There's lots of activity going on at The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World! The Tomorrowland rocks are completely finished being painted metallic blue and look great. The Carousel of Progress has received a shiny new sign to match its new paint scheme. And Disney is now offering private cabana rentals near Space Mountain. The cabanas seat up to 8 guests and will cost you $650 for the day. They include seating, small fridge with soda and water, small bags of chips, charging station, complimentary personalized mouse ears for everyone in your party and one novelty ice cream per guest. You also have access to a special Tomorrowland menu (menu food not included with cabana rental price) and a personal server will bring it to you. They don't look too great from the outside, just being event tents, but they're cozy on the inside. Are they worth $650? Maybe not. More than anything, being so far to the edge of the park makes it inconvenient. How often will your family find themselves this far away from the center of the park to take a load off? Not $650 worth of often, that's for sure.
Big Thunder Mountain has re-opened after its refurbishment. Swiss Family Treehouse has also re-opened. The Haunted Mansion has been closed for a four-day renovation. The exterior work on the mansion is complete and work has moved inside. It should re-open December 2nd or 3rd. The new street show in Liberty Square named The Muppets Present: Great Moments in American History has started running. And it's Christmas time at the Magic Kingdom. Decorations and music are in the air on Main Street, USA. Santa is meeting with children near City Hall. And the Jungle Cruise has been "transformed" into the annual Jingle Cruise, complete with corny x-mas jokes and decorations. Check out the video and images below and please Subscribe to the YouTube channel for more updates!
With all that's happening around Walt Disney World, it's easy to miss out on some of the smaller projects. While there's not a giant Star Wars land or new attraction being built at the Magic Kingdom, there's still a lot happening. So let's take a look. First off, Fall is in the air with pumpkins and other decorations lining Main Street, USA. But in the distance, you can already see Christmas lights being strung up on Cinderella Castle. The rocks at the entrance to Tomorrowland are receiving a new color scheme. The original red color worked when "Mission to Mars" was a popular attraction, but today's Tomorrowland has a more whimsical and timeless feel. These newly painted blueish metallic rocks fit the new aesthetic much better. Also in Tomorrowland, the Carousel of Progress has received a new paint scheme as well.
Big Thunder Mountain is closed for regular maintenance. The popular coaster ride should be re-opening by the end of November 2016. Swiss Family Treehouse is also closed for refurbishment. No word yet on a re-opening date. Exterior work is happening at The Haunted Mansion. Scrims are up along the bottom half of the mansion's facade and work walls line half the queue. It looks like awnings are being updated along portions of the queue as well. Minor work is being done on posts outside of It's a Small World. Both Mansion and Small World are still open during this construction. Check out the video and images below and of course, stay tuned for more theme park updates!
Universal's newest attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Islands of Adventure is now officially open! The announcement was made during the Today Show with Al Roker and Tamron Hall earlier today. It has also been tweeted by Universal Orlando with them saying "Skull Island: #ReignOfKong is now open at #IslandsOfAdventure!" The attraction has been in soft open, or 'technical rehearsals' as Universal calls it, for a full month, but as of now will be officially listed as open in the Universal Orlando app and map, and will (hopefully) be open all day along with the rest of the park (starting tomorrow). You can see the official opening ceremony from earlier this morning below along with some more images as well. Check out our extensive coverage of the construction of Kong since the beginning here, and stay tuned for more theme park news and updates coming soon!
Universal Orlando has released incredible details about all of the attractions and features of the upcoming Volcano Bay water theme park. Firstly, they have said that tickets will be available to visit the new park as early as June 1, 2017. This won't be the official grand opening date, but the park itself will be open by then. In addition to information about the four themed areas of the new park and 18 different attractions, Universal is also touting how this will change the way you experience a water park as well. "Here, there’s no standing in long lines. No wrestling with tubes. No waiting for the fun to begin. Which means you spend more time drifting leisurely down a winding river, plummeting down a tropical volcano, catapulting into pools of blue water, and reconnecting with your family." See all the great details below along with some new amazing concept art and stay tuned for more theme park news!
It was only the second day that Skull Island: Reign of Kong had soft opened to the public when I got to ride this magnificent beast! What an incredible experience this has been, not just getting to be one of the first to ride this amazing new attraction, but also covering the story since it was just a pile of dirt and a rumor two years ago. So, Friday I decided to stick it out. As long as it took. To be one of the first to ride this baby! And after 7 and half hours in the hot sun, I got to do just that! It was totally worth it. You can see video from my experience at Friday's soft opening, plus a walk-through of the entire queue below. And there's lot of screenshots below as well with descriptions. Stay tuned for more Kong news as this thing goes from soft opening to grand opening in the coming weeks! And to those of you that have been following this project with me, thank you. I hope you stick around, as we have some amazing new things on the horizon for theme parks in Central Florida, as this time in history has become somewhat of a theme park Renaissance, and we're just getting started!
