Weekend theme park news round-up: Subs, Doc Brown to close
Written by Robert Niles
The new year will bring at least a couple of closures at major theme parks.Tweet
Disneyland has announced that the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage will close on January 6, 2014 for an "extended refurbishment."
Fans have speculated that the Nemo refurbishment will become a permanent closure, as happened with Tomorrowland neighbor Rocket Rods a decade ago. But Disney's PR reps are insisting that the attraction is scheduled to reopen in late 2014. The subs are the largest attraction in Disneyland, with a massive show building that extends under the Autopia course. Yet the attraction offers a relatively low hourly capacity for putting through riders, making it one of the more expensive attractions in the park to operate, on a cost-per-guest served basis. That, and the attraction's location in Tomorrowland, have made it a focus of speculation that Disney will choose to replace it with the new Star Wars attractions that Disney's considering for Anaheim.
Over at Universal Studios Hollywood, Inside Universal reports that Doc Brown's Chicken restaurant will close in January, as well. With The Simpsons Ride taking over the old Back to the Future ride several years ago, it makes sense that Universal would make the theme switch with the neighboring restaurant, as well. The Simpsons-themed Fast Food Boulevard's been a huge hit at Universal Studios Florida. Hollywood will be getting Butterbeer as the park is remaking its entire upper lot to bring in its version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Will Doc Brown's closing clear the way for Hollywood to get Krusty Burgers, as well?
Universal Studios Japan also is building a Wizarding World, and the Osaka theme park soon will have a bundle of fresh cash to spend on that, and other projects. A Hong Kong-based private equity firms has invested US$250 million in the privately-held theme park.
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