The Blog Flume Filter for January 17, 2013

January 17, 2013, 1:51 PM · Welcome to our new place and time.

It appears that the news/humor article formerly known as Last Week at Your Amusement Park and From the Trenches of Amusement has received a promotion and is now considered acceptable for polite company and front page treatment…something that will surely soon disappoint whoever made that rash decision.

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Star Wars Universe – The way the US Government works is that any citizen can petition the government with anything at any time at for any reason. Once enough people have signed that petition, the government is usually required to give a response to the petition. Several months ago someone came up with the idea to petition the US government to build the Death Star by 2016. Interestingly, the White House Chief of Science and Space responded to the petition. While the petition was denied, they did a very good job of reasoning through why we should not move forward with this idea.

  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We're working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
  • Death Star construction
    Looks like we don't get to see this for real, after all....

    With the United States passing on this project, the next country in line is of course Britain who knows a thing or two about empires, and since Star Wars was filmed in Britain, makes sense that they would be the ones to get this done. And if you do remember, all of the admirals and people that worked for the Empire had British accents…

    Please feel free to read it for yourself, there is much more to the petition response if you need a chuckle.

    Disney Movie Studios – Disney just dropped a bunch of dates of new live action films.
  • Muppets 2 – 3/21/14
  • Caption Captain America: The Winter Soldier – 4/4/14
  • Maleficent – 7/2/14
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – 8/1/14
  • 1952 – 12/19/14
  • Pirates of the Caribbean 5 – 7/5/15

    And add to that some dates that we already knew:
    Frozen – 11/27/13, Planes – 8/9/13, Monsters University – 6/21/13, The Good Dinosaur – 5/30/14, The Inside Out – 6/19/15, Finding Nemo 2 – 2016, Star Wars 7 – 2015.

    While not a complete list of what Disney is releasing and not including a strong lineup of Marvel movies that pick up on where the Avengers left off, not to mention Avenger 2 in 2015… this is an extremely strong lineup for many years… now quit messing about and make some rides off of some of this stuff.

    Disney Games Studio – One more little bit before we get into the hardcore theme park news. Disney is trying to cash in on what Skylander is doing by combining collectable figurines and games with the June 2013 release of Disney Infinity. The figurines will integrate with a platform that will allow you to use your figurine characters in the game and then play with your friends. Infinity is an appropriate name for the game, because if the first sets of characters sell out, then there will be more and more sets until all of the Disney franchises have been used. The initial release of the game features The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc, Pirates of the Caribbean, Toy Story, Cars, Phineas and Ferb, Wreck-It Ralph, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Frankenweenie. I have to say that the on screen characters look like really poor quality renditions of the characters. Whereas most gaming studios are approaching photo realistic characters, these throwback style characters look like some second grader modeled the characters with papier-mâché right before a chemically induced naptime. Looks aside, the important thing is to get the personality and life of the characters right, and hopefully they have done that. If this is anything like Disney Universe, they have wasted their time developing it. If they really want a good game, why not lean on Square Enix to get the lead out and start putting some serious work into Kingdom Hearts III…and while you are at that, the fans would probably like a movie for Kingdom Hearts….as soon as you get over your spoiled brat tantrum and pay Terry Pratchett whatever he was asking for to get Mort back on track.

    Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Do you remember that Wilderness Explorers game that they were testing out at DAK about 9 months ago? It looks like they are planning on officially launching the game “soon”. Now what does “soon” mean? It probably means sometime before this summer, but could also mean sometime before the sun burns out…you just never know with major corporations.

    Plans have been uncovered showing that the Festival of the Lion King building is going to be moved to a location behind the Dawa Bar. The plans also show a path coming out of the Avatar area and giving the Avatar area an second entrance. So when the tall skinny Smurfs start shooting into the crowd with their bows, you now know that you don’t need to follow the rest of the sheeple, you can hook a hard left, hide in the brush until the stampede goes by, and then sneak over to the Lion King show where you can pretend you were the whole time.

    Tripsdrill – I know that Tripsdrill is in Germany and who really cares other than it is second place for most messed up park that I really want to visit only behind Bon Bon Land…but there is truly nothing better than the teaser video that they put out. I understand that the video captions are in German and are probably saying something about how rude Americans are or how much they wish they could move farther away from France, but there is something extremely naughty about watching them weld a roller coaster together. It’s like ultrasound pictures of your baby.

