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Showing posts from July, 2013

New Boats for the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride

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Magic Kingdom's Pirates of the Caribbean attraction just received a very short refurbishment. It reopened today (Wednesday, July 31, 2013), and one of the most notable changes is the addition of a completely new fleet of boats. These new boats actually look very similar to their predecessors, but there are some minor differences that make it clear that they are brand-new. Let's first of all take a quick look at some of them:

OTPN Advisory: Working on Small Additions

The Orlando Theme Park News Team would just like to let all our Readers know that we are working on a few minor additions for our website, which should be coming in the next few weeks (including a new slideshow that will showcase the most popular news and updates). For that reason, there may be some inconsistencies and/or minor issues regarding the website's appearance on certain devices, including tablets and smartphones. As an example, we have received somereports of the main site reloading itself every few seconds on iPads and iPhones, probably due to the new slideshow. We are currently working on this and other issues.
Thank you very much for your patience as we continue to improve the appearance and functionality of OTPN!

Inspiring Walt Disney World Resort Commercial

A few days ago, someone shared this nice Walt Disney World Resort commercial with us. We found it to be one of our favorites so far, therefore we would like to give you also the opportunity to see it. Enjoy!:

Great, isn't it? We especially love the fact that it shows the parks getting ready to open (with the Cast Members taking their places). It also gives a nice overview of some of the best attractions that the resort offers. But, what about you? Do you have a specific Disney Parks commercial that you will never forget?

VIDEO POSTED BY: "guardthemind" | COPYRIGHT: ©Disney. All rights reserved.

Epcot's 2013 Food & Wine Festival: The Menus

The official Disney Parks Blog just released the complete menus of all the booths that will be present during this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (taking place September 27 - November 11, 2013). Enjoy!:
Terra: Trick’n Chick’n Curry with Basmati Rice featuring Gardein™ Chick’n BreastChili Colorado with House-made Chips and Cashew Cheese featuring Gardein™ Beefless Tips*Chocolate Cake with Coconut Mousse and Passion Fruit SauceFresh Watermelon JuiceNapa Smith Organic IPAThe Vegan Vine ChardonnayThe Vegan Vine Red Blend
Brazil (All-New Menu): Seared Scallop with Ragout of Tomatoes, Peppers, Hearts of Palm and Steamed RiceCrispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions, Avocado and CilantroCerveharias Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black BeerCarnaval Moscato WhiteFrozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça
Argentina: Beef EmpanadaGrilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato PuréePascual Toso Sparkling BrutTerrazas Reserva MalbecTerrazas Reserva TorrontesKaiken Cabernet Sauvi…

Universal Studios: Kang & Kodos Are Coming (PART 1)

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Are you ready for a new, gigantic (as usual) Universal Studios Florida update? We have more than 200 photos to share with you. This means that you should set aside at least 3 hours to read through the entire photo-report (we are just joking. Well, maybe...). Let's take a look around the area, which was even busier than usual yesterday:

Universal Studios: Kang & Kodos Are Coming (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this new Universal Studios Florida photo-report (PART 1 can be found here)
Many more new themed props have appeared around Springfield (please, note that the official name of this expanded themed area has not been officially announced yet), including the new Bumblebee Man's Tacos truck:

Universal Studios: Kang & Kodos Are Coming (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 take a look inside Moe's:

Universal Studios: Kang & Kodos Are Coming (PART 4)

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Welcome to PART 4 of this new Universal Studios Florida photo-report (PART 3 can be found here)
Let's now continue to take a look at the beautiful town of Springfield from the other side of the lagoon:

Universal Studios: Kang & Kodos Are Coming (PART 5)

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Welcome to PART 5 of this new Universal Studios Florida photo-report (PART 4 can be found here)
Here you are a few more photos of the future London waterfront area:

More Charging Stations Added Inside Magic Kingdom

Today, most of the Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort have a smartphone, tablet, or another device that they use for various activities (calling their family members, playing while waiting in line, etc...). If you are among those Guests, you will be happy to hear that more new charging stations can now be found throughout the Magic Kingdom Park, which can accommodate most of those devices. Here you are more information:
"New charging stations have been added at various locations throughout Magic Kingdom Park. Guests can now find outlets for charging mobile devices in the Tomorrowland Arcade and the FASTPASS distribution area for two Storybook Circus attractions (Dumbo and The Barnstormer Featuring the Great Goofini). In addition, Guests can continue to charge their mobile devices in Fantasyland. Charging outlets are located in the 'stumps' at either end of the bench seating areas near Rapunzel’s village. Both the Storybook Circus and Rapunzel village areas have…

Grand Floridian Resort: New DVC Wing Update

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The brand-new Disney Vacation Club building currently under construction on the grounds of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is almost done, and it looks just as great as the rest of the existing resort. Let's take a look around, from the resorts monorail. We will start by taking a quick look at the original buildings of the hotel:

Disney Officially Announces New Lion King Theater

If you have been following Orlando Theme Park News (and other similar websites/forums) in the past few months, you will already know that work on a brand-new themed theater (hosting the Festival of the Lion King show) is well underway in the Africa section of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. That being said, today we received an official confirmation regarding this project. From the Disney Parks Blog:  _________________________________________________________________________
A New Home for ‘Festival of the Lion King’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
I fell in love with “Festival of the Lion King” the first time I saw it, in a sneak preview ahead of the 1998 opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. From the acrobatic antics of the Tumble Monkeys to Zawadi’s soaring vocals during the signature “Circle of Life,” the exuberant spirit of the show’s cast has kept me coming back time and time again and made “Festival of the Lion King” a guest favorite at Walt Disney World Resort for 15 years.
- A…

Discovering Florida: Ripley's St. Augustine (PART 1)

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Today we are going back to the beautiful city of Saint Augustine for one last time, and we will visit what could be the wackiest (and craziest!) of the many museums of the city: Ripley's - Believe It or Not! It's true, we have a version of Ripley's odditorium also here in Orlando, but the one in Saint Augustine is not only bigger, but it is also housed in a magnificent castle that is definitely worth visiting. Let's take a look around:

Discovering Florida: Ripley's St. Augustine (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this photo-gallery of St. Augustine's Ripley's Believe It or Not museum (PART 1).
Entering the endless hallway (not really, it's just an optical illusion...):

Discovering Florida: Ripley's St. Augustine (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of this photo-gallery of St. Augustine's Ripley's Believe It or Not museum (PART 2).
A look at a few more exhibits:

Yet Another FastPass+ Test at WDW (August 2013)

The Walt Disney World Resort is testing once again some of the MyMagic+ offerings, including FASTPASS+. Here you are additional information regarding the upcoming test, which will start on August 2: _________________________________________________________________________
MyMagic+ testing expands this week with additional resort Guests joining August 2, 2013. These Guests will be participating in all aspects of the MyMagic+ experience. For any Guests who need more assistance, Guest Relations Cast Members will be available at select attractions as well as the MyMagic+ Service Center at each one of the parks. Guest self-service FastPass+ Kiosks for same-day FastPass+ modifications or additions can also be found throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks.
In addition to that, as part of the test and adjust process for MyMagic+, more experiences will be available to test participants starting today (July 28, 2013). For example, at the Magic Kingdom Park, the following attractions have j…

Saratoga Springs Resort: A Look Inside "Senses" Spa

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Senses - A Disney Spa officially opened at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort on July 25, 2013. Let us learn more about this new addition thanks to this official press release that also includes some great photos of the interiors: _________________________________________________________________________

Nature Meets Nurture at New Senses – A Disney Spa
Lake Buena Vista, Fla.Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort transports guests to a therapeutic haven of pampering and wellness at Walt Disney World Resort.

The two-story, full-service spa which opened July 25, 2013 is inspired by the healing properties of natural springs that have drawn people for centuries to Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. Senses Spa incorporates the springs, nature and the storyline of health in its design and theme. Design materials and textures, including natural stone, pebbles and rich woodwork, will “connect with the earth and speak to the serenity and tranquility associated with nat…

Magic Kingdom Refurbishments (July-September 2013)

Quite a few refurbishments will take place at the Magic Kingdom Park in the next few months. Here's the list of the rides that will be closing between July and September 2013 (one of the rides is actually already closed): Pirates of the Caribbean closed July 27-30, reopening July 31Prince Charming Regal Carrousel closed August 1-21, reopening August 22Liberty Square Riverboat closed August 5-9, reopening August 10Jungle Cruise closed August 19-September 30, reopening October 1 Also, Muppet*Vision 3D will be under refurbishment August 6–September 2 at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Transformers - The Ride: 3D is Proving to Be a Hit

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The new Transformers - The Ride: 3D that recently opened at Universal Studios Florida is truly proving to be very popular this summer. It even surpassed Soarin's usual wait time yesterday, reaching a 180-minute wait.

