Showing posts from April, 2013

Epcot's 2013 Flower & Garden Festival Photos (PART 1)

This year's International Flower & Garden Festival has already been going on for more than two months at Epcot, and it is definitely one of the best seasonal festivals in the United States. We just have a bit more than two weeks to experience all the sights and smells of the great flowers and topiaries that have been planted or placed around the park. For this reason, here's an extensive photo-gallery showing all of the great creations that were available during this year's event (this is especially designed for those who were not able to come to the park during this special occasion this year, but also for those who love nature - just like we do!). Enjoy the photos:

Epcot's 2013 Flower & Garden Festival Photos (PART 2)

Welcome to PART 2 of this Flower & Garden Festival photo-gallery (PART 1 can be found here).

Epcot's 2013 Flower & Garden Festival Photos (PART 3)

Welcome to PART 3 of this Flower & Garden Festival photo-gallery (PART 2 can be found here).

Epcot's 2013 Flower & Garden Festival Photos (PART 4)

Welcome to PART 3 of this Flower & Garden Festival photo-gallery (PART 3 can be found here).

Epcot's 2013 Flower & Garden Festival Photos (PART 5)

Welcome to PART 5 of this Flower & Garden Festival photo-gallery (PART 4 can be found here).

Latest Photos of LEGOLAND's World of Chima Land

It has been a while since our last visit to the beautiful LEGOLAND Florida theme park, but it looks like we will have to wait for another week or two before getting back to the park due to our very busy schedule.
In the meantime, our friends over at just recently visited the park and took some great behind-the-scenes photos (from public areas, of course) of the progress that has been done on the future World of Chima themed land that wil open later this summer. If you check out those pictures, you will notice that the splash battle attraction is quickly taking shape, and that the park is definitely not losing any time, as they have gone vertical and most of the building look almost complete (aside from the theming).
A big "thank you!" once again to for keeping us up-to-date on this major project!

Universal Orlando Resort: More Curious George?

The Universal Orlando Resort is already incredibly busy with multiple projects taking place all at the same time. And it looks like they are not going to stop anytime soon, as rumors about even more new additions pop up every week or so. Well, today the official Twitter account of the Universal Orlando Resort posted the following: _________________________________________________________________________
The man with the yellow hat sees something coming on the horizon… 
If you don't know, the man with the yellow hat is the guy that takes care of Curious George in its homonymous television series. He accompanies him in most of his adventures.
So, what does that mean? Do you think that more Curious George-related attractions may be coming to Universal Studios Florida, specifically in the Woody Woodpecker'sKidzone area of that park? Of course, there's already a quite big water play area themed after Curi…

Eat Free at SeaWorld Orlando for a Limited Time

SeaWorld Orlando is getting ready to open one of the most amazing theme park rides ever created - Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin - and to celebrate this event, the park is offering free all-day dining to Guests buying single-day tickets to visit the park. The only downside is that you have to pay the full price ($89.00 for adults; $81.00 for kids) to get advantage of this offer. That being said, it is still a great offer, as the all-day dining deal costs about $32.99 per person! And let us tell you, the all-day dining deal at SeaWorld's parks is absolutely great!
To learn more about this great offer or if you are ready to buy your tickets, click on this link.

SeaWorld Caring for Orphaned Manatee Calf

SeaWorld Orlando Now Caring for Orphaned Manatee Calf Rescued Near Merritt Island, Fla.
Orlando, Fla. – An orphaned manatee calf was rescued [on April 24, 2013] by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, and then transported to SeaWorld Orlando late yesterday for rehabilitation and long-term care. The young calf was spotted swimming alone by a private citizen prior to its rescue from Sykes Creek in Merritt Island, Fla.

"The Thinking Fan's Guide to Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom" - Book Review by Orlando Theme Park News

Orlando Theme Park News just reviewed a new book that you might be interested in reading:
The Intrepid Traveler is back with another great book focused on one of Central Florida's most famous themed resort (the most famous in the world, we might actually say) - the Walt Disney World Resort. This latest book they published is aptly called "The Thinking Fan's Guide to Walt Disney World: Magic Kingdom," and it is the first to be written by Aaron Wallace, a passionate Disney fan and media critic (fun fact: he also stated in his book that he visits one of the Walt Disney World theme parks at least once a week... we may have actually walked past him sometime, as we also go to the Disney theme parks this often, as you may well know).
"The Thinking Fan's Guide to Walt-Disney World" series is soon going to include all four Walt Disney World theme parks. The first volume (published just a few days ago), covers the Magic Kingdom Park. As the title of the book cle…

Animal Kingdom Update: 15th Anniversary (PART 1)

Let us start by reiterating how much we love Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. We really do like it, and we have always thought that it is the park with the most potential (yeas, if it received the right amount of love, it would be even better than Epcot). That being said, it is undoubtedly the most neglected Walt Disney World theme park, and we noticed that even more this past Monday, as very few events were prepared to remember the past 15 years of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. We have to say that we missed the opening celebrations (we saw some videos about it, and we were really underwhelmed...), but it looked like nothing special was really being done in the park throughout the day. It was an ordinary day at the park.
Now, let's take a look around the park to see what has changed since we last visited a few months ago:

Animal Kingdom Update: 15th Anniversary (PART 2)

Welcome to PART 2 of this Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park update (PART 1 can be found here).
Notice these temporary walls, which are hiding the future location of the new Festival of the Lion King theater:

Animal Kingdom Update: 15th Anniversary (PART 3)

Welcome to PART 3 of this Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park update (PART 2 can be found here).
Let's continue exploring the park by venturing deeper into the Asia section of the park:

"May The Fourth Be With You" at Hollywood Studios

Among the many exciting announcements made in the past few days, the official Disney Parks Blog recently also revealed that a special new Star Wars-themed event will soon take place at Disney's Hollywood Studios: _________________________________________________________________________

‘May The Fourth Be With You’ Celebrated at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for ‘Limited Time Magic’
Separate from our month-long Star Wars Weekends special event (which begins May 17), this “Limited Time Magic” celebration features special Star Wars entertainment, characters, commemorative merchandise, a Star Wars dance party and a Star Wars-themed fireworks show to cap off the day. You might even find yourself sitting next to Chewbacca aboard Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. Star Wars characters will make surprise appearances on the 3-D attraction to enjoy the wild journey through space alongside park guests.
A special edition of Jedi Training Academy also is planned that day, with parents invited …

The Disney Look... to the Past! (April 26-May 2)

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:

This Week in Disney History: April 26-May 2
April 29, 1994 - Astro Orbiter opens at Magic Kingdom Park Ride the elevator up to the launch platform and get ready to blast off into the solar system. For an out-of-this-world view, pilot one of twelve spaceships that can climb up to 60 feet into the skies above Tomorrowland, establishing an orbit of 11 revolutions per minute around the central tower. Use the control lever to set a lower cruising altitude at any time during your 90-second flight. Astro Orbiter originally opened Nov. 28, 1974 as the Star Jets, which replicated the awe-inspiring Apollo-Saturn rockets launched from nearby Cape Canaveral. The 1994 refurbishment gave the Astro Orbiter …

New Race Added to Princess Half Marathon Weekend

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA – Building on the success of its women-focused events, runDisney is broadening the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort next year by adding a 10K and a new two-race challenge.

The Princess 10K gives runners of various levels more opportunities to run through Disney theme parks and receive a specially-designed finisher medal. And runners looking for an even bigger challenge can sign up for the 10K on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday (19.3 miles total) to earn the inaugural Disney Glass Slipper Challenge Medal to go along with medals from each individual race.
The Princess Half Marathon Weekend, scheduled for Feb. 20-23, 2014, is one of two women-focused runDisney events. The other is the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend in January at Disneyland Resort in California. Both races are among the largest women-specific running events in the country and focus on healthy active lifestyles for women and girls.  For instance, after near…

Sneak Peeks of Princess Fairytale Hall, Mine Ride

Enjoy some great videos and artworks of two of the upcoming New Fantasyland additions that will open in the next few months (Fall 2013; Spring 2014) at the Magic Kingdom Park! From the official Disney Parks Blog: _________________________________________________________________________

Imagineers Offer a Sneak Peek Inside Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Princess Fairytale Hall at New Fantasyland
Who’s ready for an update on the remaining construction in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park? Walt Disney Imagineering just shared a new video with us that offers up a look inside the two attractions in New Fantasyland that are still yet to debut: Princess Fairytale Hall and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Magic Kingdom: Another Parade FASTPASS Test

Please, take note of the following advisory regarding a special test that will include offering Guests FASTPASS tickets to reserve a spot to view either the daytime or nighttime parades of the Magic Kingdom:
"The Magic Kingdom Park will conduct a limited-time test of Disney’s FASTPASS Service for the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade and Main Street Electrical Parade, between April 29 and May 3, 2013. The parade FASTPASS viewing location will be located in the area around Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A.
During the test, FASTPASS tickets will be randomly given to Guests around the park. Holding a parade FASTPASS ticket will not impact Guests’ ability to obtain a FASTPASS ticket for another attraction. We are conducting this test as 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."
Thank you for your attention, and see you v…

Great New Additions Coming to the Disney Magic Ship

The Disney Parks Blog announced just yesterday that the Disney Magic ship will receive some great additions: _________________________________________________________________________

More Magic Coming to the Disney Magic and Disney Cruise Line
I’m thrilled to share Disney Cruise Line‘s exciting news today…there’s an extra dose of magic coming aboard the Disney Magic! Our first ship in the fleet is getting a “reimagineering” transformation during dry dock from Sept. 7 through Oct. 10, 2013.

