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Theme Park Thrills: What’s New in 2020!

In today’s edition of Theme Park Thrills, we’ve got new info on how to secure your boarding for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland, the Lunar New Year celebrations, Mickey’s Runaway Railroad, Peacock Live!, Super Nintendo World, and more!

January 17 | Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at the Disneyland

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance finally opens in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at the Disneyland Resort. If you’re visiting soon, be sure to download the Disneyland app to make sure you secure your boarding pass early in the morning at park opening. Disney World would run out of boarding passes in less than 30 minutes, so be sure to get there before rope drop and be in the park ready. Yes that means wake up early enough to park or stay nearby to walk to the gate. You will only be able to join the virtual queue inside the park as soon as operating hours begin.

The Disneyland app will have a dedicated section titled Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Access by Boarding Group where you will be able to request to join a boarding group on the main page. Keep an eye on your push notifications to monitor your queue entry time. Disneyland will also offer limited on-site boarding group locations inside the park if you choose not to use the app. In the meantime also check out this amazing video from Disneyland’s team that will get you #ResistanceReady.

Jan. 17 – Feb. 9 | Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure Park

Disneyland Resort will celebrate the Year of the Mouse this Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure Park, Jan. 17 through Feb. 9, 2020. During the 24 days of this multicultural celebration, guests will enjoy exciting live entertainment and musical performances, including “Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession” and the return of the heartwarming “Hurry Home – Lunar New Year Celebration” prior to the “World of Color” nighttime spectacular.

The Lunar New Year celebration comes alive with a touch of Disney magic as transformative Asian celebrations dedicate the new year. Guests will experience inspired food, music and entertainment with loved ones as they celebrate the Year of the Mouse together. Lunar New Year, traditionally celebrated within Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures, celebrates the celestial journey of the sun and the moon on their journey towards another year. Learn more here.

Jan. 23 – Feb. 9 | Lunar New Year at Universal Studios Hollywood

Po, Tigress and Mr. Ping from the Kung Fu Panda Adventure attraction lead the celebrations which will feature the return of Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop, how-to-draw classes of some of your fave characters and cultural performances. Last year we loved the bao buns and of course Mr. Ping’s noodles! Among the gorgeously-decorated areas filled with lanterns and festive details, you’ll also be able to find Hello Kitty and the Minions decked out in Lunar New Year attire. Learn more here.

February 1-2 | Running Universal at Universal Orlando Resort

The inaugural epic character race comes to the east coast! There will be a 5K and a 10K at the resorts first race weekend with awesome Minion and Shrek medals. Be sure to dress as your fave Universal, Illumination and DreamWorks character to cross that finish line in style. Sign up here.

February 28 | Magic Happens! A New Parade at Disneyland

We’re very excited for this one, a brand new parade will be premiering at Disneyland which will include new floats inspired by Moana, Coco, and Frozen 2! Seeing the overseas floats at Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disney take things to a whole new level with intricate floating set pieces based on recent films has definitely raised the bar. Disneyland finally getting a new parade will hopefully give us fantastic new practical effects and amazing character moments.

March 4 | Mickey’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Not counting the various live shows and meet and greets, Mickey’s Runaway Railway will be the first attraction to feature Mickey Mouse. Guests will enter the world of a Mickey cartoon through the use of projection mapping like during Happily Ever After on the castle AND a TRACKLESS ride vehicle. We’re excited to see how the fun world of the Mickey Shorts (WATCH THEM ON DISNEY PLUS THEY’RE HIGHLY BINGE-ABLE AND HILARIOUS) and immersive tech collides. I really, really hope we get easter eggs to theme park-esque moments from the shorts like Potato-Land.

March 19-20 | Bravo’s Top Chef Food & Wine Festival at Universal Studios Hollywood

It’s always great to have an excuse to eat your way around a theme park. You’re walking and eating, so that totally counts as a workout. At Universal Studios’ first food fest we will get a chance to try selections from eclectic menus inspired by the series, see live challenges, join in on food & wine pairings and panels with “Top Chef” Alums. Find tickets here.

