Nemo and Friends SeaRider Opens at Tokyo DisneySea

Disney fans here have been much preoccupied with the retheming of “Tower of Terror” to “Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission Breakout” at Disney California Adventure, and the opening of Pandora at Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. On the other side of the planet at Tokyo DisneySea (one of the best Disney parks in the world—ask anyone who’s been there, or just look at a photo below) the latest attraction to open is “Nemo and Friends SeaRider.” The new ride, which opened on May 12, replaces one of the park’s 2001 opening day attractions, “Stormrider.” That ride was kind of like a bigger version of “Star Tours,” but not nearly as good. You could see the seams all over the large screen, thus destroying the illusion that you were supposed to be looking out a large observation window at the front of a new type of plane. Said aircraft was designed to drop a “fuse” into the center of a hurricane which immediately dissipates it. The ride was not the best thing Walt Disney Imagineering has done, and it usually had the shortest line in Tokyo DisneySea, about 20 to 40 minutes in a park where two- and three-hour lines are the norm.

They just fixed it by redoing the entire thing with an overlay from the film Finding Dory. There are many Disney park enthusiasts who bemoan the conversion of a ride with an original storyline and characters to that of an Intellectual Property (“IP”) which Disney owns. Personally, I don’t care as long as the ride is good. Read the rest

Hayao Miyazaki's beloved 'Totoro' will be focus of Studio Ghibli theme park set to open in 2020

Japan's iconic animation Studio Ghibli, co-founded by anime director Hayao Miyazaki, is developing a 'My Neighbor Totoro' theme park.

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Billboard companies reject atheist group's 'Genocide And Incest' ad mocking Noah's Ark theme park

Remember those funny atheist protest ads mocking a Noah’s Ark-themed amusement park being built in Williamstown, Kentucky? Two billboard companies with no sense of humor have refused to run the atheist group's funny ads ridiculing The Ark Encounter.

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Kentucky's Noah's Ark religious attraction to open next summer

Christian ministry Answers In Genesis report that their massive Noah's Ark attraction will open next July in Williamstown, Kentucky. This is the same organization behind the infamous Creation Museum where cavemen frolic with dinosaurs. The 510-foot-long, $90 million wooden Ark will be the centerpiece of a Christian theme park. The state of Kentucky had originally given Answers In Genesis an $18 million tax break on the project but changed their mind "over concerns of 'religious indoctrination,'" according to the Associated Press. Answers In Genesis has filed a federal lawsuit to try to get the tax incentive reinstated.

I just hope the ark has room for the dragons and unicorns.

(Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest

15 things I love about Tokyo DisneySea

Yeah, you’ve heard of Disneyland (that’s the one in California) and you were probably dragged to Walt Disney World (that’s the one in Florida) when you were a kid. And, possibly, if you give a rat’s patootie about Disney theme parks, you might have heard they have them in other countries, but you’ve probably never heard of Tokyo DisneySea.

“TDS,” as the Japanese call it, is what is known as a Disney resort’s “second gate.” If you’re a WDW person, then Epcot is the second gate; if you’re a DL person, then Disney California Adventure is the second gate.

In 2001, when The Walt Disney Company built Disney California Adventure, it spent one billion bucks for the park, the Grand Californian Hotel, and Downtown Disney. The same year, when The Oriental Land Company (who owns the Tokyo Disney Resort—The Walt Disney Company receives a royalty and percentage) built Tokyo DineySea, it spent three billion dollars just for the park. The Imagineers who conceive all this amazing stuff for Disney, most of which rarely gets built, got the chance to see their best creations realized. I could write a book about Tokyo DisneySea, but here are just 15 really cool things.

1. Drinking a Kirin Frozen Draft while standing beside the Nautilus. Yes, they serve Japanese beer with a frozen “head” right next to Captain Nemo’s killer sub. Nice when it’s 85 degrees and 90% humidity.

2. A quiet street in a small Italian town … except it’s really in a theme park near Tokyo. Read the rest

In the ruins of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's Christian themepark

Here's a set of photos from the ruins of Heritage USA in Fort Mill, SC, the Christian themepark built by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker at the height of their evangelical empire, now fallen to ruins since its closure in 1989. It's arguably a lot more fun to visit now than it ever was in its heyday.

Heritage USA (via IO9) Read the rest

Save Disney World from Disneylandification

More fantastic, barn-storming Disney theme park theory from Passport to Dreams Old and New: On Integrity, an indictment of the wholesale destruction of the unique identity of Florida's Walt Disney World and its replacement with generic theming imported from Disneyland. "I love Disneyland dearly, but when it comes to Walt Disney World -- to hell with Disneyland." Read the rest