Winter Summerland Advisory (April 29 - May 3, 2013)

Please, take note of the following advisory affecting Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf:
Be advised that the Winter course at Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf will be closed from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. from Monday, April 29, through Friday, May 3. The course will be open to guests after 4:00 p.m. The Summer course will remain open all day for our guests to enjoy.
Please check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates on this and other subjects.

New Daytime Parade for Magic Kingdom in 2014!

After year of speculations, it has finally been confirmed: the Magic Kingdom Park will finally receive a brand-new daytime parade in 2014! It will be known as "Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade", and it will feature some truly amazing floats, musics, and great visual effects! Here you are additional information about this new addition, from the official Disney Parks Blog: _________________________________________________________________________
Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade Coming to Magic Kingdom in 2014
For many guests, a visit to a Disney Park wouldn’t be complete without catching a parade. Whether it’s the thrill of seeing which Disney character comes up next, or that moment when your favorite character waves right at you, there’s just something magical about a Disney parade. Today, we’re happy to share that a new procession, the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade, will march into Magic Kingdom Park in spring 2014.

Limited Time Magic Announcement at Noon Today?

The Walt Disney World Resort just issued the following advisory to Magic Kingdom Guests and Cast Members:
Throughout 2013, Limited Time Magic will surprise and delight Guests in fanciful and unexpected ways.  New entertainment and imaginative encounters will pop up, and then disappear just as quickly. For the next announcement, check back [on the official Disney Parks Blog] at noon today.
Now, we already know that the Magic Kingdom Park will remain open for 24 hours straight on Memorial Day Weekend, so could this be just a reiteration of that or an additional announcement? We'll wait and see.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin - Seventh Webisode

SeaWorld Orlando has finally released the seventh installment of their exciting video-previews of Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin, which will open in less than a month. This time we'll learn more about the sets, the animations, and the music that we will be able to enjoy throughout the entire attraction. Take a look:

SeaWorld Orlando’s Behind the Freeze – Puck’s Antarctica

In this latest installment, SeaWorld Creative Director Brian Morrow takes you “Behind the Freeze” of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin where you’ll see Antarctica through the eyes of our new hero – a penguin named Puck. From the amazing sights to the original score, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin will blend an all-family adventure ride with up-close encounters never before seen.

Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin – which opens in 30 days -- will transport you into a rarely seen, icy world. You’ll feel the majestic grandeur of the Sout…

Pocahontas M&G Location Change at DAK (May 5-11)

Please, take note of the following advisory regarding a character meet-and-greet at Disney's Animal Kingdom:
Please, be aware of the fact that Pocahontas will be temporarily greeting Guests on Discovery Island at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park between May 5-11, 2013. As a reminder, Pocahontas will go back to her regular meet-and-greet location (Lower Bradley Falls, located along the walkway connecting Africa and Asia) on May 12.
Thank you for taking note of this, and see you soon with more updates and news from the parks. Stay tuned.

Magic Kingdom Open 24 Hours Again This Year!

As part of the Monstrous Summer press event that took place today at Epcot, a great announcement was made. The Magic Kingdom park will be again open 24 straight hours on May 24, 2013! The Disney Parks Blog has more information for you, together with some photos and a funny video of Mike Wazowski showing up at Epcot: _________________________________________________________________________

First Three-Park All-Nighter Kicks Off Monstrous Summer at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts
Just seconds ago, a 180-foot-tall Mike Wazowski from the upcoming Disney●Pixar film “Monsters University” made the official announcement that we’re keeping three theme parks open for 24 hours on Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start of the family travel season, to kick off a Monstrous Summer on both coasts. Wazowski, the loveable green-bodied, one-eyed monster, joins best pal James P. Sullivan (“Sulley”) in the prequel to “Monsters, Inc.”, this summer as college students with hopes of becomin…

Refurbished BoardWalk Bakery Reopens at WDW

The BoardWalk Bakery will reopen very soon at the Walt Disney World Resort. Here you are a few information regarding this major refurbishment, directly from the official Disney Parks Blog: _________________________________________________________________________

Expanded BoardWalk Bakery Reopens at Walt Disney World Resort Friday with New Treats
Get ready for some super new taste sensations when the BoardWalk Bakery reopens bright and early Friday morning – 6:30 a.m. to be exact.
“The new location is twice the size of the original bakery, themed to the 1920s Jersey shore,” says John Berko, manager of food & beverage at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas. Dark wood and colorful tiles and mosaics add a new brightness to the space.
Beyond sweets, the new menu includes hot breakfast items, salads and sandwiches – like a Maine lobster roll and a pork loin sandwich with creamy apple slaw. _________________________________________________________________________

To continue reading this p…

Universal Studios: Transformation in Progress (Part 1)

Welcome to Orlando Theme Park News' latest Universal Studios Florida photo-report!
You should already know by know that there are a lot of projects taking place inside this park all at once. The growth of the Universal Orlando Resort is really showing how much the new owner (Comcast) cares about the place. There's so much to look forward to! Let's take a look around the park together once again:

Universal Studios: Transformation in Progress (Part 2)

Welcome to PART 2 of this Universal Studios Florida photo-report (PART 1 can be found here).
Let's continue to take a look around the new Transformers - The Ride building:

Universal Studios: Transformation in Progress (Part 3)

Welcome to PART 3 of this Universal Studios Florida photo-update (PART 2 can be found here).
It is now time to check on the construction area that was formerly known as the Amity Harbor:

Universal Studios: Transformation in Progress (Part 4)

Welcome to PART 4 of this Universal Studios Florida photo-report (PART 3 can be found here).
We will now take a few more minutes to check out the work being done in the back of the former Amity area:

Universal Studios: Transformation in Progress (Part 5)

Welcome to PART 5 of this Universal Studios Florida photo-update (PART 4 can be found here).
The last part of this photo-update includes a walk-through of the still-under-construction Simpsons land:

Rumor: New Nighttime Show for SeaWorld Orlando?

One of our Readers (who wishes to remain anonymous) shared with us an interesting rumor today. It looks like SeaWorld Orlando may be thinking about changing or even completely eliminating their seasonal fireworks show, known as "Reflections". That being said, you shouldn't worry too much about this, as the rumor also states that something new and better would come to replace that show (and fireworks would still be heavily involved, thankfully). Here's the complete rumor that our Reader shared with us: _________________________________________________________________________
"Hello, I would first like to point out that this information is coming from an internal source at SeaWorld Orlando ... For my understanding ... EITHER a new nighttime firework show will be added to the last Shamu show of the night, as a finale that will replace the existing summer firework show OR they will be adding pyrotechnics (fire balls, fireworks, etc.) to the last Shamu show of the n…

New Monsters-O-Rail Coming to Walt Disney World

The official Disney Parks Blog just recently announced that one of Walt Disney World's monorails will soon receive a Monster University-themed wrap. Here's a preview of this colorful addition (it's only temporary):

It looks nice. By the way, stay tuned for some important news coming from the Walt Disney World Resort in the next two days (as part of the previously-announced Monstrous Summer press event)! See you soon.
PHOTOS/ARTWORK: ©Disney. All rights reserved.

Helicopters Filming Around WDW on April 25, 2013

Please, take note of the following advisory regarding the special "Monstrous Summer" press event:
"As part of day one of the Monstrous Summer Media Preview on Thursday, April 25, a helicopter will fly over multiple areas of the Walt Disney World Resort to capture promotional aerial footage. Guests may hear and/or see the helicopter as it takes off and flies overhead (sometimes low flying) at the following locations and times: Epcot: 4 a.m. – NoonMagic Kingdom Park: 5 a.m. – 8 a.m.Downtown Disney Area: 5:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.Disney’s Art of Animation Resort / Disney’s Pop Century Resort: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Please note timing and location elements are subject to change. We appreciate your patience and understanding and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."
Rumors floating around the internet say that Disney will announce another 24-hour park celebration during this special press event. We will keep you up-to-date regarding the status of this and other rumors…

Pirate's Dinner Adventure: Brand-New Show for 2013

The popular Pirates Dinner Show is now presenting another completely new show (in addition to the Three Musketeers show). It is called "Rise of the Sea Dragons," and promises to entertain Guests with special effects, adventure, action, and... life-size dragons! Here you are more information from the show's official website: _________________________________________________________________________

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure presents “Rise of the Sea Dragons!”

A new and spectacular addition to our already amazing show! Can the heroic Benjamin rescue Princess Anita from the jaws of an angry Sea Dragon while fending off a crew of cutthroat Sea Dogs?
Amazing life-size dragons add a new twist to our already thrilling show! Enjoy a delicious pirate feast as you watch special effects, aerial artistry and swordplay that’s fun for all ages! The action takes place on a replica of an 18th century Spanish gallion [sic.] set in a 300,000 gallon lagoon!
And watch out, you may become par…

Help Name Discovery Cove's Dolphin Calf

Help Discovery Cove Name the Newest Addition to their Family
Help Discovery Cove trainers name the newest dolphin calf who joined our family on Monday, February 25, 2013. Each birth is exciting news and this time we have an added surprise! We are leaving the naming up to our fans. Our fans must “Like” the official Discovery Cove Facebook page in order to participate. The name with the most votes wins. Fans can choose between the following names: FINN – Means finder. Dolphins are exceptional finders and use echolocation (echoes) to find fish and other objects.DALLES – (kenDAL +LESter) a combination of mom and dad’s namesKENT - Kendall is the Valley of the river KentCast your vote each day through April 30, 2013. The winning name will be announced Wednesday, May 1, 2013 on the official Discovery Cove Facebook page.

Rules: - Fans must “Like” the Official Discovery Cove Facebook page to be able to participate in the voting. - Fans will be able to cast their vote once per day. - The winning …

Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride: April 2013 Update

As we promised a few days ago, here you are a quick photo-update showing the progress that has been done in the area around the future Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride. We hope you will enjoy the photos:

Vision House at Epcot - Special Event (April 22, 2013)

Disney's get outside campaign for Earth Month takes its celebration indoors for a moment on Earth Day, April 22, 2013 with the VISION House exhibit in INNOVENTIONS East (Future World East, Epcot).
Guests will have the opportunity to learn more about the benefits of environmentally friendly and sustainable initiatives that they can implement in their own homes. VISION House offers presentations and entertainment throughout the day to inform and engage visitors with an interest in going green on Earth Day and every day.
The celebration runs from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at INNOVENTIONS East. Visit to learn more about this new offering and how Guests can celebrate Earth Month at this exciting Epcot exhibit.

Animal Kingdom's 15th Anniversary: Planned Events

Fifteen years ago, Walt Disney World's fourth theme park officially opened to the general public, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Today, both Guests and Cast Members will be able to look back at the past of this great park, as well as look toward a brighter future. Here you are some of today's special in-park events: _________________________________________________________________________

Disney's Animal Kingdom 15th Anniversary
- Opening Ceremony In front of the Tree of Life; 8:40 a.m. Join Josh D'Amaro, Vice President of Disney's Animal Kingdom® , and Dr. Jackie Odgen, Vice President of Animals, Science, and Environment, as they welcome Guests into the park for the start of the anniversary celebration.
- Special Conservation Button Starting April 22nd (Earth Day) until quantities run out, those who give to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) at Disney's Animal Kingdom will receive a commemorative 15th anniversary DWCF button.
- 15th Anniversary…

The Disney Look.. to the Past! (April 19-25)

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:

This Week in Disney History: April 19-25
April 22, 1998 - Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park opens The lush canopy of the Oasis leads Guests to the enormous Tree of Life, whose creature-covered trunk provides a monumental welcome to the world's largest animal theme park. Covering more than 500 acres, the seven distinct lands of Disney's Animal Kingdom feature exhibits, attractions and entertainment underscoring the importance of wildlife conservation. Whether enjoying a rugged African photo trek aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris, thrilling through the Himalayas while avoiding the mythical Yeti on Expedition Everest, or swimming with Marlin and Dory through the big blue world of "Fin…

Epcot: Name of New Ice Cream Parlor Confirmed

As some other sites confirmed a few days ago, the name of the new ice cream parlor that will soon open in the France pavilion at Epcot has been officially revealed in one of the latest Walt Disney World press-releases.
L’Artisan des Glaces will be its name. This is its description: "[this] artisan ice cream and sorbet shop debuts at the France pavilion in Epcot in mid-June. You’ll want multiple scoops of the 16 yummy flavors, all made in-house with fresh ingredients. For grown-up tastes, ask for a shot of liquor on top – served in a martini glass."
Sounds good, especially since there will be even more ice cream flavors than what was offered at the former Fountain View Ice Cream location. We definitely hope they will also continue to serve brownie sundaes.

Disney Wilderness Preserve's 20th Anniversary

Some of you may not be aware of this, but many years ago the Walt Disney World Resort donated a quite large piece of property - in the Kissimmee area - for conservation purposes. Well, later this week that large preserve will be celebrating its twentieth anniversary! Here you are more information and photos: _________________________________________________________________________
Disney Wilderness Preserve Celebrates 20th Anniversary

The Nature Conservancy is hosting an open house April 27 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Disney Wilderness Preserve. Scientists, Florida cowboys, wildlife biologists and environmental educators will entertain visitors with fun outdoor activities that demonstrate nature at work.
Located south of Walt Disney World Resort, the preserve sits at the top of the headwaters of the Everglades watershed and  is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals including bald eagles, sandhill cranes, wild turkeys and red-shouldered hawks.

Open to hikers an…

Testing FASTPASS for Fantasmic! (April 22-27, 2013)

Preparation for the new FASTPASS+ service is well underway. Here's the latest test related to that addition:

"At [the] Walt Disney World Resort, we continually look for new ways to enhance the Guest experience. As part of that effort, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will conduct a test of Disney’s FASTPASS Service for select Fantasmic! shows April 22-27[, 2013]. During the test, FASTPASS tickets will be available to Guests near the tip board beginning at noon, while supplies last. Holding a Fantasmic! FASTPASS ticket will not impact Guests’ ability to obtain a FASTPASS ticket for another attraction. We are conducting this test as 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."
Sounds quite interesting. Similar tests were also conducted at the Magic Kingdom Park last year, by the way.

Magic Kingdom General Update - April 18 (PART 1)

A warm welcome to all our loyal Readers! Today we will be taking you along with us inside the Magic Kingdom Park once again to take a look at what's happening inside this wonderful place. Let's start right away:

Magic Kingdom General Update - April 18 (PART 2)

Welcome to PART 2 of this new Magic Kingdom Park general update (PART 1 can be found here).
Let's take a look at some new props for Adventureland's new interactive game, which will debut this summer:

Magic Kingdom General Update - April 18 (PART 3)

Welcome to PART 3 of this new Magic Kingdom Park general update (PART 2 can be found here).
Here's another view of the section of the Swiss Family Treehouse behind tarps, from above:

Magic Kingdom General Update - April 18 (PART 4)

Welcome to PART 4 of this new Magic Kingdom Park general update (PART 3 can be found here).
Let's now leave Tomorrowland and head to the exit of the park (it's always sad to leave a theme park):

Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade Advisory

Another very quick (but still important) Magic Kingdom advisory regarding the park's daytime parade:
Please, take note of the fact that, on two consecutive days (Sunday, April 21 and Monday, April 22, 2013), the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade will step-off from Frontierland and will end in Main Street, U.S.A. (the reasons behind this change are unknown at this time). Regularly, the parade route starts from Main Street U.S.A. and ends in Frontierland. All should be reverted back to normal starting from Tuesday, April 23, 2013.
Thank you again for your attention, and make sure you plan your day at the park accordingly if you don't want to miss the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade. See you real soon with more theme park news and updates.

Vinylmation Trading Spot Moving to Frontierland (MK)

A very quick Magic Kingdom advisory for all the Vinylmation fans that will be visiting the park starting today:
Effective today (Friday, April 19, 2013), Vinylmation Trading will move from Emporium to Frontier Trading Post at the Magic Kingdom Park. Guests interested in trading Vinylmation figures should take note of this change.
Thank you for your attention. We will see you in a few minutes with more Walt Disney World advisories.

Time-Lapse Video of the "Growth" of the Tree of Life

This time-lapse video of the construction of the massive Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom was posted a couple of days ago on the Disney Parks Blog, and we thought it would be nice to share it with our Readers:

To this day, the Tree of Life is still one of the most impressive theme park icons ever created. Thanks, WDI!
VIDEO: ©Disney. All rights reserved.

Universal Orlando Officially Unveils Interactive App

The Universal Orlando Resort has finally officially announced the addition of a brand-new application (which can be downloaded for free on most smartphones and tablets) that allows Guests to interact with all of the many posters found throughout Universal Studios Florida (they can be found on the temporary walls around the former Amity area, the new Simpsons themed land, as well as in other areas). Here is the official press release:

Universal Orlando Resort Launches New Entertainment Mobile App
Universal Orlando’s ScreenPlay App Gives Theme Park Guests the Power of Movie Magic at Their Fingertips with Thrilling 3-D Experiences Using Augmented Reality Technology
Universal Orlando Resort is giving theme park guests a new way to interact with their favorite movies with the launch of the ScreenPlay mobile app. Available as a free download for Apple and Android users, guests visiting Universal Studios Florida will be …

Large WDW Permits Update - April 2013

Hello, and welcome to a new Walt Disney World Permit update. Today we have about 20 new permits to share with you. A few of them are related to projects that we are aware of, while others are quite interesting... Let's see:
At the very busy Transportation & Ticket Center, some work will be performed on the ticket booths:

DinoLand U.S.A. Closing Early on April 23, 2013

Please, take note of the following advisory regarding DinoLand U.S.A at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park:
Please, be aware that DinoLand U.S.A. will close at 6 p.m. (one hour before the rest of the park) on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. The entire area will close early due to a convention activity. The regular park closing time is 7 p.m.
Thank you for your attention. We are quite sure very few people will even notice the earlier closure of this area.

