saturday 15 June 2024

June 16th Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

-  Universal Studios Florida officially opened it's new DreamWorks land this week, which took over the space of the former Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone. The land features play areas and meet and greets themed to Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Trolls. The former Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster has become Trolls Trollercoaster.

- Universal Orlando also debuted its newest nighttime spectacular, CineSational: A Symphony Spectacular. This is the first show at Universal Orlando to heavily feature drones.

- Finally, at Islands of Adventure Universal has opened a new castle projection show, Hogwarts Always. Hogwarts Always traces a young wizard's or witch's first year at Hogwarts, from receiving their admission letter to buying supplies at Diagon Alley and arriving on the Hogwarts Express all the way through to the awarding of the House Cup at the end of the year.

- Universal Orlando also previewed their new Epic Universe Preview Centre this week, mostly because all of the worlds Theme Park media was in Orlando.

- Walt Disney World Resort has gotten final legal approval to go ahead with $17 billion in expansion plans over the next two decades. The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has approved a development deal with Disney that will guide additions and expansions at the resort over the next 20 years. It's been widely reported that the now-approved development deal allows Disney to build a fifth major theme park and two minor parks at the resort, in addition to expanding hotel and retail space. Disney also must contract at least 50% of construction work to Florida-based companies and spend at least $10 million on affordable housing projects. 

- Also at WDW, the all-new Country Bear Musical Jamboree will open in Frontierland's Grizzly Hall in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom on July 17.

- Epcot has opened their new Communicore Plaza which features a new live show called ¡Celebración Encanto!. The new area, which replaces the long-gone Communicore West building, also includes the Commincore Hall events space plus an indoor Mickey & Friends character greeting area. There's also a "Festival Favorites" food stand that will be serving popular items from EPCOT's various food festivals.

- In Italy, Gardaland has opened its new drop tower ride. Wolf Legend is a 82-foot Drop & Twist Tower, themed to a curse that turned a giant wolf to stone.

- In the UK, Thorpe Park has re-opened Hyperia, it's new Mack rides Hypercoaster, which had to close just days after opening. Thorpe Park said, "Once again we want to thank everyone for their understanding and patience. Now it's time to forge your wings of steel, conquer the seemingly impossible and embrace your inner fearlessness onboard the UK's tallest, fastest and most weightless rollercoaster.



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Saturday 8 June 2024

June 9th Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:


- Tokyo Disney opened Fantasy Springs this week. the largest park expansion in the resorts history, which features minilands based on the movies Peter Pan, Frozen and Tangled. As part of the opening Tokyo Disney Resort presented a video tour of its Fantasy Springs expansion, "The Fantasy Begins," including views of the "port" at night with character and cast performances, accompanied by drones.

- The Tokyo Disney Resort has also announced that their upcoming nighttime spectacular will be called "Reach for the Stars." In addition to the traditional collection of Disney and Pixar characters, the new show will be the first at Tokyo Disney to feature characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

- Legoland New York has set the opening date for The Minifigure Skyflyer gondola ride, which will open on June 24. To celebrate the grand opening, Legoland New York is planning a record-setting disco dance party. The park is offering the first 2,500 guests who register online free same-day admission to the park for the party. In addition to registering online, you must arrive 8:30am on June 24, wearing "glitter/sequin apparel, sparkly tutus, disco ball themed accessories, [or] other disco-themed duds" to get in.

- Knott's Berry farm have announced that the newly redesigned Camp Snoopy officially will open to guests on June 27. New rides in the land will include Snoopy's Tenderpaw Twister Coaster, a Zamperla family coaster that takes the place of the old Timberline Twister, Sally's Swing Along, a Zamperla Super Happy Swing, Camp Snoopy's Off-Road Rally, a Zamperla Convoy Dino Jeeps ride that replaces Rocky Mountain Trucking Company, and a newly themed Beagle Express train ride.

- Disneyland Resort has closed the  Club Pixar dance show at Disney's California Adventure, and is also preparing to close the Doctor Strange: Mysteries of the Mystic Arts show, which will close June 30th. It's worth pointing out that this isn't related to the Disneyland parade and character performers voting to joining the Actor's Equity Union, and that the Club Pixar dancers are in fact represented already by a different union.

- Universal have announced they are bring A Quiet Place to this year's Halloween Horror Nights on both coasts. This represents a fascinating Sound Design challenge for Universal, as the contrast of the ultra quiet and suspenseful movie with a very rowdy and loud event could be difficult to overcome. I look forward to seeing how Universal stages this. 


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Sunday 2 June 2024

June 2nd Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

- Walt Disney World have shared a POV from Tiana's Bayou Adventure this week, which shows Tiana and Naveen planning a party, but needing to find a band. Luckily we come across Lewis and his friends.

- Disneyland debuted a new pre-show for its World of Color - One nighttime spectacular at Disney California Adventure, called Emotional Rollercoaster" "which promotes the upcoming "Inside Out 2," which opens June 14.