Will it continue to prove popular among park Guests after the busy summer months? We definitely think so.
Photo by: Jared.

Details on Recent Universal Studios Store Expansion

As we reported some weeks ago, the Universal Studios Store located inside Universal Studios Florida recently received a quite important expansion that increased the overall size of this major shop (it could be compared to Magic Kingdom's Emporium, even though it is not as big, of course). Here you are some specifications regarding this project - which was recently completed - to see exactly what was done (even behind the scenes): _________________________________________________________________________
USF’s Universal Studios Store Bigger and Better than Ever!
As a part of Universal Orlando’s continuous efforts to provide our guests with an exemplary park experience, the Universal Studios Store has been updated and enriched. Some of these enhancements include new flooring, a new ceiling, additional lighting, and new or refurbished display fixtures... The store now has almost 1,000 square feet of additional guest space after converting the interior stock room into space for the sal…

The Disney Look... to the Past! (July 26-August 1)

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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: July 26-August 1
July 28, 1994 - Groundbreaking held at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort It would welcome home its first Members just over a year later on Oct. 1, 1995, but Disney leaders broke ground on this day for the first Disney Vacation Club resort to open outside the Walt Disney World Resort. A two-hour drive southeast of Orlando, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is located on 71 acres of Florida’s “Treasure Coast” along the Atlantic Ocean. Offering Members and Guests a chance to enjoy the simple, old-fashioned charm of a Florida beach vacation, the resort features a central inn and a collection of relaxing villas and standalone cottages, with an inviting expanse of wh…

Disney's Magical Express Testing Route from DTD

The Walt Disney World Resort will test a new route for the Disney's Magical Express next month:
As part of a test August 1-31, 2013, Guests using Disney’s Magical Express service and staying at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort can opt to leave for the airport from the Downtown Disney Area rather than their Disney resort.
Eligible Guests must have a domestic flight that departs from Orlando International Airport between 3 p.m. and midnight or an international flight between 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. on the day of check-out. This presents an additional opportunity for Guests to enjoy shopping, dining and entertainment at Downtown Disney to complete their Walt Disney World Resort experience.
Disney’s Magical Express motorcoaches depart from the center of Downtown Disney, near the Pleasure Island bridge closest to Raglan Road Pub and Restaurant. Guests must arrive at least 15 minutes prior to their scheduled departure time. Disney’s Magical Express motorcoaches may make multiple stops.
This is p…

Epcot: Enhancements Coming to Illuminations?

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First of all, let's start by saying that the following is nothing more than a mere rumor, as we have no "insider's knowledge" about what some of the Walt Disney World Resort's future theme park projects are at this moment. 
That said, we simply want to report that we have noticed a lot of buoys all around the World Showcase Lagoon in the past few days. Most of them are white, and a few of them are red. We have never seen them before, so we definitely think they could be a potential sign about some possible enhancements coming to the park's already fantastic (but old) nighttime show, "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth." Here you are a few photos of the buoys we are referring to (NOTE: We apologize for the low resolution of these photos, but we didn't have our camera with us yesterday, so we had to use our phone. Again, we apologize about that):

D23: New Star Wars Attractions to Be Confirmed

The many rumors (that have been circulating around the web for months) regarding new Star Wars attractions for Disney's Hollywood Studios (and other Disney Theme Parks) could be confirmed during the upcoming D23 Expo, which will take place August 9-11, 2013 at Anaheim, California. Here's an official update on the D23 Expo's offerings, which also confirms the fact that new attractions currently in the works could be announced:  
Dave says the pavilion has been designed to give visitors a real look at how Imagineers work and even a peek at hush-hush works in progress. “We have a technology called DISH, which stands for Digital Immersive Showroom, and we’ll show how it’s helped us design several attractions — visitors will be able to virtually ride two attractions, the same way we do when we’re testing them. We’re also going to be doing sneak peeks at upcoming projects – including Disney Springs, the reimagining of Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort. There will be te…

New Downtown Disney Map (July 2013)

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The latest Downtown Disney map includes some quite major changes, especially in one of the three areas of this entertainment and shopping district (Pleasure Island, of course). As you will see, some of the current Pleasure Island buildings have completely disappeared, as they are currently being demolished to make way for completely new structures that will open as part of the Disney Springs project. Let's first check out the new map, then compare a slightly older Downtown Disney map with the current one, to see exactly what has changed:
- FRONT OF THE NEW MAP (FULL-SIZE) -

Food & Beverage Changes at Animal Kingdom

A completely new additional service will soon be available to Guests with certain special needs:
"Beginning August 4th, 2013, Guests with food allergies and intolerances visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will have a central location to purchase pre-packaged snacks and receive information about meal options within the park that can accommodate their dietary restrictions.
With this new offering, Guests with food allergies or intolerances will have the flexibility to understand their food options prior to visiting a food and beverage location within Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. By utilizing the information provided at this kiosk, Guests may still need to repeat the specifics of their allergy or intolerance less often while dining within the park's restaurants. The new location, called the Gardens Kiosk, is located on Discovery Island next to Adventurers Outpost."
We are sure that this will greatly benefit Guests dealing with allergies. Here's yet anothe…

Busch Gardens Celebrates International Tiger Day

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In recognition of International Tiger Day on July 29, guests are invited to join a weekend-long celebration at Busch Gardens® Tampa. The festivities take place daily from July 27-29 in the Jungala® area of the park. 
With only 3,200 wild tigers in the world, International Tiger Day, also known as Global Tiger Day, is an annual celebration to raise awareness for tiger conservation.  Busch Gardens is celebrating with face painting, tiger keeper talks and feedings.  Also, a portion of the proceeds from the tigress and cubs plush toys sold in the Tiger Lodge gift shop in the Jungala area will be donated to the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. 
Additionally, three of Busch Gardens’ newest additions, endangered Malayan tiger cubs, are scheduled to make an appearance on the Jungala habitat all three days of the celebration.

AT&T Becomes Disney Parks' Official Wireless Provider

Dallas, Texas, July 23, 2013 - AT&T and Disney Parks today announced an agreement that makes AT&T the official wireless provider for Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.
Through the agreement, AT&T will have various marketing and branding opportunities, including sponsoring Disney-created soccer and runDisney events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  In addition, Disney will join AT&T to educate Cast Members and guests about “It Can Wait®,” AT&T’s groundbreaking initiative to educate consumers about the dangers of texting while driving.  AT&T and Disney will also collaborate to enhance the experience for the growing number of Disney guests using smartphones and tablets during their visit.  Furthermore, Cast Members will use new mobile devices on AT&T’s network to help deliver Disney’s legendary guest service.
“This is a great combination,” said Andy Geisse, Chief Executive Officer for AT&T Business Solutions. “Bringing AT&T’s fast…

Concrete Replacement Work Begins on Main Street

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Please, note that a two-month project to replace concrete near the Emporium, the Main Street Confectionery and part of Town Square has just started today. The project is taking place in phases so as to minimize the impact to Guests. That said, you should expect certain periods of time when the Main Street Trolley Show, the Move it! Shake it! Celebrate it! Street Party, and both the daytime and nighttime parades will be impacted.

Here's a Magic Kingdom map showing the exact location of the first section of concrete that will be replaced:



During the first phase of this project (approximately July 25-31, 2013) the corner entrance to the Emporium (facing Town Square) will not be available so that the sidewalks in that area can be replaced.

Weather Advisory: Disney Water Parks & Golf Courses

Please, take note of the following advisory regarding the Walt Disney World Resort:
Be advised that Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and Disney’s Miniature Golf Courses (Disney's Winter Summerland and Disney's Fantasia Gardens) are currently temporarily closed due to inclement weather. They should reopen later during the day, when weather conditions will improve in the area.  
Check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates on this subject.

