Star Wars - Hyperspace Mountain

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Things are back to normal at Disneyland’s Space Mountain after a man exited the vehicle mid-ride.
  • The (ugh) Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots are going to Disney.
  • Build up your appetite at Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration.
  • And more!

It’s rare that I hear about a story for Theme Park Bits first from my wife, while she’s in Disneyland, but such was the case a few days ago. While at Disneyland Park for a school trip, my wife let me know that Space Mountain shut down for a few hours. That’s not too out of the ordinary, but the reason why sure was: a cognitively disabled man managed to maneuver himself out of the ride vehicle as it was mid-flight. Fortunately, the man didn’t get injured, and as you can see from the story, the state investigation wasn’t so long that it required the ride to be closed for too long. But it is kind of amazing that anyone could wrest themselves out of the fairly tight safety bars, equally as amazing as it is that the man in question didn’t get seriously hurt. That, at least, suggests a happier ending to this story than might have been the case otherwise.

If you’re like me, you…well, you’re not really into video games. So let’s presume you’re nothing like me, and that you love big video games like Halo. Good for you, because this summer, you can experience a traveling amusement park inspired by Halo, called Halo: Outpost Discovery. This 300,000-square-foot mobile theme park will travel around the country, starting in Orlando and ending in Anaheim throughout July to September. Outpost Discovery is going to over esports, kid-friendly activities, laser tag, an escape room, VR, and “a real-life Halo Ring and Warthog”, which is a phrase I presume fans of Halo understand better than I do. Outpost Discovery is only stopping in five cities, and just for one weekend each, so if you’re a fan, you should ride your Warthog (if it’s that kind of warthog, I’m not entirely sure) and get tickets now.

As you were able to tell from the opening section, I’m not what you would call thrilled that the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl last weekend, for what I believe is the 8,000th time. I could get into a lot of different reasons why I don’t like the Patriots, but let’s just leave it at the fact that I’m a fan of the misbegotten Buffalo Bills (because when it comes to sports, I’m a masochist), and the Patriots are in the same division. Anyway, because the Patriots won the Super Bowl, they – specifically quarterback Tom Brady (ugh) and MVP Julius Edelman – headed to Walt Disney World to bask in the team’s sixth victory at the Big Game. Check out that link for pictures of Tom Brady dressed as a Jedi, among other things. Maybe next year, another team can celebrate at Disney World after the Super Bowl. Here’s hoping.

For our last two stories today, let’s get hungry. First up, grab the nearest fistful of colored bead necklaces because it’s time to celebrate Mardi Gras! At Universal Studios Orlando, the celebration is going to last from February 9 to April 4, and this colorful party is going to have exciting food to go along. The official Universal Orlando blog has a pretty detailed guide about the kind of food you can expect at Mardi Gras this year, and it all looks very appetizing. My favorite of the dishes they’ve called out is what’s pictured above, a Catfish Po Boy with “a crisp slaw and hot sauce”. Give it to me now. Universal Orlando is also offering some exciting alcoholic beverages (because really, how do you celebrate Mardi Gras without a bit o’ booze), and an overall tasting lanyard for anyone who wants to splurge on all the specialty items. I only wish I could join in on the festivities, because the food alone looks tantalizing.

Speaking of tantalizing, how about that Dole Whip? If you’ve got an eagle eye and an appropriate obsession with the Disney parks, then you recognize the banister on which that tasty treat is resting. It’s right by Tangaroa Terrace at the Disneyland Hotel, an eatery that has completed an extensive refurbishment and is once again open for business. The indoor portion of the restaurant has new decor, the exterior patio has been expanded, but what’s more, the food looks amazing. For breakfast, you can try their Tangaroa Toast, a French toast with cinnamon sugar and bananas foster that recalls the Tonga Toast at Disney World’s Kona Cafe. They’ve also got some exciting shareable items like poutine (really) and a pu pu platter. And to top it all of, they’re also serving Dole Whips, Dole Whip floats, and Dole Whip floats with rum. I’ve had all three of these, and can confirm that they are among the greatest treats known to man. Get thee to Tangaroa Terrace, pronto.

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