- Universal Epic Universe Preview Center will open at Universal CityWalk in Orlando. The preview center will include "a massive model offering a bird’s-eye view of the entire park" that will come to life via augmented reality on guests' mobile devices. Epic Universe merchandise and backdrop photo ops will be available in the preview center, which takes over the former Universal Legacy Store location. 

- One of Epic Universe's biggest rides has been given a new name. Universal Orlando's website now lists the Mack Rides racing coasters formerly known as Starfall Racers as Stardust Racers. The change comes after a lawsuit was filed in US federal court earlier this month over the name. In 2023, Universal filed a trademark application for "Starfall Racers," however an opposition was filed to that application. Earlier this month, Starfall Education Foundation filed a lawsuit against Universal City Studios in US District Court for the District of Colorado over the roller coaster's name.

- Universal Orlando is holding a special event for the start of Halloween Horror Nights. One night before it opens officially on August 30 at Universal Studios Florida, the park will welcome a limited number of fans for its first-ever Premium Scream Night

- Disneyland Shanghai will open The Adventure of Rhythm will debut June 3 on Adventure Isle's Storyhouse Stage. This musical will feature "a team of archeologists who specialize in researching music" as the excuse for the line-up of staged performances of tunes from a variety of Disney's animated movies. However the show will actually change from performance to performance, as they move through 5 musical styles, with 2 different musical adventures possible for each of the shows.


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Saturday 25 May 2024

May 26th Theme Park News In A Nutshell

This week's Theme Park News: 

- Fantasmic! nighttime spectacular returns at Disneyland in California, which sees the return of Maleficent, but this time she will stay as the evil queen rather than transforming into a dragon.

- Legoland California has debuted their Lego World Parade.

- Disney Dreams That Soar drone show debuted this week at Walt Disney World's Disney Springs.

- Thorpe Park is debuting Hyperia, the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the UK. It is a Mack Rides Hypercoaster that tops out at 236 feet and 80 mph.

-  Paramount Location-Based Entertainment & Experiences has announced a new Nickelodeon Hotel & Resort in Orlando opening in 2026. It is to be located within the 220-acre Everest Place development on west 192 in Kissimmee, this Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Orlando will offer more than 400 hotel rooms and condo units. This is a completely new resort, and not connected to the former I-drive Nickelodean Hotel, which is now the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites

- Kings Island today officially opens its Camp Snoopy expansion, including Snoopy's Soap Box Racers.

- Because it's the start of the summer season in the US, there is a bunch of new shows and experiences also debuting in the states including:

 - SeaWorld San Diego is opening its new Shamu & Crew Together Again stage show, BMX Blast! stunt show, and Pirates Ahoy! The Battle for Mermaid Cove show, as well as its So Much More to SEA 60th anniversary parade.

 - The Dolly Parton Experience exhibit opened this weekend at Dollywood.

 - the Rhythm of Nature ice skating show debuts at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

 - SeaWorld Orlando is premiering its Xceleration show and So Much More to SEA parade.

 - Potato Smash bumper cars debuted yesterday at Kennywood

- Universal Orlando has revealed a number of it's original IP houses and experiences for this year's Halloween Horror nights inlcuding:

- Triplets of Terror 

- Monstruos: The Monsters of Latin America

- The Museum: Deadly Exhibit 

- Major Sweets Candy Factory

- Slaughter Sinema 2

- Goblin's Feast

- Disneyland cast members who perform as characters and in parades at the resort have voted to organize under the Actors' Equity Association union. Yes votes received more than 78% of votes cast. It's the first time that parade performers and characters at the Disneyland Resort have been represented by a union.


- Finally, The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Disney has tapped a screenwriter and production team to develop a movie inspired by the famed Club 33 in Disney's theme parks.



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Sunday 19 May 2024

May 19th Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

- Tiana's Bayou Adventure will use a virtual queue when it opens at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom June 28, it was announced this week. As a major suprise it won't be sold as an Individual  lightning lane, instead being featured as a standard lightning lane option in the Genie+ app. Previews for DVC members will start from June 12th, and for Annual Passholders from Jun 13 on selected days.

- Here in Australia, Warner Bros. Movie World has opened its new coaster Flash: Speed Force. This half pipe coaster has been moved over from neighbouring Wet'n'Wild water park, and repainted. They also put out an extensive update this week about how Superman Escape has had an issue with haudralic launch system which is causing an extended unexpected downtime. The coaster is expected to be closed for at least 6 weeks, while engineers come over from Germany to fix the ride. In the meantime they have delayed the repainting of DC Rivals, which was due for it's extended maintence this month. It will now re-open in the next two weeks. They have also said they've moved forward plans to change the queue for Superman Escape so that riders can have their belonging with them until the very end of the queue line.

- Europe's first Peppa Pig theme park opens this weekend in Germany, next to its Legoland Deutschland theme park in Günzburg.  This is Merlin's second stand-alone Peppa Pig theme park, following the original installation at Legoland Florida in 2022 and coming in advance of its third opening, later this year near Dallas.

- Europa-Park has reopened the Alpine Express 'Enzian' and the Tirol Log Flume which were destroyed by fire last year. The area in the Austrian version of the park, is known as Magical Valley of Diamonds, and is now completely re-opened. Europa-Park also has created an all-new Yomi Adventure Trail with suspension bridges, climbing elements, and slides above and around the Magical Valley of Diamonds. Finally, the park also has redesigned its Gemstone Grotto shop in the area.

- Universal Orlando shared a final construction tour of DreamWorks Land in advance of its official opening next month, with Annual Pass previews starting May 24. DreamWorks Land opens officially on June 14.

- WDW has shared a beautiful preview of Disney Dreams That Soar drone show, which will run May 24 through September 2 above Disney Springs. More than 800 drones will form familiar Disney characters and scenes during the nine-minute production, which play twice nightly and feature a new original song.

- Kings Island's Camp Snoopy expansion opens on May 24, but the Cincinnati-area theme park is sharing a first look at Snoopy's Soap Box Racers, it's new Vekoma Family Boomerang coaster.

- At Cedar Point, Top Thrill 2 has closed just week's after it opened. On social media, Cedar Point said that "Top Thrill 2 is currently experiencing an extended closure as Zamperla (the ride's manufacturer) completes a mechanical modification to the ride's vehicles."

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Sunday 12 May 2024

May 12th Theme Park News in a Nutshell


This week's Theme Park News

- At Tokyo Disneyland Resort we’ve seen the first media previews of Fantasy Springs at DisneySea. Check out coverage from many people but especially TDRExplorer to see glimpses of the new land and new attractions: Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Journey, Rapunzel’s Lantern Festival, Peter Pan’s Never Land Adventure, and Fairy Tinker Bell’s Busy Buggies.

- In the US Pixar Fest marketplaces (food booths) at Disney California Adventure as part of Pixar Fest. The food stands offer a variety of bites and drinks inspired by Pixar films "Inside Out," "Elemental," "Luca," "Turning Red," "Soul," and "Ratatouille."

- WDW has announced the opening of their next DVC villa the Island Tower at Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows will begin welcoming guests this December.

- The DisneylandForward proposal won final approval from the Anaheim City Council this week, clearing the way for expansion at the Disneyland resort.

- Disney has announced its Halloween plans. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party returns to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom starting Friday, August 9 this year. One the west coast, Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party will return to Disney California Adventure for 27 nights, starting Sunday, August 25. around the world, Hong Kong Disneyland will bring back its Halloween celebrations, including House of De Vil-lains, the "Let's Get Wicked" show, and Nightmare Before Dinner experience, on September 12 and continuing through October 31. At Disneyland Paris, the Disney Halloween Festival will run October 1 to November 3. And the Tokyo Disney Resort will stage Disney Halloween from October 1 through November 7, with new theming and entertainment at Tokyo Disneyland.

- First quarter financial reporting in the us this week. At Six Flags, attendance for the three months ending March 31 was up 6% over the comparable period one year ago, to 1.7 million visitors. Total guest spending per capita was down 8%, however, to $74.35. That led to a 6% drop in revenue, to $133 million. The result was an 18% increase in net loss, to $83 million.

- At Cedar Fair, attendance jumped 27%, to 1.35 million, over the same period in 2023, despite the company's parks being open for just 117 total days in the quarter compared with 161 operating days during the same time in 2023. However, average guest in-park spending dropped 6%, to $60.53 and costs were up 10% for the quarter, leading to a net loss of $133 million. Both companies confirmed in their statements that their merger of equals will conclude in the next quarter.

- Attendance rose 2.1% at United Parks & Resorts (which is the new name for SeaWorld parks and resorts) for the first three months of the year, compared to the same period on year ago, the company reported this week.

- Disney's Experiences segment, which includes the theme parks and Disney Cruise Line, reported revenue of $8.39 billion for the three months ending March 30, 2024. That's up 10% from the same period in 2023. Operating income was up 12% for the quarter, to $2.286 billion. The International parks in Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai led the segment, with 29% growth in revenue and 87% growth in income for the quarter. Disney also noted strong results at Walt Disney World in Florida, though it also noted lower results at Disneyland in California. Disney said that attendance was up at Disneyland, but lower occupied room nights and inflation offset those gains. 


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Saturday 4 May 2024

May 5th - Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

- Universal Orlando's new DreamWorks Land will open June 14.  June 14 will see the debut of a premiere its new nighttime lagoon show, CineSational: A Symphonic Spectacular, and a new castle projection show with Hogwarts Always.

- Universal Orlando also revealed details about the third land at its upcoming Epic Universe theme park - Super Nintendo World. which will be a clone of the USJ land including the soon to open Donkey Kong Country land.

- Legoland California has announced that new Lego World Parade will debut on May 24th.

- Universal Hollywood have announced that a new terrain coaster Fast & Furious: Hollywood Drift will open in 2026. The Intamin coaster will feature trains modeled after cars featured in the "Fast & Furious" movies. The ride vehicles also will feature 360 degrees of rotation along the coaster's track to create "a seamless sensation of drifting cars as guests spin in motion at furiously fast speeds," according to Universal's press release.

- The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions [IAAPA] said today that it expects to see an overall 2% increase in attendance at the theme parks and attractions it represents in the United States this summer. Wahl said that IAAPA members expect to see a cumulative 7% increase in consumer spending this year, as well. That would put projected total spending on U.S. attractions at more than $32 billion in 2024.

- Disneyland Paris is adding a scene from the Pixar movie Up to their version of the Storybook Land ride, Le Pays des Contes de Fées. Carl and Russell will join the miniature scenes on the ride, accompanied by Carl's balloon-lofted home.


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Saturday 27 April 2024

April 28th - Theme Park News in a Nutshell

This week's Theme Park News: 

- Oriental Land Co. - which owns and operates the Tokyo Disney Resort - announced this week that it will close its Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters ride in October to make way for a new ride based on Wreck it Ralph to open in 2026.

- The Tokyo Disney Resort announced that "Vacation Jamboree" will run at the Country Bear Playhouse from May 17 through November 7. It's the first time in five years that the show has run at the resort.

- A government filing in Shanghai has revealed Disney's plans for its first-ever Spider-Man-themed roller coaster. The new coaster will be the previously announced new attraction to be built next to Shanghai's Zootopia land, which opened last December. The plans also state that an official announcement of the project is set to be May 2nd.

- Universal's theme parks reported a modest increase in income, coupled with a decline in earnings, for the first three months of 2024. Comcast reported that its theme parks segment saw a 1.5% increase in revenue for the quarter, to $1.979 billion. Higher operating costs drove Adjusted EBITDA down 3.9% for the parks during the first quarter of 2024, to $632 million.

- Lots of Pixar is happening at Disneyland resort with the return of Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular, new parade, Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration! and an interactive Dug meet and Greet forming part of the Pixar Fest running through to August 4th.

- Fifteen people had minor injuries from a tram crash at Universal Studios Hollywood last week. A Universal spokesperson released the following statement to local media: "There was a tram incident at the theme park tonight that resulted in multiple minor injuries, confirmed by the LA County Fire Dept. We are working to support our guests and understand the circumstances that led to the accident."


- Ryan Gosling has turned out for the preview of Universal Hollywood's The Fall Guy Stuntacular Preshow. The special version of the pre-show also featured "The Fall Guy" film director David Leitch, and two of Gosling's stunt doubles from the movie, Ben Jenkin and Logan Holladay.

- Cedar Point will enforce a strict "no loose items" policy on its Top Thrill 2 roller coaster when it opens for the season on May 4th. But the park will not be providing free lockers or bins for riders to store the items they cannot take on the ride. The park said on its website. "Due to the later revision, the integration of lockers into the queue, similar to those at Steel Vengeance, was not possible. We encourage riders to leave any loose articles with a non-rider. If you wish to rent a locker, they will be near the entrance for a nominal fee."

- Europa Park has opened it's new Voltron Nevera roller coaser this week. Anchoring the park's Croatia land and themed to Croatian inventor Nikola Tesla, Voltron's theme is that you are being transformed into electrical energy. The coaster features a recreation of Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower, which the inventor built to test his plans for wireless transmission of electricity.

- Legoland California have announced the stars of their Lego World Parade

  • Fire Chief Freya, who will lead the parade on a Lego City firetruck float,
  • Scuba Diver, who will ride aboard her Lego City Deep Sea Adventure-inspired float,
  • Scallywag Pirate, who will be seeking treasure aboard his pirate ship float,
  • Lloyd, a ninja who will appear on the Lego Ninjago Dragon float,
  • Hopsy, who is a bright red Lego Duplo Bunny who will ride on the float at the "tail end" of the parade.

- Efteling in the Netherlands has announced it's create electric powered fake steam trains for the next trains for it's historic Steam Train attraction. Efteling has set goals of becoming climate-neutral by 2030 and climate-positive by 2032, neither of which would be possible with an authentic coal-burning steam train ride in the park.

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Saturday 20 April 2024

April 21st - Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

- Disney Experiences announced that Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris will be renamed Disney Adventure World when its World of Frozen land opens. The new World of Frozen, whose opening date has not been announced, will sit next to Adventure Bay, a 56.75-acre-foot body of water that will be equipped as a future home for entertainment spectaculars in the park, with fountains, music, lights and special effects capabilities. The promenade to Adventure Bay, Adventure Way, will include a new attraction, Raiponce Tangled Spin - a Tangled-themed spinner ride, and The Regal View Restaurant and Lounge, which will offer Disney Princess meets as well as views of the Bay and its entertainment.

- Universal Studios Japan's Donkey Kong Country expansion will now be opening in late 2024 rather than spring as originally announced.

- Universal Destinations and Experiences has entered a public feedback period for its proposed theme park in the United Kingdom. As part of they have release an indicative master plan of how the 476 acre plot could be used. The land is located in Bedford, which is about an hour North of London. You can see more and give feedback at universalukproject.co.uk. Let's hope that they are going to be branding this park Universal Studios UK and not the first rumoured name Universal Studios Great Britain.

- The Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks are about to revamp their procedures for accommodating guests with accessibility needs. The changes come after use of Disney's DAS [Disability Access Service] pass among guests has more than tripled at the Disneyland Resort over the past five years, according to park officials. The DAS pass will remain, however Disney is putting together a new team of cast members and medical experts to determine which guests will get that accommodation, which allows guests to use Lightning Lanes after waiting the equivalent of the standby queue elsewhere. Starting later this spring, Disney visitors no longer will go to Guest Relations for accessibility passes. Instead, they will go to the new team, who will recommend accommodations based upon visiting parties' description of their needs and how they are accommodated elsewhere. Park officials said that they want to ensure that DAS is reserved going forward for guests with developmental disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, who are not able to wait in queues, rather than have it continue as a catch-all solution.



 - Universal Stella Nova Resort will open January 21, 2025, while Universal Terra Luna Resort will open February 25, 2025 on Universal's new south campus, located near the Orange County Convention Center. In a new concept video, we saw lots of details about these two moderate resorts.

  • The lobby bars will be Nova Bar at Stella Nova Resort and Luna Bar at Terra Luna Resort.
  • The quick serves will be Cosmos Cafe and Market at Stella Nova Resort and Omega Cafe and Market at Terra Luna Resort.
  • And the pool bars and grill will be Galaxy Bar and Galaxy Grill at Stella Nova Resort and Moonrise Bar and Moonrise Grill at Terra Luna Resort
  • Each hotel will offer 750 double-queen guest rooms that sleep up to four guests, as well as "spaceship-styled" windows, making them the only of their kind now in Orlando.


- Disney has given us more creatures for their new Princess and the Frog ride, with a team of frogs joining the musical shenanigans.

  • Felipe the Frog – The band's leader
  • Mayra the Frog –The most ambitious of the four frogs, she has been practicing her instrument since she was a tadpole, according to Disney's backstory
  • Mondo the Frog – The group's drummer
  • Isabel the Green Tree Frog – The youngest member of the group, she also plays the conga drums



- Universal Studios Hollywood is bring in a temporary stunt show called "The Fall Guy Stuntacular Pre-Show" will open April 27 and run through May 19, in conjunction with the opening of the Fall Guy movie, which opens May 3rd. This new pre-show will play in front of the WaterWorld stunt show.


-  The new Real Madrid World theme park officially now is open at Dubai Parks and Resorts. It is a retheme of the former Bollywood Parks Dubai park.


- Holiday World has sent passengers out on the first test runs of its new coaster for 2024. Good Gravy! is a Vekoma family boomerang coaster that is set in the park's Thanksgiving themed land, and it's first passengers were dressed in turkey costumes.


- Dorney Park in Pennsylvania is opening it's new Dive Coaster Iron Menace to a series of special events over the next few weeks, before the parks opening for the season on May 10th.

- Meanwhile Kennywood also in PA has announced that The Steel Curtain will remain closed for the 2024 season.


- Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced the opening date for its revamped Loch Ness Monster, Loch Ness Monster: The Legend Lives On will open officially May 10 at the Virginia theme park. Busch Gardens has replaced 900 feet of steel track on the 1978 Arrow Dynamics Custom Looping Coaster, as well as added new show elements to the ride and its queue.


- Intamin release a video of the newly installed trains for Europe's first installation of its single-rail coaster model. Mahuka will open later this month at Walibi Rhône-Alpes in France. The Intamin Hot Racer is the second installation of the model, following Big Dipper at Sydney's Luna Park.


- Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort has become the first theme park restaurant in the US to be awarded a Michelin star. 


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And you can find our weekly podcast about theme park news called Nuts About Theme Parks, on all good Podcasting platforms.

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Saturday 6 April 2024

April 7th - Theme Park News in a Nutshell

 This Week's Theme Park News:

- This week saw the start of the Season of the Force event at Disneyland resort, which also meant the debut of new Star Tours scenes featuring Din Djarin, Grogu, Andor and Ahsoka. The event also introduce Sabine Wren as a walk around character, and also the return of the adorable BD-X droids in Galaxy's edge.


- Bob Iger shared a new "creative inspiration" image of what a potential avatar experience at Disneyland Resort could look like, as he hyped up the DisneylandForward proposal at the annual Disney Shareholder meeting.


- At Epcot, it's been announced that Test Track will close June 17 for its extended refurbishment. This week we also saw concept art for the new facade for the attraction.


- Walt Disney Imagineering has re-announced two major projects for Walt Disney World this week, with reporters getting a glimpse at the Beyond Big Thunder Mountain expansion at Magic Kingdom, and the Tropical Americas rethemeing of Dinoland USA at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The only actually new information in these announcements was that Disney will be filing permits for construction in Magic Kingdom, west of Frontierland very soon, and new clearer concept art for the Tropical Americas land. Speculation around the new animal kingdom land, is that it will feature the Dinosaur ride themed to it's brother attraction Indiana Jones, as well as and Encanto area and potentially a Coco themed carousel.


- WDI also launched a new  YouTube Series, called We Call It Imagineering, which featured new animatronics from the Tiana's Bayou Adventure ride, including Louis the trumpet playing crocodile, and several of the human characters from the movie. This week they also gave us the next round of new creature characters featured in the ride, who are:

- Octavia the Bobcat – a fearless kitten who plays the vaksin, a single-note horn instrument

- Pawpaw the Bobcat – Octavia’s grandfather, who taught her to play the vaksin

- Claude the Louisiana Black Bear – a horn-playing bear who loves to create with things found in the forest

- Bernadette the Louisiana Black Bear – Claude's mate and another horn player

- Sebastián the Louisiana Black Bear – Bernadette's cub Sebastián is a drummer

- Phina the Gray Fox – also a drummer



- Disneyland After Dark: Pride Nite returns to Disneyland June 18 and 20 this year, celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community and featuring themed entertainment and photo ops for event guests, as well as specialty food, drinks, and merchandise for sale. Tickets will be $159 per person and tickets will go on sale from April 9th.


- Finally, Universal Studios Hollywood has announced that they are being back the red and white striped "Glamour Trams" this summer as part of a celebration of the parks 60th Anniversary. The new version will also include a tram stop, for the first time in many years, where guests will be able to see an original tram, a King Kong backdrop, the original hanging Jaws shark, and a scale replica of the Hollywood sign.


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And you can find our weekly podcast about theme park news called Nuts About Theme Parks, on all good Podcasting platforms.

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Friday 29 March 2024

March 30 - Theme Park News in a Nutshell

 This week's (early) Theme Park News:


- Universal Orlando Resort has revealed the details for the next land at its upcoming Universal Epic Universe theme park - How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk. They have confirmed they are bringing the "Untrainable" show that premiered at Universal Studios Beijing, which will be called The Untrainable Dragon. Other attractions in the new land will include:


  • Hiccup's Wing Gliders, an Intamin multi-launch roller coaster with a top speed of 45 mph.
  • Fyre Drill, a Splash Battle-style interactive boat ride, where "Ruffnut and Tuffnut invite teams of Vikings to compete to outscore and out-soak each other on this wet-and-wild boat battle."
  • Dragon Racer’s Rally, a Gerstlauer Sky Fly with a maximum height of 67 feet.
  • Viking Training Camp, a play area.
  • Haddock Paddock, a character meet with Hiccup and Toothless.


- Tokyo Disneyland is adding Marvel Characters to their version of It's a Small World, for a limited time. The attraction will be renamed It's a Small World with Groot. In a Press release, disney stated: "Groot from the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' film trilogy and his friends from Marvel Studios films are visiting Earth for vacation. Groot encounters his friends in various locations on Earth and experiences their regional cultures and music with them as well as with children from all over the world."


- Disney has given us a a sneak peak at the animal characters that will feature on Tiana's Bayou Adventure, the replacement for Splash Mountain.

Tiana's musical critter friends will be:

  • Byhalia the Beaver: A percussionist who builds musical instruments from natural materials in the bayou.
  • Gritty the Rabbit: Gritty plays a found-license-plate washboard.
  • Beau the Opossum: Plays an upright bass made from a gourd, using her tail to play some of the notes.
  • Apollo the Raccoon: Plays a squeezebox made from found objects in the bayou.
  • Rufus the Turtle: Apollo's companion in adventures, Rufus plays the harmonica in this band.
  • Timoléon the Otter: This fiddle player is the oldest member of the band and likes to share stories about the past.



- Orlando's giant observation wheel on International Drive, is now called the Orlando Eye, again, after the attraction was acquired by Merlin Entertainments this week. It was originally named the Orlando Eye, then subsequently ICON Orlando in 2018, then it changed again to be The Wheel at ICON Park in 2019.

- California's Great America is open for the season this week, and made good on it's symbolic Super Bowl bet with its Cedar Fair sibling Worlds of Fun, from Kansas City, by temporarily renaming coaster Flight Deck to be the Soaring Chiefs.

- Gardaland in Italy have this week took delivery of and installed the ride's 82-foot-tall purple octagonal tower for their new 2024 Attraction, revealing that the new attraction will be a "Drop & Twist Tower." A name has not yet been released for this ride, although the park has state that is have a theme based on indigenous Americans.


