volcano bay

Universal Studios has announced that tickets to their new Volcano Bay waterpark are officially on sale and it’s telling that their main blog post on the matter is pushing multi-day packages rather than single day tickets. In their eyes, this isn’t just a place where you pop in for the day – it’s part of an entire resort package that will siphon valuable tourist time away from the competition in the area. Universal won’t top Disney any time soon, but they continue to chip away at their defenses as they expand, slowly expanding their piece of the pie. For prices and details and the information on buying tickets for yourself you can click right here. Volcano Bay will open next summer.

We’ve been reporting for some time about Disney’s various drone-related patents and now, finally, we can see some of that new technology in action. Here is a video sample from one of their new holiday-themed nighttime shows, which uses aerial drones to create colorful imagery in the sky.

Disney has also released this video, which takes you behind-the-scenes and examines how this new drone show came together and how it was inspired by Tangled. What looks magical at a distance looks complicated and headache-inducing at close range, which only goes to show just how agonizingly difficult it is to create entertainment of any kind.

universal studios drone

Not to be outdone, Universal has filed a drone patent of its own and the language specifies that they are considering using this technology in some kind of live show:

An unmanned aerial vehicle, e.g., multicopter, is outfitted to provide a special effect or special effects, becoming an untethered special effects platform. The specials effects delivered by such a platform could include water effects, scent cannons, compressed air blasts, steam blasts, theatrical smoke or fog, snow, bubbles, confetti, flame effects, or directional speakers and other audio effects. In one embodiment, the untethered special effect vehicle may be used in conjunction with a live show. The placement or path of the special effect may be pre-choreographed or provided in real-time to correspond to the show.

But it gets more ambitious than that, as the patent also states that Universal’s drones could interact with guests via a wearable device:

The guest [may target] the companion or an individual guest may target themselves. For example, a guest may wish to receive a cooling mist spray or a bubble effect. By providing an input to the handheld device or via the guest-wearable device, the special effects [drone] is instructed to move toward the guest.

The patent further explains that this wearable device can trigger the drones to create certain effects, which can be incorporated into rides and “enhance guest immersion”:

In one embodiment, as a guest approaches the vicinity of the special effects vehicle, e.g., as determined via signals from the wearable device, a special effect is triggered, such as a flame effect. Multiple special effects vehicles may be programmed to execute random or pre-determined flight plans about the location of the ride to enhance the guest immersion.

Man, the theme park cold war between Disney and Universal keeps on getting wilder, huh?

Construction on a giant Minion has been completed at Universal Studios Hollywood, an additional tease for the ever-popular Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem attraction within.

But as Universal Studios Hollywood adds Minions, it takes away one of the park’s oldest stores. Carooniversal has been officially demolished to make way for a new two-story retail space that will include a Hello Kitty store and additional park amenities. Inside Universal shared the video above, filmed on the store’s final day of operation.

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