Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 concept art

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Disneyland is finally ending Season of the Force.
  • Shanghai Disneyland’s TRON ride gets a sponsored interactive area.
  • The Haunted Mansion restores one of its original features.
  • Disney files a patent for more theme park drone technology.
  • Disneyland and Disney California Adventure reveal their holiday line-ups.
  • More updates on those Guardians of the Galaxy rides.
  • Trivia on the new entrance for the Incredible Hulk Coaster.
  • New photos from Animal Kingdom’s upcoming Avatar land.

hulk coaster

We’re in for a very Disney-heavy Theme Park Bits, so let’s get started with a little tidbit from Universal Studios Orlando, where the Incredible Hulk Coaster has recently re-opened following an extensive refurbishment. Although the track has been completely replaced, the most obvious new feature is the redesigned entrance, which is cool enough to be worthy of its own trivia-laden blog post.

Almost one year ago, Disneyland’s Tomorrowland section took on a Star Wars theme in the run-up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And now, the signage for the Season of the Force overlay has begun to come down. Theme park fans will be happy to have regular Tomorrowland back, especially now that the beloved land has some nifty new signs. Star Wars fans can take comfort in knowing that the new Star Wars Land has gone vertical and will be up and running in just a few years.

The Orlando Business Journal has published an article detailing Disney’s latest theme park patent, which is described as a…

…flight mechanism that propels [a] discharge platform through the air. The discharge platform also comprises of a storage apparatus that stores a special effect device such as pyrotechnics, confetti [and] smoke charges.

You can see designs for this new drone system above or at the link. This news follows another patent from earlier this year, which suggested that Disney is looking into using drones equipped with screens and projectors that would create the illusion of certain images literally taking flight. In other words, theme park fireworks shows are probably going to look very different in just a few years. Here are more details:

Typical aerial firework launch systems take up a significant area such that fewer audience members can be included in a show and audience members are positioned at locations that may limit sight lines and the like in a way that limits the excitement of the audience members. A special effects delivery configuration is needed to deliver special effects in a manner that is safe for audience members of an entertainment experience, but also close enough to provide great sight lines and excitement for audience members.

Maintaining theme park attractions is expensive business and maintaining technologically complex roller coasters inspired by the TRON series is even more expensive business. So it’s not too surprising that the latest addition to Shanghai Disneyland is the awkwardly titled TRON Realm, Chevrolet Digital Challenge. Here’s how it’s described by the Disney Parks Blog:

Three exciting interactive zones – Imagine, Create, and Drive – immerse guests in the future of transportation. From virtually suiting up in a specially-designed TRON Light Suit to driving through the compelling world of TRON or even designing the next generation of vehicles, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

In other words, it sounds like a science fiction version of the interactive exhibits already seen at Test Track in Epcot.


The Disney Blog has a post about a new update to The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Or rather, they have a post about a restoration to The Haunted Mansion, whose queue now includes new versions of the original tribute tombstones that were there when the attraction opened. As the article explains:

When the Haunted Mansion opened in 1969, the Imagineers who worked on the attraction cleverly left tributes to themselves in the form of witty, albeit morbid, tombstone epitaphs. The tombstones were located in and around the queue area of the attraction. Later, most of the tombstones were moved to a spot up on the berm that hid the show building from inside the park. Overtime all the tombstones were removed (most because they’d fallen into disrepair).

However, when the ride re-opened with the annual Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay, the tombstones were once again in place. For additional details and a full photo gallery (including what the tombstones looked like in 1969), follow the link above.

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