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Showing posts from September, 2011

Official: Double Dumbo's Opening Set for Early 2012

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It has been confirmed in one of the latest press releases of the Walt Disney World Resort: Double Dumbo, The Great Goofini, the new Storybook Circus Train Station, and the Casey Jr. "watery" play area will all open early next year! Here you are additional information:
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Double Dumbo to Open Early Next Year

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — In spring 2012, Disney guests can fly like no elephant (or Disney guest) has ever flown... Look! Dumbo is going the wrong way! Actually, Dumbo is just reversing decades of flying in counter-clockwise circles. Call it “unwinding,” if you will. And in a new location within Magic Kingdom. Guests will board Dumbo the Flying Elephant from the lovable critter’s left side — like mounting a horse … and unlike the way guests hop aboard for a whirl at Disney parks on three continents. It is scheduled to begin happening in early 2012 when select experiences in the Storybook Circus neighbor…

Reminder: LEGOLAND Florida Opens in 15 Days

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Ahoy, Mateys! LEGOLAND Florida is just 15 days away from its grand opening, so start to hoist the sails!
LEGOLAND Florida will be the first and only LEGOLAND park to have an extensive, pirate-themed water ski show, called Pirates' Cove Live Water Ski Show.

A nice image of the show has been posted on the park's official Facebook page:

Advisory: Monorail Operating Hours Change Fri./Sat.

An important advisory regarding the change of the monorail operating hours, for today and tomorrow: _________________________________________________________________________
Advisory ~ Monorail Operating Information for Friday, September 30, 2011 and Saturday, October 1, 2011
On Friday, September 30 the Magic Kingdom Park will host a special event from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m and on Saturday, October 1, the Walt Disney World Resort will host the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon starting at 10:00 p.m.

As a result, the operating hours for the monorail are:

Friday, September 30
Magic Kingdom Resort Beam: 7:00 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.
Magic Kingdom Express Beam: 8:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Epcot Beam:8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 1
Magic Kingdom Resort Beam: 7:00 a.m. - 1:30 a.m.
Magic Kingdom Express Beam: 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
Epcot Beam:8:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m.
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It would be nice if they had just left the old operating hours…

Blue Sky: SeaWorld's Dark Ride Possible Placement

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In the past few days, we have discussed about the Screamscape rumor that hinted about a new dark ride, which should be coming to SeaWorld Orlando very soon. In our latest SeaWorld photo-update, we also noticed that the former Manatee Rescue has been shut down, and it is currently been refurbished, meaning that a new attraction or experience is in the work in that area too. Is there a link between the two things?

Let's discuss about this. According to Screamscape, the new dark ride should be built on the site currently occupied by the Penguin Encounter. The penguins and the puffins would receive a completely new home in another area of the park, while the big Penguin Plaza would become the new dark ride. Take a look at this aerial picture (taken from Google Maps), which shows the extension of the Penguin Encounter Area, as well as the size of the Manatee Rescue area:

ADVISORY - Grand Floridian's Spa Closed Until 2013

A very important advisory for all the present and future guests of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa:
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Advisory ~ Grand Floridian Spa Closure September 19, 2011 - 2013
The spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is currently closed due to planned construction at the resort. During this downtime, enhancements are also being planned for the spa.
As an alternative, Guests may purchase spa services at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. The health club at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is currently open for Guests staying at the resort and is accessible with their Key to the World card.
Guest reservations for treatments at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa during the closure are being rescheduled to The Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. Complimentary transportation will be provided to Guests staying at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Po…

2011 Food & Wine Festival Booths: PREVIEW (Part 1)

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This is an out-of-the-ordinary update, as we are going to show you all the booths of this year's Food & Wine Festival, even though they are still closed, as the Festival starts only tomorrow. Enjoy !:
This year's theme of the Food & Wine Festival is "Traveling around the World." Appropriate, right?: 

2011 Food & Wine Festival Booths: PREVIEW (Part 2)

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(PART 1 CAN BE FOUND HERE).
Let's continue to check out the other booths starting from Belgium:

Yacht/Beach & BoardWalk Resort Parking Restrictions

Just an advisory that will be effective starting tomorrow:
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Yacht/Beach & BoardWalk Resort Parking Restrictions  September 29 - November 13, 2011
Due to the high attendance expected for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, the following Guest parking lots will be restricted on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 29-Nov. 13:
Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts Disney’s BoardWalk Resort These parking lots will be restricted to only those staying at the resort, attending a convention event at the resort or with dining, recreation or spa reservations.
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It is not unusual for them to restrict the parking of these two hotels, due to their proximity to the park.

