Tuesday, January 17, 2017

EPCOT's Candlelight Processional

Each winter Epcot guests experience a remarkable transformation, Holiday Around the World changes the World Showcase yuletide celebration, with the centerpiece being the Candlelight  Processional at the American Garden Theatre.

With this wide angle shot, you can see just how many performers are required for this Walt Disney World classic. 

Joe Morton, Emmy winner of Scandal and The Good Wife fame, was the guest narrator for the night we attended, and his rich voice resounded through the air as he recounted the Christmas Story

Trumpeters move around the audience during the performance, lending a new definition to surround sound. Here they are on the side wings of the theater, which resemble stain glass church windows.

The music director has a 50 piece orchestra at his disposal, who start out with the Candlelight Overture, an instrumental medley of Christmas Music. The choir is assembled with processional music, composed of traditional Christmas Carols. In this photo, he is conducting the guests as they sing along with Silent Night.

Also under direction is a tremendous choir, led by the Voices of  Liberty singers. If you plan your day just right, you can catch a performance of the Voices of Liberty just prior to a showing of the American Experience. Check in with any of the cast members at the American Experience for details.The acoustics in the lobby area are a great way to indulge yourself in the Christmas Spirit and cool down if it is 84 degrees outside like it was during our visit.

Here are a few of the highlights of the Candlelight Processional performance that we attended. If you plan to go next year, we highly recommend a dining package to ensure a less stressful experience. These performances are so popular that people line up hours prior to the venue opening to make sure they get in. Although this isn't too bad, because then you get to hear the music twice. Our thanks to Mike at Walt Disney World, for helping us and giving us tips for a better experience.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Taking a Closer Look at Six Flags' International Plans

This article, published on Blooloop, is actually from a couple months ago but I just recently came across it.  A lot of industry fans have been wanting to know more about Six Flags' plans to enter new countries around the globe via park franchise developments, and the story paints a lot of color as to just how they're making those plans a reality.

© Six Flags Zhejiang
Six Flags has tapped John Odum, a long-time Six Flags employee who's led several parks, to be the head of the international division.  So far park projects have been revealed for Dubai, China and Vietnam... with what sounds like more already in the works.  The story gives more depth into the role that Six Flags will play in the new parks, which is a bit more than just the name license and design.

It also gives a nice example of how the company is designing using local themes - specifically mentioning the use of a local tale as the backbone of an entire themed area in Six Flags Zhejiang.  The parks sound like a blend of local themes along with Western ones that will appeal to visitors alike.  And speaking of Six Flags Zhejiang, there's a post on this site that has what is said to be a layout of the park, showing a similar - but not exact - selection of rides as the Dubai park.

I case you missed the link up top, follow through here to read the story on Blooloop.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Collectors Alert: Knott's Berry Farm to Hold Memorabilia Auction

Knott's Berry Farm is planning an upcoming auction, to be done by Heritage Auctions, of more than 200 lots of items from the park's famous history.  This could be a dream come true for many fans of the park, as many unique and one of a kind items will be up for auction.

© Knott's
The auction will have a host of really interesting items, from quite large ticket (Mr. Knott's original Model T car) to smaller collectibles like paintings that originally hung in the park's restaurant. 

Ride fans can rejoice over the opportunity to own animatronic characters from Bear-y Tales, the Calico Mine Ride and the Timber Mountain Log Ride, or even the sign from the long-gone Haunted Shack.  From the photos in this news story it also appears as though several Haunt-related items will be up for auction, which will also attract many park fans.

The full auction catalogue will be available toward the end of February, with the actual auction planned for about a month after that. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Dorney Park's 2017 Expanded Catering Area Making Progress

One of Dorney Park's major additions for 2017 is a brand new catering facility, to be known as Parkside Pavilion, and it's already made significant progress already this off-season.  The park's general manager shared this photo of the work site:

© Mike Fehnel
The photo was taken from the top of White Water Landing, the splash ride located next to the development.  As you can see there is already steel going up for the back set of buildings, with plenty of footings, sewer lines and more also underway.  Parkside Pavilion will be quite large - the two buildings being framed will be joined by a center building to the left, then two more large pavilions as well - able to handle 2,000 diners at a time.  More details on Parkside Pavilion's offerings is available in this recent news story.

© Bing
For those not familiar, this is the site for Parkside Pavilion.  The land was previously a backstage area that housed a couple maintenance areas and also storage.  The setting will be perfect for a new catering area, out of the way from the bustle of the park but still centrally located.

The park is also adding two new rides in 2017, Dodgem and Kaleidoscope, a new Cirque Imagine live show and making improvements in Wildwater Kingdom.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Hersheypark's New Triple Tower Rising Toward the Sky

© Hersheypark
The big new attraction at Hersheypark in 2017 will be the Hershey Triple Tower, a trio of S&S tower rides that are currently under construction at the park.

Built to please all members of the family, the Triple Tower will offer three different rides of increasing heights and intensities - mild to wild.  The theme park has started to share construction photos of the attraction's progress, seen here, which show that the towers are currently growing.  The first photo, from Facebook, was taken just after the base of each tower was put in place, giving us our first look.  The area, in the Kissing Tower Hill themed section, was previously home to the Flying Falcon.

© Hersheypark
This photo, shared on Twitter and more recent, shows that progress has continued to be made since the holidays.  The Hershey's Kisses Tower will be on the left, the shortest at 80 feet.  In the middle with the orange is the 131 foot tall Reese's Tower, which at the time of the photo stood the tallest.  Over on the right will be the Hershey's Tower, extending 189 feet into the air.  All three will feature both Space Shot and Turbo Drop capabilities, so that riders launch both up and down the towers.

Keep tabs on the progress of the Hershey Triple Tower via the attraction's official website.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Ride - Over The Top - Headed to Knoebels in 2017

A new family ride, named Over The Top, will be added to Knoebels for the classic amusement park's 2017 season.  A drawing of a new ride has been released by the park:

© Knoebels
The ride allows passengers to stand the entire time as the gondola rises and moves in a circular motion - to a maximum height of about 21 feet.  The motion and position of riders means they will stay upright at all times.  This news story points out that park officials purchased the ride at the recent IAAPA trade show because it reminded them of the park's popular (but long retired) Flying Cages ride.

The new ride will be manufactured by SBF Visa Group and have a 48 inch height requirement.  Here's a link to a video of the ride in operation at the trade show - looks like a blast!