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Well, Maybe I Can Do Without Cyberspace Mountain After All

15 Oct

The one thing I hate about the idea that DisneyQuest will probably eventually close is that I fear they won’t move Cyberspace Mountain, but just let it die. I love Cyberspace Mountain, and was sad this summer that it’s gone from Walt Disney Studios Paris. Bill Nye in French, how can you argue with that?

But….looks like they might have me covered, what with the new The Sum of All Thrills design-your-own-roller-coaster attraction coming soon to Epcot. And being a geek, I’m intrigued by the math angle they seem to be working. From Raytheon’s press release:

“The Sum of All Thrills” will be a core component of Raytheon’s MathMovesU program, an initiative designed to engage middle school students in math and science, and help create the next generation of innovators for the U.S. It will be located in the INNOVENTIONS pavilion at Epcot, a unique area of the park that contains 100,000 square feet of interactive, hands-on exhibits that allow visitors to celebrate the inspiration and innovation that improve their lives and expand their horizons.

If you’re not a nerd, you might find the photo in the Orlando Sentinel a little sexier.

What’s Your Excuse for Missing Magic Meet 2007?

12 Jul

This weekend’s Magic Meet in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania looks like a tremendous amount of fun! Sometimes it does indeed sound like everybody who is anybody in our geeky little Disney fan community will surely be there. Mike Scopa is the keynote speaker . . . were I going to be in the audience, I’d surely have to wear my Scopa Towers t-shirt.

But I have an excellent excuse for missing the event. No, it’s not just because the event’s sold out. It’s also that I’ll be walking around the Hartford Convention Center, dressed like an oversized Rockhopper penguin. It would seem I won’t be alone there . . . a few others might join me. If you’re one of those wacky people, and you see somebody’s mom cosplaying PenPen, I think you can be pretty sure that’s me. Come say hello.

DisneyQuest Closing October 2007?

19 Apr

Rumors of DisneyQuest’s imminent demise have floated for years. But I was never so thoroughly convinced as when I heard it mentioned on Episode 245 of WDW Today (at about 10 minutes into the podcast). According to Mike Scopa, DisneyQuest will likely close “anytime after October 1” (but perhaps as late as January 2008) and be replaced (as long rumored) with an ESPN Zone, to open October 2008.

Darn. I do hope they hang onto a couple of the attractions, either incorporating them into the new ESPN Zone or bringing them to the resorts or parks. CyberSpace Mountain works just fine at Disney Studios Paris, and I’ll bet it would fit fairly well at Epcot. I’m sure they could also find a spot somewhere for my son’s favorite DisneyQuest attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold. But I gotta admit, I’ve got no great love for most of the rest of DisneyQuest. If they’re not going to invest further in its development, I agree that it’s time for it to go.

Disney Plans Themed Hotels for Major U.S. Cities

8 Feb

The Orlando Sentinel reports, Disney plans themed hotels for major U.S. cities:

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is considering putting Disney-themed hotels and nightlife districts into downtown areas of major cities that don’t currently have Disney properties.

This is an interesting idea. John Frost points out in The Disney Blog that they could, for example, build in New York City, to service guests visiting their Broadway shows. And I do think the Disney brand is strong enough to attract a reasonable number of travelers, especially if they’re able to keep prices competitive with the other major hotel chains.

I’m a bit more skeptical about setting up the “nightlife districts,” a la Downtown Disney. The shopping part of Downtown Disney would probably go over well in most cities, given the mall-ification of America. But the nightlife, Pleasure Island, entertainment component might not fare so well. Most cities’ clubgoers are fairly fickle in their nightclub tastes, meaning that clubs have to change names/styles/je-ne-sais-quoi on a regular basis to keep the crowd jumping.

Of course, none of my skepticism is going to stop me from hoping they set up shop in Boston. It’s cold up here, and I need a Disney fix! Warm me up with a themed hotel with associated shopping and nightlife; be sure to include a DisneyQuest-style arcade with Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold and CyberSpace Mountain. After all, wasn’t part of the DisneyQuest concept the ability to replicate rides cost-effectively in a large number of cities?

Never mind that DisneyQuest Chicago failed. I’m not thinking about Disney’s bottom line here . . . these are my needs we’re talking about!

(As a small tangent here. . . Boston actually has a company trying to fill a theme park-ish, interactive entertainment niche: 5WITS, presenting Tomb. It’s a bit overpriced, and as I don’t know many people that have been there I suspect they may not be drawing the crowds they’d hoped for. But I had fun there, so I figured I’d give them a little plug. I’ll go back fer sure when they put in a new show, preferably one with pirates. Or the ability to shoot down some aliens. Hey, I’m not picky.)

[Update: More on this from Orlando Sentinel: “Disney also is contemplating small, immersive “niche theme parks” and water parks in other cities, Rasulo said.”

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the “Lessons Learned” meeting when DisneyQuest Chicago closed; I hope they review those PowerPoints before they make their next move.]

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