USA Today has written an article detailing Skull Island: Reign of Kong, opening soon at Universal's Islands of Adventure, and they have included some never-before-seen images from inside the incredibly themed, and apparently somewhat frightening, queue. It seems that rumors were correct and we will be seeing scareactors within the queue itself, straight up Halloween Horror Nights style! See a section of the write-up along with all the incredible photographs in high resolution below. Click on an image to see it full size and stay tuned for more Kong news as it happens!
Universal Orlando has revealed the Kong animatronic in a new making of video and a few images. The Kong figure is three-stories tall, 18 feet wide at his shoulders and has a head larger than an automobile, according to Universal Orlando. The beast also has several "distinctive scars." Riders will come "face-to-face" with King Kong and get "so close they'll feel his breath sweep across their skin and his thunderous roar reverberate through every bone in their body". Reports say that the animatronic figure was designed by Creature Technology, the company behind the impressive full-size Kong puppet for the Kong stage show.
Skull Island: Reign of Kong should be opening soon at Islands of Adventure, but Universal has still not announced an official opening date, stating only that it will be opening Summer 2016. The media preview for Skull Island is scheduled for June 22-24. The ride may open around this time, with technical rehearsals in the days or weeks leading up to it. Technical rehearsals, or soft opens as it is also known, is a trial run where the ride may open for a few hours a day giving staff a chance to test the ride under real conditions. (Not all effects and features may be working during technical rehearsals.) Rumors say that there have been some unforeseen issues that are being worked out and that has pushed technical rehearsals back a bit. Stay tuned here for news of when you may get your chance to meet Kong face to face! See the video below for your first look at Kong in the flesh, plus more images and information. And see all Kong updates here!
"A new story. A new ride vehicle. A new queue experience. A new entrance. The only things you’ll recognize when The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure re-opens in late summer are the world-famous twists and turns of the ride track." These are the things Universal is touting about the completely overhauled Hulk Coaster, which has been closed for refurbishment for nine months now. The newly updated ride will feature an incredible new entrance with a full-size statue of Hulk (no more 2D wooden cutout) and he'll be holding up a large section of track. The track pieces were salvaged from the original ride, which is a great piece of trivia for a nerd like me. The newly designed ride vehicles will feature on-board audio, as has been rumored, featuring a new musical score by Patrick Stump, front man of Fall Out Boy. There's going to be a new storyline and fully redesigned queue as well. See the video, concept art, and full description of all the great changes coming below and stay tuned for more construction updates coming soon!
The walls around the food stand have been moved back and "The Mess Tent" is now open and serving guests. It's now just a matter of weeks, or maybe even days, before all the walls come down around Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal's Islands of Adventure. I think the most exciting thing I saw today wasn't even something you can see... It was the beautiful original score for Skull Island now being pumped into the area. (You can listen to a sample here, or in the video below.) See the video as well as images below to get a better look at The Mess Tent, some more little touches that have been added, and listen to the new area music.
Opening date? The media preview for Skull Island, along with the new Sapphire Falls hotel, is scheduled for June 22-24. I'm assuming the grand opening will be around this time. Usually soft opens happen in the weeks leading up to a new attraction's grand opening. Soft openings, or technical rehearsals as it's called by Universal, allow team members to get used to operating the ride during a practice period. During this time some effects may not be running as problems are fixed throughout testing. Soft opens may only happen for a couple hours a day at first. They will last longer as we get closer to the official opening date until eventually it is open all day. Check back here and I will be posting when soft opens have started. It could begin any time from now until the end of June. Stay tuned!
Universal Orlando's official blog has just announced that The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure will undergo major enhancement and refurbishment work beginning September 8th. And it will not re-open until NEXT SUMMER! There had been rumors that the refurb would happen in stages, reopening the ride during peak times of year, such as Christmas and Spring Break, but now it looks like the entire ride will remain closed for the better part of a year.
Universal says the beloved coaster will be getting some TLC in the form of some great, new enhancements to its storyline, ride vehicles and overall experience. Rumors have the entire queue building being completely rebuilt from the ground up, entire sections of track being replaced, and most importantly, the launch system being upgraded from tires to an electromagnetic (LIM) launch system. This will not only offer a smoother launch, but cost less in maintenance for park operations, without having to replace tires every few weeks. When the Hulk first opened electromagnetic launch systems were not yet up to the task for such a big endeavor, but as time went on the technology has improved, and the time has finally come. I for one am excited to see an updated queue building and improved storyline... Although I may miss the techno-rave party feel in the queue.