Blog Flume Filter for August 1, 2013
Written by Jeff Elliott
Universal Studios Florida – The latest that I have heard is that the construction walls in Springfield could come down as early as today. Time to head over there right now! Well, wait for the rest of the article and then go… Or finish reading this in the car on the way over to the park… Assuming someone else is driving. Or maybe call the park first and ask them…
Disney’s California Adventure – The World of Color is going to get a holiday makeover. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know again closer to the holidays, but for now:
Disneyland - Every role is a starring role – Mark Twain Riverboat Captain. Although I thought that most cast members that had anything to do with the water (Tom Sawyer Raft Driver, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jungle Cruise captain…to name a few) were all given the position because they were too unreliable to pick up trash around the park, and had somehow, through some quirk of nature, learned how to swim. Although knowing how to swim is not a character trait I particularly admire in someone who should be trying their best to keep the boat floating.
Disneyland Paris – Distressing news is coming from European contingent of Disney parks. From what we are hearing, all new construction is going to be halted in both parks after the Ratatouille ride is completed. This means that all of the cool news we have been hearing about an expanded Star Wars Land and Cantina are now on hiatus. Hopefully this is a move to get a little bit of money back in their coffers to help deal with their debt load and not an indication that Disney is no longer going to try because there is really no one in Europe that gets close to their attendance numbers.
Epcot – We have been hearing murmurs that Soarin’ is about to get a digital projection upgrade, which frankly has it good points and bad points. You are going to lose resolution by going digital unless the screen is broken down into sections serviced by different projectors or unless the entire screen becomes a massive Cowboy Stadium sized LCD TV screen. The good news about upgrade is that if they go digital, they would have the ability to take a trick out of Star Tours book and play random scenes for you. Not that I want to sound like a whiner here, but, why not we fix the places that don’t have a two hour wait (cough, cough, Imagination Pavilion, cough cough) before fiddling with things that people already like and are willing to stand in line for a ridiculous amount of time to see. That is the thing about Epcot I have never understood: “Is it broken?” “No.” “Let’s fix it anyway.” And then the attractions that no one really cares for (cough, cough, Ellen, cough, cough) seem to go on and on forever without even being considered for an upgrade/update. And don’t even get me started on the lack of rides in the World Showcase.
Universal Studios – Both Florida and California are getting a new Walking Dead haunt this year. Check it out:
Comcast – Even after opening Despicable Me, Simpsonsland, and Transformers, with several Harry Potter lands under planning and construction, the CFO of Comcast said in a statement during the last week that they are now “accelerating NBCU’s capital investment plan” for the theme parks. Holy @#$%! Really?? I thought we had just gotten past an acceleration and were coasting down the other side. But, no. Accelerating. Wow. What the heck are they planning to build to keep accelerating? I thought the plan that they were already running with was huge.
Busch Gardens – There is something going on at the two Busch Gardens parks that is making me very leery about what the future holds for these two parks. Last week we were receiving reports that two restaurants in Tampa are closing shortly on the heels of the park shortening their hours. This week we are receiving news from the Williamsburg park that other strange things are taking place. The park is now offering a $50 weekday pass for SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa in what I am assured is an indication of low attendance at the parks. According to one source, the German shops are not going to order any more beer steins and cuckoo clocks, but it begs the question if those are just low margin items or if all of the German themed goods are on the way out. In addition to that, we received a report from a local season passholder who told us that contracts with cast members that were set to expire at the end of the year have been reconfigured and now terminate at the end of the summer while management is looking for any excuse at all to fire performers. There are also reports that regular yearly shows for Halloween and Christmas are being canceled with no plans to replace them with anything. Separately any of those items would not worry me, but I am getting the feeling that after a less than spectacular showing when the company went public and the 1.8 billion in debt that is hanging over their heads, things are looking somewhat troubling now.
Kings Island – The park has revealed that they are going to make the announcement of their newest coaster on Aug 8. From the press release that we received, they are claiming it is going to be a record breaker of some sort. The leading rumor is that the coaster’s name will be Banshee and made by B&M. Aside from that we really don’t have any solid specifics. Stay tuned to TPI as we find out more.
Cedar Point – Now that everyone has been on GateKeeper, here is how it was made:
Silver Dollar City – The park is now being particularly careful about their Rocky Mountain Coasters ride ever since the death in Texas. According to some reports the restraints are now being locked down to a 36” waist. If your waist is any bigger than that, you better be able to suck it in and not moan when they cinch you down, otherwise you will be taking the “walk of shame”.
Lotte World – Lotte World in South Korea just gave us a taste of what dark ride shooters should be. One can only hope that this is what Cedar Point may have in mind when we hear them talk about a new dark ride for next season.
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