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Showing posts from August, 2014

Epcot News: Something is Happening Behind Soarin'

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This afternoon we have a quick update on a rumored project that should soon start to take shape in The Land Pavilion. According to some confirmed eye-witnesses (i.e., these are not rumors), the back of the building housing Soarin's has been completely cleared, even though the trailers remain at this time. In addition to that, plenty of markers have been spotted all around the area, including utility flags and other small signs that definitely confirm that plans are moving ahead.

New Hollywood Studios Guidemaps (September 2014)

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New guidemaps for Disney’s Hollywood Studios are now in circulation at the Walt Disney World Resort. The new cover features a slightly different image advertising the ongoing ‘Frozen Summer Fun’ event. The FastPass+ symbol has also been added to the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration which will offer this service starting from September 2, 2014. The new guidemaps include updated English maps, as well as all five translations and the Guide for Guests with Disabilities.

LEGOLAND Hotel Construction Update (August 2014)

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It’s less than one year before LEGOLAND® Florida Resort opens the doors to its new LEGOLAND Hotel! Opening Summer 2015, the five story LEGO-themed hotel will feature 152 brightly colored and highly themed rooms and suites, thousands of LEGO models and interactive play areas! The addition of the Hotel gives guests the opportunity to extend their stay and explore LEGOLAND Florida Resort for more than one day giving them the ultimate family experience.

Disney Hotels: New Menu Available at the Contempo Cafe

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The Contempo Cafe has a new menu for all Guests to enjoy! Make sure you head up to the fourth floor Grand Canyon Concourse at Disney's Contemporary Resort to check out the new offerings of this quick-service restaurant. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served from 7 a.m.-midnight. In addition to a few new flatbreads, Contempo Cafe also offers salads tossed to order, hot and cold sandwiches and special dinner items such as beef pot roast and grilled salmon filet.

Trolley Car Café Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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The newest Walt Disney World location to feature Starbucks products has finally been announced. Indeed, The Trolley Car Café will be opening in February 2015 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and will serve Starbucks coffee, espresso beverages, Frappuccino blended beverages and signature breakfast sandwiches and pastries along-side Disney favorites. This new food & beverage location will replace the former L.A. Prop Cinema Storage Shop, which closed earlier this month.

Dolphin Tale 2 Preview at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

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Florida Residents and other guests are invited to a very special preview of Dolphin Tale 2 (the sequel of the incredibly successful Dolphin Tale movie) at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which has been the main filming location for both movies. This special preview will take place on September 10, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. Regular admission prices range between $25.00 and $125.00 (prices vary based on the seating area chosen at the time of purchase). Visit the official site to learn more.

Magic Kingdom Update: Astro Orbiter Rehab (PART 1)

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Hello everyone, and welcome to this weekend update covering the Magic Kingdom Park. Today we are going to take a look around all the themed lands of the park (with the exception of the central hub. You can see a recent update of that section of the park by clicking on this link). There's still a lot of work being done in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, while most of the rehabs in other lands have been completed. Join us as we explore this wonderful place where dreams come true:

Magic Kingdom Update: Astro Orbiter Rehab (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Magic 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 Main Street U.S.A. and Tomorrowland. Let's now continue to enjoy walking around the park to check out Fantasyland. After doing that, we'll move on to Liberty Square, Frontierland, and Adventureland. As usual, we hope you will enjoy the photos as we come to the conclusion of this update:

Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures Returns to Busch Gardens

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Join “Jungle Jack” Hanna for a weekend of wild animal shows, autograph signings and special meet and greets when he visits Busch Gardens Tampa in just a few weeks. The internationally-known animal expert will share animal facts and his travel tales during animal shows on September 13 and 14, 2014 at the Stanleyville Theater. Show times are scheduled for 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. each day. Admission to Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures is included with park admission.

Animal Kingdom Aviary Refurbishment Begins Sept. 2, 2014

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The aviary on Pangani Forest Exploration Trail will be closed for refurbishment starting September 2, 2014 and it is scheduled to reopen in time for Thanksgiving. Please, be aware of the fact that, during this refurbishment, the entrance to the trail will be closed to all Guests except for those traveling in wheelchairs to and from the Kilimanjaro Safaris loading area. All trail Guests will be required to enter Pangani Forest Exploration Trail through the exit.

Allergy Menu Test to Take Place at Select Disney Parks

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In order to accommodate the more than 650,000 special dietary requests received each year in Disney Parks around the world, new allergy-friendly menus for common food allergies and intolerances will be introduced. During the pilot period, select restaurants at Walt Disney World Resort (starting September 2) and Disneyland Resort (starting September 9) will test several different menu strategies during a six-week period. Guest feedback will be captured for each menu type.

I-Drive 360 Update: Gorgeous Green Spaces (PART 1)

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The future I-Drive 360 is really looking wonderful. This new entertainment, shopping, and dining area will be much more than just another tourist attraction. It will include museums, themed exhibits, and observation wheel, quick-service and table-service restaurants, retail experiences, beautiful landscaping, fountains, and many other offerings. We are definitely excited to welcome all these new businesses in the area. Let us now take a few minutes to check out the current status of the work:

I-Drive 360 Update: Gorgeous Green Spaces (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this latest I-Drive 360 photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers. Click on this link to go back to PART 1 of this update. In part 1, we started to check out the Orlando Eye, the parking garage, some of the restaurants and shops that will be opening soon, and more. Now, let us concentrate on the natural side of this area, which is surely going to be appreciated by all who will visit the area. After that, we'll visit nearby businesses:

New Entertainment Offerings Coming to World Showcase

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Over the coming few months, new entertainment acts will be introduced at Epcot's World Showcase, refreshing some of the existing acts and retiring a few others. As part of this important update, the World Showcase Players (found in the United Kingdom pavilion) will have their final performance on September 25, while Off Kilter (Canada), Mo’Rockin (Morocco), and the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps (The American Adventure) will be concluding September 27, 2014.

Downtown Disney Valet Parking Prices Changing

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Beginning September 1, valet pricing at the Downtown Disney Area will be adjusted based on length of stay. Please, note the prices can change again at any time:
From 0 to 2 hours: $10.00Between 2-3 hours: $15.00More than 3 hours:  $20.00

Work on New "Rivers of Light" Amphitheater Starting Sept. 3

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As Disney’s Animal Kingdom undergoes the largest expansion in the history of the park, construction continues on a number of enhancements and additions to park offerings, including a new nighttime spectacular called “Rivers of Light.” The first phase of construction walls will be installed after park hours September 2 in Asia, which includes the future seating areas in Asia and DinoLand U.S.A. Additional walls will be installed around Discovery River throughout Asia and into DinoLand U.S.A.

Annual Passholder Previews of Falcon's Fury Starting Soon

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Annual Passholders will soon be able to challenge Busch Gardens' newest thrill ride, Falcon's Fury. Pass Members will be able to preview this amazing attraction during an exclusive event on September 13-14, 20-21 & 27-28 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. The general public was recently also able to preview the ride during unscheduled soft-openings that have taken place in the past few days. More opportunities to preview this new ride will be given to all Guests visiting the park in the near future.

Hollywood Studios Update: Farewell to American Idol (Part 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! This morning we are going to take a walk around Disney's Hollywood Studios. It's true, there's almost nothing new to report from the park (with the exception of the on-going Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! offerings, but we already posted photos of that event in a separate update); that said, we will have to say goodbye to the American Idol Experience in just a few days. For this reason, let's check it out one last time:

Hollywood Studios Update: Farewell to American Idol (Part 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Disney's Hollywood Studios photo-report. Be sure to click here to check out PART 1 of this update before continuing! In part 1, we took a look around the entrance of the park and a busy Hollywood Boulevard (due to the dance party). Are you ready to continue to explore the park with us? Now it is time to check out The American Idol Experience. After doing that, we will walk around the other themed areas of the park to see what's new:

Hollywood Studios Update: Farewell to American Idol (Part 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 our latest Disney's Hollywood Studios photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 2 can be found by clicking on this link. In the previous part of this update, we took one final look at The American Idol Experience (as a reminder, it is closing on August 31, 2014), then we checked out the Animation Courtyard and Pixar Place. Now, let us conclude our visit by taking a look around the rest of the park. Thank you for visiting the park with us!

