Showing posts from January, 2015

APEX and Chapel Hats Stores Open at Downtown Disney

As Downtown Disney continues to transform into Disney Springs, more new offerings open to Guests for their enjoyment. This week, some of the first retail locations of The Landing officially debuted, selling sunglasses, hats, and more.
The operating hours for APEX by Sunglass Hut and Chapel Hats are the same as Marketplace hours (Sunday through Thursday: 10 a.m.–11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m.–11:30 p.m.). Continue reading to learn more.

Animal Kingdom Park Hours Extended Feb. 2-3, 2015

In order to give Guests more time to enjoy Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, operating hours have been extended from a 5 p.m. park close to a 6 p.m. park close on Monday, February 2 and Tuesday, February 3. This change may not be reflected in next week's Times Guide (available starting tomorrow).
Due to this last-minute change, some of the park's Food & Beverage locations and entertainment offering will also extend their operating hours.

8 Surprises Awaiting LEGOLAND Florida Hotel Guests

The LEGOLAND Florida Blog recently posted a great article that included a short description of just eight of the many surprises that Guests staying at the new LEGOLAND Hotel will be able to enjoy in the rooms and public areas.
As previously announced, the new LEGOLAND Hotel will officially open May 15, 2015. Continue to read to check out the list of the top surprises you will only be able to experience at the LEGOLAND Hotel.

Typhoon lagoon: Shark Reef Operating Hours Adjustment

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is adjusting the operating hours for the Shark Reef attraction (the lagoon where Guests can swim with tropical fish).
Beginning February 1, 2015, Shark Reef will open two hours after park open (if the park opens at 10:00 a.m., the attraction will open at 12:00 p.m.) and close one hour before park close or 5 p.m., whichever is earlier. Signage showing the adjusted operating hours will be posted in front of the attraction.

Construction Begins at the Superstar Television Theater

Earlier this afternoon, the Walt Disney World Resort announced internally that the vacant Superstar Television Theater (a large entertainment venue located at Disney's Hollywood Studios that housed The American Idol Experience) is currently a construction zone, and work on a new experience officially begun.
The latest rumors state that this may become the new location for the popular "For the First Time Forever": A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration show.

Garden Rocks Concert Series Debuting at Epcot This Year

A new wave of entertainment is coming to this year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, which runs March 4 through May 17, 2015.
The springtime event’s concert series, originally entitled Flower Power, has a new name - Garden Rocks - and a whole new sound. “The new name has given us a chance to refresh the lineup,” said Booking Director Brad Ross, who has booked talent for Flower Power, and now Garden Rocks, since 2000.

SeaWorld Donates 11,000 Books to Local Schools

On January 28, SeaWorld donated 11,000 “Franklin and Friends” books to Orange County elementary students for “Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida” with a special visit to Fern Creek Elementary School. SeaWorld donated 400 books to children at Fern Creek Elementary. About 120 young children gathered in the auditorium for a special “announcement,” and were surprised when Franklin the Turtle and SeaWorld’s Puck the Penguin were there to greet them. 

Disney's FY15 Quarter 1 Earnings to Be Reported Feb. 3

The Walt Disney Company is a world leader in financial markets as well as the entertainment industry. From Hollywood to Wall Street and around the globe, when Disney officers speak, people around the world are listening. You can gain valuable insight and perspective by listening to Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger and Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo as they quickly discuss the Company's performance over the past quarter and share their outlook on things to come.

New Meet & Greet Area for Daisy Duck at Animal Kingdom

Beginning February 1, 2015, Daisy Duck will begin greeting Guests at the Creature Comforts character location. The new meet and greet location is found across from the Creature Comforts store on the path to Africa.
Her set times will be 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 1:40 p.m.-4:40 p.m. daily for all park hours. Daisy will no longer greet Guests at the Character Landing location. That area will be closed as future meet and greet opportunities are evaluated.

FastPass+ Selection Window Start Time Delays (2015)

As some of our Readers may already know, when Guests attempt to make FastPass+ selections on the first day of their designated selection window, the specific time they may begin making selections is midnight (12 a.m.) EST unless theme park operational hours extend past midnight on the day prior to their selection date. If regular park hours extend past midnight, Guests will not be able to make selections until one minute past the final park closing time.

