Wakefield Report: Daydreaming About The SoCal Parks

Written by Chris Wakefield. Posted in Features, Podcasts, Wakefield Report

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Published on October 15, 2013 at 1:23 am with 1 Comment

Join Chris Wakefield and the MiceChat crew this Friday at Epcot for the MiceChat Sip and Nibble around the World Showcase Lagoon for Food and Wine festival. Event information HERE.

The first week home after a week long Southern California vacation is so depressing. While sitting at my desk at work, I often find myself daydreaming about the Universal Hollywood Tram Tour, or riding on Ghost Galaxy at Disneyland. I am already planning my next visit to SoCal for 2014!

9 News Nuggets You Need to Know

Story 1: A tradition has returned to Busch Gardens Tampa. When the park first opened, one really big hook to bring guests in was that Busch served free beer to adults throughout the day. A few years ago this 50 year tradition came to an end when new owners took over the parks from Busch in 2009. Beers will be served to annual passholders only at the Crown Colony Pub in a specially made “Pass Member Lane” and they are only being served during the month of October. Each passholder will get two free 10 ounce pours of their choice of, Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, or Yuengling.

Story 2: HUGE news this week as Disney announces it’s first ever Marvel themed attraction for a theme park at Hong Kong Disneyland. Some in the online community are a little upset because the new Iron Man themed attraction is set to look a lot like Star Tours. Even down to the Starspeeder like ride vehicle you ride in. I am not too upset by this. Chances are, I will never make it to Hong Kong, so the fact there is a duplicate ride system all the way across the globe at a theme park I may never even visit doesn’t bother me. It is nice to see Disney finally putting this massive franchise of characters to use! I am not holding my breath for anything Marvel here in Florida at WDW, but hopefully we can get some Marvel announcements for Disneyland in the next year.  But when you boil it down, Disney purchased Marvel to grow it’s appeal to the international market, and this move falls right in line with that strategy.

Story 3: Take a look at this article that is a great breakdown of the new Disney DAS system. I have some pretty strong feelings when it comes to this system and certain people who use it. If you want to hear my thoughts, give Episode 50 of the Wakefield Report Podcast a listen. I have some strong and controversial observations.

Story 4: Last week the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster at Universal Orlando malfunctioned and riders were stranded on the ride for almost 3 hours. What’s even worse, is that riders were stuck on the initial lift hill on the coaster. The lift hill faces straight up and as you are climbing, you are flat on your back. While no official cause for the malfunction has been released by Universal, it seems like a safety sensor was tripped and the emergency brakes were activated. Here in Florida, this was major breaking news and many local news affiliates were showing shots of the riders stuck on the coaster. While it cant be pleasant to be stuck on a coaster for three hours, I don’t think this was as big of a story as some people made it out to be. The real story seems to be the continuing issues this “young” roller coaster keeps having. Sooner or later, Universal is going to have to make a decision to keep this troubled attraction or to rip it down.    

Story 5:  A very strange rumor surfaced this week from a site reporting that Disney has been in talks with Warner Brothers and is very close to closing and announcing a deal that will bring the Lord of the Ring franchise to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I have almost zero faith in this rumor and really don’t see any sense behind it. WB already has an existing relationship with Universal Parks and I don’t see them splitting their brand and products across two different companies. Usually with rumors, we say to take it with a grain of salt. I would say take this rumor with an entire bucket of salt.

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Story 6: A new store is coming to Downtown Disney Orlando (soon to be Disney Springs) later this fall. The new Fit2Run store will be taking up space next to the Curl store on the Downtown Disney West Side. The store we feature first dibs on new releases of shoes and you can be sure to see special Disney inspired show designs make their way to the store. I am surprised a store like this hasn’t found its way to Disney yet. With all of the Run Disney events, you would think some company would have jumped on this by now.

Story 7: The famous ducks of the Peabody ( now the Hyatt Regency Orlando) are now gone. The five ducks used to make a ceremonial march across the Peabody lobby each morning and afternoon, but now that the hotel is operating under a new brand, the tradition has been canned and the ducks have been sent away to a special “retirement farm”. One good thing that can be taken from this is that now, when you check into your $400 a night room, you no longer have to wade through duck poo in the lobby to get to the elevator.

Story 8: Disney announced some new details about a new nighttime show at Animal Kingdom and they also announced a new nighttime safari for the park. The only concern about this is, I hope they really keep the new nighttime entertainment and don’t let it dwindle like much of the live entertainment at Disney World. I can easily see this Animal Kingdom nighttime entertainment being taken away slowly a year or so after it opens; much the way Streetmosphere has been cut in the parks to save money. When it comes to the new nighttime safari, I really hope they make an honest effort to properly light and display the animals. It is hard enough to see many animals on the safari during the day, so hopefully they make the nighttime offering worth while.

Story 9: In case you have been living under a rock the last few days, Disney made a big concept art reveal late last week. The new art that came out of the Tokyo D23 convention shows us some new details on the new Animal Kingdom Avatar themed land. I was really impressed by the concept art, but confused by the amount of sheer joy and elation some people expressed over the four pieces of concept art. In the end, the actual in park design and look does not match what we see in concept art. So why are so many people freaking out about the concept art? My only guess is that people are so hungry for anything new, when they get something they go overboard. As Eddie Murphy once said, “If you are starving, and I give you a cracker….”

Enjoy Episode 50 of the Wakefield Report Podcast!

Direct Link

 

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.  ;-)

 

About Chris Wakefield

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]

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  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    Chris, looking forward to seeing you at the MiceChat Sip and Nibble on Friday. Come join us everyone!

    I’ve got to agree with you on the DAS Chris. Disney has bent over backward to create a new program (with the blessing of disabled advocates) which eliminates much of the abuse and still addresses the needs of the average disabled person. The program also allows for special consideration as necessary to address the needs of specific individuals who might need extra assistance.

    Unfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous folks who are SO upset that they are losing their unlimited front of line access that they are drowning out the reasonable voices. But all you really have to do is listen to these folks to know that they are simply unwilling to give the new program a try and that in most cases DAS will meet their needs or they will be granted the additional access they require if they just let Guest Relations do their job.

    As the uncle of a Downs Syndrome youth, I understand the concerns. He doesn’t understand waiting in lines. When he points at a ride, we ride it. Doing otherwise will result in a meltdown. DAS will be a transition and there will no doubt be some uncomfortable moments, but this isn’t the end of the world. In fact, with all the cheaters now removed from the system, it should be easier than ever to access the attractions.