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Theme park news: introducing galactic adventures and welcoming superheroes

Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster coming to Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

All new galactic adventures, super heroes and popular children’s characters coming to a park near you in 2019.

By Lance HartScreamscape

1) New hotel confirmed for Legoland Florida

legoland florida

Legoland Florida confirmed that they are planning to open a new on-site resort hotel by 2020. The new building will be a five-story hotel structure; containing 150-rooms and built next door to the park’s first existing hotel. No other details were given regarding any unique themes or details at this time, but they expect to have it open sometime in 2020.

2) Ben 10 immersive ride coming to Cartoon Network World

Simworx Cartoon Network Futurekid Kuwait Immersive Adventurer

Cartoon Network World and Simworxs announced at IAAPA that the new indoor park attraction coming to Kuwait will feature a new Immersive Adventure ride from Simworx that will be themed to Ben 10. The attraction will feature a 16-passenger vehicle on a 3DOF motion base. It will also be combined with 4D theater style special effects to enhance the Ben 10 themed experience.

3) Three new attractions coming to Alabama Splash Adventures in 2019

Alabama Splash Adventure LogoAlabama Splash Adventures announced a trio of new attractions coming to the park next season. The list includes two new waterslides coming to the waterpark; FreeFall and Twister, along with a new flat ride coming to the growing dry side of the park; a Galleon swing ship.

4) Batman now open at Warner Bros World

While the new Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi indoor theme park opened back in July, there was one major attraction still missing from the lineup featuring a certain popular caped crusader. That void has now been filled as the Batman: Knight Flight dark ride attraction is finally open. This was one of the park’s most highly anticipated attractions. It features a dark ride experience similar to Universal’s popular Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction. Riders sit four-across in seats mounted to a heavy-duty robotic arm attached to a dark ride track system and go on an amazing adventure featuring both practical and projected effects scenes.

5) Knott’s replacing Bigfoot Rapids with Calico River Rapids in 2019

Knotts Berry Farm Calico River Rapids

Knott’s Berry Farm confirmed that their former Bigfoot Rapids ride will undergo a complete transformation and reopen in Summer 2019 as Calico River Rapids. Guests will journey in search of a new land on the outskirts of Calico. They will encounter roaring rapids, indigenous wildlife and some “peculiar homesteaders” along the journey inside six passenger rafts. The attraction upgrade will see new animatronics and special effects added from Garner Holt Productions. Similarly, it will create new show scenes to have “a new story overlay and plenty of dynamic water effects.”

6) Sally bringing Big Bird to PortAventura


In an announcement from the IAAPA floor, Sally Corp and PortAventura announced the details about a new dark ride themed to Sesame Street coming to the park in 2019. The park is building a 14,000 square-foot building for the ride where, “Detective Grover will be your guide through this interactive adventure; urging guests to collect clues that will help solve a mystery happening on Sesame Street. With numerous animatronic characters, immersive scenery, and interactive gameplay, this mixed media attraction will appeal to guests of all ages.”

The interactive attraction will feature a 10 minute pre-show experience before the 6-minute dark ride with over 2,000 clue/targets, both virtual and practical. It will also include a total of 8 projection-based scenes including four that will be projection mapped onto the scenery; a 90º curved screen with animatronics; two 180º curved screens to create flying experiences through Count’s Castle and down into Oscar’s Trash Can; and one final projection scene to create a “Hall of Fame” scoreboard experience.

7) New night shows coming to Epcot in 2019 and 2020

Epcot Forever

Walt Disney World confirmed that when the current nightly IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show comes to an end in the Fall of 2019, it will be immediately replaced by a temporary show while the new larger show is installed and slated to open in 2020.

The temporary interim show opening in Fall 2019 will be called “Epcot Forever” and will feature a collection of classic Epcot tunes and, “begin with a spark of imagination that swells into an epic spectacle of fireworks, music, lighting, lasers and special effects kites.”

In 2020, a new nighttime spectacular will open that “will celebrate how Disney music inspires people around the world. It will also feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers.”

8) Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy ride to be first Storytelling Coaster

Guardians of the Galaxy Storytelling Coaster, galactic adventures

Disney leaked out a few more small details about the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy coaster ride last week. This included a look at the concept art of the coaster cars, and confirmation to the expected rumor that they will indeed use a rotation system to point the riders in the direction of the various scenes that play out during the adventure.

Disney’s Bob Chapek called it a “Storytelling Coaster” experience, as “each individual cab will be programmed to direct your eye to the story happening around you. That means instead of whizzing by the action, you’ll be fully immersed in the story from the minute you launch”. Disney also re-confirmed that the attraction will open in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021.

9) New night show also coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019

Wonderful World of Animation, Disney Hollywood Studios

In addition to the opening of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway dark ride in Fall 2019, the park will also offer an all new night show spectacular starting in May 2019 to be called “Wonderful World of Animation”. This along with some other smaller additions, such as new Monsters Inc and Edna Mode character meet and greets, and a new park logo, will kick off a 30th Anniversary celebration for the park.

10) Big changes at Disneyland in 2019

Disneyland dropped a few more details about the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attractions opening in Summer 2019. We now know the official names for the new attractions: “Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run” and “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance”. They also revealed that John Williams was creating some all new and original music for Galaxy’s Edge as well.

Additionally, the park will start off things in January with a celebration of Mickey Mouse with the all new Mickey’s Mix Magic; a musical dance party that will transform much of the park after dark. The park’s Mickey’s Soundsational parade will also be upgraded with a brand new Mickey Mouse themed float unit that will lead the parade down Main Street.

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Lance Hart

Lance Hart

Lance has been running Screamscape for nearly 20 years. Married and a father to three roller coaster loving kids, he worked for SeaWorld (San Diego and Orlando) in Operations and Entertainment for 19 years.

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