Happy weekend, everybody! Thanks for stopping by Dis Downlow! We’ve been thinking a lot about how to streamline the way we get you your theme park news. Yeah, heady stuff. And the truth is, when it comes to the kinds of news and notes we think are cool or worth your time, it seems it might be best to do it in more of a weekly blast than doing it every few days. So consider this the start of our weekly Downlow experiment!
We’ve got some fun stories from the past week. Many of them seem to revolve around technology which is just coincidence we think. New rides, new advances in queues (interesting, we promise) and an early look at Disney’s tentpole Thanksgiving movie, Moana! Let’s get to it – The Downlow for Saturday, Nov. 12, is here!
President-Elect Donald Trump to be added to Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents
For those of you who’ve had enough of Election 2016 (we’re with you), just hang in there for one more story. The famed Hall of Presidents attraction at Magic Kingdom will close for a refurb beginning January 17, 2017, and during that time, an audio-animatronic of President-elect Trump will be added. While details are scarce at this point (will he have a speaking role? how will they handle that hairdo?), we will find out more when Presidents re-opens sometime around July 4, 2017. Attractions Magazine has more info if you can stomach it.
Opening Date Announced for the Iron-Man Experience in Hong Kong Disneyland
The first Marvel-themed ride at a Disney park, the Iron Man Experience, will open at Hong Kong Disneyland on January 11, 2017! The simulator ride will allow guests to fly alongside Iron Man as he battles Hyrda agents above the Hong Kong skyline. In addition to the ride itself, the Iron Man Experience queue will along guests to interact with several exhibits that a part of the Stark Expo which, the story goes, has been setup in Hong Kong. Our friends over at WDW News Today have more on the Iron Man announcement, including a great behind-the-scenes video of the attraction!
Is “virtual queueing” going to change how we wait in line for rides?
When Universal Orlando opens its newest waterpark, Volcano Bay, in 2017, guests will get a chance to use the latest wearable technology in the theme park industry. With the price of admission, guests will each get a wristband that will allow them to explore the park while they wait in a “virtual queue” to ride the new attractions. The wristband, which will go by the name TapuTapu, will vibrate when it is a visitor turn to ride an attraction. Then you just return to the ride and get right on. That’s how it’s supposed to work anyway. We’re VERY interested to see if this is a successful step forward for Universal. Robert Niles from Theme Park Insider wrote a column about this very topic.
Flying Lights Holiday Show Coming to Disney Springs
Guests at Disney Springs this holiday season will be in for a treat as Disney has announced a new holiday light show utilizing – wait for it – drones! Disney recently received the necessary permissions from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones of the WDW property (did you know there’s been a No-Fly-Zone over the Orlando property since 2003?) and they will use the drones to put on a new light show above the Disney Springs area. We don’t have a lot of details yet, but Inside the Magic posted some very cool drone testing video!
More Information about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2016
We’ve got some great information about Magic Kingdom’s signature holiday event, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2016! Our friend Kenny the Pirate has some helpful tips about which characters will be available for Meet and Greets during the event, and we were able to get a copy of the guide map for this year’s event! Check them out!
Moana Gets High Marks from Entertainment Weekly
The upcoming Disney animated movie, Moana, has been getting some very strong buzz. The movie features Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a lead role and Lin-Manuel Miranda (yes, Hamilton) was in charge of the music. Now we’ve got one of our first reviews of the movie and it comes from a trusted source – Entertainment Weekly. In short, they loved it and we’re super excited to see this one when it opens in a few weeks!
So that’s the Downlow for today. We hope you enjoyed. Are you planning to see Moana when it hits theaters? Let us know in the comments!