Rumors are Universal: King Kong Animatronic and More

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Our great source of Universal Orlando rumors is back with a few more juicy details and even more confirmations of rumblings we have heard in the past few months. Even though these are just plain rumors (nothing that you will read in this post has been confirmed by the Universal Orlando Resort, and can therefore change at any time or could not happen at all), it is always fun thinking about the possible additions that we may see in the near future...

Magic Kingdom Park: Central Hub Construction Update

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Little by little, the facelift of Magic Kingdom's central hub continues to show progress. The new walkways, bridges, fountains, grassy areas, fences, and themed elements will give the entire area a completely different and much more open feel. It's true, the plaza in front of Cinderella Castle doesn't look very appealing at the moment due to all the temporary construction walls, but you can be sure that Guests visiting in the near future will enjoy the new look. Let's now take a look around:

Artegon Marketplace Orlando Opens November 20, 2014

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Artegon Marketplace Orlando, a 1.1 million-square-foot shopping attraction and artisan marketplace, is scheduled to open on November 20, 2014 in the heart of Orlando’s tourism district on International Drive. Paragon Outlet Partners, LLC has redeveloped the former Festival Bay Mall into a new shopping concept for the region inspired by such famous marketplaces as Seattle’s Pike Place, Boston’s Faneuil Hall, New York’s Chelsea Market and the London Flower Market.

Downtown Disney: Entrance 4 Closing for Overpass Work

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Beginning tomorrow (Thursday, August 28, 2014) Entrance 4 of Downtown Disney will close permanently to all traffic. This is the intersection that previously led from Buena Vista Drive into the West side area of Downtown Disney, between Cirque du Soleil and DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park. This closure is necessary to continue work on the overpass bridge that will eventually connect to ramps into the new West parking garage, which is also currently under construction.

Update on Garden View Tea Room Refurbishment

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The Garden View Tea Room (located at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa) closed for refurbishment on June 30 and was originally scheduled to be closed through August 29. The refurbishment has now been extended until September 2, reopening September 3. During this timeframe, the My Disney Girl's Perfectly Princess Tea Party seating time will be 10:00 a.m., and Afternoon Tea seating will begin at 12:45 p.m., with last-seating at 2:25 p.m. The events will be held in Cítricos.

Islands of Adventure Update: Slow Season Begins (PART 1)

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! This morning we are going to go back together to Islands of Adventure to check on the work that is being done around the park. As you will see, work on the future King Kong area continues, even though progress on this particular project seems to be very slow compared to other construction projects that have been done around the Universal Orlando Resort. Let's start to check out the park together:

Islands of Adventure Update: Slow Season Begins (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our latest Islands of Adventure photo-report. If you are looking for PART 1 of this same update, click on this link! In the previous part of this update, we checked out the Port of Entry (as always), Seuss Landing, the Lost Continent, and parts of Jurassic Park. Now we will explore the rest of this themed land, and we will then move on to the rumored King Kong area, Toon Lagoon, and Marvel Superhero Island. Enjoy!:

Cast Members-Only Event Celebrating Old WDW Attractions

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Disney Cast Members, do you remember seeing Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Magic Kingdom Park, riding through World of Motion at EPCOT Center, or watching Aladdin's Royal Caravan at Disney-MGM Studios? You can now take a look back at past Walt Disney World attractions at a special Cast Member-only event, taking place Friday, September 12, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort (in Coronado L). There will be plenty of food, prizes and more!

Discovery Cove Extends Exclusive Offer to Florida Residents

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Florida residents do not have to travel far to discover the No. 1 amusement park in the world, according to the 2014 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards™. Floridians can take advantage of an exclusive offer on a getaway where they can immerse themselves in an unforgettable day at Discovery Cove in Orlando swimming with dolphins, snorkeling with thousands of tropical fish and dozens of rays while also encountering curious marmosets and hand-feeding exotic birds.

Menu Changes at Art of Animation & Pop Century Resorts

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New menu items are now available for Walt Disney World Resort Guests to enjoy at the quick-service restaurants located at both Disney's Pop Century Resort and Disney's Art of Animation Resort. Landscape of Flavors (Art of Animation) and Everything POP (Pop Century) have new items on their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. These new food offerings became available starting from Thursday, August 20, 2014. Continue to read to learn more about these menu changes.

2014 Festival of the Masters Cancelled at Downtown Disney

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Due to the current phase of work on the Disney Springs project, the 2014 Festival of the Masters event will not be hosted at Downtown Disney. The enthusiastic support of the arts community has contributed to the long-running success of the Festival of the Masters. The Walt Disney World Resort has long been an advocate and strong supporter of the arts and we remain committed to nurturing the arts. At this time, it is unclear if the event will come back next year.

CityWalk Update: Cowfish Construction Progress

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Most of the work on the new restaurants and shops has concluded at Universal's CityWalk (this is rumored to be only phase 1 of a much bigger project), but there's still one venue that has not opened to the public yet - the Cowfish restaurant. This great restaurant will open later this year, and it will feature quite a few out-of-the-ordinary food items and decor (just look at the colors of the building's exterior!). Let us take a look around to see what has been done in the past few days:

“Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party Announced

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This fall, the quite popular “Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It!” Street Party at the Magic Kingdom Park will be getting a fresh, contemporary look and sound – plus a brand new name – when it becomes the “Move it! Shake It! Dance & Play It!” Street Party. This reimagined procession will feature new music, new characters (some exisitng characters will be removed), refreshed floats with new video elements, and even more new opportunities for Guests to become part of the show.

Last Day to Enjoy SeaWorld's "BOGO" Fun Card Offer

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SeaWorld Orlando is having a great offer to buy two Fun Cards that are valid through December 31, 2014. Until midnight today (August 24, 2014), all present and future Guests may buy a SeaWorld Orlando Fun Card and get one for free (as a reminder, Fun Cards do not include parking to the theme park or discounts on food and merchandise and are restricted to residents of the United States, Canada, or Puerto Rico). You can take advantage of this special offer by clicking here.

FastPass+ Mobile Redemption Devices Coming to WDW

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Do you remember the recent MyMagic+/FastPass+ downtime experienced all around the Walt Disney World Resort and the incredible mess it brought with it? Well, it looks like Disney learned a lesson from that event. In fact, attractions areas are now receiving mobile redemption devices to use when fixed Disney Access Portals (touch points) are experiencing a downtime. These devices will be available for use at each Walt Disney World theme park (when needed) starting August 26.

Downtown Disney Water Taxi Operating Hours Expanding

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Visiting the Downtown DIsney in the near future? Then, you should take note of the fact that, beginning August 31, the Downtown Disney internal boat transportation service (water taxi) will expand operating hours until 2 a.m., with the last Guest pick–up at 1:30 a.m. This free water taxi service provides transportation between Downtown Disney West Side, Pleasure Island and Downtown Disney Marketplace. This change does not affect operating hours of the resort watercraft service.

Royal Pacific Resort to Undergo Meeting Space Expansion

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Building on a year of epic growth, the Universal Orlando Resort will soon embark on the largest meeting space expansion in its history. By fall 2015, Loews Royal Pacific Resort—already the largest meeting hotel at Universal Orlando—will greatly expand its meeting and event space from 85,000 square feet to more than 140,000 square feet. Inspired by the beauty of the South Pacific, the expanded areas will seamlessly connect to the existing meeting space. 

Animal Kingdom Update: Walls, Walls Everywhere (PART 1)

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The past few photo-updates covering Disney Animal Kingdom Theme Park have been filled with photos of the temporary walls that have been installed all around the park. If you love these kinds of things, then you will definitely appreciate this update, as it features lot of walls for your enjoyment. It is almost impossible taking any picture around the park today and avoid including a construction zone. This is great news for theme park fans, of course. Let's check out the park together:

Animal Kingdom Update: Walls, Walls Everywhere (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 our newest Animal Kingdom photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! PART 1 of this update can be found here. In part 1, we checked out the parking lot area (being expanded as well), the entrance area, and Discovery Island (which is completely surrounded by temporary walls). Now, let us take some more time to explore the other beautifully-themed lands of the park, including Africa and Asia. Enjoy!:

Old Town Removing All Rides on Property to Expand

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Old Town is an old-style shopping, dining, and entertainment center that focuses on attracting both tourists and locals with is unique restaurants, themed shops, and off-the-shelf rides (with the exception of the Windstorm Coaster). In the past few years, Old Town has had a difficult time surviving, mostly due to nearby competition and the economy. A few years ago, new management tried to reinvent Old Town to create an overall better experience. It looks like things are starting to change again.

