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Showing posts from June, 2014

Animal Kingdom Update: Walls Slowly Taking Over...

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Hello everyone, and welcome to this latest Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park update. We usually post photo-reports in multiple parts, but we thought that one single post was more than enough for this one, as we "only" have about 40 pictures to share. Why so few? Because, while there's definitely a lot going on in this park, everything is currently... well, behind walls. That's all we can see at the moment, unfortunately. That being said, let's take a look around together and see what's new:

Doc's Candy Store Opens at Universal Studios Florida

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A new store just recently opened in the New York City themed backlot of Universal Studios Florida. Doc’s Candy officially started inviting Guests in since last week. It is located near the The Blues Brothers stage (right across the street from Fennigan's Bar & Grill). The shop offers an assortment of beverages, candy, snacks, and even a small selection of Blues Brothers’ merchandise. Stop by Doc’s Candy to get your sweet fix between 10:30 a.m. to park close, daily.

Seven Seas Drive and Floridian Way Traffic Impacts (July 4)

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The Walt Disney World Resort continuously evaluates traffic patterns across the areas surrounding the theme parks and other entertainment areas. Recently, they have identified a new plan as a way to reduce congestion after Magic Kingdom fireworks. Therefore, as an effort to reduce congestion along Seven Seas Drive and World Drive after the July 4 fireworks performance at the Magic Kingdom Park, they will be redirecting traffic along key roadways. Continue to read to learn more.

Don’t Be Afraid to Wait in Line - Article by Mike Mack

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Waiting in long lines. If you have been to any theme park in the world (or even if you haven't), you know that you should expect to face long wait times before boarding many of the more popular rides, especially during this time of the year. Many find this very stressful, but... is it really that bad here in Central Florida? The very first article by our friend Mike actually reminds us that quite a few of the rides in the area offer "more than meets the eye" while waiting in those queue lines. Take a look:

New Seasonal Cupcake Available at Contempo Café

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The Contempo Café (located at Disney's Contemporary Resort) has a new seasonal cupcake offering. The new cherry chocolate cupcake features our favorite O.W.C.A. agent, Perry the Platypus. This cupcake has cherry cake infused with chocolate ganache and topped with a swirl of white and chocolate buttercream icing. Don’t forget also the (nonedible) souvenir Perry the Platypus ring! Be sure to stop by and check it out while it’s still here.

Reminder: Pepper Market Refurbishment Begins June 30

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The refurbishment of the Pepper Market restaurant continues at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, with the most current phase taking place from June 30 through mid-July. As a reminder, during this refurbishment the Mexican food station will be removed, creating space to relocate the cash registers closer to ordering and assisting with Guest flow. That being said, the food from that particular station that will be removed will be relocated to surrounding stations. 

Islands of Adventure Update: New Kong Pipes (PART 1)

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Hello Orlando Theme Park News Readers, and welcome to our newest morning photo-update! Today we are going to bring once again to Universal's Islands of Adventure, where quite a few projects are taking shape, some of them being minor (Seuss Landing refurbishments and Jurassic Park changes), others being major (the new train station area and the King Kong area, where there's an important development to report). So, let us gather our belongins and start exploring this park:

Islands of Adventure Update: New Kong Pipes (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our latest Universal's Islands of Adventure photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! If you're looking for PART 1, click here. In the previous part of this update, we took a look around the entrance of the park, Seuss Landing, the Lost Continent, and so on. That said, we know that you are excited about whatever is happening in the future King Kong area. Well, continue reading and you'll find out. Your patience should soon be rewarded:

Magic Kingdom: Peter Pan Meet-&-Greet Moved Again

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Coming to visit the Magic Kingdom Park in the next few weeks? Then, if you enjoy meeting the many characters that populate this fantasy world, you should note that starting today (Sunday, June 29, 2014), Peter Pan will be meeting Guests near the Adventureland bridge. This move could be linked to the ongoing refurbishment of the Peter Pan's Flight queue line, which is usually the meet-and-greet area for the character. As always, individual character appearances are subject to change.

FastPass+ Kiosk Adjustment at Animal Kingdom

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Please, note that the FastPass+ kiosk formerly located next to Primeval Whirl will no longer be available to Guests beginning tomorrow (Sunday, June 29, 2014). As a reminder, the closest FastPass+ kiosks are located at Disney Outfitters (a shop that is located across from the Flame Tree Barbecue restaurant and operates from park opening until 2 p.m.) and at Expedition Everest (which operates from 2 p.m. until one hour before park closing).

Polynesian Village Resort Construction Update (June 28)

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Good evening, and welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Today we are going to take a look around the new Disney vacation Club section of Disney's Polynesian Village Resort to check out the progress being done. This great resort is expanding, and the new villas that are currently under construction near the Seven Seas Lagoon are taking shape very quickly. We will now take a close look at them from the middle of the lagoon. Enjoy!:

LEGOLAND Florida Unveils New 6-foot LEGO Globe

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Just a few days ago, LEGOLAND Florida and Tampa Electric unveiled a new 6-foot LEGO Globe next to the Imagination Zone attraction venue as part of initiatives to further education on renewable energy inside the park. Built out of more than 250,000 LEGO brick, guests are now able to enjoy the installation along with a new interactive area that features LEGO mini-model communities. The additions to the park emphasize the use of renewable energy.

Magic Kingdom Park Hours Extended Today (June 28)

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If you plan on visiting the Magic Kingdom Park today, take note of this advisory:
"In order to ensure that Walt Disney World Resort Guests have the best possible experience, Magic Kingdom Park will be extending operating hours today (Saturday, June 28, 2014). The park will now be closing at 12:00 a.m. instead of 11:00 p.m. The operating hours of all the other parks will not change." As always, we recommend you continue to check back here on OTPN for any additional updates.

Monorail Operational Adjustments for July 3-5, 2014

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The summer crowds are already here, but the Central Florida theme parks are going to be even more crowded starting from next week. The Walt Disney World Resort is preparing for this, and is making some adjustments to avoid creating too many operational impacts that would negatively affect the visit of many Guests. Therefore, due to anticipated Guest demand, the Walt Disney World monorail service will have extended operating hours July 3-5.

CityWalk Update: Hot Dogs Coming 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 the progress being done in the various areas that are currently still being worked on. This time we will continue to focus especially on the Cowfish restaurant, the Hot Dog Hall of Fame, and Bread Box, but we will also take a general look around the rest of the area. So, without further ado, let us start to enjoy this virtual tour:

CityWalk Update: Hot Dogs Coming Soon (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Universal's CityWalk photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 1 of this update can be found here.

In part 1, we took a look around the first floor of CityWalk, including the Cowfish restaurant and Vivo Italian Kitchen. Let's move on to the rest of this entertainment district, to check out the Hot Dog Hall of FameBread Box, and more:

Contestant of NBC’s “The Voice” Visits Discovery Cove

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ORLANDO, Florida (June 27, 2014) – NBC Season 6 “The Voice” Top 8 contestant, Sisaundra Lewis and her daughter, Rasheedah (15), and son, Rohan (7), swam with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at Discovery Cove in Orlando. They enjoyed up-close encounters with giant rays, sharks and tropical fish in a grand reef and hand-fed exotic birds in a free-flight aviary. Lewis and her kids also had a playful interaction with a kinkajou and screech owl.

Main Street Electrical Parade at Magic Kingdom - PHOTOS

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Magic Kingdom's current nighttime parade, the Main Street Electrical Parade, is still incredibly popular and appreciated by many Guests visiting the park, despite having already performed for many years at different Disney theme parks in the past (it came back multiple times even at the Magic Kingdom Park). To celebrate this classic Disney cavalcade, we would like to share with you just a few photos of most of the beautiful floats and characters that are part of this experience. Enjoy!:

Animal Kingdom News: Cotton-Top Tamarins Relocating

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Beginning Tuesday, July 15, the cotton-top tamarins on Discovery Island (located at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park) will be offstage through the end of the month as they transition to their new home across from Creature Comforts. In the meantime, Guests can continue to see cotton-top tamarins at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. The animals’ new home is just one of the enhancements coming to Discovery Island as part of the largest expansion in the history of this park.