LEGOLAND Entrance, Dragon Coaster Cars, & More

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This morning, we have a very brief LEGOLAND Florida update, where we check out the parking lot, the fees that guests will have to pay to park, the main entrance of LEGOLAND, as well as a glimpse of the vehicles that will soon be used on the great Dragon family roller coaster.
First of all, let's take a look at the main entrance, which is now almost completely done:

F&W Festival: Cat Cora Replaced by "The Poor Chef"

Some days ago, we reported that Cat Cora would not be able to attend this year's Food & Wine Festival during one of her scheduled appearances, but a new celebrity chef will attend the event. Here you are some additional information about this unexpected change: _________________________________________________________________________
Charles Mattocks to replace Cat Cora  at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival   
     Due to last-minute scheduling conflicts, Cat Cora is unable to appear at this year’s Kitchen Memories events at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival on Oct. 28. We’re pleased to announce that Charles Mattocks will now be hosting the Kitchen Memories demonstrations on Oct. 28.      Charles Mattocks, as known as The Poor Chef, nephew of legendary Bob Marley, has made a name for himself as the best-selling author of Eat Cheap But Well. His famous tag line - "What can you cook for $7?" - has taken the country by storm. With an Island flai…

SeaWorld Update - Manatees Project and More (Part 1)

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This week's SeaWorld update will be quite special, as we have some pictures of the now-closed Manatee Rescue area (which has some artworks and writings on the walls that look very, very promising), as well pictures from the park in general, including photos of Blue Horizons and One Ocean. Let's start right away:

SeaWorld Update - Manatees Project and More (Part 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this new SeaWorld update. Please, remeber to check out PART 1 before reading this part. Thank you! And now, let's continue:

The Disney Look... to the Past (September 24-30)

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It is time to check out our weekly feature - The Disney Look... to the Past! Enjoy this week's historic events:
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This Week in Disney History: September 24-30

Sept. 29, 1994 — Innoventions opens at Epcot Located at the heart of Future World, Innoventions is devoted to new technology and science that could change the way we live. A combination of the words “innovate” and “invention,” Innoventions expands upon the theme of Communicore, the original pavilion tenant, which introduced Guests to the world of computers. Built for constant refreshment, the exhibits of Innoventions can be changed to reflect the latest and greatest ideas and products. Spread across two circular buildings to the east and west, the interactive showcases range from enlightening (“The Great Piggy Bank Adventure,” devoted to personal finance) to moving (Segway Central allows Guests to test drive the two-wheeled personal transporter) …

LEGO Ford Explorer Debuts at LEGOLAND Florida

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An absolutely incredible LEGO model has been added to the already rich list of LEGO creations that guests will be able to contemplate when the new LEGOLAND Florida theme park will open, on October 15, 2011. Take a look, and be amazed: _________________________________________________________________________
Ford Explorer Now 100 Percent Reinvented in LEGO® Bricks Debuts at Chicago Assembly Plant, Becomes Centerpiece of New Ford Driving School at LEGOLAND® Florida Theme Park Full-size LEGOLAND® Florida Explorer created from more than 380,000 LEGO makes its debut at Chicago Assembly Plant; model took more than 2,500 hours to create 
CHICAGO, Sept. 26, 2011 – A unique Ford Explorer rolling off the line today at Chicago Assembly Plant will feature the model’s trademark eye-catching craftsmanship with one notable distinction. This Ford Explorer is created from more than 380,000 LEGO bricks and marks the beginning of a long-term alliance between Ford and LEGOLAND® Florida theme park.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium Expanding

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We are sure many of you are aware of the new, incredibly inspiring movie that came out to many theaters around the U.S. (and soon, also around the world), about a dolphin that lost his tail, and that was helped by the crew of an aquarium to swim again like a normal dolphin, thanks to a prosthesis. The name of the movie is Dolphin Tale, and it is produced by the Warner Brothers Studios.
The name of the dolphin is Winter, and guess where he lives? Right in our backyard, in Clearwater, Florida. The movie is being an incredible success, and the aquarium that is housing Winter - the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is currently looking to expand, to make some space for the thousands and thousands of visitors who will flock to the aquarium to see Winter.
Here's their comments on the future expansion, from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's official blog: _________________________________________________________________________
Clearwater Marine Aquarium Facility Updates
Keep your eyes open …

Magic Kingdom News: Rain Shall Not Stop Us (Part 1)

