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Showing posts from May, 2013

Universal Studios Update: Ready to Roll Out (PART 1)

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As you will have already noticed, the new Transformers - The Ride: 3D is now officially in soft-opening mode, and theme park fans from all over Florida are flocking to Universal Studios Florida to take a peek at this great new addition. We were able to visit the park two days ago, but (sadly) no soft-openings were scheduled for that day. That being said, we have a lot of pictures from around the park in general that we would like to share with you. Now, just sit back, relax, and enjoy these photos:

Universal Studios Update: Ready to Roll Out (PART 2)

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

Universal Studios Update: Ready to Roll Out (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of this new Universal Studios Florida photo-report (PART 2 can be found here).
Let's now continue to take a look at the great Simpsons themed land, currently still under construction:

Universal Studios Update: Ready to Roll Out (PART 4)

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Welcome to PART 4 of this new Universal Studios Florida photo-report (PART 3 can be found here).
As we said before, these walls are gone. Rumors say the restaurant may soft-open tomorrow!

"Sandstorm" Flat Ride to Close Soon at Busch Gardens

The rumor has finally been confirmed. One of Busch gardens' flat rides will close soon in the Timbuktu area.
In fact, Busch Gardens has officially confirmed that "on June 3, [the park] will bid farewell to a ride that has entertained guests for more than three decades, as the park prepares to drop big news for what lies ahead. This Sunday, June 2, [2013] will be the last day Busch Gardens Tampa guests will be able to ride the Sandstorm. Located in the Timbuktu area of the park, the Sandstorm opened in December 1979.  Following the Sandstorm’s departure, Busch Gardens Tampa will announce future plans for Timbuktu."
As a reminder, multiple rumors point to a very impressive (and tall!) drop tower ride. We'll keep you informed.

SeaWorld Orlando Caring for Florida Sandhill Crane

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(May 31, 2013) Orlando, Fla. – A wounded Florida sandhill crane was rescued this morning by SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team in Pine Lakes, Fla., and then transported to the park for further care and rehabilitation. The bird was spotted in the woods with an arrow lodged through its torso by a concerned citizen. Upon arrival at SeaWorld Orlando, animal care experts took the bird into surgery for its injuries.  The bird is now in stable condition and will receive regular tube feedings, and continue to be monitored closely. The Florida sandhill crane is an endangered species and protected by state law.

So far in 2013, SeaWorld has rescued nearly 200 birds. In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return them to the ocean. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 22,000 animals …

Magic Kingdom Park Hours Extended This Week

Please, take note of the following operational changes regarding the Magic Kingdom Park:
The Magic Kingdom Park will be extending operating hours on the following days: Friday, May 31; Saturday, June 1; Monday, June 3; Wednesday, June 5; Monday, June 10; Tuesday, June 11 and Friday, June 14, 2013. The park will be closing at midnight instead of 11 p.m. as originally scheduled for each night.
Thank you very much for your attention, and stay tuned here on Orlando Theme Park News for more updates.

Minor Additions Around the Walt Disney World Resort

Some of the minor attractions around the Walt Disney World Resort have received some enhancements in the past few months. Here's a brief summary of just some of the additions and changes that have been introduced: Life jacket stands have been placed all around Disney’s Water Parks for safety reasons;Triple tubes will soon be available at Crush 'n' Gusher, the water coaster located inside Disney's Typhoon lagoon Water Park. Soon three people will be able to ride together;New products are also now available at all merchandise shops inisde both water parks, including long and short sleeve rash guard shirts for men, women and kids that offers 50+ SPV as well as Coppertone brand caps for adults and kids that offer UV protection. There are now also healthy snack options in the shops including "think fruit" healthy option snacks;Regarding Disney's miniature golf courses, most areas have been repainted and new carpet was installed. We will continue to keep you up…

Busch Gardens Update - May 2013 (PART 1)

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Hello, and welcome to our newest Busch Gardens Tampa photo-update! There is a lot to see around this truly spectacular theme park, so let's start with some nice pictures of the area around Cheetah Hunt:

Busch Gardens Update - May 2013 (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this new Busch Gardens photo-update (PART 1 can be found HERE).
Let's continue to take a panoramic look of some of the nicest areas of the park:

Busch Gardens Update - May 2013 (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of this new Busch Gardens photo-report (PART 2 can be found HERE).
Let's now check out one area of the park that will soon radically change:

