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Showing posts from January, 2014

New Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Maps (Jan. 2014)

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As we hinted on our Facebook and Twitter pages in the last few days, new maps were just released at the Magic Kingdom Park and Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Aside from a new cover photo (for the Animal Kingdom map), quite a few changes can be seen in these new versions of the usual theme park map. The biggest of these changes is the inclusions of the MyMagic+ Service Centers and the designation of all the attractions offering the new FastPass+ service. Take a look:

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

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Hello Orlando Theme Park News Readers, and welcome to the newest edition of the weekly feature known as "The Disney Look... to the Past!"

As always, we hope you will enjoy reading all of the following interesting facts about the Walt Disney Parks, Resorts, Movies, and more. If you have any questions about this material, feel free to contact us or leave a message at the end of this post. Thank you!:

Kennedy Space Center to Host Discussion Panel Feb. 7

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – In recognition of African American History Month, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is hosting “Diversity at Kennedy Space Center: Generations Reflecting Together,” a panel discussion on Friday, February 7, 2014 from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Astronaut Encounter Theater.
Employees from Kennedy Space Center will reflect on how the 1964 Civil Rights Act impacted their lives and careers, bringing them to where they are today.

SeaWorld Returns First Manatee of the Year (2014)

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Orlando, Fla. – On Wednesday morning (January 29, 2014), an adult female manatee was returned to the waters of Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida, after receiving care and rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando for the last year.

“Piggy” was rescued due to cold stress by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) from St. John’s River in Palatka, Florida on February 7, 2013. 

CityWalk Update: Antojito's Opening Soon (PART 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around Universal's CityWalk to check out on the progress being done in the various new venues that are currently under construction. As always, we will focus primarily on Antojito's - the new Mexican restaurant that was rumored to be opening today opened a few minutes ago - but we will also take a general look around the rest of this entertainment area. So, without further ado, let us enjoy together our latest photo-report:

CityWalk Update: Antojito's Opening Soon (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest CityWalk photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 1 of this same update can be found HERE.
In part 1, we took a look at the new Starbucks location, the Cold Stone Creamery, and we also started to check on the progress that has recently been made on the exterior facade of the new Antojito's Mexican restaurant. Now we will continue to take a look around this restaurant and the rest of CityWalk:

LEGOLAND: DUPLO Valley Opening Date Announced

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In the past few days, many of the area's theme park have made some exciting announcements. Universal Orlando released new artworks of their new themed area, Walt Disney World gave us a few more details regarding their new family coaster and the new daytime parade, SeaWorld announced new acts for their upcoming special event, and LEGOLAND... announced nothing. That said, just a few hours ago, the park finally released additional information (including the official opening date) regarding the new DUPLO Valley play area, opening later this year:

WDW: New Airline Check-In for Guests with Int'l Flights

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If you live outside the United States, you might be pleased to know that, since this past Monday (January 27, 2014) select Walt Disney World resort hotels have started to offer Resort Airline Check-In Service for Guests with international flights. As with Guests traveling on domestic flights, Resort Airline Check-In Service allows Guests to check in for their flight from their resort on their day of travel, including retrieving boarding passes and checking luggage. Continue reading for additional information on this important change:

Disney Resorts: Polynesian Expansion Update (Jan. 2014)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a very quick look around one of the oldest Disney hotels located in the Walt Disney World Resort, Disney's Polynesian Resort. As you will know, the hotel is receiving a major expansion that will add new Disney Vacation Club villas and more. Let's check out on the progress being done in the various areas that are currently under construction. As always, we really hope you will enjoy the pictures:

Bands, Brew & BBQ Event Starts February 1 at SeaWorld

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SeaWorld Orlando’s Bands, Brew & BBQ festival features six weekends of rocking concerts, mouth-watering BBQ, thirst-quenching beer and toe-tapping fun. Bands, Brew & BBQ takes place weekends in February starting this Saturday (February 1, 2014) through March 9, 2014.

