November 5, 2013 |
During a recent visit to Paris I made my first pilgrimage to a Disney theme park outside the United States. For years I have been reading about the majestic beauty of the Magic Kingdom-style park at Disneyland Paris, the dysfunctional violation of all things Disney that is Walt Disney Studios next door and the promise of what the future holds for both parks. TOP 10: Disneyland Paris | Walt Disney Studios So let's step back for a moment and take a long, hard look at what's right, wrong and next at the two theme parks serving as Disney's European outpost in France.
March 11, 2014 |
Only at Disneyland would they tear down an old and dilapidated gold mining town in order to build a new and identical gold mining town and make it look old and dilapidated again. "The goal was to bring it back to exactly the way it was," said David Smith of Disneyland's facilities and maintenance department, which oversaw the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster rehabilitation project. The "wildest ride in the wilderness" is expected to reopen to the general public on March 17 after a 14-month rehabilitation, the most extensive overhaul since the ride opened in 1979.
May 8, 2013 |
The eternal problem with Tomorrowland is that the commonplace reality of today inevitably catches up to and ultimately surpasses the ultramodern imagined future of yesterday. Disneyland's forward-looking land of tomorrow has seen many evolutions since opening day in 1955. Through the years, there have been major expansions in 1959 (Monorail), 1977 (Space Mountain) and 1986 (Star Tours) as well as complete makeovers in 1967 (New Tomorrowland) and 1998 (New New Tomorrowland). The current iteration has a retro-futuristic science fiction fantasy theme that was designed to be a bit more timeless but nonetheless is showing its age. Photos: Top 10 Tomorrowland rides of the past With the release of "Iron Man 3" and plans for "Star Wars" and "Tron" sequels in the works, I thought it would be a good time to do a bit of "blue sky" dreaming about what Walt Disney Imagineering might have in mind for the New New New Tomorrowland.
July 11, 2013 |
Knott's Berry Farm will add six new haunted mazes for Halloween Haunt 2013 and bring back Elvira Mistress of the Dark for her first show at the Buena Park theme park in more than a decade. The 41st annual Knott's Scary Farm will start Sept. 26 and run on select nights through Nov. 2. The granddaddy of Halloween events will feature 12 mazes, six shows and four scare zones scattered throughout the theme park. Knott's has made the wise decision to trim the quantity of its mazes in favor of quality as Halloween Haunt continues to compete with Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, which has delivered an increasingly superior haunted event in recent years.
September 23, 2013 |
Success has finally caught up with Universal's Horror Nights as the gold standard of Halloween theme park events has grown too predictable, complacent and popular for its own good. After years of defining and redefining the bleeding edge of theme park terror, a combination of overwhelming crowds, shrinking space due to construction and a weak collection of haunted mazes delivered a triple whammy to Halloween Horror Nights this year at Universal Studios Hollywood. Photos: Halloween Horror Nights 2013 at Universal Studios Hollywood Crowds have become an increasing problem as Horror Nights has grown in popularity, but this year was unbearable.
July 6, 2013 |
It already seems like 2014 is shaping up as a great year for ride enthusiasts around the world, as a number of new theme parks are planned for Europe and several major attractions are in the works for Asia. PHOTOS: Best new international theme park rides for 2014 Consider this a tentative and fluid list of new attractions on tap at international parks (outside the United States). As is often the case, some projects may get delayed while new ones will get announced. Since it is still early, I'll update my top 14 over the coming months as new projects are announced.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 19, 2014 |
The new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem motion simulator attraction coming to Universal Studios Hollywood puts riders through a relentless and chaotic minion training course full of slapstick humor. PHOTOS: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Hollywood Set to open in April, the 3-D attraction follows a story based on the "Despicable Me" animated films that starred Steve Carell as the super-villain Gru. The first two installments in the movie franchise grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide with a third installment planned for 2017.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 19, 2011 |
Universal Studios Orlando on Thursday announced plans to retheme its Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast attraction with a new " Despicable Me " story line, and to digitally refresh the Amazing Adventures ofSpider-Man motion-simulator ride for 2012. With no new attractions set for 2011, Universal continues to ride the "Wizarding World" wave of Pottermania, which has helped drive up attendance at the tandemFlorida theme parks by an astonishing 68% so far this year.
June 2, 2013 |
I was overjoyed when I first heard SeaWorld San Diego was going to build an Aquatica water park. The original Aquatica at SeaWorld Orlando in Florida was an instant success, setting a new standard for excellence and excess in the water park industry when it opened in 2008. Today, Aquatica Orlando's combination of one-of-a-kind water slides and up-close animal interactions attracts 1.5 million visitors per year, making it one of the Top 10 water parks in the world . Photos: SeaWorld San Diego's Aquatica water park After a preview visit on Thursday, it pains me to say all Aquaticas are not created equal.
April 8, 2014 |
Universal Studios Hollywood is putting the pedal to the metal on a new attraction based on the popular "Fast and Furious" movie series. The theme park announced Tuesday plans to add a high-definition, 3-D feature to the park's long-running Studio Tour tram ride by the summer of 2015. The addition is part of a larger $1.6-billion, 25-year expansion that will include a highly anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction in the next two years and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, set to open Saturday.