volcano bay trailer

The Universal Studios theme parks built their reputation on allowing guests to “ride the movies” and that continues to be its main appeal. Only now, five-minute rides through your favorite films in the Universal catalog have given way to immersive experiences that allow you to wander through lands that transport you into fantastical worlds like J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, the long-lost Skull Island, and, uh, Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show.

That’s why Universal’s newest addition to its Florida resort is so fascinating. Volcano Bay is a departure from its sister parks (Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure) in that it’s a water park, but it’s also a completely original concept that isn’t based on any kind of licensed property. A new teaser video dwells on the chief selling point here: a relaxing experience build on some fairly astonishing technology.

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"The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" now serves hot Butterbeer at Three Broomsticks.

If you’ve ever been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, then you know that frozen Butter Beer is one of the best drinks of all time. Guests visiting Universal Studios Hollywood will now get the option of a hot version of the beverage to the seasonal menu at the Three Broomsticks. Hit the jump to learn more.
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jimmy fallon ride

Universal Studios‘ greatest gift may also be its greatest curse. While Disney theme parks move at a notoriously slow pace, Universal creative is constantly on the ball, updating their parks and adding new attractions and viewing almost nothing as a sacred cow. The result: parks that are constantly evolving, pushing the envelope, and giving visitors something new to experience, like the warmly received Skull Island: Reign of Kong. It also means attractions like the upcoming Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, a ride concept that feels like the result of accountants and market testing more than anything else.

And yet, here I am, eagerly looking at the new details Universal has released about their new Jimmy Fallon ride. Because even when the subject matter isn’t my cup of tea, a new Universal Studios ride always has my attention.

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Stranger Things Peanuts mashup: A Stranger Things Christmas

So much of Stranger Things‘ irresistible pull stems from its uncanny ability to push all your nostalgia buttons. It feels like classic Steven Spielberg and vintage Stephen King, referencing pop culture touchstones and reminding Gen Xers and older Millennials of a time when middle school kids were allowed to roam freely. But what if Stranger Things went even further? What if it doubled down on its nostalgic appeal by transforming itself into another childhood favorite, A Charlie Brown Christmas?

A Stranger Things Christmas imagines Will Byers struck by a downright Charlie Brown-esque sense of ennui right around the holiday, and going around getting advice from his old D&D buddies. And yes, they get a good Barb-related jab in there. Watch the Stranger Things Peanuts mashup below (but be warned there are major spoilers if you haven’t finished Stranger Things season one).  Read More »

Ghostbusters Extended Cut

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • A new Ghostbusters ride is coming to Germany’s Heide Park.
  • Universal Studios is developing an entire theme park land for the Minions.
  • Season of the Force is finally heading to Disneyland Paris.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland’s Iron Man Experience is approaching its opening date.
  • Animal Kingdom’s Avatar-themed land is truly taking shape.
  • Disneyland previews footage and costumes from Doctor Strange.
  • Universal extends Halloween Horror Nights.
  • And more!

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Pokemon and Space Jam in Theaters

Nostalgia for the 1990s is going strong, and it’s about to heat up even more.

It’s been 20 years since the live-action animated hybrid film Space Jam hit theaters, and that makes it prime for a return to theaters next month. In addition, even though it’s not a special anniversary for Pokemon: The First Movie, it’s the 20th anniversary of the original video games that launched the multimedia franchise, and that means it’s time for the animated feature film to head back to theaters as well.

Get details on Pokemon: The First Movie and Space Jam in theaters again after the jump. Read More »

Wasteland Weekend: It’s Mad Max Meets Burning Man

Wasteland Weekend

Mad Max: Fury Road has reignited an interest in the post-apocalyptic desert setting of the Wasteland. But even before the film made a splash on the big screen last year, people were already taking to the desert for a celebration that would make Immortan Joe proud, and it looks like a party made in Valhalla.

Wasteland Weekend has been running since 2010, combining the aesthetic of the Mad Max movies with the festivities of the desert insanity known as Burning Man. See the party in action after the jump. Read More »

2016 Back to the Future Fan Celebration

UPDATE: The creators of this event have reached out to let us know that this event has been postponed until 2017. The even’ts spokesperson said:

“We want to make this event the best it can be in order to not taint the BTTF brand at all, and things were not coming together to make that possible, so we made the tough, but necessary, decision to postpone the event.”

Our original article from September 27, 2016 follows below.

Last year brought endless amounts of celebration revolving around Back to the Future. Not only did it mark the 30th anniversary of the original time travel film from director Robert Zemeckis, but it also marked the year in which Doc Brown and Marty McFly traveled into the future in Back to the Future Part II. There were endless screenings, fan gatherings, and tons of new memorabilia released. But just because those milestones are passed us doesn’t mean fans are done celebrating.

The first annual Back to the Future Fan Celebration is coming next month, and the festivities will be happening at a location that will be very familiar to fans of the time travel franchise: Twin Pines Mall. Get the details on the 2016 Back to the Future Fan Celebration after the jump. Read More »

American Lightsaber Academy - Star Wars

If you’re a Star Wars fan, there’s a good chance you’ve had a lightsaber battle with one of your friends. However, it’s unlikely that the fight was nothing compared to what the people from the competitive lightsaber training academy called Ludosport do on a daily basis.

That’s right, there’s a competitive lightsaber training academy that actually exists. And while this sci-fi hobby was previously only available in this form overseas in Europe, one of these academies is finally coming to the United States. Find out more about the American lightsaber training academy after the jump. Read More »

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Luke Cage Family Matters

It’s been over a week since Marvel’s latest series hit Netflix in the form of Luke Cage. Originally Iron Fist was supposed to be the next superhero in the series line-up leading to The Defenders, but after Mike Colter proved to be popular with audiences after his introduction in Jessica Jones, the folks at Marvel decided to shift their plans and give the Hero for Hire his due diligence.

Reviews have been mostly positive on the show, though it’s not perfect. Of course, none of the Marvel shows are, though they do appear to be hitting their mark for the most part. But what if Luke Cage was something different entirely? No, we don’t mean what Quentin Tarantino wanted to do with the characters in a movie he considered making in the 90s. But what if Luke Cage took inspiration from another popular show from that decade. What if Luke Cage was more like Family Matters? Read More »