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  1. On October the 10th, 2020 Fox Studios Australia has officially been renamed to Disney Studios Australia. Fox Studios becomes Disney Studios, welcomes next 'Planet of the Apes' film - IF Magazine Disney Cruise Line recently announce that it's bringing even more to Australia by adding two cruises World's Seventh Disney Theme Park Gains Traction, Could Appear In South of Country - Inside the Magic As early as two weeks ago, multiple news related stories detailed that Disney had been looking at establishing itself in Australia, a push was made for Disney to be established in South Australia and at one time, the Gold Coast, Australia. World's Seventh Disney Theme Park Gains Traction, Could Appear In South of Country - Inside the Magic With the above mentioned and what appears to be an increase of footprint by Disney into Australia, could Disney be scanning possible locations for a Singapore sized Univesal studio version of Disney Theme Park. Gold Coast, Queensland seems to be the logical geographical location although SA as has been referenced as a potential. With Olympics quickly approaching in Queensland, with the Gold Coast being the mecca for Australian theme park and with new infrastructure being constructed and planned for the Olympics, the Gold Coast with its weather and tourism magnate, seems to be a more pragmatic choice. Warner Bros. Movie World during recent school holidays had good visitation, it is debatable as to whether Dreamworld was able to attract the same number of foot traffic. Ardent Leisure has significant excess land holding and may/could be looking to divest as per a recent ASX announcement. On face value, it may be possible that Dreamworld and its surrounding land may be viewed by Disney executives and being a potential acquisition. However, this is pure speculation, but would seem to make sense should Disney Theme Park be a real possibility.
  2. Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/magic-kingdom I actually kicked off my 3 days at WDW at Magic Kingdom. Plenty of new stuff to see. Things are a bit more high tech at Disney these days, you can load your ticket into google wallet and tap in at the entrances, entering Lightning Lanes (the new name for fast pass) , and the app is pretty comprehensive in terms of being able to check wait times and order food, and credit to them this aspect is all very tight. The more recent points of contention is Genie Plus and Lightning Lanes and Boarding Groups for certain attractions. Basically, fast pass is no longer free, that's an extra cost to use per day, and the service is branded through the app "Genie Plus" I did without it on 2 of my 3 days since crowds seemed light enough and I could game single rider a bit. I swear though they inflate wait times to encourage people to use it. On certain rides you can also pay to skip the line on a one shot basis and enter via the Lighting Lane, and well, I ended up doing this for Tron and 7 Dwarves mine train, more on them later. And finally, boarding groups. At the time of my visit, due to their newness and popularity, Tron and Guardians (At EPCOT) both require you to go into a ballot for a time to board the ride. They do one drop at 7am, and another at 1pm. It does make it a little stressful because who wants to come all that way to ride the new stuff and have it come down to luck. Personally I think they should still offer standby. If someone wants to wait 2-3 hours to ride the new thing, more power to em! I did witness a couple of people at the entrance who were not familiar with the system a bit annoyed about being unable to ride and the complexity of it. But it turned out not to be a worry. If you are on the app at 7am and refresh as soon as the clock ticks over, you can pretty easily end up with a timeslot to ride in the morning. Despite this, I still also bought a one shot lighting lane for tron just because I wanted a guaranteed re-ride. I rocked up early: I had a plan to rope drop Seven Dwarves Mine Train, but it was broken down so I started on Goofys Barnstormer Standard vekoma roller skater but the theming is really really well done. In fact, I had never ventured into the whole circus area before, but I loved it. Under the Sea - Journey of The Little Mermaid Also new to me. An omnimover dark ride with some really detailed theming right from the start. The beginning is pretty cool, with Scuttle the seagull trying to explain Airels story in a confused manner, before your ride vehicle goes downhill and 'under the sea', with projectors used on the walls to create a sense of dropping below the waterline. The ride is fun and colourful, with a huge scene of fishes dancing to "Under the Sea". The ride kind of skips over the whole epic battle with Ursula and just has Ariel transitioning to human and getting married to Prince Eric. Very well done, and I can imagine kids would find it magical. A certain foodstuff I had wanted to try was LeFous brew from Gastons Tavern. It's basically frozen apple juice, topped with passionfruit foam, which was the most tart thing ever, it was like straight