Showing posts with label theme park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label theme park. Show all posts

April 10, 2019

EDITORIAL - Disney's Discriminatory Smoking Ban

By: Gino Sabato

So Walt Disney World has announced that starting May 1st all smoking sections within its parks will be removed. Smokers will be directed outside the park beyond the security checkpoint in order to indulge. This probably doesn't come as a shock to anyone that smokes and likes to visit Walt Disney World. The number of designated smoking areas has been decreasing for years and it was becoming more and more obvious that this day would come sooner rather than later. 

Walt Disney Smoking A Cigarette
There was of course a time that smoking was permitted pretty much in any outdoor area of the parks. Even restaurants offered a smoking section. Cigarettes were openly sold in the parks with some establishments totally dedicated to the sale and use of tobacco products. Of course things change and social norms become almost unrecognizable over time. Most smokers will even agree that reducing the area where people can smoke is a positive action, but removing all smoking areas is really a step too far.

Main Street Tobacconist (Disneyland)
I'm sure there are many that will disagree, but ultimately banning outdoor smoking (even in designated areas) is nothing short of discrimination. This is not a question of the health effects of tobacco or a question of morality this is a question of personal rights. There are plenty of unhealthy and potentially dangerous activities taking place inside Disney parks every day. In fact just about everything inside a Disney park is unhealthy and many activities could be potentially dangerous. From drinking alcohol to overeating, the entire nature of the business is overindulgence. Some of these activities are only harmful to the person performing the activity and some, like drinking too much, is dangerous to everyone around that individual. The effects of cigarette smoking in designated smoking areas, most of which are so far off the beaten path you require a map to find them, has little if any effect on any other guest in the park. Tobacco users are being singled out and systematically discriminated against. Tobacco is a legal product and those that choose to use tobacco should be treated like any other person. 

Beyond the discriminatory nature of the smoking ban, there is the question of where are all these smokers going to go when they want to light up? Somewhere between 15-20% of guests that visit Disney World are smokers. The average number of visitors to just the Magic Kingdom each day is right around 53,000 assuming that half of those visitors are adults of legal smoking age that would leave us with a base number of 26,500 if just 15% are smokers that would mean on any given day there would close to 4000 smokers in just one of Disney World's parks. Keep in mind this is an extremely conservative estimate and that number could easily be upwards of 10,000 smokers on any given day. Going to a Disney park while fun and entertaining is also a somewhat stressful day with the crowds, lines, keeping up with your children, paying $9 for a hot dog, etc... Smokers are going to want to smoke and they are going to have to exit the park and squeeze into one very small area spending upwards of half an hour or more in order to take what would normally be a 5-minute break. Keep in mind with current designated smoking areas that 5-minute break would be far away from the crowd. This is going to cause huge problems with crowd control and traffic as well as overwhelm an already disorganized security staff due to what is sure to be a large increase in re-entries to the park. This is a lose-lose for Disney. So unless their goal was to reduce the amount of time each visitor spends in the park buying merchandise and eating food there is no upside for Disney. 

To add icing to the cake Disney has also in their infinite wisdom decided to ban the use of vaping products as well as combustible tobacco. While vaping is not the first choice of most smokers many would gladly switch to vape for a day in order to avoid the problems with exiting the park just to have a smoke. This is literally just a slap in the face and further proof that this is a discriminatory action. The use of Vape products has absolutely zero effect on anyone but the user. The vapor from these products is essentially steam and dissipates almost immediately. There are some users of these products that use specialized vaping products that produce large amounts of vapor and it would be well within Disney's purview to ban such products. 

Most importantly there are smokers that are going to smoke in the parks regardless of the rules. While I would prefer to just not visit the parks than break the rules outright I do understand the mindset of the person that would sneak a smoke in an abandoned corner. Just the idea that people are not going to smoke or especially sneak a puff off a vape pen is ridiculous at its core. We live in a society where everyone has some kind of a special entitlement and rules are broken every single day. Disney can't even manage to keep people from skipping ahead in ride queues. Good luck keeping a mom or dad that just spent 5 hours standing in line after paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars for the privilege of standing in that line from having a cigarette. 

I for one will not be visiting a Disney park any time soon. While the smoking ban is not the reason for that decision it is certainly one of a hundred other reasons that make me chose to spend my money elsewhere. My family has been visiting Disney parks for almost 40 years and the direction the company has been headed for the last 20 years is the complete antithesis of what a Disney vacation was supposed to be. 

March 28, 2019

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort Debuts Newest and Largest Expansion With Opening of THE LEGO® MOVIE™ WORLD

Complete Theater to Theme Park Experience with Iconic Characters, Imaginative Rides and Tasty Tacos

WINTER HAVEN, FLA. (Mar. 27, 2019) – THE LEGO® MOVIE™ WORLD opened to enthusiastic visitors for the first time today at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, taking guests on an immersive journey from the theater to the theme park!

Created in partnership with Warner BrosConsumer Products and LEGO®, the newest expansion features three new rides and numerous attractions, all inspired by the characters and themes of the worldwide blockbuster THE LEGO® MOVIE™ and the exciting big-screen animated adventure sequel THE LEGO® MOVIE™ 2: The Second Part.

“We couldn’t be more excited to officially open THE LEGO MOVIE WORLD,” said Rex Jackson, general manager of LEGOLAND Florida Resort. “THE LEGO MOVIE WORLD is a key piece to our expansion and growth as we further cement ourselves as a multi-day destination.”

March 20, 2019


Don’t Miss This Special Offer – Purchase and Activate Your Pass by April 4 

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 19, 2019) – Universal Orlando Resort is giving Passholders more thrills and adventure than ever before. It’s the last chance to take advantage of up to six months FREE on Universal Orlando Resort Annual Passes. This special offer is valid on 2-Park and 3-Park Seasonal and Annual Passes and is only available for purchase and activation through April 4, 2019.

That’s up to a year and a half to enjoy all of the thrills and excitement Universal Orlando has to offer, including:

March 14, 2019


Thrilling Adventure will be the Epic New Addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Open on June 13
Click Here to Watch Harry Potter Film Star, Tom Felton and Art Director, Alan Gilmore Reveal 
the Wondrous Details…

Orlando, Fla. (March 12, 2019) – On June 13, 2019, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure  the epic new addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – will soar into Universal Orlando Resort and become the most highly themed, immersive coaster experience yet. Today, all-new details have been revealed about the magical new adventure that awaits.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure will combine a new level of storytelling and innovative coaster technology with rich environments and sets – including an actual forest with more than 1,200 live trees. It will also give guests the unique opportunity to join Hagrid – one of the most beloved characters in the Harry Potter films – on a journey to one of the most mysterious places in the wizarding world – the Forbidden Forest. With Hagrid as their guide, guests will fly deep into the Forbidden Forest and brave the mysteries and thrills beyond the grounds of Hogwarts castle on a groundbreaking coaster experience unlike any other.

April 12, 2018

Pandora Utility Suit Will "AMP" Up the Excitement at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Beginning April 22, guests can interact with towering mechanical suit inspired by Avatar film.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., April 7, 2018 - A 4.2-ton, towering mechanical suit is sure to stop guests in their tracks when it debuts at Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom on April 22. The new Pandora Utility Suit is inspired by the iconic Amplified Mobility Platform (AMP) suits of power armor from the epic film AVATAR.

Perched ten feet high, a human pilot straps into the cockpit of this exo-carrier and controls its powerful, yet agile movements. The giant walking suit was designed with articulated hands and a shoulder span of more than five feet. It also bears claw marks and battle scars from a Thanator – an alpha predator on Pandora.

August 19, 2017


Dolly Parton shares details about upcoming festivals, new children’s album

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (Friday, August 18, 2017)—Dolly Parton today shared plans with media about her award-winning park’s upcoming harvest and Christmas events, as well as a new album project which features music from Dollywood’s Little Engine Playhouse.

“I love fall in the Great Smoky Mountains,” Parton said during the media event. “It truly is one of my favorite times of the year to come home. God’s coloring book is in full display with the Great Smoky Mountains painted in reds and golds.

August 16, 2017

MISSOURI - Silver Dollar City Announces Time Traveler

Silver Dollar City Announces 
~Time Traveler~
World’s Fastest, Steepest & Tallest Spinning Coaster
A Revolutionary Coaster Ahead of Our Time Launches Spring 2018

(Branson, MO   8/16/17) - Following months of speculation and extreme interest radiating within the amusement industry and from coaster enthusiasts around the globe, Silver Dollar City announces the World’s Fastest, Steepest and Tallest Complete-Circuit Spinning Roller Coaster with the spring 2018 debut of Time Traveler. The Branson, Missouri internationally-awarded 1880s-style theme park makes history again with this custom-designed, custom-engineered attraction that introduces a new generation of thrill coasters for families. 

     Time Traveler will be world record-breaking:
  • Fastest – Top speed of 50.3 miles per hour
  • Steepest - A 10-story, 90-degree vertical drop…straight down. Custom-engineered to have an immediate out-of-the-station, gravity-driven drop down an Ozarks mountainside
  • Tallest - Custom-designed for mountainous terrain with its tallest point at 100 feet   
  • First & Only with Three Inversions - a Dive Loop, a Vertical Loop and a Zero-G Roll
  • First & Only with a Vertical Loop - A 95-foot tall loop
  • First and Only Double Launch – 0 to 47 mph in 3 seconds; 30 to 45 mph in 3.5 seconds 
     At an investment of $26 million, this is Silver Dollar City’s biggest attraction EVER.  For concept, design and development, Silver Dollar City is working with renowned coaster manufacturer MACK RIDES of Waldkirch, Germany. MACK RIDES, founded in 1780 and family-owned for eight generations, shared Silver Dollar City’s dream to create Time Traveler as a one-of-a-kind ride that combines a variety of coaster elements with mountainous terrain.  The track crosses over itself 14 times in total.

     “This coaster’s state-of-the-art controlled spin feature provides riders a unique thrill experience while still appealing to families,” said Brad Thomas, President of Silver Dollar City Attractions.  “Since Silver Dollar City’s opening day in 1960, guests have taken a journey back in time with unique and world-class experiences.  We strive daily to continue that tradition through our rides, our festivals, our crafts and our food. That pursuit continues in 2018 with Time Traveler - a Revolutionary Coaster Ahead of Our Time.”

     Many coaster enthusiasts have pointed out the paradox of an 1880s-inspired theme park developing a track record for revolutionizing roller coasters:  Time Traveler follows the daring wood coaster Outlaw Run, which after its debut in 2013, made it into the Guinness Book of World Records and earned the coveted title of the industry’s “Best New Ride” that year. “Today, several years later, Outlaw Run still carries high prestige globally, and now Time Traveler will build upon that record-breaking tradition,” said Thomas.

     Time Traveler opens in Spring 2018. Silver Dollar City is open mid-March through December.  Other Silver Dollar City Branson attractions include White Water and Showboat Branson Belle.  More information is at 800-831-4FUN(386) and

March 21, 2017


New park section opens with four new rides, blue ribbon food favorites


Charlotte, N.C.–True Carolinians will agree, the feel of an old county fair is like no other. Now guests can enter into an atmosphere of timeless fun for all ages as Carowinds opens an all-new County Fair themed area in spring 2017.

February 22, 2017



ORLANDO, Fla. (February 22, 2017) - Universal Orlando Resort has launched a limited-time offer for U.S. and Canada residents. With the purchase of a 2-Day, 2-Park ticket for as low as $199.99 per adult, guests will receive TWO EXTRA FREE DAYS to enjoy the thrills and excitement of the destination's award-winning theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure.

With two extra free days, guests will have plenty of time to explore some of the world's most exciting and innovative theme park experiences - including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Hogsmeade and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley. And on April 6, Universal Orlando will debut its newest ride, "Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon," in Universal Studios Florida. Guests will receive the ultimate "Tonight Show" experience by getting up close and personal with the show's most hilarious moments before taking off on a wild race through the streets of New York City against Jimmy Fallon himself.

Exclusive U.S. and Canada Resident Offer:
Buy a 2-Day, 2-Park Ticket for as low as $199.99 per adult and Get 2 DAYS FREE
Includes the following benefits:
  • Four days; access to Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure, with purchase of a 2-Day Base or Park-to-Park ticket
  • Access to select live entertainment venues at Universal CityWalk

This limited-time offer is valid for purchase through May 3, 2017 and is valid for 7 days from the first use - must be used in full by May 31, 2017.

CLICK HERE to take advantage of this incredible limited-time offer today. Guests can upgrade their 2-Day Park-to-Park ticket to include Universal Express Unlimited to skip the lines at their favorite attractions.

This offer is also available with select Universal Orlando vacation packages, including a 4-night package starting as low as $89 per adult, per night. For additional information or to book this package, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about all of Universal Orlando’s vacation package options, visit

February 21, 2017


Campaign Defines the Universal Theme Park Experience 

ORLANDO, Florida and HOLLYWOOD, California (February 21, 2017) - Your kids are growing up and it's suddenly time for a different kind of family vacation. Your family is ready for more excitement, exhilaration and adventure. It's time to just let loose and have fun - together.

Universal's theme parks in Orlando and Hollywood offer exactly the kind of vacation your family craves - bringing together popular culture's most compelling stories, characters and adventures to create some of the world's most innovative and entertaining attraction experiences. These are immersive, next-level, adventures such as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, outrageously fun attractions such as Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and highly themed, authentic experiences based on cutting-edge television, such as The Walking Dead Attraction and Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Universal Parks and Resorts is showcasing these experiences as part of a national brand campaign set to launch today. It will be the first time Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood speak to consumers with one voice.

Called, "I'm Ready," the campaign will show how Universal theme parks take family vacations to an entirely new level. It comes after years of transformational growth at both Universal theme park destinations - growth that has reinvented theme park entertainment itself. The campaign includes a national television advertisement, digital advertising placements, a joint Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood web landing page where guests can go to get more information - and more. 

"Universal Parks and Resorts provides world-class entertainment destinations with signature theme parks in both Orlando and Hollywood that create unparalleled entertainment for the whole family," said Alice Norsworthy, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Universal Parks and Resorts. "This new campaign speaks to the needs of families as they evolve - and it invites them to vacation on a whole new level."

About Universal Parks and Resorts
Universal Parks and Resorts, a unit of Comcast NBCUniversal, offers guests around the globe today's most relevant and popular entertainment experiences. With three-time Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg as creative consultant, its theme parks are known for immersive experiences that feature some of the world's most thrilling and technologically advanced film- and television-based attractions.

Comcast NBCUniversal wholly owns Universal Studios Hollywood, which includes Universal CityWalk Hollywood. It also owns Universal Orlando Resort, a destination resort with two theme parks (Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure), five resort hotels, and Universal CityWalk Orlando. In addition, Comcast NBCUniversal owns a 51 percent majority interest in Universal Studios Japan, in Osaka and has a license agreement with Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore. The company has also announced plans for a theme park in Beijing.

February 10, 2017



ORLANDO, Fla. (February 9, 2017) - Universal Orlando's third amazing theme park, Volcano Bay, will officially grand open on May 25, 2017. And today, Universal Orlando provided a first look at the new TapuTapu wearable coming to Volcano Bay that will transform the way guests experience water theme park entertainment.

Visit the Universal Orlando Blog for first-ever images and a video of the TapuTapu wearable.

When guests arrive to Volcano Bay, they'll receive a TapuTapu wearable to use for the day that will make their experience throughout the entire park as hassle-free and fun-filled as possible. It will allow them to virtually wait in line for Volcano Bay's dozens of unique attractions and discover various TapTu Play experiences throughout the park with just a simple tap.

When it grand opens on May 25, Universal's Volcano Bay will become Universal Orlando's third amazing theme park and provide even more incredible experiences that further complement the entire destination. Volcano Bay will be an entirely new water theme park experience filled with incredible thrills and perfected relaxation. Spanning 30 fully immersive acres and featuring a variety of experiences ranging from daring to serene, Volcano Bay will offer something for everyone - including a multi-directional wave pool with sandy beaches, a peaceful winding river, twisting multi-rider raft rides, speeding body slides that drop from the top of the volcano into the waters below and more.

For more information and to sign up for updates, visit

January 31, 2017


First Permanent Free-Roaming VR Installation at a North American Theme Park Scheduled To Open 2Q of 2017

BELLEVUE, WA. – January 31, 2017 – VRstudios, global virtual reality (VR) company offering commercial entertainment and enterprise solutions, announced today, a partnership with Knott’s Berry Farm and parent company, Cedar Fair, to design and install a specialized VR experience at the Southern California-based theme park.

Knott’s Berry Farm and Cedar Fair are recognized in the entertainment industry for their leadership in creative application of technology in their attractions. Cedar Fair’s Vice President of Strategic Growth, Christian Dieckmann, is leading the company’s pursuit of immersive and unique experiential technology through their relationship with VRstudios.

“Our collaboration with VRstudios to develop a new custom-built, immersive amusement experience at Knott’s Berry Farm is exciting for our customers and consistent with the memorable experiences they expect from our parks,” said Dieckmann. “We chose VRstudios for our inaugural free-roaming VR installation because of their successful track record providing VR globally for other location-based entertainment venues.  No other VR company can offer a truly untethered multi-player experience.  We believe the planned attraction will amaze our guests and encourage repeat visits.”

“It is rewarding to partner with entertainment visionaries who want to do something amazing with the new VR technology,” added Charles Herrick, Chief Executive Officer of VRstudios.  “When clients want to push the limits beyond what is commonly available, it gets our entire team motivated because they know there will be an outlet for their innovation.”

Knott’s Berry Farm visitors will be able to enjoy the new VR experience for a small fee in addition to admission, beginning the second quarter of this year.

About VRstudios:
VRstudios (www.vrstudios.comis a leading global VR technology company, located in 11 countries, delivering the first truly wireless, full-range-of-motion, multi-participant, immersive experiences for commercial enterprises. Applications include visualization experiences and simulation training for such industries as architecture, construction, industrial design, theme parks, arcades and others. VRstudios is the first company to offer an all-in-one VR solution bundle, including its own experience management software, wireless headsets and interactive devices, entertainment content and developer tools. The company launched in 2014 and is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington.

About Knott’s Berry Farm and Cedar Fair:
Knott’s Berry Farm is Southern California's original theme park; featuring world-class rides, shows, attractions, the Knott’s Soak City Waterpark and Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel. Knott’s Berry Farm is owned and operated by the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (NYSE: “FUN”), a publicly traded partnership headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio. The Company, which owns and operates 11 amusement parks, two outdoor water parks, one indoor water park and five hotels, is one of the largest regional amusement park operators in the world.  Its parks are located in Ohio, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, and Toronto, Ontario.  Cedar Fair also operates the Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park in California under a management contract.

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