During a brief test this morning at Universal Studios Florida, metal detectors were placed at the entrance to Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit roller coaster to help keep loose articles from being taken on the coaster. [Read more…]
Don’t expect to ride Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios over the next few days unless you can secure a FastPass+. Disney is running a test through Thursday that removes the standby line. [Read more…]
Hosts Banks Lee and JeniLynn Knopp bring you this week’s theme park and attraction news. On this week’s episode: [Read more…]
We were able to be part of the testing for Disney’s new MyMagic+ recently, which includes the MagicBands, FastPass+ and more. After testing and researching, we can answer many of your frequently asked questions [Read more…]
With Walt Disney World’s latest tests of their new MagicBands, accessories for the wristbands are now on sale at select resorts. Later this year, the MagicBands, a part of Disney’s MyMagic+ system, will replace guest’s tickets, room keys and more.
Universal Studios is open later in the evening during the Easter holiday week which allows us to bring you photos and video of some the preparation that is in progress for the upcoming new lagoon show, Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories. [Read more…]
A new interactive role playing game began public testing at the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World today. It’s called Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. Let’s take a look at how it works. [Read more…]
A few lucky guests may get to meet Mickey Mouse in a new, interactive way over the next couple of weeks at the Magic Kingdom. Disney will periodically be running tests by having Mickey talk to the guests he meets. [Read more…]
Photo by TouringPlans
Last week, we told you about Disney testing a queueless meet-and-greet system in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom in which parents would wait in line while their children played in a playground until it was time for everyone to meet a character.
Now it appears that testing continues this week but on a larger scale, taking place at the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests wanting to participate are given cards and invited to wait in a stand by area, rather than a stand by queue.
According to TouringPlans on Twitter, this area includes shade, a DJ, merchandise, and Guitar Hero video games and seems to be aimed at entertaining guests comfortably while they wait to ride. The comparison to how a supermarket deli works still stands, as guests are called by the letter-number combination on their cards.
Guests are not required to wait in the stand-by area but must report to the attraction within five minutes of their group being called or they will lose their chance to ride. The normal stand-by and Fastpass lines are still available during the testing.
Here are a few more images from today’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster queueless testing (courtesy of TouringPlans):
The card given to guests
DJ entertaining guests
One of many signs posted in the area
While it wasn’t quite as obvious during the recent meet-and-greet testing, it’s fairly clear now that Disney is indeed testing the system they announced for the enhanced Dumbo ride that’s part of the upcoming Fantasyland expansion. Since the Dumbo portion of the expansion won’t be open until 2012, Disney certainly has plenty of time to decide on the details on how this system works.
In Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom this week, a few of Disney’s Imagineers and cast members held a test at Pooh’s Playful Spot, the playground located across from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh dark ride.
Pooh characters were made available for meet and greets, but new queueing rules were attached. Parents were instructed, via cast members and signs posted around the area, to wait in line to see the characters while their children were allowed to play nearby in the playground. When the parents reached a certain point in the line close to the characters, they were asked to bring over their little ones so they could enjoy the meeting with Winnie the Pooh and his friends.
We received reports of this test being run on Monday and Wednesday, with Tuesday being a day for Disney’s staff to review how the previous day’s test went and make changes for the following. Throughout the tests, Disney has been video recording and surveying guests to get their opinion on how the queueing system worked out for them.
Improving wait times for children wanting to meet their favorite characters sounds like a great idea, but I’m guessing that this test may actually be for something greater. When Disney announced the upcoming Fantasyland expansion at the D23 Expo in September, they revealed that there would be a number of permanent princess meet-and-greet areas throughout the expansion. These will each involve an interactive/play area in addition to the actual character meeting area. In the announcement, Disney also emphasized the fact that the enhanced Dumbo attraction will feature a queue-less waiting system of some sort. The notion of magic feathers being handed out like supermarket deli tickets has been rumored.
So perhaps this week’s tests in Pooh’s playground isn’t all about trying to improve the current state of meet-and-greets but rather a way for Disney to test for the future of Fantasyland’s character meetings and attractions.
To read more about the upcoming Fantasyland expansion of the Magic Kingdom, including exclusive details about what’s to come for Pooh’s Playful Spot and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, get our Winter 2010 issue.
The new Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster at Universal Studios may finally be opening soon after a long delay. The ride was open for all Universal employees to ride last night. And if all went well with that test, it may have a soft opening for park guests as soon as 2 p.m. today.
Orlando Attractions Magazine reader Mickey from MagicCityMayhem.com works at the Hard Rock Cafe and was able to ride it twice last night. Here’s his report:
I pulled in to the Ikea parking lot at about 6:15 p.m. to buy some furnishing for my new place. Before I turned off my car, I received a text message from my sister, who works at Blue Man Group, that Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit would be opened until 9:30 p.m. for Universal Orlando team members. At that time, I promptly headed towards Universal Orlando without a moment to lose.
They didn’t let us enter using the normal queue entrance. They made all team members go through the backlot/soundstage area. The locker rentals were free for a three and a half hour window. They were strictly enforcing “NO LOOSE ARTICLES” on the ride. They even wanted me to put my ball cap in the locker!
I rode the first time by myself and waited about 25 minutes. While waiting, they show you videos on how to pick your music once you’ve finally boarded the vehicle. They also go through all the categories and show you some clips from the featured songs. There are a ton of fans and water misters in the staging area, and even though I was waiting in the evening time, it was “cooler” in the line.
I picked Sabotage by the Beastie Boys as my first song, and it really worked well with the ride. It was tall, it was fast and it wasn’t too loud. Dare I say it … I may like it more than the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster!
There are kiosks at the ride exit where you can look up your own picture and video. The on-ride video wasn’t functioning for the preview unfortunately. Also, several potential riders were turned away because the ride vehicles couldn’t accommodate them. Hopefully Universal puts a sample car at the front of the attraction to avoid people waiting the entire line to get to the front and be turned away. Also, if you are too tall, you won’t be able to ride! Lots of restrictions, but after riding it, I can see why. It is very intense, and I cant wait to ride it again and again!
Mikey was also Twittering (@justmikeyhrc) about his experience and described the ride as “More thrilling than Manta, but a different experience. Definitely more intense than Revenge of the Mummy.”
We’ll be heading to Universal later today to see if the ride is running and open to the public. Check our Twitter account for updates. (@attractions)
For now, here’s one more look at what you’ll see during the ride: