Tuesday theme park news round-up: Time to take back Thanksgiving?
Written by Robert Niles
It's the first week of November, so of course that means the start of the Christmas season at theme parks and retail stores throughout America (and maybe elsewhere). Christmas trees, garlands, and fake snow are appearing at many of the Disney theme parks, and the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party starts at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom this Friday night.Tweet
Is it time for a national movement to reclaim Thanksgiving? Who would like to see Christmas decorations stay in the box until the day after Thanksgiving? How about making the day after Halloween the day that the Thanksgiving decor goes up, and we give over the month of November to the build-up for the great national feast, instead? Disney could still offer hard-ticket evening parties, but they'd feature Thanksgiving dinners as well as the expected parades and fireworks. ("Mickey's Very Cranberry Thanksgiving Party?") Who wants November to be less Santa, and more Stuffing?
But Christmas will come eventually, and parks are unveiling this year's special holiday offerings. Dollywood is adding a new production of "Dollywood's A Christmas Carol" to its Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration, which kicks off this Saturday. The show features eight new songs written by Dolly Parton, as well as a "hologram" performance by Dolly herself as Ghost of Christmas Past.
Speaking of new shows, Universal Studios Florida has posted an internal casting call for a new musical production to replace its Beetlejuice show. The new show will continue to feature Beetlejuice and the Universal Monsters, but that's all we know about the new production at this point.
In more Universal Studios Florida news, work continues on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, for an expected late May or early June official opening. Reader Michael B just posted some new construction photos of the Diagon Alley facade:
We've got more over on our Gringotts Coaster photos page.
In less encouraging theme park news, Alton Towers in the United Kingdom has had to close its new Smiler roller coaster once again, after a guide wheel blew, spraying fragments onto four riders. No one was seriously hurt, but it's another problem for the park to fix on this ride.
Back in the United States, the "Toontown Bomber" has been sentenced. The now-former Disneyland employee who placed a dry ice bomb in a Toontown trash can as a prank last May, leading to an evacuation of the land and a media freak-out, is facing 36 days in jail and a lifetime ban from the park. Which raises an interesting question: Which punishment is worse? Would you take a lifetime ban from Disneyland to avoid a 36-day jail sentence? Or would you rather take 36 days in jail to avoid a lifetime ban from Disneyland? (Of course, this guy's facing both.)
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