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Showing posts from November, 2014

King Kong Project Update: A Truly Massive Building

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The mysterious new attraction that is currently being built in the plot of land near Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure continues to amaze onlookers (we refer to it as being "mysterious" due to the fact that no formal announcement has still been made by the Universal Orlando Resort). The main building that will house a groundbreaking new ride continues to grow every single day, and has now almost reached the pond behind the Jurassic Park River Adventure ride.

The Paul McKenna Band Debuts at Epcot (PHOTOS)

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Throughout Epcot, world-class performers continue to daily immerse Guests in a unique cultural experience through a rich mix of live show atmosphere entertainment and music. A new entertainment group, known as The Paul McKenna Band, debuted just a few days ago (November 26, 2014) in the United Kingdom pavilion as part of the major World Showcase entertainment changes that have started taking place in the past few months.

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels: Seasonal Pool Hours

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If you are planning on staying at one of the many on-site hotels of the Walt Disney World Resort in the next few months, you should take note of the following advisory: "As a reminder, operating hours for resort pools vary seasonally due to weather changes and other reasons. Beginning Sunday, November 30, guarded resort pools will be available to Guests from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. All non-guarded resort pools will continue to operate as normal.

The Never-Ending Universal Rumor Mill Keeps Turning

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Our very own source of Universal Orlando rumors is back once again, this time bringing some controversial updates. While most of the previous rumors that our source shared sounded likely to happen in the next few months (i.e. the Twister rumor), these appear to be long-term projects that may take more than just a couple of years to happen (if they do, in fact, materialize). As always, we want to thank our source but still remind you to take everything with a grain of salt:

Downtown Disney: New Path Across The Landing Opens

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As Downtown Disney transforms into Disney Springs, progress continues to be made on its first phase, known as "The Landing" (this is the new name of the former Pleasure Island). A new walkway is now open from the Marketplace to the West Side, which is surrounded by themed buildings and lights. Because this new walkway is available, the temporary pedestrian boardwalk near Paradiso 37 will close in the near future. Continue to read to see some photos:

Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party Advisory

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Due to concrete work scheduled to be done along Main Street, U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom Park, the popular Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party will only be presented twice a day (at 12:30 and 5 p.m.) on the following dates: December 3, 10, and 17, 2014. As always, make sure to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for additional advisories, and don't forget to pick up a Times Guide when visiting any of the Disney theme parks.

SeaWorld Orlando Caring for 72 Stranded Sea Turtles

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The SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team is now taking care of 72 cold-stunned Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles that arrived from Massachusetts. The Coast Guard flew 193 critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles to Orlando to assist with the overwhelming amount of stranded and endangered sea turtles impacted by last week’s arctic weather. The sea turtles were distributed to the SeaWorld team on-site as well as six other marine rehabilitation facilities.

Downtown Disney Advisory: Access Update Starting Dec. 1

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As Downtown Disney continues to transform into Disney Springs, parking access will continue to fluctuate and change to make way for future expansion. Beginning December 1, work will start on Town Center and the East parking garage, which will require them to close parking lots A-G in the Marketplace and Pleasure Island areas. This particular phase of the Disney Springs project will have impacts in other areas of Downtown Disney.

Blizzard Beach Closed Tomorrow Due to Cool Weather

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Please, be advised that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will continue to be closed on Friday, November 28, 2014 due to forecasted low temperatures. Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses will be open following normal business hours. As a reminder, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is still closed for refurbishment. Remember to check back here on Orlando Theme park News for any additional updates. 

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Photo-Update (November 2014)

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Good evening, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! We are back tonight with a new photo-update that will take you around the great Universal's Cabana Bay Bach Resort. While this is a brand-new hotel, there are still a few minor projects taking place in some of the Guest areas. In addition to that, let's not forget that Universal's Sapphire Falls is also being built nearby. As always, we invite you to join us in this virtual tour of the hotel. Have a great time:

Second FastPass+ Parade Viewing Area at Magic Kingdom

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Between November 29 and December 2, 2014, Guests will be assigned one of two viewing locations when making a Magic Kingdom parade FastPass+ selection. One of the locations is the Central Plaza viewing area, found in front of Cinderella Castle (this is a regular FastPass+ area); the second locations is the temporary Town Square viewing area, found near the flagpole. This update applies to both the daytime and nighttime parade.

Coronado Springs Resort: Construction at "El Centro"

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Beginning December 1 through mid-January 2015, construction will occur at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, in the Guest check-in lot and El Centro bus stop 1. Pedestrian crosswalks will be built, and the entrance to the check-in lot will be moved closed to the security kiosk. Throughout the construction period, the amount of parking spaces may be slightly diminished and traffic lanes also may be reduced to one lane. Overall, Guest impact is expected to be minimal.

Ocean Tunnel Being Installed Inside SEA LIFE Orlando

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Earlier this week, workers begun to install the 360 degree ocean tunnel for SEA LIFE Orlando, the brand new underwater aquarium opening at I-Drive 360 next spring. The acrylic tunnel weighs almost 18,000 pounds, or as much as five cars, and will provide a new immersive way for guests to view marine life in their own habitats. The aquarium will also feature a 180 degree tunnel, floor to ceiling displays, bubble aquariums, and touch pools.

Turner Classic Movies Teams Up with Walt Disney World

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FROM D23, Official Disney Fan Club (November 26, 2014) - At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, The Great Movie Ride attraction highlights some of the most famous film moments in silver screen history and is set to receive a Turner Classic Movies (TCM)-curated refresh of the pre-show and the finale.
TCM branding will be integrated into the attraction’s marquee, as well as banners, posters and display windows outside the attraction.

SeaWorld Orlando Introduces Express Dine Feature

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ORLANDO, Fla. (November 26, 2014) – SeaWorld Orlando recently introduced Express Dine at its Seaport Pizza eatery to help cut wait times, especially during the busiest time of the year. An industry-pioneering feature, Express Dine is solely accessible from the SeaWorld Discovery Guide park app (available for both Apple and Android devices), furthering the app’s interactivity and maximizing its technology to allow guests to order lunch or dinner in advance.

Animal Kingdom Update: Marketplace Takes Shape (Part 1)

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Greetings, Adventurers! It is once again time for us to explore Disney's [Wild] Animal Kingdom Theme Park to check on the massive amount of work being done in most of the park's themed areas. As always, we will start by taking a look around the great Discovery Island - rightly considered the gateway of the park - and then we will move on to Africa, Rafiki's Planet Watch, Asia, and DinoLand U.S.A. Is your backpack ready? Then, come along with us...

Animal Kingdom Update: Marketplace Takes Shape (Part 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of our latest Animal Kingdom photo-report. If you haven't already done so, we encourage you to check out PART 1 first. In the previous part of this update, we walked around the entrance of the park, Discovery Island, the future entrance to Pandora: The World of AVATAR, parts of Africa... and we are not done yet, as there is still much more to check out, including the work being done in the Discovery River. Enjoy:

Walt Disney World: DisneyQuest Currently at Capacity

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As of now, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park is currently at a Phase 4 status. During a Phase 4 status at DisneyQuest, ticket sales temporarily stop and no further Guests are admitted to the building. The attraction reached capacity most likely due to the adverse weather conditions that have been prevalent in the Central Florida area today. As usual, make sure to check back here on OTPN, as we'll continue to keep you informed.

Busch Gardens Offers Special Deals for "Wild Friday" Sale

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Busch Gardens Tampa is excited to offer wild savings on November 28, 2014 during the special "Wild Friday" sale. The event will include special online ticket offers, great merchandise discounts, as well as some amazing deals on exclusive park experiences. These email-only deals will end on Monday, Dec. 1 at midnight, and those interested should visit BuschGardensTampa.com or sign up for the official Busch Gardens Tampa email.

Restaurant No-Show/Cancellation Fees Removed Today

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Due to the severe weather impacting the Central Florida area, table-service restaurants around the Walt Disney World Resort are expecting to experience a higher rate of no-shows or cancellations. To ensure a positive experience for Guests, locations with cancellation policies will NOT be processing no-show/cancellation fees for the rest of the day (only Tuesday, November 25). Locations will resume charging no-show/cancellation fees on November 26.

Blizzard Beach Closed Nov. 26-27 Due to Cool Weather

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Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park has been closed all day today due to heavy rain and - in general - due to adverse weather conditions that did not allow the attractions to operate. In addition to that, make sure to note that Blizzard Beach will also be closed on Wednesday, November 26 and Thursday, November 27, this time due to forecasted low temperatures. Disney’s miniature golf courses will remain open normal business hours.

Islands of Adventure Update: Blue Skies (PART 1)

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Just a few days ago, we posted a new photo-report showing the progress that has been done in the rumored King Kong themed land, located inside Universal's Islands of Adventure. This evening we will return together to this wonderful park to see what is taking place around the other themed islands. As you will see, there are plenty of news to report (albeit mostly minor, of course), so let's start right away. As always, make sure to post comments at the end:

Islands of Adventure Update: Blue Skies (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 by clicking here. In the previous part of this update we checked out the Port of Entry, the amazing Seuss Landing, and the Lost Continent. Now we will continue to take a look around this island, and then we will move on to Jurassic Park, Toon Lagoon, and Marvel Superhero Island. We hope you'll enjoy the rest of the photos:

Designated Smoking Areas Coming to Downtown Disney

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As most of our Readers know, all the theme parks in Central Florida are non-smoking areas, but they do include specific locations where Guests may smoke. These areas are generally located in isolated zones to preserve the health of non-smokers. Beginning November 27, the Downtown Disney will also officially become a non-smoking location; for this reason, select designated smoking locations will be introduced throughout property. 

New Walt Disney World Animals Pages Debut Online

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Walt Disney World Resort Guests now have a fun new way to learn about some of the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot! The official Walt Disney World website recently introduced a new Disney Animals section that provides a wealth of information about 10 of the conservation species at the parks. The My Disney Experience app also includes pages for these animals that tell Guests where they can find the animals in the parks.

SeaWorld Releases Exclusive Deals for “Blue Friday”

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ORLANDO, Florida (Nov. 24, 2014) – SeaWorld Orlando today announced the return of its popular “Blue Friday” deals on many exclusive park experiences, including special pricing on admission and packages. Blue Friday deals jump start the holiday shopping season by providing the best value to experience SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration and allow the fun to continue well into 2015. Online-only deals include many buy-one-get-one free offers.

Port Orleans Resort Riverside: New Menu at Muddy Rivers

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Muddy Rivers at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort - Riverside is now offering a new menu featuring grab-and-go food for Guests. This poolside bar located on Ol’ Man Island (the hotel's major pool area, situated in the middle of a beautiful forest) will feature the same packaged options as what is offered in the Riverside Mill food court. The new menu will be included as part of the Disney Dining Plan and will continue to be available until January 10, 2014.

New Character Dining Experience at Citricos Begins Jan. 8

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Beginning January 8, 2015, Guests staying at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa can begin their day with a limited-time character dining experience, Cinderella's Dining at Citricos - Breakfast and Brunch with the Disney Princesses. This experience will be available from January 8 through March 3, 2015 (Cinderella's Royal Table will be closed for refurbishment during that time), and Guests may call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) to make reservations.

Busch Gardens Tampa Welcomes Two Reeves Muntjacs

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From the official Busch Gardens Tampa Blog: Two new additions have made their way into the Kookaburra’s Nest at Busch Gardens Tampa and we are thrilled to welcome them to the family! Ginger and Blanche are Reeves Muntjacs which are a relative of the deer family. Muntjacs are native to areas of China and Taiwan and are known as one of the smallest species of deer. Muntjacs only get about 15 inches tall and weigh around 20 to 30 pounds.

Downtown Disney Update: Garage Now Open (PART 1)

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Disney Springs continues to take shape day after day, quickly replacing the Downtown Disney district, which will almost double in size by the end of 2016. Our official photographer Alex recently visited the location to check on the current status of the work being done around this large area, situated withing the Walt Disney World Resort. As you will see, a lot of progress has been done since our last visit, so there is really a lot to see. Enjoy the photos!:

Downtown Disney Update: Garage Now Open (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this new Downtown Disney photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers. As always, be sure to check out PART 1 before continuing on, as we don't want you to miss any of the photos!
In the previous part, we focused on the new multi-level parking garage (which is now open to all Guests) and the rest of the West Side. Now we will move on to Pleasure Island (which will soon become The Landing). Take a look:

Downtown Disney Update: Garage Now Open (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of our newest Downtown Disney construction update. Click on this link if you are looking for PART 2 of this same photo-report.
Previously, our good friend Alex took us on a virtual tour of parts of Pleasure Island/The Landing, where the new waterfront area is now open for the enjoyment of Guests. Now, let's continue to check out the area, and afterwards we'll move on to the busiest section of Downtown Disney, the Marketplace:

Rendering of SeaWorld's New "Sea Lions High" Show

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Just recently, SeaWorld Orlando officially unveiled the theme of its newest show, debuting next year at the Sea Lion & Otter Stadium. We are referring to "Clyde and Seamore's Sea Lions High," where Clyde, Seamore and their friends will lead the audience on a wild and heroic adventure as they finish their classes with typical sea lion flair. Today, we'll show you an official rendering showing the new theming of the theater, which will be quite different from its predecessor.

Special Food & Beverage Offerings at Magic Kingdom

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One of the busiest times of the year is approaching really fast, and all the theme parks and attractions in the Central Florida area (and around the United States) are getting ready to welcome larger-than-usual crowds. The Magic Kingdom Park is always the busiest of all the parks, which is therefore in need of more food and beverage locations that will be used during the next few weeks to increase capacity. Here is a list of some of these offerings:

Contemporary Resort: New Beverage Menu at The Wave

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The Wave…of American Flavors has some new offerings on its beverage menu. One of the highlights on the menu are the new tequila selections, including Patrón Barrel Select Añejo, which is bottled exclusively for and only available at Disney Parks and Resorts. There is also very unique tequila offered on the menu, Gran Patrón Piedra Extra Añejo. This tequila is aged three years in new American and French Oak Barrels and sells for $55 for a 2-ounce pour. 

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail's Aviary Reopens

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If you plan on visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park in the next few days, you should note that the aviary, research center, and the underwater hippo viewing area on Pangani Forest Exploration Trail have now reopened to Guests (starting from today, November 22, 2014), but will temporarily close again on December 1, 2014 for an unspecified period of time. This closure will be necessary to complete the work that was started to repair bridges in the area.

"Lilo's Playhouse" Opens at Polynesian Village Resort

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Beginning Wednesday, November 26, children are invited to let their imaginations run wild at Lilo's Playhouse, now open at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. This children's activity center, formerly known as Club Disney, brings Lilo's favorite Golden Book stories of classic Disney tales to life. Guests planning to visit the Walt Disney World Resort are now able make reservations by dialing 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) while at home or on-site.

November & December Deals for Universal Passholders

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The Universal Orlando Resort loves its annual passholders, because they keep coming back week after week, enjoying the attractions and show that the parks offer and... spending money, of course! To reward these loyal visitors, some great discounts are now available around the Universal Orlando Resort that will last through the end of the year (restrictions apply). Continue to read to learn more about some great opportunities to save!

Downtown Disney Parking Garage Now Open To Guests

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Great news coming from Downtown Disney! In fact, Guests visiting the area are now finally able to park in the new parking garage on the West Side (near the AMC Theaters), in addition to Cast Members and Operating Participant employees. Levels one through four will have available spaces at this time. In the meantime, work continues on the exterior entrance ramps and other features such as additional escalators and digital technology.

Epcot's Spice Road Table Transitioning to Table Service

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The newest restaurant to open at Epcot is receiving some operational adjustments to improve the Guest experience. Spice Road Table (located in the Morocco pavilion of World Showcase) is now officially considered a Table Service Restaurant (no more tapas?), and will therefore start accepting lunch or dinner reservations beginning Dec. 2 online through MyDisneyExperience.com or by calling the Disney Reservation Center at 407-939-5277.

