star wars land droids

We all know that Disney’s Star Wars theme park lands are going to be immersive. Specifically, we all know that they have to be immersive at the bare minimum if they want to compete with Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the current high water mark in theme park design. Knowing Disney, they will go out of their way and spend a lot of money to fight back against that boy wizard and reclaim their position at the top of this particular food chain. This theme park cold war is going to result in some mighty fine work. Whoever wins, we win.

While the two unnamed Star Wars lands are currently little more than big piles of dirt at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, a new video has given us a taste of just how far they may be willing push to the immersion factor. How about droids wandering the area, integrating with guests and their environment?

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hotel concept art 3

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Frozen Ever After reveals a heavily remodeled entrance.
  • New videos show off a hugely impressive entrance and queue for Skull Island: Reign of Kong.
  • Our best look yet at Shanghai Disneyland‘s fireworks show.
  • Disneyland announces a new hotel that will open in 2019.

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frozen live

In today’s Theme Park Bits:

  • Watch footage from Frozen: Live at the Hyperion.
  • Explore the new The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic Show.
  • A look at the problems plaguing Shanghai Disneyland.
  • Watch Shanghai Disneyland’s stunning fireworks show.
  • Universal Studios offers a tiny tease of Skull Island: Reign of Kong.

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frozen ever after

In today’s Theme Park Bits:

  • Disney announces an opening date for Frozen Ever After.
  • You’ll have one more chance to ride the original Soarin’ before it’s updated.
  • Disney sets a date for its Star Wars fireworks show.
  • Universal plans a Waterworld stunt show refurbishment.
  • Disney’s nighttime Jungle Book show is just around the corner.
  • A Haunted Mansion documentary is currently on Kickstarter.

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hulk coaster

In today’s Theme Park Bits:

  • New footage from the Shanghai Disneyland version of Peter Pan’s Flight.
  • An deep dive into the technology behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle For the Sunken Treasure.
  • A new look at Shanghai Disneyland’s Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue.
  • The first photos from inside Epcot’s Frozen Ever After.
  • Details on Universal’s refurbished Incredible Hulk Coaster.

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The Walking Dead attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood

In March, Universal Studios announced that The Walking Dead Attraction would be coming to Universal Studios Hollywood this summer. The new walk-through haunted house attraction will “create a no-holds-barred experience that significantly intensifies any other iteration previously developed within the theme park.”

And now today Universal has released a video showing how The Walking Dead executive producer and director Greg Nicotero and his special effects company, KNB EFX are contributing to the new attraction, constructing prosthetics and animatronics that even utilize original molds from the actual show. Previously Universal told us that the new experience could include “authentic walker make-up effects, sophisticated animatronic walkers, substantially more detailed set design and costuming, and highly recognizable props replicated from the series, delivering an uncompromised realistic environment that brings guests even further into the most watched show in cable television history.” Hit the jump to watch the video and see how Nicotero is contributing to this new Universal Studios Hollywood experience.
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skull island reign of kong

It’s going to be an interesting summer for the theme park cold war that’s been brewing between Disney and Universal for the past six years. Shanghai Disneyland is set to open very soon and the early videos of the attractions promise a few next-level experiences. That new Pirates of the Caribbean ride in particular feels like the result of Universal raising the standards of themed entertainment with their Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Both companies officially have a creative fire lit under their butts, which means that we win.

While Shanghai Disneyland has grabbed the most recent headlines, Universal also has an incredibly ambitious attraction waiting in the wings. While it doesn’t have anything to do with the upcoming Kong: Skull Island movie, Skull Island: Reign of Kong looks to bring riders deep into King Kong’s home turf before bringing them face-to-face with the big guy himself. Universal has released a new video teasing Kong’s presence in the attraction and he looks exactly like how you’d hope King Kong would look.

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Shanghai Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean Ride

Shanghai Disneyland won’t have its grand opening until June 16th 2016, but Disney’s Chinese theme park has been running soft openings, giving guests a sneak preview of what’s inside. Earlier this week we ran a video from the new Tron ride, a rollercoaster ride called Tron Lightcycle Power Run that looked pretty great. Today I bring you the most impressive thing I’ve seen coming out of Shanghai Disneyland, and that is the new Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

No, this isn’t the same animatronic ride from Disneyland (or the much shorter version from Disney World’s Magic Kingdom), this is an all-new ride which Disney has been calling the park’s signature attraction: Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. The new E-ticket ride, located in the park’s Treasure Cove land, features “a combination of new technology and innovation and will take guests on a pirate adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Davy Jones, providing an experience unlike anything else in the world.”

Okay, so that doesn’t even do it justice. The first good ride-on video has hit the web and HOLY SHIT. I know I don’t swear too much on here, so when I do it carries some gravity. This ride looks amazing. Please, stop what you’re doing, and hit the jump to watch this first ride video from Pirates of the Caribbean in Shanghai Disneyland.

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TRON Ride Video

There’s a new Disney theme park hitting Shanghai next month, and TRON fans will be jealous when they see the new ride that is only being built in China. We got a glimpse at some concept art for the attraction from overseas, but now that the park is getting really close to opening on June 16, we get to see how the ride turned out in reality.

For those who don’t have the coin to make it over to Shanghai but still want to see what they’re missing out on, a new video has emerged online from someone who was lucky enough to check out the ride during the soft open and cast member previews. Thankfully, they brought their camera and turned it on for the full ride, and it’s a pretty cool.

Watch the TRON ride video after the jump. Read More »