News update: Efteling's new dark ride, Disney World's new magic bar

July 20, 2016, 12:00 PM · We're not even halfway through this summer, but I hope you'll forgive us for looking ahead toward some of the really neat new attractions that theme parks are working on for next year. Reader @VrLuuk tweeted us this nifty GIF of the upcoming Symbolica dark ride, now under construction at Efteling in the Netherlands.

The GIF shows the current state of construction, blending into an artist's rendering of what the building will look like when it is complete next summer. Symbolica will be Efteling's largest and most expensive dark ride, and it will include the option for riders to choose one of three different interactive routes through its "Palace of Fantasy."

Following the success of its Trader Sam's themed bars at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, Disney's introducing another theme bar — this time at the Disney's Boardwalk Resort at Walt Disney World. AbracadaBar will open "soon," according to the resort. Disney's calling it a secret magician's lounge that's reopened after a 70-year hiatus. Here's the backstory, from Disney:

After a show, prestidigitators would gather to “conjure” up new cocktails, swap magic tips and tricks, and stay up all night attempting to “out-charm” each other with their extraordinary illusions. According to BoardWalk lore, it was on just such an evening that every single magician in the lounge vanished into thin air, and was never seen again...

Gives a new meaning to "blackout drinking," doesn't it? I'll be here all week. Tip your waitress.

Finally, Six Flags has signed a deal with its development partner Riverside Investment Group for a second theme park in China, this time near Chongqing. Six Flags' first theme park in China is now under construction for a planned 2019 opening in Haiyan, near Shanghai.

Replies (15)

July 20, 2016 at 1:39 PM · AbracadaBar sounds like a cheap rip-off of the Magic Castle. I don't know what the practicing magician population is in Orlando, but something tells me it's nowhere near what it is in LA or nearby Las Vegas. Without real practicing illusionists willing to participate, such a gimmick will never work. Disney can't just hire actors or cast members to fill the magician roles, they have to be the real deal with the ability to improvise, or this will be nothing more than the "Buy our Magic Kit" Show/Store at Islands of Adventure.
July 20, 2016 at 1:44 PM · ^ Both magic shops at Universal Orlando have left months ago. I think the only place with a real magic shop is in Old Town.
July 20, 2016 at 1:54 PM · Efteling is amazing.
July 20, 2016 at 2:16 PM · I get the sense from this line on the Disney Parks blog, that there won't be any magicians at all:
"While it’s rumored that the magicians who frequented the lounge vanished without a trace decades ago, their magic still remains strongly intact, and can be seen, heard, and savored in the bar’s signature cocktails."
July 20, 2016 at 4:02 PM · That backstory for the AbracadaBar is the lamest I've heard. A bit of Tower of Terror, correct? Maybe this is what happens when they cancel the Tower of Terror bar. Or this could be the long gestation of the cancelled David Copperfield's Magic Underground restaurant. They just couldn't leave the idea alone. The hard sell is there's no such thing as a magician's bar. Without magicians roaming the lounge, it will be lame.

They could have done the 1920 to 1930s themed bar like the Prohibition-era Speakeasy. They should revive the Adventurer's Club in some form for they are running out of ideas. I don't care much for Sport's Bars, but they should have a location where the whole family can rest to have drinks, ice cream, food, and watch the game.

July 20, 2016 at 9:50 PM · The "magic bar" does sound lame, unless they build a lot of cool visual effects into it.
July 20, 2016 at 9:56 PM · Imagine if they imagineered some effects onto the cast members or into the seating areas at AbracadaBar that are designed to appear as illusions. Some creative potential there!
July 20, 2016 at 9:57 PM · Could you please write an article on the recent unexplained closure of Typhoon Lagoon's Shark Reef upside down submarine aquarium viewing area. Lifeguards have been trained to give a 'Disney answer' and say it's flooded since it's an upside down sub. This used to be open to guests but has now been blocked off for cast members only. Guests including myself used to be able to view the fish and sharks in this viewing area until recently. The fort at MK Tom Sawyer Island also used to be closed off until enough guests complained. I think the same can happen with this old viewing area if the same happens.
July 21, 2016 at 12:01 AM · I love the backstory of the bar. It's just like WDw, all at once the magic was gone, the end...
The most expensive ride at Efteling is a whopping 35 million euro's. It'll have 3 different routes so re-riding the attraction is a must. It's amazing how much they can do with so little and I'm looking forward to visit it next year.
July 21, 2016 at 8:02 AM · Every time Disney announces something anymore, it seems like the "Negative Nellies" come out of the woodwork.
July 21, 2016 at 10:44 AM · "Every time Disney announces something anymore, it seems like the "Negative Nellies" come out of the woodwork."

Have you been to the Magic Castle, Thomas (or perhaps the Adventurer's Club)? Disney has an incredibly high bar to reach with this concept, and the fact that they just announced it "soon" before it opens suggests to me (and many others who were caught off guard with this) that not a lot of thought is being put into the project. Perhaps we'll be proven wrong, but the "Negative Nellies" are merely pointing out the difficulty Disney will have trying to execute what they seem to be attempting with AbracadaBar. Maybe it will be just a generic bar with a bit of a magical backstory, but the press release seems to indicate that there's an immersive show aspect to the experience and CMs (beyond bartenders and wait staff) will be inhabiting the space that put it into the Magic Castle/Adventurer's Club realm. If it is just a generic bar, then there's really nothing to see here, but if they're trying to pull off an immersive guest experience, then I hope Disney has their ducks in a row.

July 21, 2016 at 11:18 AM · I think you folks are vastly overthinking the new bar. Nowhere does the press release say there will be magicians present or an immersive show. It is not a concept; it is a themed bar...nothing more. The Disney site says:

"While it's rumored that the magicians who frequented the lounge vanished without a trace decades ago, their magic still remains strongly intact, and can be seen, heard, and savored in the bar's signature cocktails."

I'd bet that some cocktails will molecular gastronomy elements that could appear magical. Or drinks that change colors when mixed. Simple stuff. But, anyone hoping for the second coming of the Adventurer's Club is reading something not there.

July 21, 2016 at 11:33 AM · I just call it as I see it. With regards to many things, people are just very negative anymore.
July 21, 2016 at 2:38 PM · It's a real shame nobody seems interested in the efteling news, this is a brand new dark ride at one of the world's most beautiful parks. The budget for the 2014 dlp ride ratatouille was 150 million euros. At a fraction of the price symbolica will be one of the worlds best dark rides.
July 21, 2016 at 5:14 PM · We're just rehashing the concept. There's no need to be defensive about it. I think the concept is rather weird. If it's just an immersive bar, then no problem, but it goes beyond that with the backstory. Instead of just a magician's lounge, they suggest the mystical. Magic is nothing more than staging and sleigh of hand. Conjuring up drinks. Out charming each other with extraordinary tricks. Huh? Magicians knows how every trick works. You can't fool a magician and their tricks look pedestrian to each other or an experienced viewer. The backstory has them vanish into thin air. Magicians don't vanish. They hide behind a curtain or there's a trick door.

I suppose they should try to conjure new drinks and swap magic tricks to get you buy more drinks. You vanish into the exit or the bathrooms. There should be some mystical elements to suggest talking with the vanished magician ghosts even though the mystical isn't magic, it's supernatural.

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