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Showing posts from December, 2012

Magic Kingdom Currently at Phase 3 (Dec. 31, 2012)

Please, note that as of 2:00 p.m., the Magic Kingdom Park is still at a Phase 3 status. Phase 3 status includes admission exclusively for the following: WDW Resort Guests*WDW Premier Passport, Annual & Premium PassholdersGuests with Dining reservationsMagic Kingdom Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirates League (if applicable) (*Guests from the Swan, Dolphin or Shades of Green are considered part of this group in this instance. Also, Guests from Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels arriving by bus are included (Best Western Lake Buena Vista, Buena Vista Palace, Doubletree Guest Suites, Hotel Royal Plaza, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, The Hilton Lake Buena Vista). Also included are Golden Oak residents and registered Guests of Golden Oak residents.)
All the other Theme Parks are currently operating as normal. By the way, the only difference between a Phase 2 and a Phase 3 status is that Guests with Park Hopper tickets re-entering or crossing over from anothe…

New WDW Theme Park Maps for 2013 - Kodak Gone

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It's unbelievable, but we are just a few hours away from 2013, and this means that renovated park maps will be introduced in three of the four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks. We are referring to the maps that will soon be available at the Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, and Disney's Hollywood Studios (the newer park map for Disney's Animal Kingdom has not been released yet). Let's take a close look at them to see what's new:
- MAGIC KINGDOM -
Front (FULL SIZE):

Back (FULL-SIZE):

Transportation & Ticket Center Reached Capacity

Please, be aware that today (December 30, 2012) as of 2:25 p.m., all the Transportation and Ticket Center Parking lots have reached capacity. Guests arriving at the toll plaza of the Magic Kingdom Park will be directed to alternate parking at Epcot where they will be able to park and then use Resort transportation (monorails and/or buses) to return to Magic Kingdom. All theme Parks are operating as normal.
Please continue to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News often throughout the day for additional updates on theme park phase status conditions and more. For now, we thank you for your attention.

Universal Studios Update: A Very Busy Day (PART 1)

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Universal Studios Florida is one gigantic construction area at the moment, and the busy holiday season is absolutely not slowing down the progress! As always, we have got plenty of photos to keep you up-to-date with all that is happening in the park, and since we get to the Universal Orlando Resort almost every week now, we can tell you that we are really excited. Both theme parks are really "alive," and new attractions and additions are always on the horizon. Let's take a look together around the Universal Studios Florida park (we will get to Islands of Adventure in a separate, smaller update):

Universal Studios Update: A Very Busy Day (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this new Universal Studios Florida update (PART 1 can be found HERE).
Let's take a look at some more photos of the massive Transformers building:

Universal Studios Update: A Very Busy Day (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of this new Universal Studios Florida update (PART 2 can be found HERE).
A section of the railing along the lagoon has been replaced with a nice concrete wall:

Universal Studios Update: A Very Busy Day (PART 4)

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Welcome to PART 4 of this new Universal Studios Florida update (PART 3 can be found HERE).
Let's continue to take a look at the new Simpsons' extended queue:

Blizzard Beach Closed on Dec. 30 Due to Weather

Please be advised that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will again be closed on Sunday, December 30, 2012 due to forecasted low temperatures. The water park is expected to be back open on December 31, 2012, as weather conditions should soon improve. As always, we encourage you to frequently check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates on this and other subjects.

Star Wars Weekends at DHS: 2013 Dates Announced

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Through the official Disney Parks Blog, Disney's Hollywood Studios has announced the dates for the 2013 Star Wars Weekends." If you love this annual event, you have to read this to schedule your future visit: _________________________________________________________________________
‘Star Wars’ Weekends 2013 Dates Announced
“Luke, We’re gonna have company!” — Han Solo
If your starship can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs (I’m still trying to figure out how fast that is), set your hyperdrive for the Disney’s Hollywood Studios sector for May and early June, for the 2013 edition of Star Wars Weekends.
This year’s Force-filled fun will take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 17 – June 9, 2013.

While details are still being planned, we’re excited to announce that James Arnold Taylor and Ashley Eckstein are returning as celebrity hosts for the annual special event. James, the voice behind many of the most famous animated characters in film, television and com…

Disney Hotels Parking Restrictions (December 2012)

Due to the busy holiday season, please note that the following resorts will have some parking restrictions: Disney's Contemporary Resort(NOW – January 13)Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa(NOW – January 1)Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground(NOW – January 1)Disney's Polynesian Resort(December 30 – 31)Disney's BoardWalk Resort(December 31)Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts(December 31) These parking lots will be restricted to only those staying at the resort, attending a convention event at the resort, or with dining or recreation reservations. Thank you for your attention.

Theme Parks Expected to Be Very Busy Today

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The Orlando Theme Park News Team will not be able to follow the crowds level today due to a lot of important projects we are following and due to work reasons (that is why we won't be able to update our Theme Park Wait Times site today), but we just wanted to give a heads up to all our readers, as it definitely looks like today some parks (especially the Magic Kingdom Park and possibly even Universal's Islands of Adventure) may close due to capacity. Some of our photos from past years reveal just how bad the situation can get:

Blizzard Beach Closed Tomorrow Due to Weather

Please, take note of the fact that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will be closed tomorrow (Thursday, December 27, 2012), due to forecasted low temperatures. Please check back here for any additional updates.

New Documentary Showing at Rafiki's Planet Watch

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Even though Rafiki's Planet Watch is one of the least visited areas of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, it is interesting to know that a brand-new nature-focused movie is now showing on a loop inside the Conservation Station building. Here you are some additional information on this from the official Disney Parks Blog: _________________________________________________________________________
Wildlife Wednesdays: Get a Glimpse of New Rafiki’s Planet Watch Film – Showing Now at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Throughout the year, we’re very proud to share on the Disney Parks Blog stories about our conservation efforts and how we’re connecting families with animals and nature. Some of these stories are now featured in a new film that Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests can see when they visit Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

The film, which is hosted by Disney’s Animal Programs Conservation Director Dr. Anne Savage, has four segments. The segment shown here focuses on conserv…

Salon at Disney's Contemporary Resort Now Closed

If you will be staying at Disney's Contemporary Resort in the next few months, this may interest you:
Please, note that Salon, the spa located inside Disney's Contemporary Resort is now officially closed (effective Tuesday, December 25, 2012). As an alternative, Guests may book appointments at Ship Shape Massage, Salon and Fitness at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts by calling 407-934-3260.
Thank you for taking note of this. The spa at the Contemporary should reopen later next year after a rehab.

Walt Disney World: A Year In Review & What's Next

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This afternoon we will take some time to review some of the great new attractions and additions that recently debuted around the Walt Disney World Resort. In addition to that, we will also take a peek at some of the future new experiences that will soon come to the Walt Disney World Resort Be mindful that much more is in store. These are just a few of the new additions that were officially announced):
- NOW OPEN -
- New Fantasyland Debuts at Magic Kingdom Park
Guests will be greeted by New Fantasyland, which grand opened December 6 at Magic Kingdom. More fantasy is on the horizon. Among attractions now open: Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, a major attraction where guests riding in clamshells can travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves – all against a musical backdrop of songs from the film. Once “under the sea,” guests will find themselves immersed in the story of “The Little Mermaid,” sharing Ariel’s adventure through…

Magic Kingdom at Phase 2 Capacity (Dec. 25, 2012)

Here we are again! As of 12:40 a.m., the Magic Kingdom Park is currently at a Phase 2 closure status. Phase 2 status includes admission for the following Guests: WDW Resort Guests*WDW Premier Passport, Annual & Premium PassholdersGuests with Park Hopper® tickets re-entering or crossing over from another WDW Theme Park.Guests with Dining reservationsMagic Kingdom Park Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirates League (if applicable) (*Guests from the Swan, Dolphin or Shades of Green are included in this group in this instance. In addition, Guests from Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels arriving by bus are included: Best Western Lake Buena Vista, Buena Vista Palace, Doubletree Guest Suites, Hotel Royal Plaza, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, The Hilton Lake Buena Vista. Also included are Golden Oak residents as well as registered Guests of Golden Oak residents.)
As usual, we will continue to keep you up-to-date in case the status of the park should change.

Singer Elvis Crespo & Family Visits SeaWorld Orlando

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Puerto Rican meringue star/singer Elvis Crespo and his family recently spent some time at SeaWorld Orlando where they got up close and personal with a family of killer whales. Here you are some photos of their trip:

Current Walt Disney World Wait Times Now Available

For the return of the busy holiday season, we thought it would be both useful and fun to share the current wait times for all four of the Walt Disney World Resort's theme parks. You can find them by either clicking on this link, or by clicking on our new (temporary) button on the main menu of the site that reads "NEW! WDW Theme Park Wait Times". We will update them every 30 minutes or so. We hope you will enjoy this, even though we are sure that if you are in the parks (especially in the Magic Kingdom Park) you are definitely not having a lot of fun reading about these crazy wait times...

The Old "Dumbo - The Flying Elephant" (PART 1)

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A brand-new set of Dumbo spinners is now open for Guests at the Magic Kingdom Park, and we all know that the area looks beautiful, and it is a great improvement over the previous version of "Dumbo - The Flying Elephant." The ride now not only has two spinners and offers the FASTPASS service; it now also has a large indoor area where parents can see their kids play until it is their time to ride.
But, just how bad were the conditions of the former Dumbo ride before it closed down earlier this year? Well, you now have a chance to go back in time and take a thorough look at the attraction before it was moved, doubled, and completely refurbished. While you will definitely enjoy this look back to the past, you will also get a bit sad in seeing just how badly the ride was kept, and how old the queue area looked:

The Old "Dumbo - The Flying Elephant" (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this photo-gallery of the old "Dumbo - The Flying Elephant (PART 1 can be found here). Let's now continue to take a look at the attraction, starting from the attraction's loading area:

Magic Kingdom Currently at Phase 2 Capacity

Yes, it's that time of the year again! As of 12:58 a.m., the Magic Kingdom Park is currently at a Phase 2 closure status. Phase 2 status includes admission for the following Guests: WDW Resort Guests*WDW Premier Passport, Annual & Premium PassholdersGuests with Park Hopper® tickets re-entering or crossing over from another WDW Theme Park.Guests with Dining reservationsMagic Kingdom Park Guests with reservations for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or The Pirates League (if applicable) (*Guests from the Swan, Dolphin or Shades of Green are included in this group in this instance. In addition, Guests from Hotel Plaza Boulevard hotels arriving by bus are included: Best Western Lake Buena Vista, Buena Vista Palace, Doubletree Guest Suites, Hotel Royal Plaza, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, The Hilton Lake Buena Vista. Also included are Golden Oak residents as well as registered Guests of Golden Oak residents.)
We will continue to keep you up-to-date in case the status of the park should …

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort: Trademark

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Earlier today, we received an update on a new trademark filed by the Universal Orlando Resort. It refers to the fourth on-site hotel that is currently under construction right next to Universal's Islands of Adventure. This new trademark is actually the final logo of the new hotel, which looks exactly the same that was shown some time ago in one of the official artworks depicting the entrance of the future resort. Take a look:
CABANA BAY BEACH RESORT AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO
This is a brand page for the CABANA BAY BEACH RESORT AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO trademark by UCF Hotel Venture II in Orlando, FL, 32819. Write a review about a product or service associated with this CABANA BAY BEACH RESORT AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO trademark. Or, contact the owner UCF Hotel Venture II of the CABANA BAY BEACH RESORT AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO trademark by filing a request to communicate with the Legal Correspondent for licensing, use, and/or questions related to the CABANA BAY BEACH RESORT AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO trad…

SeaWorld Orlando Rescues Third Manatee in a Row

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Another "gentle giant" has been rescued by SeaWorld near the coastal area of Brevard County: Take a look _________________________________________________________________________

SeaWorld Orlando Rescues Third and Final Manatee from Merritt Island National Refuge
Orlando, Fla. – [On December 20, 2012], SeaWorld Orlando received a female manatee that was rescued by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission from Merritt Island National Refuge in Brevard County, Fla., the same spot where two manatees were rescued last week.
Estimated to be approximately 8 feet in length and weighing around 680 pounds, the female manatee was trapped in an area of the waterway where she couldn’t navigate her way out.  She was also exhibiting symptoms of cold stress.

Early [on December 21, 2012], animal experts took blood samples and assessed her condition further. For now, the manatee is in guarded condition and is in the park’s rehabilitation pool with the other two rescued manatees…

Contemporary and Grand Floridan Resorts Advisory

Due to the fact that the busy holiday season has officially arrived here in Central Florida, the following Walt Disney World Resort hotels will have some important restrictions for the regular Guest parking lots: Disney's Contemporary Resort (Now – January 13)Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (Now – January 1) These parking lots will be restricted to only those actually staying at the resort for the duration of their vacation, attending a convention event at the resort, or with dining or recreation reservations.

The Disney Look... to the Past! (Dec. 21-Jan.3)

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Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of the weekly feature known as "The Disney Look... to the Past!" Today we have a special, longer edition of "The Disney Look... to the Past" to share with you! Enjoy:
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This Week in Disney History: December 21-January 3
Jan. 2, 1996 - World of Motion closes at Epcot The wheel-shaped, glass-and-steel encased Transportation pavilion housed this opening day attraction, which enjoyed a 14-year run in Future World. After ascending the striking portico at the entrance aboard an Omnimover vehicle, Guests journeyed through the whirlwind history of transportation, from the invention of the wheel through more modern innovations like automobiles and aircraft. The finale delivered a vision of transportation in the futuristic city of CenterCore, showing Guests how they would appear in sleek, wildly designed vehicles yet to come. “Nine Old Men” animator Ward Kimball co…

Blizzard Beach Closed Today Due to Cold Weather

Please be advised that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will remain closed for the third consecutive day (Sunday, December 23, 2012) due to forecasted low temperatures. This is quite unusual, but you don't have to worry. Higher temperatures will come back soon. In the meantime, be sure to always continue to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates.

Fun Spot America's Expansion: New Aerial Photos

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The OTPN Team was recently contacted by Mr. Brisson, Fun Spot's Director of Marketing, who provided us some really great aerial shots of the construction area that will soon be home to two new coasters, a very large Sky Coaster, multiple themed flat rides, a completely new water park, and much more! Enjoy:
A view of the expansion area looking toward the south (FULL-SIZE):

WDW: Merchandise Annual Pass Discount Change

Today we have got an unfortunate news for all Walt Disney World Premier and Premium Annual Passholders. 
The Walt Disney World Resort just recently announced that effective January 1, 2013 all Walt Disney World Resort Annual Passholders will only be eligible for a 10 percent discount on select merchandise purchases at Walt Disney World Resort owned and operated merchandise locations. You will notice that this is a change to the discount offered for Premier Passport and Premium Annual Passholders in 2012, as previously the Resort offered a 20 percent discount. This is definitely something that will not be appreciated by most Passholders...

Universal Orlando's Partner Hotels Offer Great Deal

The Universal Orlando Resort is offering a great deal for Guests wanting to visit after the start of the new year: _________________________________________________________________________
Universal Orlando Resort Invites Guests to Enjoy a Third Day and Fourth Night FREE
Vacation Package Starts at Less Than $49 Per Person, Per Day for a Family of Four
ORLANDO, Fla. – Universal Orlando Resort is unveiling an all-new vacation package that gives families more time together to enjoy their action-packed adventure of a lifetime. With this new offer, visitors will receive a fourth night of hotel accommodations and third day of theme park admission FREE. Additional details about this vacation package can be found below.
Exclusive Vacation Package Offer OFFER DETAILS 4th Night and 3rd Day FREE
**Starts at $769 tax inclusive for a family of four. Includes the following extraordinary benefits:

> Three nights of accommodations at a nearby Universal Partner hotel – with the fourth night FREE> 2-day …

"Limited Time Magic" to Begin Soon at Magic Kingdom

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The Disney Parks Blog just posted this reminder regarding the upcoming Limited Time Magic events: _________________________________________________________________________

‘Limited Time Magic’ Surprises Beginning Soon at Disney Parks “Limited Time Magic” will run through the calendar year of 2013 and the program will feature a variety of surprises – most lasting just one week, some longer and disappearing after just one day. You’ll be able to find out what’s happening during the year by checking the Disney Parks Blog on Fridays. We’ll also be posting updates on Twitter using hashtag #LimitedTimeMagic as well as on the LimitedTimeMagic.com web page. Be sure to visit the Disney Parks Blog on Friday, Dec. 28 and see how we’re kicking off “Limited Time Magic.” _________________________________________________________________________
In addition to that, be sure to keep an eye on our new sidebar gadget called "Limited Time Magic," as we will keep it up-to-date based on the curren…

Walt Disney World: Advisories for December 22, 2012

Please be aware that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will continue to remain closed through Saturday, December 22, due to forecasted low temperatures. Also, the 8 p.m. Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 22 has also been cancelled due to weather (the dinner show is held in an outdoor venue). For this reason, Guests with reservations will have to book alternate dining arrangements and will not be sold or issued tickets to the show. Guests requesting a refund will be provided a refund.
Thank you very much for your attention, and stay tuned for more updates coming in the next few days.

Universal Studios Update: More Coaster Track (Part 1)

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Good Morning, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! It is a bit chilly out there today, but this doesn't mean that we are going to just relax, watch TV, and refrain from posting anything. Actually, we have got a very large Universal Studios photo-report for you today! There is a lot going on in this great park, so let's see what's new:

Universal Studios Update: More Coaster Track (Part 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this new Universal Studios Florida update (PART 1 can be found here).

Let's continue to take an up-close look at the panels used on the Transformers building:

Universal Studios Update: More Coaster Track (Part 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of this new Universal Studios Florida update (PART 2 can be found here).
Back to the Revenge of the Mummy, now all stand-by Guests have to go through the immense overflow queue, but that's not a problem. We think it's just slightly longer then The Seas with Nemo & Friends' queue:

Universal Studios Update: More Coaster Track (Part 4)

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Welcome to PART 4 of this new Universal Studios Florida update (PART 3 can be found here).
We will now take a look at some of the menu items of La Bamba (the restaurant now offers Mexican food):

Universal Studios Update: More Coaster Track (Part 5)

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Welcome to PART 5 of this new Universal Studios Florida update (PART 4 can be found here).

Our tour of the future Simpsons Land continues through a series of temporary walls:

Some Water Parks Closed Today Due to Weather

Please, be aware of the fact that, due to the strong cold front that just approached Florida, some water parks in Central Florida will not be operating today. Here's a list of the water parks with their availability: Wet 'N' Wild Orlando Water Park:OPEN (NO ADVISORY POSTED)Aquatica - SeaWorld Orlando's Water Park:CLOSED DUE TO WEATHERDisney's Blizzard Beach Water Park:CLOSED DUE TO WEATHERDisney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park:CLOSED FOR SEASONAL MAINTENANCELEGOLAND Florida's Water Park:CLOSED FOR SEASONAL MAINTENANCESeaWorld's Adventure Island Water Park:CLOSED FOR SEASONAL MAINTENANCE Thank you for your attention, and continue to keep an eye on OTPN for additional advisories in the future.

Fun Spot America Expansion Update: Official Photos

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Fun Spot America recently uploaded some great photos showing the progress that has been done up until now in the expansion lot where two new roller coasters, a Sky Coaster, and multiple flat rides are now under construction. Take a look (all the following photos come from the official Fun Spot America Facebook Page):

Blizzard Beach Closed Tomorrow Due to Weather

It is true, Florida always offers a truly great weather year-round (yes, it's quite hot during the summer, but it is always better than having to deal with cold...), but we do have occasional cold fronts during the winter, and one of them is currently moving toward Florida, and will reach the Orlando area this evening.
For that reason, be aware of the fact that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will remain closed tomorrow (Friday, December 21, 2012) due to forecasted low temperatures. The water park is expected to continue to remain closed also on Saturday, December 22, 2012.
We recommend you continue to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates.

Islands of Adventure Update: Poseidon's Changes

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We hope you are ready for a new Islands of Adventure update, as we have got a few minor news and updates to share with you today. Let's start first with a look around the beautiful Port of Entry:

Rumors From the Web: SpectroMagic Not Returning

As most of our Readers will know, the current nighttime parade currently showing nightly at the Magic Kingdom Park, the "Main Street Electrical Parade" (also known as "Disney's Electrical Parade") was originally supposed to be running for three months, as the parade returned as part of "Summer Nightastic!," a limited-time celebration that took place back in 2010. Of course, the parade remained until now, but the former nighttime parade - SpectroMagic" - was always expected to come back after having been thoroughly refurbished. Now, Drew81 (a very reliable source on another theme park-focused website, WDWMagic) just posted the following:
This is a rumor- It looks like Spectro won't be coming back this Spring. The floats need a lot of work and Disney doesn't want to put the money into it when possibly they could put it towards a new parade. I've heard the floats will be dismantled but that some of them could be used for another project.

The Disney Look... to the Past! (December 14-20)

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Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of the weekly feature known as "The Disney Look... to the Past!"
Enjoy reading all of the following interesting facts about the Walt Disney Parks, Resorts, Movies, and more:
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This Week in Disney History: December 14-20
Dec. 14, 2003 - Disney’s Pop Century Resort opens at the Walt Disney World Resort If you’re old enough to remember 45 RPM records, platform shoes, Rubik’s Cubes or (gasp!) floppy disks, then celebrate your nostalgic side at this Value Resort located near ESPN Wide World of Sports. The “Pop” is for pop culture, and outside the 10 Guest buildings housing 2,880 rooms are larger-than-life recreations of some of the most “Remember when?” inducing cultural curios of the 20th century, including Disney characters, a Big Wheel and an enormous foosball table. You can also find food and souvenirs at Everything Pop, or chill out at one of the resort’s three poo…

