Disneyland ride operator Mark Diwas is one of the few people —both real and fictional — who can say they’ve flown the Millennium Falcon, the iconic starship from the “Star Wars” films that will be a marquee attraction in the Anaheim theme park’s new Galaxy’s Edge themed land.
“If you think about it, it’s only been Han Solo, Chewie, Lando, Rey and now me,” said Diwas, 36, of Fullerton. “So that’s pretty cool to say right now until we open and then everybody is going to be able to fly.”
The Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run flight simulator coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will put riders in the cockpit of the fastest ship in the galaxy as they battle Imperial TIE fighters during a mission to bring back a pile of loot for a vengeful space pirate. The new themed land will be set in the Black Spire Outpost on the remote planet of Batuu, located on the outer rim of the Star Wars galaxy.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg has announced their newest ride and its opening date.
In a video on Facebook, the theme park announced Finnegan's Flyer, that will make you SCREAM.
The ride will open on May 3.
The extreme swing, Finnegan's Flyer, will be featured in their Ireland village adjacent to the Loch Ness Monster roller coaster.
WEST MIFFLIN, PA
Just as it opens for another fun season for kids and adults alike, Kennywood has just been designated a Certified Autism Center.
“It’s our mission to provide the finest in family fun and entertainment for everyone,” says Kennywood’s Nick Paradise.
And that includes more than 3.5 million Americans who are on the autism spectrum, Paradise told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
“This is just a big step forward to better serve a community that maybe has not been served as well as they could have been in the past.”
The autism-friendly certification comes from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards or IBCCES.
“What it means to be a Certified Autism Center is that 80 percent or more of the guest-facing staff at the park have been trained and certified through us,” noted Meredith Tekin, president of the IBCCES.
“We’re also doing an on-site review at Kennywood so we’ll be providing some additional information and recommendation on how they can be more accommodating and welcoming.”
KDKA money editor Jon Delano face-timed with Tekin in Arizona, and she said autistic children have a wide range of sensory disorders — like sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell — that an amusement park can impact.
ix Flags is now offering a new model of theme park to international developers.
The new design concept, which Six Flags is calling "Thrillseeker," fills a gap between family entertainment centers and full-sized theme or amusement parks. Planned for sites between 37 to 75 acres, Six Flags says that the park is designed to accommodate between 750,000 to 1.5 million visitors a year.
For context, Six Flags' most popular theme park, Six Flags Magic Mountain, drew neatly 3.4 million visitors in 2017, the latest year for which numbers are available from the TEA/AECOM Theme Index report. (By the way, sources inside the TEA say that the 2018 report is on the way and should drop soon.)
Six Flags is expanding rapidly in China, thanks to local development partners who are licensing Six Flags' brand and park plans. In addition to the traditional Six Flags theme and water park concepts, the company has developed two additional park concepts for the Chinese market: Six Flags Kids World (or Kidz Park) and Six Flags Adventure Park, which features action sports attractions including rock climbing, motocross, and zip lines.
BUENA PARK, CA
Sasquatch never made an appearance during the 32-year run of BigFoot Rapids at Knott’s Berry Farm, but the legendary folklore beast will take up permanent residence along the rushing river this summer when the renovated water ride becomes Calico River Rapids.
“Living in the foothills of the Sequoias as a child, I was both intrigued and terrified by the Sasquatch legend,” said Knott’s vice president of entertainment Ken Parks. “As a kid, I was extremely disappointed that an attraction called BigFoot Rapids, which had Big Foot as its main focus, did not include an encounter with the creature. We’ve righted that wrong.”
An extensive renovation of the 1987 BigFoot Rapids at the Buena Park theme park debuting this summer will transform the river rapids water ride into an animated attraction with nine thematic scenes and more than 20 animatronic figures.
The new look, aesthetic and design of the reimagined Knott’s ride was inspired by legendary Disney Imagineer Marc Davis, according to Parks.
“Marc Davis was such an inspiration that I wanted to include a few nods,” Parks said in an email interview. “These are new scenes, but their sense of tone is definitely an homage to Mr. Davis.”
A sure sign of summer is just around the corner: It's almost time for Kentucky Kingdom to reopen!
This year's season features a brand-new roller coaster -- the Kentucky Flyer.
The park's sixth roller coaster reaches 47 feet high and speeds of 35 mph. Park officials said it's suitable for kids as young as 4 years old, so it's fun for the whole family.
The cars are shaped like planes.
The video below shows both a virtual and aerial view of the Kentucky Flyer:
SAN ANTONIO, TX
Right on the heels of Taumata Racer installed in 2018, Aquatica, SeaWorld San Antonio’s water park, has introduced Ihu’s Breakaway Falls. Debuting March 9 in time for the city’s spring break, the attraction not only boasts being the first new waterslide to open in an outdoor water park for 2019 but has the claim of being the tallest drop slide in the state.
Supplied by ProSlide Technologies, the eight-story tower features two drop capsules and a plummet slide.
The drop capsule concept has proven popular not only throughout the state, but also the country as one of the most sought-after attractions in the past decade. This style of attraction has been introduced at other SeaWorld Entertainment properties in past years.
On May 7, 2015, Nintendo and Universal announced a partnership to “bring the world of Nintendo to life at Universal theme parks.”
18 months later, the two companies confirmed Nintendo-themed attractions would be built in Universal’s parks in Japan, Hollywood and Orlando.
“The goal of everyone on this project is clear: to bring the characters, action and adventure of Nintendo video games to life within Universal theme parks,” the November 2016 announcement said, “and to do so in new and innovative ways that capture what makes them so special.”
Fast forward to 2019, and Super Nintendo World is indeed under construction at Universal Studios Japan. U.S. fans, however, are still waiting for any sign that the likes of Mario or Donkey Kong will be coming to its Universal parks anytime soon — while Universal Studios Singapore is now confirmed to be getting Nintendo attractions by 2025 as part of a $3.3 billion expansion.
Imagine yourself transported back to Ancient Rome where a ruthless emperor reigns and gladiatorial games are put on for bloody entertainment. Add in bloodthirsty creatures and you’ll find yourself in the middle of Nightingales: Blood Pit – an all-new haunted house at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights.
Here’s what you need to know about the next chapter in this fan-favorite original storyline of the nightingales.
StoryAncient Rome is suffering its worst drought in centuries. The ruthless emperor has declared the gladiatorial games to continue nonstop until the rains return. The gruesome bloodshed of the games is horrifying enough, but then come the creatures.
The NightingalesAs the blood soaks into the earth, the nightingales feed on the dead and dying. The nightingales are a grisly race of creatures that have been here since the dawn of time. You may think you’re familiar with their past feeding frenzies, but you haven’t seen them like this. You’ll try to survive alongside the gladiators as the ravenous nightingales tear into their victims and notice that fresh blood has come into their midst…
Yoda is going to Disney World.
Frank Oz will reprising his role as the wizened green Jedi at the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction opening this year at Disney’s theme parks.
The Imagineers who have been designing the world made this and other revelations at the Star Wars Celebration fan gathering today in Chicago.
Josh Gad — who introduced himself as someone you know “from movies” — moderated the presentation, providing a new glimpse inside the closed barriers of the hottest ticket in the galaxy.
“Not every character that we hear is a character we can see,” said Scott Trowbridge, the Imagineering creative executive in charge of Galaxy’s Edge. “Sometimes those voices come to us from…”
“Maybe the Force?” said Imagineering creative director Chris Beatty. “The force is a very mysterious thing and sometimes maybe Jedi from the past can visit us and be part of your experience. Maybe a small, green Jedi …”
“… Darth Maul?” Gad joked.