There’s something for everyone in this edition of Theme Park Bits. From Back to the Future, to Star Wars, Harry Potter and The Little Mermaid, read about the following:
- Is Back to the Future returning to Universal Studios Hollywood?
- FastPass + is available to meet Mark Hamill and others at Star Wars Weekends.
- You can own an original car from the Walt Disney World monorail.
- Check out the new theater inside Animal Kingdom.
- See original concept art from Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride.
- What’s next for the Frozen franchise in the Disney theme parks?
- Watch a video combining Darth Vader and cupcakes.
- The Millennium Falcon takes center stage in a Star Wars Weekend promo.
- The California Adventure Little Mermaid ride got a quiet upgrade.
- Steven Spielberg speaks Japanese in new Universal Studios ad.
- Video and images from the Hogwarts Express ride at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
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Things are always kind of mysterious in the world of Theme Parks. Whether it be a return to The Haunted Mansion or a curious $800 million investment, there’s always something to discuss. In this edition of Theme Park Bits, read about the following:
- Disney just invested $800 million more into Shanghai Disney, could it be for Star Wars?
- New changes have been made to the virtual Fastpass + technology.
- Look at the new cell phone charging lockers.
- A new video exploring the Ratatouille ride has been released by Disney.
- The Hatbox Ghost could return to The Haunted Mansion for the 45th Anniversary
- A fun rumor links a new Soarin’ and Indiana Jones.
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Super packed edition of Theme Park Bits featuring lots of closings. Below, read about the following:
- The Back to the Future themed restaurant Doc Brown’s Chicken at Universal Hollywood is closing in January.
- The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland is closing for refurbishment.
- Universal Studios Japan gets $250 million investment to build a Harry Potter park.
- A Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Shanghai Disneyland might use new technology.
- Check out an image of where Harry Potter land will be in California.
- Disneyland and Walt Disney World visitors can enjoy some Mary Poppins exclusives starting this week.
- See photo and video from the new Raving Rabbids, The Time Machine ride at Futuroscope in France.
- Rumor has it there might be a Warcraft presence at Universal Orlando in the future.
- Listen to some of the original sounds and music from the Haunted Mansion.
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Pacific Rim is awesome. I’ve seen it two times already on the big screen, and I plan to pay to see it a third time this weekend. I highly recommend you do as well.
I don’t usually travel for junkets because I can usually get most of the interviews I want accomplished in Los Angeles without spending days away from home. But when Warner Bros asked if I wanted to come to San Francisco to interview Guillermo del Toro, I jumped at the offer. I flew to my former Bay Area home, screened the movie at the Metreon downtown, and was up bright and early the next day for roundtables.
I sat around in hospitality waiting for my afternoon interview. That time came, and went.
Forty-five minutes later, a rep informed me that they were running so far behind that my one on one interview was no longer go to happen. They offered to try to get me into a roundtable interview with del Toro alongside some of the other journalists who got cut. I thought maybe there would be another chance to interview him solo back in Los Angeles, though Warner Bros didn’t think there would be time. I cant’t tell you how disappointed I was; I flew out just for this interview.
I left with Alex from FirstShowing to grab a early dinner before jumping on the quick plane ride back to LAX. As I walked through the Four Seasons Lobby, there he was — Guillermo. He called us over and gave me a huge bear hug (ask anyone who has ever worked with him, Guillermo is notorious for his hugs). Del Toro asked why the interview didn’t happen and I explained the situation. Without hesitation he said “Fuck that, let’s do this now”. I quickly removed my recorder and without my notes I conducted an eight-minute impromptu interview with del Toro on a couch in the hotel lobby. How cool is that? The man is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in the industry.
You can read a transcript of the interview after the jump. We chat about the challenges he faced with ILM in making his giant mech robots feel huge and real, why is it always raining in Pacific Rim, the unreal neon supersaturated look of Hong Kong, his biggest disappointment with the final cut of Pacific Rim, deleted scenes, the possibility of an extended cut, and update on the development of Disney’s Haunted Mansion, and more.
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I’m a huge Disneyland fanatic, with the top of the line Premier Annual Pass to prove it. I’ve always loved hearing the behind the scenes stories about the famous attractions in Walt Disney‘s incredible creation. We’ve all seen the video footage of Disneyland’s Space Mountain with the lights on. I’ve seen dozens of behind the scenes photos from the Anaheim-based theme park over the years, but I’ve never seen a collection like this one.
A Disney castmemeber recently posted a collection of 82 photos, which appear to have been taken sometime in the 1980’s/1990’s. The collection of photos give an unprecedented look behind the curtain of popular attractions like the Haunted Mansion, Matterhorn, Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise and much more.
Have you ever wondered what the ride operation equipment looks like?
Have you ever wanted to see what the animatronics look like from behind the scenes?
Have you ever wondered what Jungle Cruise would look like without the water?
Have you ever wanted to see what the Haunted Mansion looks like with the lights on?
Have you ever wondered what the view looks like from on the very top of Matterhorn?
Its all here. You also get some photos of cast-member hijinks, a view of the animatronic repair shop, and much much more.
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While at Comic-Con, I had a chance to interview producer turned Disney President of Production Sean Bailey about the highly anticipated 3D sci-fi sequel Tron: Legacy. I talked with Sean about his recent rise to power at Disney, returning to Comic-Con for three years with one film, del Toro’s Haunted Mansion, the possibility of a Tron ride at Disneyland, screening a rough cut of Tron Legacy for David Fincher, Pixar creatives and Ben Affleck, how a Lightjet flys and David Fincher’s vision for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. After the jump I’ve included a full transcript and the original flip video recording.
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