SeaWorld Parks Partner with Corus Entertainment

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The SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment company has just announced that a new partnership has been signed with Corus Entertainment, and this will include the addition of a new character that will soon meet and greet Guests in three SeaWorld Parks around the country. Here you are additional information on this deal: _________________________________________________________________________
SeaWorld and Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana Announce Franklin and Friends Partnership
Internationally renowned book and TV series character Franklin embarks on new adventures at SeaWorld parks
(December 19, 2012) Orlando, Fla. – SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana announced today a multi-platform partnership that combines the appeal of the popular Franklin and Friends characters with the beloved SeaWorld® brand. Beginning January 2013, the company’s new SeaWorld Kids brand and Nelvana will team up to introduce kids and families to in-park Franklin characters, TV specials, …

Disney Junior - Live On Stage! with New Characters

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The Disney Junior - Live On Stage! show is very popular among pre-school children visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios. Parents will be happy to know that the show is being refreshed once again to include a few new characters that debuted recently on television (on the Disney Junior channel, of course!). Here you are some additional information on this, directly from the official Disney Parks Blog: _________________________________________________________________________
New Stories Coming to Disney Junior – Live on Stage! in 2013 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney California Adventure Park

As a father of twin boys, the Disney Junior – Live on Stage! show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney California Adventure park is a favorite stop whenever we visit those parks. One of the best things about the show is that it’s regularly updated to feature new characters and stories from the Disney Junior line-up on TV. Well, I’m excited to tell you (and them), that Disney Junior – L…

SeaWorld Orlando Caring for Stranded Manatee

SeaWorld Orlando has just stated that a new manatee is now at the park, as the rescue team takes care of him: _________________________________________________________________________
SeaWorld Orlando is Now Caring for a Manatee
Orlando, Fla. - SeaWorld Orlando is now caring for a juvenile female manatee rescued near Jacksonville, Fla. The manatee was rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Jacksonville Zoo Team from the Trout River, just off the St. Johns River, and then transported to SeaWorld Orlando yesterday evening.
Estimated to be approximately 6 ½ feet in length and weighing around 355 pounds, the young manatee was rescued due to cold stress and other secondary infections as a result. Upon arrival at SeaWorld Orlando, animal care experts took blood samples and gave the manatee antibiotics to treat infections.  The team also placed the manatee in a wetsuit-like floatation device to assist with the animal’s buoyancy and surface breathing. For now, the…

A Very Quick Update Around Epcot's Future World

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Today we have got a very short - yet interesting - update regarding some changes taking place around Epcot's Future World. In this very small photo-update we will actually only take a look at some of the things happening in Future World East. Let us check out this particular area of the park:

Testing FASTPASS Viewing Area for Illuminations

A new test will take place at Epcot starting from today (December 18, 2012). In two separate areas located around World Showcase, a FASTPASS-only viewing location will be added. Here you are more information: _________________________________________________________________________
Epcot - IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth FASTPASS Test
During the two-day test, FASTPASS tickets will be randomly given to Guests in World Showcase, granting them access to special nighttime spectacular viewing areas located in Germany and at Showcase Plaza. Cast Members will direct Guests to these designated viewing locations.
This test is part of our ongoing commitment to seek feedback and provide our Guests with the mix of experiences they most enjoy. The experience we are testing may or may not end up as part of our park offerings. _________________________________________________________________________
Now, we would like to hear your opinions on the subject. Would you like to be able to reserve a p…

SeaWorld Update: More Glaciers Appear (PART 1)

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Hello, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! After having had an incredibly busy weekend trying to redesign our website's appearance based on the feedback received through our recent survey, it is time to go back to work. So, let us take a look around the charming SeaWorld Orlando to see what is new this week:

SeaWorld Update: More Glaciers Appear (PART 2)

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Welcome to part 2 of this SeaWorld Orlando update (PART 1 can be found right here)!
Time for more panoramic photos of the future Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin themed area:

Guest Post: Looking Forward to 2013's Additions

Today we wanted to share with our readers another new Guest Post. As a reminder, Guests Posts are created by outside companies, and are NOT written by the OTPN Staff. This particular post reminds us of only some of the many new attractions and experiences coming to the theme parks here in Central Florida. As usual, we hope you will enjoy it:
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What to Look Out For in Orlando 2013
Next year is going to be an exciting one for the theme parks of Orlando so for those of you planning a Theme Park holiday in 2013 here is a round-up of some of the new features and attractions to look out for.
Disney World Parks
Oz: The Great and Powerful: To celebrate the upcoming release of a Disney’s take on the magical world of Oz, they are constructing an Oz themed area as part of Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival. The Land of Oz will be opening on March 6th. The area will have both an Oz movie garden as well as an inte…

