Category Archives: Attraction / Theme Park

Star Wars Weekends 2015 Returns To Disney’s Hollywood Studios At Walt Disney World Resort On May 15, 2015

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Star Wars Weekends 2015 returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort on Friday, May 15, 2015. To kick off this event, Disney Theme Park Merchandise is holding a special ticketed event called “Galactic Gathering” on Thursday, May 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Similar to the “Rebel Rendezvous” event held last year, this year’s event will give guests the first opportunity to purchase new products created especially for Star Wars Weekends.

Packages for the Galactic Gathering will include the following:

- ‘Rebel’ or ‘Empire’ retail MagicBand (Guests can choose their side when registering online)
- Commemorative trading pin
- Darth’s Mall Light Speed Pass which gives expedited entry into Darth’s Mall for all five weekends.
- First opportunity to pre-purchase select merchandise includin personalized Aurebesh nametags, D-Tech phone cases, Dooney & Bourke handbags, Galactic Gathering Disney Gift card, retail MagicBands, limited edition pins and Vinylmation.
- First opportunity to purchase the new designs of Star Wars-themed Disney Gift Cards.
- Han Solo-inspired popcorn bucket with popcorn.

Guests who attend this event will also have the opportunity to meet Disney characters, Disney Design Group Artists and Ashley Eckstein from Her Universe.

Finally, attendees will be some of the first to purchase the new figures for Star Wars D-Tech Me including a Jedi Knight and a TIE-Fighter pilot.

Tickets to this event are $250 per guest (theme park admission is not included but required to participate in this event). Registration will begin on March 4 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern and you can sign up HERE.

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Unassuming Doors That Hide Exciting Mysteries

Club 33

Club 33 is a private club located in the heart of the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland. Officially maintained as a secret feature of the theme park, the entrance of the club is located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant at “33 Royal Street” with the entrance recognizable by an ornate address plate with the number 33 engraved on it.

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Club 33 members and their guests have exclusive access to the club, which is not open to the public. In addition to beer and wine, Club 33 has a full bar, although patrons must order directly from their server rather than the service bar. Club 33 is the only location within Disneyland to offer alcoholic beverages. Members are entitled to complimentary valet parking at the Grand Californian Hotel and access to the Lilly Belle, the presidential car on the Disneyland Railroad. Club 33 members receive up to six Immediate Fastpasses when they insert their Club 33 membership card into any of the Fastpass kiosks and bypass the stand-by queue. Members are permitted to join the skipper in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain and the engineers in the engine compartment of the steam trains.

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An individual membership costs $25,000 for an initiation fee and $10,000 a year in dues. For corporations, it’s $40,000 at the start and then $10,000 dues.

Safe House

In the intelligence trade, a safe house is a secret refuge for spies engaging in covert operations.

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Safe House in Milwaukee is a popular spy-themed restaurant that since 1966 has provided crafty concoctions and incredible edibles to hungry agents on R & R.

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Located at 779 N. Front Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin behind International Exports Ltd.

To get in Go to the website, http://www.safe-house.com and click on the Top Secret Clearance Agreement to promise you won’t disclose the location, then contact Control to make a reservation).

National Typewriter Company

Located at 1221 Olympic Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404 this building houses JJ Abrams’s production company, Bad Robot, is a literal, physical reflection of his sensibility. The big sign on the outside doesn’t say Bad Robot but instead National Typewriter Co., and that’s not because the building used to house such a business. It’s because Abrams likes typewriters and misdirection. Near the doorbell, which is a glowing green light, a smaller sign asks, “Are you ready?”

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Abrams’s personal suite of offices is on the second floor and to get to his bathroom, you have to walk up to a wall of bookshelves beside his desk and tug on a copy of “Louis Tannen’s Catalog of Magic” (named for the same Manhattan magic shop, still around today, where he got his childhood mystery box). Abracadabra: the wall opens. The toilet is revealed.

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The entire building belongs to Bad Robot, which spreads out over three stories of glass walls, floating staircases, common areas and movie-related mementos: posters, masks, dolls, board games. There are editing bays, a state-of-the-art recording studio, a workshop where props are made and a screening room that doubles as a makeshift set on which certain limited effects and scenes can be shot.

