Disney, Universal Studios update their attractions

Universal Studios Hollywood will add a “The Walking Dead” attraction this summer.
Universal Studios Hollywood will add a “The Walking Dead” attraction this summer. Universal Studios Hollywood

“Frozen – Live at the Hyperion,” a musical based on the Disney film, opens May 27 at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. It replaces “Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular” that ran for 13 years (14,000 performances).

Disney Creative Entertainment, the arm of Walt Disney Imagineering responsible for live theatrical entertainment at Disney Parks, is producing the show for the 1,873-seat Hyperion.

“While our production of ‘Frozen’ will stay true to the heart and soul of the film, we have adapted it for the stage so it’s truly a musical theater production that befits our beautiful Hyperion Theater,” Dana Harrel, creative entertainment executive with Walt Disney Imagineering, says in a release announcing the change. “The goal of this creative team is to take all audiences – including those that know the film and those new to these characters – on this exciting and touching adventure with Anna and Elsa.

“We know that for many in the audience – adults and children alike – this production will be a first or rare theatergoing experience. We undertake this responsibility with seriousness as we adapt the film to the stage.”

“Frozen,” the top animated feature of all time, won two Academy Awards in 2014, one for best animated feature, the other for best original song.

The new musical features music and lyrics by the creators of the film score, Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“Up Here”) and Robert Lopez (“The Book of Mormon”), and is adapted from the screenplay by four-time Tony nominee Chad Beguelin (“Aladdin – A Musical Spectacular”).

A separate Broadway production of “Frozen” is currently being prepared by Disney Theatrical Productions and is slated to join Disney Theatrical’s New York productions of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” for spring 2018 at a theater to be announced. It will have a pre-Broadway engagement starting in summer 2017 in Denver.

Take a walk

The relationship Universal Studios Hollywood has forged with the AMC series “The Walking Dead” through its annual “Halloween Horror Nights” is about to become permanent.

A new “Walking Dead” attraction will become part of the Southern California theme park landscape this summer. “The Walking Dead” attraction will be located in a new building complex just inside the theme park’s main entry.

 ‘The Walking Dead’ is a phenomenon that has successfully and consistently affected the psyche of viewers on a global basis since its debut,” Larry Kurzweil, president of Universal Studios Hollywood, says in a release addressing the change. “We’re taking its intensity to the next level by collaborating with the show’s award-winning production team to create an authentic living representation of the series that can only be experienced at Universal Studios Hollywood.”

The attraction will feature authentic walker makeup effects, animatronic walkers, detailed set design and costuming, and recognizable props replicated from the series.

Take a ride

The newest attraction at Disney California Adventure Park’s Cars Land, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, opened March 7. It replaces Luigi’s Flying Tires at the Casa Della Tires area.

The attraction has Luigi’s cousins coming from Carsoli, Italy, to help celebrate Race Day in Radiator Springs. Park guests join in the fun by hopping aboard miniature Italian roadsters in the style of late 1950s micro cars.

The cars perform the traditional dances of their village, moving to upbeat music and Luigi’s singing in a precision-choreographed dance across what appears to be a trackless “dance floor.” Each car has its own routine, so guests will enjoy different ride experiences depending on which car they board.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1