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin - Fourth Webisode

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The fourth official video of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, released by SeaWorld Orlando, is now available! This time we are given an incredibly exciting look at the vehicle that will be used in the attraction. Take a look: _________________________________________________________________________
Antarctica - Behind The Freeze 4: Ride Technology

Orlando, Fla. – The fourth installment of Behind The Freeze is now live. In this episode, we take you to our secret ride testing facility where designers are busy preparing the first-of-its-kind vehicles for Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. You'll see the cars in action and how they'll take you into the icy wonders of our amazing new attraction opening next spring.
Creative Director Brian Morrow interviews SeaWorld's Corporate Ride Engineer, Mike Denninger, about how the cars move through the space, what you'll expect when on the ride and how these amazing vehicles will help you become part of the story as you follow a you…

Universal's Q-Bot Unavailable Between Dec. 27-30

The Universal Orlando Resort just announced that the new Universal's Ride Reservation System (the Lo-Q system) will not be available on December 27, 28, 29, & 30. Here's the official news: _________________________________________________________________________
Ride Reservation System Unavailable From December 27–30, 2012
So that we can best accommodate peak crowds at our Universal Express accessible attractions during the holiday season, we are temporarily suspending the Ride Reservation system starting Thursday, December 27. The system will remain unavailable through Sunday, December 30, and is scheduled to resume service on Monday, December 31.We invite guests to purchase Universal Express passes in advance to reduce their wait time at participating attractions. Universal Express passes are available at our front gate ticket windows, at Guest Services, via universalorlando.com, and in select Merchandise locations throughout our parks. __________________________________…

The Disney Look... to the Past! (December 7-13)

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Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of the weekly feature known as "The Disney Look... to the Past!"
Enjoy reading all of the following interesting facts about the Walt Disney Parks, Resorts, Movies, and more:
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This Week in Disney History: December 7-13
Dec. 10, 1993 - Living with the Land opens at Epcot Go deep into The Land in Future World and board a boat to venture inside the pavilion's amazing greenhouses, where crops are being grown in fantastic new ways and the future of agriculture is being developed before your very eyes. Originally opened with the pavilion in 1982 as Listen to the Land, this renovation introduced a new opening scene exploring the powers that shape the land, both environmental and human, traveling through a dense rainforest and an American prairie. Inside the greenhouses, the sustainable agriculture being developed inside these living laboratories includes aquaculture (…

Redesigned Walt Disney World Website Now Testing

Over the next few weeks, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online will be introducing a completely redesigned Disneyworld.com website. This website will be visible only to some Guests visiting Disneyworld.comat this time. The site includes many features such as enhancements to maps, search, and Guest profile. Additional details and information will be shared when the website is completely rolled out.
One of our favorite features is the new set of maps. All of them have been redesigned, and look very similar to the maps used in the official Walt Disney World Resort app (available fro mobile devices). What's yours?

Bottlenose Dolphin Born at SeaWorld's Discovery Cove

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A baby bottlenose dolphin can now be seen swimming around the beautiful Discovery Cove! Take a look: _________________________________________________________________________
It's a Girl: Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin Born at Discovery Cove
Orlando, Fla. (December 13, 2012) – A 3 ½ foot-long, 35-pound dolphin was born at Discovery Cove ® on Friday, November 30 at 10:22 a.m.
This birth is notable because it marks the first time a dolphin at Discovery Cove has successfully given birth to a calf conceived through the use of “sperm-sexing” research, which involves separating sperm carrying a female-producing X chromosome from sperm carrying a male-producing Y chromosome.

This scientific advancement affords Discovery Cove the opportunity to manage its species’ genetic diversity and social environment. Scientists at the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Reproductive Research Center in San Diego, Calif., pioneered the ability to preferentially produce female or male dolphin offspring though sperm…

New Tests Being Done at Be Our Guest Restaurant

The new Be Our Guest Restaurant officially opened on December 6, 2012 as part of the New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom Park. This restaurant offers fast casual service for lunch with a very innovative table delivery service. That said, Disney is already looking into some options to speed up the ordering process:

"In December, selected Guests (Club Level Concierge Guests at select resorts) will have the opportunity to select an “arrival window” for their lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant prior to arriving at the restaurant. This will happen via a website, similar to the FastPass+ testing that has taken place this year.
Once a participating Guest selects an arrival window, the Guest can view the menu online and choose to order their meal ahead of time as well. If a Guest does not order ahead, the Guest can place an order at a kiosk upon arrival at Be Our Guest Restaurant. If a Guest chooses not to select an arrival window, they then have the option of ordering their meal ahead of…

New Test Track: More Official Photos from Chevrolet

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Test Track - Presented by Chevrolet reopened just a few days ago, and we have posted multiple official photos of the attraction. Today we bring some more pictures of this re-imagined ride, all of which come directly from Chevrolet's official website. Take a look at them, together with their own press release: _________________________________________________________________________

Test Track Presented by Chevrolet Opens in Florida

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The efforts of Chevrolet designers and Walt Disney Imagineers are now on display at Walt Disney World Resort where Test Track presented by Chevrolet opened to the public [on December 6, 2012]. The redesigned attraction gives guests a deep look inside a professional design studio creating a first-of-its-kind multi-sensory virtual experience in automotive design.

Here's Your Chance to Rate Orlando Theme Park News

The Orlando Theme Park News Staff has always been determined to bring the best photo-updates and news to our Readers, and this continues to be our goal down to this day. One thing is sure, though: we cannot possibly know if we are going in the right direction or if we need to make some adjustments by only relying on our own opinions. And that's where YOU, our Readers, come into play. You have the chance to help us to grow.
In fact, we need to get some inputs from our Readers regarding our appearance, our updates, and in general about everything that we do and say on our website. If you have been reading Orlando Theme Park News since its inception back in 2009, you will have likely noticed how many changes have taken place since then. Now we need again your help to continue to offer the best possible (free) service to you.
To help us, we just ask you to please take a few seconds to complete our 10-question survey, which can be found at this link, or by clicking on the new "Su…

Universal Studios Update: A December Day (PART 1)

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As you might have already guessed, it is time for yet another incredibly large photo-update from the parks! This time we are going back to Universal Studios Florida for our weekly tour of the park in search for news and to get updated on the status of all the projects going on inside this amazing place. Let's start:

Universal Studios Update: A December Day (PART 2)

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Welcome to part 2 of this new Universal Studios update (PART 1 can be found HERE).
Let us continue to take a look at the massive Transformers building from the New York themed area:

Universal Studios Update: A December Day (PART 3)

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Welcome to part 3 of this new Universal Studios update (PART 2 can be found HERE).
We will now move over to the future London-themed area that will replace the former Amity Village:

Universal Studios Update: A December Day (PART 4)

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Welcome to part 4 of this new Universal Studios update (PART 3 can be found HERE).
We will now complete our tour of the park by continuing to check out the Simpsons area:

Disney's Blizzard Beach to Remain Closed for Today

Please, note that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will continue to remain closed for the rest of the day due to forecasted inclement weather. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is currently also closed for its seasonal refurbishment. Please, continue to check back here on Orlando Theme Park news for any additional updates.

"Monsieur Paul" Now Open at Epcot's France Pavilion

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"Monsieur Paul" is the new restaurant that replaced the former "Bistro de Paris," a very upscale restaurant located in the back of the France pavilion at Epcot. The restaurant is now officially open to Guests, and the Disney Parks Blog just released some information and photos regarding the restaurant's offerings: _________________________________________________________________________
‘Monsieur Paul’ Restaurant Debuts December 11 Upstairs at Epcot France Pavilion
“Monsieur Paul restaurant introduces the culture and the authentic taste of French cuisine that Chef Paul Bocuse introduced to the world,” says Jerome Bocuse, son of the famous French chef and president and owner of the company that runs the new restaurant re-opening December 11 in the France Pavilion at Epcot World Showcase.
Upscale but less formal than the former Bistro de Paris, the new decor captures classic French architecture with fresh colors and a touch of modernism. “The newly renovated rest…

More Information on Disney's Touch-To-Pay System

As you will remember, Orlando Theme Park News was the first to report that the new Next-Gen payment system was going to be added to some of Epcot's Quick Service Restaurants this week. Well, now we have some more new official information regarding this new Touch-To-Pay system.
First of all, this new Next-Gen addition has become available in more places starting from today, December 11, 2012. You can now use this system at the following locations (wherever Key to the World cards are accepted today): Epcot, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Resort (except for laundry, valet and arcade locations in resorts).For now, the new devices can only be used by Guests staying at any of the aforementioned Walt Disney World Resort hotel.Also, as we stated in our previous update on the matter, these devices also allow entry of a PIN, which can be set up during the check-in process. T…