"The Great Irish Hooley" Returning to Pleasure Island

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The third annual "Great Irish Hooley" is returning to Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Downtown Disney's Pleasure Island over labor day weekend, promising days of Irish fun! The “hooley” is a traditional Irish social festival and Raglan Road will celebrate theirs with live music, traditional dancing, and delicious Irish fare. Live music begins at 4 p.m. Friday, August 29 and Saturday, August 30 through Monday, September 1, continuing each day and night. 

Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party Advisory

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Due to concrete work being done on Main Street, U.S.A. (you can see photos of the interested area in our latest update), the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party will only be presented at 5:40 p.m. and 7 p.m.on the following dates: August 19, 20, 29 as well as September 10,11,15 and 17, 2014. This temporary schedule will be reflected on the Times Guide available at the park. Show times will be reverted back to normal on the other dates. Thank you for your attention.

"Sea Lion High" Coming to SeaWorld Orlando in 2015

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School recently started in a few areas around the United States and the rest of the world, but kids may not be the only ones to have to go to class in the near future. In fact, some new trademarks and artworks (discovered by the great folks over at Parkscope) reveal that the new SeaWorld Orlando show starring the hilarious duo of Clyde and Seamore may be themed after a high school... for marine mammals! Sea Lion High should be opening next year at SeaWorld.

Walt Disney World Monorail Hours Changing Starting Sept. 1

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The Walt Disney World Resort is temporarily adjusting the monorail service hours. Beginning September 1 through September 26, monorail service will run from:
8:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. (midnight on special event nights) on the MK Resort beam.9:30 a.m. – 1 hour after Magic Kingdom fireworks on the MK Express beam.9 a.m. – 11 p.m. on the Epcot beam.

Disney Mini-Golf Course Closed Due to Inclement Weather

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A weather advisory was just released for the Central Florida area, including the Walt Disney World Resort. Due to the inclement weather conditions, be advised that Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses are currently closed and will reopen when it is safe to do so. The Disney water parks are not impacted, as they closed at 6 p.m. today. As always, make sure to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates.

Passholders Appreciation Month at Universal Orlando

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September is Annual Passholder Appreciation Month at the Universal Orlando Resort! Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, CityWalk, all four of the on-site hotels, and even Wet 'n Wild are showing appreciation to their biggest fans by offering exclusive discounts and benefits throughout the month of September. These offers apply to all Passholders (Power, Preferred, and Premier)! Continue to read to learn about some of the great offers you may soon enjoy:

Disney Springs Update: Saratoga Bridge Open (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 Downtown Disney to check out the progress being done in the various areas that are currently under construction. As always, we will focus primarily on the new parking structures, the new restaurants taking shape in The Landing, the Marketplace causeway, the Saratoga Springs bridge, and more. Let's start to take a look around together. Enjoy the photos:

Disney Springs Update: Saratoga Bridge Open (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our newest Downtown Disney/Disney Springs update, Orlando Theme Park new Readers! PART 1 of this update can be found here.
In part 1, we took a look around the West Side (where the new elevated walkways are being built, as well as the new Food Trucks Park), the parking garage, and more. Now, let us continue to check out this entertainment district moving on to the former Pleasure Island, which will soon become The Landing:

Disney Springs Update: Saratoga Bridge Open (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of our latest Downtown Disney/Disney Springs update! PART 2 of this update can be found by clicking on this link.
In the previous part, we continued to walk around the area, taking a close look at all the new buildings taking shape inside Pleasure Island, as well as some areas of the Marketplace. Now, we will continue to check out the marketplace, as a new bridge and new watercraft docks recently opened to the public. Enjoy:

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge... On a Roller Coaster!

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In the past few weeks, you will have heard of all the people that have been taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This fun and out-of-the-ordinary movement is now familiar to many all across the United States, and it is done for a great cause: finding a cure for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The challenge involves one or more persons, a bucket of ice and water that gets dumped on them, and a donation. That said, some people took this challenge on a whole new level...