SeaWorld Update: Antarctica's Nets Leaving (PART 1)

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Good afternoon, Orlando Theme Park News Readers, and welcome to another very extensive photo-update! Today, we will take a look around SeaWorld Orlando, to see how the park is doing almost two months after the grand opening of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. Let's start from the entrance of the park, as we always do:

SeaWorld Update: Antarctica's Nets Leaving (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this SeaWorld Orlando photo-report (PART 1 can be found HERE).
Let us now continue our tour of the park:

SeaWorld Update: Antarctica's Nets Leaving (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of this SeaWorld Orlando photo-report (PART 2 can be found HERE).
The billboard displaying the show times for Shamu Rocks! mentions the new fireworks finale:

SeaWorld Update: Antarctica's Nets Leaving (PART 4)

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Welcome to PART 4 of this SeaWorld Orlando photo-report (PART 3 can be found HERE).
The booths used during certain special events:

SeaWorld Update: Antarctica's Nets Leaving (PART 5)

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Welcome to PART 5 of this SeaWorld Orlando photo-report (PART 4 can be found HERE).
We will now take a look inside the Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin attraction/exhibit:

PUMA Teams Up with ESPN Wide World of Sports

Sportlifestyle brand PUMA and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex have teamed up in a multi-year agreement that will showcase PUMA soccer and elite soccer players, giving the legions of soccer athletes who compete at the complex early exposure to PUMA’s latest soccer products.
PUMA will become the official soccer equipment sponsor of Disney Soccer, which hosts tournaments for tens of thousands of players from around the globe each year.
For PUMA’s first official event at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, PUMA brought the Women’s Elite Showcase to the Disney Cup International event this week. PUMA’s Women’s Elite Showcase brings the nation’s top high-school aged female players and their coaches together for a unique opportunity to play in front of the soccer community and many college scouts. This program is in its third year and for the first time is being played at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Universal Orlando's CityWalk - July 2013 Update

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Many rumors across the web claim that Universal Orlando's CityWalk may soon receive some additions. One of these rumors was posted a few days ago on the very popular Screamscape news website. Here it is:
"Interesting changes are on the way to Citywalk at Universal Orlando over the next 6-8 months that will change the dining options a bit. I'm told that the Endangered Species Store is expected to close in the near future, and Starbuck and Ben & Jerry’s will move in to take over the lower level space. Pastamore is expected to possibly move down into this area as well. Meanwhile the Latin Quarter is expected to undergo a change into a more Mexican format and there is talk of the Galaxy Bar reopening as some kind of high end snack bar featuring fancy hot dog creations."
That's a lot of changes, right? We will see when work on these projects will start. In the meantime, let us take a look around to check on the current status of Universal Orlando's CityWalk:

WDW: Water Parks & Golf Courses Temporarily Closed

Please, take note of the following advisory regarding the Walt Disney World Resort:
Be advised that Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and Disney’s Miniature Golf Courses (Disney's Winter Summerland and Disney's Fantasia Gardens) are temporarily closed due to inclement weather. They will reopen when weather conditions will improve in the area.  
Please check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates in the next few hours.

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

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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: July 19-25

July 21, 1999 - The first Disney's FASTPASS is given out at Kilimanjaro Safaris
Suppose you'd like to venture through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park, but the posted wait time is two weeks. (Disclaimer: the Kilimanjaro Safaris line never has been remotely close to two weeks; this is strictly a hypothetical situation.) No sweat - veer right from the entrance and swipe your park ticket at Disney's FASTPASS distribution kiosk. This complimentary service saves your spot in line at some of Disney's most popular attractions, allowing you to spend more time enjoying the park - shopping, dining, watching shows - …

Disney's Osprey Ridge Golf Course Closing Soon

The Walt Disney World Resort has now officially finalized the sale of the Osprey Ridge Golf Course, which will temporarily close to the public starting August 12, 2013 (the very last day to play on this course will be Sunday, August 11, 2013). The golf course will then be turned over to the Four Seasons Resort Orlando on August 15, 2013 (the hotel is still under construction at this time. It is slated to open in 2014).
Some background information: In 2009, the Golden Oak luxury resort community was announced, including the development of the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. Osprey Ridge was acquired at that time by Four Seasons, to become part of their resort. It will be operated by Four Seasons' Management.
Thank you for taking note of this. We will see you again in a few minutes with our special weekly feature!