Cabana Bay Resort Guest Bridge Construction Update

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Work on the very large bridge connecting Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort to the Royal Pacific Resort pathway continues. This major project is tasking place with minimal disruption to Guests and to traffic. In addition to that, as we reported in other occasions, this is supposedly going to be a "green bridge," as it will be completely covered by greenery and will include small trees, shrubbery, and more. Here you are a quick look at the current status of the work being done in this area:

Adventure Island: Sand Sculpture Comes to Life

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Island Nights at Adventure Island is a great special event that runs from June 12 to August 9 every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Live music, eclectic entertainment, sand sculptures, street performers, stilt walkers and a steel drum band keep the sunset celebration going all night long! Take a look at this video showing how sand sculpture artists transform 25 TONS of sand into newly-themed masterpiece for the occasion. This happens every weekend!:

Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! Coming to Hollywood Studios

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This summer, the world of Disney’s instant classic, “Frozen,” takes center stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, coming to life like never before in a full range of all-new, immersive experiences throughout the park. The “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!” special event takes place every day this summer, starting from July 5 until September 1, and most activities are included in regular theme park admission, including new shows, meet-and-greet opportunities, and a new fireworks show.

Universal Studios Update: TM Previews Begin (PART 1)

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Team Members working at the Universal Orlando Resort currently have the exclusive opportunity of visiting the new London area that will soon open to all Guests at Universal Studios Florida. They have been able to ride one of the two new attractions included in this expansion, and they are also checking out the entire area, including all the shops and interactive features of this new land. It's  now time for us to take a look around Universal Studios Florida. Have fun:

Universal Studios Update: TM Previews Begin (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 of this same update can be found here. In part 1, we took a look around Production Central (as always, because that's the entrance of the park. How can we miss it?), the New York Backlot, and San Francisco. Let's now continue to take a look around other themed areas of the park, including the beautiful London waterfront (with plenty of Team Members):

Universal Studios Update: TM Previews Begin (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of our latest Universal Studios Florida photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 2 can be found by clicking on this link. In part 2, we enjoyed walking around the London waterfront. Now, we will continue our tour of the park, starting from World Expo. Afterwards, we'll get on our very own spaceship and reach Springfield, home of the Simpsons family and the famous Nuclear Power Plant. Lastly, we'll walk to Hollywood. Sounds good, right?:

Cinderella’s Royal Table Refurbishment (Early 2015)

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Cinderella’s Royal Table (located inside Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom Park) will be closed for planned maintenance from January 5, 2015 through March 6, 2015. As always, dates are subject to change. If you will be visiting the Walt Disney World Resort during that time, remember that there are several other character dining options around Walt Disney World Resort, including the Disney Princesses dining experience at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, located at Epcot.

Revolutionary New Ride Systems by Dynamic Attractions

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Dynamic Attractions introduced five innovative, new attractions at the recent Asian Attractions Expo in China. The event, occurring for the first time in Beijing, will help fuel the country’s rapidly growing amusement industry. “Dynamic Attractions has built rides on nearly every continent except Antarctica,” explains Peter Schnabel, Dynamic Attractions President. “The exploding growth of the industry in Asia makes the Asian Attractions Expo an irresistible location to launch our full product line.”

First Details About New Universal Orlando Hotels

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Our friends over at Parkscope were able to find some very interesting permits today, which provide some great information regarding hotels 5, 6, and 7 that should soon be built at the Universal Orlando Resort. According to the permits, hotel 5 will have about 1,000 rooms, while hotels 6 and 7 would have 400 rooms. In addition to that, hotel 6 may not be a standalone resort, but could be part of a Cabana Bay expansion. Make sure to check out their post for more information and images.

More Harambe Nights General Seats Sold Out in July

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Please, make sure to note that General Seating is SOLD OUT for the Saturday, June 28 and July 5, 2014 Harambe Nights event (which takes place every Saturday night this summer at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park). Currently, General Seating is still available for the following dates: July 12, 19, 26, August 2, 9. Also, as a reminder, Premium Seating for Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is officially SOLD OUT for all event dates. 