Prohibition Bar in Atlanta

Prohibition was designed to look like an old fashioned underground speakeasy. The Atlanta bar is located in Andrews Square Buckhead at 56 East Andrews Drive (inside the basement of Stout.)

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Prohibition was designed to look like an old fashioned underground speakeasy. The Atlanta bar is located in Andrews Square Buckhead at 56 East Andrews Drive (inside the basement of Stout.)

Prohibition Bar in Atlanta

Now how do you get in? In the back of the lower courtyard is a door to what appears to be a defunct antique shop. Beside the door is a large red phone booth. You simply enter the booth, dial the number on the old fashioned rotary dial phone and a secret door in the back wall of the phone booth opens up allowing you entrance.

How do you get the number? To get the secret access code of the day your best bet is to wine and/or dine at Cellar 56 upstairs (a great tapas restaurant and wine bar that’s operated by Prohibition’s owners), be very kind to your bartender and/or server, and if you’re well-dressed, well-behaved and lucky, someone will give it to you.

The International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts 

The secrets contained within the International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts merit that the 40,000-square-foot warehouse just off the Las Vegas Strip is closed to the general public.

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On the museum’s first floor is the Hall of Masters, a space lined with costumes, props, posters, and photographs arranged by magician. Beginning downstairs with Cardini (linking rings, card tricks, monocle), the hall continues on the second floor with Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (mystery clocks and automatons), Harry Houdini (metamorphosis trunk, iron maiden, water-torture cell, straitjacket), and others.

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David Copperfield, who owns the museum, uses the warehouse to practice new magic tricks and archive his own history as an illusionist. Charred crash-test dummies from early “Tornado of Fire” rehearsals and racks of costumes are on hand, as are props from his favorite movies, including a 10-foot-tall statue of Zeus from Citizen Kane.

The intention of the 80,000-item museum is to educate future generations of magicians and illusionists. Magic scholars and people researching for books and motion pictures can visit Copperfield’s museum by request. (Hugh Jackman did his research for The Prestige at the facility.) He invites all other interested parties to send a note backstage during one of his regularly scheduled performances at MGM Grand’s Hollywood Theatre.

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A Frozen Ride Is Coming To Disney World

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Construction has begun at Walt Disney World Resort on a brand new “Frozen” attraction at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot. The new attraction, which replaces Maelstrom, will take guests to Arendelle and immerse them in many of their favorite moments and music from the film. The pavilion will also include a royal greeting location where Anna and Elsa can meet guests.

“Frozen’s” popular characters will also have a bigger presence at Magic Kingdom Park this holiday season. In addition to the ongoing character appearances, Queen Elsa will use her powers to transform Cinderella Castle into an ice palace every night starting in early November. And Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party-goers can see Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.

The theme park is extending some favorite elements of Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!, too, so that guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can continue singing along to “Frozen” songs with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. Wandering Oaken’s will set up shop closer to the show through the holiday season and will feature a larger play area with real snow (in Florida!).

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Opens at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2016

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With the original Orlando attraction planned for expansion, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is heading to the West coast. Universal Studios Hollywood confirmed that a Los Angeles-based “Wizarding World” attraction will open its doors in 2016.

Inspired by the magical world created by J.K. Rowling and brought to life in the Warner Bros. films, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios Hollywood will be a fully immersive land designed for the entire family that brings the Harry Potter fiction and films to life with detail and authenticity. Similar to the Orlando Resort-themed land that opened in 2010, the Hollywood experience will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle that will serve as the iconic focal point of the themed environment.

“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is a collaboration between J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Universal Parks and Resorts.

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New Options For Star Wars – D-Tech Me Returning To Star Wars Weekends At Disney World Starting May 16, 2014

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Star Wars – D-Tech Me experience will return this year to Star Wars Weekends at Disney World with a few new options for guests. This year, the experience will be located inside Darth’s Mall, located in Soundstage 1 between Studio Backlot Tour and Toy Story Midway Mania.

