new walking dead spin-off

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • An attraction themed to The Walking Dead is closing in March.
  • Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway has a marquee.
  • And more!

We start today at Universal Studios Hollywood, where the park will soon be saying goodbye to one of its more terrifying attractions. According to the Inside Universal blog, The Walking Dead will be closing its doors as of March 3 at the resort. There’s a very easy reason why, and it’s not tied to the slowly declining ratings of the AMC zombie drama. It’s that Universal Studios Hollywood will also be welcoming a new attraction themed to The Secret Life of Pets later this year, and with the two attractions being placed so close to each other, it might send the wrong message to kids not in the mood for a bloodthirsty day. If you’re a fan of the zombie attraction, head over this month to say your farewell.

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway Sign on the Chinese Theater

From Walt Disney Imagineering, we have the photo above. It’s real and yes, it’s something else. It’s the marquee for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, the attraction arriving at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on March 4. I’d like to reiterate my one major comment — not even sure I’d define it as a complaint — regarding this attraction. Yes, I’m sad to see The Great Movie Ride go away, but it’s just strange to see the show building, mimicking the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, being used for a ride that’s not as ostensibly movie-focused. That said, the real excitement comes later once the attraction is open in just a few short weeks.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Video Footage

Speaking of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and new attractions, let’s talk about the most recent arrival to the park. That, of course, would be Rise of the Resistance over in the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area. This wildly popular attraction doesn’t currently use FastPass+, but instead offers virtual queues for guests based on when they request a spot on a smartphone app. That app, My Disney Experience, has proven useful in  showcasing that over the last couple weeks, there have been fewer boarding groups on a daily basis for Rise of the Resistance, making it even harder to experience the ride. Consider this data even more reason to get to the park early as you can the next time you’re there.

The coronavirus situation has made for some strange scenarios at the Disney theme parks overseas. Of course, the most important thing is the safety of both Cast Members and guests, but that can be challenging when kids expect to enjoy some face time with characters at the parks. Currently, face characters at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort (those who aren’t hidden by masks) are still greeting guests, but only when there are groups, not on a one-on-one basis. Obviously, this might not create the same kind of magical moments for you and your families, but at the end of the day, if you wind up not getting incredibly ill, that’s a bit more important.

If you’ve ever taken a Disney Cruise, you may well have stopped off at Castaway Cay, the exclusive Disney island in the Bahamas. Well, after many long years, Disney is expanding its space in the Bahamas with Lighthouse Point. With an estimated opening period of 2022-2023, Lighthouse Point now has a website of its own to help raise interest and preview the new hot spot. As a reminder, Lighthouse Point has some oversight from legendary Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, whose insights led to the creation of Pandora in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Years out, we should still be very excited to see what will come of this new island.

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