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Saturday 23 March 2024

March 24th - Theme Park News in a Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:


- Walt Disney World has announced the that the final pieces of the Epcot's transformation - CommuniCore Hall and the CommuniCore Plaza stage - will open June 10. CommuniCore Hall will house the Mickey & Friends character greeting as well as being used as flex space for EPCOT's various festivals and celebrations.  The CommuniCore Plaza stage will first feature ¡Celebración Encanto!, a new sing-along stage show featuring the characters from Disney Animation's "Encanto," including Mirabel and Bruno. 

- Also at WDW, a new drone show Disney Dreams That Soar will run nightly from May 24 through September 2 in the skies above Disney Springs.

- Legoland California have opened their new Dino Valley land. Featuring very colourful Lego Dinosaur models that now feature in the two re-themed rides Explorer River Quest and Duplo Little Dino Trail.

- Europa Park have announced that Voltron Nevera powered by Rimac will open officially on April 26. The Mack Rides Stryker coaster features 7 inversions, 4 launches, and what the park is calling the steepest launch in the world, at 105 degrees. Themed to the experiments of Nikola Tesla, the coaster will anchor the park's new Croatia-themed land.

- Universal Orlando's new Epic Universe theme park has started testing it's Starfall Racers trains testing on the coaster's track this week, as shown on local Orlando television. Epic Universe opens in 2025.

- Disneyland have given more details about their "all-new experience" of fireworks from inside Galaxy's Edge as part of their Season of the Force event from April 5 through June 2. Disneyland will recast its fireworks experience as "Fire of the Rising Moons." Guests will hear the fireworks accompanied by music from John Williams' Star Wars film scores.

- The resort also announced that Critter Country will close at Disneyland on May 1, as the  park prepares the land for the opening of Tiana's Bayou Adventure. This work will include re-themeing two of the retail locations to Princess and the Frog, and also widening and improving pathways in that section of the park.

- Mattel and its partners have announced a second Mattel Adventure Park, coming to the Kansas City area in 2026, even before the first park in Arizona has opened. The Kansas city park is due to break ground later this year. The Arizona park is set to open Late this year.

- The Mall of America is opening a new Avatar ride. Avatar: The Last Airbender that is. The new aerial carousel ride is called, Fly with Appa, where you ride on the Sky Bison from the Nickelodeon animated series. It is part of Mall of America's Nickelodeon Universe.

- Qiddiya Investment Company has signed a deal with Toei Animation to license the Dragon Ball franchise for a new theme park at the Qiddiya City development in Saudi Arabia.


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Saturday 16 March 2024

March 17th - Theme Park News in a Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

- The DisneylandForward proposal has cleared it's first major hurdle this week, with The Anaheim Planning Commission voting 5-1 to recommend the  proposal to the Anaheim City Council. The Council is expected to vote on this later this spring.


- Universal confirmed this week that Florean Fortescue soft-serve ice cream shop, originally found in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida, will be opening another location at Universal Hollywood later this month. Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream counter will open March 29 in former Zonko's joke shop space within Honeydukes. The counter will serve 10 flavors of ice cream in cups or waffle cones: Banana, Chocolate, Mint, Orange, Vanilla, Toffee Nut, Granny Smith Apple, Pistachio, Toffee Apple, as well as Butterbeer ice cream. To celebrate that iconic flavor, Universal is declaring March 15 through April 30 as "Butterbeer season" at its U.S. theme parks. The parks will feature new Butterbeer-flavored items during the event, including a Butterbeer popsicle as well as Butterbeer caramels, which will be available in Orlando only.


- Shanghai Disneyland this week states that it had "began initial preparation work for construction of a separately themed attraction to be located within Shanghai Disneyland, adjacent to Zootopia." They also announced that they had completed piling work on its as-yet unamed third hotel.


- The Disneyland Resort is previewing new entry gates that will be installed at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, starting later this year. They have opened a test gate this week, which will bel used for a limited time and will assist with traning staff. The project is going to be finished in 2025.


- Disneyland resort dropped a whole bunch of details on Pixar fest, which returns to the resort April 26 and continues through August 4. This year it will feature a food festival, a part called Pixar Pals Playtime Party, and new parade at DCA called Better Together: A Pixar Pals Celebration!

- In the U.S. SC Holdings has acquired Santa Monica Amusements LLC, the operator of Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier.  


- Fuji-Q Highland has announced that its iconic roller coaster, Do-Dodonpa, has closed permanently. The S&S Thrust Air Coaster has been closed since August 2021, after a number of injuries.


- Aquatica Orlando officially opens its newest water slide, Tassie's Underwater Twist. This 129-foot long enclosed Super Bowl water slide from WhiteWater West features an orchestral score and synchronized video display that recreates the underwater world of Australia's Shark Bay for guests to explore as they slide through on two-person innertubes.


- Kennywood has announced the winner in its contest to name the park's bumper cars ride. In a fan vote, Potato Smash beat candidates Deep Fried Derby and Speedy Spuds to become the name for the ride, which has been getting a rebuild as Kennywood themes the cars to its Potato Patch fries.

