The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle

While Disney and Universal continue to lock horns in the theme park cold war that promises to bring all kinds of ambitious goodness to parkgoers in the coming years, the Mouse has the advantage in one key area: nighttime entertainment. For many visitors, a day at Disney is not complete without an evening fireworks show, which means that people stick around (and spend more money) waiting for it to happen.

But Universal, always happy to dig into their rival’s share of the pie, is finally looking to battle Disney in this arena. We already knew that a new nighttime show called The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle was coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Hollywood, but now footage of the show in action has arrived online.

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avengers hatch at disney california adventure

Disneyland Resort held the grand opening of their first Marvel-themed attraction Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout last week (read our reaction here). Something new has popped up outside the attraction — an Avengers hatch of unknown origin. What does it mean? Let’s try to uncover the mystery of the Avengers hatch at Disney California Adventure, after the jump.

Updated: We now have a video of the SHIELD agents in action.

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In just five days, I have visited Disney World’s new Pandora: The World of Avatar, experienced Universal Orlando’s third theme park Volcano Bay, and the grand opening of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disneyland Resort’s Disney California Adventure. I’ll have more on Volcano Bay and AvatarLand next week, but today, I wanted to give you my quick reaction to Mission Breakout. How does Marvel’s first step into North American Disney Parks compare to the former and beloved attraction it replaced, The Twilight Zones Tower of Terror?

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guardians of the galaxy mission breakout

After five months of extensive renovation and refurbishment, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure has completed its transformation into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! and will open its doors in just a few days. In fact, our own Peter Sciretta will be previewing the ride today and interviewing a few of the folks involved in the process of bringing this attraction to life (including Guardians of the Galaxy movie director James Gunn). So if you want to know more, we’ll be bringing you a lot more very soon.

But if you want something right now, we’ve also got you covered. New footage from the attraction has arrived online, offering a more extensive look at the elaborate queue as well as snippets of footage from the ride itself.

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disney rides ranked

This is a banner week for the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. This Friday, Walt Disney Pictures releases the new entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, Dead Men Tell No Tales; it’s the fifth film based on the classic 1967 attraction. Also Friday, at the Disney California Adventure theme park in Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort, Marvel will make its presence known in the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission – Break Out! attraction, taking over from The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. But wait, as they say: there’s more. This weekend, Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World gets a whole new land, Pandora, themed to James Cameron’s Avatar. This combination of theme-park and movie-centric unveilings is the inspiration for the following, admittedly massive ranking of every single movie-inspired or movie-adjacent Disney attraction.

Get comfortable. We’re going to be here for a little while.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Ride

There are only a few more days until Disneyland opens the doors to its first Marvel attraction. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! is in the same location as the theme park’s beloved Tower of Terror ride, and it’s been completely revamped from the inside out to look like a fortress that belongs to The Collector, the eccentric character played by Benicio Del Toro in the Marvel Studios films. You can learn all about the attraction right here, but a new video interview with Del Toro has surfaced that gives us our first look inside the attraction…and this thing is practically overflowing with cool props and easter eggs.

Take a peek at the Guardians of the Galaxy ride video below.
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nemo-and-friends-searider

This month, a new attraction opens at the Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort in California. Or rather, a new attraction built on the skeleton of an older attraction. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! utilizes the same building and ride engine as the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, albeit with a complete Marvel makeover. The results have been controversial amongst theme park fans, to the say the very least.

Meanwhile, across the world, another attraction makeover hasn’t received nearly as much press. The StormRider attraction at Tokyo DisneySea has become Nemo & Friends SeaRider. Utilizing the same space and ride system, this attraction takes riders under the ocean to interact with the characters from Finding Dory and Finding Nemo. Full ride video has arrived online, just in case you want to check it out and don’t think you’ll be heading to Tokyo anytime soon.
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The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle

When Universal Studios Hollywood held the grand opening of the west coast version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, they did so with a spectacular show which used projection mapping to put elaborate animations on the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. At the time of the grand opening, I asked Universal staffers if they might expand the experience for park guests. Universal is situated close to residential neighborhoods, which prevent the park from holding fireworks shows every night like their competitor, Disneyland.

But a nighttime projection show on Hogwarts castle seems like a no-brainer. Today, Universal Studios Hollywood is officially announcing the new nighttime show, which is being called “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle.”

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avatar flight of passage ride

Avatar 2 may be several years away, but Pandora can become fully realized soon in the Flight of Passage ride that will be open in Walt Disney World’s Pandora: The World of Avatar on May 27, 2017.

A few lucky fans got an early preview of the ride and have posted a full, detailed video of the experience. Get a sneak peek of what it’s like to soar through the skies of Pandora on the back of a Banshee.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

just get over it

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • How you can ride Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT! early.
  • You’ll soon be able to meet Groot and Baby Groot at Disney parks.
  • The latest on Pandora: The World of Avatar.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland moves forward with its Marvel and Frozen expansions.
  • Hyperspace Mountain has officially arrived in Disneyland Paris.
  • And more!

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