Epcot: World Showcase Update (PART 1)

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Hello, and welcome to this special Epcot update! This time we will only focus on World Showcase. Why? Well, the last time we visited the park we had to skip some of the countries due to the fact that we didn't have enough time... For this reason, we went back to the park a few days ago to see what's happening around the "World":

Epcot: World Showcase Update (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this special World Showcase update (PART 1 can be found HERE).
More work is being done near the snack booth in the MOROCCO pavilion:

Epcot: Entertainment Change in the U.K. Pavilion

Many of our Readers will certainly know the Hat Lady. She performs every day in the Rose & Crown Pub, located in the United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot. She can still be found there, but her performance has now changed:
"Some creative changes to the musical entertainment in the Rose and Crown Pub have been made. Beginning this past Tuesday (July 16, 2013), the entertainment will focus exclusively on music, allowing Guests to sing along, request their favorite songs and experience a more authentic pub-like experience. The concept of The Hat Lady and the story-telling component of the entertainment will no longer be a part of the experience. The performer who portrays “The Hat Lady” will continue to perform as a pianist."
Thank you for your attention. We will see you in just a few minutes with an Epcot update (for real this time!).

SeaWorld Releases Four Manatees After Rehabilitation

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July 18, 2013 (Orlando, Florida) – Four female manatees were returned to the waters of Eddy Creek in Brevard County, on Florida’s east coast, this morning after receiving treatment and care at SeaWorld Orlando for the past several months.

Of the four animals returned, three were rescued last December after becoming entrapped in a mosquito impoundment in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Pipsqueak and Nitty were rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Braille was rescued by SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team. All three animals were transported to SeaWorld Orlando after their rescues, where they received medical care for mild cold stress.

July 22-25 FastPass+ Test: More Attractions Available

Another MyMagic+ test will take place at the Walt Disney World Resort between July 22-25, 2013. This test will involve exclusively Disney Vacation Club Members and renters staying onsite at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The participants will have the opportunity to choose from more FastPass+ experiences than were previously available in other tests. In fact, he following rides and attractions will be available for the first time for FastPass+ selection during the entire duration of the test (July 22-25, 2013):
At Magic Kingdom Park: - Enchanted Tales with Belle; - Haunted Mansion; - Pirates of the Caribbean; (PLUS all the other FastPass+ attractions).
At Epcot: - Spaceship Earth; - The Seas with Nemo and Friends; (PLUS all the other FastPass+ attractions).
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios: - Disney Junior – Live on Stage!; - Voyage of the Little Mermaid; (PLUS all the other FastPass+ attractions).
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom: - It's Tough to be a Bug; - Festival of the Lion King…

Islands of Adventure: JP Games Work Begins (PART 1)

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This morning we will take a quick look around Universal's Islands of Adventure to see what's happening in the park. While most of the attention is now undoubtedly being directed toward Universal Studios Florida, there are plenty of other minor projects taking place in this park, the biggest one of them being the new themed midway games in the Jurassic Park area. Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy our virtual tour of Islands of Adventure:

Islands of Adventure: JP Games Work Begins (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this Islands of Adventure photo-report (PART 1 can be found HERE).
Going back to the work being done on the new Jurassic Park themed midway games:

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Dark on July 23, 2013

If you plan on enjoying Downtown Disney's Cirque du Soleil in the next few days, take note of this advisory:
Please, be aware that there are no scheduled shows for La Nouba™ by Cirque du Soleil® (located in the West Side section of Downtown Disney) on Tuesday, July 23, 2013. The next scheduled performances will take place on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. (first show of the night) and 9:00 p.m. (second show).
Keep also in mind that, during the regular schedule, performances of  La Nouba™ are held from Tuesday through Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. There are usually no performances on Sundays and Mondays.
Thank you very much for your attention. We will see you in just a few minutes with a new photo-update.

International Drive: Westgate Palace Hotel Repainted

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One of the biggest hotels found along International Drive, the Westgate Palace, is currently being completely repainted (we are referring to the exterior). While this may sound like a minor news, we thought it would be nice to report this change, as the new color scheme is definitely much better than the former one. In addition to that, this is undoubtedly one of the most visually-imposing resorts in the area:

Magic Kingdom: Operating Hours Extended Tonight

Please, take note of the following advisory regarding the Magic Kingdom Park's operating hours:
Be aware that the Magic Kingdom Park will be extending operating hours tonight (Wednesday, July 17, 2013). The park will now be closing at 12 a.m. (midnight) instead of 11 p.m. as originally scheduled. 
Thank you very much for taking note of this minor update, and enjoy the rest of your afternoon.