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The dry season should be starting soon here in Central Florida, but it seems like this year we didn't have enough rain during the normal "wet season," so in the past two weeks it has been unusually rainy. Of course, as the title says, this didn't prevent us from going to the parks... but this made me get a bad cold, unfortunately (but that was a week ago, I'm fine now, thank you). Let's take a look at what is going on inside the Magic Kingdom:

Magic Kingdom News: Rain Shall Not Stop Us (Part 2)

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And here we are, with part 2 of our new magic Kingdom general update (if you are looking for PART 1, please, click here). It is now time to check out the rest of the park. Let's see...
Splash Mountain:

Groupon Deal of the Day - Volcano Island Mini-Golf

Since the staff of Orlando Theme Park News understands how bad the worldwide economy is today, a new feature has been introduced. It is called the "Groupon Deal of the Day," which is a tool that is focused in sharing with our readers some of the best coupons that are up for sale, and which could save you up to 90% of the price you would pay at the gate of selected attractions here in Central Florida.

We have already posted some other deals earlier this month, and today we have a new offer for a prehistoric mini-golf located right in the middle of International Drive - the Volcano Mini Golf. Take a look: _________________________________________________________________________
Volcano Island Minature Golf – Orlando 18-Hole Mini-Golf Outing for Two or Four
Cost $12 | Value $25 | Discount 52% | You Save $13 
Time Left To Buy: Just 1 day and 8 hours.
In a Nutshell 18 mini-golf holes wind through prehistoric pastiche of dinosaur statues, volcanic crags, misting waterfalls & palm …

Is Universal About to Introduce New Express Passes?

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Universal Orlando is thinking about the future of its Express Passes. The popularity of these types of "Fastpasses" may be leading to some new kinds of services that may please even more guests. Let's take a look together at some interesting questions that were asked in one of Universal's latest surveys:
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...We are looking at adding some features and options to our existing Express Passes, and we are looking for some feedback regarding these features. Some of these features we may end up using, others already exist, and others will never be used due to poor feedback or other circumstances.
1) No Standing In Line- Express Pass(wait for rides with a reservation, without standing in the regular lines). This option would allow you to wait for a ride outside of the existing line. You could spend your time playing a game, eating a snack, walking around (really anything) until it was your designated ti…

Contemporary Resort Room Refurbishment - PHOTOS

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Today we have got just a couple of pictures that show some of the Contemporary Resort's rooms receiving some work. It looks like they will be working on other rooms soon:

Advisory: Cat Cora Cancels its Appearance during the 2011 International Food & Wine Festival

Unfortunately, it looks like Cat Cora has a very busy schedule, and will not be able to come to Epcot on October 28, 2011, during the Food & Wince Festival. Here you are additional information:
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Cat Cora's Cancelled Appearances at Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Due to last-minute scheduling conflicts, Cat Cora is unable to appear at this year’s Kitchen Memories events at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival on October 28, 2011. Chef Dee Foundoukis from Kouzzina will still participate in the culinary demonstration on October 29 at 3 p.m.
Guests with pre-paid reservations at these events will be contacted and assisted in making new arrangements.
Plans are underway to select a new celebrity Chef to host the Kitchen Memories demonstrations on October 28, so stay tuned for details coming soon.
The “Kitchen Memories” series is one of the many special paid events offered at this year’s Epcot Int…

RUMOR: SeaWorld Ready to Add Raising Floors?

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Before we start this very interesting update, we want to make sure that everybody understands that, as of today, this is strictly a rumor, since we are not expert on this subject, and we do not claim to know that what you'll see from the following pictures is actually a raising floor, even though it doesn't look like a normal floor.
That being said, yesterday we had the opportunity of visiting SeaWorld, and we had a couple of really interesting surprises. One was about the Manatee Rescue exhibit (but we'll discuss about that in a separate update), and the other one was about the work being done in the tank where killer whales have interactions with guests in the Dine with Shamu area. Indeed, walls have gone down in that area - which has been closed since the terrible accident that involved the death of the trainer Dawn Brancheau - , and it looks like they're working on installing their first "raising floor." Take a look:

Groupon Deal of the Day: $16 Old Town All-Day Ticket

An interesting Old Town deal is now available on Groupon.com. Take a look, you could save some money:
Old Town – Kissimmee: $16 for All-Day Amusement-Park Outing

Value: $32 Discount: 50% You Save: $16
Time Left To Buy 2 days
In a Nutshell Retro amusement park thrills kids & parents with 14 rides & coasters, new AMPventure Experience, live music & vintage car cruises
The Fine Print Expires March 26, 2012. May purchase multiple. See the rules that apply to all deals.
Click here for more information, and to buy this deal!
Sounds good, doesn't it? Saving $16 can surely help, especially with this economy.

Magic Masters to Close on September 25, 2011

It has now been confirmed that the Magic Masters store at Downtown Disney will close for good in just two days. Here you are some more information, including a reminder about the new shop that will take its place: _________________________________________________________________________
A new operating participant will soon be moving into the current Magic Masters location at Downtown Disney West Side. Magic Masters will close on September 25, 2011, the natural end of the store’s contract. Something Silver will soon open in place of Magic Masters. At Something Silver, Guests will marvel at magnificent pieces of jewelry from one of the country’s finest sterling silver sellers, [as well as]... fashionable accessories alongside a collection of timeless, everyday basics. Over 50 national and international designer collections will be showcased, featuring designers such as Jordan Schlanger and Kit Heath.  _________________________________________________________________________
Thi…

Universal Studios Update - Painting & Workin' (Part 1)

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Universal Studios Florida has really been receiving some tender loving care in these past few months. Buildings are being repainted, shows are being replaced (not including Fear Factor, unfortunately), rides are being created (Despicable Me), and attractions are being refurbished.

Let's take a look together around the park, to see what has changed since our last visit:

Universal Studios Update - Painting & Workin' (Part 2)

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Here we are on part 2 of our Universal Studios update (PART 1 can be found at this link). Let's continue our tour of the park:

2011 - Disney's Conservation Fund Donates $2 Million

As of today, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has donated a good amount of money to some societies that are focused in protecting the environment, including wild animals. Here you are additional information: _________________________________________________________________________
Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund Distributes $2 Million In 2011 National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, the Jane Goodall Institute and World Wildlife Fund are among the more than 70 nonprofit organizations to benefit from the largest annual grants distribution to date.
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) awarded $2 million to conservation projects around the globe in 2011, the highest amount ever contributed in a single year. This year’s DWCF grant recipients, who include notable conservation organizations like the Jane Goodall Institute and World Wildlife Fund, are helping to preserve habitats, protect endangered species, foster kids’ connections to nature and ensure future genera…

Advisory: Animal Kingdom Extra Magic Hours

Just a very minor advisory for next week:
Disney's Animal Kingdom's Extra Magic Hours move to Monday and Friday morning for the week of September 25 - October 1, 2011. After October 1, the park's EMH will return to their normal schedule (every Monday and Wednesday morning).

LEGOLAND Florida's Entrance Almost Complete

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Tick, tack, tick, tack... Only 23 more days before LEGOLAND Florida officially opens to the public. In the past few days, you had the opportunities of checking out (at least "virtually") some areas of the park, like the Beginning, Miniland U.S.A., the Land of Adventure, and LEGO Kingdoms.
Today, we wanted to share with you a picture taken by the Orlando Sentinel, which shows that the main entrance of the park is finally complete! Take a look:

The huge LEGOLAND Florida sign is absolutely great. It acts as a second gateway to the park (there's another structure behind it, where the turnstiles are located). This entrance is similar to the one that can be found at Universal Studios Florida, as also that park has an archway, and then a separate area for the turnstiles. 
The photo is subject to the copyright of the Orlando Sentinel. All rights reserved.

Power Issues Affecting Some Downtown Disney Stores

Some issues have forced a few stores at Downtown Disney to close for the day: _________________________________________________________________________ 
Advisory ~ Downtown Disney West Side Store Closures 9/21/2011
The following Downtown Disney West Side locations are temporarily closed due to a power outage related to a transformer short: ORLANDO HARLEY-DAVIDSOND StreetMagnetronDisney’s Candy CauldronHoypoloiSosa Family CigarsMagic MastersPop Gallery We are working to reopen these locations as soon as possible.  _________________________________________________________________________ 
We'll keep you informed regarding any development of this issue. Stay tuned.
- UPDATE -
9/23/2011 at 2:06 p.m. - All the stores are now back open. Thank you for your patience.