Busch Gardens Update - May 2013 (PART 4)

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Welcome to PART 4 of this new Busch Gardens photo-update (PART 3 can be found HERE).
We have never seen the Kariba Marketplace shop before. Is it new? Well, let's check it out:

New Routes for Downtown Disney's Boat Service

Please, be sure to take note of the updated routes of Downtown Disney's boat transportation service:
West Side dock: Disney’s Saratoga Springs ResortDisney’s Old Key West ResortDowntown Disney Boat Transportation (Water Taxi) Pleasure Island dock: Downtown Disney Boat Transportation (Water Taxi) only Marketplace dock: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort - French QuarterDisney’s Port Orleans Resort - RiversideDowntown Disney Boat Transportation (Water Taxi) Thank you for your attention, and have fun navigating across Downtown Disney's Village Lake!

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

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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: May 24-30
May 27, 1948 - Walt Disney Pictures releases “Melody Time” The fifth of the “package” films produced by Disney during and following World War II, “Melody Time” is a compilation of seven animated shorts set to music, all reflecting a wide range of styles and influences. The intro “Once Upon a Wintertime” follows two 19th century couples falling in love while enjoying the snow, to a vocal by Frances Langford. “Bumble Boogie” sets the nightmares of a bee against a swinging, jazzy score, and “Trees” is a unique meditation upon a poem by Alfred Joyce Kilmer. “Blame It on the Samba” features Donald Duck, Jose Carioca and the notorious Aracuan Bird grooving to …

Disney's Animal Kingdom Hours Extended Tonight

Please, take note of the following advisory for tonight, regarding Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park:
In order to ensure the best possible experience for Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will also be extending operating hours tonight (Tuesday, May 28, 2013). The park will now be closing at 8 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. as originally scheduled.
As usual, thank you for taking note of this adjustment. We recommend you stay tuned for more updates.

Magic Kingdom Hours Extended Tonight

Please, take note of the following advisory for tonight, regarding the Magic Kingdom Park:
The Magic Kingdom Park will be extending operating hours tonight (Tuesday, May 28, 2013). The park will now be closing to all Guests at midnight (12 a.m.) instead of 11 p.m. as originally scheduled.
Thank you for your attention, and stay tuned for more advisories in the next few minutes.

From Our Readers: Photos of the Simpsons' Restaurant

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One of our Readers, Vargave, shared with us a few photos of the new, very colorful facades that can now be seen in front of the brand-new Simpsons-themed restaurant that will open this summer. Take a look:

Next-Gen Project: News on the Touch-to-Pay System

The new touch-to-pay devices can now be found all around the Walt Disney World Resort, but some of the features have presented some minor (and sometimes even major) issues for both Cast Members and Guests. For this reason, some Enhancements have been made to make the entire system more efficient. This includes:
The ability to swipe Disney Gift Cards on the devices;The addition of a blue light if the Guest’s Key to the World card or Magic Band is not read on touch-to-pay devices at food, beverage, merchandise and recreation locations;The addition of a new semi-permanent tape to help stabilize the device as Guests swipe credit cards or other forms of payment;In order to help Guests position their cards in the correct orientation while swiping, enhanced graphics will be included on the stationary device to make it more visible; These are just some of the changes that have been recently made to make the Guests' experience as efficient and easy as possible. Look for even more tweaks an…

Rumor Confirmed: Shamu ROCKS! with Fireworks

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Do you remember that rumor regarding some changes planned for SeaWorld's Shamu Rocks! show that one of our Readers shared with us about a month ago? If not, here's the complete message he 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 night, and there would still be the summer firework show. From what I could gather, they were getting rid of the firework show altogether." _________________________________________________________________________
Well, it looks like our Reader was absolutely correct! In fact, take a look at this video that …

More Antarctica Reviews from Around the Web

As you will know, we just posted an official OTPN review of the new Antarctica themed area that opened at SeaWorld Orlando just a few days ago. But, of course, we are not the only ones that have shared an opinion about this new addition. Here you are a few links to more reviews from some other sites around the internet: The Best of Orlando site shared with us some photos of the grand opening celebrations for Antarctica. They also have a full POV video of the attraction (our own video will be posted soon!);Orlando United has also posted a review for this new attraction;An entire thread on WDWMagic was also dedicated to Antarctica; If you too have a review of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, feel free to share the link to it by contacting us using the appropriate button found on the main menu, or just post it in the comments section of this post! We will then update this same list in the next few hours. Thank you!

