Universal Studios Animatronic Hagrid

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Things are getting a bit too busy at Universal’s new ride.
  • Disneyland’s Main Street Cinema got an unwelcome overhaul.
  • Details about the Disney California Adventure Halloween event are here.
  • And more!

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As you may know, Universal Orlando unveiled a new Harry Potter-themed attraction last week, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. The good news about the Motorbike Adventure is that people are lining up like crazy to check the reportedly thrilling new attraction. It’s better to have lots of people than not enough, right? Well…maybe. Based on this tweet from Universal’s official account, the ride is now opening at midday because it’s essentially still in its soft-open phase where tests need to be performed. So the lines aren’t likely to let up for a while.

Some Disneyland fans were justifiably angry this past weekend when they saw that the Main Street Cinema – a spot on Main Street, U.S.A. where a handful of different old-school Mickey Mouse shorts are played all day long – had been retrofitted with merchandise displays blocking the screens themselves. Disneyland tried to shrug this off as just a new idea of how to get guests inside the location, but here’s the thing: shoving merchandise haphazardly in front of the cinema screens, which are the ostensible point of the Main Street Cinema, isn’t how to fix it.

The good news is that, according to an update posted by Theme Park Insider, the merch is going away. (The article linked here is weirdly dismissive of fan concerns, as if honoring the legacy of the theme park, and wanting Disney to keep doing that, is a bad thing.) Here’s how you fix it: redesign the Main Street Cinema as a single-screen venue (there are currently six tiny screens) that plays a series of old Mickey Mouse shorts all day long. Don’t sell merchandise. Maybe sell a concession or two nearby so guests can bring in popcorn to watch a few shorts. That would be an improvement over ruining an attraction that’s been at the park since opening day. Get it together, guys.

Let’s shake off the frustration and shift over to Disney California Adventure. Because of the arrival of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and how presumably busy it’s going to be once the reservation period ends, Disney has shifted its Halloween plans to DCA. And the details of the event are now here. The Oogie Boogie Bash will feature a new nighttime show called “Villainous”, special spooky treats, and the most interesting element (at least to this writer) is a redesigned version of the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. This kid-friendly trail will be set up with various villainous scenes, making for a potentially, enjoyably scary experience. The Oogie Boogie Bash is only happening over 20 nights this fall, so you might want to book your tickets now.

ogas cantina in galaxys edge

Speaking of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland, and that whole reservation window, you may recall that it’s ending soon. Like, this Monday, June 24. You may well wonder, then, what the lines will be like when anyone can just wander in, especially since there’s still only one open attraction. At the very least, Oga’s Cantina could be so popular that the wait list for the bar may be full within a single hour, according to the Orange County Register. You can only spend 45 minutes in the bar for now, but if that’s your heart’s desire and you’re visiting starting next week, best high-tail it over there pronto.

Kathryn Yancy, Audio-Animatronics Technology Mechanical Engineer

Speaking once more of Galaxy’s Edge, there’s a lot to appreciate about the new land, whether you’re thinking of the one that’s already open, or the one that’s opening in late August in Walt Disney World. Over at the Disney Parks Blog in the next few weeks, they’ll be celebrating the efforts of five of its female cast members with Women Behind the Magic. From a Disneyland GM to a construction manager, there’s a lot that these women add to the experience you’ll have in the new land, and this upcoming blog series sounds like it could be both entertaining and illuminating.

galaxys edge star wars

One more thing about Galaxy’s Edge before we wrap things up. You might get a little FOMO if you’re in Orlando, and you just can’t wait for the new land to open up in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Well, if you’ve got an Annual Pass, good news: you might get to take a sneak peek a little early. If you have a Platinum, Platinum Plus or Premier Annual Pass, Disney has announced that you can get a sneak preview of Galaxy’s Edge, with dates yet to be announced but rumored to start on August 11. Safe to say that space will be limited, so prepare to book your sneak preview ASAP.

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