Magic Kingdom Parking Lot to Get New Names

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The huge parking lot of the Magic Kingdom will soon have to wave goodbye to the seven dwarfs and the other classic Disney Characters names, as things are going to be changed very soon, starting from next Friday. Indeed, the various sections of the parking lot will be divided into two separate sections: one will feature names of famous Disney Heroes; the other half of the parking lot will feature names of infamous Disney Villains. Here you are some additional information, as well as some pictures that portray these changes: _________________________________________________________________________
Magic Kingdom Parking Lot to Feature Heroes and Villains Names
Work began July 11 to add a second tram loading zone at Magic Kingdom Park to better serve our Guests. This second tram loading zone will transform the Magic Kingdom parking lot into dual-lot operation, with two loading and unloading zones. As part of this new layout, the parking lot will be split into two halves and renamed as…

Universal CityWalk Update - Golf Entrance and More

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This morning we have a new CityWalk update, where we check out the work on the new Mini-Golf course, and much more. Let's start by checking out the progress of the construction:

Transformers Not Ready for Orlando

Just yesterday, the Orlando theme parks were shaken by two big announcements: one was the rumor about a clone of the Transformers ride - currently being built at both Universal Studios parks in Singapore and Hollywood - coming to Universal Orlando, and the confirmed AVATAR-themed land coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, one of the two announcements seems to be not true... at least for now.
It looks like, as of today, Universal Orlando is not ready yet to bring a clone of Transformers ride here in Florida. Take a look at what Screamscape has posted earlier this morning:
"Screamscape sources tell us that Spielberg apparently misspoke and that there are currently no plans to bring the Transformers attraction to Universal Orlando at this point in time."
So, it looks like it's going to be a while before we'll see that ride coming here. It is true, we already have other projects we are waiting for (Despicable Me, Spiderman's rehab), but we also bel…

Breaking: AVATAR Land Coming to Animal Kingdom

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An unbelievable announcement was made just a few hours ago! Disney's Animal Kingdom will be the first Disney theme park to receive an entire new land themed after the award-winning movie Avatar! Read More: _________________________________________________________________________
DISNEY, FOX AND JAMES CAMERON TO BRING AVATAR TO LIFE 
AT DISNEY PARKS  Long-term agreement will bring AVATAR themed lands to Disney parks, with the first at Walt Disney World in Orlando

BURBANK (September 20, 2011) – Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide is joining forces with visionary filmmaker James Cameron and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring the world of AVATAR to life at Disney parks. Through an exclusive agreement announced today by Disney, Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox, Disney will partner with Cameron and producing partner Jon Landau to create themed lands that will give theme park guests the opportunity to explore the mysterious universe of AVATAR first hand. Disney plans to build …

LEGOLAND Preview - Tour of the Land of Adventure

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Yesterday we took a tour of the LEGO Kingdoms area of LEGOLAND Florida, which looks really great; today we are going to check out another truly fantastic area - The Land of Adventure. Let's see...
(NOTE: Since the photos are quite large, it may take a little while for them to load, depending on the speed of your internet connection. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.)
The first thing that we encounter, coming from Miniland U.S.A, is the Safari Trek:


Out-of-the-Loop: Blue Sky Cellar to Reopen Soon

Every now and then we post important advisories that affect other theme parks that are not located here in Central Florida. Today, this special out-of-the-loop advisory will give you some information about the reopening date of the very interesting Disney exhibit at Disney California Adventure - the Blue Sky Cellar: _________________________________________________________________________

Advisory ~ Blue Sky Cellar Reopens September 23, 2011
The Blue Sky Cellar in Disney California Adventure Park opens on September 23, 2011, featuring a major update on Buena Vista Street, with models from the D23 Expo, including the Walt and Mickey statue maquette, concept artwork and detail work of the designs and inspiration for Buena Street. _________________________________________________________________________
On a related note, we do have a very small version of the Blue Sky Cellar at Disney's Hollywood Studios, at the very end of the "Walt Disney: One Man's Dream" exhibit…

Steven Spielberg: Transformers May Come to Orlando

[Editor's Note: The title of the post has been changed to reflect the fact that the article on the Orlando Sentinel is a bit ambiguous, and doesn't give enough details to support the fact that the Transformers ride will absolutely come to Universal Orlando. We do believe that a clone will be built here in Florida, but we want to be cautious, as we don't want to give out false information. Thanks for understanding.]

An incredible breaking news was posted yesterday on the Orlando Sentinel's Blog. Indeed, they had the opportunity of having a conversation with the world-famous movie director Steven Spielberg, and while talking about the new Transformers rides currently being built at Universal Studios Singapore and Universal Studios Hollywood, he made a really surprising announcement for Universal Orlando. Here's what he said:
      “...Transformers is going to [be] pretty amazing. We’ve been working on that for about three years now. It should be ready soon. I don’t …

LEGOLAND Preview - Castle Hill (LEGO Kingdoms)

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So, we have already checked out "THE BEGINNING" and "MINILAND U.S.A." in our recent LEGOLAND Florida updates, right? Today, it is time to check out one of the nicest lands of the park - Castle Hill (which is also known as "LEGO Kingdoms"). Let's see what these areas look like.
(NOTE: Since the photos are quite large, it may take a little while for them to load, depending on the speed of your internet connection. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.)

Advisory ~ Sand Trap Bar & Grill Closed Sept.19-24

A very quick advisory, which will last until September 24, 2011:
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Advisory ~ Sand Trap Bar & Grill Closed 9/19 - 9/24
Sand Trap Bar & Grill at Disney’s Osprey Ridge Golf Course will be closed Monday, September 19 through Saturday, September 24, 2011. _________________________________________________________________________
The reason for this closure is unknown, but it may be related to a special event.

The Disney Look... to the Past! (September 17-23)

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Here you are our weekly feature, where we take a glimpse of the past of the Walt Disney Company: _________________________________________________________________________
This Week in Disney History: September 17-23


Sept. 23, 1980  Big Thunder Mountain Railroad opens at Magic Kingdom Park
Take a close look at the trains that race, chug and roar through the tall buttes and gold mines of Tumbleweed. You notice there’s not an engineer aboard any of those locomotives, right? So surely the proper thing to do is to jump aboard for a three-minute ride of dizzying turns, narrow clearances, rumbling earthquakes, boulder avalanches, screeching bats and goats chomping on sticks of dynamite. Keep an eye out for Cousin Ed — the town’s been flooded lately, and he took the bathtub out for a spin… in his pajamas. Unlike the geology of Zion National Park which influenced the Disneyland Park original, Imagineers modeled the look of this Frontierland classic — and the two versions that followed in Tokyo…

Downtown's Parking Lots A & B Temporarily Closed

Here's an advisory for the next few days: _________________________________________________________________________
Advisory ~ Downtown Disney Parking Lots A and B Closed September 20-22
Downtown Disney parking lots A and B will be closed Tuesday, Sept. 20 through Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011 for an asphalt rejuvenation project. The Downtown Disney Parking team will manage the traffic around the closure. During the closure, the Marketplace taxi stand will temporarily move to its former area across from Mickey’s Pots Fountain. After the lot A and B rejuvenation project, crews will move to lot I, with a closure expected for Sept. 28-30.
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For your information, lots A and B are located right behind the Cirque du Soleil building.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends - PHOTO GALLERY

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Today we have a special photo-update, which is not really reporting anything new. It is just like a virtual tour of one of Epcot's most recently renovated ride: The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Let's take a look around together, starting from the exterior of the ride:

Primeval Whirl Reopens After Getting a $69.000 Fine

The infamous spinning roller coaster at Disney's Animal Kingdom has finally reopened after being closed for more than six months. The ride was under refurbishment when the accident happened on March 13, 2011. A Walt Disney World cast member, Russell Roscoe, was working on the ride when he was hit by one of the ride's vehicles, causing his death. This tragic event lead to some quite heavy fines for Disney, which amounted to a total of $69,000 according to Wesh 2 News. Primeval Whirl is said to be now back in operation.
Now, a question comes to my head: do they need to see more accidents on that ride, before deciding to close it for good? The ride has had other accidents, and the most recent one (after this year's) happened in 2007. It is definitely something I will personally never ride again, not only because of the nature of the ride (which is an un-themed, uninteresting spinning coaster), but also for a principle.
What's your opinion? Are we being too hard on the ri…

Cirque du Soleil Closed Between September 18 and 26

Cirque du Soleil will remain closed from tomorrow until September 26 for their seasonal refurbishment: _________________________________________________________________________
Cirque du Soleil Dark September 18-26, 2011
To provide time for rehearsal and planned maintenance work, there will be no shows of La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil at Downtown Disney West Side September 18-26, 2011.
Additionally, the exterior Cirque du Soleil restrooms will be closed for refurbishment during the show’s downtime.
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The shows will come back on September 27, 2011.

LEGOLAND Florida Reveals 2012 Operating Schedule

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Just a few days ago, LEGOLAND Florida has revealed the operating hours for next year (you can find the 2012 schedule here). Are they any better than the 2011 opening hours? In a way, they are. The hours for January and February are exactly the same (10 a.m. - 5 p.m., closed on Tuesday and Wednesday), but starting from March 10, things change a bit. Here you are a snapshot of the park's 2012 calendar:

As you can see, after March 2012 they are open every day (including Tuesdays and Wednesdays) with a slightly better time (from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Yes, it is true that March is the month when most schools in the United States have Spring Break, but it is also interesting to see that they keep these operating hours until April 1. In addition to that, there is also a long holiday week in April, so while they will return to their 10 a.m - 5 p.m. schedule, they will still remain open every day until April 23. Also, from May 24 to September 3, the park will be open every day, and that'…

Old Town Starts Partnership with Main Gate Taxi

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Old Town has just announced that they have started a partnership with the Main Gate Transportation Company. Here's the official announcement that they have made by their monthly newsletter: _________________________________________________________________________
What's New in the Air - New Old Town Partner

Old Town has partnered up with Main Gate Taxi which offers 24-hour transportation to locals and tourists.    

Taxi Cab Service: Maingate Taxi offers on-demand 24 hours per day 7 days a week, State certified metered taxi cabs, serving Osceola, Polk and Orange Counties. Guest Paid Shuttle Service: Our Guest Paid Shuttle service offers two departures in the morning from many of the finest area Hotels and Resorts and up to three returns from Old Town in the evening. _________________________________________________________________________
What does it mean for guests? Now you will have an additional way of reaching Old Town from your hotel, as the Guest Paid Shuttle Service now s…

Fantasyland Update - Bay Lake Tower Photos & More

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Even though it had been raining for quite a bit, we ventured to the Magic Kingdom to take some pictures of the current work being done in the Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom. Let's take a look at what has changed.
We'll start our update with some pictures taken from the top of Bay Lake Tower:

LEGOLAND Florida Annual Pass Distribution Begins

We're just less than a month away from LEGOLAND Florida's grand opening, and we can hardly wait to see the park in all its splendor! Just to remind you, this will be the world's biggest LEGOLAND, and it will open on October 15, 2011. Since we are very near to the "big day," the park has already started to distribute all the annual passes that people purchased in advance on their official website. Here you are the projected days of distribution (from LEGOLAND Florida's official Facebook page):
September 17 - from 10 am to 5pm; September 18 - from 12 noon to 5 pm; September 22 - from 9 am to 5pm; September 24 - from 9 am to 5pm; September 25 - from 12 noon to 5 pm; September 26 - from 12 noon to 5 pm; September 27 - from 12 noon to 5 pm; September 28 - from 12 noon to 5 pm; September 29 - from 12 noon to 5 pm; September 30 - from 12 noon to 5 pm.
Keep in mind that LEGOLAND Florida's main entrance (located at Legoland Way) is currently not accessible due to ongoing c…

A Sneak Peek Inside "Journey of the Little Mermaid"

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The Disney Parks Blog has posted an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the interiors of the Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid attraction, which shows that work is well underway for the installation of the ride's theming. They just need to install the track, the Audio-Animatronics, and finish the work on the outside facade. Take a look:

Animation Turns Into an Attraction at Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid

One of the highly anticipated attractions coming to New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park is  Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid. The attraction, a seaside grotto beneath the castle of Prince Eric, is where guests enter the world of Ariel and her friends for an adventure filled with songs from the classic film. But you don’t have to wait until it opens to take a look inside. Walt Disney Imagineering just shared this video with us, in which Imagineer Eric Miller explains how the team is creating a realistic underwater environment for Ariel t…

Advisory - Simply Segway Tour Discontinued

An advisory that will affect all guests who have booked a Simply Segway Tour at the Walt Disney World Resort: _________________________________________________________________________
Simply Segway Experience at Epcot Discontinued
As part of our regular efforts to evaluate and adjust our Guest offerings, the last day of operation for the Simply Segway Experience at Epcot was September 9, 2011.
Guests who are currently booked for the discontinued tour may upgrade their booking for the Around the World at Epcot Segway experience at no additional charge.
Other Segway tours, including Around the World at Epcot and Nature-Inspired Design are still available for purchase by contacting 407-WDW Tour (407-939-8687).
Segway Central in Innoventions West will continue to be the training and initiation point for all Epcot-based Segway tours.
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If you were one of the guests affected, you should be glad this happened, a…

Miniland U.S.A. - September 2011 Preview (PART 1)

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In our previous update, we checked out "The Beginning," where we previewed some of the shops and restaurants that will be located right at the entrance of LEGOLAND Florida. Today, we'll continue our tour of the park, by taking a look at the fantastic "Miniland U.S.A.," which consists of numerous LEGO reproductions of very well-known cities of the United States:

Miniland U.S.A. - September 2011 Preview (PART 2)

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Let's continue our tour of Miniland U.S.A. (PART 1 can be found here):

POLK COUNTY:

Miniland U.S.A. - September 2011 Preview (PART 3)

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Here we are, with the last part of our special LEGOLAND Florida preview (PART 1 and also PART 2 can be found at their respective links). Let's check out the last few areas of Miniland U.S.A.
WASHINGTON D.C.:

