Tuesday theme park news round-up: Shanghai Disneyland, Facebook, and Vegas roller coaster news

December 10, 2013, 9:04 PM · More information continues to emerge about Shanghai Disneyland, now under construction. At a conference with investors, Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo (the former head of Disney Parks) today said that Disney and its Chinese partners are envisioning a rapid expansion of the park after it opens in late 2015. "We're opening the park for a pretty healthy number of attendees but more importantly both we and our partners and the Shanghai government are eager and willing to expand rapidly after that," Rasulo said.

Shanghai Disneyland construction
Shanghai Disneyland construction in September. Photo courtesy Stefan Zwanzger

Consider this a verbal Rorschach test of your optimism about Disney Parks. Does this mean that Disney's anticipating a hit, and making plans to follow up with even more attractions? Or that Disney's dropping yet another half-finished theme park on us in 2015 and already trying to pre-empt criticism with early promises of a fix?

Last week, Disney unveiled concept art for an 11-acre gardens that will stand at the hub of the park. Today, Rasulo said that the Shanghai Disney Resort will be 1,000 acres when it opens, third in size behind the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris resorts. But Rasulo said that Disney expects Shanghai ultimately could top Tokyo's 28 million annual attendance, placing it second behind only the Walt Disney World Resort. It's hard to imagine Shanghai doing that without a second gate. Is that the expansion Rasulo teased? We'll see.

Speaking of the Disney parks, Facebook has revealed the top 25 destinations worldwide for check-ins using the social media service in 2013. Facebook excluded airports and other transportation hubs to focus on destinations, instead. Four of the world's five Disney resorts made the list: Disneyland in Anaheim, California, Tokyo Disney in Japan, plus Disneyland Paris in France, and Hong Kong Disneyland. Curiously, the Disney resort with the most actual visitors — Walt Disney World — did not make the list. Does this that Disney World visitors are less likely to use Facebook? Or does it suggest that Facebook check-ins skew more toward locals on a day trip or night out than toward visitors on vacation away from home?

One more Disney item: Our new Orlando correspondent, Krista Joy, reports that the popular Beaches and Cream at Walt Disney World's Beach Club Resort will begin taking reservations December 18th.

Here's something for thrill fans: Adventuredome at Circus Circus in Las Vegas this week is planning to complete the track for its new El Loco roller coaster. This new S&S Worldwide model will allow "riders to enjoy movements never before experienced," according to a press release from MGM Resorts International, owner of Circus Circus. More details:

Accompanied by a customized soundtrack, El Loco’s unique elements will provide guests with a 72-second, adrenaline-pumping adventure, including:
  • 90-foot ascent followed by a greater-than-straight-down diving drop producing a negative 1.5 "vertical G"
  • 45-degree outwardly banked curve
  • 180-degree turn that races over the edge into a barrel roll

El Loco coaster car
The El Loco coaster car. Photo courtesy Circus Circus

The ride description and the car photo remind me of Universal's Rip, Ride, Rockit. Thoughts?

Finally, we're pleased to announce that our new Orlando guidebook, Theme Park Insider: Orlando 2014 is now available via iTunes! You can read Theme Park Insider: Orlando 2014 via the iBooks app on your iPhone or iPad. The guidebook also remains available for Kindle (and Kindle apps) at Amazon.com. Or you can buy the book in paperback. (Readers in the United Kingdom can buy the book via Amazon UK, too.)

If you've already gotten a copy, first, thank you! And, second, we'd certainly appreciate your reviews of the book, via Amazon or Apple. Positive reviews help encourage both Amazon and Apple to suggest the book to more readers, so please support your favorite authors by reviewing their books, no matter who they are!

Replies (5)

December 10, 2013 at 9:22 PM · I highly doubt that Shanghai will exceed either Disneyland or Tokyo Disney resort in attendance. Then when it doesn't they spend billions more to try and get more visitors, while all the while Disneyland and Disney world get ignored. When is a trackless ride coming to the States again?
December 11, 2013 at 3:08 AM · That Vegas Coaster description reminded me of Mumbo Jumbo, at Flamingoland in the UK.
Never riden it, saw it and thought it looked very uncomfortable.
December 11, 2013 at 4:52 AM · I live in Shanghai, and I believe that Shanghai Disneyland will be packed from day one.

Three years ago they had the World Expo here, and the lines for everything were incredible. There are a lot lot lot of people here.

December 11, 2013 at 5:28 AM · I believe we will be getting an "unfinished" park when Shanghai first opens. After seeing the attraction list, it does appear to be rather light.
December 12, 2013 at 12:10 AM · If they didnt outright lie about the construction budget, the park will be huge right from the start. Especially since the money is spent in a country where construction wages are comperativly low. Its not a competition between resorts. Theres a very good chance that park will even exceed Orlando one day. 1.3 billion is just a huge market. That gives a lot of room for failure and still have more visitors than Orlando.

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