    Kentucky Kingdom – The Fair Board is still trying to decide what they want to do. At this point I am so frustrated that I say that we should bulldoze the site entirely and let Wal-Mart put in a superstore right there, and maybe a Home Depot and Best Buy right next to it. These people don’t deserve to have an amusement park. And if Ed Hart really wants something to sink his teeth into, there is always the old Hard Rock Park, Joyland, and Six Flags New Orleans parks that need someone with a little bit of passion to take over. Even if this deal goes through, if Ed needs so much as a maintenance crew to fix up a water main break, it is going to be 27 months before the fair board can decide which crew they need to send to do the repair. Pathetic.

    Universal Studios Hollywood – The first steps toward building Harry Potter now has a date: May 2013. That is when demolition of the Gibson amphitheater will start. We are also hearing that on the current construction schedule, the Wizarding World will not open until Spring of 2016. It is a good thing that construction of Despicable Me has already started moving forward.

    Rocky Mountain Coasters – First there was the New Texas Giant, then the Iron Rattler, and after that…who knows? It just so happens that we are pretty certain that the third roller coaster to get the Iron Horse treatment is… drum roll, please… Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain. While this is a good thing for the park and for the coaster, I was holding out hope that Mean Streak at Cedar Point would be the next. I’m still holding out hope that Cedar Fair can just keep a secret better than Six Flags can and Rocky Mountain Coasters can do two at the same time.

    Universal Studios Japan – While everyone in the English speaking world was in awe of how quickly Universal is throwing together the Transformers ride in Florida, Universal Studios Japan is doing the same thing, but in their case, they are doing it with their Harry Potter expansion, and by this point should have topped off their Forbidden Journey ride building… all while in California they are still getting back environmental studies making sure that the Gibson Amphitheater’s blind striped newt will be able to survive relocation to the Hollywood Bowl.

    Kings Island – For those of you looking to become a Theme Park Insider but don’t really have what it takes, there is the opportunity to become an Amusement Park insider as a baby step toward a more worthy goal. Kings Island is taking applications for 4,000 jobs that they need to have filled in time for their May 10th opening. It would probably be a good idea to go to their website and check it out.

    Six Flags Over Georgia – If you are unfit for the Kings Island gig, you can always try for a Six Flags gig. There is a trick question on the application that you should be aware of. Where it says “pulse”, you do not need to put in your blood pressure numbers, a simple “yes” will do and this concise answer will make you highly qualified for most Six Flags jobs. Oddly enough Six Flags Over Georgia is only hiring 2000 people, which means that are going to work you much harder and longer hours.

    Alton Towers – Alton Towers is also recruiting for workers, for those of you in the UK where they don’t even have any theme parks and you have to make do with what you can find.

    British Slide Tester – Before the Brits really get on my case, here is the best offer of the article: First Choice, the owner of 20 SplashWorld resorts, is looking to hire a slide tester who is a British citizen and can travel (all expenses paid) to Mallorca, Turkey, and Egypt to rate slides at all of their different resorts and act as a social media outlet. Don’t ever say I didn’t do anything for you.

    @FakeThemePark – While I am not going to explain how the whole Twitter thingie works…let’s just say that if you have a Twitter account and need a little bit of surreal humor in your life, connect to and start following @FakeThemePark. Some of their best Tweets in the last week are:

    “Cast Members, please cooperate with all FBI agents in the park today. Chaos Coaster ride operators, you can all go home. Please. Right now.”
    “Princess Rainbow is at Fairy Tale Castle. Princess Marigold is in front of Dragon Dive. Princess Snowflake just texted us from an Arby's.”
    “Due to budget cuts, tonight's fireworks show will consist of Cast Member Eric flashing the high-beams on his Toyota Tundra.”

    Oh while you are messing around with your Twitter account, you could always take a moment to sign up for Theme Park Insider Tweets, but don’t touch the furniture, we are very particular about the placement of the furniture.

    * * *

    Well that is all that I have for this week, please vote for this as the best TPI article you have read in the last ten minutes… and Facebook like it... or whatever people do these days to say that it was a job well done.

    If there are things that I missed or things that I used to do in the old incarnations of this news roundup that you want back, please just take a couple of moments and really let me have it in the talkback section below.