Walt Disney World: Four Seasons Resort Will Be Done

The very well-known project for an extremely luxurious hotel, a Four Seasons Resort (which can be compared to a Ritz-Carlton hotel), has been up in the air for a very long time. The project has been delayed and delayed numerous times, and many rumors even hinted to a possible cancellation of the project.
Today, the Orlando Sentinel has reported that finally the project has been approved, and that work for the new $360 million hotel will begin as soon as December 2011. You can read additional information on this project (including an impressive artist rendering of the resort) directly on the Orlando Sentinel website.
The resort will have a total of 444 rooms. It will provide a good view of the Magic Kingdom park, and it will feature some very nice water features, like a lazy river and, of course, pools, spas and much more (in a few words, it will have everything you would expect from a luxury hotel). Also, according to the Orlando Sentinel, the resort will have "as many as 40 Fou…

LEGOLAND Florida Pre-Opening Photo Update (September 2011): The Beginning

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LEGOLAND Florida is just a month away from its grand opening, and the park looks almost ready t welcome its first guests! Yesterday we had the great opportunity of visiting the park, to see how work was proceeding, and we took a look at three areas: the beginning, Miniland U.S.A., and the Land of Adventure.
Today, we'll check out the Beginning. Before entering the park, though, let's take a look outside the park:

Disney Parks to Stop Shipping Packages to Mexico

A quick advisory from the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts:
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Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Merchandise Update
Effective September 19, 2011, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Merchandise locations will no longer ship Guest packages to the country of Mexico. The government of Mexico levees taxes of over 500 percent on the value on products made in China; this cost must be paid by the receiver (i.e., Guests) before packages are released by Customs in Mexico. For this reason, many shipments are abandoned. Although our products are made in many different countries, our goal is to avoid confusion to both Guests and Cast Members on shipping options.
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Can you imagine having to pay a 500% tax on a gift you purchased in a park? Most of the things we use every single day are made in China (we are all aware of that), so it is easily understandable th…

Rumor: Old Hard Rock Cafe' To Be Demolished

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How many times did you dream about this news? We would all be extremely happy to hear the sounds of working vehicles in the site of the former Hard Rock Cafe' , wouldn't we? Well, it looks like it is finally time to say goodbye to that old, unused structure!
The former Hard Rock Cafe' building is located right behind Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster, a family coaster that is situated in the Woody Woodpecker Kidzone area of the park. The building has been sitting vacant since 1999, when the Hard Rock Cafe' moved to a much bigger, much better-located building, right in the middle of CityWalk. That amounts to twelve years. Yes, I said twelve (12) years of silence. Indeed, there have been no plans for the area... until now.
Before we start talking about this interesting rumor, here's a look at the building in question:

Fun Spot Is Thinking About Introducing Annual Passes

Good afternoon! As you may already know, we are being really busy in these days, but we are still here, posting some updates in our spare time (which is really limited now). Anyway, we have just heard that both Fun Spot Attractions (Fun Spot Action Park in Orlando and Fun Spot U.S.A.) are thinking about introducing an annual pass, valid for both parks, along with a separate annual pass for each of the two parks.
This is the link to the interesting survey that unofficially announced a possible introduction of annual passes (feel free to take it): http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9GRGV5C
These are the possible prices :
$79.95 Single Park Unlimited Weekday Pass (Mon-Fri) $119.95 Two Park Unlimited Weekday Pass (Mon-Fri) $99.95 Unlimited Annual Pass (Introductory Price by 12/24/11) $119.95 Unlimited Annual Pass (Regular price after 12/24/11) $139.95 Unlimited Two Park Pass (purchased before 12/24/11) $159.95 Unlimited Two Park Pass Regular Price (after 12/24/11)
Just to hear some opinions from ou…

Today: LEGOLAND Florida Media Day

This morning, we'll have the great opportunity of visiting some of the areas of the new LEGOLAND Florida park, which will open in just a bit more than a month! Stay tuned for photos, videos and more.
Also, please, continue to check out the site during the day, as when we'll come back we'll post some of the photos and pictures we took during this special media event! Have a great day.

SeaWorld... Asia?

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Some months ago, we posted a news regarding SeaWorld's Park & Entertainment's future. Indeed, in the article, we read that they have the intention of expanding outside the United States... and it looks like they're indeed already thinking about building a park in Asia.
Indeed, while searching for something, we stumbled upon an interesting link. Take a look:

Yes, it says www.SeaWorld.Asia. Even though the description of the site does not match with the link (it says "Shark Encounter"), and despite the fact that the link doesn't work yet, we can surely say that there's already something in the works. What do you think?