Blog Flume Filter for August 1, 2013
Published: August 1, 2013 at 11:31 AM
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.
Published: August 1, 2013 at 12:16 PM
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find the surprise TPI member in one of this week's videos.
Published: August 1, 2013 at 2:06 PM
Cedar Point's tower implosion was amazing. Had that tower dropped to the wrong side it would have fallen over the parking lot or over the park. I wonder why they left the elevator on the top. Is the surprise TPI member inside that elevator?
Published: August 1, 2013 at 4:16 PM
Hour are still the same at Busch Gardens Tampa the park is closing at 9pm and has been that way all summer. Halloween at Busch the park will be closing at 2am with more houses then last year. Also Christmas town is adding bigger snow area and more lights to the entire park not just some areas. The two restaurants closing is only temp. They are both very slow with not many people going to them. So why not close the when the park slows down. They reopen at peak time or when the new ride opens.
Published: August 1, 2013 at 7:50 PM
Just returned home from Orlando... I was hoping the Simpsons walls would come down while we were there. There were construction crews working on Bumblebee Man's Tacos the whole time and it looked like they were having issues.
The sign was lit up, but only partially, some of the letters had every other LED out. The twirl & Hurl ran non-stop as well. You can get a better view from HP London, so I took some video.
I will be submitting a trip report shortly. There is so much I have to say about the parks, it will take a few paragraphs and I want to explain it in detail.
Published: August 2, 2013 at 7:28 AM
Thanks for the news, Jeff! The Comcast stuff is crazy. They seem to want nothing less than to beat Disney in Orlando. I just started a discussion thread about whether they could be planning a 4-day experience for the Universal Orlando Resort. (this is how rumors get started...)
Published: August 2, 2013 at 9:34 AM
Wow. Comcast is just now getting ready to accelerate their plans for theme parks?!?! I wonder if that means in Orlando they're going to develop all the land that currently isn't being used to create a third park? And I wonder if they have any new plans for Hollywood. I would imagine most is going to be done in Orlando since Hollywood and Singapore are constrained so much by the development around them. Orlando will be out of room soon, but there's still plenty there to work with.
It's exciting though. I love anything that gets Disney to step up their game.
Published: August 2, 2013 at 11:46 AM
That is very interesting news about Outlaw Run, now tied with El Toro for the number one spot on my personal top ten wooden coaster list. With both Texas Giant and Iron Rattler temporarily closed in the wake of the tragedy, is every coaster built or rebuilt by Rocky Mountain Construction going to come under suspicion or require extra safeguards?
Published: August 2, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Interesting interview this week about the Imagination pavilion at Epcot and how Disney decides when/if to add/update attractions there.
The person being interviewed wrote a book about the history of the park, so he does have an insider's expertise.
Published: August 2, 2013 at 1:24 PM
NB: You just missed the soft opening. All Springfield walls are now down except for the spinner. Looks terrific. I can empathize with you. Last year we just missed the soft opening of Despicable Me by a few days. But that gives us all the more to enjoy when we go back in seven weeks.
Published: August 2, 2013 at 1:35 PM
I think my 5 year old would love the Imagination Pavilion at EPCOT, but it will be gone by next year. Oh well. I guess my kid will have to settle for Despicable Me at Universal Studios Florida.
Published: August 2, 2013 at 2:01 PM
Everyone's ignoring Jeff's challenge at the beginning of the Comments...I know the answer
Published: August 2, 2013 at 4:15 PM
Well, then, spill the beans!
I know very few people from TPI except by name. And I'm not going to watch all the videos again. Especially since one is 20 min long and, although it's called a doc, kinda was somewhere between that and an infomercial. Just saying'.
Published: August 2, 2013 at 5:51 PM
Mark, it was on the Cedar Point documentary, "From Dreams to Screams" about the construction of Gatekeeper. And I'm the TPIer in the video. At almost exactly the 16:00 mark a guy with short hair and a black windbreaker is sitting with a young man wearing a plaid hoodie. That is me (the old guy with the short hair). We had no idea we had been filmed. It was our first ride on Gatekeeper, on opening day at Cedar Point. I was stunned to be watching the video on the Blog Flume and suddenly to see my son Anton and myself sitting there, ready to fly on Gatekeeper.
John Hildebrandt, the VP and General Manager of Cedar Point (who was shown often in the video) just announced his retirement at the end of the year. He's a great guy, very friendly, and I know he checks out TPI occasionally.
Published: August 4, 2013 at 11:41 PM
Busch Gardens has no plans to eliminate either Howl-o-Scream or Christmastown to my knowledge. Much like TPI, I am also on the media events mailing list and both of these parks have plans for these events through the 2013 season. Have folks forgotten that tickets for both events are already on sale? Both events are huge draws for the park and large money-making ventures that pay off, perhaps more so for Williamsburg then Tampa.
So let's take this apart a bit, shall we?
-Contracts go re-worked, this happens often. More so in management isn't pleased with the current payout for the show, which I can tell you from seeing the current Germany show, isn't great. Considering it's a part they probably want to bring in a fresh crew for a new show.
-Your also forgetting that Williamsburg is a seasonal park unlike Tampa. However, Crown Colony does tend to close during the slow season. This really isn't anything new and it happened in the day when AB owned the parks also.
-Also you've forgotten one thing.. park that is in trouble doesn't build. Busch Gardens Tampa is building, rumors are flying around Williamsburg about a possible building project provided you keep your ear to the ground.
So I'm not buying any of that business.
Carrie of ISI
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Previous article: Theme park history: A short history of SeaWorld Orlando
Top U.S. Theme Parks
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney California Adventure
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Hollywood
SeaWorld San Diego
Busch Gardens Tampa
Other Top International Parks
Universal Studios Japan
Hong Kong Disneyland
Walt Disney Studios Paris
Universal Studios Singapore
Features, News and Advice
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Theme Park Insider Awards
What's Under Construction for 2015/6?
How to Stay Safe at a Theme Park
2005 (Dec 27-31)
2005 (Jan-Dec 26)