More Artists Added to Busch Gardens' Concert Lineup

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TAMPA, Fla. (June 25, 2014) – Actress, songwriter, singer and performer Bridgit Mendler, salsa superstars El Gran Combo and singer-songwriter ZZ Ward have been added to Busch Gardens Tampa’s brand new Saturday Summer Nights concert series. Mendler, who starred on Disney Channel’s “Good Luck Charlie,” will heat up Gwazi Park stage with hits from her “Hello My Name Is…” album, which debuted Top 30 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and #1 on iTunes’ pop album chart.

Agent P's World Showcase Adventure Phones to Change

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Starting Friday, June 27, new smartphones will replace the current flip phones in the Disney's Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure attraction (located at Epcot). In order to switch the devices and train the Cast Members working at the attraction, the experience will be unavailable after park close on Tuesday, June 24, and will officially re-open on Friday, June 27 with the new phones. The experience itself is not expected to receive any changes.

Islands of Adventure Update: The Train is 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 Islands of Adventure to check out the progress being done in the various areas that are currently under construction. As always, we will focus primarily on the train station and the new King Kong area, 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:

Islands of Adventure Update: The Train is Ready (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our latest Islands of Adventure photo-report, OTPN Readers!PART 1 of this update can be found here. In part 1, we enjoyed the sights and sounds of Port of Entry, the whimsical Seuss Landing, and the ever-shrinking Lost Continent. Now we will continue to explore the rest of this beautifully-themed park, including the mysterious and intriguing Jurassic Park, as well as the rumored area that may soon welcome a very large and out-of-the-ordinary creature, King Kong:

Winter Summerland Golf: Summer Course Refurbishment

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If you enjoy playing miniature golf at the Walt Disney World Resort, you should be advised that the Summer course at Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course will be closed for refurbishment during the following dates: June 30-July 3, July 7-11, and July 14-18, 2014. The Winter course will remain open for Guests to enjoy. There are currently no scheduled downtimes for the other mini-golf courses on property (located at Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf).

Epcot Update: A Colorful Central Plaza (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 Epcot to check out the progress being done in the various areas that are currently under construction. In fact, there are actually quite a few minor projects currently going on (most of which are taking place in Future World) and there are some areas who have been refurbished just a few weeks ago. Let's take a look around together:

Epcot Update: A Colorful Central Plaza (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our latest Epcot photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 1 can be found by clicking on this link. We are very sad to notice that Epcot continues to be mostly abandoned to itself. Both Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park and the Magic Kingdom Park continue to receive new attractions, shows, and enhancements; on the other side, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot continue to be stagnant. Here we are, hoping for a brighter future...

Epcot Update: A Colorful Central Plaza (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 our newest photo-update covering one of our favorite parks, Epcot! PART 2 of this same update can be found by clicking here. In parts 1 and 2 we checked out all of Future World (where there are a few minor refurbishment projects that are taking place or that have been completed just recently) and then we moved on to World Showcase. We will now complete our visit to this amazing park by exploring the rest of this area. Enjoy:

Silver Creek Springs Pool Rehab at the Wilderness Lodge

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Between September 3 and November 27, the Silver Creek Springs pool, kiddie pool, and spas will be closed due to a major refurbishment project. If you plan on staying at that resort during that time, you will still be able to use the Hidden Springs leisure pool (located next to the Disney Vacation Club wing). The main pools at both Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and Disney's Contemporary Resort will also be available. Continue to read for additional information.

'Me Time' Magic at Senses - A Disney Spa for DVC Members

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On alternating Tuesdays, as part of "Me Time" Magic, Disney Vacation Club Members will have exclusive access to Senses - A Disney Spa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa from 5-8 p.m. Members will receive 15 percent off spa treatments, a glass of wine upon arrival and a spa-product parting gift. In addition to that, with every 50- and 80-minute service booked during this event, one complimentary service enhancements is offered. The choice is yours.

Wet 'N Wild Orlando: Aqua Drag Racer Now Open

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Wet 'N Wild Orlando, the oldest water park in Central Florida, has just welcomed the park's newest attraction, called Aqua Drag Racer. This thrilling attraction includes multiple enclosed water slides that then open up to reveal a multi-lane, racing-style drop. As the majority of the other slides in the park, this new attraction offers very, very limited theming, but it delivers high levels of excitement and thrills. make sure to visit our friends over at Best of Orlando for an in-depth review.

