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.

Disney has announced that their newest attraction, the Frozen Ever After log flume ride, will open at the Epcot theme park in Orlando, Florida on June 21, 2016. This opening follows the controversial closing of Maelstrom, the not-particularly-famous but well-liked-by-certain-die-hard-fanatics attraction that transported riders through Norwegian history and folklore. Still, considering the massive popularity of Frozen, and the unspeakably long lines to meet Anna and Elsa at the parks, Disney probably has a surefire hit on its hands. The specifics of the attraction have not been revealed, but we know it will repurpose the basic structure of Maelstrom, taking guests from from a “Summer Snow Day” celebration (where Elsa has used her powers to make it snow in the middle of the warm seasons) through Troll Valley and eventually up into the mountains, where they will ride through the ice palace seen in the movie. The neighboring Royal Sommerhus, the new establishment especially built for Anna and Elsa meet-and-greets, will also open on June 21.

Speaking of big changes coming to Epcot, guests will have one final chance to experience the classic Soarin’ attraction before it gets upgraded to the highly anticipated Soarin’ Around the World. The hang gliding motion simulator will re-open at the Land Pavillion in Epcot’s Future World on May 27, following extensive refurbishments (including the construction of a third theater, which should help with those long waits). You’ll then have a few weeks to get those last few rides in, because classic Soarin’ will end on June 16, with Soarin’ Around the World immediately opening in its place on June 17. Meanwhile, the west coast version of the ride will operate in Disney’s California Adventure park until June 15 before also switching over to the new show on June 17. While some fans may be upset by this change, it makes sense. The original attraction was developed for California guests and the focus on that state’s locations in the ride film was a little baffling down in Florida. It was time for a refresh.

If you want a preview of what to expect from the new version, you can watch ride footage from the Soarin’ Around the World in Shanghai Disneyland below.

Meanwhile, Disney has announced that that the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular nighttime show will begin on June 17 at the Hollywood Studios park in Florida. Considering the dearth of attractions at that park (half of the land is currently shut down for construction on Toy Story land and Star Wars land), this will give guests a chance to linger. Here’s how the show is being described:

This elaborate show will combine fireworks, pyrotechnics, special effects and video projections that will turn the park’s Chinese Theater and other buildings into the twin suns of Tatooine, a field of battle droids, the trench of the Death Star, Starkiller Base and other Star Wars destinations. And the show, which will feature music from throughout the film franchise, will be punctuated with a tower of fire and spotlight beams, creating a massive lightsaber in the sky.

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