News round-up: There's even more magic coming this summer

May 18, 2018, 9:45 AM · Allow me to catch up on a slew of theme park news from last night, when I was at Knott's Berry Farm for the HangTime opening. (Fun ride, BTW!)

Universal Studios Hollywood has announced the start date for this summer's run of The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle: June 24. (That's the day after Pixar Pier opens at Disney California Adventure.) In addition, Universal is adding two more interactive wand elements in Hogsmeade: an Incendio fire-making spell and an Alohomora spell that will open a series of locks to reveal "the fiery breath of a creature hidden behind a secret door." The additions bring the total number of spell-casting opportunities in the land to 15.

Today in Long Beach, the Queen Mary is opening what it is billing as America's largest traveling observation wheel. The 164-foot-tall La Grande XL opens today at 4pm and will operate daily from 11am – 10pm through June 17. Admission is $15, with $5 discounts for children, seniors and those with military ID. For comparison, the Orlando Eye (which is now rebranding itself as ICON Orlando), stands 400 feet tall. But there's a lot more fun stuff to see in the immediate area around the Queen Mary and the Port of Long Beach than in the middle of International Drive.

Summer Nights is kicking off this year on May 25 at Busch Gardens Tampa, featuring three party zones serving speciality food items: Vibin' Village, ¡Fiesta Festa!, and the new Backyard BBQ. The event runs through August 5. And, oh yeah, the free beer is back this summer at the park, too.

Disneyland Paris has announced Disney Loves Jazz, Soiree of Jazz at Disneyland Paris, a one-night event coming September 29 to Walt Disney Studios Park. The hard-ticket event will include Jazz Loves Disney in Concert on the Moteurs... Action! Stunt Show Spectacular stage, featuring Ben l’Oncle Soul, Robin McKelle, Myles Sanko and other artists.

Finally, the theme park industry trade association IAAPA has broken ground on its new headquarters, in Orlando. The $14 million, 22,000-square-foot global headquarters at 4155 Taft-Vineland Road is expected to be completed by next summer.

Replies (1)

May 18, 2018 at 9:55 AM

I heard a similar show at Hogwarts Castle in Orlando on Saturday June 23rd.

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