Saturday Six

Theme Park Enjoyment Index for JUNE 2024 (Opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and DreamWorks Land, RIP Test Track 2.0 and More!)

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The Theme Park Enjoyment Index (TPEI) is a monthly look at the events that have made an impact, both positive and negative, in this wild world of theme parks we all love so much. Each TPEI comes out on the last Saturday every month, and we assign each piece of news a positive or negative number, tally it all up at the end and chart it. The range goes from 0-100 with 0 being Stitch’s Supersonic Celebration while a perfect score of 100 would be Pandora: The World of Avatar.

Remember, all links in TPEI open up in a new browser window. So feel free to check stuff out, we’ll be here when you get back!

*Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Opens

Magic Kingdom park map for the opening day of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. (photo by Alicia Stella)

Seems like the day would never come, but *hopefully* with the official opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure this very weekend we can finally end the Splash Mountain discourse. Splash is gone and it’s not coming back, but in its place we have a charming flume ride filled with whimsy, cute animal characters, and E-Ticket animatronics.

A look at the front of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The queue for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure sets the table for our story, it’s been roughly a year since the events of The Princess & The Frog film and Tiana’s Place restaurant has been such a success that she’s paying it forward and opened up Tiana’s Foods (an employee owned co-op that produces bottles of hot sauce and other items.) The entire team is gearing up for a big Mardi Gras party.

Once onboard the ride, we get nice long journey through the bayou, encountering many cute critters, including this pair of frogs.

Speaking of these frogs, here’s a drawing of them by Tiny Theme Park Artist Jaime S. This is part of a series of drawings that will go through the entire attraction, and you can see them all by following her on Instagram (/jaimetinythemeparkart).

Tiny Frogs. (art by @jdimaria124)

Love this shot from Bio showing the two frogs as seen from guests outside the front of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

Frogs watching guests riding Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
One of the stunning Tiana audio-animatronics.


The views of Magic Kingdom you get on Tiana’s Bayou Adventure are still amazing. (photo by Ivonne Ramos)
More audio-animatronics! (photo by Ivonne Ramos)
As you can see there are multiple scenes in the attraction which feature beignets, so someone in Imagineering is paying attention to what I want to see in rides.
A rousing finale.

A wide release of merchandise accompanied the ride’s opening, with products located at several locations in the park. A handy dandy guide showed you where many items were located.

Merchandise menu. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Pardon the pun, but hot sauce has never been hotter than it is right now (thanks in large part to the YouTube sensation Hot Ones), so a bottle of Mama Odie’s Hot Sauce is certainly going to be a huge seller.

Hot sauce. (photo by Alicia Stella)

Several locations in the Magic Kingdom also offered food and drink items “inspired” by the attraction, including a full menu at the Golden Oak Outpost.

Tiana’s Famous Beignets and Lavender Lemonade from the Golden Post Outpost. (photo by Alicia Stella)
Lily Pad Crispy Treat. (photo by Alicia Stella)

Like Universal does with Mardi Gras and Halloween Horror Nights, the celebration of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure extends outside the actual park and you can find other inspired items such as The Bayou Soiree cocktail at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin bars and restaurants (including Shula’s Steakhouse, Todd English’s Bluezoo, and Amare.

TPEI Score: +10 Our long national nightmare is over as Tiana is finally here and the remnants of Song of South are locked away in the Disney Vault where they belong.

*CommuniCore Hall Opens, EPCOT Upgrade “Complete”

After seven long years, the highly ambitious EPCOT overhaul was finally “completed” this month with the opening of CommuniCore Hall. If you remember, once Covid hit the theme parks, Disney took a completely different tactic compared to Universal. Over at Islands of Adventure, Universal used the down time at the parks to move full steam ahead on the construction of the VelociCoaster, because it turns out its a lot faster and easier to work on projects inside a theme park when there are no guests around. Disney stopped building things entirely, and then when the parks reopened, they decided to scale down some of the projects. One of the scaled down projects was in EPCOT, where a super cool looking multi-story Pavilion was scrapped so that Disney could just rebuild a lesser version of CommuniCore (an opening day Pavilion at EPCOT later converted to Innoventions.)

Upcharge Pavilion miniature. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

This month CommuniCore Hall opened, putting a cap on the huge EPCOT upgrade (that included Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Harmonious and the Figment Popcorn Bucket.)

Communicore Hall. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

For the media night, CommuniCore Hall was poppin’. Live music acts entertained the guests and cool logos “literally hanging from the rafters” as the late Gorilla Monsoon would say.

The next day, when us plebeians were let in, CommuniCore looked and felt a little different.

CommuniCore Hall. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

The Hall was now sterile and lifeless. The justification for this is that CommuniCore Hall is some sort of “Flex Space” that will be decorated during the times when EPCOT has a Festival running.

Communicore Hall (photo by @bioreconstruct)
CommuiCore seating. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)
Ceiling of CommuniCore has lighting that can be quickly adapted to private event needs. For example, highlighting tables with food selections for a dining event. Rapidly moving lights for a nightclub type of event. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Ivonne Ramos (one of our favorite follows on DisTwitter) commented that CommuniCore Hall reminded here of The Medium Place (from the must-see NBC Show The Good Place.) For those that never show the show, The Medium Place was known as “eternal mediocrity,”

CommuniCore Hall. (photo by Ivonne Ramos)

To recreate this amazing “Flex Space” at home, may we direct you to this amazing LEGO recreation from @TheHorizoneer

TPEI Score: – 8 If it’s a FLEX SPACE why can’t Disney just flex it into something good?

I’d recommend watching this video by Poseidon Entertainment titled “5 years and Millions of Dollars to Play with Dirt” to get a further understanding of the EPCOT overhaul.

*CineSational: A Symphonic Spectacular

Meanwhile across town, Universal Studios Florida (USF) unveiled their latest show: CineSational: A Symphonic Spectacular. We’ll be doing an entire article dedicated to this show in the near future so we’ll just hit up some highlights here. This show takes place on and over the USF lagoon and it’s fantastic to finally have a “World of Color”-like show in Florida, as the water screen effects are now exactly where they need to be for shows like this.

Donkey Kong and Mario seen in CineSational. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

CineSational is both a look at the current “hits” that Universal has in its IP arsenal, but also a wonderful trip down memory lane using properties like Ghostbusters. A huge part of this show is based on the music associated with all of these properties, and where you hear these iconic themes back to back to back you can’t help but smile.

Scenes from the Ghostbusters segment of CineSational. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
A theme seen a few times in CineSational is “celestial”, with glimmering stars. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
One of the great moments in CineSational. Two projections. BTTF Courthouse and the time clock. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

I’m so glad that Universal still uses Jaws in the parks, and Rumors & Innuendo suggest Jaws may play a part in next month’s new Mega Movie parade coming to USF…

Jaws shark in CineSational. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

A rousing finale involving water screens, lasers, drones, and fireworks shows us exactly where the Universal Orlando Resort is in 2024. Once the younger brother always looking up to the bigger and better Walt Disney World, Universal is now contemporaries with WDW and is producing as good (if not better in some cases) attractions, lands, hotels, water parks, and now nighttime spectaculars. Let’s check back next month to see if we can add parades to that list.

Universal globe with fireworks and fountains at conclusion of CineSational. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

With the use of drones, CineSational is giving photographers the opportunity to get creative with their shots..

Optimus Prime and a Decepticon logo during CineSational. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Minion in the CineSational show seen behind a Universal entrance sign. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
Ghostbusters marshmallow man above the gas station at Universal on Turkey Lake Rd. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
“This will never get old.” (photo by Jeremy McNaughton)

TPEI SCORE: +8 Maybe the only news I have EVER broke in the theme park Universe was when I happened to be in the right place at the right time when USF dropped the news that they were going to debut the Cinematic Spectacular lagoon show back in 2012. I happened to be in the park and they announced something over the PA system about testing the show that night and I actually went to guest services to make sure I heard the announcement right. Was able to post the news on social media and was there that night for the first ever showing (which had several moments highlighting the movie Battleship that opened that Summer. Moments that were replaced not long after when it was clear Battleship was going to be a gigantic bomb at the movie theaters.) Cinematic Spectacular was decent, but it also showed how much ground Universal needed to cover in order to compete with Disney in the area of nighttime spectaculars. Even with the handicap of being located in a residential area, CineSational is now a proper theme park nighttime spectacular and we’re all better off for it.

*DreamWorks Land Opens

Regular readers of this fine blog series know that we covered DreamWorks Land in depth last week with a comprehensive guide to the land. Here’s some highlights though, including the return of the Shrek meet-and-greet!

Shrek, Princess Fiona, and Donkey. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

The debut of the Shrekzel, already an iconic Universal Orlando snack.

Shrekzel with green cheese. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

The Caterbus replaced Heimlich’s Chew-Chew Train as the most next level bonkers ride vehicle at any theme park.

A look at the themed legs of the Caterbus at Trollercoaster. (photo by @bioreconstruct)


Trolls Guy Diamond. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

The Kung Fu Panda area is filled with just wonderful names, like the Gong of Resounding Resonance.

Kung Fu Panda. Gong of Resounding Resonance. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

Beignets, which once could only be bought at Universal during Mardi Gras season, are now on the menu all year long at Imagination Cafe.

Imagination Café. Boss Baby Beignets. (photo by Brandon Glover)

TPEI Score: +10 I always found it weird listening to Disney podcasts and they would have a discussion of when a particular “Golden Era” would be for a Disney park. I always thought that the “Golden Era” for any theme park should be NOW, because you’ll have a combination of the attractions which lasted the test of time combined with new attractions based on technology that just didn’t exist in previous eras. DreamWorks Land is an improvement in every single area compared to the Woody Woodpecker KidZone that it replaced, helping to make this the “Golden Era” for Universal Studios Florida. I also feel we are in the “Golden Era” for Islands of Adventure, but I understand how the topic can work for Disney parks because there is no way anyone could ever make the case the current version we have of EPCOT is the “best.”

*Frontier Shootin’ Arcade Closes

Queue up the song “Another One Bites the Dust” from Queen as Disney is closing an attraction and replacing it with a lounge for Disney Vacation Club owners.

It’s actually a little surprising that the Shootin’ Arcade lasted as long as it did, especially when you consider the great WDW Overnight Gun Purge back in February 2016, where pretty much every gun of any type was removed from the parks and sent directly to the Disney Outlet Stores.

Len Testa taking aim.

Did I enjoy the Shootin’ Arcade? Yes I did.

TPEI Score: – 2 It’s not so much that the Shootin’ Arcade is a huge loss, but the fact that it is being replaced by a DVC lounge is pretty much a slap in the face to day guests at the park.

*Dark Universe Details!

For the last several years we’ve taken Flights with Bio and saw amazing aerial photos of the Epic Universe construction site showing the status of the Dark Universe land, and earlier this very month we got the unveiling of the Epic Universe Preview Center in CityWalk with a scale model. However, it wasn’t until after the Preview Center opened when Universal finally gave the full details about what is coming to this highly anticipated area.


The concept art that Universal released is pretty spectacular, and it’s still a pinch me, I’m dreaming moment seeing the Classic Monsters getting their time to shine in a theme park.

Dark Universe will contain two rides, the exact same amount found in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Pandora: The World of Avatar, two of my other favorite theme park lands. The main E-Ticket attraction is titled Monsters Unchained: The Frankenstein Experiment and will have a KUKA robotic arm based ride system like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The storyline to Monsters Unchained will be that we are guests to Victoria Frankenstein’s castle to witness her taming of the Monsters (Victoria is the distant granddaughter of the famous Victor Frankenstein.) As we make our way through the castle queue we learn about the technology Victoria is using, a containment system and Catacomb Navigation Units, and her goal – to return the Frankenstein name to world renown. We board the Catacomb Navigation Units (the 4-person KUKA arm ride vehicles) to witness Victoria’s plans, but Dracula has other ideas. Drac escapes and lets loose all the other monsters, and it is a mad dash as we try to escape the fiends and return to the safety of Victoria’s lab. Universal claims this attraction will be scary, something that hasn’t been attempted since Alien Encounter opened 30 years ago (unless you count the unintended fear that accompanies being threatened to ride Fast & Furious – Supercharged a second time.)

The concept art for Monsters Unchained comes across to me like, “What if it was the end of Cabin in the Woods except with Universal Classic Monsters?” and I for one can’t wait to see the answer to that question.

The second thrill ride in Dark Universe is the Curse of the Werewolf  spinning coaster with a story revolving around the traveling guild of mystics from The Wolf Man. The spinning cars seat four guests, with the two pairs sitting back-to-back similar to Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney. The guild leader, Maleva, meets with us in the encampment and warns us of what lies in the forest before we embark on our journey. We soon take off, accelerating quickly, as we make haste to the forest. Soon we find ourselves caught in the grasp of werewolves and before they can make a scratch barely escape, or so we think as once we return Maleva says one of us is marked with the curse of the werewolf.

Curse of the Werewolf is a launch coaster, like VelociCoaster at Islands of Adventure, Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa, and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster at DHS (a/k/a My Favorite Type Of Coaster.)

Let’s check out some of the food and beverage options at Dark Universe starting with The Burning Blade Tavern. This venue will be located to the left of Frankenstein’s castle under the massive windmill whose blades will ignite every 20 minutes. Inside, travelers and adventurers can grab a pint over some pub grub as they recount tales of adventure. My anticipation level for The Burning Blade is 11/10.

Das Stakehaus, located in the  Darkmoor village near the entrance portal, is a counter service restaurant themed to vampires. Rumored to be built over a pit of vampires, the waitstaff are vampire familiars, looking to serve the humans… and vampires. The menu consists of pun-filled fare like ribs, burgers, and kebabs – because it’s steak on a stake.

The reason most of us knew anything about Dark Universe in the first place was due to the tireless work of the Permit Princess Alicia Stella. Her work covering the development of Epic Universe over at Orlando Park Stop has been second to none, but even she found some fun details in the Dark Universe concept art that were new to here…

The SATURDAY SIX’s own Digital Maestro Scott Walker also noticed something interesting in the concept art. Universal used actor Kenan Thompson in one of the pieces for Curse of the Werewolf. You may remember that Universal also used Kenan Thompson (and family) in the How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk concept art.


Dark Universe and Isle of Berk concept art featuring Kenan Thompson.

What I noticed in the concept art was Universal slyly showing why people should be taking landscape photos with their phones rather than vertical photos. Because in the concept art for some of the various meet-and-greet characters you will see in the land, The Bride is not going to be in the photo taken by a guest who does not follow proper Theme Park Photography Etiquette.

One thing that was interesting in the concept art was the Darkmoor Monster Makeup Experience. Think of a horror version of Bibbity Bobbity Boutique, as guests are transformed into monsters like vampires and the undead as an upcharge.

What I found interesting is that it appears Universal tested out this concept earlier this year at USF with the Monster Makeover.

Monster Makeover. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

Guests could go through a book filled with various designs and choose the one they wanted.

Monster Makeover. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)
Monster Makeover. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

The results were pretty terrific, but I’m not sure how popular the Monster Makeover actually was as it closed relatively fast. We have to remember that all of this is taking place in Florida, where for many months of the year it is extremely hot and humid outside, two elements that don’t mix well with face paint. Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique is mostly about the clothing and hairstyle that the guests get to transform them into a princess.  All that said, the face painter in Marvel Superhero Island at Islands of Adventure always seems busy, and unlike the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique, the Darkmoor Monster version is clearly targeting adults as well, so it definitely has a chance to be a huge hit.

Monster Makeover results look ::chef’s kiss:: (photo by @ThePughTwo)

It wasn’t long after the reveal by Universal that we got news via composer Danny Elfman that he will be doing the music for Dark Universe. How INCREDIBLE is that?!!

Posted by composer Danny Elfman

TPEI Score: +6 I’ve stated for a long time that I think How to Train Your Dragon – Isle of Berk was going to be the surprise hit of Epic Universe, but after all these announcements for Dark Universe… man, I can’t WAIT!!!!!

*Universal’s 2024 Summer Tribute Store

We did an entire article on this latest Tribute Store in USF that you can read by CLICKING HERE, so we’ll only go over a couple highlights here. I’ve ranted often about how I can’t believe how much TLC that Universal puts into these stores when you consider what we got over at EPCOT when they opened the sterile and lifeless Creations Shop, but the fact the stores get stuff added to them *after they opened* is just next level. For example, about a week after the store had been open, this area was set up outside that included a time traveling telephone booth (from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) that had some fun references inside it along with a bulletin board that was also loaded with Easter Eggs.

Telephone box. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Anytime you see a bulletin board at Universal it is surely going to be filled with some great gags, and for this one I loved the Tribute Store Plaza FAQ that included a fun reference to how upset some people get every HHN season when the Dead Coconut Club in CityWalk gets bought out for private events.

Q&A. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

The bulletin board you pass by when walking into the main entrance is absolutely LOADED with great stuff for theme park fans.

My personal favorite was this ad having a boatload of great references to Poseidon’s Fury, including applicants “must be named Taylor” and have “no fear of drowning.”

Poseidon’s Fury ad. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

This year’s Summer Tribute Store will always been known as the one who gave us the debut of Mr. Tape, a character we hope to see join Earl the Squirrel and King Gator in the parks for years to come.

The arcade section of the Tribute Store was pitch perfect, from the flooring to the faux arcade games throughout the room.

The Tribute Theater room had the great dioramas featuring Jaws, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future.

The famous Tribute Store snack case got even better as not only did they recreate the Jaws Swiss Roll that you can get over in Universal Studios Japan (where they have an entire Jaws themed restaurant) but the paper “boat” that the Swiss Roll is served in is also themed like the one in Japan. Love it.

Now, one of the best references in the Tribute Store was this shout-out to Dueling Dragons in the arcade, but believe it or not that wasn’t the only Dueling Dragons reference we got at Universal this month…

Dueling Dragons. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

…because Mythos Restaurant in Islands of Adventure added a couple drinks to the menu in honor of the park’s 25th anniversary (this would be one of the ONLY things IOA did to celebrate such a momentous anniversary, but that’s another story for another day.)

Blizzrock and Pyrock. (photo by Megan Stump)

Pyrock. (photo by Megan Stump)

Blizzrock. (photo by Megan Stump)

TPEI Score: +6 – I’m in constant awe of these Tribute Stores and hope we never stop getting them.

*Disney Says “Remember Everything  You Knew About Planning a Vacation? Well, Throw It Out The Window.” AGAIN.

Out of absolutely nowhere, Disney decided to scrap the Genie+ name and go in a new direction with a focus solely on Lightning Lane.

Heaven Needed An Upcharge. (meme by @TymeReview)

I don’t even have the strength to go into detail on this, so you can just read this Lightning Lane Primer to get all the details you need to know.

It seems that Disney is sort of going back to how FastPass+ used to work in terms of guests being able to pre-book a couple experiences before their vacation. Just now instead of it being a free amenity for guests staying onsite, you have to pay for it.


“It’s just that easy!”

Reactions to these changes went about as expected…

Of course even with these changes, there are still some next level bonkers things going on at the parks to frustrate even the most patient guest…

TPEI Score: – 10 Might be bad for first time guests to the Vacation Kingdom to the world, but it’s job security to me so keep those changes coming Joe Disney! And can someone explain to me how Disney has not found a way into incorporating Lightning McQueen into all this Lightning Lane stuff? His character is literally about SPEED and the only selling point for Lightning Lane is that it speeds up your time waiting in line.


*Butterbeer Cart with Gummies

We’ve done an entire article ranking the various versions of Butterbeer in the Wizarding World, and it may be time to revisit that after this month’s debut of a straight up E-Ticket piece of merchandise: a Butterbeer Cart filled with Butterbeer gummies.

Butterbeer Cart with gummies. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)
Butterbeer Cart with gummies. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

The gummies are shaped like small mugs of Butterbeer!!!!!!

Butterbeer Cart with gummies. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

You can lift up the side of the cart, just like the real one in Hogsmeade Village.

Butterbeer Cart with gummies. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)
Butterbeer Cart with gummies. (photo by Hedgehogs Corner)

*Test Track 2.0 Closes

Here we go again.

The “new and improved” Test Track 2.0 closed this month to make way for an upcoming Test Track 3.0.

Test Track 2.0 (photo by @DreamfinderGuy)

The changeover from the original Test Track to Test Track 2.0 included a Tron-like feel to the actual ride, and the addition of the complete waste of time in building your own car in the queue.

This build-a-car stuff could have been actually cool if it had any real impact on the ride or Disney used a 3-D printer to make a Hot Wheels like version of your car at the end of the attraction.

Test Track 2.0 create-a-vehicle. (photo by @TheWickedWench)

But instead it was just to waste your time and create completely unrealistic vehicles, which goes against the very thing (I assume) that Test Track is supposed to be getting across to guests (if you were Chevrolet or any actual car manufacturer sponsoring the ride, wouldn’t you want people to know what it’s actually like to design a vehicle and the elements you have to consider? Test Track 2.0 is just “wanna build a CyberTruck?!“)

Test Track 2.0 create-a-vehicle. (photo by Ivonne Ramos)

There was this awesome Progress City signage during the attraction, lets hope that stays around for Test Track 3.0.

Progress City sign. (photo by @TheHorizoneer)

The Final Day of Operation commemorative dog tag souvenir was actually great.

Test Track 2.0 souvenir. (photo by @DreamfinderGuy)
Test Track 2.0 souvenir. (photo by @DreamfinderGuy)

*SATURDAY SIX Special Investigation

The tweet below was posted on social media and went “viral.” It showed a bulletin board at Universal’s Men in Black: Alien Attack having a bit of fun with the closing of Disney’s Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser.

This would not be the first time that Universal had a little fun with their competition in the parks, although it would be the first time that the joke was so on the nose. For example, there’s some great Disney references in the queue for The Simpsons Ride, but they are much more cleverly done.

Haunted Mansion reference.
Kitchen Kabaret reference
Pirates of the Caribbean reference. “A ride so old it should be extinct!”

Even my beloved Shrek 4D had some cute little jabs at the Mouse House, including a five star reference to Disneyland’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

The same day that the original tweet was posted, the SATURDAY SIX Special Investigation Unit headed to the parks to confirm the story. We found the bulletin board, but there was no ad for the Starcruiser posted.

A closer look at the area where the Starcruiser ad was shows other discrepancies as well. So either one of two things happened: 1) Someone at Universal saw the tweet going viral and made an immediate change or 2) The picture with the Starcruiser ad was taken much earlier than it was implied to be. I personally was leaning towards the latter. By this time the poster of the original tweet also turned off comments, which is always a red flag.

My suspicions were confirmed when it was revealed that the very same ad was pictured back in April.


This one starts earlier in the month, when a poster took pictures of Bob Iger touring EPCOT and even taking a picture with the Walt Disney statue.

Digital Maestro Scott Walker replied to this tweet having fun with the concept of Bob Iger having a photo shoot and the photographer asking him to have fun with a pose. Scott photoshopped Iger as if he was sitting on Walt’s shoulders.

Former Disney Imagineer Jim Schull than used this photo for his header. That is perfectly fine, and Scott Walker’s work is so good that I imagine many people on social media have one of his photoshops as their header.


However, Jim Shull took it up a notch and used the photo as a way to take a dig at Bob Iger as an example of poor guest behavior. Even after being explained several times that the picture was a photoshop and a joke, Shull stood his ground and even pinned this tweet (which puts it at the top of of social media profile, and – thanks to a recent Twitter algorithm update – that tweet gets boosted to all his followers.)

Okay, people take other people’s photos all the time on social media without credit. We literally just saw this happen in the story on the fake Starcruiser ad in the story above. However, Jim knows better. Over the years, Jim has made the point several times that people should be crediting him if they reuse his work.


Shull has chastised others for not giving credit.

But apparently this is a Do As I Say, Not As I Do policy.

Everyone posts things without credit at times. Even in the SATURDAY SIX. I get sent memes and photos all the time by people, and sometimes they are uncredited and I can’t find the original source. Like all Imagineers, Jim is an artist (anyone who uses their creativity to make things is an artist, regardless of the medium) and he knows how important credit is in an industry which goes out of its way to make people think all these attractions and shows we all love at the theme parks were created out of thin air. Its so wonderful watching the old videos with Walt Disney where he is interacting with Imagineers like Marc Davis, Mary Blair, and Rolly Crump so that you can put a face behind all the amazing things we see in the parks and I wish that both Disney and Universal were as open with their credit today. I wrote about DreamWorks Land earlier in this very article. I’d love to know who is responsible for the Shrek’s Swamp area, because everything about it, including Shrek’s house, the Shrekzel, and Pinocchio are absolutely fantastic and I’d look forward to their next projects the same way I do for upcoming television shows and movies from my favorite writers, actors, and directors.

*Bioreconstruct Maintenance Report

Outside of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in Universal CityWalk sits the Hemisphere Dancer plane.

June 6, 2024 aerial. (photo by @bioreconstruct)
A rainbow at Margaritaville on Aug 12, 2016. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Earlier this month, Bio sent me a message on social media that it appeared the plane would be going through some refurbishment, as he noticed some slight details that caught his eye. This was confirmed almost immediately as parts of the plane started to be taken completely off.

Seems like Jimmy Buffet’s personal plane is being removed from CityWalk. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Bio, being Bio, was also there to catch the plane being towed away from Universal.

Fuselage of Jimmy Buffett’s personal plane, Hemisphere Dancer, on its way to refurbishment. It returns to Lone Palm Airport bar at Margaritaville in CityWalk next year. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

I mean c’mon, how does he get shots like this?!!!!

A look at Jimmy Buffett’s personal plane, Hemisphere Dancer, on its way to refurbishment. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

While getting those photos of the plane being towed away, Bio was also in the air getting us an aerial of where the Hemisphere Dancer used to be. At this point you could convince me that “bioreconstruct” is actually a team of like 5 to 10 people, because no one human can be in every single place at once like this guy.

Aerial photo of where Jimmy Buffett’s plane, Hemisphere Dancer, was located at Margaritaville. There used to be bar seating outside the plane. Temporary seating is down the stairs at the waterfront. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Speaking of Jimmy Buffett, it was announced that his cameo in Jurassic World is getting an action figure from Mattel that will exclusive to this year’s San Diego Comic Con.

E-Ticket packaging and figure. Would buy this in a second if it were at the parks or at Margaritaville.

I remember back when Jurassic World came out and you could get a couple of awesome shirts at Margaritaville in CityWalk that tied into the movie. Had to buy them both.

I don’t care who you are, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritavill Isla Nublar merchandise is cool.

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in Isla Nublar for a Jurassic World tie-in.

*How Did I Not Know About This?!!!

Superstar artist Rob Yeo posted that a family member ate at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant and was given this Driver’s License. This is fantastic a piece of true “Disney Magic” that should be everywhere but unfortunately is getting harder and harder to find.

Driver’s License. (photo by Rob Yeo)
Driver’s License. (photo by Rob Yeo)

It reminds me of the fun Clean Plate Club stickers you can get at  50’s Prime Time Café in DHS. Stuff like this costs so little but can mean so much in a guest’s memory of their Disney vacation.

Here’s something else I never knew was in DHS…

*Reason #6,843 not to leave DisTwitter

I know all the reasons everyone should stay away from the toxic cesspool that is current Twitter, but without it I would see tweets like this…

Nor would I get looks at wonderful pieces of theme park history, like this AMAZING 1971 souvenir map of the Magic Kingdom. I would buy this right now along with one of today’s park drawn in the same style.

1971 souvenir map of the Magic Kingdom. (photo by Christopher Smith)

Twitter is still the home of great theme park memes as well. One of the bigger trends this month happened after singer Justin Timberlake was arrested for a DWI. During his interaction with the police officer, Justin remarked “…this is going to ruin the tour.” The officer, not knowing who Timberlake was, responded “what tour?” Justin replied, “The world tour.” This led to seemingly millions of memes, including several great ones in the theme park community.

(meme by @hexbylex)

*Meanwhile, Out in Universal Studios Hollywood

Earlier this year Universal Studios Hollywood celebrated the 60th anniversary of its iconic Studio Tram Tour with several huge murals drawn by none other than SATURDAY SIX Artist Spotlight featured creator Hayden Evans.

Studio Tour 60th Anniversary marquee. (art by Hayden Evans photo by Henry Taylor)
Studio Tour 60th Anniversary billboard. (art by Hayden Evans photo by Henry Taylor)

Look how great some of the details in the artwork were.

Studio Tour 60th Anniversary billboard. (art by Hayden Evans photo by Henry Taylor)

Even better? Universal Studios Hollywood released coloring pages featuring some of this unbelievable art.

Studio Tram Tour 60th Anniversary Coloring Pages. (art by Hayden Evans photo by Jonathan Green)
Studio Tram Tour 60th Anniversary Coloring Pages. (art by Hayden Evans photo by Jonathan Green)
Studio Tram Tour 60th Anniversary Coloring Pages. (photo by Jonathan Green)


Studio Tram Tour 60th Anniversary Coloring Pages. (art by Hayden Evans photo by Jonathan Green)


*HHN Meets Disneyland Paris

Speaking of great artists, check out his piece by @magic_sketches that combines Boris Shuster of Universal’s HHN with the Phantom Manor out in Disneyland Paris. You can purchase this print by CLICKING HERE!

Boris ventures to Thunder Mesa to investigate the Ravenswood Manor. (art by @magic_sketches)

Also love this Toothsome Chocolate Emporium inspired piece of artwork by @magic_sketches as you rarely see artwork for things in CityWalk or Disney Springs.

CityWalk. (art by @magic_sketches)

We’ll hopefully be doing a full Artist Spotlight feature on @TheHorizoneer soon, and I LOVED this mashup print that combined Inside Out 2 and the Wonders of Life Pavilion. You can buy this print by CLICKING HERE!

Do you ever look at someone’s golden dome and wonder, ‘What is going on inside their pavilion?’ (art by @TheHorizoneer)

How great is this design by artist Christopher Michon?!

Florida regrets. (art by /failedimagineer)

Late last year for the Christmas tree that was in one of the Universal gift shops in CityWalk (the store which was converted into the Epic Universe Preview Center) we saw some next level AWESOME scale ride vehicles hanging on the tree. We said at the time we would buy those vehicles IMMEDIATELY, and now we can because the artist of the actual vehicles is now offering them.

Jaws, BTTF, and Escape From Gringotts ride vehicles. (created by @creamatedplastic)

One of my favorite artists who recreates items from the Disney Parks is Stephen Crist. He recreates items from the parks and offers them on his Etsy Store. My favorites include the EPCOT-inspired torch, a Rivers of Light lotus flower piece, and this fantastic toucan plant stake.

Toucan stake. (created by Stephen Christ)

I need to get one of these stakes for our garden ASAP. They are just too cool.