Discovering Florida: St. Augustine Pirates (PART 1)

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Today, Orlando Theme Park news will bring you back to beautiful St. Augustine, one of the oldest cities in the continental United States. As you have seen from our previous "Discovering Florida" update, this city is truly fascinating, and it has a lot to see. During the two days we spent in the area, we were only able to scratch the surface of all the museums, historic buildings, and natural beauties that St. Augustine has to offer. In this particular photo-gallery we will check out the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. Let's take a look around:

Discovering Florida: St. Augustine Pirates (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this photo-gallery of the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum (PART 1).
Let's continue to take a look around the museum:

Discovering Florida: St. Augustine Pirates (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this photo-gallery of the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum (PART 2).
We will now take a look at the last two themed rooms of this St. Augustine museum:

Possible Delay on New Festival of the Lion King Theater

As we stated earlier today on our official Twitter page, there could be a minor (or major, who knows?) delay in the construction of the brand-new Festival of the Lion King theater, currently under construction in the Africa section of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. The news comes directly from the Walt Disney World Resort:
"As construction continues to enhance the Africa section of Disney's Animal Kingdom, some additional backstage impacts [were scheduled to] occur... The work referenced here has been delayed. Additional communication regarding updated dates will be shared soon."
Some will notice how vague this note is. That said, what could be the nature of this delay? Unfortunately, we don't know, and we would not be able to share that with you even if we did know what is going on behind the scenes (that might be considered confidential information). In the meantime, we are wondering if this will impact the AVATAR Land project, as work for that new area sh…

Ultimate Walt Disney World - Official 2013 Video

"Destination America" has released a great video that takes a look at all the recent additions of the Walt Disney World resort. We have to say that it is really a very informative and interesting video, which can be useful especially to those who haven't had the chance to visit the Vacation Kingdom in the last two years. Enjoy it!:

VIDEO: ©2013 Lightship Entertainment, Inc/Walt Disney World Resort. All rights reserved.

Pleasure Island: Apricot Lane & PI Live Now Closed

Please, take note of the following advisory regarding Pleasure Island, located in the Downtown Disney area:
Re-Imagining work (linked to the massive Disney Springs project) continues on Pleasure Island this week with some location closures and expansion of the construction wall. 
Both Apricot Lane and the PI Live bar are now closed to make way for future enhancements as part of the Disney Springs expansion project, as we stated previously. The Pleasure Island construction wall was expanded to include both locations on Monday, July 15, 2013.
Thank you very much for your attention. See you in a few minutes with more news and updates.

Magic Kingdom: Dwarfs' Mountain Update (PART 1)

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The Magic Kingdom Park is such an amazing place. After more than 40 years, it is still the most visited theme park on the face of the Earth. It is always receiving minor additions (two new interactive games, a beautifully-themed Tangled restrooms area, new meet-and-greet areas, general refurbishments, etc...), and sometime even some major new attractions (like the two new rides included in the Fantasyland Expansion). Today, we will take a look around this wonderful place to check on the latest improvements that the park has received.
Let's start by looking at the new bus loop that is currently still under construction behind the existing bus area:

Magic Kingdom: Dwarfs' Mountain Update (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this new Magic Kingdom photo-report (PART 1 can be found HERE).
Let's now take a look inside the renovated Main Street Bakery, which now serves Starbucks coffee:

Magic Kingdom: Dwarfs' Mountain Update (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of this new Magic Kingdom photo-report (PART 2 can be found HERE).
Let's continue our tour of the park. We are still checking out Adventureland:

Magic Kingdom: Dwarfs' Mountain Update (PART 4)

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Welcome to PART 4 of this new Magic Kingdom photo-report (PART 3 can be found HERE).
A few more photos of the refurbished facade of the Columbia Harbor House restaurant:

Magic Kingdom: Dwarfs' Mountain Update (PART 5)

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Welcome to PART 5 of this new Magic Kingdom photo-report (PART 4 can be found HERE).
We will now continue to take a look around the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, still under construction:

Magic Kingdom: Dwarfs' Mountain Update (PART 6)

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Welcome to PART 6 of this new Magic Kingdom photo-report (PART 5 can be found HERE).
It's time to continue going deeper into the gorgeous (but still under construction) Fantasyland Forest:

