universal studios secret life of pets float

A little while back, we heard rumors that Universal Studios was planning to bring a new attraction based on The Secret Life of Pets into their parks. Now that the movie is one of the highest grossing releases of 2017, it feels like a sure thing. In the meantime, Universal Orlando has added a new float themed around the film and its characters to their superstar parade. Via the Universal parks blog:

The fun kicks off with Max and his friend Duke welcoming you to New York. Their float is themed around fall in Central Park, as seen in the title sequence of the film.

The main float is themed to the apartments of the Big Apple. You’ll get a sneak peek at what the pets do when their owners are away. You’ll see familiar characters from the film like Leonard, Gidget, Chloe and more.

wizarding world of harry potter

Meanwhile, over on the West Coast, the Universal Studios Hollywood version of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has abandoned its 3D component with the screens built into the ride now projecting 2D images. This is in line with the original Florida version of the ride and it is the right choice – wearing 3D glasses on an attraction this wild didn’t do anyone any good. Although Universal won’t come out and simply admit that the ride is simply better without 3D and that it was a mistake to implement it, they did release this hilariously vague statement:

We continually evaluate our theme park ride experiences, and enabling our guests to enjoy Forbidden Journey without the use of 3-D is one example of how we are assessing various opportunities.

The Dinosaur ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has always been one of my favorite attractions in any theme park, so it pleases me to know that the ride’s recent refurbishment is apparently a big success. According to Inside the Magic, the ride has re-opened with dinosaur animatronics that work properly and improved lighting effects. Also, one of the ride’s lousiest effects has been fully upgraded:

The most noticeable difference however, is the Compsognathus scene — the moment in the ride where guests would see awkward little dinosaurs leaping over their heads attached to strings. Gone forever are the strings, and they have been replaced with very strategically-placed screens that show the jumpy reptiles leaping over fallen rubble and tree trunks. This is the perfect example of an idea that worked well back in the day, but finally got a serious upgrade that it needed years down the line.

The Boardwalk at Walt Disney World was already one of my favorite places to hang out on property before they went and opened a new magic-themed bar called AbracadaBar. Naturally, the theme lends itself to all kinds of tiny details:

Walt Disney World has already announced the dates for the 2017 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and this massively popular event is getting expanded:

Mark your calendar: August 31 through November 13 will be a record 75 days of global culinary creations, celebrity chefs, premium events, Eat to the Beat concerts, and more.

Considering how much revenue this event brings into the park, it’s no wonder it’s being lengthened to fill in that sluggish post-summer season. We see what you’re doing, Disney.

legoland

If you’re doing that Florida vacation thing and want to venture outside of Disney and Universal, know that LEGOLAND is opening its new Beach Retreat Resort on April 7, 2017. As Inside the Magic reports:

With 83 radical beach-themed bungalows that have two rooms each, the 166 total rooms (which can sleep up to five) will more than double the accommodations currently being offered at the LEGOLAND Florida Resort. With bunk beds, LEGO-theming and much more, the bungalows are grouped into 13 coves all centered around a giant 45-feet-tall LEGO lighthouse with an actual rotating beacon and a heated swimming pool. Each of the coves will offer an outdoor play area for the kids in front of the bungalows, which will also offer a beautiful view of nearby Lake Dexter.

For more photos of what these LEGO-themed rooms look like, follow the link above.

If you’re like me and you spent countless hours meticulously building theme parks in Roller Coaster Tycoon, then the launch trailer for Planet Coaster should have your attention. This looks to be the next level in theme park simulation video gaming, a very specific niche that has been nonetheless ignored for too long.

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