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The Blog Flume Filter for September 12, 2013

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Published: September 12, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Harry Potter – The big news of the day is that Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling have announced a new movie from the Harry Potter wizarding world: an adaptation of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." The new film will not include Harry and his friends, but will instead tell the story of Luna Lovegood's grandfather-in-law, Newt Scamander, and will start in New York 70 years before the events in the Harry Potter series. Let the speculation begin about a "Fantastic Beasts" make-over of what remains of Lost Continent!

Legoland California – The Carlsbad park announced its 2014 expansion today: a "World of Chima"-themed expansion of the Legoland Water Park. The three-acre expansion will include a wave pool, a water play area and "an iconic 30-foot tall floating 'Mount Cavora' which shows the eight animals representing each animal tribe." So steaming hot Winter Haven gets a World of Chima land while almost-always temperate, seaside Carlsbad gets a Chima water park? Do we have that right?

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom – The Princess Fairytale Hall is scheduled to open on September 18th. Here's a preview, where you can become a royal subject, forking over the bulk of your annual income to the Disney kingdom.

Magic Kingdom – Not So Scary Halloween - Over the last week the new in front of the castle show Disney Villains Dance Mix debuted. I am now convinced that there was a 4-for-1 special on dancers this year, because it seems like every time we walk into a park there are even more dancers. I only published the following video as a punishment to those who don't read the words on this article

Disney California Adventure – World of Color is getting a winter overlay, continuing the Disney tradition of simulating the snow and cold weather that many of its winter tourists are trying to escape.

Universal Studios Florida – Here is an intro to five of the different mazes. Apparently they don't want you just wandering into one of these without having a clue what was going to happen.

It is amazing how fast they can turn someone into a zombie. Although truth be told, I usually wake up looking like that…or worse…

Six Flags Over Texas – The New Texas Giant is slated to reopen this weekend. The restraint system on the coaster has been completely rebuilt with a seatbelt backup. At the entrance of the ride queue they have also placed a sample seat where you can see if you will fit into the vehicle comfortably enough. Rumors also seem to indicate that the sample chair is perched on a scale that attempts to measure the effectiveness of your lawyer.

Six Flags Magic Mountain – X2 is going to be down for the near future to get its chain lift replaced. No word currently on when it will be open again, but probably not before the Halloween celebrations end.

Kings Dominion – The lift hill on Intimidator 305 has been fixed as is currently making test runs. I would hope they can get this coaster opened by this weekend.

Universal Studios Florida – It has been a year and a half. So, yes, it is okay to look back on it now and weep about how much we miss this attraction.

The Little Mermaid – For those of you who have attention spans slightly shorter than the average lightning strike, the Disney Company brings to you Second Screen Live. For the rest of us, they are still making quaint hand-held devices called books.

Readers' Opinions

From James Trexen on September 12, 2013 at 4:24 PM
Wow, I know the world has a shrinking attention span, but that Second Screen Live looks ridiculous.
From Annette Forrest on September 12, 2013 at 8:29 PM
Jeff wrote: "forking over the bulk of your annual income to the Disney kingdom".

I see people write exaggerations like this a lot and I think it's just needless negative energy. I don't know why things like this need to be written in these Blog Flume columns. It's a real downer to keep seeing Jeff write like this. Especially since the Princess Fairytale Hall is a free attraction and there isn't a person alive who actually "forks over" the bulk of their annual income to a theme park.

Disney is not free, but I don't think it's outrageously priced. I have to save up for a few years to make a trip down to Orlando and I need to make wise choices with my spending while I am there, but I feel I get great value for what it costs. I don't think any food or drink is particularly cheap anywhere outside the grocery store and I know better than to ever pay retail for anything at any store if I can avoid it.

But I worry about the negative energy that comes with constantly saying people need to "fork over the bulk of their annual income" or that Disney is robbing people's wallets or these other strange things that get repeated a lot on theme park sites. No one is forcing anyone to take a theme park vacation or to buy anything while there. But some people have a psychological need to pretend that's what's happening.

I just don't get it. Who needs this kind of random negativity in a column about the latest happenings in the parks?

From James Trexen on September 12, 2013 at 9:08 PM
Annette, I see you're new here. I'd recommend going back and reading a few of Jeff's previous articles to see the usual tone of his pieces.
From Phil B. on September 12, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Certainly Jeff is laying on the snark and sarcasm in his piece and it's not to be taken completely seriously. However, there is a grain of truth to what he writes. Obviously anybody with priorities so far out of whack that would fork over the majority of their annual income to visit Disney is an embellishment, but Disney does charge a very steep penny to have access to their parks, and it gets steeper every year. They have exceeded cost of living increases quite steadily over the last couple of decades, and quite honestly they are at a point where they have begun to actually price people out of booking vacations there. If not completely, then not annually, pushing back return trips to further years in between. I know the attendance numbers speak otherwise, and people point to the books for their proof, but in this instance I prefer to point to the people, and I see plenty of them on the net in various forums cutting back return visits or pushing them off for another year or two. More now than ever, I also see a lot of people feeling their dollar just doesn't give the type of return on investment they used to feel it delivered and have made the jump to Universal as a vacation spot for the family since their recent Potter expansion and subsequent influx of cash has them offering something actually NEW, every year. Again, the numbers are vastly in Disney's favor as far as attendance and profits are concerned, but it's just being a bit of an apologist to blindly beat the Disney drum, as if they couldn't offer more of a value for what it takes to get behind the berm. Unfortunately, theme park geeks like us are in the minority, and the masses will continue to shuffle through the gates not realizing attendants from rides get cut, food portions and quality have diminished and D-Ticket mine train roller coasters take nearly as long to build as the entire original Magic Kingdom. Mind you, I'm an enormous Disney fan, and love going to the parks, but I call it as I see it. When they do good, I heap the praise, when they stink up the joint, drag their feet or go for a money grab, I blow the whistle. Nobody says you need to go fanboy crazy with disapproval or rose colored glasses love with praise, but having an objective view peppered with a bit of sarcasm for what is going on in the theme park world isn't a bad way to view everything. Plus it's fun, and isn't having fun what this is all about in the first place.
From Robert Niles on September 12, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Plus, it helps to watch the video, where they make a big deal of visitors to the hall being "royal subjects."
From TH Creative on September 13, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Ms. Forrest writes: "...and there isn't a person alive who actually "forks over" the bulk of their annual income to a theme park."

I Respond: Hello. My name is TH Creative.

From 206.29.182.147 on September 13, 2013 at 1:22 AM
Um does anyone else take offense to being called a "royal subject"?
I cringe at the thought of the interactive mermaid movie...yikes that's scary, if it were up to Disney they'd have us all reserve our showtime with our magic bands!
From James Rao on September 13, 2013 at 3:50 AM
I like the steep prices parks like Disney and Universal charge - they keep the riff raff out! =)
From Joseph Catlett on September 13, 2013 at 5:48 AM
So at the Princess Meet and Greet I'm a royal "subject"....this makes a part of me want to go outside the attraction and protest the monarchy as the world's richest welfare family and demand fair elections. Then I'll go inside and argue with "Princess" Ariel that supreme executive power comes from a mandate by the masses not by some farcical aquatic ceremony.
...apologies to python.
From Jeff Elliott on September 13, 2013 at 12:24 PM
It is funny that people are upset by what was written...

The first version of that was, "As the video shows, it is designed to let your previously normal little girl practice being a vapid, self-indulgent, narcissist, prima donna."

...and yet yet the toned down version still upset...

tee hee

From O T on September 13, 2013 at 3:59 PM
Oh my Jeff you should have gone with the first draft, it's hilarious and true.

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