Tuesday theme park news round-up: Who's ready for a theme park Hunger Games?
Written by Robert Niles
In this week's fake theme park news, hundreds of news outlets hyperventilated over the idea of a "Hunger Games"-themed theme park being built. It's the latest example of how too many news organizations cannot or will not distinguish between a theme park attraction and an entire theme park. (Google "Harry Potter theme park" sometime.) The story emerged after Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a Wall Street conference call that the studio has been "approached in two territories about potential theme park opportunities" for the film franchise.Tweet
Who knows who those parties might be, and what they might have in mind? After all, does anyone really want to spend time in Panem?
But let's not let that stop the rumors. Hey, what if Disney secretly has a deal with Lionsgate? And what if MyMagic+ was simply the groundwork for reducing the entire Disney World vacation experience to a massive reenactment of the Hunger Games? C'mon, it's not too farfetched. As we wrote last night on Twitter, you said that you'd "kill" for those hard-to-get Cinderella's Royal Table reservations. What if Disney gave you the chance to prove it? ;^) Have you been to a summer morning rope drop recently? How far are we now from just rounding up 24 "tributes" from the families gathered at the park's entrance and just letting 'em fight it out over four Midway Mania Fastpasses?
Probably closer than we are to seeing an actual Hunger Games attraction in a major theme park.
In real theme park news, Aquatica Orlando's revealed the name for its new water slide for 2014: Ihu's Breakaway Falls. The park said today that "the drop slide will be the tallest, steepest and only multi-slide ride of its kind in Orlando. The slide is named after Ihu, Aquatica Orlando's colorful gecko."
On the west coast, SeaWorld Parks also announced today's birth of a baby dolphin at SeaWorld San Diego. That means... cute baby animal photo!
Back to Disney, we already know that we won't be seeing the Marvel characters at Walt Disney World anytime soon, thanks to Marvel's old deal with Universal Orlando. But here's another place you won't be seeing the Marvel characters anymore: casinos. In a reported effort to avoid charges of hypocrisy, Disney -- which long as lobbied against the expansion of gambling near Walt Disney World in Florida and is unique among major players in the cruise industry by not offering gambling on any of its ships -- is putting a stop to future licensing deals for Marvel characters on slot machines and lottery tickets.
Also from Disney, we're hearing from insiders that Animal Kingdom's Avatar land, slated to open in 2017, actually will open in stages, a la New Fantasyland.
Finally, we now have a better idea of when Walt Disney Studios Paris will open its new Ratatouille-themed trackless dark ride. In a radio interview last week, Disneyland Paris President Philippe Gas revealed that the attraction will open sometime in late June or early July. Now, who's ready to fight to be the first in line?
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