Alan Jackson opens the SeaWorld festival with a 5 p.m. performance on Saturday, February 1. Kid Rock plays on Sunday, February 2, at 4 p.m. Concerts are held at the Bayside Stadium.


WDW: Operational Impacts Due to Cool Weather (Jan. 29)

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Due to expected low temperatures, the following operational adjustments will be made:
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will be closed today (Jan. 29) and tomorrow (Jan. 30);Both seatings of Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show have been cancelled for today;Guarded pools at most resorts will operate 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Guarded pools at All-Star, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Art of Animation, and Pop Century will operate 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

OTPN News: Anonymous Comments Temporarily Blocked

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Even though here at Orlando Theme Park News we love hearing everyone's opinions (including from Readers that do not feel comfortable sharing their name), sometimes we need to make some changes to protect our site. This morning, we woke up seeing our inbox including more than 60 comments posted on our site. Sadly, at least 50 of them were marked as "spam." To resolve this issue, we are going to TEMPORARILY disable the "Anonymous" option when posting comments on our site. We hope you will understand, and thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Kali River Rapids Closed Wednesday Due to Weather

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If you will be visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, note the following advisory:

"In anticipation of colder temperatures, Kali River Rapids will be closed Wednesday, January 29, 2014. The attraction will reopen Thursday, January 30, 2014."

Don't worry too much; the temperatures will be back in the low 80s by the end of the week.

Original Jurassic Park Movie Velociraptor Cage on eBay

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Orlando, FL - January 28, 2014 - Steven Spielberg's 1993 Jurassic Park was the highest grossing film of all time when it released in 1993 and now Theme Park Connection is offering what could be the most iconic sought after piece in the film's history. Imagine this, owning the prop that was first to be seen in the opening scene that started the movie franchise. The original movie spun sequences and was even made into a theme park attraction. But this is no attraction, this is the real deal from the original Jurassic Park Movie. 

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: First Photos Inside the Mountain

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The official Twitter page of the Walt Disney World Resort stated yesterday evening that a few more photos of the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (opening this Spring in the New Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom Park) would be released today. We are happy to say that they kept their promise. In fact, just a few minutes ago, the official Disney Parks Blog shared some great pictures taken inside the mountain (something very few people had the opportunity to see so far!) and around it. Here they are, along with their official post:

New Re-Entry & Rider Switch Passes Coming to WDW

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Starting from this Saturday (February 1, 2014), Attraction Re-Entry Passes and Rider Switch Passes at the Walt Disney World Resort will have a new look that is consistent with MyMagic+.

These passes are consistent with their attraction’s designated collection (as you know, with FastPass+, certain attractions belong to different tiers). New passes will be valid for the entire month. Here you are a few of them: 

Advisory: Splitsville Private Event on January 29, 2014

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Splitsville Luxury Lanes (located in the West Side section of Downtown Disney) will be hosting a private event from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 on the 2nd floor.

Dining will be available for Guests in the first floor dining and bar areas, and the Outdoor Patio. A full menu will still be available. No bowling lanes will be available on the 1st floor from 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. The entire venue is expected to reopen to all Guests at 9:30 p.m.

Universal Studios Update: London Sneak-Peek (PART 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around Universal Studios Florida to check out on the progress being done in the various areas that are currently under construction or under refurbishment. As always, we will focus primarily on  the London Embankment, but we will also take a general look around the rest of the park. So, without further ado, let us start our tour. We hope you will enjoy the pictures (your comments are always welcome. Be sure to leave them!):

Universal Studios Update: London Sneak-Peek (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Universal Studios Florida photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers (PART 1 can be found right HERE)!
In part 1 of this update, we took a look around Production Central, the New York City backlot area of the park, and San Francisco. Now it is time to continue to check out the rest of San Francisco. After that, we will head toward the huge London Embankment, located right next door:

Universal Studios Update: London Sneak-Peek (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of our newest Universal Studios Florida photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers (PART 2 can be found right HERE)!

