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Showing posts from July, 2014

August 2014 Power Pas Blockout Dates Lifted at Universal

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Just a few days ago, we posted a rumor stating that the August 2014 blockout dates for Universal Orlando's Power Pass annual ticket could be lifted. It looks like the Team Member sharing this rumor with us was right. In fact, the official Universal Orlando website reports that the blockout dates for that particular annual pass have just been updated. Power Passholders will be able to get into Universal Studios Florida again starting tomorrow! (Note: one of the pages has not been updated yet).

Food & Wine Festival Late Nights LIVE! Coming to Epcot

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Some new offerings are now available for booking as part of the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, including the "Epcot Food & Wine Festival Late Nights LIVE!" This after-hours street party will take place Tuesday and Thursday nights during the festival from 9:45 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Guests will be able to enjoy six complimentary items from select marketplaces, musical performances, a live DJ, and more in the area between the United Kingdom and World Showcase Plaza.

Operational Hours Adjustment for Senses - A Disney Spa

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Beginning Monday, August 4, through Thursday, September 25, Senses -  A Disney Spa at both Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort will be closing at 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Operating hours will remain 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday through Sunday. “Me Time” Magic events will not be affected and operating hours will remain the same for all resort fitness centers and salons. Hours should return back to normal after September 26, 2014.

Team Members Only: IOA Blockout Dates Lifted

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Effective Friday, August 1, all Team Member Comp Pass blockout dates for this summer are lifted at Islands of Adventure. That being said, the Comp Passes remain blocked out at Universal Studios Florida through Thursday, August 14.
This is definitely an interesting news, as we reported a few days ago that the blockout dates for Guests with a Power Pass could be lifted starting from that same date. Continue to follow us for additional information on this subject.

House of Blues Hosts International Yo-Yo Championship

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The best yo-yo players from around the world are swinging by the House of Blues at Downtown Disney to compete in the "2014 International Yo-Yo Championship" presented by Duncan Toys on Friday and Saturday (August 1-2, 2014) starting at 10 a.m. Approximately 100 professionals representing more than 20 countries have the opportunity to win cash prizes and the title of International Yo-Yo Champion by showcasing their yo-yo skills during this event. 

Wilderness Lodge Parking Lot Restrictions Until August 1

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Planning on visiting some of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels for a dinner or just to enjoy the ambiance? Then, make sure to take note of the fact that, due to limited parking capacity at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, the Guest parking lot will be restricted to registered Guests and those with confirmed dining or recreation reservations through August 1, 2014. Guests interested in visiting the hotel should park in the Downtown Disney parking area (or at a theme park) and then take a bus.

The Crayola Experience Coming to Orlando in 2015

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One of the world’s most loved brands is bringing its Sunglow to the Sunshine State. Crayola announced today that it will open a new Crayola Experience, a colorful family attraction, in the heart of Florida’s top family destination: Orlando. The new location is slated to open Summer 2015 in The Florida Mall and will feature 25 hands-on attractions that offer hours of creative fun. At Crayola Experience, every child’s creation is wonderfully unique – just like them! 

Polynesian Village Resort Expansion Update (PART 1)

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Work on the brand-new villas continue at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. This new Disney Vacation Club area will soon open to Guests, along with a completely re-imagined hotel. Due to this major project, many of the areas of this resort are currently behind walls or unavailable for Guest use (for example, the Nanea pool closed just a couple of days ago. But, don't worry: we included a few photos of the area in this update). Let's take a look around together:

Polynesian Village Resort Expansion Update (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our new Disney's Polynesian Village Resort photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 1 can be found here. In part 1, we took a look around the resort's lobby, the common Guest areas, the pool, and the beach. Let's now continue our tour of this wonderful hotel, checking out the rest of the Guest areas, as well as the new Disney Vacation Club Villas from the ferry boat going to the Magic Kingdom Park. Enjoy the photos:

Universal Rumors: Nighttime Shows & Blockout Dates

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The Universal Orlando Resort is continuously expanding and evolving, so it is expected to hear many different rumors about what we could see coming to the parks in the near future. This evening we have two important rumors to share with you. One of them may affect directly Universal's Islands of Adventure, while the other one may affect Universal Studios Florida. Of course, make sure to note that these are only rumors that have not been confirmed by the Universal Orlando Resort.

