Saturday, June 23, 2018

Pixar Pier Welcomes First Guests at Disney California Adventure

© Disney
This weekend marks the opening of Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure, which is a reimagining of the Paradise Pier area which opened along with the theme park.  Obviously, everyone's favorite Pixar characters have moved into the land, creating four Pixar-themed "neighborhoods:" Pixar Promenade, Toy Story Boardwalk, Incredibles Park and Inside Out Headquarters.

The area's main attractions have been rethemed to the popular Pixar franchises with the exception of Toy Story Midway Mania, which already nicely fits in with the Toy Story Boardwalk area.  The section's large Ferris wheel is now called Pixar Pal-A-Round, featuring new colors and character themed gondolas.

© Disney
The largest attraction of the area has always been the large launched Intamin-designed roller coaster, formerly named California Screamin', now called the Incredicoaster.  A perfect them considering that Incredibles 2 is smashing the box office right now!  The ride has received a light retheme to include the main characters from the films.

Disney California Adventure released some footage of the various theming elements that have been added to bring the Incredicoaster to life.

Although Pixar Pier is opening this weekend, it's not quite finished yet.  Coming later this year and in 2019 are several additions.  The park's classic Carousel will be rethemed to Jesse's Critter Carousel, with Western themed Toy Story additions.

© Disney
Next year the Inside Out Headquarters area will gain an attraction lifted from A Bug's Land, once it closes this summer.  Known as Emotional Whirlwind, visitors will ride in balloons themed to various emotions.  Later this year the area will also open Bing Bong's Sweet Candy Tears, a sweets shop featuring a plethora of items to choose from.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

SeaWorld Orlando Shares Infinity Falls Construction Update + New Concept Art

© SeaWorld Orlando
Although the summer season is now underway, the brand new river raft ride, Infinity Falls, isn't quite ready to open at SeaWorld Orlando.  While everyone patiently waits for the large attraction to open, the theme park recently held a tour of the ride's construction site, which shows that plenty of progress has been made in recent weeks.

Above is some of the new concept art that SeaWorld Orlando has released for Infinity Falls.  The art shows off the entire ride and surrounding area, and highlights different aspects of the rapids, new food and retail offerings, and more.

© SeaWorld Orlando
It looks like SeaWorld Orlando has changed some of the ride's concept for the main plunge, removing one of the large decorative towers at the top of the drop.  This art shows the one tower that is still in place, with a few smaller ones alongside the ride's mid-course lift hill.

Several of the ride's main statistics were also released with the tour, including a river length of 1,520 feet, a 5 minute ride time, hourly capacity of just over 1,000 riders, a 30 foot lift and a 40 foot drop.  Each raft will seat 8 passengers and riders must be 42 inches tall to journey down Infinity Falls.

For more photos and video of the Infinity Falls, check out both Attractions Magazine and also Orlando Theme Park News.

And for those curious, here is a photo from ThrillGeek that shows what the main drop and surrounding area looks like as of right now.  Neat to see a large drop like that on a river rapids ride, not too many feature such an element.

Last but not least, Twitter user Bioreconstruct took to the skies again this past weekend and shared plenty of aerial views of Infinity Falls.  Click through to their Twitter feed to see more.

While a bummer that the ride isn't ready yet, I have to say that it looks really wonderful so far and SeaWorld Orlando is obviously taking the time needed to get it done right, with plenty of theming, rockwork, heavy landscaping and more going into the project!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Party Into the Night at SeaWorld San Antonio's New Electric Ocean Celebration

© SeaWorld San Antonio
SeaWorld San Antonio is excited to present their new nighttime celebration, called Electric Ocean, which premiered this past Friday, June 15th.  The event, which "transforms the park into a sea of glowing color and energy," was well received last year at SeaWorld Orlando and San Diego and is now taking up residence at SeaWorld San Antonio.

“When the sun goes down, our park comes alive with a celebration of illumination, featuring vibrant night shows with exhilarating performances,” said Carl Lum, SeaWorld San Antonio park president. “Immersed in exotic worlds of light, music and incomparable special effects, our guests can experience their favorite SeaWorld rides and attractions in a whole new way – lit by the Electric Ocean glow.”

© SeaWorld San Antonio
Electric Ocean allows visitors to experience the park in a new light once the sun goes down, with special entertainment, glowing decorations and tons of energy.  The park's hours have also been extended to allow guests more time to experience all that Electric Ocean offers, even offering night rides on the park's coasters.

Each night's event is capped with IgNite, a spectacular fireworks show that lights up the sky over the park.  The show also utilizes the park's central lake, and is backed by a unique soundtrack of electronic dance music.

© SeaWorld San Antonio
The park's party atmosphere is exemplified in the Electric Ocean Party Zone, filled with "Latin beats, glow zones and an interactive atmosphere."  There is also a Deep Sea Silent Disco where guests pick their own tunes via headphones and dance together in silence.

Shamu's Celebration: Light Up The Night is another returning fan favorite with original music, high-energy production elements and a celebratory atmosphere.  The show features the park's famous orcas and takes place in Shamu Theater.

© SeaWorld San Antonio
Electric Ocean's entertainment roster does not end there, as there are other shows such as Sea Lions Tonite, a "hilarious, off-the-wall parody of a trip to SeaWorld through the eyes" of the park's sea lion superstars.  Seen above is HydroPower: Xtreme FX, a water ski stunt show that features "non-stop action, including unique stunts and comedy capers" along with a live rock band and plenty of pyrotechnics.

For more on Electric Ocean at SeaWorld San Antonio, check out the park's website.

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!