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Everything posted by A.J.

  1. Walt Disney World is reintroducing Park Hopper options, starting in January 2021! You'll make a reservation for your "first" park and then get to go to another one after a certain time based on park- and capacity-specific "park hopper" hours. https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2020/11/park-hopper-option-returns-to-walt-disney-world-resort-starting-january-2021/?fbclid=IwAR3MtGUiDmjrf8jAIBgfDOMae-4r9XWDRU7H6tKVaJ8eA_HPi6K66ClX-rs Park Hopper Option Returns to Walt Disney World Resort Starting January 2021 As the phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort continues, we are nearing another exciting milestone we know many guests have been looking forward to: the return of the Park Hopper option! Starting Jan. 1, 2021, guests who purchased a ticket or annual pass with Park Hopper benefits will be able to visit more than one park per day, with some new modifications as part of our ongoing focus on health and safety. With the updated Park Hopper experience, guests must make a Disney Park Pass reservation for the first park they plan to visit AND enter that first park prior to visiting another. At this time, a park reservation is not required after the first park, however, reservation requirements are subject to change. Additionally, we will set specific Park Hopper hours during which this option will be available. Park Hopper hours will start at 2 p.m. each day and end at the park’s scheduled close time. Guests will soon be able to check DisneyWorld.com/ParkHours and the My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date Park Hopper hours, as they could start earlier at a later date, depending on the day and park.
  2. I also think that in some respects, Futuroscope out-EPCOTs EPCOT. The Futuropolis area especially... So many little interactive things to do for children and families. It's a form of education without even realizing it, because you're having too much fun! That sort of stuff wouldn't fly in a Disney park anymore because every attraction has to be an event. There's very little room at Disney and Universal parks for spontaneous experiences anymore. Everything has to be very tightly controlled so that guests can understand the stories they're told. And then there's also the expectation that Disney and Universal (and others) have to continually outdo themselves.
  3. Edutainment does work, but there are different expectations. EPCOT has the "baggage" of being an integral part of Walt Disney World's "four parks, one world" approach. The expectation is that you go see the characters and the rides like the other three parks, with EPCOT also having the extra bonus of going to see the "countries" (barf). Since guests pay just as much for EPCOT as they do Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, you have to keep that same level of buzz and engagement. For quite a few years, and now, the engagement comes with intellectual property. People love love love IP. It's why Frozen replaced Maelstrom, and it's why Mickey / Minnie replaced The Great Movie Ride, among others. The three leftover remnants of old-school Future World are Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, and the Seas Pavilion aquariums. And they're staying, as far as we all know. Plus, despite the IP integration, you still have lots of fun, interactive exhibits, like in ImageWorks (despite its age) and the upcoming Play pavilion. Meanwhile, you can get into the Orlando Science Center for $26 USD or less. It doesn't try to be anything else other than a science center / museum, and it's a freaking good one. People who go to science centers expect a science center, people who go to theme parks expect a theme park. I can't blame Disney for pivoting the Future World side of the park.
  4. EPCOT hasn't been the thinking person's park for at least two decades. And I say that as someone who does a lot of research on educational entertainment attractions.
  5. Any Rocky Mountain coaster with full I-Box is a steel coaster. There is absolutely no argument here. I-Box coasters are all listed as steel coasters on the TPR Coaster Poll and will remain listed as such. Wildfire at the Kolmarden Zoo and Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City both have zero-G rolls that are made using the Topper system and they are both wooden coasters. Intamin prefabricated wooden coasters are just that, wooden coasters. Again, there is no argument here. Lightning Rod will be listed as wooden for the 2020 poll and will likely not change for 2021 unless the application of I-Box is significant and changes the characteristics of the ride.
  6. 2021 is the resort's 50th, but 2022 is EPCOT's 40th, so they can still tie it in.
  7. Disney Parks has put out a new update video today, including snippets of Hotel New York and Avengers Campus! Check out more here: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2020/11/updates-on-new-disney-parks-attractions-entertainment-offer-glimpse-of-exciting-future/?fbclid=IwAR3fuHFXhgPfV_hWL-bzwxKpZZTqbpIIsJdTPLrqCy2N8vvXA1fLLT8aLhU
  8. There have been some great new updates from Disney Parks today! First, check out some brand new footage of the prototype ride vehicles of Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT! And now, here's some further updates on Cosmic Rewind and all of the other projects happening around EPCOT! Remy's Ratatouille Adventure will be opening in 2021! "...plans are on track to open Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in 2021. Based on Disney and Pixar’s hit film, “Ratatouille,” this family-friendly attraction will invite you to shrink down to the scale of a rat for a culinary adventure with Chef Remy. During each adventure, you’ll race across Gusteau’s kitchen floor aboard special trackless ride vehicles in a thrilling 3D chase." More here: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2020/11/updates-on-new-disney-parks-attractions-entertainment-offer-glimpse-of-exciting-future/?fbclid=IwAR3fuHFXhgPfV_hWL-bzwxKpZZTqbpIIsJdTPLrqCy2N8vvXA1fLLT8aLhU
  9. Disney Parks has put out a new video showcasing all the projects they currently have in development, including new snippets of Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway and the Avengers Campus. Check it out! More here: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2020/11/updates-on-new-disney-parks-attractions-entertainment-offer-glimpse-of-exciting-future/?fbclid=IwAR3fuHFXhgPfV_hWL-bzwxKpZZTqbpIIsJdTPLrqCy2N8vvXA1fLLT8aLhU
  10. Lightning Rod always has had two "launches" though. It's a small boost at the bottom of the lift and then the full launch as you go up.
  11. Disney has announced that Buena Vista Street inside Disney's California Adventure will be open for shopping and dining! https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2020/10/more-shopping-more-dining-coming-soon-downtown-disney-district-at-disneyland-resort-extends-to-buena-vista-street/?fbclid=IwAR2Zds_emU_DAYRWwHcV5ig-hFfsRkueP8wFosEbRKr0qCrCeJ-EdC0Mk0I More Shopping, More Dining! Coming Soon: Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort Extends to Buena Vista Street Beginning in November there will be even more distinctively Disney dining and shopping for you to enjoy at the Disneyland Resort, when the Downtown Disney District extends to Buena Vista Street! Recently, we introduced Downtown Disney guests to the Disneyland Resort Backlot Premiere Shop at Stage 17. This store is currently showcasing an array of seasonal merchandise for you to browse. With Buena Vista Street soon opening select shopping and dining experiences, you can find even more places to enjoy a memorable meal or a fun shopping excursion during your visit. Here’s what you can discover – be sure to put these places on your shopping and dining list: Holiday shopping? Head to Elias & Co. The store is divided into distinct sections for men, women and children, so you’ll find something special for the entire family! At Julius Katz & Sons, peruse even more holiday merchandise and Disney-themed home décor. At Kingswell Camera Shop offers great gift-giving ideas like frames, photo albums and more. Buena Vista Street stores have a variety of your Disney favorites! If you are looking to tempt your taste buds with a snack, Trolley Treats offers classic candies, old-fashioned confections and all kinds of freshly made treats. Vending carts will offer popcorn, churros, ice cream and other “must-bite” treats. Swing by Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe for the enchanting sights and sounds of Buena Vista Street—and a cup of coffee or scrumptious artisan sandwich. Sit-down dining options include Carthay Circle Lounge, where you can unwind in our expanded outdoor seating area featuring an all-new menu of cocktails and dining. Smokejumpers Grill is serving up tasty American classics for lunch and dinner with a streamlined menu of burgers, fries, onion rings and craft beer, located just around the corner from Buena Vista Street. The primary way to place your order at this dining location is through mobile order on the Disneyland App.* Only the shopping and dining experiences along Buena Vista Street will be accessible from the Downtown Disney District at this time, as Disney California Adventure park is currently closed.
  12. Disney has officially announced that Disneyland Paris will be getting one of Europe's largest solar panel installations, with the first phase to be completed in 2021! https://disneylandparis-news.com/en/one-of-the-largest-european-solar-canopy-plants-coming-to-disneyland-paris/ ONE OF THE LARGEST EUROPEAN SOLAR CANOPY PLANTS COMING TO DISNEYLAND PARIS Ambitious solar energy initiative will reduce Val d’Europe local territory emissions of CO2 by 750 tons per year, marking a new milestone in Disneyland Paris’ environmental commitment. On World Energy Day, Disneyland Paris announced the phased development of one of the largest solar canopy plants in Europe – together through a co-investment with French company Urbasolar – as part of a continued commitment to environmental stewardship. Located at the resort’s main guest parking lot, the project will contribute to the reduction of Val d’Europe local territory greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximatively 750 tons of CO2 per year* while providing additional guest enhancements, including shade and shelter from direct sunlight, rain or snow. Construction began in July and is expected to be completed in 2023, with a first milestone for the first phase in spring 2021. “Environmental innovation and stewardship are a tradition that began with Walt Disney himself, and this ambitious solar power project is the latest in our commitment to the environment at Disneyland Paris,” said Natacha Rafalski, President of Disneyland Paris. “It is our responsibility as a business and leading tourist destination to contribute to the long-term sustainability of our resort and the region through environmentally responsible practices.” The solar power plant at Disneyland Paris is in collaboration with French company Urbasolar through a co-investment and will encompass 17 hectares (42 acres) of solar canopies, using 67,500 solar panels for a production of 31 gigawatt-hours per year (GWh/year). While this is not only allocated to the resort, it is technically enough renewable clean energy to account for about 17% of the resort’s current electricity consumption and equivalent to the annual energy consumption of a city with about 14,500 inhabitants**. Once the full project is completed, a section of it will light up at night in the shape of a Mickey Mouse head, visible from the sky. For more information on Disneyland Paris environmental efforts, visit: https://disneylandparis-news.com/en/our-commitments/environment/.
