Vote of the week: Giving thanks for theme parks, and for theme park fans
Published: November 21, 2012 at 9:59 AM
…Universal Orlando has chosen to put so many of the millions it's earned from Harry Potter back into its theme parks - bringing Transformers to Orlando, building an immersive new Simpsons land, and expanding the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Florida. I hope Universal will provide a compelling example to other theme park companies in the years ahead, reminding them that - if you spend money for attractions of the highest quality, you'll earn that money back, and profits beyond.
I'm also thankful for the Three Broomsticks' fish n' chips and Butterbeer. Yum!
…SeaWorld Orlando is investing in what might be the most ambitious ride system ever implemented in a theme park. I can't wait to experience Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin next spring, with its trackless, customizable motion-base ride vehicles. I love what SeaWorld partner Oceaneering did with Universal Creative on the ride vehicles for Transformers and Spider-man, and am looking forward to seeing what the next iteration of motion-base technology can do for SeaWorld in a live animal environment.
…Buena Vista Street will forever preserve a memory of what California once was - to inform (or remind) people whose only thought of California is stereotype. I especially love that it replaced a stereotype and did so by recreating a vibrant public space, one that has make the entire Disney California Adventure theme park feel like a more comfortable and welcoming space. Theme park designers should learn from New Urbanists, and work to create livable public spaces like this, where people can just "hang out," instead of leaving us with nothing but crowded, soulless pathways between the rides and the stores.
…True Theme Park Insiders honor us by choosing this as their venue to, uh, inform the public about such new developments at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, Transformers coming to Orlando and new concepts for Disney's Avatar. I know that leaks drive theme park managers nuts. But when fans hear about parks making major new investments, they get excited. Leaks drive vacation plans, as fans start setting aside money and changing long-term vacation plans to make sure they see the new attractions that get them excited. We are proud to share news of new attraction developments with our readers, and invite more theme park insiders to let us know about upcoming projects. (Anonymity assured, of course.)
…I've been blessed with the opportunity to visit some of the world's great theme park attractions beyond the United States' borders, and to bring you along (well, virtually) on these adventures. Tokyo DisneySea, Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Singapore and Disneyland Paris each offer unique, world-class attractions that any theme park fan should wish to visit someday.
…You, thousands of Theme Park Insider readers, continue to support this community with your time, attention, comments, questions, answers, ratings and reviews. You hear a lot from me on the site's front page, but you - collectively - have seen, ridden and stayed at many, many more places than I will ever have the chance to experience in my lifetime. You are the heart of this community and I am forever grateful for every single one of you who visits and chooses to hang around for a while.
For what are you giving thanks this Thanksgiving? Please let us know, in the comments. And while we're on the topic of Turkey Day, let me offer you another chance to vote on something:
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Absent any major theme park news in the meantime, I'll be back on Friday with our annual list of theme park holiday shopping links.