Wednesday, January 23, 2019

New Zootopia Themed Land Announced for Shanghai Disney Resort

© Shanghai Disneyland
Last night the Shanghai Disney Resort made a surprise announcement of an entire new land, themed around the Zootopia feature film.

Zootopia, which opened in theaters in 2016, has grossed more than $1 billion, and in China, where Shanghai Disneyland is located, the film grossed more than $200 million and is the country's most successful animated film ever.  The film obviously has a lot of fans in China, so it sure makes sense for Disney to create their first-ever land based off the franchise in this location.

At Shanghai Disneyland, the Zootopia area will be the park's 8th themed land, and we do not have an official opening date for the project yet.  Visitors will be fully immersed in the metropolis of Zootopia, and the star attraction will be a "new, major attraction that seamlessly blends Disney’s storytelling and state-of-the-art technologies in order to bring this fan-favorite movie and its characters to life."  No further details just yet on exactly what kind of ride we can expect, but the concept art up top does allude to a rather large structure in the background.

In addition to the ride, the land will also feature entertainment, food and beverage and retail offerings, all set in the Zootopia world.

“We are thrilled to announce that Shanghai Disneyland will be home to the world’s first Zootopia-themed land,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman of Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products, The Walt Disney Company. “The rapid rate of expansion at Shanghai Disney Resort demonstrates our confidence and commitment to the Company’s future development in China.”

Construction is slated to begin later this year, and as with most large expansions Disney plans to reveal more facts and information as time progresses.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Legoland Florida Announces Third On-Site Hotel to Open in 2020

© Legoland Florida
Continuing their path of rapid expansion, the Legoland Florida Resort has announced their 3rd on-site accommodation, named the Pirate Island Hotel, scheduled to open in the spring of 2020.

The new hotel will actually be connected to the existing Legoland Hotel, and face outward from it at an angle, into what is currently some of the parking lot.  That means that guests who stay in the Pirate Island Hotel will still be extremely close to the main entrance of Legoland Florida, able to start their day at the park in just "130 kid steps" from hotel to theme park.

© Legoland Florida
This concept art for the new hotel shows that it will be pirate themed from top to bottom, consisting of 150 guest rooms on several floors.  The outside of the building includes several pirate facades as well as a huge pirate ship out front to greet visitors.

Other amenities within the hotel include a large swimming pool with a substantial deck area, plenty of themed activities and play areas for kids, and a full service pirate-themed restaurant that also gives families a free breakfast meal each day.

© Legoland Florida
As with all Legoland resorts, the rooms at the Pirate Island Hotel will be totally pirate themed as well.  The above image is a concept for the rooms, though the final plans may differ a bit.  Each room will have a special section just for kids, with boat-shaped bunkbeds, and include other fun items such as a Lego play area, treasure map headboards and a treasure chest filled with goodies.

While the hotel won't open until 2020, this summer guests can look forward to visiting a new themed area, named The Lego Movie World, will three new attractions.  The resort will also build a new miniature golf course adjacent to the original Legoland Hotel. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Six Flags Great America Releases new Maxx Force POV Virtual Ride

© Six Flags Great America
While the original announcement of Maxx Force, an extreme launched roller coaster opening at Six Flags Great America in 2019, included plenty of animation it did not feature a full start to finish point of view ride animation.

This past weekend the park changed that when they released this video, showing riders just what a spin on Maxx Force will be like:

Maxx Force's intense layout will be covered in about 20 seconds from launch to brakes, and the ride will be North America's fastest launch coaster according to the park, hitting 78 miles per hour in less than 2 seconds.

The launch will be intense, and easily the most exciting part of the ride and it's main feature.  Maxx Force is being created by S&S Sansei Technologies, which has a long history of making intense compressed air-launch rides.  (Everyone remember Hypersonic XLC at Kings Dominion's launch?)  After the launch the trains will soar up into a pair of twisted inversions at 175 feet above the park.  The next inversion is said to be the fastest on any ride anywhere, and looks like an extended heartline/corkscrew roll.  A fake-out dive loop follows, and will lead downward into the final brakes.

Maxx Force is currently under construction at the park, with the first supports said to have recently gone up.  Once the park releases more coverage of the ride going up, we'll be sure to check in again.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Planning Documents Show Full Layout of Proposed 2020 Dive Coaster for SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego is moving forward with their exciting 2020 roller coaster project, a B&M dive machine.  The park recently went seeking approval from San Diego to build the attraction, which the park must do for anything taller than 30 feet.

A presentation was created by the park for the meeting, which is available publicly on the city of San Diego's website.

© SeaWorld San Diego
Before we get to the ride, here's how planning for SeaWorld San Diego's new attractions works, so long as they're taller than 30 feet.  The park was granted permission to build up to 4 attractions between 100 and 160 feet tall as part of their master plan (finalized in 2002) and it's also worth noting that Mako will only be the 2nd of these four rides.  So there's more opportunity for thrills at the park down the line.

