…Universal Orlando has chosen to put so many of the millions it's earned from Harry Potter back into its theme parks - bringing Transformers to Orlando, building an immersive new Simpsons land, and expanding the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Florida. I hope Universal will provide a compelling example to other theme park companies in the years ahead, reminding them that - if you spend money for attractions of the highest quality, you'll earn that money back, and profits beyond.
…SeaWorld Orlando is investing in what might be the most ambitious ride system ever implemented in a theme park. I can't wait to experience Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin next spring, with its trackless, customizable motion-base ride vehicles. I love what SeaWorld partner Oceaneering did with Universal Creative on the ride vehicles for Transformers and Spider-man, and am looking forward to seeing what the next iteration of motion-base technology can do for SeaWorld in a live animal environment.
…Buena Vista Street will forever preserve a memory of what California once was - to inform (or remind) people whose only thought of California is stereotype. I especially love that it replaced a stereotype and did so by recreating a vibrant public space, one that has make the entire Disney California Adventure theme park feel like a more comfortable and welcoming space. Theme park designers should learn from New Urbanists, and work to create livable public spaces like this, where people can just "hang out," instead of leaving us with nothing but crowded, soulless pathways between the rides and the stores.
…True Theme Park Insiders honor us by choosing this as their venue to, uh, inform the public about such new developments at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, Transformers coming to Orlando and new concepts for Disney's Avatar. I know that leaks drive theme park managers nuts. But when fans hear about parks making major new investments, they get excited. Leaks drive vacation plans, as fans start setting aside money and changing long-term vacation plans to make sure they see the new attractions that get them excited. We are proud to share news of new attraction developments with our readers, and invite more theme park insiders to let us know about upcoming projects. (Anonymity assured, of course.)
…I've been blessed with the opportunity to visit some of the world's great theme park attractions beyond the United States' borders, and to bring you along (well, virtually) on these adventures. Tokyo DisneySea, Tokyo Disneyland, Universal Studios Singapore and Disneyland Paris each offer unique, world-class attractions that any theme park fan should wish to visit someday.
…You, thousands of Theme Park Insider readers, continue to support this community with your time, attention, comments, questions, answers, ratings and reviews. You hear a lot from me on the site's front page, but you - collectively - have seen, ridden and stayed at many, many more places than I will ever have the chance to experience in my lifetime. You are the heart of this community and I am forever grateful for every single one of you who visits and chooses to hang around for a while.
For what are you giving thanks this Thanksgiving? Please let us know, in the comments. And while we're on the topic of Turkey Day, let me offer you another chance to vote on something:
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Absent any major theme park news in the meantime, I'll be back on Friday with our annual list of theme park holiday shopping links.
I am also thankful for those theme park designers who continue to prove that story is more important than steel (although using steel to tell a great story is a wonderful thing), and that immersion isn't just a method of baptism.
And, I am especially thankful for my family and friends with whom I am honored to share all my theme park adventures.
So, Happy Thanksgiving to all of TPI-dom! I hope each of you has a blessed and glorious feast.
As for theme parks, I'm thankful that some of them still care about the collective history that they all share. For allowing classic attractions of the past to be shared with new generations, even if their not the "newest" thing
I'm also Thankful that the new Test Track looks promising and I'm tentatively hopeful this is a sign that perhaps other, lagging pavilions at Epcot will receive the care and refurbishment they so very much need to bring the park back to the showplace it once was.
...okay so it's wishful thinking, but I'm allowed to have some hope this time of year!
I am thankful to live in Orlando, where I not only get to read about the new developments, but I get to see them any time I want with just a short car ride.
I'm thankful my brother lives in Los Angeles, where I not only get to read about the new developments, but I get to see them any time I want with just a ...err...long flight.
I'm thankful to be alive in this wonderful day and age of what I'd consider a theme park renaissance, with Harry Potter, Cars Land, the recent Marvel and Lucas purchases by Disney, and even SeaWorld building an Aquatica Park in San Diego and the Antarctica land in Orlando.
I'm thankful for so much, but I'll keep it theme park related right here, right now.
I'm thankful for he many blessings I've received over the years and even for the bad times that taught me how special those blessings are. Sometimes we don't know how good we have it until we have it taken away.
May you all have a wonderful day and may you enjoy your time with family and friends!
And, James, what says, "Thanksgiving" more than the NFL!? It's all about teamwork, friendly competition, bone crunching tackles, shaving points, and spitting blood! God Bless American Football!!! :)
Thirty years later I am blessed with a home in the center of the theme park Universe.
And I'm thankful for Rao and Anthony Murphy and Amanda. Also OT and David L. and NB and D-Sqaured and Ms. Hood. Also Timmy Hillman and the Original Gallagher and J. Koehl.
And I'm thankful to Robert -- What's it been, about a decade? And the best is yet to come.
Trying to figure out on this early Sunday morning if that's a play on the "original gangsta" or a dig at the annoying , watermelon-smashing comedian.
Perhaps both? Perhaps neither? Perhaps it shall remain a mystery, like why Carrot Top has a career?
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
*Edited to add*..I'd really like to go to HersheyPark on Friday, but can't find anyone to join me. I wouldn't mind soloing if the coasters were open, but they're not. Many other rides are, though, and they do a nice job with decorations and lights for what they call Christmas Candylane. Very cool (literally and figuratively.)