We're back with the Weekend Update after our weekend off at the D23 Expo. I had a great time and enjoyed meeting so many of you at the MiceChat booth. I even got asked for my autograph! I have to say that it was pretty special to have Bob Gurr in our booth on one day and Jack Lindquist and Tony Baxter in our booth the next.
This week we start out with a trip to Flushing Meadows courtesy of Monorail Man. He was so excited to be there that he gave me a call, and I shared his excitement as he described what he was seeing. As a fan of Walt Disney, I consider this hallowed ground. It's the site of some of the most important events that shaped the Disney company for many years following. Some of you know that I was lucky enough to spend time with Disney Legend Rolly Crump a few years ago, and many of his stories centered around the preparations for the 1964 New York World's Fair.
Aussie theme park reporter Rya86n has a report on the miraculous transformation of the queue for the Lethal Weapon attraction at Warner Brothers Movieworld. The attention to detail on both the "before" and "after" queue is amazing.
sir clinksalot has a detailed report on Six Flags Great America in the Chicago metro area. That's followed by an interesting photographic study of the Partners statue at Disneyland. Tom Brinker has captured the many faces of this iconic sculpture. Finally this week we have part two of kcnole's report from Singapore. He's promising a part three in the weeks to come.
Thanks for visiting the Weekend Update!
Monorail Man visits the hallowed grounds at Flushing Meadows
It's like the mecca of the legacy of Walt Disney - Flushing Meadows in New York. Flushing Meadows is currently home to the US Open, lush green grass, and a wonderful park for everyone to play. But it wasn't always that way! It was home to the 1964 Worlds Fair that brought us many of the classic attractions we love today, like Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, it's a small world, and the Carousel of Progress.
The fun started on the 7 train out to Flushing Meadows, just as we see the Matterhorn rising out of Disneyland, I saw the Unisphere and got excited. I can only imagine how it was in the 60s for children arriving to an actual fair!
After stepping off the train, I walked forward to the coverings - these same coverings used to process tickets for the fair.
Imagine this line full of people, ready to experience the future!
Entering the fair, err, park.
Today, the mood is peaceful and serene. However, one can only close their eyes, look at the streets and see thousands of attendees, buildings and fun that awaited them.
As I entered the park, my first stop was the Unisphere! It's still impressive, and massive. Lots of kids playing in the fountain (now only turned on for special events).
Also, the original 1935's World's Fair NYC building is still here, used by the UN in the 64 World's Fair, but it's a museum today. It was under expansion and I didn't get inside, but it hosts a wonderful Worlds Fair and NYC exhibits. Check it out at Queens Museum of Art
Also still standing is the New York State Pavilion from the '64 World's Fair. Movies have used this decrypt tower as background and plot points. Just outside the looming metal is a Theater that hosts local plays.
I really wanted to go inside. Sure, there's nothing there now, but the legacy still stands. I really hope someone can get this restored someday.
More park exploration. There's lots of little remnants of buildings and things.
The spot where it's a small world once stood.
The Fountain of Planets. During the fair, this hosted a huge nighttime water show.
Well, it's getting late - I better take the 7 back to Times Square or Broadway for dinner or a show.
Exploring the grounds of Flushing Meadows was an amazing experience, and I recommend it for all Disney fans. Next time I go, I'll take a map of the World's Fair with me to see exactly where the attractions I love once stood. It's a wonderful park and venue, and a great reminder that in some aspects, we are in the future envisioned 45 years ago!
Rya86n shares fun "before and after" views of the queue at the Lethal Weapon attraction at Warner Brothers Movieworld
Earlier this year I shared some photos of Lethal Weapon at Warner Brothers Movieworld.
Recently the ride went down for maintanence. During this time, there was some significant changes to the themeing. Enough to allow a decent "Before" and "After" photo report.
Previously guests would enter Chinatown on their way to Lethal Weapon - The Ride.
The queue then moved up towards a theatre facade, within which riders could watch sequences of the Lethal Weapon film series, before progressing to the loading platform.
