Monday, June 18, 2018

Brand New DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda Now Open at Universal Studios Hollywood

© Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood has completed another transformation inside the park, this time turning the former Shrek 4-D theater into the all-new DreamWorks Theatre featuring Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor's Quest.

Obviously based on the popular Kung Fu Panda franchise, the theater "takes guests on a thrilling journey that fuses captivating storytelling with state-of-the art visual effects for a highly engaging experience."  The film takes place on the morning of The Emperor's Great Feast of Heroes, when Po goes on a perilous mission to deliver the Liquid of Limitless Power to the grand palace, taking visitors to the theme park along with him.  Throughout the experience visitors will encounter "raging rapids, river pirates, awesome magic" and, of course, Kung Fu.
© Universal Studios Hollywood
Having officially premiered on June 15th, the attraction's opening ceremonies featured a plethora of DreamWorks Animation characters from films including Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Trolls and Shrek.  The ceremonies also included a martial arts demonstration, which can be seen above in a press image.

As for the attraction, it is described as a multi-sensory experience, using the "first-ever integration of interior projection mapping designed to engulf guests in 180 degrees of immersive adventure. Developed by the innovative team at Universal Creative, this never-before-adapted technique depicts a series of immersive and visually dynamic scenic designs that will transform within the interior space and enhance the story. With detailing that is so precise, it will be near impossible to realize the projected imagery is a mere illusion."

The film is coupled with high-end cinema projectors and 360 degree surround sound, and even the plush seats pivot to keep up with the 180 degree action.  In theater effects such as wind and water are also utilized.

Early reviews of Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor's Quest are glowing, highlighting the advanced technology that has taken this type of theater experience to the next level.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Universal Orlando's Cinematic Celebration Announced for Universal Studios Florida

© Universal Orlando Resort
The long rumored new nighttime fountain show for Universal Studios Florida has finally been announced, and it will be called Universal Orlando's Cinematic Celebration.

The new show will take place on the central lagoon of Universal Studios Florida each evening starting this summer, a more specific date has not been announced.

Universal Orlando's Cinematic Celebration will "bring thrilling and fun moments to life inspired by characters from popular Universal Orlando experiences and blockbuster films," including Harry Potter, Jurassic World (seen in the concept art up top), Fast & Furious, Despicable Me and many more.  The show will be projected on giant water screens in the lagoon and utilize 120 separate dancing water fountains.  Projection mapping will transform the entire waterfront of the park's buildings into scenes that blend into the show.

Universal Studios Orlando is currently transforming a large part of their Central Park area that borders the lagoon into a dedicated viewing area for the new show.  Multiple levels of standing room are being built to accommodate visitors that will no doubt start lining up early to see the show.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Tokyo Disney Resort Unveils Massive Expansion for Tokyo DisneySea in 2022

© Oriental Land Co.
Oriental Land Company has announced that they have reached an agreement with Disney to build an all new themed Port inside Tokyo DisneySea along with a new hotel, all scheduled to begin operations in 2022.

The expansion, costing roughly $2.3 billion, appears to be the final version of major additions planned for Tokyo DisneySea, which date back an announcement in 2014 that were clarified in 2015 that a new Frozen themed Port was coming to the park.  The plans were eventually reconsidered, with a new Soarin' attraction announced while final plans were drawn up.

Now, the company has released details of their plans for Tokyo DisneySea, which will expand into a much larger area than previously planned.  The resort already is hard at work constructing a large addition of Tokyo Disneyland's Fantasyland area.  Also of note, the licenses between Oriental Land Co. and Disney have been extended another 30 years, all the way through 2076.

© Oriental Land Co.
The brand new, 8th themed Port at Tokyo DisneySea can be seen in concept above, and is based around "magical springs that lead to a world of Disney fantasy," and will include areas based on Frozen, Tangled and Peter Pan.  It will be bordered by a brand new hotel that is themed to the Port, and accessed from a pathway between the Arabian Coast and Lost River Delta areas.

© Oriental Land Co.
Interestingly, Peter Pan will be a major part of the new Port, featuring both Captain Hook's ship and Skull Rock.  It will have two attractions, the first of which will see riders flying "over the jungles of Never Land in a battle with Captain Hook and his crew of pirates."  In the story, Captain Hook has kidnapped John, Wendy's brother, and visitors go with Peter Pan to save him by floating down the river with the Lost Boys.  Tinkerbell sprinkles a bit of her magic, and suddenly riders are flying through Never Land "on an unprecedented adventure that features iconic music and dynamic 3D imagery of the characters of the film."

The area's second ride lets visitors enter Pixie Hollow, to see Tinker Bell and her friends.  The area will also have a restaurant inspired by the Lost Boys and their hideout, and will feature views of Never Land while they dine.

© Oriental Land Co.
Tangled with be featured heavily in one section of the Port as well.  Rapunzel's tower will stand over the area, along with a forest setting and a restaurant set in the hideout of the thugs that appear in the film.  The area's attraction will be a boat ride through Rapunzel's "best day ever," following her journey to the lantern festival with Flynn.  The press release states that the ride will see "countless flickering lanterns illuminate the attraction's climactic scene while Rapunzel and Flynn sing an iconic song from the film."

© Oriental Land Co.
Frozen, at long last, will be the third theme of the new Port.  Downsized from originally being an entire new Port, the village of Arendelle will rise at the park.  Set after Queen Elsa has "embraced her magical power to control snow and ice," the castle gates are now open and welcoming visitors.  The area's ride will tell the story of Elsa and Anna, via a boat ride.  The attraction will tell their journey to get to the current happy era, and of course feature many songs from the film.  A new restaurant will open that is set inside Arendelle Castle, sure to be a popular dining location.

© Oriental Land Co.
This is a concept of the new hotel that will be built with the project, which is be inside the park and rise up from the magical springs that the Port is based on.  The Port's theme will be further explained through a retail location on the hotel's first floor that faces the park.

The hotel will have 475 rooms and offer deluxe and luxury accommodations, in fact the luxury rooms will be the "finest accommodations in Tokyo Disney Resort."  The hotel will have two restaurants of its own, a lobby lounge and a dedicated parking area.

Oriental Land Co. is dedicated to expanding and growing the resort, and they definitely are putting their money where their mouths are with this expansion!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Planning New Attraction for 2019

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has received a height limit waiver from the James City County Board of Supervisors that will allow them to construct a new attraction for 2019, according to several news sources.

The waiver will allow the park to build up to a height of 115 feet above finished grade, or a maximum of 155 feet above sea level.  No clues about what kind of ride might be added were revealed during the appearance for the waiver.

© James City County
This news article featured the above map of where the new attraction was approved to be built.  The location appears to have the development take place in the Ireland themed section of the park, near the bridge that connects Scotland to Ireland, but on the Ireland side.

© Google Maps
For those familiar with Busch Gardens Williamsburg, this aerial view will help make the location more clear.  After exiting Scotland the new attraction will be located right as you enter Ireland, on the left.  That location looks to be right on the edge of the hill that leads down to the Rhine River below.  Behind the new attraction are the park's train tracks and a service road, and Griffon's station beyond that.

And that's about as much fact as we can get from what was released as part of the height waiver process.  However, BGWFans did a bunch more digging and have created a theory as to what kind of attraction this might be.  I'd consider it a possible spoiler for now, so click through to their article and take a read if you like.

Regardless of what the new attraction is, it's great to see the park adding another ride into Ireland after this year's debut of Battle for Eire, their new virtual reality simulator ride.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Thrilling New Cyborg Cyber Spin Opens Tomorrow at Six Flags Great Adventure

© Six Flags Great Adventure
It's time for some serious spinning at Six Flags Great Adventure, as the theme park has announced that their all-new ride, Cyborg Cyber Spin, will officially open tomorrow at 2 pm.

The unique new ride, seen above, will send riders on an "unrelenting and intense anti-gravity experience as it whirls them on three axes high above the ground."  The ride is the first to be themed to Cyborg, who is a part of the Justice League, and features matching red and gray colors throughout the ride, queue and new plaza.  The attraction has been built in the park's Metropolis themed section, not far from last year's blockbuster addition, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis.

© Six Flags Great Adventure
“Six Flags Great Adventure is thrilled to launch its newest innovation, an unparalleled, hi-tech ride unlike anything our guests have ever seen or experienced,” said Park President, John Winkler. “Cyborg Cyber Spin is the first-of-its-kind in the world, and the perfect addition to our renowned collection of record-breaking attractions.  Our new Metropolis section is now home to the most futuristic, jaw-dropping thrill ride in the park.”

Cyborg Cyber Spin is as impressive as they come in terms of the ride's non-stop action.  Standing over seven stories tall, the ride utilizes a "triple box" design that mimics that of a gyroscope.  The center gondola is able to spin around three separate axes, creating both forward, backward and sideways movements in a non-stop rush of thrills.

© Six Flags Great Adventure
The ride can seat 24 passengers per cycle, and the seats allow riders' legs to dangle freely as they turn and soar.  The ride's design allows for each cycle to be slightly different than the last depending on the weight distribution on the gondola, encouraging repeat riding as well.

The attraction already shines during the day with it's bright color scheme and imposing stature, but at night it will feature a bold display of lights that are sure to brighten up the entire Metropolis area.

Cyborg Cyber Spin is the first of its kind to open in America, and is sure to be on the must-ride list for those looking for unique thrills.

Check out the video below of Cyborg Cyber Spin in action, and make sure to give it a ride only at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Carowinds Kicks Off All-New Great Carolina Fest Celebration

© Carowinds
This weekend marks the start of Carowinds' new Great Carolina Fest, which is described by the park as an event for the "whole family featuring lip-smacking specialty food, music, interactive entertainment, festive d├ęcor and the best sweet tea this side of Dixie."

The event began on June 9th and will run all the way through June 24th.  The event is meant to celebrate the culture of the Carolinas through a vast selection of food offerings, special entertainment, shopping and more.  Admission to the event is a part of the general admission ticket, and guests can purchase special tickets for food samplings as they wish.

© Carowinds
The mouth-watering food is the centerpiece of the festival, with six special kiosks found around the park's large Harmony Hall dining location.  Some of the different dishes include "Bourbon Peach Pie, Bacon-wrapped Quail, Shrimp and Grits, Crispy Banana Pudding, Roasted Corn and a Pulled Pork Spring Roll."

Several dining locations in the park will have special menus as well during the Great Carolina Fest, including items like fried green tomato and bacon sandwiches, and many of them are even available on the park's dining plan.

During the Great Carolina Fest the theme park will feature live performances from different regional artists, including dueling pianos, a mix of country music at the Stateline Stage, and cool brews to go along with the "unexpected instrumentation of Brew Beatz." 

Other family fun includes games on the park's giant lawn, oversized Adirondack chairs for relaxing and "sipping signature iced tea on the Sweet Tea Terrace while listening to musical storytelling of days gone by."  For more on the Great Carolina Fest check out Carowinds' official website.