Polynesian Resort Expansion Update (End of June 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 at the work taking place on the Seven Seas Lagoon, which is linked to the major expansion project currently taking place at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. This time we will just focus on the new lagoon-front villas, but you can expect some more photos of the rest of the hotel in one of our future updates. Let's see how the new villas look like:

New “It All Started with a Mouse” Show at Animal Kingdom

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A new interactive animal show has just debuted at Disney's Animal Kingdom. “It All Started with a Mouse” showcases Walt Disney’s lifelong love of the animal world. During the show, sheep, parrots, porcupines, birds of prey and Kunekune pigs help tell stories and make appearances in, around, and even above the audience, as the cast members share natural history fun facts, conservation messages and inspiring (and fun) calls-to-action. Click here to learn more about this new offering.

Cell Phone Charging Stations Debut at Busch Gardens

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The official Busch Gardens Tampa Blog just shared this interesting news:
"The days of sitting by an outlet for 20-30 minutes are long gone! We are excited to announce new cell phone charging stations at Busch Gardens and Adventure Island! Whether you’re soaking up the sun at Adventure Island or braving thrill rides at Busch Gardens, these secure charging stations allow you to charge your cell phone while enjoying your day.

Disney Springs Project Update (June 22-30, 2014)

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The Downtown Disney area is currently a mess. A parking spot near the restaurants and shops is absolutely impossible to find any day after 11 a.m. It is also extremely crowded during the late afternoon and evening hours. All of this is happening due to the ongoing Disney Springs project, which will essentially double the amount of restaurants, shops, and attractions in the area. It has to get ugly before it gets better, right? Let's see what is currently taking place around the area.

Special "Share a Coke" Bottles Coming to Walt Disney World

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This summer, Disney and Coca-Cola are teaming together to help Guests create magic by sharing the refreshing taste of Coca-Cola with someone special.  From June 30 until August 30 (or whenever supply of product runs out), special 20 oz. bottles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero will be available at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. These special bottles are ONLY available at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts for a limited time.

CityWalk Photo-Report: Bread Box Almost Ready

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Welcome to our newest update, Orlando Theme Park News Readers!
As you know, we post a new photo-report almost every single day (and that's a lot of work, let me tell you...), and today it's not going to be an exception. In fact, this evening we are going to take you around Universal's CityWalk, where a lot of work is still being done to complete the construction of new restaurants that will soon delight thousands of Guests. So, without further ado, let's start our tour:

New WDW Entertainment Photo-Gallery Disc Now Available

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Disney Photo Imaging has introduced a new product available to Guests, the Walt Disney World Entertainment Gallery Disc. This disc features digital copies of more than 600 never-before-released, professional photos of characters, parades, shows, and spectaculars seen around all four Walt Disney World theme parks. Guests can purchase the Gallery Disc as a keepsake or use the photos for printing, scrapbooking, or creating digital photo albums to remember their Disney vacation.

MagicBands Sale Test Continues Around Walt Disney World

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Based on the success of the MagicBand sales pilot at Epcot Vacation Planning, the pilot will expand to include Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom beginning June 23. When a Guest buys a MagicBand (valid ticket entitlement required), the Vacation Planning Cast Member will associate the Guest’s ticket entitlements to the MagicBand in place of an RF-enabled card. MagicBands will be available in all seven colors for $12.95 + tax.

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Bridge Construction Update

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Universal Orlando's newest on-site hotel, Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort, is now fully open to all Guests (including the second pool area and the new lazy river), but there's still some work being done around the area. While we wait for an expansion to this hotel and the new WonderSea Water Park, work continues on the large bridge that will connect Cabana Bay to the Royal Pacific Resort walkway, which leads to the Universal parks and CityWalk. Take a look at the progress:

More Details about Animal Kingdom's "Winged Encounters"

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As we have already reported in the past, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park Guests can now see a blur of brilliant color flying just overhead several times each day, as about 20 macaws make their way around the Tree of Life and land on a perch in Discovery Island as part of a new daytime show. This evening we have some new information to share in regards to this entertaining addition, aptly called “Winged Encounters—The Kingdom Takes Flight.”: