Theme Park Insider's 2011 Year In Review - December

January 4, 2012, 8:48 AM · Note: The editor of these articles has insisted that I make the soon to be obvious point that while there may be some real news in here, the key to these articles is a sense of humor. While your own recollection of these stories may be a little different than what is presented below, your recollection is quite possibly closer to truth. While it was requested that I keep to the facts, I realized quite quickly in this process that 1) If Santa could really see everything that I was doing, I would have never received a present and 2) I probably would have never taken a shower… I had enough problems with creepy old fat men without having to worry about being watched all of the time….


December, my favorite month. Santa Claus and the whole present thing puts this month on top of the gotta do pile. Unfortunately, Universal was the only park that had any significant news, although that might have been because Robert and I were flooding the front page with this article and his reports from Singapore and Tokyo.

Thank you for flying with TP Insider Airlines. If you are making a connection, I might point out that Morgan, our 7-year-old captain is heading to Orlando, and you may want to take a flight with him on it. Be sure to open the overhead bins with care as the contents may have shifted around a bit during our death plunge. Once you make it into the concourse, there is a bathroom to the right and an underpants vendor has been set up just to the left of our access tunnel specifically for the passengers of this flight.


Theme Park Insider's Year In Review – December

Universal Studios Florida – As of the writing of this article, Jaws in Florida is bye-bye. Which is a relief because it is frankly a miracle that a plastic shark lasted this long. If you want your daily dose of shooting at plastic animals, please feel free to stop by Jungle Cruise, another institution long overdue to be leveled and made into a halfway decent attraction, even if it is just another parking lot or amusement fair with off the shelf spinny rides. Jaws, however, is getting something cool in its place. As someone in the Discussion Boards mentioned, Jaws jumped the shark a long time ago… but there is relief in the future.

Universal Studios Hollywood – The major announcement this month was the fairly ground-trembling announcement that Harry Potter is jumping on his broom and making the trek west to the other coast of the States to build a new Harry Potter Land in Hollywood. The unfortunate part is that this little tidbit of info is where the announcement ended. So there is no official word as to where it is going to go, what it is going to contain, when it will be opened, or anything of any value. What we do know is that the new land will somehow incorporate Butterbeer, but aside from that, we are just stuck with speculation, as the rumor mill seems to be a vacuum at this point. I get the feeling that similar to what happened with Disney’s Avatar announcement earlier in the year, the designers found out about the franchise license around the same time that we heard about it and are locked in a basement someplace trying to figure out how in the world they are going to make this work. As far as the first major announcement after Comcast took full control of the keys to the park, this one is pretty spectacular and shows that Comcast may not suddenly start treating the parks like they treat all of their cable subscribers.

Harry Potter Expansion – Sometimes I get the feeling around here that Robert Niles does certain things to spite some of the readers here on Theme Park Insider. In this case, I believe it is yours truly, the Monkeyboy, that he is getting back at. In one of my weekly columns, as a joke, I met with some artists to come up with what the new Harry Potter expansion is going to look like. The resulting stick figure drawing didn’t show much in the way of detail, but it did show that the people were very happy with how it turned out, with the exception of the dog that somehow looked like a person the two kids were jumping on. Since our master is a wrathful master and he is not content to let his minions scoop him, even in jest, Robert Niles decided to write a final article of the year that once and for all dispenses with the rumors and confirms quite a few things that had been pure speculation earlier in the day, like Jaws becomes Harry Potter Land London, the Gringotts roller coaster with a motion base track element, and semi confirmed the Hogwarts Train linking the two lands. While many people appreciated the information and many theme park website are linking to each other to link back to Theme Park Insider, what Robert was really doing is taking away all of the fun that people were having in the vast speculation conspiracy that was cascading through the interwebs. As a finale, Robert then went home, broke all of his kids Christmas presents, and then served liver and onions for dinner.


So there you have it: December… and the completion of the whole year. If you don't remember the month/year like I do, please set a monkey-boy straight in the discussion below.

All monkey pictures have been lovingly borrowed from the amazing artist Frank Cho and his long deceased comic strip Liberty Meadows. I must also thank Santa for giving me a new monkey after I broke the last one. Now if he could just bring back Liberty Meadows for me… and that Gatling gun I have wanted since I was six….


Whew! That was quite the assignment. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. For more of this type of news/humor mix please check out the Discussion Boards of Theme Park Insider where almost every week we unleash upon the earth: Last Week At Your Amusement Park, which takes a look at the developments at your favorite amusement and theme parks over the previous week, including rumors, ongoing developments, a caption contest, and we may even get around to some news and other fun.

Have a Happy New Year!

Monkeyboy (aka Jeff Elliott)


Replies (5)

January 4, 2012 at 9:21 AM · A huge thank you to Jeff for wrapping up the past year's news, and bringing a fun voice to the effort, too! Thanks again, Jeff!
January 4, 2012 at 11:02 AM · I second that emotion. Thanks, Jeff. And thank YOU, Smokey.

I wasn't planning on reading these, but they kinda grew on a good way, not like a fungus. Now please excuse me while I go vote in the Tournament.

January 4, 2012 at 11:23 AM · Loved these articles and am really sad for them to end. Are you sure there's only 12 months in the year?
January 4, 2012 at 4:57 PM · Yes....only 12 months....thankfully.....

These got pretty tough right in the middle. I realized about midway that some of the running gags were backing me into a corner, and other running gags actually came up from saying the same thing over and over again (like saying that there was little news each month). And then I did have a problem several months where I didn't feel that I had enough to run with.....and then different midset with doing long form instead of short form gags was hard because in my mind the article needed to be a certain length whether or not the amount of news supported it.....and then I completely ran out of steam this last weekend and had to set it down for a couple of days....

I'm very glad you liked it....

January 4, 2012 at 5:47 PM · Thanks, Jeff, thoroughly enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek humor!

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