In part 2 of this same photo-update, we took a look around San Francisco and a small section of the very large London Embankment. Now we will continue to enjoy this beautiful waterfront area, and we will conclude this update with a few more photos taken around the rest of the park:

FastPass+ Test Involving WDW Annual Passholders

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As part of the test-and -adjust process for MyMagic+ , testing will take place during the next few weeks with a small number of randomly selected Annual passholders. Guests involved in this test will be able to engage in My Disney Experience, make FastPass+ selections in advance and customize their MagicBands. When testers receive their MagicBands, they will also receive a black or gold (includes complimentary parking) Annual Passholder discount card. Guests can use these cards or their Passholder admission ticket to obtain discounts.

Downtown Disney: Disney Springs Project News (Jan. 2014)

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The Downtown Disney entertainment district continues to change and evolve, as the entire area is slated to soon become Disney Springs. We continuously try to keep you up-to-date bringing you the latest photo-reports covering this and other areas, but today we are just going to share with you a few tidbits of some parts of the project that have either started or are going to start very soon. Of course, as this is an on-going project, things are subject to change at any time. That being said, here is a snapshot of what's currently happening at Downtown Disney:

Universal Orlando: Special Florida Residents Offers (2014)

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The Universal Orlando Resort just announced a few great offers for Florida Residents. If you live in the Sunshine State, you should take note of these great opportunities to save:

- Get up to 3 Months Free on Any Annual Pass
For a limited time, Florida Residents get up to 3 months free on any Annual Pass and enjoy an entire year of thrills! Continue reading to find out additional details regarding this offer:

Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood & Vine Welcomes New Characters

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Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood & Vine has been updated over the years to feature the newest characters, stories and music from shows on Disney Channel and the Disney Junior 24-hour channel. Starting today (January 26, 2014), Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First joined the cast of Disney Junior Play n’ Dine at Hollywood & Vine. Guests can get the chance to meet Doc and Sofia and dance along with them during a fun, new musical number right there in the restaurant. They joined Handy Manny and Jake from “Jake and the Never Land Pirates.”

Fun Spot Attractions: Superbowl Advertisement Contest

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The Fun Spot Parks have put together four different commercials that would be shown during this year's Superbowl event. Now, you have the chance to choose which one gets aired:

"For some, Super Bowl commercials are more watched than the football game. Local amusement parks, Fun Spot on International Drive and Highway 192, will debut a unique Super Bowl commercial during the game on Sunday, February 2 on Fox 35.

Magic Kingdom Update: Trees on the Mountain (PART 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around the Magic Kingdom Park to check out on the progress being done in the various areas that are currently under construction. As always, we will focus primarily on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but we will also take a general look around the rest of the park. So, without further ado, let us embark on this virtual tour of the park. We hope you will enjoy the pictures:

Magic Kingdom Update: Trees on the Mountain (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Magic Kingdom photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers (PART 1 can be found by clicking on this LINK)!
In part 1, we took a look around Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, and the beginning of Frontierland. Now we will continue our tour around the park by checking out the rest of Frontierland, Liberty Square, and a section of Fantasyland):

Magic Kingdom Update: Trees on the Mountain (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of our newest Magic Kingdom photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers (PART 2 can be found by clicking on this LINK)!

In part 2, we took a look around Frontierland and Liberty Square, as well as a few places located inside Fantasyland. Now it is time to check out the work being done on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. After that, we'll see what's happening in Tomorrowland:

SeaWorld Returns Two Turtles at J. Nance Park

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ORLANDO, Florida - SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team traveled to James Nance Park in Melbourne, Fla., this morning to return two 100-pound, 2-foot loggerhead turtles.

The first loggerhead turtle was rescued north of Wabasso Beach on October 2, 2013, while the second was rescued from Sebastian Inlet State Park on October 6, 2013. Both turtles were discovered in fair body condition; however, were floating and unable to dive. 