For those unfamiliar with Star Wars – D-Tech Me, this 10-minute experience uses the world’s highest-resolution, single-shot 3D face scanner created by our Imagineering scientists with Disney Research labs. The captured image is later sent to a high resolution 3D printer to create the figurine.

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This year, two returning favorites – Carbon-Freeze Me and Stormtrooper – will be joined by two new figurines – Alderaan Princess and X-Wing Pilot. There are both male and female options offered for X-Wing pilot, Carbon-Freeze Me and Stormtrooper figurines. For children, Alderaan Princess and Carbon-Freeze Me figurines will be available in more youthful appearances.

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For the first time, we are introducing a 16-inch figurine. While a wise Jedi Master once said “size matters not,” you can see the size differences of the Stormtrooper figurines in the above image.

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The Star Wars – D-Tech Me 7-inch figurines are $99.95 each, plus shipping and applicable sales tax. For the 16-inch figurines, retail is $149.95 each, plus shipping and applicable sales tax. All participants will receive a specially designed button.

Completed figurines will arrive within 7-8 weeks after the experience if shipping domestically (it takes a little longer if shipping internationally). To book your experience, please call 407-WDW-TECH (407-939-8324).

The experience will be offered during Star Wars Weekends 2014 (May 16 – 18, May 23 – 25, May 30 – June 1, June 6 – 8, and June 13-15).

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Universal Orlando Resort Reveals Details For The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

Diagon Alley

With this summer’s opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment will bring even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life inside a new, magnificently themed area that includes a revolutionary attraction experience, as well as all-new themed shops and dining.

The two companies revealed first-ever details about the new area and the one-of-a-kind adventures it will offer the whole family.  The spectacularly themed environment will double the size of the sweeping area already dedicated to Harry Potter’s adventures at Universal Orlando, expanding it across both Universal theme parks.

And – just like in the books and films – guests will be able to travel between the two areas aboard the iconic Hogwarts Express.

Universal Orlando launched a global phenomenon when it opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at its Islands of Adventure theme park in 2010. That area includes the iconic Hogwarts castle – which houses the groundbreaking Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction – and the village of Hogsmeade.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be located within Universal Orlando’s second theme park, Universal Studios, and will create new experiences based on the signature areas of London, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley.

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Universal’s creative team has been working closely with Stuart Craig and the production team from the Harry Potter films to make the new area as authentic and spectacular as possible – just as it did with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.

The vision for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley is unprecedented, with Universal Orlando creating the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience.

After arriving at King’s Cross Station aboard the Hogwarts Express, guests will pass through London and the iconic brick wall archway from the films into Diagon Alley – a bustling, wizarding hub within a Muggle city.  There will be shops, dining experiences, and a new ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional journey that will take theme park attractions to a new level.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will give visitors the exciting opportunity to: 

- Board the Hogwarts Express and journey between London’s King’s Cross Station (located in Universal Studios Florida) and Hogsmeade Station (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure). The journey will be filled with views of London and the British countryside – as well as a few surprises. Park-to-park admission is required.

King's Cross Station

Hogsmeade Station

- Experience a groundbreaking new, multi-dimensional thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which will place riders in the middle of an incredible adventure as they navigate their way through the perils of the Gringotts vaults

HP and the Escape from Gringotts

- Witness the magical experience of a wand choosing a wizard at Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC, one of the wizarding world’s premier wand shops

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- Discover the darker side of magic in Knockturn Alley, the darkest of dark places that features Borgin and Burkes – a shop specializing in the Dark Arts that will offer a wide variety of Dark objects, such as Death Eater masks, skulls, and other sinister items

Explore some of Diagon Alley’s famous shops, including:

- Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, a vibrant shop featuring novelty items, magical jokes, and toys inspired by the books and films that will amaze the mischievous child in everyone

Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes

- Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, where guests will find a variety of wizardwear from Hogwarts school uniform ties, scarves and jumpers, to authentic wizard’s robes and character costumes

- Magical Menagerie, which features a collection of plush animals, such as owls and Hippogriffs

- Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, where guests can grab wizarding essentials such as telescopes, binoculars, armillary spheres, compasses, magnifying glasses and hourglasses

Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment

- Quality Quidditch Supplies, offering a wide assortment of apparel and equipment including Quidditch sweaters, brooms, Golden Snitches, Bludgers, Bludger bats, Quaffles and more

- Scribbulus, featuring authentic writing implements and products such as feather quills, ink and inkwells, bookmarks, journals, parchment paper, seals, stationery sets and postcards

- Enjoy traditional British fare that includes favorite dishes such as fish and chips, bangers and mash and more at the Leaky Cauldron

- Visit Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour for frozen treats in a variety of tantalizing and unique flavors such as strawberry-and-peanut-butter ice-cream and many others

Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour

More details about the unique experiences that can be found in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be released over time.  For more information about the area, visit www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter.

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The Original Back To The Future DeLorean Was Restored By Fans And Is Now On Display At Universal Studios Hollywood

Bob Gale, co-producer and co-writer of the Back to the Future films, took on a project with Universal Studios to fully restore the original “A” Hero DeLorean time machine. A team of about 20 Back to the Future fans and Hollywood professionals worked together to bring the iconic car back to life over the course of one year. The beautiful DeLorean is now on display at The NBCUniversal Experience in Universal Studios Hollywood. 

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You can read more about the restoration process on the Time Machine Restoration Facebook page and BTTF.com.

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Captain America To Appear At Disneyland This Spring

Captain America will be following in the steps of Thor and make in-person appearances at Disneyland starting this spring. Marvel announced the character’s appearance this afternoon, and noted he’ll be joining the “Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries” and “Thor: Treasures of Asgard” attractions that can also be seen at the Anaheim park.

Captain America’s appearance at the park is scheduled to coincide with the upcoming release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which hits theaters April 4th.

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Indiana Jones Vinylmation Series Launches On January 10, 2014

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The Indiana Jones Vinylmation series will launch on January 10, 2014 at D Street locations in Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts and on the Disney Parks online store. 

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Series 1 characters ($12.95 each) include Indiana Jones, Marion Ravenwood, Sallah, Rene Belloq, Arnold Ernst Toht, Cairo Swordsman, and The Mechanic.

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The chaser is The Golden Idol.

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The series was designed by Thomas Scott, lead Vinylmation artist with Disney Design Group and features characters from the first Indiana Jones film, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

There will also be a combo pack figure with Indy in disguise ($24.95) which will be released on January 24, 2014.

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Finally, on January 10, 2014 at D-Street in Downtown Disney West Side at Walt Disney World, Vinylmation artist Thomas Scott will be signing from 5-6PM.

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Pixar’s Ratatouille Ride Coming To Disneyland Paris In Summer 2014

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This summer, Disneyland Paris will unveil a major new attraction and mini-land inspired by the Oscar-winning Disney Pixar film Ratatouille. The film, directed by Brad Bird, tells the tale of Rémy, a young rat who has amazing talents in the kitchen and dreams of one day becoming a great chef. This leads to a fun but perilous journey that eventually lands him as the head chef of one of the most famous restaurants in Paris. Now Rémy has arrived at Walt Disney Studios Park to share his culinary delights and crazy adventures with the entire family.

On the attraction Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, guests will shrink down to the size of a rat and join Rémy and his friends as they scurry through the kitchen, dining room, and walls of Gusteau’s famous Parisian restaurant, all the while trying to avoid the nemesis from the film, Chef Skinner. This first of its kind Disney attraction will immerse guests into an animated world. The attraction is located in a new corner of Toon Studio that’s been transformed into a Ratatouille-inspired version of the City of Light. In addition to the attraction, this mini-land also features a shop, Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris, and a rat-scale themed table service restaurant, Bistrot Chez Rémy. The restaurant, which is the only one of its kind across Disney Parks worldwide, is directly adjacent to the attraction and serves the “little chef’s” famous dish, ratatouille.

After Crush’s Coaster, Cars Race Rally and Toy Story Playland, Ratatouille will be the fourth attraction at the Walt Disney Studios Park inspired by a Disney Pixar film.

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