How can I possibly contain myself? As I type this I have only 3 days to go until I land in California. I am on Cloud 9 and can not wait for my first visits to Knotts Berry Farm and Universal Hollywood! What is the 1 thing I must do in each park? What is the 1 thing I must eat when visiting these two iconic parks? This is going to be a great trip and I cant wait to see some of you at the weekly MiceChat meetup this Sunday in Disneyland! Here’s a link to the MiceChat Facebook group for Sunday Noon meets at Disneyland. 


Story 1: New details coming in this week from this Micechat article about the big changes coming to the GAC system at Disneyland and Disney World. Gone are the days when you could just walk to the attraction with your GAC and walk right on; now you and your party will be given a designated return time to come back to the attraction. This is an issue that seems to have the entire community divided. Only time will tell if this change to the system will be an improvement form the current system and cut down on some of the fraud we heard about earlier this year.

Story 2: In a recent conversation Universal Studios chef Steve Burke revealed that the Universal Parks are valued at up to $10 billion! Thats a ton of money! With all of the new attractions and additions going into Universal Parks all over the globe, its no wonder. Universal is going all in, and they are seeing a return on their investments. With that kind of evaluation, I’m now wondering how much of a value Disney would put on their parks. I’m sure I could easily dig through some annual reports and find the answer, but being this close to a California vacation makes me a little lazy.

Story 3: With all of  the negative press hitting Sea World in 2013 off the heels of the documentary BlackFish, its always good to see a story like the one we have this week about SeaWorld helping release 75 sea turtles to the wild. These little turtles are adorable and it just goes to show that, no matter what you see and hear in a documentary, there is good work going on at SeaWorld and they really do care about rehabilitating and preserving marine life.

Story 4: More SeaWorld news this week as Eric Davis breaks a huge story and tells about the Killer Whale Treadmill. Immediately mind my mind races to thoughts of a killer whale rushing to the gym after work and trying to get in a quick  5 mile power run before it has to pick up the kids when they get out of school. But I am sure that this is not that kind of treadmill. This treadmill helps whale swim endlessly at speeds up to 30 mph. Now, my mind is racing trying to picture what something like this would look like. Hopefully, we will get some pictures soon.

Story 5: Great news, I think, about Ghirardelli Chocolate opening up in the El Capitan Theatre and Disney Studio Store. For some reason, I saw a very vocal group of people on twitter complaining about this move. Why? What is so bad about that? I love the Ghirardelli shop in DCA and think it would be a much welcome addition to the El Capitan and the Studio Store. If there is some sort of downside to this that I am missing, please let me know.


Story 6: We have a report this week that the big wigs at Tokyo Disneyland have opted to build their version of New Fantasyland and they have passed on building a CarsLand in this park. This is a move that I find surprising. Being a much bigger fans of CarsLand, I would think the Tokyo brass would see more potential in building a CarsLand, but I guess they fell in love the New Fantasyland more. Another line of thinking would be that far more Japanese tourist have already seen CarsLand at DCA, than ones who have seen New Fantasyland all the way over in Orlando. Personally, if I had my own Disney park, I would build CarsLand, and the Indiana Jones ride, and Star Tours, and Fantasmic, and Expedition Everest…Ok, I would build everything; except Stitches Great Escape.

Story 7: Disney Research has an interesting new technology. It’s really difficult for me to explain so you have to see the video. Basically, the its a technology where you talk into a special microphone, the microphone stores the sound, and when you touch someones ear while you are holding the microphone, the sound you recorded is transmitted through your body and into the recipients ear. I told you it was difficult to explain. Conceivably, this technology can be used inside of a theme park to have extra special meet and greets with characters like Professor X. I would imagine any kind of implementation of this technology is very far down the road, but it is really cool to watch it work.

Story 8: Some great video this week from behind the scenes at Haunted Mansion Holiday. Disney took their cameras behind the scenes during the set up of this years Nightmare Before Christmas installation and share some neat video and stories of what it’s like to help Jack and Oogie take over the Mansion. I am so thrilled to be able to experience this great attraction later on this week!

Story 9: Ill try my best to keep this friendly to little ears and eyes but this week a new haunted house is opening in Pennsylvania. Big deal right? Well the thing is that guests visiting this haunted house are challenged to strip down completely naked before walking through the house. Now, i’m not sure about you, but this is something I would totally do! I know sounds crazy. The only way to hear why I would do such a crazy thing is to listen to this week’s episode of the Wakefield Report Podcast!

This week Derek Burgan, my cohost on the Universal NOW podcast, helps me run down the 9 News Nuggets You Need to Know.

Also on this week’s show we talk to Unofficial SeaWorld host Eric Davis about the controversial documentary Blackfish. I saw the film last week and walked away with a lot of questions. I invited Eric on to answer some of these questions in a no holds barred, unbiased interview.

By the way: If you want to be super cool and awesome, it would be great if you took a minute and went over to iTunes and left us a nice review.  😉

You can hear all of this and more on Episode 48 of the Wakefield Report Podcast:

Direct Link 


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Chris Wakefield lives in South Florida and spends most of his free time traveling across the country looking for the best thrills that theme parks have to offer. Growing up in the Midwest,Chris is used to the high and fast coasters offered up at parks like Cedar Point and Kings Island, and moving to Florida four years ago was a bit of theme park culture shock. With twice a month visits to Orlando, Chris works hard to keep his finger on the pulse of the ever expanding theme park community in Central Florida. Outside of the Orlando parks, Chris also visits California twice a year and isnt above going to a good haunt or two! Chris created the Wakefield Report website in the fall of 2011 to bring theme park and themed entertainment fans closer to the latest news, and opinions in the community. Each week, the Wakefield Report Podcast goes on the air to provide an unbiased, open, and honest look at the latest in Disney and theme park news. You can reach Chris at: [email protected]