Listen to Episode 66 of the Wakefield Report
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Story 1 Shanghai Soldout: While people are saying that Shanghai Disneyland is already circling the drain, because of soaring costs and mounting delays, it seems that the Shanghai community remains excited about the opening of their Disney park. Disney has reported that all tickets for opening day of June have been sold. While this is obviously not an indicator of the immediate future of the park, Disney has to be seeing this as a good sign.
Story 2 Spiderman in the Desert: Local investors plan on building a $1 billion Marvel/Cartoon Network theme park in Dubai. In what seems odd for American theme park goers, this move isn’t all together odd. It is not unusual for foreign theme parks to “bundle” certain intellectual properties to maximize impact in a market where the characters may not be as well known. The Dubai park known as, IMG Worlds of Adventure will also feature an animatronic dinosaur section, and more. The park is expected to be completed in the next year.
Story 3 Batman in the Desert: Yet another Middle Eastern theme park has been announced. As apart of the Yas Island entertainment complex, which also houses Ferrai park, the Warner Brothers park will be indoors and feature immersive environments from WB properties, such as Batman and Superman. Developers are working on building a walk through Metropolis and Gotham City. Yas Island is working hard to get a bite out of the international theme park market.
Story 4 Great Movie Ride Body Count: Ok. So maybe no one died on the Great Movie Ride, there were a couple of minor injuries on the attraction in the first few months of 2016. Theme parks are required to report any injuries on their rides and the Orlando Sentinel has a report of the first quarter filings from Disney and Universal. Incidents and injuries on Orlando area rides were minor and nothing too unfortunate happened. Most of the injuries reported were from previously existing conditions and only resulted in dizziness.
Story 5 Waterworld: Early last week reports were flying around social media that the yet to be finished Noah’s Ark theme park in Kentucky had been “flooded”. The reports quickly made the rounds and many people shared the story on Facebook. It didn’t take long for Snopes to debunk the story. Journalism 101: Always get a second source.
Story 6 Not All Smiles: Last week the company that owns Alton Towers in the UK, Merlin Entertainment, admitted wrongdoing in the court case that sprang from an incident on their Smiler roller coaster from June of 2015. The accident saw one train car crash into a parked train car on the track of the coaster. The result was 16 people injured and one of those suffered an amputation of their arm. Punitive damages are yet to be decided by a court in the the UK.
Story 7 Mo’ Money: Universal Orlando has announced some price increases to their annual passes. The increases are minimal and they are being well received by the die hard fan base. The basic annual pass for Florida residents is now $235. The Preferred Pass is now $310, and the Premier Pass is now $445. That’s not bad for a theme park that is cranking out a new E Ticket every year.
Story 8 Wheel in the Sky: The LA Times has reported that there has been a new lessee for Queen Mary site in Long Beach. The ocean liner was docked in Long Beach in 1967, and since then it has been a struggle to find the right tenants for the location. The new company trying to tackle the site is Urban Commons. They have said they want to add more hotel rooms, a giant ferris wheel, and more shops and restaurants. With a promised investment of $250 million, only time will tell if Urban Commons can do what even Disney couldn’t do; make the Queen Mary a viable tourist destination for the Long Beach community.
Story 9 Toy Story Takes Shape: The Disney Parks Blog has revealed more information for the new Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They have announced the Slinky Dog Dash coaster and a new spinner ride based on the little green aliens. It is still very early on in the process and more is sure to be announced from Disney about this land.
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