Universal Studios Update: Twister, Garden Villas, & More

Hello everyone, and welcome to this new Universal Studios Florida update!
Today we will take a look around all of the park's themed areas to see what work is currently being done. While there is definitely not a lot going on at the moment, you can expect this to be a major year for the park, as it will celebrate 25 years of operation this summer. So, gather your belongings, and follow us in this virtual tour. We hope you will enjoy the photos:

Animal Kingdom Lodge: "Celebrate Africa!" Event Photos

Cultural Representatives from various African countries held the “Celebrate Africa!” event January 22, 2015 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The event was designed to educate Guests about their homeland. The festival began with a Cast Member’s poem about his view of Africa that set the mood for Guests to explore and learn more about this fascinating continent. Guests were then given musical instruments and joined a celebratory parade around the lobby.

Disney's Spirit of Aloha: 8:15 p.m. Show Cancelled Tonight

Due to expected inclement weather conditions, the 8:15 p.m. performance of Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show has been cancelled (remember that the dinner show is held in an outdoor venue, and when the weather becomes colder as the sun sets, the overall Guest experience is obviously impacted). As a result, Guests with reservations will be promptly assisted with booking alternate dining arrangements or receive a refund, if they so prefer.

Aquatica Offering $8 Tickets on Select Days in February

Planning on visiting the Central Florida are next month? If so, you might be able to enjoy a special offer that includes a single admission to Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark for just $8.00 plus tax! To take advantage of this offer, Guests have to select in advance the date they plan on visiting the water park.
The "Splash & Save" tickets are only available for advance purchase and not available at the park (the regular price for advertised at the gates is $37.00).

Magic Kingdom Park Hours Extended Tonight (Jan. 27)

The Magic Kingdom Park will be extending operating hours tonight (Tuesday, January 27, 2015). Park close has been changed from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Today's entertainment schedule (including parades and nighttime shows) is currently not expected to be impacted by this operating hour extension. Continue to check back on Orlando Theme Park News for additional updates.

Wilderness Lodge: Whispering Canyon Advisory (02/2015)

Due to the upcoming refurbishment of the lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Whispering Canyon Café will temporarily offer breakfast at Artist Point on February 5 and February 12, 2015. During that time, diners can still enjoy the beloved atmospheric elements of Whispering Canyon Café, including ketchup relays and "pony express" races. The full breakfast menu will be served, with the exception of pancakes. Lunch and dinner services will not be affected.

Busch Gardens Facebook Fans Name Baby Gorilla "Enzi"

Busch Gardens Tampa Facebook Fans have spoken, and the official name of the baby male gorilla is Enzi. The name was chosen after nearly 2,000 votes were submitted in a Facebook poll. The name Enzi means “power” in Swahili, a language that is currently spoken by various communities living in Eastern Africa. The other name options that were also considered included Birungi (meaning “bringer of good things”) and Bem (meaning “peace”).

Magic Kingdom Update: Evening in Tomorrowland (Part 1)

The Orlando Theme Park News Team is back to one of the most beloved theme parks in Central Florida, the Magic Kingdom. While we already shared with you some photos of the work currently taking place in the hub a few days ago (you can find the post by clicking here), today we will take a look around the rest of the park, focusing on Main Street U.S.A., Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. We hope you will enjoy the pictures:

Magic Kingdom Update: Evening in Tomorrowland (Part 2)

Welcome to the second part of our latest Magic Kingdom Park photo-report. Be sure to check out PART 1 before proceeding any further.
As you have noticed in the previous part of this update, there are a few minor projects going on around the entrance area of the park, Main Street U.S.A., and Fantasyland. Let's continue taking a look around the park. If you enjoyed the photos of the Main Street Electrical Parade, you will surely enjoy these:

Harbor Nights Romantico Returning to Portofino Bay Hotel

Celebrate la dolce vita at a wine, food, and live music event designed to capture the romantic ambiance of the Mediterranean under the twinkling lights of the Harbor Piazza at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. On February 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Harbor Nights Romantico will feature select wines and specially prepared gourmet foods from each of the hotel’s restaurants, all while listening to live music. For tickets, call 407-503-1200 or visit

Modified WDW Monorail Routes in February, March 2015

As the Walt Disney World Resort continues to update infrastructure around the monorail system, some temporary monorail route modifications will affect both the Resort and Express monorail beams on select days during the next few weeks. The modified routes are currently expected to be in effect on these dates: February 3-5, 9-12, 23-26 and March 2-5, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Continue reading to learn more, as these changes may affect your travel plans.