passionfruit cordial mixed with wizzfiz or something. With some time to kill until my TRON timeslot I reacquainted myself with Space Mountain. I still reckon the HK/DL/DLP versions are better, just lacks something without the music IMHO. The layout is a little tighter on the MK version and feels like a wild mouse. The exit route has way more theming than my last visit, with various cheesy displays of futurism. Finally it was time for TRON Lightcycle Run. The scale of this ride is enormous, with a huge canopy and broad elevated walkways leading to the entrance, with trains thundering overhead regularly. Once you get inside its a whole bunch of black corridors with neons and backlit graphics. The coolest feature however is a little preshow room with switchable glass with a projection. After a bit of fluff about being "scanned into the world of Tron", the glass turns transparent, revealing the trains launching below and some seriously cool looking theming. The double sided locker system works well, and has hundreds of bays. The trains have you hunkering down a lot more compared to your average straddle coaster, it's practically like being on a flying coaster. Some people have commented the ride is 'short' but its 1km long. I think what happens is people mentally dont count the outdoor section, and focus only on the indoor part. The indoor part is pretty cool, with you racing through glowing checkpoints, plus the occasional wall projection of other lightcycles racing against you. One thing that sets it apart from other indoor coasters is the turns are a lot larger and more sweeping. It's not like they have tried to cram a spaghetti of track into a box, its more like a full sized launch coaster that happens to be in a building. Impressive ride! No sign of Seven Dwarves being open on the app so I decided to try a few other tomorrowland attractions I've never done. First Astro Orbiter, which offers some great elevated views over the land. Then Peoplemover, which also offers moderately elevated views, interspersed with a few little dark ride scenes with a bit of a silly space age feel to them all. I had never done Carousel of Progress so gave this one a spin too. It's a rotating theatre, and during the show you stop in front of animatronic dioramas of a family in the 1900s, the 1920s, 1940s and so on, with the patriarch of the family talking all about all the latest and greatest developments in the world, eg the 1920s talked about how you could travel coast to coast by train, and how Babe Ruth was hitting home runs, and how their house now had brand new electric lights. And then you get to the 2000s bit and it was like 1990s mixed with back to the future. At that point it was time for my paid re-ride on Tron. First ride was in the back, so I took the front this time (It's never a long wait to request a front seat at Disney I find) Back is better if you want to see all the projections on the wall and more of the theming, but front is better if you want to stick your hands out and pretend to fly and feel the wind. What other new stuff was there for me to see. Never had done Country Bear Jamboree so that was a must. Loved this detail on the floor of the foyer. The show takes the piss out of rednecks, with the bears in the show singing drunkenly, having buck teeth, and even alluding to dressing in morally questionable (For the 1900s) mannee. Entertaining, I imagine the local audience would probably get more out of the stereotypes. When It came time to ride Big Thunder Mountain it started raining heavily. Fortunately the queue is all undercover, and they have added various themed interactive things in the queue, like Zeotropes, and fresh air monitors with displeased canaires inside. And yeah, Big Thunder running in the wet rocks! Swung by the conversion of Splash Mountain into Tianas Bayou Adventure. Enchanted Tiki Room was up next (Geez Im having a passive day!), a colourful animatronic show with four main singing birds, each with a stereotypical accent (French, German, Spanish, Irish), plus hordes of other birds that are lowered up and down from the ceiling for duets and choral sets. Its funny how times change, at the time it opened people were mesmerised by singing birds, but I guess today it feels like a room full of those novelty singing birds you get a tobacconist/gift shop. The sets are beautiful though, and the actual lyrics and storyline are entertaining. Swiss Family Treehouse is always worth a stroll through. And I couldn't pass up a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean, still the benchmark in terms of being the most immersive classic Disney ride IMHO. At this point, Seven Dwarves was still not open, and they had even put out a push notification to everyone apologising for the extended downtime. Another food I wanted to try was in Adventureland, Cheeseburger and Pizza Spring rolls (You get one of each). Still wish our parks had more gimmicky snacks like this on rotation. A total surprise to me was discovering they had a Christmas overlay of Jungle Cruise called Jingle Cruise. Most of the fun of it seems to come in the form of extra christmas theming in the queue with a tropical twist. During the ride itself, the jokes are just as corny, but of course with Christmas related puns. Further Christmas decorations on the way too At that point in the day I realised there was one other attraction on my hit list I had wanted to check out, Enchanted Tales with Belle. I was thinking it was more of a walkthrough, and it has a little bit of that, but by and large its a kids meet n greet that has a fancy beginning and some cool animatronics. The main thing I wanted to see was the magic mirror effect they have, which appears to magically grow larger on the wall in front of you and open up to reveal a direct portal into the Beauty and the Beast castle that you walk through. It's a pretty cool trick how they achieve it, and there are YT videos showing how they do it, so I wont spoil it. Surprised this hasn't been used on other attractions. Once you get inside they have a talking wardrobe, and most impresive, lumiere the candle, with actual moving flames on his 'arms', which fully move and gesture as he talks. But yeah other than that they get the kids up front and give them cardboard cut outs to 'act out' a scene from Beauty and the Beast, and then Belle turns up and meets the kids, so yeah not really worth it unless you have young kids. But, finally, Seven Dwarves Mine Train opened...And I was still stuck in this thing! The wait times were already building up, so I bit the bullet and paid for another lighting lane to get on it. Good Thing I did when I arrived at the entrance, the standby wait time had blown out past 90 mins, and even the lightning lane entrance was backed up. This ride has intrigued me since it has swinging cars just like Orphan Rocker at Scenic World, so it was good to get a glimpse at what it would have been like. Actually great fun, and the theming is really detailed, particularly halfway through where you go into the gem mine and all the dwarves are singing 'hi ho hi ho its off to work we go', with full projection mapped faces on each one of them, and lighting effects from all the glowing gems. The cars do actually get a a decent swing going 2 or 3 times during the run. I was expecting Disneyfied toned down intensity, but nah this was good! And I think that's all I did. I was still a bit jetlagged so felt there was a high risk of falling asleep If i did something like Small World, so park hopped to somewhere a little more energetic..... Did you know the streak down the middle of the street Liberty Square is meant to represent raw sewage of the olden days.
  3. Disneyland Paris https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/disneyland-paris So, the other half to my trip report for Walt Disney Studios Both days I visited I went into the park in the afternoon. This probably makes sense because there’s not really anything you want to ‘rope drop’ in Disneyland, it’s all quite high capacity attractions (aside from Peter Pan, which I ended up skipping both days, just couldn’t be arsed waiting 90 mins for it. Most rides seemed to be around 30-40 min waits, so no problem visiting a wide variety of attractions. Overall impressions is that it is very nice, you can really see how they went above and beyond with the theming here in order to impress the well cultured European market. The castle is ornate. They have nice arcades behind main street. More details in general. I also felt that Paris has the “better” version of many of the classics. Their big thunder mountain is better, Pirates of the Carribean has a better themed queue and facade, Phantom Manor looks a lot cooler than the haunted mansions, and of course who can forget their more thrilling Space Mountain. Only downside is I don’t think the park has enough ‘unique’ rides (Aside from Space Mountain being very different). It’s like how Tokyo has Monsters Inc or Beauty and the Beast, or HK has Mystic Manor, or MK has Seven Dwarfs mine train. The main unique thing Paris has is some additional themed walk throughs. So Paris is good if you are a fan of the classic E-ticket rides, but you’ll have to go next door to the studios for something more unique. On to the rides! Indiana Jones - Et Le Temple du Peril Ugh got this one out the way early. It’s like a bigger version of Nitro Coaster type layout, a glorified galaxi with a loop, but built by Intamin. Rough as guts, and the theming is decent (But not a touch on Raging Spirits) The queue line is down under a canvas tent and you go up a grand stone staircase to the ride, which is built around a temple. It does get points for how well they position a stone arch that hides the structure of the loop, so if you are not paying attention you might not be aware it goes upside down. Star Tours Yeah, this one is always nice for its well themed queue. The storyline we got was a bit older, it was the pod racing sequence and then ending up on Naboo, which I think debuted when the new 3D version of star tours was launched. The last time I did star tours in Tokyo in 2019, it was a brand new film based on the last Jedi Space Mountain This was perhaps the one I was most hyped for. When they would show