Star Wars Land concept art - The Star Wars Experience

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • An updated look at Star Wars land at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
  • Universal Studios files some very interesting waterpark patents.
  • Disneyland Paris’ Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reopens following a lengthy refurbishment.
  • Universal Studios’ Waterworld show is undergoing some renovations.
  • How the Grinch stole the Universal Studios backlot tour.

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Nintendo World Rides

You can learn a lot about theme park patents. Or nothing at all.

Like with any industry, Disney and Universal Studios (as well as their various competitors) tend to file many patents for technology that they don’t even intend to utilize in the near future. They just want to make sure they have a particular ride system or show mechanic or aerial entertainment drone in their library, just in case. But we do know that Universal is bringing Nintendo characters into their theme parks and that the Universal Studios Japan version of Super Nintendo World is expected to open its doors before 2020. With this knowledge in mind, a few of the company’s most recent patents start to look very, very interesting.

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Rogue One Reshoots

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Epoct temporarily transforms Spaceship Earth into the Death Star.
  • A new round of Star Wars entertainment comes to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland’s Iron Man Experience sets its opening day.
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey loses its 3D.
  • Tickets to Universal’s Volcano Bay are now on sale.
  • Both Disney and Universal plunge headfirst into the aerial drone game.
  • The Secret Life of Pets comes to Universal Orlando.
  • Disneyland is getting its own Splitsville bowling alley.
  • And more!

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nintendo land concept art

Two weeks ago, one of the most un-secret secrets in the theme park industry was officially pushed into the spotlight: Universal Studios is teaming up with Nintendo to bring the iconic video game publisher’s characters to Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando, and Universal Studios Japan. Specific details were scarce, but there were promises of “expansive, immersive and interactive” attractions that would make you feel “as if you’re playing inside your favorite games – in real life.” Today, we still don’t know too much more than that, but the first piece of concept art for Nintendo Land has arrived, offering an early look at what the expect as well as the area’s full and proper name.

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toy story 4

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Shanghai Disneyland breaks ground on a new Toy Story-themed land.
  • Michael J. Fox poses with the DeLorean at Universal Studios.
  • You can now meet Doctor Strange at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • New images show off the construction of Star Wars Land at Disneyland.
  • Watch the latest World of Color nighttime show.
  • Shanghai Disneyland has already been visited by four million people.
  • Donald Trump will be added to the Hall of Presidents next year.
  • And more!

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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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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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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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The Walking Dead attraction

The Walking Dead universe is a pretty grim place. When characters aren’t outrunnning hungry hordes of the undead, they’re trying to outmaneuver living people who might be even more vicious and violent. If they manage to survive all that, they might find they’ve lost their own souls in the process — a lifetime of threats and heartbreaking decisions will do that to a person. No sane person would choose to live in a world that brutal.

But visit for a few minutes at a time? That, people might go for. Indeed, plenty of people already have — the Walking Dead maze has proven immensely popular during Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights. So the theme park is getting ready to ignore those “Don’t Open, Dead Inside” warnings and fling the doors open year-round. Now you can check out a full video walkthrough of the permanent attraction, days before it officially opens to the public on Monday, July 4Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

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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