Polynesian Village Resort Advisory: TTC Pathway Work

Be sure to note that concrete work will take place around Disney's Polynesian Village Resort through the end of January 2015. A temporary walkway will be created between the bus stop and the newly opened path to the Transportation & Ticket Center. Guests should only use the pathway between the Nuie and Samoa buildings to access the East Pool. The Guest laundry facility, located nearby, is scheduled remain open during this refurbishment.

Wild Days Event Begins at SeaWorld Orlando (PHOTOS)

One of the most popular SeaWorld Orlando events is back again this year, with plenty of special shows, animal encounters, temporary exhibits, dance parties, and more. We are referring to "Wild Days," which officially begun this past Saturday (January 24, 2015) and will take place at the park every weekend through February 8, 2015. All the special happenings that were mentioned before will help Guests get closer to nature and learn more about it.

Wild Africa Trek Celebrating Four Years of Operation

Animal Kingdom's Wild Africa Trek officially opened back in 2011, and has been enjoyed by thousands of Guests in the past four years. Learning, discovery, and conservation are all themes covered during the expedition, which allows Guests to be closer to animals than ever before as they discover a world alive with majestic giraffes, camouflauged cheetahs, submerged crocodiles, and more. The experience is then made complete with authentic African-inspired snacks.

Grand Floridian Cafe Operating Hours Extended

As part of a test currently taking place at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the Grand Floridian Cafe will remain open until 10 p.m. for dinner. This change will be in effect daily until Saturday, February 14, 2015. During this time, the location will continue to accept reservations. As a reminder, the operating hours of the restaurant will revert back to normal starting from February 15, 2015.
Adjustments may take place after the test has concluded based on the results.

CityWalk Update: NASCAR Demolition Slowly Continues

While progress is clearly visible inside the Universal Orlando parks, work on the former NASCAR Sports Grille seems to be taking ace very slowly, as we noticed very few differences since our last visit. That said, more sections of this entertainment district are now receiving some attention. Even though those can be considered smaller projects, we believe they are part of a much bigger plan that will culminate with phase 2 of CityWalk's expansion. Let's take a look:

Special Downtown Disney Resorts Rate (Feb.-March)

Looking for a cure for the winter blues? You should consider taking advantage of the special "Escape From The Cold" rates that are being offered by the seven Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels in Central Florida. Available February 1-March 31, 2015, the special rates are a great way to escape to the Sunshine State to experience special events and to take in the many new offerings now open at the Walt Disney World Resort.

8:15 p.m. Spirit of Aloha Show Cancelled Jan. 27, 2015

Due to expected inclement weather conditions, the 8:15 p.m. showtime for Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show (taking place nightly at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort) has been cancelled for Tuesday, January 27, 2015. As a result, Guests with existing reservations will receive assistance with booking alternate dining arrangements and other Guests will not be sold or issued tickets to this show. Guests may also choose to request a refund.

Time Capsule to Be Opened at Universal Orlando This Year

Were you among the thousands of lucky Guests that were present at the grand opening of Universal Studios Florida back in 1990? If that's the case, you will surely remember that a time capsule was buried in the park on opening day (June 7), which was then scheduled to be opened 25 years later, in 2015.
The capsule contains plenty of items used in movies, including objects seen in one of Alfred Hitchcock's movies. Mark June 7, 2015 on your calendar...

Overnight Rehearsal at Magic Kingdom on Jan. 25-28

For training purposes, the entertainment department of Magic Kingdom Park will be hosting overnight parade rehearsals along the parade route on January 25-28. As reported a few days ago, the Main Street Welcome Show will also be rehearsing at the train station with show level volume on January 27, causing noises that could possibly be heard by Guests in nearby hotels.
Please, continue to check back here on OTPN for more news and advisories.