New Summer Segment for "Celebrate the Magic!"

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As confirmed by the official Disney Parks Blog(scroll down, toward the end of the post), the very popular "Celebrate the Magic" nighttime show that takes place in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom park every night will soon receive a temporary new segment, which introduces summer. Here is the official news: _________________________________________________________________________
‘Celebrate the Magic’ Adds ‘Limited Time Magic’ to Summer Shows
Each Friday we share an update on new “Limited Time Magic” at Disney Parks, and this week is no exception. Beginning... May 24, “Celebrate the Magic” will be commemorating the start of a Monstrous Summer at Walt Disney World Resort with a special treat.

Universal: Character Breakfast at Royal Pacific Resort

Good news for those who love to meet some of the most beloved characters that are found around Universal!
In fact, the Universal Orlando Resort has just announced that there are now two options for Guests to meet and greet some of their favorite theme park characters while eating a healthy breakfast. Every Sunday (through September 1, 2013), you can "meet-and-eat" (we should copyright this term!) at Loews Royal Pacific Resort, with your favorite characters stopping at every table to interact and pose for photos. In addition to that, there's still an opportunity of having breakfast at Universal Studios Florida (inside the Cafe La Bamba) with some of the characters from Universal's Superstar Parade.

SeaWorld's Antarctica: Official OTPN Review

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Antarctica is now officially open at SeaWorld Orlando, and Guests have already started to get acquainted with this new themed area that opened on May 24, 2013. There were no soft-openings for the area other than the media previews, so last Friday was actually the very first time most people got to see this new land in person.
We had the chance to visit Antarctica one day after its official grand opening. It was actually only yesterday, May 25, 2013. Now that we have taken a tour of the area in person, we would like to share our personal opinions about the area with you (PLEASE, NOTE THIS: the following are just our own observations about the area in general and the new ride, and they may greatly differ from what any of our Readers may think. It is what makes us individuals - we all have different opinions about different things. Thank you for understanding).
- ANTARCTICA (Land) - 
Our first impression of the land was good. It looks really impressive from outside, and entering through …

FastPass+ Signage Being Installed Around WDW

It has been officially confirmed by the Walt Disney World Resort that installation of signage for Disney's new FastPass+ service in all four theme parks is currently underway and will continue over the next few months. At this time, new signs will also be added to attractions that do not offer Disney's FASTPASS Service at the moment, but that will offer the Disney FastPass+ service in the very near future. As a reminder, the Disney FastPass+ service is still being tested throughout the entire Resort.
Thank you for taking note of this, and see you in the next few months with additional information.

MK's 24-Hour Monstrous Summer Event - PHOTOS

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Although we weren't able to be present at this year's 24-hour party that took place on May 24-25, 2013 at the Magic Kingdom Park, we have some official photos of that event shared directly by the Walt Disney World Resort. These pictures are also accompanied by an official press-release stating that the event was a success: _________________________________________________________________________
Disney Parks Kick Off a ‘Monstrous Summer’ With 24 Hours of Magic

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (May 24, 2013) -Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts kicked off a Monstrous Summer by giving guests the chance to spend 24 magical hours inside three Disney theme parks.

From 6 a.m. May 24 to 6 a.m., May 25, 2013, on each coast, guests experienced unprecedented monster madness inside Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort, as well as Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort – heading into Memorial Day Weekend, the traditional start of the family trave…

"Epcot Character Spot" to Officially Reopen June 3

Please, note that the Epcot Character Spot will officially reopen in Future World on June 3, 2013. The location has been completely refurbished, and Cast Members will be able to take a sneak-peek of this popular meet-and-greet area in the next few days. Thank you for you attention, and see you at Epcot!

SeaWorld's Antarctica: Official Grand Opening Photos

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Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin is Now Open at SeaWorld Orlando
ORLANDO, Fla. (May 24, 2013) – SeaWorld Orlando’s all-new attraction, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, is now open.  Only SeaWorld Orlando can fully immerse guests into the thrilling, chilling continent few will ever experience. Antarctica is a realm in SeaWorld where icebergs, snowcaps and howling winds greet guests. They'll also meet a very special penguin named Puck, and it’s through his eyes that guests learn about penguin life and the dangers and beauty of this frozen land.

Star Wars Weekends 2013: Week II Offerings

Take a look at the characters and celebrities that you will be able to meet this weekend (May 24 – 26, 2013) at Disney's Hollywood Studios as part of the extremely-popular Star Wars Weekends event:
- Ray Park (Darth Maul - "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace") - Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok – "Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi") - Jim Cummings (voice of Hondo Ohnaka – "Star Wars: The Clone Wars")
Autograph Sessions around Echo Lake James Arnold Taylor – 9:45 a.m.Ashley Eckstein – 4:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m.Ray Park – 1:45 p.m.Warwick Davis – 9:45 a.m., 4:30 p.m.Jim Cummings – 9:45 a.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m.Characters – Encounter over 60 "Star Wars" characters from the entire saga. From Darth Vader to Darth Maul and Anakin to Chewbacca, you’ll find heroes and villains from throughout the galaxy between 8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Specialty shows (in Premiere Theater): Behind the Force: "Star Wars" Voices – Explore the voices behind "St…

Universal Orlando: Simpsons Expansion Announced

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It has been a rumor for months and months, but finally Universal Orlando decided to officially announce that they have been "secretly" working on an expansion of the Simpsons themed area. Here you are the details: _________________________________________________________________________
Enter the World of Springfield Like Never Before - Only at Universal Orlando Resort!

ORLANDO, Fla. (May 23, 2013) - Woo Hoo! Springfield, hometown to America’s favorite animated family, The Simpsons, comes to life at Universal Orlando Resort this summer.
The expansive, new area within Universal Studios will be anchored by the mega-attraction, The Simpsons Ride, and will allow guests to enter the world of The Simpsons like never before. It will be the only place in the world where guests can walk the streets of Springfield. It will include a brand-new outdoor attraction, places and foods pulled right from the show and two new Simpsons characters who will make their debut with the new area – Kru…

New Ways to Convert Your Disney Annual Pass

If you are a Walt Disney World Resort Annual Passholder, you know that you have to convert your annual pass to the new RFID-enabled tickets as soon as possible to be sure to have the ability to use all the tools and services related to MyMagic+ and the Next-Generation Project in general. In the past few months, a temporary Annual Pass Conversion Center was set up in the old Odyssey Pavilion (the former restaurant located between Test Track and the mexico pavilion). That pavilion closed again to the general public on May 19, 2013. So, how can you exchange your annual pass for the new RFID-enabled tickets now?
You don't need to worry. In fact, Disney stated that "Passholders wishing to convert their paper tickets to RF-enabled cards can do so at any Vacation Planning or Guest Relations locations at one of the theme parks or Downtown Disney." Once again, remember that the Odyssey Pavilion is now closed.
Thank you for your attention, and stay tuned as we continue to monitor…

Star Wars Weekends: Photos from First Week (PART 1)

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The incredibly popular Star Wars Weekends event has returned at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and we have some photos from around the park that were taken last weekend to share with you. We hope you enjoy them!:

Star Wars Weekends: Photos from First Week (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this special photo-gallery dedicated to the Star Wars Weekends (PART 1 is here).
Let's continue to meet (and greet) some more of these very unusual characters:

Blizzard Beach, Golf Courses Closed Due to Weather

Please, take note of the following advisory affecting the Walt Disney World Resort:
TODAY, 3:50 p.m. - Be advised that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park & all Disney’s Miniature Golf Courses are temporarily closed due to inclement weather. They will reopen when it is safe to do so.  
Please check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates in the next few hours.

KSC: Space Shuttle Atlantis Opening on June 29, 2013

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (May 22, 2013) – The world’s most comprehensive attraction devoted to the space shuttle opens Saturday, June 29 at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Space Shuttle AtlantisSM is the new, 90,000-square-foot, $100 million home of the priceless, historic spacecraft that tells the incredible story of NASA’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program. The Visitor Complex will open at 9 a.m. and grand opening events will take place throughout the day.
More than 30 Atlantis astronauts will participate in the grand opening of Space Shuttle Atlantis, which will offer guests the public’s first access to the attraction. From only a few feet away, guests will be awed and inspired with an up-close, 360-degree view of Atlantis. The shuttle is dramatically showcased as if it were in orbit – as only astronauts have had a chance to see it. Atlantis is elevated 30 feet off the ground and rotated at a 43.21-degree angle with its payload bay doors open and Canadarm (robotic arm) extended.
Spac…

New Disney Resorts-Specific Merchandise Unveiled

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As you will know, we usually don't post news regarding merchandise, but this time we want to report some new Disney hotels-specific merchandise that was just featured on the Disney Parks Blog. Take a look: _________________________________________________________________________
Disney Resort Icons Inspire New Merchandise Arriving This Summer at Disney Parks

I love staying at a Disney Resort hotel. I’ve stayed at nearly all of them in Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. The first Disney hotel my family stayed at was Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in summer 1992. There is something magical about staying at a Disney Resort (I love that blast of cool air when entering a hotel lobby). My favorite place is Disney’s Polynesian Resort as I like pretending I’m on a tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific (and they have a Dole Whip machine!). New merchandise featuring a few favorite Disney Resort hotels is arriving this summer. I recently gave you a sneak preview of…

Winter Summerland Advisory (May 21-24, 2013)

Please, take note of the following advisory regarding Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf:
 Be advised that the Winter course at Winter Summerland Miniature Golf will be closed from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. from today (May 21, 2013), through Friday (May 24, 2013). The course will be open to guests after 4:00 p.m. The Summer course will remain open all day for Guests to enjoy and will continue to operate regularly.
Please, check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates on this and other subjects.

Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin on SeaWorld's Map

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Just a quick update: the new Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin area has now officially been added to SeaWorld Orlando's park map (it has not yet been added on the online version at this time). Take a look:

You can explore all of the new additions that will be part of this area by clicking HERE. Antarctica will officially open to the general public on May 24, 2013. That's just three days from today! We are really excited.

Islands of Adventure: Jurassic Park Games Confirmed

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One of the rumors shared by Orlando United has finally been officially confirmed by a new permit that was recently filed by the Universal Orlando Resort: new midway games are indeed coming to the Jurassic Park themed area of Islands of Adventure. According to the rumor, the existing midway games of the Lost Continent should soon be removed to open up the area a little more (it is a bit congested over there). Here's the permit: _________________________________________________________________________
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These new games are supposed to be just the beginning of a much larger project involving this particular land. A new family coaster is among the new additions that should come later. We will keep you up-to-date.

World of Chima Land: Quick Aerial Update

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LEGOLAND Florida will soon unveil their newest themed area, the World of Chima Land, and we can say that work is definitely proceeding at a very fast pace. To prove this, take a look at a few official aerial photos that were posted on LEGOLAND Florida's official Pinterest page (click here for the FULL-SIZEphoto):

Animal Kingdom: Wilderness Explorers Opens in June

As you know, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will soon offer a new interactive game that will definitely engage and challenge Guests as they make their way through the park. The Wilderness Explorers experience is "aimed at deepening the [Guests'] understanding of animals and the natural world." While exploring the park, Guests can earn more than 30 sticker badges that they can place in their Wilderness Explorers handbook.
Disney recently also stated that "the Wilderness Explorers Headquarters will be located on the Discovery Island bridge. Guests are encouraged to start their experience at the headquarters, but since this is a self-guided experience, they will have the opportunity to start at any Troop Leader location. The specific locations and details about each of the badges will be shared as we get closer to the opening of this new experience."
All of this will be available starting from June 2013. Stay tuned for specific dates that should be announ…

New Marketplace for the 2013 Food & Wine Festival

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The official Disney Parks Blog just revealed that a new marketplace will be added during this year's International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. Here you are additional information on the subject: _________________________________________________________________________
Scotland, the Newest Marketplace for 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Our team of chefs and beverage experts are cranking up fast for the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, with food, wine, beers and cocktails taking center stage around the World Showcase Promenade and all across Walt Disney World Resort.
Look for classic Scottish dishes that are still in the development phase, but the cocktail of choice will be a Rusty Nail, a popular Scotch whisky martini that is simply Scotch and Drambuie. Scotland is just one of more than 25 ethnic and specialized marketplaces – and we’re happy that Brazil returns this year, a crowd favorite that was missing in 2012.

Hawaii is back with the…

RUMOR: Possible Parade Floats for MK's New Parade

(EDIT: After some research, we found out that this particular person has also shared this rumor on some blogs like this one or this one. We are not sure about the credibility of this source.)

That's right... it is time for yet more Disney rumors! We have been receiving quite a few anonymous comments sharing with us some interesting information in the past few weeks, and all of them were about some of the future projects that wil take place around the Walt Disney World Resort. All of you will know that we do NOT have insider sources, and that is why we never post rumors ourselves, but if our Readers have some rumors that they want to share with us, we are more than happy to post them to see what others think about them.

This time we have a rumored lineup of just some of the more than 20 floats that may be included in the new daytime parade that will debut at the Magic Kingdom Park in 2014 (again, these are all rumors from one of our Readers. It is just pure speculation for now, es…

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

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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: May 17-23
May 20, 1973 - Tom Sawyer Island and the Liberty Belle debut at Magic Kingdom Park Who’s ready for adventure? Board a log raft and head for the island in the middle of the Rivers of America, where the young rapscallion from Mark Twain’s novels inspired a fun-filled Frontierland hideaway. Dirt trails and rustic bridges lead to landmarks like the stalagmite-filled caverns of Injun Joe’s Cave, the giant waterwheel of Harper’s Mill, and Fort Langhorn, an early frontier settlement. The original Tom Sawyer Island opened at Disneyland Park in 1955, and has the distinction of being the only Disney Parks attraction personally designed by Walt Disney. Circumnaviga…

More Information on Magic Kingdom's 24-Hour Event

The official Disney Parks Blog recently shared some important information regarding this year's special 24-hour event that will take place at the Magic Kingdom Park on May 24, 2013 as part of the Monstrous Summer: _________________________________________________________________________

24 Hours of Fun and Entertainment in Three Disney Parks
We’re just one week away from our next Limited Time Magic event, the huge Disney Parks Monstrous Summer All-Nighter on May 24! Pam Brandon and Steven Miller will be along later to share details about some of the great food and merchandise you can expect to find, but first I’d like to tell you more about the special entertainment we have in store.
Everything kicks-off with special opening moments in front of the parks, leading up to 6 a.m., and then you’re off and running for 24 hours of fun!* Many of your usual favorite characters and shows will be happening throughout the day, but we also have some extra things planned just for this event.

At…

WDW Permits Update - May 18, 2013

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This morning we are going to give you a quite extensive update regarding the most recent permits that were filed in the last two weeks by the Walt Disney World Resort. We will start with some work scheduled to be done on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roundhouse (where the trains are stored) at the Magic Kingdom Park:

"Treasures of the Seven Seas" Now Testing Daily

Great news! Magic Kingdom's new interactive game, A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas, will now be testing on a daily basis. Interested Guests can sign up to play-test this new addition by signing up at the enlistment quarters in Caribbean Plaza, just past Pirate’s Bazaar, where they will get a treasure map and start their adventure. The map will lead them on a quest through the land with Captain Jack Sparrow.
Operating Times: May 17 and 18: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. May 19-30: 9 a.m. - park close Of course, note that testing may be suspended or canceled at any time during this testing period.

First "Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation" Show

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On May 16, 2013, Busch Gardens Tampa invited the media (including us) and some students from nearby schools to attend the very first performance of the park's newest show, "Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation", housed in the newly-enclosed Stanleyville theater. That showing was not open to the general public.
The show is incredibly lively, and it is obvious that it was designed with a young audience in mind (the songs used can be definitely likened to the modern music appreciated by the younger generation). Its strengths are, no doubt, the presence of a live band and of many of the beloved characters that made the Madagascar series a very successful one, including Alex the lion, Gloria the hippopotamus, King Julien XIII, Mort, and the penguins. The only minor issues we found were the lack of props (the stage itself looked very bare and simplistic), and the fact that the show can get very loud; too loud in certain circumstances (but that could have been magnified during…

Star Wars Weekends: 2013 Event Starts Tomorrow

The popular “Star Wars Weekends” event will officially return tomorrow (May 17, 2013) at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Here you are some of the special appearances and entertainment offerings for this year:
Celebrity appearances: Weekend I: May 17 to May 19Ray Park (Darth Maul – “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace”)Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett – “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,” “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”Dee Bradley Baker (voice of Captain Rex – “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”)Weekend II: May 24 to May 26Ray Park (Darth Maul – “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace”)Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok – “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”)Jim Cummings (voice of Hondo Ohnaka – “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”)Weekend III: May 31 to June 2Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok – “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”)Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar – “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”)Sam Witwer (voice of Darth Maul – “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”)Weekend IV: June…

Animal Kingdom: Minor Projects Update (PART 1)

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Welcome to a new Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park photo-update. Let's take a look around the park to see how work is progressing in the future new location of the theater housing the Festival of the Lion King:

Animal Kingdom: Minor Projects Update (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this new Disney's Animal Kingdom photo-report (PART 1 can be found here).
Let's now enjoy some scenic views of one of the most beautiful theme parks in the world:

NASA Asks College Students to Develop Technology

Watch as 50 college teams from across the globe gather at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, May 20-24, to compete in NASA’s fourth annual Lunabotics Mining Competition, a university-level competition designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Lunabotics Mining competition is a NASA Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate program that challenges teams to design and build remote controlled or autonomous robots that can excavate simulated lunar dirt. Eighty-one judges and hundreds of spectators will be present to watch the teams’ designs, known as lunabots, go head-to-head to determine whose machine can collect and deposit the most simulated lunar dust within a specific amount of time. The competition provides an opportunity for student engineers to develop innovative ideas and solutions that could potentially be applied to future NASA missions.
Viewing opportunities of the competition and practice sessions will be…

SeaWorld Designs New Environment-Friendly Cup

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SeaWorld Orlando has unveiled some new themed cups that Guests will be able to use in the new Antarctica realm that will be "conservation-minded." How can they do so? Here's the official press-release with more info: _________________________________________________________________________
SeaWorld Orlando Designs New Conservation-Minded Cup to Interact with Coca-Cola Freestyle 
-- Custom Technology Engages Guests on a Personal Level --
Orlando, Fla. – This penguin-shaped cup may look cute and cuddly, but it has a noble purpose: encourage guests to help the planet, one refill at a time. In conjunction with SeaWorld® Orlando's epic new attraction and ride Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin™ opening Memorial Day weekend, SeaWorld has created the Cup That Cares™ -- a new reusable cup program with a twist of technology. The innovative, interactive cup was designed specifically to connect with Coca-Cola Freestyle beverage dispensers in the new realm.


The new Cup That Cares e…

WDW: Possible D23 Expo Announcements (2013)

Our Anonymous Reader is back with some more exciting insider information about the possible announcements that may be made during this year's D23 Expo that will take place in California in August. Here is the entire comment he posted on our home page a few minutes ago (NOTE: The following are all RUMORS that may or may NOT happen, as plans can change at any time. Please, do NOT take these as done deals, as all will be officially revealed very soon by the Walt Disney World Resort): _________________________________________________________________________
It's me again...You know the one who posted the WDW entertainment news/rumors. Anyhow, quite a few juicy rumors have come up in the past few days and I'd like to clear some up and figured I'd post here since part of what I'm going to discuss involves a bigger presence of Tangled.

Now, as any Disney Fanboi would have marked on his/her calendar  the grandaddy of em all (D23 Expo) is rapidly approaching and that is wh…

Epcot Update: Starbucks Is Coming (PART 1)

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Good afternoon Orlando Theme Park News Readers, and thank you for being with us (at least virtually). Today, we will take a look around Epcot to check out all the (small) projects taking place in the park. It has been a while since we last visited the park (there's a lot more going on in other parks, sadly), so let's start:

Epcot Update: Starbucks Is Coming (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this new Epcot photo-report (PART 1 can be found by clicking here).
Let's continue to take a look around the park, focusing on the beautiful flowers, plants, and topiaries:

Epcot Update: Starbucks Is Coming (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of this new Epcot photo-report (PART 2 can be found by clicking here).
Let us continue to take a look around the future site of the new Moroccan restaurant:

Winter Summerland Mini Golf Advisory

Please, note the following advisories for the next few days affecting Walt Disney World: _________________________________________________________________________
Be advised that the Winter course at Winter Summerland Miniature Golf will be closed from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. through Friday, 5/17. The course will be open to guests after 4:00 p.m. The Summer course will remain open. _________________________________________________________________________
Please check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates.

Merida Officially Becomes a Disney Princess

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Merida, the main character of one of Disney's latest animated features known as "Brave," has officially joined the other 10 Disney Princesses last Saturday (May 11, 2013) with a pompous ceremony at the Magic Kingdom Park here in Florida. Here you are some photos and a video of the occasion, from the official Disney Parks Blog: _________________________________________________________________________

Merida Crowned as the Eleventh Disney Princess at Magic Kingdom
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new official Disney Princess!