Magic Kingdom: Dwarfs' Mountain Update (PART 7)

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Welcome to PART 7 of this new Magic Kingdom photo-report (PART 6 can be found HERE).
Tomorrowland is our next (and also, our very last) stop. It is definitely gorgeous at night with all those lights:

Midlife Mouse by Wayne Franklin - Book Review

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The Orlando Theme Park News Team had the privilege of reviewing many different books and touring guides related to the Orlando theme parks and attractions, but the "Midlife Mouse" story (written by Wayne Franklin) is very different. It is not a book that will help you to plan your next visit to Orlando. It is actually a story that involves a regular man visiting the Walt Disney World Resort and all of its attractions with his family. Sounds like it could involve a pretty regular - and maybe even predictable - plot. But it does not. Here's just an excerpt of the official description of the book, from MidlifeMouse.com: _________________________________________________________________________

"Bill Durmer is in over his head. Staring headlong at 40, having lost his family business and blaming himself for the impending demise of his hometown, he finds himself bunkered in a darkened hotel room, surrounded by the Mickey-eared commandos of the Walt Disney World S.W.A.T. te…

LEGOLAND Florida - July 2013 Update (PART 1)

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It is time for a special weekend photo-update! Let's take a look around LEGOLAND Florida this time, focusing on the first half of the park. Why? Well, because it started raining after we reached the Land of Adventure! That being said, there are still some minor news to report, so let' start right away. We hope you'll enjoy it:

LEGOLAND Florida - July 2013 Update (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this new LEGOLAND Florida photo-report (PART 1 can be found here).

This is the new pathway for the new World of Chima Land (CLICK HERE for photos of that area):


Downtown Disney Guest Parking Changes (2013/2014)

The Downtown Disney area at the Walt Disney World Resort will see a lot of major changes in the next few years. It will all culminate when this entertainment district will officially reopen with a new name in 2016, becoming "Disney Springs." Two new multi-level parking structures will be built in the months ahead as part of this project; for this reason, some very important changes will be done in the parking lots area of Downtown Disney:
"As part of the Disney Springs expansion, Downtown Disney parking lots H-K will close July 22, 2013, as work begins on the new West Garage. A parking plan was developed to provide the best experience for Guests:
Due to the reduction in Guest parking spaces, overflow parking areas will be open on most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as holidays, and special events throughout the next few years of the expansion project. Overflow lots include Team Disney, the Casting Center, and SunTrust. Electronic directional signage along Buen…

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

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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: July 12-18
July 17, 1955 - Disneyland Park opens in Anaheim, Calif. On 160 acres where orange groves once grew, 30 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, the magical place Walt Disney dreamed of as he watched his two daughters ride the Griffith Park carousel first opened for an international media preview. Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings and Ronald Reagan brought the fun live to a nationwide audience on ABC, taking viewers into the Disneyland worlds of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy with help from a cavalcade of celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jerry Lewis, Debbie Reynolds, Fess Parker, and California governor Goodwin Knight (riding down Mai…

Long-Lost Disney Characters Coming Back to WDW

The official Disney Parks Blog announced just yesterday that the very popular Long-Lost Friends Week will come back to the Magic Kingdom Park starting from next Monday (July 15, 2013) until July 21, 2013. During the event, "rarely seen Disney characters will be stepping into the spotlight at Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A." You will be able to meet, greet, and take pictures with the following characters (and a few more): From “Robin Hood”: Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Sheriff of Nottingham, and Prince JohnFrom “Chicken Little”: Chicken Little and Abby MallardFrom “Song of the South”: Brer Bear and Brer Fox This special event is part of the “Limited Time Magic” campaign taking place at the Walt Disney World Resort.

SeaWorld Orlando Returns Manatee to Bonita Springs

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ORLANDO, Florida – A 595-pound male manatee was returned to the waters of Bonita Springs near Naples, Fla.,after receiving supportive care at SeaWorld Orlando for the past few months.

“Red Bone” was initially rescued early this year by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission during a red tide episode in southwest Florida. During a red tide epidemic, harmful algae bloom that can cause respiratory issues in both humans and animals. Red Bone was rescued in February and transported to Lowry Park Zoo, where he had been rehabilitating and receiving care since his rescue.