© SeaWorld San Diego
Here is a wonderful aerial (updated with Electric Eel) of where in the theme park Mako will be located.  The area is currently parking lot, and is located behind Journey to Atlantis and next to Wild Arctic.  Visitors will pass through a long walkway that goes behind the water ride to get to a small plaza that will hold the entrance to Mako.

© SeaWorld San Diego
Here is how the corner of the park will look once Mako is built.  This also gives us a good look at the ride's layout, but there will be even better images in a moment.

© SeaWorld San Diego
Here is a profile view of Mako, showing the steep lift that will top out at 153 feet above the park.  The drop will head down 143 feet and up into a large Immelmann roll, as seen on many other B&M dive coasters.  The second element is interesting, a tall and heavily banked hammerhead turn.

© SeaWorld San Diego
This overhead layout should answer pretty much any question anyone has about Mako's layout.  The first drop leads directly into the Immelmann, then the neat looking hammerhead turn, then the track will rise into a barrel roll that swoops downward at the end.  A large flat spin comes next, followed by a highly banked 180 degree turn and up onto the brakes.

© SeaWorld San Diego
The park also created some visuals of how the ride will look on the skyline of the surrounding area, one of which can be seen above.  If you're wondering why SeaWorld San Diego keeps using the same teal-based color schemes for their rides, it's because they have to - keeping the rides colors that are similar to the sky was a part of the master planning agreement.

This looks like a wonderful addition to SeaWorld San Diego, can't wait to see the ride go up at the park later this year!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Plans Leak for New Jurassic Park Roller Coaster at Islands of Adventure

Some major news broke yesterday for a new roller coaster project in the Jurassic Park section of Islands of Adventure.  Long rumored to be on the way, we just recently saw some games being removed and work walls go up in the section of the park for the new coaster.

Local news source WFTV9 broke news of the ride's layout yesterday with this article and the above photo.  The new coaster will utilize much of the area that was the long-closed Triceratops Encounter, but also zoom out in front of the Discovery Center and swirl around a landscaped area and under/over the bridge to the Lost Continent.

Orlando Park Stop has also released a layout of the coaster, which is a bit more detailed than the one up top.  The queue (and overflow queue) will be entered from the front side of the Discovery Center, changing what is often a quiet part of the park into a super busy one.  The ride's entrance looks to be right under the end of the ride's second launch, which is met by a (probably) giant top hat-ish element.

The ride looks to have two launches, actually, and at least one show scene.  Orlando Park Stop's story has more details on that, but after the first launch there is a lot of twisted track and one or two clear inversions.  Then comes the second launch which is expected to propel the ride at well over 70 miles per hour into the section of the track that skims past the front of the Discovery Center, into a the wooded area by the bridge, then skim over the central lagoon's surface on the way back to the station.

As for the hardware of the new Jurassic Park coaster... it is highly rumored to be a launched coaster from Intamin, similar in design to Taron at Phantasialand.  If you're unfamiliar with that ride, check out this video as a nice introduction.  The ride also features two launches, and somewhat shorter trains that allow for tighter turns and quick elements.  It also features the top-notch theming that Phantasialand is well known for, but the ride experience alone puts it near the top of many coaster fans' top lists.

With a layout leaked, work walls up and games and other structures being moved I'm sure we'll hear something official from the park soon.  Perhaps not too many details, similar to how they've sat on the new Harry Potter details for what feels like a decade, but at least acknowledgement that the attraction is on the way!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Worlds of Fun Gives New For 2019 Restaurant a Rename Ahead of Season Opening

© Worlds of Fun
Near the end of last summer, Worlds of Fun announced a brand new restaurant being built for 2019, at the time named the Boathouse Grill.  The location was announced to feature Kansas City BBQ along with other delicious meals, and the expansive location (over 9,000 square feet) would have patio seating for more than 300 guests.

The theme of the Boathouse Grill was meant to pay homage to the park's original three boats that could be found on the property, one of their signature design features upon opening.

Worlds of Fun just recently released via an official blog post that the overall theme of the restaurant will remain, however it has been renamed:

© Worlds of Fun
Now known as the Cotton Blossom BarBQue, the restaurant will focus its theme on one of the park's original boats, which was not surprisingly named the Cotton Blossom.

The boat was an icon of the park, and the blog post details its history at Worlds of Fun - it originally was used on the set of a movie and purchased from MGM's Backlot via auction.  The park has narrowed the focus of the theme to better explore the history of the park, honoring it as well.

Make sure to check out the park's post on the change for some additional historical detail and images, along with a current construction image of Cotton Blossom BarBQue.  It is wonderful to see the park focus on their history with this addition!