More New Food & Beverage Offerings at Animal Kingdom

The biggest expansion in the history of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will bring plenty of new attractions, exhibits, and special offerings that Guests will be able to enjoy, including new stores and dining locations. While Guests will have to wait a little longer for these additions to debut, they can already enjoy new food & beverage offerings, which are now available at Pizzafari and Discovery Island Kiosk (the latter currently sells allergy menu items). 

Dan Marino Meets His Madame Tussauds Wax Figure

Hall of Fame NFL Quarterback Dan Marino unveiled his wax figure for Madame Tussauds Orlando at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla. at the 5th Annual Dan Marino Foundation WalkAbout Autism & Expo on January 24, 2015.
The figure is now on the way to its permanent home in Orlando, just in time for the celebrity wax attraction’s spring 2015 grand opening, currently under construction in the future I-Drive 360 area.

Magic Kingdom Hub Update: More New Railings (PART 1)

The central hub area of the Magic Kingdom Park is, unsurprisingly, still surrounded by walls. More temporary barricades were installed around the area in the past few weeks, specifically in the heart of the central plaza, which includes the beautiful "Partners" statue. As you will see in the photos featured in this update, new railing have been installed and the fountains located on either side continue to take shape. Come along with us and take a look around:

Magic Kingdom Hub Update: More New Railings (PART 2)

Welcome to the second part of our newest Magic Kingdom hub construction-update! Click here to go back to PART 1 of this article. As you have seen in the previous installment of this photo-report, the west side of the hub is starting to look beautiful, and only a few months of work remain. Now we will continue checking out the east side. After that, we will move on to the area surrounding the "Partners" statue:

Kennedy Space Center Events (Jan. 23-Feb. 8, 2015)

There's always something going on at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. On Jan. 28 at 10:30 a.m., NASA Kennedy Space Center will observe the annual Day of Remembrance with a wreath-laying ceremony held by Kennedy Deputy Director Janet Petro at the Space Mirror Memorial in the Visitor Complex. The Day of Remembrance pays tribute to the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, as well as other NASA colleagues. 

Buster Posey "Chills Out" with Penguins at SeaWorld

Buster Posey, All-Star San Francisco catcher, visited SeaWorld Orlando yesterday with his family for a vacation before the start of spring training.
This was the MVP’s first visit to SeaWorld Orlando, where he enjoyed up-close interactions with whales and dolphins, seeing the park’s wildlife rescue program in action, and a special visit inside the snowy Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin attraction with a colony of more than 250 penguins.

Reminder: Animal Kingdom Extra Magic Hours Adjustment

As originally reported a few weeks ago, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park has officially moved its Morning Extra Magic Hour from Sunday, January 25 to Monday, January 26 due to operational needs. The park will be opening at 8 a.m. to Guests staying at any of the official Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
As always, we invite you to continue to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News frequently for any additional updates and advisories.

Busch Gardens Expecting Another Baby Gorilla This Spring

After a successful gorilla birth last December, Busch Gardens Tampa is excited to announce the pregnancy of 27-year-old endangered western lowland gorilla, Mary. Mary is expected to give birth in March 2015. Mary came to Busch Gardens in February 2010 from Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas with daughter Pele, who gave birth to a male this past December.
Bolingo, the suspected sire, was Busch Gardens’ first gorilla birth in 2005.

Orlando Eye Construction Update: First Capsule Installed

As we reported a few days ago, the very first Orlando Eye capsule has been installed. These enclosed "rooms" will provide fantastic 360-degree views of the Central Florida area. Just imagine looking at a beautiful Florida sunset from a higher elevation, enjoying one of the many fireworks shows that take place nightly in the area's theme parks, or just get closer to the immense sky above our heads... Let's see how much progress has been done since our last visit:

Disney Vacation Club Releases 2015 Membership Extras

Disney Vacation Club recently released its official list of 2015 Membership Extras that will be exclusive to Disney Vacation Club Members, which includes discounts, special events, and more. To make the list easier to understand, it has been divided into five documents – one for Walt Disney World Resort, one for Disneyland Resort, one for Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, one for Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and one for Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas.