New York's Freedom Tower Update - April 2013

Scott, one of our loyal Readers, just sent us some new photos showing us the progress that has been done on the future memorial area in New York City for the tragic attack of September 11, 2001. Take a look, and enjoy:

Welcome all to this update straight from New York City. It has been a while since I last sent in an update on the progress on the new World Trade Center site. The current completion date is set for 2015. I hope you enjoy these photos! (P.S. These images were taken with an iPhone Camera. So sorry if any quality is poor!)
Photo courtesy of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 
 Here is a site plan to give you a better sense of where I am describing the photos in relation to the actual site.

Rumor: Universal Orlando Planning Third Theme Park?

New theme park rumors pop up every now and then. Some of them are not very exciting, while others would please many theme park fans - if they were indeed true, that is. Well, we now want to share with you what we consider to be an incredibly exciting rumor, which originated on the forum board of WDWMagic. One of the most reliable forum members (his nickname is WDW1974. I'm sure many of our Readers may have read some of his posts on WDWMagic before) has shared the following information regarding Universal Orlando's future:
As for the UNI[VERSAL ORLANDO] information, I have been asked by my source to not place all that I know out just yet and I respect that. What I can tell you is more general, but still incredibly impressive. UNI[VERSAL] has BIG ... no, HUGE ... plans for Central Florida that include major new attractions, the real E-tickets, in the next 5-6 years (they will just keep coming with no gaps)…

I-Drive LIVE: Follow the Construction Daily

The new I-Drive LIVE complex is finally starting to go vertical. A huge new building has been erected right in the middle of the project area, and it is the very first real structure to take shape. Many more will follow soon. In the meantime, here you are an official LIVE camera that you can check out anytime (it is available 24 hours a day) to follow the construction progress. Take a look (please, note that it is currently late in the evening, so it's dark):

This live camera can be viewed at any time on our I-Drive LIVE page, which can be found right here (it is located under the "New 2013" button on the menu bar of our site). It can be also found on Unicorp's official I-Drive LIVE page. The provider of this live feed is Earthcam, for Unicorp. All rights reserved.

Kennedy Space Center: Groups & Families Savings

‘Flock Together, Save Together’ Special Savings at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Celebrates New Angry Birds™ Space Encounter
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (April 16, 2013) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – Super Red and the entire Angry Birds™ Space flock from the popular game have landed at the new Angry Birds™ Space Encounter at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Now through June 28, 2013, families and friends can journey into the wormhole to help these cosmic super heroes blast the Space Pigs and enjoy the 'Flock Together, Save Together' savings of up to 30 percent off admission.
The larger the flock, the greater the savings on admission. For a party of two, admission is $80 plus tax, or 20 percent off regular admission. A party of three will receive 25 percent off regular admission, or $112.50 plus tax. A party of four will pay only $140 plus tax, or 30 percent off regular admission. For additional savings for groups of five or more, call 866-768-2167.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor …

Downtown Disney: Volcano Project Update (PART 1)

It has been a while since we last took a look around the Downtown Disney District. The entire area will receive a massive facelift very soon, becoming Disney Springs, so it is important that we keep up with all the projects that will soon start, as well as checking out the projects currently taking place... Let's see:

Downtown Disney: Volcano Project Update (PART 2)

Welcome to PART 2 of this new Downtown Disney photo-report (PART 1 can be found right here).
Let's continue our tour of the Marketplace area:

Downtown Disney: Volcano Project Update (PART 3)

Welcome to PART 3 of this new Downtown Disney photo-update (PART 2 can be found by clicking here).
Let's now focus our attention on the West Side section of the Downtown Disney area:

Joe Rohde Not Attending DAK's 15th Anniversary

A shocking news was released to Cast Members working at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park today.
The park's 15th anniversary is just around the corner, and will happen on Monday, April 22, 2013. There are a few special events taking place inside Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park on that very day, for both Guests and Cast Members. One of the special happenings involved a special appearance of Joe Rohde, one of the Walt Disney Imagineers involved in the creation of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, the latest advisory released by the Walt Disney World Resort stated that "due to unforeseen circumstances, Joe Rohde will not be able to be in attendance to celebrate [Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park's 15th Anniversary] with us."
We will keep you up-to-date in case anything should change. Stay tuned, and feel free to comment on this story.

