the secret life of pets

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Universal Studios is working on a theme park attraction based on The Secret Life of Pets.
  • New art showcasing Universal’s Volcano Bay waterpark has arrived.
  • Frozen Ever After is open at Epcot and video footage is here.
  • Wizarding World of Harry Potter employees mourn the loss of a co-worker with a wand ceremony.
  • Disney promptly responds to last week’s alligator attack.
  • The first great footage from Shanghai Disneyland‘s Roaring Rapids ride is here.
  • The final remnants of Disneyland‘s Skyway ride is finally gone.

Universal Studios Hollywood has revealed a new logo for its theme parks and you can check it out in the tweet above. The full press release detailing the change can be found on the Universal Studios Hollywood blog, which explains that the new look is to celebrate how 75% of the park is new following several years of adding new attractions and experiences. The new logo doesn’t reinvent the wheel (there are still big words sprawled across a big, shiny Earth), but it does look more slick and modern than the older version.

Universal also released a new promo video showing off the changes to the park and the neighboring CityWalk and teasing the upcoming attraction based on AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Mouse Info placed the old logo and the new logo side-by-side for the sake of comparison.

Every audience I’ve seen the Secret Life of Pets trailer with has responded with enthusiasm – this thing looks like it has the potential to be a Despicable Me or Minions-sized hit for Universal. And Universal seems to agree, because they have already started developing a theme park attraction based on the film. NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke let this detail slip during an investor conference:

We are doing — we have started a Pets attraction even before the film comes out, which if the film doesn’t do as well as I think, it will be painful. But I think it will do very well.

This rumor has actually been floating around the internet for a little while now, but this is the closest thing we’ve gotten to official confirmation. It’s not clear whether or not this attraction would open in Universal Studios Florida or Universal Studios Hollywood, but it certainly feels like the kind of attraction they would want to have on both coasts. After all, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem continues to draw enormous crowds in both parks. We should expect to hear something fancy and official sooner rather than later.

Speaking of upcoming Universal Studios theme park projects, new art for the upcoming Volcano Bay waterpark has arrived online. Granted, this art is intended to be a fun and abstract advertisement and not a proper look at what to expect from the final park, but it’s a good tease. With the entire park built around a gigantic artificial volcano, Volcano Bay looks visually appealing enough to enough to rival Disney’s Blizzard Beach in the theming department. The art also showcases how the boundaries of the park will jut up against the the Cabana Bay hotel, which will soon be the go-to place to stay for guests hoping to spend their days getting soaked.

While we’re here, a snippet from what appears to be the first advertisement for Volcano Bay has arrived online, complete with footage of families having fun and a deep, booming voice informing the viewer just how much fun you will have as well.

In more sobering news, employees at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure theme park came together to mourn the loss of Luis Vielma, who was killed in last week’s tragic mass shooting at a gay nightclub. Vielma worked at the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so his friends and co-workers paid tribute to him with a wand ceremony in front of Hogwarts castle. The sense of love and community on display is simultaneously heartbreaking and life-affirming.

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling also paid tribute to Luis Vielma, sending a wreath of flowers to his funeral along with a handwritten note. In case you can’t read her writing, the note says “To Luis, who died for love. You will never be forgotten. J.K. Rowling.”

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