Overnight Rehearsals to Take Place at Magic Kingdom

Planning on staying at one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels located around the Seven Seas Lagoon (the Grand Floridian, Polynesian Village, and the Contemporary Resorts) in the next few days? Then, note that on Tuesday, January 27, resort Guests may experience noise impacts from 10 p.m. until about 4 a.m. due to an overnight show rehearsal at Magic Kingdom Park.
Be sure to check back here on OTPN for more news, updates, and advisories.

King Kong Land Construction Update (Jan. 22, 2015)

Just like the work in the rumored King Kong Land is intensifying, so are our photo-updates covering this project. We are aware that many are excited to see king Kong (possibly) returning to the Universal Orlando Resort, and the rumors describing the ride itself definitely add a lot to the excitement. As you will notice, the rockwork is starting to take shape, even though it might not be clearly recognizable yet. We invite you to take a look around with us:

Typhoon Lagoon Closed Jan. 24-25 Due to Cool Weather

A blast of "cold" air is expected to make its way through the Central Florida area in the next few days, bringing the high temperatures down to the mid-60s (you can check the weather forecast daily by clicking here).
Due to the adverse weather conditions, be advised that Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will be closed Saturday, January 24 and Sunday, January 25. Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course will remain open.

More New Downtown Disney Boutiques Coming Soon

The Disney Springs project continues to bring more new offerings for Guests to enjoy while visiting this themed entertainment, shopping, and dining district. Indeed, in the coming weeks, Guests will start noticing the installation of new signs for stores that will be opening soon in the former Pleasure Island area, which will be known as The Landing after Downtown Disney officially becomes Disney Springs. Continue to read to learn more.  

SeaWorld Returns Manatees to Blue Spring State Park

On January 20, 2015, following months of rehabilitation, SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Team and the Lowry Park Zoo returned two rehabilitated manatees to the waters of Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida. The adult male, Sarge, was originally rescued due to cold-stress by The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on November 6, 2013 from Green Cove Springs, Florida. FWC transported him to SeaWorld Orlando.

The Many Colors of Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle

As most people reading this article should know, one of the most photographed buildings in the world is - unsurprisingly - Cinderella Castle, the awe-inspiring icon of the Magic Kingdom Park. This magnificent castle becomes even more beautiful at night, thanks to the colored lights installed all around the moat. Throughout the year, different color schemes can be seen, based on the season or special event. Today, we are asking you to choose your favorite.

Latest My Disney Experience Site Enhancement (2015)

A new enhancement on the My Disney Experience website now helps in preventing duplicate managed Guests. If someone attempts to add a new Guest manually by typing their name or by using the "People You May Know," option and the name is a duplicate of someone already on their Family & Friends list, the site will alert the Guest there is a name match. The Guest will then be asked if they still wish to add the Guest.

The Orlando Eye Begins Installation of Passenger Capsules

The Orlando Eye observation wheel has announced that the installation of its passenger capsules begun yesterday. The process is unique to The Orlando Eye, as each capsule will be attached to the wheel by a shaft and hangar attached to the top of the capsule, making it a first for an observation wheel that uses the ski lift capsule design featured on the Eye. This system will keep the floor of the capsule level to allow guests to walk around for optimal viewing.

Magic Kingdom: Harmony Barber Shop Refurbishment

The Harmony Barber Shop (located in Town Square at the Magic Kingdom Park) is currently scheduled to be closed for refurbishment February 16, 2015 through March 30, 2015 (dates subject to change without notice). Guests will not be able to book reservations during that time.
Thank you for your attention, and be sure to continue to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for additional theme park updates and advisories.

Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Event: 2015 Dates

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic is returning for its sixth year on Friday Oct. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. The two-night, outdoor festival will feature more than 40 stations with culinary selections from the hotel’s award-winning restaurants and wine from more than 30 wineries. Guests will also enjoy live music, a beer garden featuring local and seasonal brews from around the world and food and beverage seminars.