King Kong Themed Land Construction Update (IOA)

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Our official Photographer Alexander is back with a new Islands of Adventure update this evening, which focuses exclusively on the new King Kong themed land, which continues to quickly take shape behind the Jurassic Park area of the park. As you will see, more progress has been done on the building that will soon house a new thrill ride, which continues to grow in size day after day (it's already massive!). Check out the  are with us:

Africa Marketplace Coming to Animal Kingdom in 2015

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Earlier today, Disney shared more exciting news about the future of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. First of all, it has been confirmed that the new Africa Marketplace is under construction behind Mombasa Marketplace. This area will feature expanded merchandise and a quick-service food and beverage location. Planned to open in spring, 2015, the quick-service restaurant will feature a variety of food offerings and plenty of places for Guests to relax.

Crane Activity Around Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

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On Thursday, November 20, from approximately 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. there will be some crane activity, located on the back dock of the resort. For your safety, certain walkways will be inaccessible throughout this timeframe. Also note that Kona Cafe will be closed for breakfast and lunch on this day but will open at 5 p.m. for dinner. Thank you for taking note of these advisories, and keep checking back here on Orlando Theme Park News for the latest updates.

SeaWorld Unveils Details About New Sea Lions Show

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The comedic sea lion duo, Clyde and Seamore, star in SeaWorld Orlando’s newest show, “Clyde & Seamore’s Sea Lion High,” opening spring 2015. It’s a hilarious tale, filled with amazing animal behaviors and splashy audience fun. Clyde and Seamore find themselves in slippery pursuit of their high school diplomas and judging from the slapstick, high-energy pranks and hijinks, there’s no doubt Clyde and Seamore will emerge as heads of their class.

Hollywood Studios Closing at 4 p.m. November 20, 2014

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If you plan on visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios tomorrow, make sure to keep in mind that the park is scheduled to open earlier than usual (8 a.m.) and will close to regular park Guests at 4 p.m. due to an after-hour event celebrating Cast Members that have been with the company for 5 years or more. Those who will be in attendance during the special event will be able to enjoy a special fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. above the Sorcerer’s Hat stage.

Overnight Concert Filming Tonight at Magic Kingdom

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Please, note that Guests staying at one of the hotels located in the Magic Kingdom Resort area (Grand Floridian Resort, Polynesian Village Resort, Contemporary Resort, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground) may experience noise impacts between 11 p.m. November 19 and 6 a.m. November 20 due to an overnight concert filming at the Magic Kingdom Park, in the central hub. Thank you very much for your patience.

A Look Around Universal Orlando's New "Green Bridge"

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"Green is Universal!" That is the motto of the Universal Orlando Resort, which continuously tries to keep nature always in mind while building new attractions, shows, buildings, and... yes, even walkways and bridges. In fact, just a few days ago, a new "green bridge" opened to Guests walking between Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort and the parks. We were able to take a look around this new (and amazing!) walkway at dusk. Come and join us:

Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show Cancelled Tonight

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Due to expected inclement weather conditions, the 8:15pm Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show on Tuesday, November 18, has been cancelled. As a result, Guests with reservations will be promptly assisted with booking alternate dining arrangements. As a reminder, the dinner show is held in an outdoor venue, and when the weather becomes colder as the sun sets, the overall Guest experience is not in keeping with the quality of Disney entertainment.

Blizzard Beach Closed Nov. 18-19 Due to Cold Weather

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Please be advised that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will be closed on Tuesday, November 18 and Wednesday, November 19 due to forecasted low temperatures (Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is currently closed for a scheduled seasonal refurbishment). Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses will be open for normal business hours. Please, check back here on OTPN for any additional updates.

IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014 Officially Begins Today

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The future of the amusement park and attractions industry is set to take shape as new innovations in rides, slides, technology, and more are unveiled at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014, taking place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida through November 21. IAAPA Attractions Expo 2014 is the largest trade show in the global attractions business, providing a platform for the industry’s newest game-changing products.