Reminder: Magic Kingdom Refurbishments This Week

Please, note that the following locations that will receive short refurbishments at Magic Kingdom this week: Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress will be closed May 13-15, and will reopen on May 16, 2013;Cinderella’s Royal Table will be closed May 13-16, and will reopen on May 17, 2013. In addition to that, we also remind you to keep in mind that the following locations are also currently still under refurbishment: Mad Tea Party (reopening May 22) and Main Street Bakery (reopening Summer 2013).

Discovering Florida: A Look Around St. Augustine

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Florida is a truly beautiful and diverse state. From gorgeous beaches to beautiful and mysterious forests, there is a lot to see other than theme parks and other family-friendly attractions. There are also some great man-made places that have had a big impact in the past, and that are still very relevant today. One example is St. Augustine, one of the oldest cities in the continental United States. Today we are going to take a quick look around this wonderful place. We hope you will enjoy this photo-gallery:

Possible Delays Along Hotel Plaza Blvd. Today

Please, take note of the following advisory regarding the Downtown Disney area:
We anticipate to see a large number of motorcycles traveling through the Walt Disney World Resort property this afternoon (Saturday, May 11, 2013), from approximately 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The group is expected to ride down Hotel Plaza Boulevard, onto Buena Vista Drive, passing the Downtown Disney area, then to Osceola Parkway after passing Disney’s All-Star Resort. Expect road congestion and traffic delays to occur in these areas.
Thank you for your attention, and be especially careful when driving around that specific area today. be safe!

The Disney Look.. to the Past! (May 10-16)

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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: May 10-16
May 12, 1932 - Goofy makes his debut appearance in “Mickey’s Revue” During this classic Mickey Mouse animated short, an unidentified dog with a raucous laugh yuks it up at the on-stage antics of Minnie Mouse, Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar, much to the rest of the audience’s chagrin. The inimitable chuckle made such an impression on Walt Disney and his staff that they paired him with Mickey and others characters in further shorts throughout the 1930s. The Mickey Mouse newspaper comic first identified him as Dippy Dawg, but when he starred in his first solo animated short, “Goofy and Wilbur” (1939), he officially received the name we know him by to…

Universal Files Trademark for "Super Silly Fun Land"

Universal City Studios LLC recently filed an application for a new trademark that may interest us theme park fans. In fact, the new "Super Silly Fun Land" trademark refers to something related to "amusement park services." Here are some background information regarding this new application, from Trademarkia.com:
SUPER SILLY FUN LAND By: UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS LLC Amusement park services
Status Update! On Saturday, May 4, 2013, status on the SUPER SILLY FUN LAND trademark changed to NEW APPLICATION - RECORD INITIALIZED NOT ASSIGNED TO EXAMINER.
On Wednesday, May 01, 2013, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for SUPER SILLY FUN LAND by UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS LLC, Universal City, CA 91608. The USPTO has given the SUPER SILLY FUN LAND trademark serial number of 85920625. The current federal status of this trademark filing is NEW APPLICATION - RECORD INITIALIZED NOT ASSIGNED TO EXAMINER. The correspondent listed for SUPER SILLY FUN LAND is MONIQUE CHENG JOE …

Magic Kingdom Park Map Now Includes Tangled Area

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The latest Magic Kingdom park map was recently released to the public, and it shows the new Tangled area (which includes some nice photo-spots and restrooms). Here's a copy of the current map (FULL-SIZE):

Typhoon Lagoon Refurbishment (May 12-17, 2013)

Please, note that Disney's Typhoon Lagoon will be closed for about a week starting from May 12, 2013:
Beginning May 12, 2013, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will be temporarily closed for refurbishment until May 16, 2013. The water park is expected to reopen on May 17 (dates subject to change). During this time, Guests are encouraged to enjoy Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park as an alternative.
It is very unusual for a water park to close in the middle of May. The park may need some important work.

Symphony in the Stars Fireworks at DHS (May 4, 2013)

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A beautiful Star Wars-themed fireworks spectacular was shown at Disney's Hollywood Studios on May 4th, 2013. It was called "Symphony in the Stars," and it was absolutely great (albeit quite short). This evening we share with you a complete high-definition video of this fireworks show. We hope you will enjoy it:

So, what do you think? Do you personally find it very good, or were you expecting something bigger for the occasion? Share your thoughts and opinions with us. You know we love hearing your opinions!