Star Wars Land

A bunch of Disneyland rumors hit the web this week, including updates on the timetable, geography and construction of Star Wars Land, a new FastPass system that could be coming in 2016, a possible big revamp to Downtown Disney,  an opening date for Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, more information on the rumored Marvel Expansion planned for Disney California Adventure, and more.

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Star Wars Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple Show

Star Wars Season of the Force opened at Disneyland and Disney World’s Hollywood Studios over the past few weeks, but one key addition has had a late start: an updated version of the popular Jedi Training Academy. While the show is primarily for children, Adult Star Wars fans have always gotten a kick out of seeing their children go facer to face with some of the biggest Star Wars villains in a test of the Force and lightsaber battles. The revamped show is now called Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple and features characters from the popular Disney XD animated series Star Wars Rebels.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple has opened this week in Hollywood Studios (but won’t begin in Walt’s original west coast theme park until January 2016) and you can watch the first video of the show now embedded after the jump.

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Universal Orlando May Be Planning Third Theme Park

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Universal Studios might be planning to add a third theme park to their Orlando Resort to complement Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure. A new report claims that the company is interested in buying a massive lot of land along Universal Boulevard and has an offer in. Learn more about the possible Universal Orlando third park, after the jump.
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Captain Phasma

After the jump:

  • J.J. Abrams talks Han Solo, Kylo Ren, and much more.
  • Take in a video tour of Disney World’s Star Wars Launch Bay.
  • See every original trilogy vehicle and ship to scale.
  • A Force Awakens co-producer explains how she got that sweet gig.
  • Abu Dhabi will host The Force Awakens‘ Middle East premiere.
  • Carrie Fisher has also noticed the dearth of Leia merchandise.
  • Ooh and ahh over a customized Stormtrooper Fiat.
  • Ample Hills Creamery serves up Star Wars-branded ice cream.
  • Gwendoline Christie models a Chrome Trooper dress.

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universal california harry potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida is nothing short of amazing. It’s the kind of stunning, next-generation step forward theme park fans hope to see every decade or so. The sense of place, the small Wizarding community of Hogsmeade and the the nearby Hogwarts Castle, is astonishing. The rides, namely Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, do things we’ve never seen done before. It’s a triumph of design and execution.

It’s also increased attendance at Universal’s Florida parks enough to get Disney nervous, so it was inevitable that Universal would eventually bring their Harry Potter attractions to their California location. Why make mountains of gold Galleons on one coast when you can rake in the big bucks on both? Now, nearly four years after it was announced, a new video tour has been released, giving us our first look at the Universal Studios Hollywood version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that isn’t a gallery of construction site photos.

Check out the new video for the Universal California Harry Potter attractions after the jump.

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walking dead ride

You can say a lot of things about the still hugely popular The Walking Dead – it’s thrilling, disgusting, boring, repetitive, suddenly-good-after-all-these-years, and/or just-as-bad-as-ever – but you won’t find many people calling it “fun.” The series is punishing at best, putting its characters through the wringer and asking audiences to continually sympathize people who have become worse than the monsters they’re fighting.

So it may be a little weird that AMC‘s flagship series is becoming a theme park ride. Just a little.

Sally Corp, who build animatronics and attractions for museums and theme parks, has revealed The Walking Dead: Battle For Survival at this year’s International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) convention in Orlando, Florida. The “mixed media” dark ride is already fully designed. It just needs a buyer and a home.

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star wars launch bay

For the next few weeks, the Disney’s patented Synergistic Marketing Machine is going to kick into a gear we’ve never quite seen before. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens only a month away from release, the massive media conglomeration is embarking on a campaign to make sure that each and every human being on the planet with access to a movie theater knows about J.J. Abrams‘ sequel and is either excited about it or browbeaten enough to go see it out of obligation. It’s all the same in the end, right?

Disney’s most impressive feat of marketing has to be the Star Wars Launch Bay attraction that officially opened at several of their theme parks yesterday. This temporary exhibit (a prelude to the actual under-construction Star Wars lands arriving in a few years) shows off props and costumes from The Force Awakens, gives fans a chance to interact with a few Star Wars characters, and ultimately serves as a massive reminder that they love the original trilogy.

But Disneyland passes cost a literal arm and a leg these days (what is Disney doing with their new collection of limbs?) so you might as well watch videos from the exhibit at home in bed.

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2016 Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Passes

I’m a Disneyland-fanatic but I’m not one of those hardcores that hates on Universal Studios at every turn. I actually like Universal, and specifically their Studio Tour in Hollywood (although it needs some updates), their 4D Transformers ride and the incredibly detailed immersive experience they have created with Harry Potter. Last month Disney fanatics were sent into a tizzy when the Mouse House announced that they were raising the prices of Annual Passes, including the top pass with no black out days being raised 35% to $1049.

And we expected Universal Studios to raise their prices, especially considering The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be making its way to the west coast in Spring 2016. But I don’t think anyone would have expected them to announce three new annual passes, none of which allow full 365 day access to the parks and free parking privileges. Weekends during the Summer are blocked out even on the most expensive passes. Find out the details on the 2016 Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Passes, after the jump.

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pixar short film festival

When Captain EO returned to Disney theme parks around the world in 2010, everyone assumed it was a temporary thing, a quick buffer to capitalize on renewed interest in star Michael Jackson following his death. And then the bombastic, not-especially-good 3D musical short film (originally introduced into the parks in 1986) stuck around for five and half years like some kind of horrible rash for which there was no ointment.

Until now. It has been revealed that Captain EO is officially on its way out at Disney World’s Epcot park, where it will be replaced by a “Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival.” That’s not as exciting as an actual, proper new attraction, but as far as desperate stop-gaps go, it’s solid one… and it certainly beats more of Michael Jackson battling evil with the power of dance. If programmed well, this is a show that could play very well.

More on Epcot’s new Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival after the jump.

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