Universal patents hint at possible Harry Potter 'Floo Network' ride, movable puzzle theaters
A pair of patents from Universal Orlando Resort's sister entity, Universal City Studios, may hint at what's next for the theme park's Harry Potter attractions. The two patents, dubbed "vehicle transportation room system and method" and "system and method for a moving puzzle theater," both show technologies that could be used to bring more elements of the Harry Potter world to life. That may happen since rumor has it Universal will replace the existing Dragon Challenge coaster at Islands of Adventure with a new Harry Potter attraction— with land to spare as the coaster took up a substantial portion just for clearance /safety space.
Most intriguing is the patent of the vehicle transportation system that talks about using a retractable "launch room" that would cover ride cars on multiple sides with walls. "The launch room vehicle may include one or more show elements, such as displays, animatronic characters, speakers, fog machines, strobe lights or the like configured to operate in sync with each other and the movement of the launch room vehicle and/or ride vehicle," said the patent, noting the launch room would move alongside the ride car to keep guests in the experience.
A virtual reality attraction unlike any other is coming to Busch Gardens Williamsburg in the spring of 2018. Utilizing virtual reality headsets and the state-of-the-art motion simulator located on the former site of Europe in the Air, the yet-to-be-named attraction will be the first of its kind in North America. With this marriage of technology, Busch Gardens will be able to take riders through a portal into a hidden world of mythical characters, set against an Irish theme.
“We’re going to take you places that you never thought possible,” said Busch Gardens Vice President of Engineering Larry Giles. “Nowhere else has this ever been done.”
Busch Gardens disclosed plans for the ride during a presentation at Pass Member Preview Day today. Pass members in attendance helped announce the park’s plans during a card reveal that displayed a “Virtual Reality 2018” logo.
“This new virtual reality attraction will dramatically transform the capabilities of our motion simulator and deliver a truly unique experience,” Busch Gardens President David Cromwell said. “We will create an immersive environment that all families can enjoy.”
Busch Gardens also announced an official opening date of April 7 for InvadR™, its new wooden roller coaster featuring a 74-foot drop, nine air-time hills and a top speed of 48 miles per hour.
While InvadR is Busch Gardens’ first wooden roller coaster, it’s the park’s eighth roller coaster overall.
Halloween and horror music legends Midnight Syndicate will bring their critically-acclaimed concert experience, Midnight Syndicate Live!, back to the world famous amusement park, Cedar Point this fall. The horror-themed multimedia concerts blending live music, theatre, and film will run Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays from September 15 through October 29 in the Jack Aldrich Theater at Cedar Point's 21st annual HalloWeekends event.
“We’ve developed a new, even better show that we can’t wait to unleash on audiences,” said MidnightSyndicate’s Edward Douglas. “Our new venue, the Jack Aldrich Theater, is a perfect fit for what we want to do. It will allow us to create an intimate and thrilling experience that guests won’t soon forget.”
“Working with Cedar Point in 2014 was a great experience across the board, so to be able to team up with them again, especially as a part of Midnight Syndicate’s 20th anniversary celebration, is perfect,” added Gavin Goszka.
“We’re excited that Midnight Syndicate is bringing their live and immersive stage show back to Cedar Point this fall,” said Charles Bradshaw, V.P. of Live Entertainment at Cedar Point. “Fans of their mesmerizing music loved their previous run at HalloWeekends – and they’re going to love this latest production.”
For the new show, Midnight Syndicate will once again be calling upon special effects legend Robert Kurtzman (From Dusk Till Dawn, KNB EFX) and his Creature Corps, David “House” Greathouse (Faceoff, Mushroomhead), Beki Ingram (Faceoff), director Gary Jones (Army of Darkness, Axe Giant), 529 Films, EFX-TEK, artist Mark Rakocy, and Screamline Studios.
Silver Dollar City confirms 'single biggest thing ever done' is under construction
Silver Dollar City's newest, secret attraction might be called "Time Traveler." Or "Top Dog." Or something completely different. Aerial photographs taken by the News-Leader on Feb. 15 reveal a vast construction site adjacent to a Silver Dollar City amphitheater, complete with concrete footings and a large scaffolding structure.
A spokeswoman for the Branson-area theme park, Lisa Rau, was not ready to reveal many details about Silver Dollar City's latest attraction — unconfirmed reports of which have been fluttering around roller-coaster enthusiast blogs and on social media in recent weeks.
"It certainly is a ride," Rau told the News-Leader. "However, the make, the style, the attributes, the name — none of that anybody knows, except a secret vault of people." Since February 2016, Silver Dollar City's parent company, Herschend Family Entertainment Company LLC, has filed for federal trademarks including "Time Traveler," "Top Dog" and "Barke." In filed documents, the company has described the trademarks with legal language including "amusement park and theme park services" and "entertainment services in the nature of an amusement park ride, namely, a roller coaster," among many other terms.