Theme park news: dungeons, pirates, and The Force returns

This week’s theme park news includes a new Dungeon attraction at Alton Towers, Santa’s Merry Marketplace in Holiday World, a new dual track coaster for Efteling, and many more.

By Lance HartScreamscape

1) Disneyland cancels plans for new hotel

The Disneyland Resort has announced that they are pulling the plug on their plans to build a new 4-Star Resort at the property. The hotel would have taken up the spot at the west end of the Downtown Disney retail area. Disney had already closed existing businesses; Rainforest Café, ESPN Zone and AMC Theaters; located there back in June to make way for it, when construction was expected to begin in July. Disney will re-evaluate what they want to do with this property going forward; as well as any plans to possibly add a new and needed resort on-property.

2) Drayton Manor retires G-Force

Drayton Manor G Force Tweet

While the ride is still listed on the park’s website, the closed G-Force coaster at Drayton Manor is now said to be closed for the foreseeable future. The unique compact looping coaster from Maurer opened back in 2005. There have been some rumors on social media claiming it may be closed for good. However, this has not yet been fully determined as the future fate of the ride is said to still be undecided. For now just expect it to remain closed through at least the 2019 season.

3) Welcome to the Dungeon

hamburg dungeons midway merlin entertainments, dungeon

Alton Towers has announced that they will build ‘Alton Towers Dungeon’ for the 2019 season. This will be a new expansion of Merlin Entertainments’ popular ‘The Dungeon’ themed stand-alone attractions that already have locations in London, Blackpool and other select locations across the world. Alton Towers has not announced just how admission will work. However, many expect that regular day guests may have to pay an extra fee to enter The Dungeon while passholders may be allowed in free.

4) Santa’s Merry Marketplace is coming to Indiana

Holiday World has announced Santa’s Merry Marketplace will be coming to Holiday World in 2019. The former Kringle’s Kafe (closing Oct 28) location will be replaced with a larger new Santa themed dining experience. It will include the Sugarplum Scoop Shoppe, Candy Cane Confectionary, Polar Expresso, along with a food court of options that will include; Pizza & Pasta, Asian Cuisine, Deli Sandwiches, Burgers & Dogs, desserts and a ton of kids food options.

Besides them, other park improvements on the way for 2019 include; on-ride photos on Gobbler Getaway, a new “Kids World” event on the weekends starting in mid-August, the Candy Cornucopia and Dippin’ Dots Sundae Shoppe in Thanksgiving, new cabanas added to the waterpark and new track improvements to The Voyage.

5) Six Flags adding another waterpark to the chain

Six Flags is signing a deal with the Rockford Park District to lease and operate the Magic Waters Waterpark starting in Spring 2019. This is a 43-acre waterpark located in Rockford, Illinois (just West of Chicago) that has been owned and operated by the local park district since 1988.

6) Pattern of growth continues for Dubai Parks & Resorts

dxb entertainments logo

Dubai Parks & Resorts reports that after the first 9 months of 2018 they have seen a 33% increase in visitor growth compared to the same time period in 2017; resulting in 1.96 million visitors thus far in 2018, with business expected to pick up as we enter the cooler 4th quarter. Occupancy rates at the on-site Lapita Hotel are also said to have risen to 59% for the year; compared to just 30% during the same time period the previous year. This seems to be good news for the future of attractions in a marketplace that was not accustomed to having year-round theme parks available as an entertainment option prior to 2017.

7) Tidal Twisted coming to SeaWorld San Diego in 2019

SeaWorld San Diego confirmed that they are adding Tidal Twister to the park for 2019, the world’s first Skywarp Horizon attraction from Skyline Attractions. The unique attraction gives the appearance of dueling coasters charging at each repeatedly while swooping around a figure-8 shaped track. It also features a barrel-roll inversion.

8) Efteling adding dual track coaster themed around Tale Of Naughty Boys

Efteling Max and Moritz Concept Design

Concept design of new family attraction, Max & Moritz

Efteling has confirmed that a new dual-tracked coaster attraction will take the place of the park’s Bobs coaster in 2020. It will be themed around the well known German tale about a pair of naughty boys, Max & Moritz. The Intamin-made Bobs coaster is expected to stay until construction starts sometime in 2019; as the new coaster will re-purpose the station and other existing theming. This new coaster for 2020 will push back the park’s previous plans to expand the Reizenrijk area with a new large attraction on the eastern side of the property until 2021.

9) The Pirates will invade Pigeon Forge…twice!!

Pirates Revenge Dinner and Show Pigeon Forge

In an interesting coincidence (or was it?), not one, but two separate announcements were made on the same day. These announcements were for new Pirates themed dinner theater shows coming to the Pigeon Forge area of Tennessee.

World Choice Investments / Dolly Parton’s Stampede company announced that they would transform the former Smoky Mountain Adventures theater show in Pigeon Forge into a copy of their successful Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show attraction. This attraction has been running in the Myrtle Beach area for much of the past decade. The show will feature two dueling crews of Pirates; complete with a 15-foot deep indoor lagoon and two full-sized pirates ships, along with acrobatic competitions and live animals; all while you enjoy a five-course pirate feast!

Meanwhile, the Fee/Hedrick Group who are behind the other major theater attractions in Pigeon Forge (like The Comedy Barn and Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show) announced they would transform their Smoky Mountain Opry Show theater into the new Pirates Revenge Dinner and Show attraction for Summer 2019. Pirates Revenge will likewise feature pirates, stunt divers, acrobats singers, dancers, live animals, pirate ships and the largest retractable water stage in the south-eastern US.

10) A celebration of Star Wars returns to Paris

Star Wars Disney

Disneyland Paris has announced that ‘Legends of the Force – A Celebration of Star Wars’ will return to the Disneyland Paris theme parks from January 12 to March 17, 2019. This means new Star Wars character Meet & Greet opportunities will be available with Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. Special new live entertainment offerings like ‘Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away’, ‘The First Order March’ and more will take place during the day.

Likewise, don’t miss ‘Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration’ nighttime spectacular at the Walt Disney Studios Park after dark. Meanwhile, guests can enjoy the existing attractions in Tomorrowland; Star Tours: The Adventures Continue and Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain.