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Regional Updates - July 2017

1707_qh_ap_usjUniversal Studios Japan Unveils New Potter-Themed Nighttime Show

With Hogwarts castle as the backdrop, Dementors descend across the Black Lake at Universal Studios Japan in the world’s first Harry Potter nighttime show. The “Expecto Patronum” multimedia spectacular, which opened in time for the Golden Week holidays, relies on projection mapping to bring the world of Harry Potter to life. The theme park, which is being fully bought by Comcast in a US$2.3 billion deal, also announced record visitor numbers at 14.5 million people for the fiscal year ending in March. Universal also announced it will offer a projection-mapping Hogwarts show during Christmastime at Islands of Adventure in Orlando.


1070_qh_ap_everlandFlying Robots Land at South Korea’s Everland

Perhaps it is not surprising that in the land of Samsung, virtual reality (VR) is a big deal. South Korea’s largest theme park, Everland, launched a VR experience aboard a 6-meter-high robot with twin arms. Riders can feel like they are leaping from tall buildings, avoiding robot attacks, and navigating other adventures during the three-minute ride, while the arms rotate 360 degrees. Everland has several VR attractions, including one on a decommissioned Ferris wheel: while the “Universe Big Wheel” remains stationary, with virtual reality, “riders” can believe it is moving again.


1707_qh_emea_italyItaly’s Città della Scienza Reborn After Fire 

Four years after fire destroyed the Città della Scienza science center in Naples, Italy, a new interactive museum has emerged from the ashes. 

Corporea–which opened this year–is dedicated to the human body. Visitors can discover their inner selves by exploring more than 100 exhibits. These are presented in 13 themed “islands” covering topics from the cardiovascular system to hormones, DNA, and a history of medicine. Guests can look forward to a mix of interactive stations, games, videos, workshops, and hands-on experiments across the 5,000-square-meter museum. The attraction connects past, present, and future: it’s a place where historical artifacts from the Naples National Archaeological Museum sit alongside the latest biomedical advances such as 3-D printing.

Around 250,000 visitors a year are expected to enjoy the Corporea experience, which is available in three languages: Italian, English, and Chinese. In the first month alone, more than 61,000 people visited the new attraction.

Città della Scienza has also opened a new 3-D planetarium, installed by Skypoint Planetariums. It features a Spitz Inc. projection dome 17.5 meters in diameter, making it one of the largest digital planetariums in Europe. It comes equipped with Evans & Sutherland’s first Digistar 6 system in Italy and is capable of entertaining up to 120 spectators at a time. The 3-D planetarium is offering a rich program, with shows every 45 minutes. 


1707_qh_emea_alton_towersAlton Towers Resort Hotel Shares Top Sleep Tipzzzzz

Ahead of this month’s opening of its CBeebies Land Hotel for young families, England’s Alton Towers Resort collaborated with parenting expert Liz Fraser to create “Top Ten Toddler Sleep Tipzzzzz” (available on YouTube). The hotel’s round-the-clock entertainment program includes a bedtime story activity to get children ready for bed. “We know just how important sleep is for families who want to enjoy an incredible day out,” says Hotel Director Janet Gurr. The 76-room facility will offer themed bedrooms inspired by shows including “Postman Pat” and “In The Night Garden.”


1707_qh_la_giraffeBeto Carrero World Welcomes Baby Giraffe

Brazil’s Beto Carrero World zoo welcomed the newest member to its family: Catarina, a baby giraffe named after the Brazilian state in which the attraction is based. Weighing approximately 176 pounds and standing over 6 feet tall, Catarina is a success story for the zoo, which has established a captive breeding program to help preserve a variety of species. Currently in Brazil,  there are only 16 giraffes, five females and 11 males, and only two zoos have breeding pairs. 


1707_qh_la_selvaSelva Mágica Adds Virtual Reality

The newest craze to hit the roller-coaster circuit has come to Guadalajara, Mexico’s Selva Mágica park: Titan VR, a virtual reality (VR) experience for coaster riders. Guests place VR headsets over their eyes after choosing which coaster “route” or experience they want—either the traditional route or a VR edition that features the animated film “Happy Family.” Once the attraction takes off, riders are immersed in a new, never-before-seen experience. 


1707_qh_na_silverSilver Dollar City’s ‘Festival of Wonder’ Brings Unusual Entertainment to Park

Earlier this year, Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, opened its first “Festival of Wonder” entertainment experience that offered “acts of curiosity and larger-than-life performances.” The month-long festival featured everything from a gravity-defying balancing show, to precision upside-down dancing, to the world’s largest stringed instrument—a harp spanning 75 feet from the stage to the back of the park’s Red Gold Heritage Hall. There were also outrageous foods, like “curious kabobs” with shark or alligator on a stick, chocolate-covered bacon, Nutella s’mores, and bacon cannoli. 


1707_qh_na_magic_mountainMagic Mountain’s ‘Justice League’ Offers New Tweaks to Popular Dark Ride

Six Flags Magic Mountain (SFMM), the Valencia, California park with the largest annual attendance in the Six Flags chain, has opened the first dark ride in its storied 46-year history. “Justice League: Battle for Metropolis” is the complex interactive 3-D attraction at the center of the new extensively re-themed Metropolis area of the park. This “Justice League” is one of three debuting at Six Flags parks in 2017 (with the others at Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags Great Adventure), and brings the park company’s total to seven since 2015. These immersive experiences are a collaboration between Sally Corporation, Oceaneering, and Alterface. 

The SFMM version offers two new scenes and elements not present in the others, including new game targets, 180-degree toroidal HD screens, and a lifelike animatronic of villain Harley Quinn. She joins characters Lex Luthor and the Joker in a mission to abduct Justice League superheroes. 

The new Metropolis area features the freshly painted, green-and-yellow “Riddler’s Revenge” coaster, and six new culinary locations.