Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
Tokyo Disneyland – According to the video below, Darth Vader’s ship has found the Earth, landed here someplace, and taken over a ride at Tokyo Disneyland. This news story oddly seems to correlate to several people who saw a bunch of space ships that look similar to the X-Wing Fighters from the Star Wars movies that were attempting to drop photon torpedoes though open manholes several miles away.
Shanghai Disneyland – Plans for a large transportation hub for this new park have been released. In the press release, they mention that: “The hub at the west gate of the amusement park will comprise five bus terminals, car and taxi parking lots, a large toilet and six lounges.” Hmmmm. A large toilet? That will make needing to make a pit stop really interesting.
Disneyland – Space Mountain reopens. It never should have closed in the first place, but that is California for you. C'mon, to the rest of us here in 'Murica, "safety" is when you score two points in football. When all of the people who can’t stand to live in the mess that California has become and decide to move east to Colorado, I really hope that they bring some decent rides with them.
Star Wars Weekend – Star Wars Weekend is bringing back the popular "Cast Yourself in Carbonite." According to the website, it takes 7-8 weeks to deliver. If it is anything like the movie, go late on your last day of vacation. They will freeze you in carbonite and then have FedEx deliver you to your house in a couple of weeks. Though I'd prefer being delivered home by Boba Fett, this sounds like a really good end to a vacation, as you don’t have to deal with airport security or crappy airline service and can have a nice long, cold rest before Luke and Leia show up at your house to thaw you out and have you return to work. That is how it works, right?
In other news, more actors are lining up to get in the good graces of the Mouse before the new movies start filming by making guest appearances at Star Wars Weekend. The original actors who played Darth Maul, Boba Fett, Wicket the Ewok, Admiral Ackbar, Lando, Chewbacca will be at Star Wars Weekends at various times trying to show how much the public loves them and demands that they should be in the newest movie.
Star Wars Theme Park – Bob Iger dropped hints this week about using the newly purchased Star Wars franchise to make an entire theme park. While the how and where and what are all still being worked on, Uncle Bob said that he would keep us informed of developments. Based on the track record we have here at TPI, by the time Mr. Iger confirms anything, we will have known about for many months.
Star Wars Universe – Here is a little video candy to hold you over for another week. I have said this from the very beginning: JJ gets it. Although the working title of “The Further Adventures of Jar Jar Binks” is a little worrisome. It is nice to know that in another week or so, JJ will begin serious work on Star Wars, after his release of that other science fiction-y thing-y movie. He probably deserves to take the weekend off, but Star Wars fans really are demanding.
Jurassic Park 4 – The fourth entry into the Jurassic Park movie series has hit a snag and is now on hold. Depending on whose Twitter feed you read, the project has completely closed down or it is just on hold for the time being. My thought is that this early in the game it is a problem with the story. And shutting down production until the story is just right sounds like a prudent move. Especially since, for $20 and a case of PBR, I’ll rewrite the script for you. Jurassic Park is about a theme park… and where do you think would be a good place to find experts on theme parks? I rest my case.
Lotte World – Here is some video of an interesting new shooting ride where you have a whole room full of people shooting at the screen. I think Universal should jump on this technology quickly and outfit the Barney show with this kind of system.
Hersheypark – The Great Chocolate Factory Mystery has opened, and from the reviews that we have heard is that it is a combination of Turtle Talk combined with a Mystery. The show has over a hundred variations and interacts with the audience singling out people in the audience and naming people who are watching the show. I didn’t realized this, but they worked with Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to get this made, so despite the animations in the preview movies, it looks like there is a much better product inside the theater and well worth the money.
Alton Towers – The Smiler and its record-setting amount of inversions now has an opening day scheduled: May 23. I don’t know how Alton Towers normally handles their soft openings, but I would expect that tests have already started and it is merely a matter of days before they let people on for the first time.
Kings Island – A trademark filed by Cedar Fair seems to indicate that something will be called Banshee in the near future. Wild speculation would make sense that it be used as the replacement of Son of Beast, as they can put a spin on why Son of Beast came down… because it was killed by a Banshee. While the name is just speculation at this point, we are starting to see what looks like footers going into the site already. There is talk that Cedar Fair is contracted for another wing coaster, but it doesn’t make any sense to build a wing coaster in Kings Island with Cedar Point so close, so it may be Carowinds in line for the wing coaster and Kings Island is still a guessing game. Based on the name Banshee… wouldn’t a flying coaster make sense? Cedar Point doesn’t have one of those. But it also doesn’t make much sense because a flying coaster or a diving coaster wouldn’t have the kind of huge footprint that Son of Beast had.
Djurs Sommerland – Apparently in Denmark a twice-launched coaster is what they call a family coaster. The short-in-height ride certainly makes up for it in the way it hugs the ground and just eats the track, which it has quite a bit of. The only thing this coaster needs is a bunch of trees to do flybys with and you will have a great coaster.
Theme Park Apprentice: Season 5 – There are hints being dropped around the office that the new season of Theme Park Apprentice is at hand. While nothing is firm at this point, it sounds like an overall theme to do battle with has been thrown out the window and you will be given a lot more freedom to create rides on your own whim. If you haven’t played before, now is the time to get some research done in preparation of the competition by searching Theme Park Insider for old challenges and entries. I do believe that auditions will be held starting in another week or so. If you have questions, feel free to transfer over to the discussion board at this point. Good luck!Tweet
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