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Disney dominates 2015 Orlando theme park attendance

Theme park attendance is released

May 25, 2016 - Andrew Rybarczyk

Walt Disney World is still the king of the tourism jungle when it comes to visitation, but Universal Orlando Resort is starting to carve out its own territory and SeaWorld stayed positive while entering uncharted waters. Last year, the Orlando home of Mickey Mouse welcomed a whopping near-54 million visitors through the turnstiles of Magic Kingdom (20.4 million visitors), Epcot (11.7 million), Disney's Animal Kingdom (10.9 million) and Disney's Hollywood Studios (10.8 million) combined, said the Themed Entertainment Association and Aecom's Theme Index, an annual research report that calculates attendance. Each of Walt Disney World's parks saw attendance increase, ranging between 4 percent to 6 percent last year — the biggest jumps being seen at the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Continue article...

Dollywood's New Lightning Rod Coaster Running Rehearsals

The world's fastest wooden coaster to open to the public soon

May 24, 2016 - Daniel Westfall

After weeks of waiting, the Lightning Rod roller coaster at Dollywood is up and running…sort of. A few lucky visitors had the chance Tuesday to ride the Lightning Rod as part of what park officials called a “technical ride rehearsal.” “Technical ride rehearsal is a best practice in our industry to allow select riders to experience the ride while the attraction's performance is being optimized,” said Wes Ramey, a spokesperson for Dollywood. The ride was supposed to open this season with the park, but was delayed when the manufacturer asked for extra time to “commission the ride.” CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY Continue article...

Voodoo Doughnut to Open its First-Ever California Location at Universal Hollywood

Eclectic Pastry Masters, Voodoo Doughnut Sweetens Up Universal CityWalk with First-Ever California Location Opening in Fall 2016

May 23, 2016 - Andrew Rybarczyk

PRESS RELEASE: World famous Voodoo Doughnut expands to the Golden State this fall with the introduction of its first-ever California location at Universal CityWalk™, located adjacent to Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A. “We are beyond thrilled to open Voodoo Doughnut at Universal CityWalk and share our menu of fabulous, unconventional doughnuts with the world at the top entertainment destination in Los Angeles,” said Voodoo Doughnut owner, Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson. “Our signature and one-of-a-kind doughnuts are the perfect complement to CityWalk’s over-the-top vibrancy.” “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Voodoo Doughnut to Universal CityWalk as we begin to phase in the next evolution of our dynamic CityWalk entertainment complex,” said Morell Marean, Senior Vice President, Food and Restaurant Operations, Universal Studios Hollywood. Continue article...

Great Escape Unveils New Thrill Ride

Greezed Lightnin' sends riders for a loop

May 20, 2016 - Danny Miller

On Thursday, Great Escape, a Six Flags park near Lake George, New York, unveiled the new "Hot Rod USA" land, the anchor area of the new Thunder Alley cars ride, and the Greezed Lightnin' looping thrill ride. Fourteen members of the Lake George Technology Education Club became the first people to ride. Park President Eric Gilbert says that riders can get varied experiences depending on where they look during the ride, be it up at the loop, at their feet, or off to one side or the other. Greezed Lightnin' is the headlining 2016 attraction at the park, supported by Charley's Saloon, a bar inside the Ghost Town section, and the new virtual reality experience being added to the classic Steamin' Demon coaster, opening June 25. Continue article...

Six Flags guests rename roller coaster 'Blue Hawk’

Former Ninja will reopen in June

May 17, 2016 - Andrew Rybarczyk

Six Flags Over Georgia guests voted to rename the renovated Ninja roller coaster "Blue Hawk."

More than 6,000 votes were cast in the naming poll this month, with "Blue Hawk" receiving more than 50 percent of the votes. "American Eagle" came in second, and "Air Commander" came in third.

Continue article...

Universal Transitioning To Plastic Passes

Annual pass holders finally get their wish

May 17, 2016 - Danny Miller

After several years of speculation, the UNiversal Orlando Resort will finally begin giving plastic cards to their annual pass holders instead of paper passes. For years, one of the few complaints from annual pass holders was the lack of a hard, plastic pass that many other theme parks, including Six Flags and Cedar Fair, give to their guests. While Walt Disney World presents its pass holders with plastic cards, the SeaWorld and Busch parks still make use of a paper pass, similar to Universal's current system. Paper passes will be replaced free of charge starting on June 3 for those who desire the plastic cards. Continue article...

Universal Orlando unveils Skull Island King Kong animatronic

New behind the scenes look at the story and Kong himself

May 16, 2016 - Andrew Rybarczyk

The debut of Islands of Adventure’s newest attraction is swiftly approaching, and Universal Orlando is making fans quake with anticipation by unveiling the first footage of Skull Island’s impressive King Kong animatronic.

FULL STORY Continue article...

Disney's human-controlled robots could replace its theme park mascots

New robot could be upscaled

May 15, 2016 - Andrew Rybarczyk

"Disney magic" tends to refer more to the company's films and attractions than robotics, but it's genuinely hard to not be amazed - if not a little weirded-out - watching its latest machine move with such accuracy that it could audition for Wall-E 2. Disney's Hybrid Hydrostatic Transmission and Human Safe Haptic Telepresence Robot - which we're just going to call "Jimmy" as per the nametag worn by the bot - uses a transmission made of both sturdy water lines and agile air lines for smooth, measured movements, doing away with the stiff gestures made famous by the namesake dance move, "The Robot." FULL STORY Continue article...

California company buys Martin’s Fantasy Island

Martin DiPietro, who bought Fantasy Island 22 years ago, said a sale to Apex was the best way of ensuring the future success of the park.

May 15, 2016 - Andrew Rybarczyk

Fantasy Island has been sold to a privately held operating company in California.

Apex Parks Group bought the Grand Island amusement park in a deal announced Saturday. Apex approached the park’s owner, Martin DiPietro, to initiate the sale.

Grand Island Supervisor Nathan McMurray said he was grateful to DiPietro for the more than two decades of fun his company provided the island.

“I am happy for him,” McMurray said. “I am hopeful this marks even more good things to come for Grand Island and Western New York.”

Continue article...

La Ronde Opens VR Coaster on Goliath

Uses space alien theme, not Superman

May 14, 2016 - Andrew Rybarczyk

If reality wasn’t terrifying enough, La Ronde unveiled its newest ride Wednesday – a virtual reality roller coaster.

It turns The Goliath, previously the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Canada until it was surpassed by Behemoth at Canada’s Wonderland, into a scene from a science-fiction movie.

Riders wear virtual reality (VR) goggles that show fighter pilots taking on an alien warship.

“There’s aliens attacking. If you have a look around, you have a complete environment in which you’re submerged,” said La Ronde spokesperson Jules Hebert on the first day of testing.

FULL STORY Continue article...

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