    Sources: Amusement Today, Screamscape and whatever else I happened to read this week.

    Replies (16)

    January 17, 2013 at 2:16 PM · Congrats on moving up to the big boy table, Jeff!
    January 17, 2013 at 2:40 PM · Demolishing of the Gibson amphitheater will happen!!! Oh, I didn't expect that. I thought it will survive five more years.
    January 17, 2013 at 4:37 PM · What about the rumors of expanding jurrasic park?
    January 17, 2013 at 5:46 PM · The rumors about Jurassic Park seem to run counter to other rumors claiming that the Cartoon Lagoon is going to be completely redone with Lord of the Rings...

    On stuff that is just a murmuring, I usually try to sit it out until we have a solid rumors. Unless I have something really sarcastic to say about it...

    Needless to say, IOA is looking at improvements which is always a good thing.

    January 17, 2013 at 7:16 PM · Is that supposed to be Captain America not Caption America?
    January 17, 2013 at 7:41 PM · "While everyone in the English speaking world was in awe of how quickly Universal is throwing together the Transformers ride in Florida, Universal Studios Japan is doing the same thing, but in their case, they are doing it with their Harry Potter expansion, and by this point should have topped off their Forbidden Journey ride building…"

    Duffy Bear is crapping his pants and getting ready to go on welfare right now at Tokyo Disneyland.

    January 17, 2013 at 8:20 PM · Welcome to the big leagues, Jeff!! And thanks for the reference to @FakeThemeParks... Just makes me think about all the hi-jinks in Carl Hiaasen's "Native Tongue" -- a great novel for theme park aficiandos with a sense of humor :-).
    January 18, 2013 at 8:26 AM · I've never read a Carl Hiaasen novel. Always read good things about him, and he collaborated with Warren Zevon, so he's got a head start with me. Anonymous poster, would that be a good book to start with? I may be at Barnes and Noble tonight with a gift card balance remaining...:)

    Don't know how I posted on the wrong thread a moment or two earlier..getting old, I guess...

    January 18, 2013 at 10:09 AM · Mike, theme park fans have to start with Native Tongue. But don't overlook the kids' stuff, either. Hoot and Chomp are quite good.
    January 18, 2013 at 10:44 AM · I didn't know Hiaasen wrote kids' books. I read the summary of Native Tongue on Amazon..I think I WILL buy sounds interesting.
    January 18, 2013 at 2:11 PM · Nice job Jeff.
    January 18, 2013 at 5:00 PM · Mike, the anonymous person citing Hiaasen was me.... I forgot I wasn't logged in! Anyway, Robert's right that "Native Tongue" would be a good one for you to start with. All the books stand on their own for the most part, though you'll meet an awesome recurring character called Skink who first surfaces in "Double Whammy". My personal favorite is "Stormy Weather". And I also second the kids' books -- "Chomp" is hilarious!!
    January 18, 2013 at 6:54 PM · I had a hunch that was you, Melanie ;)

    I found Native Tongue at B&N tonight, but they only had the trade paperback, and I didn't want to spend $10 on top of my gift card balance. Also, I prefer the smaller mass-market paperbacks. I don't have an e-reader and don't want one..I prefer actual books. Call me old-fashioned, call me tech-challenged, just don't call me late for dinner, I'll look on Amazon..I've got about 50 bucks on a gift card there. I'd like to read Strip Tease and Basket Case, too. Maybe I'll get a trilogy if the price is right...

    *EDIT*.. I just ordered a used copy of Native Tongue from Amazon for $4. If I like it, maybe I'll try one of the others mentioned by others or in the main body of this post.

    January 19, 2013 at 6:11 PM · Cool, Mike!! Let me know what you think of it :-).

    P.S. -- I almost forgot -- Native Tongue is one of his few books with a specific Zevon reference, so it really is perfect for you!

    January 19, 2013 at 6:27 PM · Cool, Melanie! Hope my 48-going-on-80 year old brain picks up the reference....
    January 22, 2013 at 12:29 PM · Re: Rocky Mountain Coasters next project - a couple of years ago I would have agreed that Mean Streak should have been next for the Iron Horse treatment - but something happened between 2011 and 2012 and it was like a whole new ride in May of last year. How long that lasts remains to be seen but at least last May, it is no longer in desperate need of a new exoskeleton. Timberwolf (at Worlds of Fun) on the other hand...

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