Theme Park Insider

Insider's Update: Fast & Furious filming, plus more Disney and Universal news

August 2, 2014, 10:39 AM · New item: MyMagic+ went down at Walt Disney World today, forcing a return to paper Fastpasses for much of the day. If you were there today, please tell us in the comments how things went for you. Now, on to the rest of the update....

August already? What better way to hang on to the rapidly passing summer than with a visit to a theme park? Here's what's happening around the world at top parks this week.

Universal Creative's been filming new scenes for the Fast & Furious: Supercharged encounter that will debut on the Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour next summer. Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) this week posted to Twitter and Instagram a photo of himself on the green-screen set for the new attraction.

And @kolbykonnection tweeted a link to a Daily Mail article with photos of Michelle Rodriguez filming "a few re-shoots" for Fast And Furious 7. Riiiight. Sharp-eyed Theme Park Insiders will note that the man standing next to Rodriguez in each photo is not FF7 director James Wan — it's Universal Creative's Thierry Coup! So this wasn't an FF7 reshoot; it was filming for the new attraction. Rodriguez also recently posted to Instagram a photo of herself in motion capture gear for the Fast & Furious attraction shoot.

While we look forward to the new Fast & Furious attraction at USH, it appears that another attraction at the park soon will be going away. Inside Universal reports that Universal's House of Horrors will close next month. The year-round haunted-house maze attraction typically closes in September for a Halloween Horror Nights makeover, but Universal will not reopen the attraction after HHN this fall. It is expected to be replaced by "a venue with dining, shopping and entertainment options."

Across the country, Walt Disney World has announced two new hard-ticket additions to the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The "Late Nights LIVE!" street party will run from 9:45pm to 1am Tuesdays and Thursdays between the United Kingdom pavilion and World Showcase Plaza. The $79 ticket includes six items from selected Food & Wine Festival booths, as well as the music and entertainment. Reservations are available via +1-407-939-3378 and theme park admission is required only if you arrive before 9pm. Disney's also offering a $199 "Premium Package" for Disney hotel guests (Swan and Dolphin included), which includes an in-room gift, $50 gift card and access to 10 VIP areas where you can have items delivered to you from the festival booths without having to wait in line. (A "no-fast" Fastpass?) Reservations are available via +1-407-939-1889.

Stefan Zwanzger recently visited the construction site for Universal Studios Beijing, which appears to be moving forward even as Universal has pulled out of old Universal Studios Korea project. It's just demo work now, but Zwanzger reports "the site today looks almost identical to the Shanghai Disney site back in 2010, so the announced 2018 opening date may prove realistic."

Finally, in case you missed it, Universal announced a new 'Puss in Boots' family coaster for Singapore, Russell Meyer took a look at flying coasters, and Disney selected the head of Disneyland Paris to be the general manager for Shanghai Disneyland.

Please share your favorite fresh theme park news and rumors, in the comments.

Replies (2)

August 2, 2014 at 9:36 PM · I was at Disney Hollywood Studios from 10:30am to about 3:00pm. Around 9:30 am, I used wifi tablet at motel to make 3 FP+ for DHS. It was difficult to get into MDE but I finally made FP+ for Star Tours, Rock n Rollercoaster and Tower of Terror. I think I confirmed all of them and wrote times on paper before leaving for DHS. I was even able to switch a Muppets 3D FP+ for the Tower of Terror FP+ when ToT didn't come up on my earliest Option 1 list. I thought the problem was my tablet and motel wifi but that may have been the time the system crashed.

I went to Star Tour at 11:20am to use my FP+ but the scanner showed blue, not green. The CM asked if I has a photo but I only had my paper note. He redid the scanner and let me in, it scanned green at the second scanner. This is about when I started to read tweets about the MM+ crash so I don't know if I did ever have the FP+. I went to see the Frozen shows and didn't use the other 2 FP+ and avoided aggravation.

August 3, 2014 at 2:50 AM · Closing the House of Horrors is a horrible idea. Maybe the effort to staff and run it is too difficult, but I thought it was the best attraction in the park and a reason to make a special trip. It does show me that despite all the great decisions Universal has made they can still do something boneheaded. I also thought they were rebooting the classic monsters movie which makes this decision even more questionable.

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