Now, the former entry looks like this:
Instead of entering through the front of the building, the entrance is now positioned around the corner.
The show building facade has been covered with a more blatantly themed Lethal Weapon film banner.
Once inside the building (and beyond the theatre), riders used to pass through this room
With a more detailed auto yard theming, including piled cars and graffiti.
As well as audio of barking dogs to accompany the finer details like this.
This space has now been utilised to extend the queue line, making up for space lost, removing the outside queue.
The graffiti theme has been continued, and riders still progress out of the room and up towards the load station.
The ride itself remains unchanged, the same Velkoma Suspended Looping Coaster first introduced to the park in 1995.
There has yet to be any visible changes to the old exterior. But these small changes do free up some room at the front of the show building. It's possible this space could be utilised temporarily for Movieworld's upcoming Halloween Fright Nights.
sir clinksalot turns a work trip into pleasure at Six Flags Great America
On a recent work trip, Sir Clinksalot had the opportunity to visit Six Flags Great America. For those who are familiar with "California's Great America", this was it's original sister park as both were previously known as "Mariott's Great America".
The entrance to the park:
Entering the park, it looks very much like it's former sister park in Santa Clara
They claim to be the Cleanest Park in the World ... let's see shall we
The park actually opened the gates about 30 minutes prior to opening, so I got the chance to take some pictures of the park in a pretty empty state
One of the parks signature coasters, Raging Bull
As you can see, this park is very well themed, and not just "very well themed for a Six Flags park".
Once the park opened I was able to get my Flash Pass, but unfortunately the rain meant many of the rides weren't open. So I started off with the Indoor "The Dark Knight". This ride is essentially Goofy's Sky School inside a box. The themeing is decent, but it certainly gave me some ideas of what Disney could have done with Goofy's Sky School.
Inside the queue, they have some interesting themeing, such as this tv set that makes you out to be a villain. This is how Sir Clinksalot looks after only 2 hours of sleep on a Red Eye.
Once the rain stopped and the rides opened, I was able to check out all of the rides in the park.
Batman: The Ride. If you have ridden the coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain, this is the same layout. But the one here was the original.
Moving towards the back of the park, we come to Yukon Territory
The Little Dipper which was moved from KiddieLand Amusement park to Great America last year
Some fun facts about Little Dipper
A shot of the coaster
The Iron Wolf Coaster that is being removed at the end of the season this year.
American Eagle, which is a racing coaster that just began running one side forwards and one side backwards.
Heading back over to the Southwest Territory, we take a closer look at Raging Bull
The area around Raging Bull is very nicely themed
The Drop Tower is themed to an Ore Mine
Long way up, short way down
The park also features a pretty awesome railroad
Perhaps one of our Railroad Enthusiasts can tell us a bit more about these trains.
The railroad allows you to get some nice views of the park. As you can see, the park is quite lush.
The Demon Coaster, which I believe is identical to the one at California's Great America. If it's not identical, it's very close.
Superman: Ultimate Flight
Like many other Six Flags parks, this park also has a Cyber Cafe
One of the parks main stores, Bugs Bunny and Company. This area of the park is in "Orleans Landing" and you can see a bit of the Orleans style themeing here.
More of Orleans Landing
Finally, let's take a birds-eye look at the park on the parks Sky Tower
Going Up ... first we see Superman: Ultimate Flight
A birds eye view of Hurricane Harbor, which is included with the park admission
Viper, Raging Bull and American Eagle in the far left corner
A clearer look at just how big American Eagle is
As you can see, the park is very large, but doesn't feel overwhelmed by steel coasters like some parks can feel
The parks entry
Looking towards Chicago ... it was a bit hazy, but you can almost make out the skyline
Overall, Six Flags Great America is one of the better Six Flags parks. I would place it behind Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags Over Texas, but slightly better than Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Six Flags Magic Mountain.
