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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avatar na'vi river journey

For theme park fans, Walt Disney World’s Pandora: The World of Avatar has long existed as a series of rumors wrapped in photos taken from a distance, a handful of intriguing promises that didn’t quite line up with the fact that the Animal Kingdom theme park’s newest themed land has looked like a construction site for most of the past year. So this new video, which teases this endeavor as an actual place with rides you can go on and things you can do, is a pleasant surprise after so many aerial photos tracking minuscule changes.

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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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avatar na'vi river journey

Seven years after it became the highest-grossing film in history, everybody spends more time talking about why no one talks about Avatar than talking about Avatar itself. That’s why the upcoming Pandora: The World of Avatar expansion coming the Animal Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World feels like a bizarre combination of risky move and sure thing – building a theme park land around the most successful movie of all time certainly sounds like a license to print money until you remember that the film seems to have bounced off pop culture in the long run. They may have made less money, but Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Marvel are all embedded more deeply in the common psyche than James Cameron’s eco-centric science fiction epic. What if you build the most impressive theme park land ever devised and everyone shrugs?

That’s a question for the long term. Right now, your focus should be on the first footage of a Na’vi from one of the land’s attractions.

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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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disney world drones

If you ever want to know the future of theme parks, you’ve got to look to the patents. Every ride system and every piece of technology that can be incorporated into an attraction or show first exists as a patent, a dry design with an even drier description that feels like it was specifically designed to sound as boring as possible. It’s a great way to hide in plain sight – to read about exciting theme park advancements that may be on the horizon is to also be bored out of your mind.

Over the past year or so, Disney has been steadily filing patents for various drone designs and it looks like we’ll finally start to seeing the fruits of those plans this holiday season. In addition to fireworks and projection mapping, drones are coming to Disney theme park’s nighttime entertainment and the first video teaser for a mysterious new show has arrived.

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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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nemo-and-friends-searider

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • The much-maligned Stitch’s Great Escape attraction goes seasonal.
  • Walt Disney World’s Hall of Presidents will shut down in January to prepare for the next audio-animatorinc commander-in-chief.
  • A new proposal sheds more light on the original version of Epcot.
  • Go behind-the-scenes of Disneyland’s new Halloween attractions.
  • Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are getting new attractions based on Finding Nemo and Zootopia.
  • Updates on season pass information for Disneyland and Walt Disney World visitors.
  • Universal Studios Hollywood adds more characters from The Simpsons.

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ghostbusters ride

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • A Ghostbusters ride is heading to Dubai.
  • Disney confirms that a new Muppets restaurant is one the way.
  • Watch the opening ceremony for Universal Studios’ Skull Island: Reign of Kong.
  • An update on the construction of Star Wars Land at Disneyland.
  • A rumored location for Universal Studio’s The Secret Life of Pets ride.
  • Kubo and the Two Strings characters are now in Universal parks.
  • Tour Universal Orlando’s newest hotel.
  • New updates on Halloween events at both Disney and Universal.
  • And more!

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

The Walking Dead attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Take a very close look at the new The Walking Dead Attraction and read an early review.
  • Learn how and when you can audition for Halloween Horror Nights.
  • Universal Studios doubles down on The Secret Life of Pets.
  • Disney introduces more Star Wars into its parks as Star Wars Land takes shape.
  • Universal is testing VR headsets for future attractions.
  • A new video teases the technology of Pandora: The Land of Avatar.
  • The history of Disney’s scrapped Virginia theme park.
  • And more!

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