March 20 | Cirque du Soleil and Disney Present: Drawn to Life at Disney Springs

Previews start in March in Orlando’s Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort! Announced at D23 Expo 2019, Disney and Cirque have collaborated to tell the story of art and animation through classic Disney films and live performances. Disney Legend Eric Goldberg (animator on Genie and Maui) helped develop the story about a young girl who goes on an animator’s journey to follow in her family’s footsteps. Goldberg recently consulted on Villainous!, a Halloween water projection show for Oogie Boogie Bash at Disney’s California Adventure. And if you’ve seen Cirque du Soleil: Iris, which celebrated early Hollywood, then you know this show is not to be missed! Get tickets here.

March 28-29 | Peacock Live! At Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios will introduce their streaming service Peacock! live from Universal Studios Hollywood in an event that will feature their entertainment slate. Throughout the weekend, ticket holders will receive entry into the park for events as well as exclusive after-hours access. Theme park enthusiasts will be able to take part in insightful panels. There will be a “Halloween Horror Nights” talk where we JUST MIGHT (fingers crossed) get a maze announcement as the creative team is known to do at live events or on twitter. There will also be a “The Making of a Theme Park Attraction” panel where we will learn how movie IP’s get transformed into participatory entertainment through thrill rides and shows. Learn more here.

NBCUniversal Announces Peacock Live! Event for March 2020

April 15 | Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast at Tokyo Disneyland

If you have been watching The Imagineering Story on Disney+ like we have, then you have seen that Tokyo Disneyland is getting a BEAUTY AND THE BEAST DARK RIDE!!!! It’s trackless, it will take you on an adventure through a tale as old as time with amazing animatronics. THE BEAST! THE BALLROOM SCENE WITH FANCY DANCING ROBOTS!! Yes, I’m punching the keyboard, that’s how exciting this is. It will be housed in the Beast’s Castle in their New Fantasyland, which I imagine to be bigger than the Be Our Guest restaurant castle but smaller than TDL’s actual castle. There will also be a small provincial town leading up to it. Seriously, watch The Imagineering Story for a sneak peek, it will make you want to visit Japan ASAP.


The Bourne Stuntacular at Universal Orlando Resort

Based on the Matt Damon film series, a new live stunt show will debut at Universal Orlando Resort. Dates to be announced, but you can get more info here.

Disney Harmonious at EPCOT at the Walt Disney World Resort

Promising to be the biggest nighttime spectacular at Disney Parks, “Harmonious” will take us through the stories Disney shares on the world stage that brings us together. I Wonder if it will incorporate a similar throughline as the popular YouTube vids that show a song sung in different languages around the world seamlessly but on the water. We’re excited to see the world as told through Disney’s homages and celebration of all it’s cultures.

Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan

Based on the popular worlds of Super Mario and other Nintendo franchises, Universal Studios Japan will open this area just in time for the Summer Olympics. The headlining ride will be a Mario Kart attraction, where I do hope we get to throw shells at people and go invisible. Universal promises NO LIMIT on a new level of immersion more fully committed to than any other park (since the other place has backpedaled from ambitious levels of it). There will be mobile interactive capabilities like the three key challenge, where you and other guests can unlock levels to play in the real world and fight a boss battle together. And you can get RFID wristband to collect coins and POWER up in the environments.

Watch this music video that unveils the interconnectivity of the theme park with your phone and the Nintendo Switch!

Other Openings Coming Soon…

  • EPCOT’s Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • Disney’s California Adventure: Avengers Campus
  • Universal Studios Hollywood: The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash
Watch Vin Diesel in the New Bloodshot Trailer!
Watch Vin Diesel in the New Bloodshot Trailer!
Black Widow Featurette with Johansson, Feige and Shortland
Black Widow Featurette with Johansson, Feige and Shortland

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