It has a fantastic mix of rides for thrill seekers and families alike. Unlike some other parks that concentrate only on coasters, SFGAm has a very well rounded mix of coasters, flat rides, water rides and family rides. The inclusion of Hurricane Harbor with park admission makes the park even that much more well-rounded.
Tom Bricker on the many faces of the Partners statue
Part Two of kcnole's trip to Singapore
A few weeks ago I shared photos with you of my trip to Singapore last month. We visited many of the tourist highlights of the city, this week we will take a small visit to the Sentosa Resort which is one of the primary tourist locales in the entire Country.
The Resorts World Sentosa (as it is officially called) is an integrated resort on the man made island of Sentosa. It includes a number of key attractions; Two Casinos, Universal Studios (which we'll visit in a later update), and a marine park which includes the world's largest oceanarium. In addition there are a number of smaller attractions (such as the Songs of the Sea nighttime show which I will detail towards the end of this report), shops, and restaurants scattered throughout the resort as well. To me the resort reminds me much of what Disney California Adventure could have been had they gone with the option to expand it into a much larger version of Downtown Disney with separate cost per attraction. Entry to the resort itself is free (aside from a small transportation fee) but each attraction has its own cost to view.
Unfortunately I didn't have very much time to visit the resort (in fact, aside from my visit to Universal Studios later in the week) I only visited it for a few hours one night during the week. My primary reason for the visit was to see the "Songs of the Sea" nighttime show. As a result I only have a few photos of the resort that I was able to take during my brief visit.
I have often heard The Songs of the Sea show compared to DCA's World of Color nighttime show. That is fair in that both shows feature dramatic music, beautiful water fountains, lazers, lights, and mist screens, the comparison should end there. Songs of the Sea is a great show (at times) but it is nowhere near the level of World of Color.
The show tells a somewhat incomprehensible story of a young man who falls in love with a woman he finds somehow trapped in the sea while singing a song. Apparently his song is magical and he hopes to use it to rescue her. Throughout the show his song awakens a few other mysterious beings which results in a few incredible displays of water fountain, fire, and laser shows. Along the way he is assisted by a few cartoon characters who are projected on light screens as well.
The show is hit and miss. Were it primarily a water fountain/light show it would be fantastic. While the World of Color technology is obviously superior, I truly enjoyed some of the musical numbers and it is quite beautiful. The show falls apart in the areas where it relies on the ridiculous storyline and actors to drive it. I have heard reports from people close to the Sentosa resort that a new show is in the works which will focus far more on the special effects and lose the silly acting and ridiculous story. If that happens I will definitely want to see the new show as the other parts of the show were amazing.
I have a included a few videos of the show which I took during the night which will hopefully show some of the better qualities of the show.
All said, I did truly enjoy the limited amount of time that I had in the Sentosa Resort and if I ever find myself in Singapore again I really do what to spend a day or so exploring all of the attractions that the resort has to offer. You could easily stay here for several days taking in all of the major attractions, shops, and experiences that the resort offers and not find yourself bored.
Might we also suggest that you visit these fine MiceAge/MiceChat attractions for even more Disney and theme park fun:
- MiceTube - Introducing MiceChat's new channel on YouTube. Kevin Yee and MiceChat Sarah have been uploading entertaining videos weekly, along with many other of your MiceAge and MiceChat favorites.
- Dateline Disneyland which is packed with great news and photos from the Disneyland Resort.
- Orlando Parkhopper featuring news and photos from Disney World and Orlando area theme parks.
- In The Parks offers news, updates and tips from Disneyland and other Southern California offerings.
- SAMLAND - Your weekly look at some interesting tales from Disney history.
- MiceDeals - You won't want to miss out on these great deals for Orlando and Anaheim!
- Vacationeering - Every Sunday, we feature articles designed to help you create magical family vacation memories!
And that brings us to the end of another week. Our photographers have just enough time to reload their cameras before we see you all again next weekend. Thank you to all of our wonderful readers, and as always, a huge thank you to our amazing team of global photographers, spies, and gossips:
Your Editor - Rixter
Your Editor - Rixter
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