Thursday, January 7, 2016

Universal Studios Orlando Says Goodbye to Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue

The theme parks in Orlando have been busy the past few years and that doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. With new attractions being announced almost monthly it's no surprise that some older ones are being closed down to make way for the new and improved rides and shows. Universal Orlando most recently said goodbye to the Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue. This was one of the only original things left in the park and was a very popular attraction.

Because of the Beetlejuice show's popularity I'm a bit surprised that Universal decided to simply close it and not try to find a way to keep it running. Especially given that Universal has a huge stadium theater that currently houses Fear Factor Live. Which while its not a bad show has never had the attendance that Beetlejuice had, even in more recent times. I'm a little shocked that Universal didn't take the Fear Factor stage and redo it and move Beetlejuice there and then close Fear Factor. It definitely would have been the move that would have made guests happier than simply getting rid of the show altogether.

The Beetlejuice show went through many different revamps during the course of it being open. The most recent redo of the show got rid of the ever annoying Hip and Hop and replaced them with four dancers suppose to be ghosts. I personally preferred them over Hip and Hop. And it also brought in two new characters to the show, Cleo daughter of the Mummy and Fantasia daughter of the Phantom of the Opera. While maybe not my favorite thing that they did with the show it worked alright, the new characters added some more flavor to the show. The biggest problem with the latest revamp of the show was not the recast of the characters but the song choices themselves. I remember the first time that I saw the new show my first response was, "they could have picked better songs". They just weren't as entertaining as any of the previous versions. This led to a of guests not liking and show and I think it's what doomed it to be closed. I firmly believe that if it had not been revamped they would have moved the show, and not closed it.

I always loved the Beetlejuice show and still liked even the latest version, even if not as much as the earlier ones. I hate to see it go and I feel that Universal made a huge mistake in keeping something like Fear Factor over Beetlejuice, unless they have bigger plans on the horizon for that area. However when thinking about Universal they aren't like Disney, who has room to build and grow, Universal has to close current attractions in order to make way for new ones. Which makes it exciting to hear what's coming but also sad to hear what's leaving.

If you missed the Beetlejuice show while it was running below you can watch the last two versions of the show.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Maelstrom has Officially Disappeared Disappeared

Well the next Disney World attraction to close was Maelstrom. Its a shame that this attraction out of any was the next to get the ax. Partly because it was a favorite of many many people but also because of what's replacing it. Epcot has been a place for education and innovation. The Disney experience in terms of characters are slim in this park. Yes they do meet there but that has never and should never be the basis of Epcot. As a matter of fact I was told by Disney that that's why they moved the Anna and Elsa meet and greet to Magic Kingdom. They didn't like people coming to Epcot just for that, they felt that it took away from what Epcot was really about. So I was very upset and surprised to know that they closed Maelstrom to put in a Frozen ride.

Maelstrom never had the excitment of roller coasters or the child attraction of the characters but it was a classic at Epcot. It was fun and it was one of the only rides in the World Showcase, I don't think that anyone ever really saw it leaving Norway. For as long as I can remember it being there, I loved that ride. I made a special trip to say good bye to the ride last week, I took so many photos it was not even funny. I even spoke with people that worked there and some just tourists nobody was happy about the closure and what's going to replace it. Everyone said the same thing "a Frozen ride would be great, but not at Epcot!". I have to say I agree.

I always loved the Maelstrom ride or when I was little I called it simply the Norway ride, I love the trolls and the polar bears and somehow I always pointed out the puffin. In my mind as a kid that was the best part. It was a part of my childhood and many people agree it was a part of their's as well and it's something that will be missed and while I'm sure the Frozen ride will do well, for a lot of these people it won't ever compare to Norway, and I seriously doubt it will last as long as Maelstrom. Maelstrom fits the Epcot theme more than a Frozen ride does, I can only hope that once the Frozen craze runs out they will remake the ride and make it something better suited for Epcot.

Disney I know you want to do what you can to put Frozen in the parks but this move was not a great one, and I don't think it will take that long after it opens for you to see that.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bye Bye Backlot at Disney World

Disney World has recently gone on a bit of a frenzy in closing attractions. They have closed or moved a lot of things in the past couple of years. But the Studio Backlot Tour marks the second thing that Disney's Hollywood Studios has lost this year. The first was the American Idol Experience. However the Backlot Tour has a long history and a lot of fond memories.

The Backlot Tour was not as exciting as use to be and a lot of people would skip it because they found it boring or long and just not interesting. And while it use to be a much better attraction than it was in recent times it was still fun. I had the pleasure of saying goodbye to this ride on its final day and I have to admit I was filled with sadness. I found myself taking photos of everything I could and trying to take it all in so that years from now I can remember the ride.

I remember being young and riding this ride and it was before they did the water in the bay bit before the actual ride, it was the bumblebee, where the people that were chosen got to ride a bumblebee. And I remember seeing things at the studios when they were in use, and the houses before they were torn down. And so much and I remember being amazed at all that you got to see on that tour, it was one of my favorite things to do at MGM Studios (yes it was MGM back then). As I found myself riding the ride for the last time I was remembering all these things, even when the water tower was the icon for the park, not the hat. And so much of the things that were able to be seen on the ride won't be seen anymore. It's sad to think about.

I know a lot of people don't remember the Backlot Tour in all it's glory, but even without that it was still a good ride, and it use to be a great ride. And for anyone that remembers it from years and years ago they are even more sad to see it go. All I can say is that I hope Disney has great plans for whatever takes it's place. And I also hope that they keep to true to what made MGM/Hollywood a great park, and that's a love for all movies and the process behind them.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rantings From a Theme Park Pro, Please Please Please Don't Do These in a Theme Park

Well hello online world! It's been a while but I have to admit I've had a blast while I've been away from you guys. So far I have been traveling and seeing all kinds of things and meeting all kinds of new people! However I have found out a few things, I am in a fact a theme park junkie. I have friends that are as well, we would live at the parks if we could. I consider myself a theme park pro actually. I have been to more theme parks than I can count and spend more hours there than most anywhere else. I love it! I did have the unfortunate realization that I love theme parks but I hate dealing with the people there. Mainly because most of them are rude. Which prompted me to want to write this little note for all of you to read. If you find yourself going to a theme park please keep these things in mind.

First off, if you don't need a wheelchair don't rent a wheelchair or a scooter. The only purpose it serves is to take a space and be rude and make it harder for everyone else around it, and for rides that allow people to skip the line if they have a wheelchair its terrible for those that need it. I actually listened to two women talk about how great it was to get these scooters and skip the bus line, bus pulls up they get on, little girl from the make a wish foundation has to wait, why, because these women are lazy. And here's another thing, reasons you need one are not that your feet get tired, because everyone's feet get tired at the parks, nor do you need one if you are so out of shape that you get winded from walking, this can be solved by preparing for your trip by getting up and getting shape before you trip. I am all for people that need them using them, and I will be first person to let them go ahead of me or hold a door open or anything I can do to help, but I hate seeing people take advantage of other's niceness or theme park benefits.

Another thing I hate, strollers, now if you have a small child that needs a stroller please bring it, more power to you. However make sure that you know how to push it, don't run over the people in front of you, and don't look to the side or behind you while pushing it. Theme parks are crowded and people are everywhere, so pay attention. And please please please only use a stroller if your child is of an appropriate age to need one. You would be surprised how many children I see that are way too old for a stroller, we are talking 8,9,10 and sometimes older being pushed in a strollers. This just clogs up walkways and makes its harder for everyone to get around.

Everyone does dumb things from time to time, but I think a lot of people just don't try at the parks. I have gone out of my way to let kids stand in front of me at shows and parades and even made room for entire families to be up front. My reward many of these times, are loud kids or parents that keep stepping on me or pushing me out of the way. This is not okay no matter what the situation but if someone is trying to be nice remember that they didn't have to be and you should respect them and be nice given that they were doing it just because. Also regardless of the situation if you are standing and someone is sitting you need to be mindful so as not to step on them, or their things. The first time can be forgiven, the second, third and forth not so much. You would not want someone doing that to you so don't do it to them.

Now everyone knows that when people come to theme parks they want to relax, and that's great, but other people came for the same reason as well. This means that you need to be mindful that other people are around. Don't take up the entire walkway so nobody else can get around you, and don't stop in the middle of the walkway. This is a great way to get run into and then its a disaster for everyone involved. It can involve injuries, messes, and crying children. The only reason its okay for you to stop in a walkway, or block a walkway is if you are having an emergency, this means if someone isn't bleeding its not an emergency. And finally pay attention to whats going around you. If you have a child then you should know where they are and make sure that are not swinging things to the point that they hit someone. All those swords and other things yeah they hurt.

The swords issue makes me think of those light up toys that you can get for the night time shows. Rides, non light shows and buses are not appropriate places to use these things. For one on the rides and in certain shows they can ruin it for other people, and this could their only chance to see that ride or show, and your child is going to ruin it if you don't monitor and they play with those toys. And buses are not a good place either. Its an enclosed space that can be migraine and seizure inducing for someone on the bus. I have actually seen this happen before. Once again you would not want that to happen to you so don't do it to others.

Which leads me to this, shows, rides, parades anything you see at a park is something people pay to see. This means that you should enjoy it but be mindful of others. Dont' yell, don't kick seats, don't try to be annoying, and don't cuss. And hats, oh yeah those wonderful tall hats that you can buy or Mickey ears or whatever, need to come off during these things. Do you want someone wearing these sitting in front of you? I doubt it, so take them off, its rude.

And then of course if you come to Florida its going to rain. If you are one of those people that thinks ponchos work (they really don't) that's great and feel free to wear them. But take them off when boarding buses and rides and shows. The reason is that that poncho takes up more space that just you do, its big and it fans out and branches over to the people around you. And not only that, when you sit down that water on your poncho goes all over the people next to you. If you are going to use them that's find but take them off when you have to sit next to other people, so as not to take up more than your share of space or get them wet.

The last thing I'm going to mention most people never think about, bags. A lot of people hold the idea the bigger the better because it holds more. I have found this is not the case but if you like it that way great. But if you have a bag you need to watch where it is and how you are moving while wearing it. For instance if you are a bus, and you have a backpack and its on your back you need remember that. That means you can't go swinging around and talking to this person and then turning and talking to this person. If you do that you just took two people with your backpack. So be mindful of the fact you wearing a bag.

Those are the biggest gripes I think I have. I have others I don't like, people hitting and running over kids without saying they are sorry. People that put kids on their shoulders, (it blocks the view of every child and adult behind them), just hold them at your height. Line cutters, I have come to the point where I tell them where the line is. People will be more likely to help you if you don't do these things. For instance I always have extra passes to skip lines, and I pick random families to join me. I would never choose anyone doing any of the things listed above. I would pick people that seemed more considerate to those around them. Everyone can do as they please, but if you think about it then you would not want people doing these things to you, so don't do them to other people. And by being considerate and nice you would be surprised how many friends you can make and how much of a better time you can have. Take it from a theme park pro, being considerate can go a very long way in making your vacation a great one.