Tower of Terror Neon Sign Refurbishment at DHS

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If you will be visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios in the next few weeks, make sure to note that, beginning July 28 and until August 10, the neon sign on the front of “The Twilight Zone” Tower of Terror attraction will be turned off so that the sign can under go a full refurbishment. The attraction will continue to operate as normal while the sign is under refurbishment. There will be a crane (used for this refurbishment) parked next to the attraction, but it should not be seen operating during the day.

Global Tiger Day Celebrated Today at Busch Gardens

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Busch Gardens Tampa will be celebrating Global Tiger Day today, July 29, 2014. Tigers have lost 97% of their wild habitat and as few as 3,200 living in the wild today. The SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has supported many tiger conservation efforts including the Kerinci Seblat Tiger Project with Fauna and Flora International who are working in Indonesian to preserve critical tiger habitat and protect tigers against poaching for the illegal wildlife trade.

Blizzard Beach and Mini-Golf Courses Temporarily Closed

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Please, be aware of the fact that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and Disney’s Miniature Golf Courses (Disney's Fantasia Gardens and Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf courses) are temporarily closed due to inclement weather. They will reopen when it is safe to do so. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park continues to remain in operation at this time. As always, continue to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates.

I-Drive 360 Update: Great Sights from the Parking Garage

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The I-Drive 360 area looks better and better as time goes by. Each time we visit the place, we get more excited. It will definitely be a hit among Central Florida visitors and residents, as it will offer world-class attractions, great restaurants and shopping option, proximity to other attractions, as well as other interesting offerings that are yet to be revealed. As we wait for all of these new additions to open, let us take a look around and see how much progress has been done so far:

Animal Kingdom: New "Bloody Mary" Offerings at Dawa Bar

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Beginning today (July 27, 2014), new beverage offerings will be available at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. In fact, the Dawa Bar (located next to the Harambe Theater District, in the Africa section of the park) just started offering new "Bloody Mary" drinks inspired by Discovery Island, Asia, and Africa. This will be of special interest for those who like to relax and drink something - always in moderation, of course - during an afternoon at the parks. Continue to read for more information.

3-D Flyovers of Resorts Added to My Disney Experience

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A new feature on the official website of the Walt Disney World Resort lets Guests take an animated “magic carpet ride” from Magic Kingdom Park to explore nearby Disney resorts. The Walt Disney Parks and Resorts team used three dimensional-mapping technology to gives Guests a detailed, topographical look at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Each animated video is less than two minutes long.

Universal Studios Update: Summer Crowds and Wait Times

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Universal Studios Florida has never looked better. After having received an incredible amount of new offerings in the past three to four years, there is no doubt it has solidified its position as one of the top theme parks in the world. That said, the park is still far from perfect, as some areas definitely need to be updated or, at least, refreshed in some way. Today we will take a quick look around some parts of this great place, to check on the summer crowds. Join us:

Updated FastPass+ Kiosk Locations at Magic Kingdom Park

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When visiting the Magic Kingdom Park, make sure to take note of the fact that the FastPass+ kiosks located at Pete's Silly Sideshow (found inside Storybook Circus) will be temporarily closed starting Monday, July 28. Guests that need to make FastPass+ selections can use the My Disney Experience app on their own smartphone or use the kiosks located near Mickey's PhilharMagic (Fantasyland) or next to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (Tomorrowland).

Virtual Standby Queue Test at Soarin' and More Epcot News

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Quite a few interesting news have been coming from Epcot in the past few days.
First of all, we have confirmed that a lot of scaffolding has been seen laying around a small area located right next to the backstage of the Norway pavilion. The scaffolding is still not assembled, but we wonder if this is something we should monitor, as it could be related to the rumored Frozen project that would include the complete re-imagining of the existing Maelstrom attraction. But there's more.

Clyde And Seamore Show Closing at SeaWorld Orlando

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SeaWorld Orlando officially announced today the closure of the Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island show through the park's official Facebook page: "After 15 years of hilarious hijinks and pinniped pranks, SeaWorld Orlando’s Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island sails into the sunset, with its last show on August 10, 2014. Join us over the next two weeks as we say farewell to the longest-running show in SeaWorld history." The theme of the new show should be revealed soon.

Select Disney Restaurants No Longer Printing Photos

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Beginning July 27, the current photo imaging operations at many Walt Disney World Resort restaurants will change. Photos will continue to be captured by PhotoPass Cast Members at the restaurants and associated to the Guests' account using their MagicBand, PhotoPass, Memory Maker, or PhotoPass+ card. That said, the printing and delivering (or offer for sale) of photo print packages will be officially discontinued starting this Sunday (July 27, 2014).

Islands of Adventure Update: JP Arch Gone (PART 1)

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Work continues to be done around a few of the themed areas of Universal's Islands of Adventure. While Universal Studios Florida has been receiving a lot of new additions in the past few years, the Resort is finally focusing again on Islands of Adventure, as there are quite a few interesting projects either taking shape as we speak or being developed behind the scenes. Today, we are going to take another look around this great park, focusing on the future King Kong area and more:

Islands of Adventure Update: JP Arch Gone (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this new Islands of Adventure photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers. As always, be sure to check PART 1 before proceeding.
In the previous part, we took a look around the Port of Entry (we always include photos of that area, as we think it's on of the best entrance areas ever created), Marvel Superhero Island, Toon Lagoon, and the King Kong area. Let's now continue checking out the rest of the park:

SeaWorld Released Rehabilitated Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

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On July 22, 2014, after being medically cleared, SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team traveled to Washington Oaks Garden State Park in Palm Coast, Fla., just south of St. Augustine, to return a juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle. The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle was rescued in March by a University of Central Florida turtle monitoring group and was taken to SeaWorld Orlando for care and rehabilitation. Upon arrival, the turtle was underweight and lethargic. 

New Costumes for Captain's Grille Restaurant Cast Members

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On July 2, Captain's Grille Cast Members said farewell to their heritage costumes, which have been around for the past 22 years. The costume design for this restaurant (located at Disney's Yacht Club Resort) changed from the more muted seaside village look to a bold, stately seafaring style fit for the elegance of the restaurant. Would you like to take a peek at these new costumes? Then, here you are some photos showing the male and female versions. Tell us if you like them:

Animal Kingdom News: Rivers of Light Work Starting Soon

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Some great news have been released internally at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, which we are sure you will find very interesting. First of all, you will be happy to know that some irrigation work has started around the savannah at Kilimanjaro Safaris. This is the first phase of construction for the park's brand-new nighttime safaris, which is considered to be a key element of the largest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But there's more.

CityWalk Construction & Cabana Bay Bridge Update

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Hello, Orlando Theme Park News Readers, and welcome to our newest photo-report! Today we are going to take a quick look around Universal's CityWalk, as work continues on the new Cowfish restaurant and more minor additions can be seen all around this entertainment district. In addition to that, we will also take a look at the work being done on the new "Green Bridge" that is currently under construction next to Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort. We hope you will enjoy the photos:

Extra Magic Hours Change for Hollywood Studios (August)

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If you are planning on visiting the Walt Disney World Resort next month, note that Disney's Hollywood Studios will be moving its Morning Extra Magic Hour from August 23 to August 22. Extra Magic Hours (EMH) for those days are now as follows:
Friday, August 22: AM EMH at Disney's Hollywood Studios, PM EMH at EpcotSaturday, August 23: PM EMH at Magic Kingdom Park

Select LEGOLAND Passholders to Preview LEGO Fusion

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LEGOLAND Florida's Annual Passholders can have the chance to have hands-on time testing a brand-new LEGO product and give the park their feedback on the experience. This LEGO Fusion Preview is open exclusively to current Annual Pass Members. Spaces are extremely limited for this opportunity, which will be available from August 9 through August 13, from 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Time slots area available every 45 mins, and only one ticket will be given to each family.

Preview of OTPN's Upcoming Spaceship Earth Photo-Gallery

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Epcot's Spaceship Earth is undoubtedly one of the best dark rides ever created. Its incredible Audio-Animatronic figures, the sets, the animations... everything works beautifully, despite the fact that the attraction has received a few changes over the years. Would you like to get the chance to get to examine the Audio-Animatronics and themed props of the attraction more closely? Today we are giving you a preview of something we are preparing, but we first want to know what you think about it.

