To follow up Universal's announcement last week about its ambitious development plans for Universal Studios Hollywood, let's take a closer look at what has already happened and what we can expect over the next few years. The 5-year overhaul of the park, pegged at $1.6 billion, will utterly transform it and introduce many exciting new developments. Read about the Universal Studios Hollywood Expansion, which has, or will include:
The all-American park chain, Six Flags, announced that it has inked a deal to bring its coasters and other signature features to a park in Dubai. The Middle East Six Flags is slated to open in 2017 and would be part of a planned multi-park resort.
While Six Flags' announcement didn't reveal any specifics, it's likely that its U.A.E.-based partner in the project would be footing the bill for the park, and that Six Flags would be hired to lend its brand and industry expertise. The cash infusion should boost the Texas company's coffers and give it more working capital to invest in its North American parks. Six Flags says that it plans to explore other international opportunities.
The Six Flags empire used to include parks in Europe before the company became saddled with debt and shed many of its properties, including all of the ones outside North America. This isn't the first time the chain has floated a Dubai park project. About six years ago, there were grandiose plans to build an astonishing number of theme parks in the U.A.E., including Busch Gardens, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, DreamWorks Animation, and Warner Brothers, as well as Six Flags. The worldwide economic collapse halted all development with the notable exception of Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi.
Photo: Will Dubai flip for Six Flags coasters? © Arthur Levine.
Universal Studios Hollywood, an actual working movie studio at which a backstage tour was introduced about 50 years ago that evolved into a theme park, has long ceded the spotlight to its Florida upstart, Universal Orlando. That is changing as parent company, Comcast, announced ambitious plans yesterday to overhaul the California property and transform it into a resort in its own right. Read More...
There will be plenty of new slides, rides, and other attractions opening this season at water parks throughout North America. Many of them have peculiar names, such as Bonzai Pipelines, coming to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in California. Then there will be the new Las Vegas water park known as Cowabunga Bay. Perhaps the oddest name of all -- and the most anticipated water park ride of 2014 -- will be Verruckt, the world's tallest water slide coming to Schlitterbahn Kansas City. Read about these and other developments in my annual rundown of all the new goodies coming to water parks in the Slide Guide 2014.
Photo: Six Flags