The BLOGFlume—Let It Snow!
Winter theme park news from Paramount and Disney
Written by Russell Meyer
Here in the DC area, we finally got our first significant snowfall of the season (we typically get our first in mid December). As always it was big news, even bigger than the inauguration, as the pitiful drivers of this area could not help but pretend they were playing bumper cars. I’m still here though, after an exciting romp through New Orleans this past weekend, to bring you the latest in theme park news and commentary.Tweet
Viacom Shopping Around
Viacom is looking to pull a similar move to Vivendi, as they have begun shopping some of their lower valued properties, including publisher Simon and Schuster and Paramount Parks. While this move seems very preliminary, it could be disastrous to one of the most improved theme park chains in the world. Paramount Parks has recently added a number of highly rated attractions with one of the most anticipated attractions in the country, The Italian Job Stunt Track, coming this season. New owners could potentially destroy everything Paramount Parks has tried to create over the past 10 years by neglecting the monumental efforts the company has made to improve its parks during that time. Potential buyers have not been identified, but perhaps Daniel Snyder, who was rather vocal over the mismanagement of Six Flags, would like to take another stab at the theme park business. King’s Dominion is only 45 minutes from Snyder’s base of operations in Landover, MD, and anyone in the area will attest to PKD’s superiority to Six Flags America.
Captain Jack May Get You High
What happens when you make an incredibly popular movie about a classic theme park attraction? You get guests flocking to that attraction wanting to relive the experiences of the movie, and see all of their favorite characters. Unfortunately one of the most interesting and beloved characters of recent movie history, Captain Jack Sparrow, is nowhere to be found in the attraction that inspired the movie and its upcoming sequel. Johnny Depp’s performance really made the movie a success, and people expect to see the unique character in the attraction. Those guests may just get their wish as Walt Disney Imagineers are working on a Captain Jack animatronic figure to be placed in Pirates of the Caribbean’s final scene in Orlando’s version of the attraction. The addition would be completed during its rehabilitation due later this year, which would have him in place in time for the sequel’s world premier in summer of 2006. Making this addition to Walt Disney World’s attraction is a good idea, and does a good job on capitalizing on the popularity of what may be a very successful movie franchise. However, purists will scream sell-out in fear that the much beloved Disneyland version may follow Orlando’s lead. I think WDI has enough sense to not screw with one of the most popular theme park attractions in the world. Making the change to the lesser Florida version allows Disney to still allow the movie tie-in without touching the original classic attraction.
Disney is tweaking its on-site guest “magic hour” policy. Currently, Disney offers on-site guests entrance to a specific park an hour before everyone else. The magic hour is great for both on-site and off-site guests, because on-site guests get an extra hour to explore a park, and off-site guests can know which park most of the on-site guests will be at on a particular day and avoid that park. The new policy also allows on-site guests to remain in selected parks up to 3 hours after the park is closed to off-site guests. Now that’s a perk! 3 hours could allow enough time to ride just about every e-ticket in a park, so that guests could take it easy during the day, especially in the hot Florida sun. Guests must get a wristband to indicate their on-site status to remain in the park. Also, not all attractions will stay open, and not every park will stay open for a full 3 hours every day. However, the extra time at the end of the day seems like a much better advantage than getting in early. Not only can you see things you may have missed during the day, but you can sleep in an extra hour, or have a nice breakfast before rushing to the park. Some families with little ones may have some trouble with this, but a nice mid-day nap should get those families to the end of the day and all the excitement of the attractions after the nighttime spectaculars. Throw in Disney World’s new baggage delivery service, and staying on-site is really become an attractive option when visiting Orlando.
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