Michael's Corner: Movies That Should Become Attractions

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It’s no secret that both Disney's and Universal's Parks do an incredible job of creating attractions that go along with their most popular movies. Toy Story Midway Mania, The Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Men In Black Alien Attack, and Jurassic Park River Adventure are just some of the rides on a long list of perfectly adapted movie-based attractions. The only problem with this is, there are so many great movies that have not been turned into attractions (or, at least not yet). 

Magic Kingdom Update: Hub & Tomorrowland (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 Magic Kingdom to check out the progress being done in the various areas that are currently under construction. As always, we will focus primarily on the park's central hub, Adventureland, and Tomorrowland. Of course, as always 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:

Magic Kingdom Update: Hub & Tomorrowland (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our latest Magic Kingdom Park photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 1 of this update can be found here. In part 1, we checked out the Central Hub and parts of Adventureland. Now we will take a look around the rest of Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. We hope you will enjoy the photos, and we'd like to remind you that you can leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section of this post:

LEGOLAND Florida Taking More Steps to Save Nature

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Did you know that LEGOLAND Florida is doing a lot to care for the environment? For example, throughout the park, Guests can find over 180 recycled-made benches, with each made out of 800 recycled milk jugs. LEGOLAND Water Park holds 26 benches made entirely out of recyclable materials. In addition to that, each of the Park‘s 310 trash cans are made out of 330 recycled milk jugs. Lastly, the park also provides map recycling stations to avoid the waste of park maps.

Harambe Nights: All Event Dates Are Now Sold Out

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If you wanted to check out Harambe Nights (the summer hard-ticket event that has been going on for a while now at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park), you are... too late. In fact, there are only three more evenings in which this event will take place, but all of them are now officially SOLD OUT. Just to remind you, the remaining event dates are the following: July 26, August 2 and 9, 2014. As you can see from the event's calendar, all the dates except for one have been sold out.

SeaWorld Caring for Rescued Orphaned Manatee Calf

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An orphaned manatee calf was rescued yesterday from the Indian River in Port St. John, Florida, near the FPL power plant, by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The estimated two-week-old female was spotted swimming alone by members of the FPL power plant, who contacted the FWC. The calf, which weighs 48 pounds and measures 48 inches in length, was transported by the FWC to SeaWorld Orlando on Monday, July 21, 2014.

Disney Water Parks, Mini-Golf Courses Temporarily Closed

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If you are currently visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, be sure to note that a weather advisory has been issued for that area. For this reason, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, and Disney’s Miniature Golf Courses are temporarily closed.  They will reopen when it is safe to do so. As always, we recommend you check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates on this subject. EDIT: Both water parks are now closed.

Special July Offer for Busch Gardens Annual Passholders

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Through the end of July, Busch Gardens Tampa Annual Pass Members can enjoy a special "Buy One Get One Free" deal on select snacks throughout the park. You can take advantage of this offer on your choice of popcorn, caramel corn, kettle corn, ice cream bars, frozen fruit bars, small Dippin’ Dots, small cotton candy, or chips. Even though this is definitely a minor special offer, it is nice to see the park taking such good care of its Annual Passholders by rewarding them.

Harambe Nights: July 26 and August 9 Events Sold Out

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Still thinking about checking out the new Harambe Nights event at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park? Then, you need to make a decision, and you have to make it fast. In fact, while there are still three more evenings in which Harambe Nights will take place, the July 26 and August 9 events have just been sold out. The only available date is August 2, 2014. Seats for that date will not be available for too long, though. Click here to see all the event nights that have been sold out.

