On this Thanksgiving Day in the United States, allow me a few moments to share 10 things for which I have been thankful over the past year of covering theme parks for you.
This year, Warner Bros., Miral, and Thinkwell demonstrated that it is possible to build a fully immersive indoor theme park... while reinforcing that developers in the Middle East can deliver theme parks to a world-class standard, too. By doing this, they collectively provided Warner Bros.' DC Comics and Looney Tunes franchises with the amazing theme park attractions that their fans long have deserved.
...and all the other ambitious, better-than-burgers-and-chicken-strips items that theme parks strive to offer their more adventurous fans. This soup came from Festival of the Holidays at Disney California Adventure, but I am thankful for all theme parks that try to go above and beyond mall-food-court fare.
After years of trying to please anti-animal-captivity fundraisers who never were going to go to a SeaWorld park anyway, the company's management finally realized that it needed to take care of their long-neglected, loyal fans by returning one of the chain's signature attractions.
More and more flavored churros
Okay, after a day of eating every flavor of churro offered at the Disneyland Resort, I wasn't all that thankful at that moment. But having come down from the sugar high, I really enjoy that Disneyland is using churros as Tokyo Disneyland uses popcorn — offering an ever-changing variety of flavors to help draw fans throughout the parks.
Mobile ordering allows you to take your time making a decision on what to eat while not holding up a line... or having to wait behind others trying to order. It's a welcome time-saver in the parks and it was great to see it expanding to Disneyland and Universal Orlando.
The May fire that consumed the German park's Pirates ride provided some of the most truly frightening images ever to come out of a theme park. But first responders from the park, the city of Rust, and surrounding communities limited the damage and allowed park guests to escape injury. Their heroic efforts define the worthiness for thanks.
Yeah, it was hot this summer. Probably another global "hottest summer on record," as we seem to have every year. But this July we hit the hottest single day in Disney theme park history. As much I am feel gratitude that such days are behind us, I fear that ever hotter days lie ahead next summer. So let's enjoy the fall while we can, okay?
As someone who grew up going to the Speedway in Indianapolis each May, I love open-wheel racing. While I am primarily an IndyCar fan, I also follow Formula 1, so when the team at Miral offered me the opportunity to drive an Aston Martin GT4 around Abu Dhabi's F1 track while visiting Warner Bros. World, of course I said yes. But my real gratitude flows from my new, deeper appreciation for the athleticism of racing... after sweating through just 10 laps in a full helmet in Abu Dhabi in July, at a fraction of the speed the pros achieve. What they do is amazing, and I am so thankful for their brilliance.
I am so thankful for everyone who works to organize employees at the nation's theme parks, the employees who do the excellent work that helps make their parks profitable, and the managers who recognize the value of their employees' great work by approving the pay raises that their workers deserve. Sure, this process can get messy and passionate at times, but this year a lot of great cast members got a well-earned raise, and as a fan, I am thankful for that.
Theme Park Insider readers
But what I am most grateful for is you. Every time I put fingertips to a keyboard, I am thinking about you... and what I need to type to deliver something worthy of your time and attention. It is an honor to have that time and attention, so I hope you understand my gratitude for them. Thank you for reading Theme Park Insider, for sharing our stories on Facebook and Twitter, for commenting, rating and reviewing, and participating on the Discussion Forum. I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving day.Tweet
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