Hornbill and toucan art. (created by Stephen Christ)


Quick look at what’s at the Disney Outlets this month including a Harmonious MagicBand+ (reduced to $12.99)

Along with an Astro-Tech droid that was formerly exclusive to the Galactic Starcruiser (originally $99.99, reduced to $59.99. You may remember Jenny Nicholson’s attempt to get this droid during her 4 Hour Starcruiser Video (that is a Must Watch.)

Starcruiser Astromech droid at Disney Outlet Store. Originally $99. (photo by @aLariscy3)

One big story happened this month that I don’t have much time to get into, but need to mention that Disneyland Character Performers voted to become unionized. Almost immediately after, attractions using these now Union performers closed or minimized, including the Dr. Strange show in Avengers Campus.

Former home to the Mysteries of the Mystic Arts  in Avengers Campus. (meme by @esplanerd)

A lot of people in the community I trust and respect say the loss of these jobs had absolutely nothing do with their recent choice to become unionized. These sources say they see no evidence of such a conspiracy theory, but that reply just reminded me of a moment in one of my all time favorite movies, A Few Good Men

Lastly, one more story I would have loved to cover this month was the Hawk Tuah girl and how her viral moment became the basis of many memes in the theme park community. Unfortunately the story may be a little too risqué for a theme park audience, but I had to include this one…

The new name for this attraction is WILD. (meme by Gratuitous Theme Parks)

Last month’s Theme Park Enjoyment Index: 45
This month’s net change: +23
Current enjoyment level: 68


Writer Derek Burgan, when not cleaning Len Testa’s pool, can be found reading comic books, watching professional wrestling, organizing his various Tsum Tsums in alphabetical order, and taking his dog Bacini to Universal and Disney.. He will not, we repeat not, be found at a Disney Outlet Store. An official DisTwitter Influencer, you can interact with him @derekburgan

Digital Artist Scott Walker hails from Scotland and is the fifth most famous person from this country following Alexander Graham Bell, Ewan McGregor, Gerard Butler, and Groundskeeper Willie.


The theme park community lost a gentle soul this month as Kendall Ortego passed away after a year and a half battle facing obstacles that were too much for any one person to have to endure. Beloved by everyone who knew him, Kendall was a staple at the Universal parks and especially at Halloween Horror Nights. You ever have that one guy in a group that everyone likes, is the nicest person around, and is always there to help *you*, no matter how little you interacted with him? Kendall was that type of guy.

I personally only got to meet Kendall a couple of times, but every interaction was great and he was always there when I’d send him a question on social media or ask him to take a picture for me at the parks. One article I wanted to do for years was this one titled “The SATURDAY SIX Asks, “When Does It Hit YOU That You’re On a Disney or Universal Vacation?” One of the sections in that article covers the in-room TV situation at the on-site hotels, including Stacey J’s “Must Do Disney” (RIP.) I wanted to compare what Universal had on their hotel TVs, and of course Kendall was at the time staying on site at the Aventura Hotel. I sent Kendall a Direct Message on Twitter asking if he could get some photos of the TV and he quickly replied, “Sure, as soon as I get back to the room.” That’s the type of person he was. A stand up guy through and through.

“To know Kendall was to know kindness. A smile for every occasion and a drink to make any night fun. Your bear hugs were something of legend. I’m so grateful you’re no longer in pain, but this still hurts nonetheless. You are so loved, friend. I miss you.” – Hunter Underwood

Hunter and Kendall enjoying drinks.

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8 thoughts on “Theme Park Enjoyment Index for JUNE 2024 (Opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and DreamWorks Land, RIP Test Track 2.0 and More!)

  • Me when I saw my tweet was included in this article (insert stunned pikachu meme)
    Thanks, as always, for great coverage of theme park things, even if I am weeks late to read them!

    • Jen, you are a valued member of the SAT SIX Special Investigations Unit.

      • I have never, in my 42 years on this planet, been awarded such an honor!

  • Is the general belief that the name Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will actually be used, or is it just gonna be “Splash”, or “Tiana Splash”, or “Tiana”? Like, is it still “MGM” for any/many?

    • I think it will be “Tiana’s” in common vernacular, the way “Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure” is just “Remy’s”.

      I think anyone who STILL calls it “MGM” at this point is being performative.

  • Song of the South is far from locked away in the vault. You can view it today on and decide for yourself whether it’s more offensive than the musical where a girl is abducted and confined away from her family, then suffers Stockholm Syndrome and falls in love with her captor, which Disney still presents as a romantic story.

  • Please join me in always referring to Communicore Hall as “Chapek Hall” going forward.

    • Looking forward to ignoring it entirely on my next trip!


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