  13. Disney has announced that the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is happening starting on January 8th, 2021! https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2020/10/grab-your-paintbrush-taste-of-epcot-international-festival-of-the-arts-begins-jan-8-2021/?fbclid=IwAR2lnqqMEDJ2-onSMVvmBvArWPz9fdv_0aHD3D8zRnMXeo12YpYe6GKwEf8 Grab Your Paintbrush! Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Begins Jan. 8, 2021 A global celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts is on its way to Walt Disney World Resort early next year, as the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is set for Jan. 8 – Feb. 22, 2021. And even more good news: If you’re planning to attend the festival, there is a special offer on stays at Disney Resort hotels in early 2021, inviting you to be fully immersed in The Most Magical Place on Earth! The Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts offers fun for the whole family. Here is just a sketch of what you can expect when the event debuts in January: Indulge in over 15 Food Studios serving culinary art all around World Showcase Explore and purchase the brilliant and diverse work of Disney and other invited artists on display in marketplaces encircling World Showcase Lagoon Step into the scene at special photo locations scattered around the park Participate in a paint-by-number mural that serves as a collaborative art project for all Watch as visiting artists create magic right before your eyes Catch performances by favorite EPCOT musical artists Mariachi Cobre and the JAMMitors. Join an artful scavenger hunt as you search for Figment around World Showcase Shop for festival-exclusive merchandise We’ll have more details on the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts in the weeks and months to come, so keep your eyes on the Disney Parks Blog for more info.
  14. https://www.dollywood.com/Tickets/Season-Passes Note that season pass pricing is nearly the same compared to 2020's. $134 plus tax for one park, $184 plus tax for both, add $85 for the gold upgrade with free parking and discounts.
  15. Shenanigans! Dollywood is a theme park. Do you realize how many people go to Dollywood for the shows? Or the Eagle habitat? Or the soot train? Or just to take it all in? Or the freaking cinnamon bread? I don't usually call out opinions but saying that people go to Dollywood for the rides is really out of touch with what that park and Silver Dollar City are for Herschend and the U.S. theme park scene in general.
  16. No one knows more about the state of the theme park industry than the people who work in it themselves, I'm one of them. There's really not much left of this dead horse to beat.
  17. Our friends at Grona Lund sent us two new photos of Monster, check them out!
  18. Bad news out of Djurs Sommerland overnight... There was a fire at one of the park's dining locations, the Pirate's Food Market. It happened after hours, no guests were involved and no team members were injured. https://nord.news/2020/10/15/fire-ravaged-restaurant-in-amusement-park/
  19. If I'm not mistaken, each of the cars has a little battery that is charged during load and unload. If you have ever caught a glimpse of the loading area for a Disney trackless ride you'll see a little square panel on the floor, that's the charging pad.
  20. Andy Martin of Merlin has shared an update on the trackless vehicles for the Legoland New York exclusive Factory Tour dark ride. https://twitter.com/Jolber/status/1316060003388751874
  21. After installing Objectif Mars, Futuroscope is pushing forward, and investing 300 million Euros in some huge expansions. These include: Moving / spinning theater attraction for 2022 Themed hotel for 2022 Outdoor lodge for 2023 Indoor-outdoor water attraction for 2024 Water park for 2024 New unannounced attraction for 2026 Check out more info and images here (French): https://futuroscope.news/communique/206496/Le-Futuroscope-devoile-projet-de-developpement-300-millions-d-euros-investis-dans-dix-prochaines-annees
  22. Efteling has announced Nest, a new inclusive / accessible playground opening next year. The playground will be themed to Efteling's roller coasters and attractions, for younger children and those with disabilities to feel like they are experiencing them and taking part. The playground will indirectly replace the Polka Marina roundabout ride. https://www.efteling.com/nl/blog/nieuws/20201013-aankondiging-nieuw-speelbos-nest
  23. So long as Knoebels remains free-admission and free-parking, it will never become cost-prohibitive because all it costs to enter is a family's time and fuel / electricity for their car. For a free-admission park, riding X amount of rides in a day and paying for them individually will always cost more than a pay-one-price option.
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