The Food & Wine Festival just ended, Pirates 4D just closed, reasonable temperatures are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and it’s getting to the point where you can’t walk outside without the humidity hitting you like a ton of bricks. What does all this mean? It means it’s time for IllumiNights. Now, just a little warning to anyone who hasn’t been paying attention to the leaks that have been popping up on the ParkFans Forum: You’re probably about to be shocked, stunned, and flabbergasted at the things you’re about to see. Yes, IllumiNights has always been a tremendously bizarre event; however, this year’s iteration seems to be the most unorthodox incarnation thus far. Between scaffolding on Killarney’s Abbey Stone Theater, a massive dead-looking metal tree in front of Oktoberfest’s Das Festhaus, and giant insects, amphibians, and reptiles all over the park, if there’s one thing we can conclude, it’s that, come July 1st, we’re all in for a very strange ride. Prepare yourselves for insanity.
Anywho, with that slightly over dramatic introduction out of the way, I actually do think we have a fairly solid photo update for you today. The bulk of the focus will be on IllumiNights because, well, the event starts in just a few days; however, there will be a few other topics covered as well- namely an update on Fear Fair’s status for Howl-O-Scream 2013, pictures of the current state of the Globe Theater’s lobby, and a rather major ParkFans Network status update at the end. Enjoy!
IllumiNights work was well underway at the park this last weekend and, considering there’s less than a week till the event starts, construction work should actually be coming to a close within the next few days at the very latest. Though it was clear there was still some work to be done here and there, I imagine the bulk of what you can see in the pictures below will be very similar to what you can expect to see when the event opens on Monday, July 1st.
No, seriously, stop laughing. According to highly trusted sources within the park, the park’s Irish-themed hamlet will be home to the long-rumored replacement to Legend of Killarney which will be named Killarney Kommotion. Yes, the name is horrendous and should probably be erased from the minds of everyone in the human race but, at least for a moment, let’s put that aside and look at the atrocity the park has constructed to host this convoluted show concept of theirs.
Oh, but don’t worry guys and gals, since I visited the park on Sunday, things have gotten even
This is, in all honesty, the worst thing I’ve ever seen the park do. The set looks awful, the concept clashes horrendously with the mystical feel Killarney is supposed to have, and it ruins one of the park’s most impressive structures during what should be the park’s main season. The entire thing is simply ghastly. It’s also worth noting that many of the light-hearted, mystical-styled decorations that could be seen throughout Killarney in past years have been put up again this year as well. Needless to say, they clash terribly with the construction-themed Killarney Kommotion stage.
With both Voila! and Wunderbarn cancelled and The Legend of Killarney replaced, Giardino Magico is the only returning show for this year’s IllumiNights. Fortunately, personally, I think Giardino Magico has always been the perfect example of what an IllumiNights show should be: Simple, fascinating, and magical. As long as the park can keep those elements intact, there may actually be something worth seeing at this year’s IllumiNights. Anyway, the set and theming seems largely the same as in past years so if you’ve seen it before, these pictures won’t likely be anything particularly new or shocking.
After that bit of positivity, lets get back to what IllumiNights is really about: Picking the most out of place and bizarre pieces of theming imaginable and tossing them all over the park. That leads us right into the next theming centerpiece of this year’s IllumiNights: Glow Island. What is Glow Island you say? Well, to be completely honest, I have no clue. All I know is that there’s a massive dead-looking metal tree sitting inside a forest green wooden ring in front of Das Festhaus. Oh, and that it looks horrendous.
The Rhine River Cruise
Not much to say here, but I suppose I should mention that the Rhine River Cruise boats have been decorated for IllumiNights already as well.
The Globe Theater
For those of you who haven’t been following the park lately, you may not know that Pirates 4D, the park’s 4D movie that has been shown in Banbury Cross’ Globe Theater over the past few years, had its final showing a little over a week ago. Anyway, while the park is hard at work on the theater itself in preparation for next year’s long-rumored Pirates 4D replacement, they have opened the theater’s lobby up as an air conditioned sitting and eating area. Considering a proper sitting area is something that Banbury Cross’ main eatery, Squire’s Grill, has always lacked, this setup works fairly well in my honest opinion.
In our last post, we leaked that Fear Fair, the park’s clown-themed Howl-O-Scream house which has been located in Festa Italia for two seasons now, would not be returning in 2013. Well, since then, due to continued budget constraints within the department, sources are now saying that Fear Fair’s demolition and its replacement have been cancelled. I suppose this means we can expect to see a slightly revamped version of the same house return under the same name for Howl-O-Scream 2013 after all.
The ParkFans Forum Hits Another Milestone
Back in May the ParkFans Forum passed the 50,000 posts mark and now, less than 4 months since that astounding milestone, we’ve blown past the 60,000 posts mark as well. To celebrate, we’ve soft-opened our next addition to the ParkFans Network: BGTFans.com. That’s right, ParkFans will now be providing full coverage of Busch Gardens Tampa. While there’s still a few exceedingly minor details to work out till an “official” launch occurs, you’re more than welcome to read Bill’s introduction post, follow BGTFans on Twitter, and like the site on Facebook. Needless to say, we’re all thrilled to be able to cover a park which, as far as we can tell, is often overlooked by the bulk of the enthusiast community- likely due to the complete lack of coverage it seems to recieve. There may be bigger parks in Florida, but we think Busch Gardens Tampa deserves some facetime as well. Hopefully BGTFans will be able to help provide that.