Disneyland Paris on shows like Getaway as a kid, Space Mountain would alway feature prominently. The outside looks gorgeous, particularly the enormous cannon pointing up the side of the mountain. It’s a shame they deactivated the whole mechanism where it woul roll close and recoil when fired. It was such an iconic thing. Maybe one day they will bring it back, and delete the star wars overlay in the meantime. The first bit of the queue is outdoors, before going through some plain corrugated metal corridors inside. Eventually you reach the well themed open air station. It has the new Vekoma trains with onboard audio, so comfort wise it was fine. Out of the station is an enclosed turn, drop and then incline which gets you onto the catapult launch. Despite not being the fastest launch, the fact you are pushed back in your seat going uphill gives it a bit of force. Inside, its like a more drawn out version of RNRC / Avengers Flight Force. Starts with a big drawn out turn that does a lap around the ride building, eventually leading into a sidewinder and a couple of tighter turns, mcbr, then a drop into a corkscrew. From that point the layout peters out a bit, with a regular lift hill towards the end, some more turns and helixes, and vekomas early attempt at an overbanked turn. All the while the audio is playing chaotic star wars music and there are projections on the wall of tie fighters etc being blown up. It’s a Small World What can you say about this ride? Does anyone other than kids enjoy it? Do people just ride it for tradition? For its infamy? Because it has a shortish queue and it gets you out of the sun for 15 mins. Possibly all of the above. I think all the kooky imagineers get put on the design team for this, with all the stylised design sets depicting various countries. Molly Brown Riverboat A moment to relax. I rode this in the afternoon which allowed for some awesome shots of Big Thunder. Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast A ride I secretly enjoy and will always ride at Disney. There was a 30 min wait for this one, so I actually googled how do get a high score. A couple of the secret targets are very hard to to hit, but i was able to spam some of the difficult triangular targets and at least get a score in the hundreds of thousands rather than the tens of thousands. Pirates of the Caribbean This is proper POTC. Other versions have you going straight out from a New Orleans area into this pirate boat ride. Meanwhile this one has you going into the actual corridors of a pirate fortress, so big points for having an actual themed queue. All the scenes were the same, including the pirate battle and the burning town. What made this version better was how the layout was on a few levels and had a few crossovers, so youd get views through to other scenes from a higher level before actually arriving in it a few mins later. Phantom Manor Another Disney classic, and well executed. It looks a lot more spooky having the house sitting up on a hill by itself, surrounded by overgrown gardens. There were a couple of scenes unique to this version. In the load area there is a lonesome bridge, staring out a huge glass window with a thunderstorm raging outside. At the end of the ride you go through a haunted mining town (to tie in with its location in Frontierland), and that part was reminiscent of Fire in the Hole. Still, my favourite part will always be the floating head in the glass ball. Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs. These fantasyland dark rides are a bit ‘blink and you’ll miss it’. You speed through a quick retelling of the story in what feels like a couple of minutes, so only have a brief moment of time to appreciate the scenes before crashing through the doors to the next one. Nice enough, but I struggle to think of a single moment in the ride that really sticks with you or where I was like ‘woah how did they do that’. Ok there was one memorable thing. The ride control panel is themed like an old open book, and the buttons are on the pages. Les Voyages Des Pinnochio Similar Comments to the above. Mostly UV black light painted sets. Autopia Big Ole car ride through some pleasant pine trees, and a handful of billboards with advertisements for space destinations, and themed bridges to give it that Discoveryland feel. If you are short on time you could probably skip this, but again, not much of a queue so I gave it a go. Big Thunder Mountain Ended up saving one of the best for last. There was an intial false start. The ride needed an evac so they emptied the queue and i came back an hour later. The paris one is different because the coaster is on an island in the middle of the river, with the station on the mainland. This means you have a pitch black tunnel at both the start and end of the ride to get over to the island and back, which bookends the experience nicely with thrilling moments. So from the station you drop down into a mine, and it feels like you go really quite deep underground. I’d just about say its a better tunnel than Oblivion. From there it’s classic Big Thunder, with themed lift hills (including one with projection mapping involving fuses burning towards a stack of TNT) and helixes, but also a lot more random drops, and it seems to maintain speed better than the others, rather than hitting a lift the moment you build up a bit of speed. The end of the ride has you go into a themed tunnel, but then the track starts diving deeply and getting darker, and then you just keep diving and diving and go around a huge underground banked turn, and head back up a lift hill. The train practically makes it to the top before the chain finally catches and you rise out into the daylight and coast into the station. So one thing you must know about Paris is that it has a handful of well themed walkthroughs. This seems to be a European ‘thing’ since you see similar attractions at Efteling and Europa Park. Adventure Isle A series of bridges, caves and passageways and great themed sections, like a grotto full of pirates treasure, and a skull shaped rock you could look out through. Needs more slides La Cabane Des Robinson Not Far from Adventure Isle, and another Disney Staple. What I find notable is the way it uses a lot of visual distraction to still maintain the reveal of different parts. From a distance, all you see is this giant tree and a couple of platforms sticking out. When you get there, you basically just see a staircase disappearing up into the tree and the famous water wheel. Quite unassuming considering all that is going on above. When you are up there in the tree canopy, you can see walkways going everywhere, above and below you, and the bits of the treehouse perched in different parts of the tree, so all you can really do is follow the walkway along and be guided through the labyrinth. Thematically its one of my favourites. La Cabane Des Robinson Not Far from Adventure Isle, and another Disney Staple. What I find notable is the way it uses a lot of visual distraction to still maintain the reveal of different parts. From a distance, all you see is this giant tree and a couple of platforms sticking out. When you get there, you basically just see a staircase disappearing up into the tree and the famous water wheel. Quite unassuming considering all that is going on above. When you are up there in the tree canopy, you can see walkways going everywhere, above and below you, and the bits of the treehouse perched in different parts of the tree, so all you can really do is follow the walkway along and be guided through the labyrinth. Thematically its one of my favourites. Le Passage Enchante d’Alladin This has a few dioramas behind glass telling the story of Alladin. Havent seen this film since about age 5 when we watched it on the last day of term before school holidays, brought back memories, ended up watching it again on the plane home! Les Mystères du Nautilus Probably my favourite of the walkthroughs, and I almost missed the best part! From a small building next to lake in Discoveryland you go down a spiral staircase and through an underground passageway into the interior of the Nautilus submarine (You see the top of the Submarine poking up through the water next to the entrance. All the rooms are ornately themed, with a cool engine room full of moving equipment. The main room I strolled straight through, but when I looked back i noticed a crowd of people gathered around a small circular window. Went back to have a look, and all of a sudden the window expands like an iris / camera shutter, revealing a much bigger circular window looking out of the submarine. The iris opens and closes every few mins, revealing something new each time, eg a pod of whales swimming by. Amazing bit of imagineering to build that mechanism. La Belle Au bois Dormant I found out about this one via the Imagineering Story. They did some really ornate stained glass windows in an area in the ‘foyer’ of the castle, so definitely take the time to check this out. La Tanière du Dragon Under the castle, there is a damp cave with a dragon that occasionally wakes up and roars. Easy to miss if you dont know about it. Alice’s Curious Labyrinth A large hedge maze with statues from Alice in Wonderland. You eventually reach a small castle, but its bloody narrow and crowded up there, though its a great vantage point for photos over the park. Disneyland Paris Railroad I thought this was going to be closed for my visit but it ended up re-opening late afternoon day 2. They've designed the carriages to only load from one side, so most of the views are designed to face into the park…If you are riding, sit on the side closest to the platform. For those of you not familiar with the Disneyland Railroads, you dont just do a lap around the park, a couple of times you pass through other ride buildings, and through a couple of indoor sections with actual built sets (The latter too hard to get photos of in the darkness. The other “train” Casey Jr Circus Train was closed on my visit, so no powered coaster for me. So final thoughts. Nice park, superb theming, but perhaps it just feels middle of the range compared to the other Disneylands since it’s all ‘classics’ and the last new ride they got was Buzz Lightyear. More photos here: https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/disneyland-paris
  4. Hong Kong Disneyland https://www.parkz.com.au/attraction/hong-kong-disneyland The last park from my trip in April was Hong Kong Disneyland. Im on mobile so it's a bit harder to do my usual formatting and add many pics, but of course all 300 are already uploaded here: https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/hong-kong-disneyland Again I won't do a blow by blow of the day. Rather ill do each ride. Space Mountain Im still not big on the whole star wars overlay. The original music is much easier to follow and the theming doesn't make sense. You have classic space mountain with planets etc in the station, which is completely different to how a space ship interior looks in Star Wars. And then on the ride yeah they have a few lights that represent laser fire which looks great, but there's no hiding that a lot of it is just backdrops with a small 2d projection of a star destroyer. Just all feels forced on the wrong type of ride. That said the coaster is still great. The station is much smaller than the other ones so you lose a bit of that buzz of looking down over the station and seeing trains pump through. Iron Man Experience Pleasant surprise! I was expecting a reskinned star tours, but it felt so much more. The queue is like a tech expo with lots of cool stuff to look at. The ride film is incredibly detailed, and your usual "on a tour but stuff goes wrong" sort of storyline. My tip, have a walk around Hong Kong island and ride the tram east on a day before you visit the park. You'll get a lot more out of the ride film if you can spot real details. Ant Man Vs the Wasp - Nano Battle This was also better than expected. It was previously themed as buzz lightyear, but of course the MCU rules at Disney now. The ride was panned a bit in POVs for looking "boring" but it's fine and better than Buzz imo. Really bold visual design with you making your way through a high tech facility, before being shrunk down to fight the bad guys inside a computer. A nice touch was that the targets aren't just flat things with LEDs, instead they are actual screens built into the sets, with animations when hit. "its a small world" Yeah its fine, but probably the longest ive waited for it. It's hard to separate any of the versions of these in my mind. This was the first to integrate Disney characters into it but to be honest it was fine. It wasn't in your face at all. Winne the Pooh The scenes seemed similar to the Tokyo version, just without the trackless cars. You start in hundred acre woods in some gorgeous scenes that are all flats but have a real picture book feel. Eventually you see pooh in bed, he falls asleep, and there is a great peppers ghost effect of his soul seemingly leaving his body. You I've been transported into poohs dream, with a circus of "heffalumps" Instead these ones were tracked, but could still bounce up and down at certain points. Mickey and the Wondrous Book I made an effort do some shows since I normally don't do many at parks. Was great! There's a huge projection mapped book on stage, and as Goofy and Mickey turn through they release characters from various stories. Elaborate song and dance numbers with quite a large cast, tied together with your usual cool Disney FX. Worth a look. RC Racer So imagine Surfrider with the TOT2 car on it. Greater than the sum of its parts! It wierds you out for a moment since you keep mentally expecting to a bit of spin. But what makes it great is the multiple moments of floating airtime. Would have ridden twice but it's somewhat low capacity (was a one and done early in the day) Oh and the theming is great. I liked the plastic car model parts on a frame in the station, and the queue paths themed like a scaletrix track (complete with the metal slots and the joiner pieces between track segments) Toy Soldier Parachute Drop Eh was ok. Good if you want a view of back of house areas and very mild drops in a short ride cycle. Again has a great themed queue, with lots of props looking like green plastic parts from an army playset. Was able to bypass a 45 min wait with single rider. Mystic Manor Did not disappoint. You ride in a trackless ride vehicle through the antiques collection owned by an eccentric old man and his pet monkey (in fact 4 go at once and they dance around each other in each room) The antiques come to life as you go through each scene, and this is a ride where a few laps can help you spot all the great gags. I quite liked the room with all the Mediterranean antiques. There's a Greek vase with the print on the outside coming to life and physically popping out the neck. And the final room has a great effect of literally falling apart around you! My only critique is that the ride looks like a cool old mansion from the outside, but you don't walk in the front door. Instead you go into the "loading dock" down in the basement, which feels like a cop out. Dunno I reckon it would have been more dramatic if you went through the foyer of the house and a few rooms and THEN go downstairs to the basement with the treasures. Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars Great fun! A mine train coaster that wraps around a whole themed area. What i loved is the number of times goes under pathways and itself, so you can't just glance at the whole layout and map it out in your head. So it makes it feel like more of an Adventure since you don't know whats coming. Starts with a regular lift hill. At the top a grizzly bear pleasuring itself on a railway points lever causes your train go down "the wrong track" and a few turns follow. Then theres a dead end lifthill like a boomerang where you go up, then roll back down backwards The reverse section is mostly straight with Gentle turns, so no risk of feeling sick for anyone. Eventually you run backwards into a mine tunnel with a switch track. Some bears playing with dynamite cause an explosion, launching you forwards again. The remainder of the ride is several quick turns back to the station. It feels well orchestrated, with all these highlights on the way, a pace that gets faster as the ride goes on, and of course some good humour. Festival of the Lion King The other big show. Its a circular theatre and they bring in floats of African animals to the middle. There's acrobatics, fire twirling, bits of stage that rise up etc. It's done in a format where its a tribal retelling of the Lion King story, so Simba, Scar etc are guys in tribal dress, not actors in fursuits. Jungle Cruise I know its a classic but I just don't get it. Cruising past static sculpts of jungle animals just doesn't do it. Yeah there is some fire and water at the end, but not enough to warrant a repeat imo. Momentous. Really good and a genuine highlight. Recently the park renovated the castle from something that was once the size of the one in California, to one that rivals the Magic Kingdom. And after dark it becomes a giant projection mapping surface. Add some lasers, fountains and fireworks (Which HK is really good at for some reason) and of course a rousing soundtrack and the results are spectacular. The content is often a bit touchy feely, with memorable moments from Disney movies put up on the film. It was a particularly good sequence where they had all the villains and a song which I wish knew the name of. If I ever get back I'll definitely try and get there for a front row seat... I ended up sbout halfway up main Street which was decent enough view but you couldn't really see the fountains that well. Overall impressions... If nobody compared it to the other parks, it would be a fantastic place in its own right. There's always going to be certain Disney rides they could add, but as it stands now the lineup feels quite complete. I stayed from open till close and there is still stuff I could have tried (Slinky Dog, Astro Orbiter, the Teacups) Did repeat rides on Grizzly, Mystic, Iron Man, Ant Man, Space Mountain. Lines weren't that bad, maybe 30 mins at worst. Some of the rides are scaled back from the originals but it doesn't meaningfully impact the experience. Place is spotless, I loved the shady feel of Adventureland, the creative theming in Toy Story Land and the little thematic touches. There's a chance ill be back in HK next year, so I'd definitely go back again, and check out the new Frozen stuff too.
  5. This is an interesting idea: https://m.facebook.com/ridearchive/?tsid=0.11257206439040601&source=typeahead Tragic thing is I can remember riding a lot of those attractions in the 90s.
  6. Has anyone seen this game yet? It's pretty new and already had millions of downloads: Android game: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gameloft.android.ANMP.GloftDYHM iPhone/iPad game: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/disney-magic-kingdoms/id731592936?mt=8 There must be some Disney fans here
  7. After a great time at Movie World's Halloween the weekend before. It was time to cross the Pacific to theme park Nirvana, and get my haunt on. In summary, what did I do? Sat October 17 : Travel Sydney to Los Angeles then onto Orlando / Fun Spot Orlando Sun Oct 18 : Busch Gardens Tampa and Howl O Scream Mon Oct 19 : Animal Kingdom / Disney Studios / Epcot / Magic Kingdom Tue Oct 20 : Sea World / Fun Spot Kissimmee / sleep Wed Oct 21 : Universal Orlando / Lights-on Maze Tours / Halloween Horror Nights Thu Oct 22 : Knott's Scary Farm Fri Oct 23 : Magic Mountain / Zombie Joe's Urban Death Tour (North Hollywood) Sat Oct 24 : Queen Mary Dark Harbor Sun Oct 25 : Knott's Scary Farm Mon Oct 26 : no parks / Australian Consulate Tue Oct 27 : Knott's Berry Farm Wed Oct 28 : Knott's Scary Farm Thu Oct 29 : Knott's Scary Farm Fri Oct 30 : Halloween Horror Nights - Hollywood Fri Oct 31 : watch rugby world cup final / Universal Citywalk / go home I was also going to Las Vegas and Frightdome and other haunts, but had to cancel and stay in LA because my Passport got severely damaged in Florida and I had to go to the Australian consulate in LA to get an emergency passport. Trust me folks, trying to get through the TSA at screening with just an Aussie issued driver's licence is not fun. To be continued...
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