10 Facts About Hong Kong Disneyland You May Not Know

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It is true, we usually do not cover international theme parks, as the focus of this website is to share with our Readers all the news, rumors, and updates concerning the attractions and theme parks located in the Central Florida area.

That being said, this afternoon we would like to share with you ten fun facts about Hong Kong Disneyland that you might not know, just for fun. Enjoy!:

Magic Kingdom: New "Festival of Fantasy" Preview Video

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The Walt Disney World Resort recently released a new, exciting video showing a few of the completed floats that will soon be part of the richly-detailed Disney's Festival of Fantasy parade, the daytime cavalcade of Disney characters that will perform in the street of the Magic Kingdom Park and replace the now-gone (and underwhelming) Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade.

Enjoy the video, and let us know what you think about this new addition:

KSC: Vehicle Assembly Building Tours Ending February 23

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – Visitors interested in receiving unprecedented access to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center now have until only February 23, 2014 to enjoy the KSC Up-Close Tour of the VAB.

After two years, the tour is being halted to allow for modifications needed while Kennedy Space Center is changing into a multi-user Spaceport and preparing for the Space Launch System.

Busch Gardens: Falcon's Fury Gets Taller... and Heavier

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Busch Gardens Tampa stated yesterday that hundreds of lead blocks have been loaded plate by plate, 150 pounds at a time, to create a counterweight to be used in the park's newest thrill ride, Falcon’s Fury. Once fully constructed, the counterweight will total 68 tons and be loaded inside the attraction. This unit will counterbalance the ride vehicle, similar to how an elevator operates, to create the force to pull riders nearly 300 feet up Falcon’s Fury. And then, you know what will happen next. Here you are a few exciting photos:

Islands of Adventure Update: Dudley's Downtime (PART 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around Universal's Islands of Adventure to see what is happening in this beautifully-themed park. As always, we will focus primarily on the new train station, but we will also take a general look around the rest of the park. So, without further ado, let us embark on this new virtual tour of the park. As always, we hope you will enjoy the pictures (and  remember that your comments are always appreciated!):

Islands of Adventure Update: Dudley's Downtime (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Islands of Adventure photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers (PART 1 can be found HERE)!
In part 1, we took a look around the Port of Entry (which included the new Starbucks location), Marvel Superhero Island, and we started walking around Toon Lagoon. Now it is time to continue our virtual tour of Toon Lagoon:

Islands of Adventure Update: Dudley's Downtime (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of our newest Islands of Adventure photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers (PART 2 can be found HERE)!

In part 2, we explored the rest of the north section of the park. Now it is time to continue to check out the last few themed islands of this amazing park, including the Lost Continent and Seuss Landing. Enjoy these last few photos:

Walt Disney World: Weather Impacts (January 23-24)

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Due to forecasted low temperatures, the following operational changes have been made:
8:00 p.m. Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show canceled on January 23, 2014.Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is closed on January 23 - 24, 2014. Please continue to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates.

SeaWorld Celebrates National Penguin Awareness Day

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ORLANDO, Fla. - January 20, 2014 marked National Penguin Awareness Day and the SeaWorld Orlando Aviculture Team is celebrating with a “penguin chick” boom.

Since November 30, a total of 15 penguin chicks have hatched at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, the all-new attraction which features a colony of more than 250 penguins from four species – king, Adelie, Gentoo and rockhopper.

The Orlando Eye Update: Very Tall Supports... and More

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around the Orlando Eye (as you will remember, that's the new, official name of I-Drive Live) to check out on the progress being done around the area. The parking garage and the supports of the huge observation wheel are almost completely assembled (or built), and the other buildings are continuing to take shape. Let's start without further ado:

New Smokehouse Opens at Downtown Disney (MENU)

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The new Smokehouse is now open at Downtown Disney. This new quick service restaurant serves up barbeque and smoked favorites on the front patio of the House of Blues on the West Side. Reservations are not required and prices range from $6.99 to $12.99 (you can find the full menu at the end of this post). During this first week of soft opening, the Smokehouse will be open daily (hours of operation are not yet confirmed) and will NOT accept the Disney Dining plan (in the future, the Quick Service entitlement will be accepted). Here's the menu

Animal Kingdom: Creature Comforts Closing Next Year

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Creature Comforts, a themed store located inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, is scheduled to go down for an extensive refurbishment in January of 2015 and is expected to reopen later that summer as a new quick-service restaurant. Rumors point to the possibility of having a new Starbucks location move into that building. This would make sense, as no Starbucks has yet opened in this park. We'll keep you informed.

Universal Studios Update: No More Scaffolding (PART 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around Universal Studios Florida to check out on the progress being done in the former Amity area that is currently under construction. Of course, we will also take a general look around the rest of the park (there are a few, smaller projects taking place). So, without further ado, let us embark on this virtual tour of the park. We hope you will enjoy the pictures, and we look forward to read your comments:

Universal Studios Update: No More Scaffolding (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Universal Studios Florida photo-report, everyone (PART 1 can be found by clicking HERE)!
In part 1 we took a look around Rodeo Drive, Hollywood Boulevard, Springfield, and London. Now it is time to continue our virtual tour of the park. We will do so by continuing to check out the London waterfront, which is now scaffolding-free (and looks great!):

Universal Studios Update: No More Scaffolding (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of our newest Universal Studios Florida photo-report, everyone (PART 2 can be found by clicking HERE)!

In part 2, we started to enjoy the beauty of the new facades of the London waterfront. In the final part of this update, we will continue to take a look around London, and we'll also check out the San Francisco and New York City themed areas:

Magic Kingdom Park Hours Extended Until 11:00 p.m.

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If you are currently visiting the Walt Disney World Resort (or at least planning to do so later this afternoon), make sure to note the following advisory affecting the Magic Kingdom Park:
"In order to ensure our Guests have the best possible experience, the Magic Kingdom Park will be extending operating hours TONIGHT (Monday, January 20, 2014). The park will now be closing at 11:00 p.m. instead of  10:00 p.m. as originally scheduled.

Therrin Protze Promoted as COO of Kennedy Space Center

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BUFFALO, New York and CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida(January 2014) – Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, a leading provider of stewardship and hospitality in special places, has named Therrin Protze chief operating officer (COO) of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Protze will oversee all aspects of Delaware North’s operation of the Visitor Complex, which it has done on behalf of NASA since 1995.

Magic Kingdom: Temporary Aladdin M&G Change

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If you love meeting characters, you should take note of the following change:

The location for the Aladdin and Jasmine meet-and-greet (at the Magic Kingdom Park) has changed slightly. Until February 13, 2014, Aladdin and Jasmine will be meeting Guests at the entrance to Adventureland (just before the bridge) instead of the Veranda porch. When the refurbishment of the Agrabah Bazaar completes next month, they will return to their usual location. 

CityWalk Update: Antojitos Almost Ready (PART 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around Universal's CityWalk to check out on the progress being done in the various areas that are currently under construction. As always, we will focus primarily on Antojitos, but we will also take a general look around the rest of the area. So, are you ready? Then let us start this virtual tour. We hope you will enjoy the pictures (as always, remember to post your comments at the end of this update!):

CityWalk Update: Antojitos Almost Ready (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Universal's CityWalk photo-update, everyone (PART 1 of this same update can be found at the following LINK).

In PART 1, we took a look at the future Cold Stone location, Starbucks, and the upper section of CityWalk (with some photos of Antojitos). Now, let us continue to walk around this ever-expanding entertainment district:

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

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Hello Orlando Theme Park News Readers, and welcome to the newest edition of the weekly feature known as "The Disney Look... to the Past!"

As always, we hope you will enjoy reading all of the following interesting facts about the Walt Disney Parks, Resorts, Movies, and more. If you have any questions about this material, feel free to contact us or leave a message at the end of this post. Thank you!: