jurassic-park-the-ride-concept-art

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Get a look at concept art for Disney World’s upcoming NBA-themed game complex.
  • See video of Motiongate Dubai’s Hunger Games land and Ghostbusters ride.
  • Tokyo DisneySea is getting in on the Pixar action with a new seasonal event.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland has broken ground on its multi-year expansion.
  • SeaWorld continues to offer a mix of good and bad news.
  • And much more!

nba-experience-disney-springs-concept

This week, Disney Parks Blog used the start of the 2017-2018 NBA season as an opportunity to release concept art for the NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort. The NBA Experience is a new interactive game complex coming to Disney Springs in the summer of 2019. It will replace the former DisneyQuest complex, which closed back in July and has since begun undergoing demolishment.

Resisting the urge to repeat the obvious “Disney World is going to the dogs” joke, it is enough to say that four Walt Disney World hotels are now catering to canine-lovers. Over at Epcot, there are some new names on the list of celebrity narrators for the 2017 Candlelight Processional at the Epcot International Festival of Holidays (the new name for the park’s former Holidays Around the World celebration). On the West Coast, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is now offering guests a special booking offer in redesigned rooms as it puts the finishing touches on an extensive refurbishment.

jurassic-park-the-ride-concept-art

If mention of its VR Game Room a few weeks back was not enough to entice you, the Universal Orlando blog offered a closer look this week at the design of guest rooms inside Universal’s Aventura Hotel. Meanwhile, in a throwback to 1992, the online archive From Director Steven Spielberg has showcased a piece of concept art for Jurassic Park: The Ride, showing how the attraction was in development even before the movie came out.

lionsgate-dubai-concept

If you are a fan of The Hunger Games, you might want to head to Dubai. As of late Friday, October 20, 2017, a new themed land called the World of the Hunger Games has opened at the Motiongate Dubai theme park (which itself opened just last December). According to The Los Angeles Times, the World of the Hunger Games is “focused on taking visitors inside the immersive world of Panem rather than exploring the darker aspects of the deadly games.” So if you were hoping to be pitted against fellow theme parkgoers in laser tag or a Nerf bow-and-arrow fight—something that might actually simulate the games themselves—it looks like you will have to content yourself with two non-competitive attractions.

On the Panem Aerial Tour, guests can board a flight simulator for a hovercraft ride over the nation’s 12 districts. For its part, the Capitol Bullet Train promises to take guests on a launched roller coaster ride that twists and turns and loops upside down far more than a passenger train really should. There are also video messages inside the attractions, with actors Stanley Tucci and Elizabeth Banks appearing in character as Caesar Flickerman and Effie Trinket from the movies. And there is an Effie Trinket performer who will walk around and do character greetings.

If you are hungry (and really, who in Panem isn’t?), never forget that Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta Mallark was renowned for his baking skills. So yes, Peeta’s Bakery is a thing, and as The Guardian reports, it will also be coming to Times Square, New York City in 2019, as part of Lionsgate Entertainment City. This complex will also feature a Mad Men restaurant, a John Wick shooting attraction, and a Divergent obstacle course. If you do not feel like waiting two years for it to open, however, Motiongate Dubai has the added incentive of a Smurfs Village, various DreamWorks and Columbia Pictures movie attractions, and “the world’s first Ghostbusters-inspired theme park ride” (ride being the operative word, as there was once a stage show at Universal Studios Orlando called Ghostbusters Spooktacular).

The ride is called Ghostbusters: Battle for New York. Theme Park Review has video of it below. It essentially looks like a shooting-gallery-type ride—similar to Toy Story Midway Mania!—with some neat little physical constructs recreating the world of Ghostbusters.

With Avatar 2 (and 3, 4, 5) currently in production, producer Jon Landau recently welcomed some new additions to the cast by giving seven young actors a VIP tour of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Ben Pearson has the lowdown on the characters these kids will be playing. Three of them are Jake Sully and Neytiri’s children (presuming you remember who Jake Sully and Neytiri are). /Film readers can see their own VIP photo tour of Pandora here.

As we reported this week, the planet Crait from the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi will soon be integrated into Star Tours attractions around the world. At Tokyo Disneyland, this update will come as part of the “Feel the Force” event, which will see new Star Wars decorations and merchandise—such as a Darth Vader popcorn bucket—invade the park in December. In Tomorrowland, a new version of the popular mochi ice cream snack, themed to Stormtroopers, is already available.

disneysea-pixar-playtime-lightning-mcqueen

With Cars Land, “a bug’s land,” and Toy Story Midway Mania! (not to mention next year’s Pixar Pier and Pixar Fest), Disney California Adventure has carved out a niche for itself as the place for Pixar. In January, Tokyo DisneySea is looking to follow the same pattern with Pixar Playtime, a new seasonal event at the park. Fans can look forward to seeing Lightning McQueen run a victory lap through the port of American Waterfront. As TDR Explorer reports, there will also be a slew of other Pixar characters on hand for greetings, including Remy from Ratatouille, Mike and Sulley from Monster’s Inc., Carl, Russell, and Dug from Up, and Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye from the Toy Story series.

While this is going on, Duffy the Disney Bear and friends will be celebrating their own separate event in the park’s Cape Cod area. Disney Parks Blog has the details on that, along with the return of Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Fantasy at Tokyo Disneyland in January.

As mentioned last week, Tokyo Disneyland is currently undergoing a massive redevelopment project, one which will see a new Beauty and the Beast attraction and other exclusive rides come to the park by 2020. This week, Hong Kong Disneyland also started construction on its own six-year expansion. Between now and 2023, Disney aims to bring something new to the park every year, as it rolls out a fresh line-up of shows, attractions, and lands themed to Moana, Marvel, and Frozen.

seaworld-beijing-concept

Following up on our SeaWorld coverage from the week before last, Inside the Magic reports that two new indoor SeaWorld parks may be heading to an entertainment complex in Beijing. Here in the states, SeaWorld’s Aquatica water park in Orlando has announced plans for a new raft water slide dubbed “Ray Rush.” Opening in the spring of 2018, this slide will replace the existing HooRoo Run, which closes October 31.

Unfortunately, as SeaWorld diverts funds to new marketing strategies and attractions like Ray Rush, it is being forced to cut jobs. This week, the company announced 350 layoffs, mostly in the administrative departments at its Orlando and San Diego parks. This comes on the heels of 320 layoffs last year.

Cool Posts From Around the Web: