July 12, 2014, 10:32 AM ·
The big attraction openings continued this past week, as Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy debuted officially on Thursday at Walt Disney Studios Paris, following the official opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida on Tuesday. This Tuesday, July 15, the party moves to Osaka, where The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will make its Asian debut at Universal Studios Japan. Keep watching Theme Park Insider for coverage.
Busch Gardens Tampa is opening an attraction, too, and it's coming to the park's new Pantopia land. It's not the long-delayed Falcon's Fury, though. The new attraction is Opening Night Critters, a live show featuring a cast of rescued domestic and exotic animals, playing in the Pantopia Theater (formerly the Timbuktu Theater, which housed several 4D shows over the years). Here's a preview, from the park:
Busch Gardens' parent SeaWorld announced this week that it is switching to a new type of refillable cup at all its SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks. The recyclable "PlantBottle" plastic in the cups replaces traditional petroleum-based resins with natural sugars found in plants. SeaWorld said that the switch "is expected to remove 35 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually -- the equivalent of saving more than 80 barrels of oil a year."
Disneyland this week opened its new interactive experience, Legends of Frontierland: Gold Rush!, where park guests role-play a land war between the residents of Frontierland and nearby Rainbow Ridge. Designed to appeal to a generation whose idea of entertainment is defined more by multiplayer online video games than passively watching a screen, Legends of Frontierland is Walt Disney Imagineering's latest attempt at expanding the idea of what a theme park attraction can be. Here's an interesting analysis, and we will have more coverage of this massive multiplayer offline role-playing game in the weeks to come.
A map of gameplay locations for Legends of Frontierland, from Disney
Unfortunate news from Walt Disney World: Pirates of the Caribbean claimed another couple of fingertips this week, as a British tourist was injured when he was holding on to the outside of the boat. The man lost the tips of his ring and pinky fingers. This is why they tell you to "keep your hands and arms inside the boat at all times," everyone. On Pirates, as well as Small World and many other boat rides, the boats are contained on the course by underwater metal flume walls on either side of the boats. Horizontal wheels underneath the boats ride along those flume walls and if your fingers or anything else comes between the boat and the flume wall, well, you're going to lose them. This isn't "magic," it's mechanics. Please, please, please, listen to and follow the safety rules, everyone. No one wants anyone to get hurt. We wish this tourist the best possible recovery.
Finally, construction of a proposed Paramount theme park outside London could begin as early as 2016 for a summer 2019 opening, according to a public presentation by the park's backers this past week. The £2 billion project would include a Paramount theme park, a water park, movie theaters, shops, sporting facilities and 5,000 hotel rooms on a site on the Swanscombe Peninsula, on the Thames River east of London. Full details on the proposal are due in October, and the project still needs public money for substantial local infrastructure development, as well as overall government approval, to go forward.