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It's time once again for your weekly Theme Park News update. Obviously, 2020 has been an unusual and difficult year for theme parks, which is why it's refreshing to have some good old-fashioned theme park news to report. Let's get right to it!
MAJOR DISNEY UPDATES ARE IN STORE
Yes, we have theme park news. Not pandemic-related updates, not temporary closures, but real, concrete theme park news!
IAAPA, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, took its Expo online this year, and newly crowned Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Josh D’Amaro dropped plenty of updates fans have been waiting for in his keynote speech. New ride vehicles, attraction previews, even Star Wars hotel details — this one was a doozy.
The biggest surprise out of IAAPA Expo came by way of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, the thrill-packed adventure coaster currently under construction at Epcot. Disney revealed not just the ride vehicles in motion but also a glimpse at the actual track, which is poised to set records as one of the longest indoor coasters in the world:
We also got our first look at one of the cabins on Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, the forthcoming Star Wars-themed hotel at Walt Disney World.
With spaceports, in-world detailing, and themed bunk beds, they definitely don’t appear to be roomy, but given that it’s being sold as a cruise-style vacation on land, it’s unlikely guests will be spending too much time bumming around their rooms regardless.
D’Amaro’s IAAPA presentation also brought early looks at Space 220’s atmospheric screens — the schtick is that you’re dining 220 miles “above” Epcot, peering down upon Earth — as well as confirmation that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open next year. There was even a quick preview of the ride vehicle that will be used on Web Slingers, the Spider-Man themed attraction landing at Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure:
It’s joyful to finally have new theme park announcements and something to look forward to, but with this news comes the reminder that any previously announced date is now in flux due to the pandemic. Be sure to stay tuned to this space for all further announcements.
A VERY VINTAGE THEME PARK CHRISTMAS
We delved into the festive holiday happenings at theme and amusement parks nationwide, and even with so much Christmastime magic at Walt Disney World, none of that matters now that FIGMENT IS WEARING A SWEATER:
Figment wearing a sweater! In the Christmas miracle that no Disney fan expected, one morning, boom: Everyone’s favorite random character was decked out for the season. Or maybe Figment was just cold? Or both!
The lil’ purple guy’s surprise was discovered by @melschnef, who boarded Epcot's Imagination! and was absolutely delighted to discover the change. Figment fans went into an absolute frenzy; within 24 hours, you had multiple options for how to twin, from knitting this pattern to buying a fan-created version of it online since, weirdly, it's not available at the parks. (If this doesn’t sound noteworthy to you as a casual theme park fan, trust me: This was earth-shattering news over the weekend for the die-hard Epcot sect.)
It’s not the only magic that’s unexpectedly going down at that Disney park. Apparently, Living With The Land was also given a mini-explosion of festivities, making Epcot’s low-key sleeper hits the must-see attraction overlays of the holiday season:
It's like HHN, but for holiday glee!
Note: Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World are currently open and operating in Florida. If you plan to travel, please mind any newly instated state-wide travel restrictions and COVID-19 safety recommendations.
Somehow there is even more news, as Busch Gardens Tampa Bay finally dropped the POV footage of Iron Gwazi this week, and holy heck it looks intense:
The behemoth, which will open in 2021, will set records as the world's fastest and steepest hyper coaster, and wow, it shows.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
It's not a Tweet! I know, but these are wild times and I simply cannot draw your attention to anything on Twitter when this perfect video is sitting right here:
My friend Heather sent this to me yesterday and I almost fell out of my chair. Enjoy an absolute niche masterpiece seemingly hand-crafted for theme park fans like us. We are not worthy!
LINKS! LINKS! LINKS!
- California is seeing COVID-19 cases increase, and with it comes the state pulling an "emergency brake," amendments to the partial openings of SeaWorld and LEGOLAND, and an even bleaker future for theme parks like Disneyland.
- You can now drive through Six Flags Magic Mountain as part of their seasonal event.
- Disneyland, as many assumed, will not open this year.