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And you can find our weekly podcast about theme park news called Nuts About Theme Parks, on all good Podcasting platforms.
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Saturday 9 March 2024

March 10th - Theme Park News in a Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

- Disneyland Resort has it's clearest yet communication on the construction of an Avatar based experience, with Bob Iger saying  "We have one Avatar-based land, Pandora, in Florida. We're going to put a second one in California."

- Disneyland also had another attempt this week at opening up sales for their Magic Key annual pass program, which seemingly went better than last time.

- Disney Parks announced the opening date for the latest version of Star Tours, featuring Ahsoka Tano, Cassian Andor, Din Djarin (aka The Mandalorian) and Grogu, will debut April 5 at Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort.


- SeaWorld San Antonio has opened Catapult Falls, which it calls the "world's first launched flume coaster."


- Thorpe Park in the UK has completed track work on Hyperia, its new Mack Rides Hypercoaster for 2024.

- Legoland California has announced that Dino Valley will open officially to Legoland guests on March 22.

- Kentucky Kingdom will extend its 2024 season by staying open for the Christmas holiday season, the park announced this week.

- Gardaland in Italy has been teasing it's upcoming new thrill ride with claims this week of the arrival of a very large WOLF in the park.


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And you can find our weekly podcast about theme park news called Nuts About Theme Parks, on all good Podcasting platforms.

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Saturday 2 March 2024

March 3rd - Theme Park News In A Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

- Universal Studios Florida will open its new DreamWorks Land this summer, and this week they also confirmed details of their attractions including that the former Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster is being transformed into Trolls Trollercoaster.

- Still at Universal Orlando, Islands of Adventure has removed the 3D projection on Skull Island: Reign of Kong, as part of a trial of 2D projection for the ride.

- Reporting season for theme park chains in the US this week told us that Six Flags has had higher attendance for lower income, and that United Parks (formerly SeaWorld Parks) had a decline on attenance.

- Hersheypark announced today that it has replaced the seats and restraints on its Intamin wing coaster, Skyrush

- Knott's Berry Farm has announced that work is "re-zooming" on the rebuild of its former Montezooma's Revenge roller coaster, renamed MonteZOOMa: The Forbidden Fortress.

- Carowinds and Kings Dominion have changed the name of their former Intimidator and Intimidator 305 roller coasters, they will now be known as Thunder Striker and Project 305 respectively.

- March 30th  will be the opening date of Silver Dollar City's new version of Fire in the Hole, a complete rebuild of one of their classic attractions, by Rocky Mountain Construction.


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Saturday 24 February 2024

February 25th - Theme Park News in a Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:

- In Germany, The owners of Europa-Park have taken their first test ride on the park's new Voltron Nevera roller coaster

- In WDW, Soarin' Over California will end its limited-time run at Walt Disney World's EPCOT on February 27, with its replacement, Soarin' Around the World, returning the next day.

- At Disney Springs, a new permit for general construction/demo" has been filed for the closed NBA Experience building. 

- Swedish theme park Liseberg has announced they have found the remains of a person who is believed to be the missing person from the incident. 

- SeaWorld Orlando has added several artists to its Seven Seas Food Festival concert series line-up, including Hanson and The Goo Goo Dolls.

- An interesting photo taken of the new Dreamworks Animation area at Universal Studios Florida shows off what appears to possibly be a new kiddie sized flat ride. Its hard to tell for sure, but it does look sort of like a kid sized Family Swing ride.

- SpongeBob's Crazy Carnival Ride will open officially on March 1 at Circus Circus Las Vegas, the resort announced this week.


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Saturday 17 February 2024

February 18th - Theme Park News in a Nutshell

 This week's Theme Park News:


- Universal Destinations & Experiences has announced that Everbloom Games has created a Universal Studios Experience DLC for Minecraft.

- Tiana's Bayou Adventure will open this summer at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Disney Parks also shared a sneak peak at one of the new Tiana animatronics that will be featured on the ride.

- Movie world here in Australia gave us more detail on their upcoming Land of Oz which, releasing more concept art and also the official names for the rides: Flight of the Wicked Witch and Kansas Twister.

- Legoland New York this summer will introduce Legoland's first gondola ride, with The Minifigure Skyflyer

- Theme park chain Cedar Fair reported a slight dip in revenue and attendance for financial year 2023 compared to 2022, it reported this week.

- SeaWorld San Antonio that is new ride, the world's launched flume coaster, Catapult Falls will open officially to guests on Saturday, March 2

- In Spain a freak accident has seen strong winds cause a tree to fall onto the family wooden coaster Tomahawk at PortAventura, with 5 people hospitialized, and 2 of those having serious injuries.

- At Sweden's Liseberg theme park a major fire has broken out in an indoor water park that was under construction. One person is reported missing, and 16 people were treated for minor injuries then released.



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