Welcome to the blooloop briefing; a roundup of attractions news from the last seven days.
In the news this week – Disney Q2 revenue and profits up as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge sells out in 2 hours; Wanda announces new theme park investments and China’s first smart mall; Hamilton gets and exhibition; KidZania comes to the US and My Little Pony heads to the water park.
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For a quick run through the week’s most eye catching stories see our briefing video:
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Disney and Galaxy’s Edge
Disney has reported earnings for Q2, and its theme parks are thriving ahead of the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Parks, experiences and products revenues for increased 5 percent to $6.2bn and segment operating income increased 15 percent to $1.5bn, thanks mainly to increased ticket prices.
Reservations for Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge were all snapped up in under two hours. As all available slots have been taken, guests who want to visit will need to book a room in one of three hotels at the resort.
Museums and exhibits
Hamilton: The Exhibition has opened in Chicago, with interactive visuals, games and sets, providing an in-depth look at the history behind the musical. The attraction is set in a specially constructed 35,000-square-foot structure.
A new $71m art museum development at Penn State is moving forward. Phases two and three include STEM and STEAM museums.
Plans have been announced for a multi-million euro rejuvenation of Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, which would include Ireland’s first ever 4D 270 degree visitor experience. The attraction will transport visitors through the ages in a sensory and immersive experience.
China is working to build smart museums with the latest technology, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, immersion display and smart guidance.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is launching a flagship store on Alibaba’s Tmall, with more than 50 products. The Met’s move to Tmall taps into the growing demand for merchandise and souvenirs from the Chinese market.
Aquaventure at Atlantis the Palm is set to become the world’s largest water park, with plans to expand the attraction – which is already 170,000 square metres – by 30 percent in 2020. Work on a huge expansion will begin over the coming 18 months.
Grupo Vidanta has announced Jungala, a luxury water park opening in Riviera Maya this summer. Jungala will feature an immersive and exclusive experience with state-of-the-art rides, VIP cabanas, restaurants, and a lazy river – one of the longest in Latin America.
The world’s first Hasbro-themed water park is coming to the Malaysia Tourism City development in Kuala Linggi, Melaka. The attraction will feature licensed IPs such as My Little Pony, Nerf and GI Joe, and is due to open in 2022.
Emaar and P&O Marinas are launching ‘Mina Rashid’, a Riviera-style coastal destination in Dubai. The AED 25bn ($6.8bn) project will include an elite waterfront retail, dining and leisure destination, as well as art galleries, a theatre and a museum.
Wanda Group and Tencent Holdings have built China’s first smart shopping mall, with holographic ads, advanced payment technologies, and a virtual reality gaming zone.
Wanda is also investing 20bn yuan ($2.94bn) in a cultural tourism project, which will include theme parks, in China’s Chaozhou.
Mexican company KidZania is coming to the US. KidZania USA’s first location will open at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco, Texas in fall 2019. Locations will open in Chicago and New York in 2020 and Los Angeles in 2021.
Mattel will be creating interactive family entertainment centres featuring Barbie, Hot Wheels and Mega Construx. The first Mattel-branded indoor attraction will open in Toronto in spring 2020, with additional global locations to be confirmed.
Parks and rides
ICON Park has announced two new record-breaking attractions – the world’s tallest drop tower and the world’s largest slingshot. The Orlando Slingshot will be 300 feet tall, while the Orlando Gyro Drop Tower will be 400 feet tall.
There will be free beer at SeaWorld Orlando all summer, after the event proved successful last year. Starting May 25 until September 2, guests aged 21 years and older can pick up one free beer per day.
A review of European theme park attendance for 2018 reveals a steady year. Great weather, annual passes and popular IPs all had an impact.