The Disney Look... to the Past! (April 12-18)

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: _________________________________________________________________________
This Week in Disney History: April 12-18
April 15, 1983 — Tokyo Disneyland opens On a site overlooking Tokyo Bay in the suburb of Urayasu, fifteen minutes on a Keiyō Line train from the heart of the world’s most populous urban area, lies an incredible piece of Disney magic. The expansive, glass-ceilinged World Bazaar welcomes Guests to the eastern hemisphere’s most popular theme park, with Cinderella Castle overlooking the central plaza leading to seven themed lands, each featuring Disney Parks favorites spanning from the Haunted Mansion to Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters. Tokyo Disneyland operates under a unique partnership between Disney and the Oriental Land Company. Card Walker, the Disne…

Private Event at Splitsville Luxury Lanes (April 19)

Please, take note of the following advisory if you plan on visiting Downtown Disney this coming Friday:

Splitsville Luxury Lanes (located in the West Side area of Downtown Disney) will be hosting a private event from 7:00 p.m. to approximately 10:00 p.m. on Friday, April 19, 2013. The dining room, bar, and balcony will be available for all Guests on both floors, but bowling will only be offered on the first floor during that time. A full menu will still be available. The entire venue is expected to reopen to all Guests at 10:30 p.m.
Thank you for your attention. See you in a few minutes with another edition of "The Disney Look... to the Past!"

Fountain View Ice Cream Tribute - PHOTOS

As most of our readers know, the great Fountain View Ice Cream shop in Future World West closed last week (on April 8, 2013) for an extensive refurbishment. This quick-service location will reopen later this summer and will serve Starbucks coffee, espresso and specialty beverages, artisan breakfast sandwiches, and pastries. Here you are a short photo-gallery that will help us to remember how Fountain View Ice Cream looked before closing:

Did You Know? Droid Factory at Downtown Disney

Did you know that there's a "Droid factory" at Downtown Disney?
In fact, Downtown Disney Guests can build their own droid at the Droid Factory inside the Once Upon a Toy shop. There are 71 different pieces, and models range from R2 to R9. Some of those models are featured in the Star Wars books, comics or movie series, while others (R6, R8 and R9) were created exclusively for the Droid Factory experience. After customizing a droid, Guests can even add novelty hats, including various colors of Mickey ears, Pirate, Yoda, Adventurer and Goofy hats. Finally, Guests will name their Droid.

Here is the pricing structure for the two Droid Packs available at the Once Upon a Toy's Droid Factory: Single Droid Pack is $12.95Double Droid Pack is $19.95 Once Upon a Toy is open from 9:30 a.m.-11 p.m. (closing at 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday). Another similar Droid Factory can be found inside Disney's Hollywood Studios, in the Tatooine Traders shop.

The Last Day of the Pixar Pals Parade - PHOTOS

Disney's Hollywood Studios doesn't have a parade any longer. As most of you will know, the infamous Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade officially ceased to exist on April 6, 2013, not even a week ago. While the performers were definitely doing their best in trying to keep Guests entertained during the parade, we all know that the Pixar Pals cavalcade was a complete failure. It was so bad that many people even demanded the Block Party Bash Parade back (which used the same exact floats but included some entertaining show-stops). All in all, it is sad to say that it is better to see a parade-less Disney's Hollywood Studios at this point.
That being said, a quite large crowd attended the very last performance of the parade. Here you are a few photos (taken by our photographer Alex on April 6, 2013) showing part of the parade and the last few Guests that saw it:

Magic Kingdom: Fireworks at 3:30 a.m. Tonight

Please, make sure to take note of the following advisory for tonight if you will be staying at any of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels, as pyrotechnic effects will be used in the middle of the night in the Magic Kingdom:
Friday, April 12, between 2-5 a.m., there will be a taping of America's Funniest Videos at Magic Kingdom Park. The fireworks finale will be launched at approximately 3:30 a.m. and is expected to last about 60 seconds. Due to the timing and scale of the pyrotechnics, ...fliers will be posted in comfort stations at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
Thank you very much for taking note of this important advisory, and enjoy the rest of your day!

Portofino Bay Hotel Concludes Major Renovation

Universal Orlando's flagship resort, the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, just received a major interior renovation, literally transforming all the rooms and making the hotel feel like it was opened yesterday. Take a look:

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Unveils Newly Renovated Rooms

ORLANDO, Fla. – All 750 rooms and suites at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando have been completely renovated with a fresh, new Mediterranean-inspired design that enhances the guest experience.  Designers took their inspiration for the new rooms from the upscale, sun-drenched resort of Portofino, Italy and its historic harbor along the Italian Riviera.