Guests To Enter Universal Beijing Using Facial Recognition Tech

An awesome news story came out today via the website France 24 saying that guests who enter Universal Beijing will be able to use facial recognition technology instead of showing a ticket. The story also notes that the park is partnering with popular Chinese tech company Alibaba so that guests can use Alipay to purchase meals and merchandise.

I think this is fantastic news and is yet another sign of the theme park industry advancing every year implementing new technology into their parks and enhancing the guest experience in large and small ways. Universal is probably also thinking that this is a way to take a jab at Shanghai Disneyland and all of the fancy high tech rides they have over at that park.

Usually Disney and Universal use their international parks to test out new ride tech and new tech to enhance the guest experience. If successful these new ideas usually make there way to the domestic parks (ie: Tron Power Run) I would like to see facial recognition make its way to Universal and Disney parks in the United States and hopefully both companies start to implement this advanced tech into the parks in the coming years and completely take away the need for paper tickets.

What do you think of this new technology? Would you like to see Apple or a tech company partner with Disney or Universal and implement Apple Pay and facial recognition into the parks? Let me know in the comments below!

NBC Sports Grill and Brew Coming to CityWalk at Universal Hollywood in 2020!

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NBC Grill and Brew in Orlando courtesy of Attractions Magazine

Antijitos is now open at Universal CityWalk in Hollywood and now they have announced their next major addition that will be coming to the entertainment complex.

NBC Sports Grill and Brew (which is already at CityWalk Orlando) will be making its West Coast debut next year as Universal Hollywood aggressively continues to enhance and completely revamp CityWalk. The pub will feature three giant TV screens out front as well as over 100 HD TV’s inside the restaurant. The menu will consist of general pub and bar food and alcohol and will add to the energy and excitement of CityWalk. This should look very impressive and fit in at night when the rest of the complex lights up. Its location is great as well as it will be in the center of everything in the main plaza right next to Antijitos, Tony Romas, and Johnny Rockets.

I am very excited for new changes to CityWalk and personally cannot wait for this to open up sometime in the next few months. What do you guys think about this new addition? Do you like the new changes that are coming or have been made recently to CityWalk? Comment your thoughts down below!

New Fantasmic! for Hollywood Studios in 2023?

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Fantasmic! at Disneyland

There is an early rumor that Hollywood Studios will be receiving an entirely new Fantasmic! just in time for the show’s 25th Anniversary in 2023. There are very few details on this rumor as of this time, but based on Disneyland’s Fantasmic! refurb we can have an idea of what could be coming to this new version if it is in fact coming.

Disneyland’s Fantasmic! took about one year to refurb and added a couple new scenes such as the controversial Pirates of the Caribbean scene. No idea if the same scene would come to the new Hollywood Studios version or not, but if the show is going to get a refurb then expect the show to go down sometime in 2022 for a reopening in 2023.

Do you want a Fantasmic 2.0 in Hollywood Studios or do you like the current show? What new scenes would you like? What scenes are a must keep? Let me know in the comments below!

Universal Studios Hollywood to Test New VR Experience in CityWalk

Hello and welcome back to Theme Park Wizard if you are living in Southern California then please stay safe from the strong winds and as of this writing five fires throughout our region.

Universal Studios Hollywood will be trying to compete with Downtown Disney and get its own new VR experience in Citywalk starting October 14th and going through November 7th. This is a partnership between Universal Pictures, Ford Motor Company, and Holoride.

During this experience guests are loaded on to the back of Ford 2020 Explorer cars and will take a 5-7 min drive by a professional driver. The interesting twist of this drive is that it will be through the dark world of Frankenstein. Riders will be using Oculus Headsets to experience this attraction. The best part is that this limited time attraction is free and all you have to do is sign up for a free reservation on their website.

So what do you guys think of this new experience coming to Citywalk? Will you be signing up and giving it a try during this month trial period? Let me know in the comments below!

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Officially Begins Construction at Disneyland

Hello there and welcome back to yet another construction update. Earlier today I talked about the Velicicoaster and right now I have an Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (MMRR) construction update to share.

Visitors to Toontown this week probably have noticed some very visible changes to the backdrop of Toontown as now Toontown mountain range has been completely demolished.

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Picture from wdwinfo on Demo behind Toontown

As you can see from this picture both entertainment buildings D13 and D14 were demolished within 48 hours starting Monday and ending today. The Toontown hills are attached to those buildings that are still intact in this picture but as of now those structures and the hills are gone as well.

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Photo of Toontown Hills gone from Micechat

Construction still has a long ways to go as this attraction will not be open until 2022, but it is great to see it starting already.

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Entrance to the attraction when it opens in 2022

Well that is it for this quick update, are you excited for this attraction to open in Toontown? Comment your thoughts below and don’t forget to hit that follow button for constant theme park updates!