Saturday, 15 June 2013

We've moved!

Blog has relaunched at a new site: 

Read all about Star Wars Land, Cars Land and more!

See you there!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Universal Announcement

Universal Creative are expected to make an announcement next week on January 25th via webcast, according to ThemeParkInsider and Screamscape. However, reportedly this is nothing to do with the expected Harry Potter replacement that theme park enthusiasts are anticipating.

The announcement will apparently contain details about the 4D Spiderman experience, the new Despicable Me attraction, a new parade and a new night-time 'spectacular'. 

Minion Mayhem: Coming to Universal
Spring/Summer 2012
Updates to Spiderman have been occurring since last summer and certain scenes already have the new High Definition footage whereas construction on Despicable Me also seems to be happening, with an expected opening date being reported from as early as spring to as late as mid-summer. The name 'Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem' seems to be the name for the new attraction, which will reportedly use the same ride system as Jimmy Neutron and Hanna Barbera before it. ThemeParkInsider are suggesting that the ride will transform the audience into minions and other rumours suggest some form of dancing will take place - similar to Jimmy Neutron's dancing finale?

'Universal's Superstar Parade' will incorporate Universal and Nickelodeon characters and details will hopefully be released in the announcement. However, if previous 'parades' are anything to go by, it will fall short by Disney standards. Similarly, night-time shows have fallen short in comparison and 'Universal's Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Magic' will be announced next week. Personally I have enjoyed Universal's 'Cinematic' night-time shows before. However, they could easily be improved and hopefully Universal will surprise us all with an exciting new show to rival that of Disney's. 

Saturday, 14 January 2012

What's new?

Theme park fans have had a lot to talk about in the past month or so. Whilst a lot remains speculation, leaked information is beginning to find it's way onto the internet. I have searched through the endless threads and websites of information to bring you up-to-date.

Avatar: Coming to Animal Kingdom 2016?
To begin with, Disney announced it's plans to bring James Cameron's mythical world of Avatar to Disney's Animal Kingdom. Responses to the plans were surprisingly mixed considering Avatar (2009) is currently the highest grossing film of all time, receiving over $2 billion at the box office - the first film ever to do so. However, the added charge of viewing the film in 3D, which was the film's biggest selling point, would arguably have increased box office revenue and not necessarily reflect public opinion. However, this is also contrasted as reviews of the film seem to be mainly positive - so why the mixed reaction?

The general view from those who are disappointed with the Avatar project is because of the supposed 'lack of storytelling' of Cameron's visual spectacular. In contrast, Disney have always prided itself on its ability to tell a great story - this is reflected in many of its unique and franchise-based attractions. Instead, Avatar arguably relies on its visuals to charm and impress audiences - something Disney also does well. 

Regardless of its mixed reception by the theme park community, Avatar is currently in it's 'blue sky phase' meaning it is currently undergoing design. Sceptics believe that Disney's announcement of Avatar was rushed - as no plans have actually been decided. They believe the announcement was a retaliation of the success and prosperity of Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Avatar is expected to begin construction in 2013, with possible opening dates varying between 2016-2018. This would make it a direct competitor with Universal's rumoured plans.

Universal: Harry Potter is going to Hollywood!
Universal Creative announced in December that Harry Potter is coming to Hollywood - but what does this have to do with Avatar? At the time of the announcements, rumours were rife that Harry Potter was to expand at Universal Orlando. However, nothing was mentioned at the time of this announcement. Around the same time, Universal revealed it was closing its iconic and classic attraction 'Jaws' on January 2nd 2012. This was when the rumour mill really started.

Prior to the Jaws announcement, it was the general idea that any Harry Potter expansion would take place in the Lost Continent. However, the rumours then began that Harry Potter was to come to Universal Studios, replacing the Jaws and Amity section of the park. How would this benefit Universal?

Firstly, Universal would capitalise further on the phenomenon that is Harry Potter, which has boosted their merchandise sales substantially and their attendance figures by 30%. Secondly, guests who visit Universal to only visit 'Harry Potter World' would be forced to purchase a two-park ticket. Not only increasing average ticket sales but also increasing the amount of time that the consumer spends on Universal property and for many people, reducing the amount of 'Disney days' in their vacation. 

Gringrotts: New attraction to replace Jaws?
Moreover, on January 2nd Theme Park Insider posted a fantastic article about some 'leaked' Harry Potter plans. Whilst these aren't 100% guaranteed to happen, the article does suggest the expansion into Universal Studios will include the long rumoured Gringrotts ride, similar to the existing Revenge of the Mummy ride. There are also plenty more shops proposed for Potter fans to enjoy (and Universal to reap the economic awards of-course!) as well as a larger Ollivander's that would be able to accommodate more people. 

Will this happen? Only time will tell...

Monday, 28 November 2011

Blog Relaunch

Due to starting University, I haven't had much time to focus on keeping this blog up-to-date! However, updates will resume from Saturday the 3rd. 

In the meantime, the theme park pages on this site will be up and running within the next few days - so check back for updates! Also, I intend on having a Twitter presence so that you can be notified immediately when a new article or piece of Orlando theme park news arises. 

See you soon!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Is Transformers coming to Universal Orlando?

In a recent interview, legendary director and major influence on Universal creative, Steven Spielberg, recently spoke to Orlando Sentinel and possibly suggests that the Transformers franchise is coming to the east coast.

 “I always like to hear that people are still coming to the attractions we already have in the park. I know everybody’s going to Harry Potter right now. But we think Transformers is going to pretty amazing. We’ve been working on that for about three years now. It should be ready soon. I don’t have an announcement, yet, but it should be coming there soon,”

TBA: Transforming Universal
Hollywood and soon Orlando?
Earlier this year, I suggested that Universal might be anticipating a removal of Spiderman and replacing it with the Transformers ride that is going into the Hollywood and Singapore park. However, Universal are currently spending a lot of money on improving the digital projection of Spiderman, so the future of Spiderman and for the moment, Marvel Superhero Island seems to be in tact. So where would Transformers go? Personally I'd love to see it replace Twister in the Studios but by the looks of the plans for the other parks, the building doesn't seem big enough. There is however, a big space between MIB and The Simpsons Ride... 

Or is Spielberg merely getting his Universal parks mixed up? Who knows, perhaps we shall find out in the near future.

Child Swap: An increasing problem?

For those who might not have had the joy of child swap, the premise is that a member of a party with a young child, waits off of the ride with the child (either in a room at the attraction or at some parks, not in the attraction at all) whilst the rest of the party rides. When the party come off the attraction, the person that waited off the attraction is allowed to ride with none or limited wait time, with 1 other person (Disney I believe allow 2, or they did in 2009).

SheiKra: Busch Gardens' Child Swap
appears to work efficiently.
Firstly, Busch Gardens (Disney also do, however, didn't have to use Child Swap at Disney!) actually have the best system in place. The person waiting with the child is free to stroll around the park, perhaps waiting in a kid's area for the rest of the party. Those in the queue have a child swap ticket that is stamped at the top of the queue by the ride op. When the person re-rides, this ticket is collected. (For some reason the system was a little different at SheiKra, though the TM seemed to not have a clue what he was doing!) A system that doesn't allow for people to completely abuse Child Swap, allowing people to merely walk up the exit, re-ride the attraction or use multiple combinations via the Child Swap queue. Which brings me to Universal...

At Universal, Child Swap lines are often
easily accessible through the exit.
Now I am a 100% full-fledged Universal fan. The abuse of this queue isn't even the TM's fault. People would merely go round and round the Child-swap again as there was no proving that the rider who stayed off with the child hadn’t already been on (no receipt). One day there was a receipt system in place at Rip, Ride and Rock It, however, I still witnessed families going round and round again with different combinations of family. Some people even had the audacity to enter the ride through the child swap line (often it’s very accessible through the exit) and claim they were using Child Swap, and then proceed to ride again and again. Ultimately this makes the queuing time longer for everyone else, including the almighty Express Pass lane.

Whilst it’s not a huge issue currently at the parks, it’s something that theme parks should take note of. This is a form of queue jumping which shouldn’t go unnoticed! What are your views? Please post them in the comments below!

Tomorrow: WetnWild’s unique selling tactics!  

Thursday, 11 August 2011

We're off to see the Wizard...

Sorry for the lack of updates in the past month, it's been a hectic one! However, with a two week visit to Florida beginning on Monday, many personal and in-depth new posts can be expected upon my return. Stay tuned!