Theme Park Bits: Disneyland Paris Closures, First Look At Adventureland's New Restaurant, Bing Bongs New Animatronic, And More

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Walt Disney Studios in Disneyland Paris is closing down a couple attractions next year.
  • Take a look at the new Adventureland restaurant at Disneyland.
  • Spend a whole month celebrating Valentine's Day in the Disney parks.
  • See what Universal Orlando has in store for their holiday food and drink offerings.
  • See the long-awaited Bing Bong animatronic at DCA.
  • And more!
  • None of the Disney theme parks are safe from the expansion of lands dedicated to IP from Marvel and the like. Want proof? Look no further than Disneyland Paris, where a couple of long-standing attractions are closing down to make way for future expansion. Say goodbye to the Art of Disney Animation exhibit, as well as a stunt show themed to Michael Bay's Armageddon. (OK, I'm not too sad about that one going away.) Marvel getting its own land in multiple parks is inevitable, but seeing an animation-themed exhibit shut its doors is kind of a heartbreaker.

    Here's something exciting, though: a first look from the Disney Parks Blog of the new Tropical Hideaway restaurant in Disneyland's Adventureland. This area used to be a rarely-populated meet-and-greet called Aladdin's Oasis, but Tropical Hideaway will bring the section between Jungle Cruise and the Enchanted Tiki Room back to its 60s-era glory days. It's not open yet, but this peek inside really does suggest that the Tropical Hideaway is going to be a thrilling new addition to what is arguably the best themed land in all of Disneyland. (That's right, I said it.)

    Let's say you're at the Disneyland Resort. (Good for you. You need a break.) You may, as a person does, have some time on your hands while waiting in line, so you go to your smartphone to play on a game. Why not the Play Disney app, where you can now explore some fortune-telling experiences that tie into actual fortune-telling booths at the parks? While this is a cool-sounding idea, let me offer a rejoinder: the Wi-Fi in the Disneyland Resort is, and I know this from experience, pretty spotty, and these apps can suck a lot of life out of your battery. No doubt, this is cool, but the Disney honchos need to improve the Internet experience before this can become a truly exciting offer.

    We're switching gears here, to a straight-up grim story. Earlier this week, it was reported that a family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Universal Orlando after a man died on the 3D, trackless King Kong attraction there in 2016. The family claims that the parks a) didn't offer aid quickly enough to the man in question and b) that the parks need to post its health warnings to Spanish-speaking guests. The original report also notes that the local medical examiner was notified of the man's death, but did not perform an autopsy. It's all quite sad and disturbing, but worth a read anyway.

    There's no real way to smoothly segue out of that story, but let's move on anyway to another, lighter Universal Orlando-focused bit of news. We are, of course, just a few days removed from the end of Hanukkah — and yes, fine, it's almost Christmas. If you're at the Universal theme park in Florida before January 6 of next year, there's quite a few tasty seasonal treats for you to try. Of the various options listed in that official blog post, I'm voting for the apple strudel on a stick, pictured above. I'm also in favor of that being a year-round treat, because who doesn't love apple strudel?

    You may recall that the Pixar Pier area opened in Disney California Adventure back in the middle of June. If you, like me, have visited the park since June, you may also know that Pixar Pier isn't finished yet by a long shot. But it's one step closer now that an animatronic version of Bing Bong has revealed himself in his own candy shop there. As is often the case, it feels like some of the coolest things get unveiled just after I finish up a trip of my own, so I'm kind of disappointed I didn't get to see this up close a few weeks ago.

    We're still waiting for an official announcement from Disney, but the scuttlebutt is that Disneyland is in the mood for love. Well, OK, it's a bit more complicated than that. They are, in fact, so besotted with Valentine's Day that the park will apparently have a monthlong celebration of the holiday starting at the end of January. It doesn't sound like the park will get much more of a makeover aside from decorations in Main Street, U.S.A. and on It's A Small World, but that plus a series of food and drink offerings may be more than enough for all you lovers out there.