It’s an exciting day here at The Most Magical Place on Earth — Walt Disney World! For those who I haven’t met yet, my name is Jason—and I have the incredible honor of leading the team at Magic Kingdom Park, a place I hold very near and dear to my heart.
One of my favorite parts about my job is leading such passionate cast members…and just this morning, we had the opportunity to exclusively share with them the news that our park’s iconic, awe-inspiring centerpiece—Cinderella Castle—is about to get even more magical.
Cinderella first transformed into a princess 70 years ago this week when the animated classic was released—and ever since, her courage and kindness have been inspiring guests and cast members alike. We are excited to share that her story has inspired a bold, shimmering and royal makeover of her namesake castle at the heart of Walt Disney World Resort.
Take a look at this concept image of what the newly-enhanced Cinderella Castle will look like when work is completed:
You may notice this exciting work taking place as these stunning enhancements begin in the coming weeks, continuing through summer. But don’t worry! We’ll still get to catch all of our castle favorites like “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” and “Happily Ever After.”
I can’t wait to bring you along on the journey for this royal makeover of our park’s iconic centerpiece. When you visit, be sure to share your excitement with our cast members—they can’t wait to see the shimmering towers shining down on the kingdom each and every morning!
In addition to the Super Nintendo World land we know will open as part of the upcoming Universal’s Epic Universe, there are rumors going around that work has recently started on something in Orlando for another Nintendo property… Pokémon.
While there aren’t many details at this time, I have heard murmurs about something being designed that will be based on the Pokémon property, including the possibility of a Pokémon Gym being designed. It’s still too early to know for sure what that means, but let’s dive into some speculation on where—and when—we might see something related to Pokémon show up in Orlando.
I have spoken about the expansion land beside Super Nintendo World at Epic Universe being earmarked for additional Nintendo attractions, and Pokémon was definitely at the top of the shortlist, but, is it really that likely that they are ALREADY working on an expansion land when they have so many other things to do first for the new park?
Another theory is that the building marked “Unknown” on the concept art image above could be a Pokémon Gym, and it could possibly be ready on opening day, along with the rest of the park. That way, Pokémon already has a presence in the park from the start. Maybe they could offer some type of interactive experience? Heck, maybe the reason it is facing the hub is so you can pick up (purchase) your Pokémon hunting kit with a Pokedex and search around the hub, or even the entire park, to find Pokémon hiding in the windows, etc… That might just be wishful thinking on my part though.
Another possibility is that work may already be underway for those rumored plans of a Pokémon land replacing KidsZone at Universal Studios Florida. We thought those plans were canceled last year, but perhaps they were just postponing them for a bit so they could catch up on other projects?
And one more theory I want to throw out there, and this is a weird one, but what if this has something to do with the closing down of four stores and combining them into one parcel at Universal CityWalk? Could an interactive Pokémon Gym, (along with more Nintendo merchandise,) be a possible addition to CityWalk?
While most of the folks I have spoken with assume the work being done now likely has something to do with Epic Universe, I can’t help but wonder if bringing something related to Nintendo into CityWalk could be a way to utilize the property in some way between now and the opening of the new park. Why wait three years when we could see something open in just a matter of months? Even if it was just a small Nintendo themed store in Universal CityWalk, with a Pokémon gym themed section and a couple Pokémon character figure photo ops, it might be worth doing. But hey, that’s just a guess.
What do you think? Do you think the KidsZone plans are back on the table? Or that work is already starting for something related to Pokémon at the new park? Or do you have a different theory? Leave your thoughts below, and stay tuned for more rumors and news for Super Nintendo World in Orlando as it happens. Check out our recent posts for more information on the permits and site plans released for Super Nintendo World and How to Train Your Dragon land at Epic Universe.
Universal’s Epic Universe is a new theme park being built in Orlando, located a couple miles south of the current Universal Orlando Resort. It’s expected to be made up of four themed lands, as well as a large central hub which will contain attractions of its own.
One of the new park’s themed lands will be based on the DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon film series. Thanks to some recently filed permits we’re learning more about the World of Dragons land at Epic Universe, including some of the layouts for the new land’s proposed attractions.
The site plan images below, which were obtained by Orlando ParkStop through a records request, appear to show the proposed layout for the How to Train Your Dragon land at Universal’s Epic Universe. This land will be located in the south-east corner of the park. (For reference, that is similar to where Tomorrowland is located in relation the hub at Magic Kingdom.)
