cars-characters-in-costume-at-dca

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • See what a Nightmare Before Christmas ride might have looked like, as envisioned by one Imagineer
  • Cars characters get into the Halloween spirit by dressing up at Disney’s California Adventure
  • The Star Wars: Galactic Nights event is returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Get details on how Universal Studios and Legoland are incorporating VR worldwide
  • The parent company of Louis Vuitton is bringing a steampunk theme park to Paris
  • Details for Tokyo Disneyland’s 35th-anniversary celebration have been announced
  • And more!

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Guardians of the Galaxy Monsters After Dark ride

We’ve written about how Disneyland’s new Guardians of the Galaxy ride is getting a new look for the Halloween season in the form of an overlay called Monsters After Dark, and late last week we told you about how it features a look at the fire dragon Surtur from the upcoming film Thor: Ragnarok. Now a video of the updated attraction has found its way online, and you can check out the whole thing for yourselves below.
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Thor Ragnarok Surtur ride

Starting today, if you visit Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disney’s California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, California, the ride experience changes during the evenings and a whole new storyline takes over. It’s called Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark, and it’s happening between now and October 31 as a way for Disney visitors to celebrate the Halloween season.

You can read a lot about the seasonal overlay right here, but we’ve just learned that one of the new additions will be the inclusion of Surtur the fire dragon, an ugly-looking creature that also appears in this fall’s Thor: Ragnarok. Synergy!
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Cars-Land-Halloween

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Central Florida’s theme parks get back on their feet after Hurricane Irma.
  • Disney’s California Adventure is joining the Halloween festivities this year.
  • The season of scares also begins at Universal with Halloween Horror Nights.
  • “The IT Experience” is floating to the Warner Bros. lot to join its Studio Tour.
  • Christmas comes early with various Harry-Potter-related park announcements.
  • And more!

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universal-hhn-2017 (1)

For the past 13 years, John Murdy has acted as the Director of Creative Development for Universal Studios in Hollywood, California. And while that title comes with a ton of responsibilities within the park, his main claim to fame is the revitalization and continued success of Universal’s huge Halloween-themed event, Halloween Horror Nights.

Each year in Los Angeles, a bevy of haunts vie for the public’s attention during the Halloween season. While Knott’s Scary Farm boasts grandiose attractions, Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights consecutively brings to life the unique and familiar scares inspired by some of the biggest movie and TV franchises audiences have grown to love. This year is no exception, as one of the biggest draws for the event is the premiere of a maze based on Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic, The Shining.

All work and no play and what not…

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x atencio dead

X Atencio, the beloved Disney animator and Imagineer whose credits include everything from Pinocchio to Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, has passed away at the age of 98. Atencio leaves behind a legacy marked by two of the most iconic theme-park attractions ever created, as well as decades of innovation in feature and short animation.

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terminator 2 3d closing 2

After 21 years of operation, Terminator 2: 3D at Universal Studios Florida is set to close its doors forever. The attraction is a theme park landmark for a number of reasons and was, for years, one of the first stops for many guests entering the park. However, Universal Studios has proven itself to be unsentimental when it comes to its classic attractions. Their parks are in a constant state of self-reinvention, a far cry from the ever-nostalgic leanings of Disney theme parks.

Now we consider two questions: what is replacing Terminator 2: 3D and is any ride safe from Universal’s ruthless (but undeniably effective) quest to bring the biggest, most advanced, and most “tied to a beloved intellectual property” attractions to its parks?

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How Pandora The World of Avatar Reflects the Film

There is no denying that the movie Avatar was once a great cultural event. In late 2009, director James Cameron’s blockbuster about blue-skinned aliens was seemingly all anyone could talk about, even though it was arguably not even the best science fiction film that year (to be sure, the landscape was crowded, with District 9, Star Trek, and Moon all jockeying to be the sci-fi inclusions on people’s Top Ten lists.)

Critics hailed Avatar as a singularly immersive theatergoing experience, and audiences agreed, insofar as they helped it unseat Cameron’s previous film, Titanic, to become the highest grossing film of all time. Even when adjusted for inflation, it still ranks as the second highest grosser, right behind the classic Gone with the Wind.

Yet as many have noted, in the intervening years since Avatar set off the big wave of post-converted 3-D films, it seemed to vanish from the cultural conversation. Back in 2014, on the fifth anniversary of the film’s release, Scott Mendolson of Forbes.com posted an article examining the film’s legacy. The headline of that article asserted that Avatar had “left no pop culture footprint.” And indeed, the film’s cultural relevance, or lack thereof, is something the voices on our own /Filmcast have continued to debate.

As of this summer, however, Avatar the experience (emphasis on “experience” over the film’s middling story) has suddenly become relevant again. All it took was the opening of a certain theme park land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.

Let’s take a closer look at Pandora – The World of Avatar, how it fits in with Animal Kingdom, and how it brings aspects of Cameron’s film to life in a way that just might make a believer out of you, even if you are not an Avatar fan.

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star wars galaxy's edge 2

Despite being home to a few of the finest attractions in Walt Disney World, the Hollywood Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida currently isn’t worth the price of admission. But that will change in a few years, when the massive construction projects that have reduced the park to a half-day experience are finished and you can visit entire worlds based on Star Wars and Toy Story (with even more reportedly in the pipeline). Hollywood Studios is in the process of completely remaking itself – in a few years, it’ll be a brand new park.

With these big changes may come a new name. A new survey reveals that Hollywood Studios may undergo a name change in the near future and a new mission statement – heavily themed and highly interactive worlds based on your favorite movies. And this feels like the future of theme parks in general.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Guardians of the Galaxy Halloween Ride

Even though the new Disneyland attraction Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! just opened in May in the California Adventure Park area, the ride is already getting a makeover to go along with the theme park’s Halloween festivities.

Beginning on September 15 and lasting through All Hallows’ Eve on October 31, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! will be transformed into Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark. The ride will take on a new storyline during this time involving Rocket Raccoon and his tree pal Groot. Find out more about the Guardians of the Galaxy Mission BREAKOUT Halloween updates below. Read More »