Just Published: Theme Park Insider: 2016 Year in Review
It looks like Disney has moved its Glow with the Show technology across the promenade to the original park and are already synching fireworks to their ears.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Now that the Beauty and the Beast characters have found a home in the Magic Kingdom, the buzz is that the Studios' Beauty and the Beast show could be on the verge of closing. Once it closes, instead of a new show going in, we are thinking that the theater will be bulldozed and a dark ride put in that extends nearly back to the parking lot. But to compete and be an additional draw next to Tower of Terror, Rock & Roller Coaster, Star Tours, and Toy Story Midway Mania, any new ride had better be something good.
Islands of Adventure – With the "other" Universal Orlando park so busy with construction and everyone analyzing every word that is said about Harry Potter Land 2, apparently the Islands have been a little on the lonely side and decided to man up for some quick rumors this week. First off, the King Kong idea about pulling the ride film from USH and somehow building a ride system around it has pretty much been dismissed. What refuses to go away is the one that Toon Lagoon is going to close right after Harry Potter 2.0 opens and will be completely made over to Middle Earth. While we know there is a fight in court over this one, the lawyers should be able to settle their differences by this time next year.
Universal Studios Hollywood – The park is killing two birds with one stone. Curious George is coming down to make way for Harry Potter going in. But that then begs the question of where they are going to relocate the kiddie rides or just make do without a kiddie land. The answer seems to have bubbled up this week. Despicable Me has a little more room in California than they did in Florida and with that extra room, there are probably going to be a couple of extra preshow rooms as well as a kiddie land rethemed to the amusement park in the movie called Super Silly Fun Land.
SeaWorld Orlando – The new Antarctica area and ride are currently open for cast member previews, which leads as to think that be this weekend or early next week SeaWorld will have soft opened the ride. They are also rumored to have a theme song that is probably nowhere near as tacky and talent-dead as the Full Throttle theme song.
Alton Towers – Not wanting to let the entire cat out of the bag, the following video is everything on the Smiler except the “secret weapon”. And to be honest, no one yet is 100% certain what the “secret weapon” is…although we think it is something like being in a tumble dryer.
Paramount Park Spain – This park has cleared their final approval hurdle and is free to start construction as soon as they can get construction vehicles on the site. If they were the Florida division of Universal, they’d already have three buildings up…because it’s already been several minutes since they were cleared to start work.
New Parks – This has been an odd week about new theme park announcements. Bob Iger can’t seem to keep a secret and keeps talking about a Star Wars theme park. Legoland appears to be slated for a park in South Korea. Dolly Parton renewed her interest in opening up a park in Nashville. It looks like Universal Studios Dubai is trying to get off the page again. Ferrari World is suggesting that they will have a new park open in two years; we don’t know where just yet but suspect South Korea. Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, signed an agreement to build a park in Russia.
VIP Tours - Many of you probably have heard about Dream Tours and its “VIP” program that utilizes a handicapped person to get you through the lines at Walt Disney World faster. Keep in mind that the source of this story is the New York Post, which broke the news about those Saudis who bombed Boston being arrested about fourteen times before the police caught up to those two kids from Kyrgyzstan. And that the rich people who allegedly bought this service weren't too bright. Suuuuure, everyone else is waiting a two and a half hours for It's a Small World. I wonder how much they paid to bypass the lines at the Tiki room and the Country Bear Jamboree, too.
But the scheme is inspiring some imitators. New Jersey-based "Scheme Tours" is now offering an "RIP" program, where convicts on a work-release program will obtain FastPasses to any attraction, while you wait. Just, uh, don't look over there, okay? Those other guests really didn't want to ride anyway.
Even Disney's getting in on the act. It's new "FastPass++" system will charge the One-Percenters 99% of a front-line cast member's annual wages to skip the lines at It's a Small World. The catch? The rich fat cats might not have to wait to get on, but they'll have to wait two and a half hours to get off the ride. Justice served.Tweet
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