Downtown Disney Update: The Landing Grows (PART 1)

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Downtown Disney continues to change. Guests visiting this growing entertainment district can't help but notice the amazing amount of work taking place in this area. It is not difficult to believe that this is the largest expansion in the history of Downtown Disney, and we can certainly say that we (and many others) cannot wait to check out all the new offerings that will be added once the Disney Springs project is officially completed. In the meantime, let's check out the area together:

Downtown Disney Update: The Landing Grows (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Downtown Disney photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! As usual, remember to check out PART 1 of this update before proceeding, otherwise you will miss other important work being done around this entertainment, shopping, and dining complex. In the previous part, we checked out the West Side, Pleasure Island, and a small part of the Marketplace. Now, we'll conclude our visit by walking around the rest of this area. Enjoy:

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Refurbished Pantopia Theater

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As you know, Opening Night Critters is now open in the refurbished Pantopia Theater at Busch Gardens. This show, which has taken over the former 4D Theater, features more than 28 different species of animals. It took designers 9 months of planning to complete the transformation of the theater. Renovations included brand-new lighting and sound packages, a large stage set, the addition of indoor animal holding facilities, and a conversion from floor level viewing into amphitheater seating.

New "Discovering Florida" Page Now Available

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Have you ever wanted to explore the countless beautiful areas of Florida that did not include a theme park or another man-made attraction? Then, we are sure you will enjoy our new "Discovering Florida" page, which officially debuted today. There, you will find a very short overview of different towns or beaches located across the Sunshine State, which will spark in you some interest toward those amazing destinations. So, what are you waiting for? Start discovering the real Florida!

Animal Kingdom Update: Discovery Island Projects (PART 1)

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Hello again, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! This morning we have another new photo-report to share with you. This time, we are going to spend some time walking around Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park to see what is currently happening there. There's definitely a lot of activity taking place on Discovery Island, Africa, and the future AVATAR Land, but you can be sure that even more work will be done in other areas. Let's now gather our luggage and start to explore this great park:

Animal Kingdom Update: Discovery Island Projects (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our latest Animal Kingdom photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 1 of this update can be found by clicking here. In part 1, we took a look around the parking lot, the entrance of the park, Discovery Island, and parts of Africa. Now we will continue to check out the rest of the park, including Asia, the area surrounding the Discovery River (where the two new amphitheaters for Rivers of Light should be located), and DinoLand U.S.A. Enjoy!:

Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course Refurbishments

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Please, be advised that Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf (located near the Epcot Resort Area) will be closed for refurbishment July 22-25, July 28-August 1, and August 4-8. Fantasia Fairways Miniature Golf will remain open for Guests to enjoy. Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course already closed for refurbishment in the past few weeks (click here to learn more), and will therefore also be available during Fantasia Gardens' refurbishment.

Islands of Adventure: King Kong Land Construction Update

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Good morning everyone! Today we have a very short construction update showing you around the plot of land inside Universal's Islands of Adventure that is rumored to be soon home to a new King Kong land. To make way for this new addition, multiple trees had to be removed, and the Jurassic Park arch located near the entrance of Toon Lagoon had to be disassembled. That said, you shouldn't worry too much, as the arch should be back in a new location. Let's take a look:

‘Frozen Summer Fun’ Guidemaps at Hollywood Studios

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The following news will interest especially those who love to collect park maps (and those who can never have enough Frozen-themed items, no matter what they are). In fact, new guidemaps for Disney’s Hollywood Studios are currently in circulation at the Walt Disney World Resort. These new maps (which started being available since Thursday, July 17, 2014) have a cover that features the ‘Frozen Summer Fun’ event taking place at the park through September 1.

All-Star Resorts: Note'able Games Arcade Closes July 27

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Please, note that the Note'able Games arcade at Disney's All-Star Music Resort will close on Sunday, July 27, in preparation for the major Intermission Food Court refurbishment. Starting from August 4, the arcade will be temporarily converted into a grab-and-go food & beverage location for Guests to use during the restaurant's renovation project. During that time, the Note'able Games Grab 'n' Go will have cold breakfast, lunch and dinner options available throughout the day.

OTPN Story: Being Evacuated From "Escape from Gringotts"

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Yesterday afternoon we were supposed to ride "Escape from Gringotts" at Universal Studios Florida for the first time ever. While we are definitely not fond of roller coaster, we made some research and checked out many on-ride videos (including the great night-vision video, which was extremely helpful) to make sure the ride was not too intense. After taking all of that into account, we came to the conclusion that we would be able to ride. Unfortunately, things don't always work very well...