Looking closer at the site plan we see several attractions that stand out, most notably the large roller coaster that encircles a large section at the north side of the area. Two large show buildings for what will likely be indoor attractions can also be spotted in the plans, as well as a boat ride, a flat ride, and an outdoor play area. (You can click on the image below for a higher resolution version.)
While we do not know yet what type of roller coaster it will be, we can see that this new thrill ride will take guests through some of the land, and pass through three small inside sections. The track appears to split into two tracks directly before and after the load station, which may mean it will have a dual track load/unload area. What looks to be a maintenance building can also be seen, (labeled as B1827M in the site plan). This structure can be seen below the coaster area, and appears to have a track switch that can be used to add or remove trains from the ride.
If we compare the site plans to the officially released concept art for Epic Universe, we can see that the structure for the inside coaster section directly behind the play area appears to be themed as a cliff-face, with rolling hills and rockwork. This may offer a nice backdrop to this section of the land while also blocking views of the neighboring attraction behind it. It is unknown whether there will be any scenes or theming within these interior coaster sections, like what can be found on the highly themed Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
Located within the roller coaster track layout are what appears to be a pair of Gerstlauer Sky Fly rides. These strange contraptions have riders strapped into a collection of flying seats on one end of a spinning pendulum. As the ride rotates around, the individual riders have the ability to control how much their own ride vehicle spins. This means that the level of intensity for your ride is completely up to you. There appear to be two Sky Fly rides visible in the site plan, located side by side, to double the attraction’s capacity.
Located lower on the site plan is what many have speculated may be a Mack Splash Battle interactive boat ride. The track layout for this boat ride can be seen highlighted in blue on the image above. If this is a Splash Battle attraction, riders could use onboard water cannons to spray at various targets throughout the ride, and maybe even other boats as they pass. Guests not on the ride may be able to fire water cannons at the boats and the boat passengers can fire back.
The largest building in the site plan is located in the southern-most part of the land. It is rumored that this building will be split, with the the right-half utilized for some type of stage show. It is unknown at this time what type of show it would be, but a live-action show utilizing massive puppets and special effects, similar to the style of the touring How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular show, would fit perfectly in this land.
The left-half of the large theater building may be utilized for Team Member areas, including space required to house large dragon puppets and costumes for both the show and possibly neighboring meet and greets. Perhaps characters like Hiccup and Toothless could meet with guests in an area near the theater’s exit? There appears to be a short queue that leads to a smaller structure with easy backstage access near the theater building that could be used for this purpose.
One last large structure can be found in the center of the land’s site plans. It’s not yet known what this structure will house, but rumors for flying simulator ride at this land have been around for awhile. A ride where you could ride on the back of a dragon fits for the world of the How to Train Your Dragon films. This structure may be too small for a dark ride, but tall enough to be a flying theater attraction.
Universal did patent technology for a new type of flying theater attraction, lending credibility to the rumor. The patents call for a screen to be located below the riders, as well as in front of them. This would simulate what it is like to go paragliding, where your view is focused on what is below you, as well as in front of you. The patents show several different methods to accomplish this, and some of the diagrams even seem to include what could be a dragon-like seat.
Of course, it’s probably too early to know for sure what this large structure will contain. The site plans just aren’t specific enough to discern its exact purpose at this time. If it isn’t another attraction, that would still leave the roller coaster and stage show as the main rides in this land, with the boat ride and Sky Ride as additional attractions.
In case there were any doubts about this section of the new theme park being themed to How to Train Your Dragon, the site plans also include themed elements sprinkled throughout. Viking and dragon statues can be seen in the water as you first enter the land, dragon gliders and other sculptures can be found in a few areas, and the play area appears to contain dragon footprints along the pathways between viking ships that kids can explore.
The land looks to be themed as the isle of Berk from the How to Train Your Dragon film series, but set in a very specific time from the series. The two statues guests will see as they enter the land appear to be of a viking and a dragon, just like the ones seen at the beginning of the third film. Areas of the land appear to be themed as cliffs and other structures reminiscent of the village of Berk from the films. (It does not appear to be based on “New Berk” as seen at the end of the third film.)
These site plans for the How to Train Your Dragon land are the second set of permits we have seen for the new theme park. Last month we got our first look at the site plans for Super Nintendo World, which will be located on the south-west area of the park. In the image above we can see how both lands will be situated within Epic Universe.
Universal’s Epic Universe is expected to open sometime in 2023. Stay tuned to the site for continuing coverage of the new park. Hopefully we’ll get our first look at the Universal Classic Monsters and Fantastic Beasts areas of the park next, as well as attractions for the central hub, which will include a massive dueling roller coaster. Enter your email address below to never miss an update, and see our full list of Epic Universe related articles here.
Article written by Alicia Stella of Orlando Park Stop
Super Nintendo World will be opening mid-2020 at Universal Studios Japan, just about a half year from now, and we still haven’t gotten any new official information about the new land’s flagship attraction since the groundbreaking ceremony a few years back.
The Mario Kart ride will be the only attraction that will be found at every version of Super Nintendo World, including Japan, Hollywood, Orlando, and Singapore. Let’s go over the rumored ride track layout and scene descriptions for this new state-of-the-art attraction. Plus, we’ll discuss some of the rumored technology behind Mario Kart. Check out the the video version of this article below for additional visuals.
Opening by the summer of 2020 in Japan, and already under construction in Hollywood, the Mario Kart ride is being touted as “the most immersive and cutting edge technological attraction” Universal has ever created.
This ride will feature two tracks that run side by side, so it’ll feel like you’re racing the other car. It is said to be a bus bar dark ride, meaning the ride vehicle cars will get their power from the track itself. A bus bar ride system is one of the most popular types of indoor ride systems. Classic Fantasyland-style dark rides like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride utilize variations of a bus bar system. The version for Mario Kart may be a more robust variation, but it is expected to still utilize a track, so this is not expected to be a trackless ride
Riders will pass through several different settings during the ride, all based on racetracks from the video game series, including popular or recurring tracks like Rainbow Road. Along the way it is rumored that Nintendo characters in other cars will drive up beside you. The ride will focus heavily on real sets and physical characters to tell the story, only utilizing screen-type elements for backgrounds, effects, or transitional tunnels between scenes.
Mario Kart Show Building and Queue
The exterior facade for the Mario Kart ride will be themed like Bowser’s Castle. The entrance to the ride will be located on the second level of the two-level land. A gift shop will be located to the right of the main entrance, themed like a mechanic’s shop, featuring Mario carrying a tire on the sign in the concept art. This will likely also be the exit for the attraction.
Once you enter the queue, you will be inside a large castle hall with a stairwell that branches in a few directions. There will be the main standby line, an Express line, and (hopefully) a single rider line. All of the queue is located on the second level of the building, leaving the entire lower level for the ride. As we walk through the queue, we’ll pass through different areas of Bowser’s Castle, including a portrait gallery, library, courtyard, and more.
Later in the queue we will encounter a training area with trophy displays. This colorful area will likely be set apart from the darker Bowser Castle zones and will give us a chance to learn the various skills we will need for the ride, including how to put on and use the rumored augmented reality goggles.
As we near the end of the queue, we start to make our way downstairs, into the dungeon of Bowser’s Castle. The load area is split into two sides. The setup here will be similar to coming down the stairs at Men in Black: Alien Attack at Universal Studios Florida. Each of the two sides will have space for 4 karts to be parked and ready to load. And each car will hold 4 passengers, two in the front and two in the back. Once we’re loaded into our kart, it’s time to start the race
Mario Kart’s Upcoming Debut
The Mario Kart ride should be a fun, good old-fashioned dark ride, but with a technological twist! Of course, some of these details are based on early information and rumors, and things could change by the time the ride opens next year in Japan, and then Hollywood the following year, and in Orlando at Universal’s Epic Universe by 2023. Plans were just recently filed for the land in Orlando, so construction should start soon on the new park.
Hopefully we’ll get more official details on Super Nintendo World as we get closer to the grand opening in Japan. Don’t miss our previous story all about the Yoshi family ride for the land. Check out the video version of this article for even more visuals! Be sure to subscribe here so you never miss an update on Super Nintendo World and Universal’s Epic Universe.
Article written by Alicia Stella of Orlando Park Stop
Super Nintendo World is a highly themed land coming to Universal theme parks around the world, including Japan, Hollywood, Orlando, and Singapore. Every iteration of the land will contain the Mario Kart ride, and most will also contain one or more additional rides — as well as immersive dining locations, interactive play areas, and of course, gift shops.
One of those additional attractions to be featured at most of the Super Nintendo World lands will be the Yoshi’s Adventure omnimover ride. This family attraction will allow you to ride on a Yoshi, for your own adventure through the Mushroom Kingdom. Today we’re going to take a closer look at the track layout, character animatronics, and more, for this upcoming new ride.
The Yoshi Ride System
The Yoshi ride will be an omnimover style attraction, meaning the ride vehicles will always be moving, in a long continuous loop, around the track. Although, unlike most Disney omnimovers, the ride vehicles will not rotate to point you in different directions, (meaning it’s not technically an omnimover, more like a continuous ride belt system, but I digress).
There will be more than 40 ride vehicles on the track at a time, with more than a dozen at the load/unload platform alone. The load/unload platform will be a turntable style, similar to the load area for Spaceship Earth at Epcot. Guests will load and unload on a moving walkway that is rotating at the same speed as the ride vehicles.
As you can see in the leaked model photograph above, the ride vehicles will be shaped like Yoshi, and they will be in various colors. Each ride vehicle will hold two passengers — and yes it can be two adults, (not just a child and adult as it is with some rides like Pteranodon Flyers).
While I often refer to this attraction as a ride where you can ride on a Yoshi, the reality is you will actually be seated inside the ride vehicle. The seating arrangement will be similar to rides like Dumbo the Flying Elephant at Magic Kingdom. You will not be straddling Yoshi like you would ride on a carousel horse.
The Yoshi Show Building
The Yoshi ride entrance will be located on the lower level of the two-level Super Nintendo World. It will be visible directly across from the land’s main entrance, where guests will exit Peach’s Castle into the land. The ride entry is through a round golden pipe opening, at the base of a large multi-level mountain of sorts. At the very top of this mountain will be the flagpole, just like we have seen in the commercial for Japan.
Above the ride entrance we’ll be able to see the Yoshi ride vehicles exit through an opening and travel along an outside bridge, heading to our right. This will add some dynamic energy to the land. Also, characters, spinning coins, moving clouds, and a Spiny Thwomp will be seen above the entry, all with their own movement as well. (Surprisingly, most of this is present in the official piece of concept art originally released for Japan, and for Singapore recently.)
Entering the queue, we will see gardens and trees as we wind our way around the switchbacks. In the center of the queue will be a large tree and tree house. Near the end of our waiting we enter the tree house through a door at the base of the trunk. We wind our way upstairs to the upper level (or take the elevator). At the top of the stairs is the moving load platform, in a circle, and we’re ready to start our ride
The Yoshi Ride Experience
Once seated in our Yoshi, which is always moving along the track at the same rate of speed, we head out of the load area, and outside onto the bridge we saw earlier. To our right we can get a great view of Peach’s Castle and other areas across the Mushroom Kingdom courtyard. On our left we can see hints of a massive show scene that we’ll experience later on the ride, along with other ride vehicles heading back into unload.
As the bridge comes to an end, we’ll encounter the Conkdor, who is repeatedly banging its beak down in front of us. After narrowly missing being conked on the head, we continue on through a lightly themed early scene. That’s when we enter a green warp pipe, bringing us to the only truly enclosed scene on the ride. I’m still not sure what will be in this scene, but see the long list of characters and set pieces that will be on the entire ride below to get an idea.
We exit the inside scene through another green warp pipe. Now we’re outside again, but with the bridge and many large set pieces blocking our view, we can now barely see the Mushroom Kingdom courtyard area. We enter a massive show scene, filled with dozens of characters, bad guys, and iconic objects from all Mario and Yoshi games. Moving clouds can be seen set against a false sky backdrop on our right. Towers of Goombas and Pokey rise into the sky. It will be epic.
We round a corner and head towards one last Piranha Plant that is trying to eat us, before turning back into the load/unload station. After disembarking, we’re sent back down to the lower level and exit through a gift shop located directly under that Piranha Plant.
There’s a lot we still do not know about the attraction, and there’s even rumors of some level of interactivity on the ride. Maybe there will be a way to collect eggs along the way, or even trigger a lever to make your Yoshi “eat” some of the bad guys. We’ll just have to wait and see about that though.
Familiar Things Along the Way
There will be over 40 different animatronics, moving figures and animated objects, both on the Yoshi ride and above the show building. These will be things we recognize from various Mario and Yoshi games that span over three decades of releases. Here are just some of the rumored characters and items that may be included.
Character and Foes: • Baby Yoshis • Baby Mario • Baby Peach • Kamek • Conkdor • Poochy • Piranha Plants • Goombas and Goomba Tower • Koopa Troopas and Paratrooper • Shy Guy and Fly Guys • Spiny • Bullet Bill • Pokey • Thwomps • and more!Objects: • Gold Coins • Brick Blocks • ? Blocks • POW Block • Red Mushroom • Green Mushroom • Fire Flower • Koopa Shells • Fruit Trees • Moving Clouds • and much more!
Where Will We Find the Yoshi Ride?
Currently, we know for certain the Yoshi ride will be coming to Super Nintendo World in Japan when it opens next year. As you can see from the Terraserver satellite image above from last year, the omnimover track has been constructed in Japan. The track is green in the image, and the load/unload turntable area is yellow. At the time when this image was taken, the bridge structure had not been built yet, so that piece of track is absent.
Yoshi was in the plans when they were originally going to build Super Nintendo World in the KidsZone area of Universal Studios Florida, but with even more land available in the new theme park being developed nearby (Epic Universe,) this ride is certainly still a lock for Orlando. Singapore recently announced they were getting their own Nintendo World, and revealed the same concept art as Japan, so it can be assumed they will be getting it as well.
The only version of Super Nintendo World that is not expected to receive a Yoshi ride will be Hollywood. They will have the smallest amount of land to work with. However, in exchange for not receiving Yoshi, Universal Studios Hollywood is opening “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash” next year. The ride system for that ride is expected to be the same as the Yoshi ride.
Stay tuned for continuing updates on Super Nintendo World. Subscribe to the news feed or enter your email below to never miss an update. Layout Images: Alicia Stella / Official Images: Universal / Leaked Images: UUOPodcast
Article written by Alicia Stella of Orlando Park stop
Disney SpringsWest Side is bustling with energy and excitement lately! In August we opened the incredibleNBA Experienceand shared more details about the newCirque du Soleil show(slated to premiere on April 17, 2020)—and soon-to-comeBeatrixneighborhood restaurant. Today I’m excited to share breaking news on a new shopping destination adding some colorful fun to the mix.
M&M’S Orlando store will be making a sweet addition to our unparalleled mix of shopping at Disney Springs. The new state-of-the-art store will offer an immersive experience that combines the colorful fun that fans of the M&M’S brand enjoy with lasting memories. “Guests will be fully immersed into an interactive chocolate experience that will create more moments and more smiles through the colorful fun of M&M’S,” said Patrick McIntyre, director of global retail at Mars Retail Group.
The new store is set to open in 2020 near the NBA Experience and of course will be filled with your favorite chocolate candies. (Peanut M&M’s are one of my favorite indulgences!) Keep an eye out for more details about the M&M’S Orlando store
The chase is on! In Spring 2020,The Bourne Stuntacular, an all-new live-action stunt show, will debut atUniversal Studios Florida. Based on Universal Pictures’ blockbusterBournefilm franchise, this cutting-edge, edge-of-your-seat live show will blur the lines between stage and cinema in a hybrid form of entertainment that has never been seen before.
The Bourne Stuntacular will follow Jason Bourne around the globe as sinister characters pursue him. This action-packed show will feature thrilling chase scenes, punishing fistfights, death-defying leaps and danger at every turn.
And it will all happen right in front of you with live performers, interactive props and an immense LED screen – making it impossible to determine where the live-action ends and the screen begins.
You won’t just watch it – you’ll feel it.
Stay tuned to our blog and social channels as more details about the exhilarating new live show will be revealed in the coming months. Sign up for emails to be notified when new details are revealed.
Yes friends, ever since Terminator 2: 3D closed in 2017, Unofficial Theme Park Newshas predicted a Bourne Identity stunt show to take it’s place. Now we know the name: The Bourne Stuntacular. Now that it has been development and even rehearsals have started, it seems that Universal Orlando has decided to put all the information out there! Great job, guys! Except they didn’t. You see, yet again this information appeared on the Universal Orlando’s website for a few minutes this morning. Then it vanished. This isfar from the first time this happened. It won’t be the last. Keep in mind, if you visit the officialUniversal Orlando facebook page, orTwitter account, you’ll see no official mention of the Bourne Spectacular as of the writing of this article. I’m sure a statement will be forthcoming. Tip of the hat toOrlando Informerfor catching this information.
Looking for some shots of the cast rehearsing for the show? Are you looking forward to the Bourne Spectacular?
Make sure to follow Unofficial Theme Park News, on Twitter, subscribe to YouTube and like our Facebook page!
Disney Cruise Linehas just shared a new video highlighting everything they’ve unveiled so far about the newDisney Wish, including why they chose its name, what the inspiration was for the grand atrium’s design, and which cherished Disney character will adorn the ship’s stern.
This new ship will be powered by liquified natural gas, with more innovation, new technology, and enterainment. It’s also promised that there will be more Disney stories and characters than ever before.