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Showing posts from February, 2015

Magic Kingdom Operating Hours Extended March 1, 2015

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Planning on visiting the Walt Disney World Resort tomorrow? Then, make sure to note that the Magic Kingdom Park will be extending operating hours. Park close has been changed from 11:00 p.m. to Midnight (12 a.m.) for Sunday, March 1, 2015. The park's entertainment schedule is not expected to be altered.
As always, be sure to continue to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News in the future for additional advisories and updates.

Islands of Adventure: River Adventure Rehab (PART 1)

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Many of the themed areas of Universal's Islands of Adventure are currently receiving a lot of attention. In fact, the park is currently using the slower times of the year to refresh some of its attractions, more specifically its many water rides. Work on Bilge Rat Barges and Dudley Do-Right just recently concluded, while work begun to refresh the popular Jurassic Park River Adventure.
Come along with us and take a quick look around this amazing theme park:

Islands of Adventure: River Adventure Rehab (PART 2)

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Welcome to part 2 of our newest Islands of Adventure photo-update. Be sure to check out PART 1 before proceeding. Additionally, you can click on this link to take a look at the current condition of the new King Kong themed land.
In the previous installments of this update we checked out Marvel Superhero Island, Toon Lagoon, and Jurassic Park. Let's continue to take a look around to see what other projects are currently taking place around the park:

"Spring Forward" Event to Take Place at Animal Kingdom

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A one-day special event will take place next week at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. During the "Spring Forward" event on March 5, 2015 at Rafiki's Planet Watch, Guests will have the opportunity to meet some cool amphibians while discovering different amphibian adaptations, identifying various frog calls, and learning about the amphibians native to Florida. Caricature artists and face painters will also transform Guests into one of their amphibian friends. 

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival: 2015 Map and Details

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Epcot is getting ready to welcome one of the best times of the year. Yes, Spring is coming, and with it we will also see the amazing Flower & Garden Festival returning to Epcot. This year's event is scheduled to start on March 4, 2015. Quite a few additions are expected this time, ranging from new food & beverage booths and topiaries to updated event maps and Times Guides.
In this post you'll find all the information you need to know regarding the event.

Busch Gardens Tampa Welcomes Two Baby Cheetahs

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Busch Gardens Tampa has welcomed two new adorable additions – three-month-old cheetah cubs. The Busch Gardens animal care team is providing 24-hour-care as the cubs continue to get stronger and explore their new home.
The two cubs were born on November 22, 2014 and weigh approximately 12 pounds. Their names, which were given to them by the Busch Gardens animal care team, are Tendai, meaning “thankful,” and Thabo, meaning “joy.”

New AVATAR Land Artwork and Video Released

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Yesterday afternoon, the Disney Parks Blog released a great new artwork depicting a gorgeous part of the new Pandora: The World of AVATAR themed land that is expected to open in 2017 at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. As you will see in this new image (as well as in the new video was released in conjunction with the artwork), the size of the floating islands and plants that will populate this area will be truly massive. Take a look,and enjoy the view:

First Phase of Magic Kingdom Hub Expansion Now Open

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The first phase of the expansion of the Magic Kingdom Central Plaza area, or Hub, in front of Cinderella Castle officially opened today to Guests, offering additional seating outside Casey’s Corner and The Plaza restaurant and a new walkway. For this reason, beginning this evening (Friday, February 27, 2015), the FastPass+ viewing location for Magic Kingdom fireworks will relocate from the Rose Garden to the new Main Street Plaza Gardens area.

King Kong Construction Update: Project Finally Confirmed

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As it was reported just two days ago, Comcast has officially stated that a new King Kong-themed attraction is coming to the Universal Orlando Resort. This shouldn't come as a surprise to our Readers as we have known for months that this would be the theme of the new Island of Adventure ride currently under construction (Orlando United forum member HTF originally broke the news). Let's go back to the construction site to check the progress that has been done:

Typhoon Lagoon Closed Feb. 27 Due to Low Temperatures

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Be advised that Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will be closed on Friday, February 27, 2015 due to forecasted low temperatures (upper 60s).
Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses are expected to be open following normal business hours. As a reminder, Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park is currently closed for refurbishment. Continue to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates. 

Sorcerer Mickey's Hat Demolition Update: The End

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It is hard to believe it, but this will be our very last photo-update covering the demolition of the Sorcerer's Hat, the former icon of Disney's Hollywood Studios.
While this section of the park's hub is expected to be behind walls for a few more weeks (a new stage is rumored to be coming to the former location of the hat, but don't worry, it will not obstruct again the view of the Chinese Theater), all of the visible parts of the hat have finally been taken down. Take a look!

New 4D Movie Coming Soon to LEGOLAND Florida

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Merlin Entertainments announced today that the company is partnering with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and The LEGO Group to bring a completely new 4D animated film based on the popular characters of The LEGO Movie, from Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, and LEGO System A/S, to guests at LEGOLAND Parks (including the Florida location) and LEGOLAND Discovery Centers around the world later this year. 

Authentic Mask Artisan at Disney's Port Orleans Resort

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A month ago, an authentic mask artisan began to be available at the Jackson Square Gifts and Desires store, located at Disney's Port Orleans Resort - French Quarter. The artisan is part of an immersive merchandise pilot that will last for an unspecified amount of time (this test began January 30, 2015).
These New Orleans treasures, including mask necklaces and earrings, will be sold on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings only for the time being.

Additional Information About Universal's New Water Park

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The Universal Orlando Resort is getting ready to add another park to its already impressive Central Florida lineup. This time they are planning on opening a new "water theme park" that is expected to be very impressive.
If you have followed us in the past, you will surely remember that we have been following this developing story for a long time (remember WonderSea Island?). This time we have gathered additional details about this great project.

New Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Named

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Bob Chapek has been named Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts on February 24, 2015 by Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Thomas O. Staggs, Chief Operating Officer, The Walt Disney Company.
A 22-year veteran of the company, Mr. Chapek has served since 2011 as President of Disney Consumer Products, driving a technology-led transformation of the Company’s consumer products, retail and publishing operations.

Ongoing Refurbishments at the Polynesian Village Resort

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Upon arrival to Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Guests will notice that many areas of the Resort are still under refurbishment at this time, including the Great Ceremonial Hall and the Nanea Volcano Pool. The Nanea Volcano Pool and water slide are closed for enhancement through early 2015. The Resort's leisure pool will continue to remain open for Guest convenience. In addition, one complimentary visit to a Disney Water Park is available to each Guest.

SEA LIFE Fills Habitat with 192,000 Gallons of Water

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SEA LIFE Orlando's aquarists started filling the aquarium’s Atlantic Ocean habitat this morning (Tuesday, February 24, 2015) with more than 192,000 gallons of water. As mentioned in a previous article, it will take the aquarists about two days to completely fill up the Atlantic habitat. After that, 30 additional aquatic habitats will be filled with fresh water that will then go through a very complex, customized filtration system where salt will be added.

Disney's Hollywood Studios Park Hours Extended March 10

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Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in the next few weeks should note that Disney's Hollywood Studios will be extending operating hours on Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Park close has been changed from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
In addition to that, a second performance of Fantasmic! will take place at 10:00 p.m. (in addition to the existing 8:30 p.m. show time). As always, we recommend you continue to check back here on OTPN for any additional updates.

Sound Lion and Havaianas Now Open at Downtown Disney

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Two new stores recently opened their doors to Downtown Disney Guests at The Landing in addition to the Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYCSound Lion offers the latest technology in headphones, ear buds, speakers, wireless music players and other digital sound and music products. Located next to the Portobello restaurant, Havaianas specializes in a wide array of footwear and accessories for all ages. Continue reading to learn more about these two locations.

Universal Orlando Confirms New King Kong Attraction

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Earlier today Comcast (the parent company of the Universal Orlando Resort) officially confirmed that a new King Kong themed attraction will soon be opening at Universal's Islands of Adventure. While fans have known this for months, it is the first time the company officially acknowledges this particular project.
This announcement also removes any doubts regarding the theme of the new ride, which will be located at the edge of the Jurassic Park section of the park.

Magic Kingdom Hub Update: Welcoming Spring (PART 1)

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One of the many things that most Guests love seeing when visiting the area's theme parks is not man-made. In fact, the plants and flowers that can be found all around the various themed areas make a big difference, as they greatly enhance the overall Guest experience. This also applies to the expanded hub of the Magic Kingdom Park, as it is already receiving many new trees (albeit not too mature) as well as flowers, topiaries, and more. Enjoy the views:

Magic Kingdom Hub Update: Welcoming Spring (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Magic Kingdom hub construction-update. Be sure to check out PART 1 of this update before proceeding. In the previous part, we began by taking a look at the entrance of the park and Main Street U.S.A. (even though those areas are not part of the park's central plaza), as well as the west side of the hub. Let's proceed by continuing to take a look around, focusing especially on the east side and the heart of the hub:

Erin McKenna’s Bakery Now Open at Downtown Disney

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Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC is the latest offering to open at The Landing, one of the new themed areas of Downtown Disney. Erin McKenna’s Bakery specializes in gluten-free and vegan baked goods. Guests can enjoy delicious cupcakes, cakes, muffins and more – all free from common food allergens. This sweet shop is operated by the same owner of the famous Babycakes NYC. The new store is located near Raglan Road, across from Portobello

SEA LIFE Orlando to Fill Atlantic Ocean Habitat Tomorrow

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The new SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium is reaching a new construction milestone this month as aquarists fill the Aquarium’s Atlantic Ocean habitat with more than 192,000 gallons of water on Tuesday, February 24 at 10 a.m.
It will take approximately two days to fill up the Atlantic habitat. After completion, aquarists will fill more than 30 additional habitats inside the attraction. The water will go through a customized filtration system where salt will be added. 

Sorcerer's Hat Demolition Update: A Few Days Left

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The demolition of the Sorcerer's Hat icon continues at a very fast pace at Hollywood Studios. From what we have seen, it looks like only a week might be left until the entire structure gets completely removed; that said, we expect walls to remain up for a while, as work continues to install a new, temporary stage (that is the current rumor) as well as a new planter. Take a look at these photos, which show the status of the project as of Sunday, February 22, 2015:

Nighttime Tour of Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

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Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the newest on-site hotel located inside the Universal Orlando Resort, is a great place for visitors looking to ways to stay close to some of Orlando's best theme parks without having to pay a fortune. In fact, this is the first Universal hotel that falls into the "value accommodations" category. That being said, the amenities that this location offer are still great. If you have not visited this new location yet, you will enjoy this nighttime photo-tour:

Animal Kingdom: Flame Tree Barbecue Rehab Extended

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Guests visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park in the next few months should note that the refurbishment of Flame Tree Barbecue has been extended through April 22. As part of the project, the restaurant will receive more covered seating areas, covered walkways to some nearby pavilion seating areas, as well as roof extensions over the main building. As a reminder, most of the food offerings from the restaurant are available at food kiosks throughout the park.

Walt Disney World Ticket Prices Increase Effective Feb. 22

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Effective February 22, 2015, ticket prices at the Walt Disney World Resort will increase. Many Guests will agree that a day at a Disney Park is unlike any other in the world, so it's not surprising to hear that there is strong demand for their attractions. Guests will now pay more than $100 (before tax) to spend a day at the Magic Kingdom, even though multi-day tickets will offer great savings.
The new ticket prices will be posted at disneyworld.com/tickets on Feb. 22.

Magic Kingdom Park Hours Extended February 23-24

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The beginning of next week is expected to be quite busy, as locals and visitors will head to the area's parks and take advantage of the return of the warm, more Florida-like weather. For that reason, the Magic Kingdom Park will be extending its operating hours in the next few days. Park close has been changed from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. for Monday, Feb. 23 and Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015.
Be sure to check back here on OTPN for any additional park news and updates.

Fun Spot Update: Gatorland Exhibit Takes Shape (PART 1)

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One of Orlando's most popular minor attractions is continuously looking for ways to expand, installing new attractions and building multiple dining locations at a remarkable speed. We are referring to Fun Spot America, an amusement park located just across the street from the Universal Orlando Resort.
As you will see, a number of additions have been introduced to the park since our last visit, with many more coming in the next few months. Take a look:

Fun Spot Update: Gatorland Exhibit Takes Shape (PART 2)

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Welcome to part 2 of our new Fun Spot America construction update. Be sure to check out PART 1 by clicking on this link before proceeding any further. In the previous part of this photo-report, we checked out the entrance of the park (which is definitely a great improvement over the former entrance) and some of the Guest areas; afterwards, we took a quick over-the-walls look at the future location of the Gator Spot. There's more to see, so let's continue to walk around:

Changes Coming to the Contemporary Resort's Arcade

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Guests planning on visiting Disney's Contemporary Resort should note that some important changes are coming to The Game Station Arcade. Just a few days ago, the Walt Disney World Resort announced the following: "We are in the process of changing some offerings in the arcade at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Beginning Sunday, Feb. 15, Guests who wish to redeem etickets for the arcade should visit the front desk for assistance."

Direct Route to Typhoon Lagoon Testing at Select Hotels

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As the Walt Disney World Resort continues to look into ways to enhance the Guest experience, bus operations will be conducting a direct route test from select resorts to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park starting from Monday February 23, 2015. This test is currently scheduled to end Saturday, March 28, giving more than enough time to the company to understand whether this new route should be permanently available to Guests staying at select hotels.

Rehabilitated Manatee Arrives to Orlando from Texas

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Last Wednesday (February 18, 2015), SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Team and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) sent Trinidad, a male Florida manatee, to SeaWorld Orlando in a U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue plane. After receiving care and rehabilitation in Texas at SeaWorld San Antonio for the past three months, Trinidad was healthy enough to make the trip, and is one step closer to being returned back to his natural environment.

Downtown Disney Update: Causeway Now Open (PART 1)

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Another new addition recently debuted at Downtown Disney in the past few days. The new Village Causeway, located in the Marketplace, is a new walkway that allow Guests to reach more easily the area surrounding the Rainforest Cafe and also provides new retail options (more information can be found here). In addition to that, work continues to take place in the parking lots, The Landing, the future Town Center, and other areas of the Marketplace. Take a look:

Downtown Disney Update: Causeway Now Open (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of this new Downtown Disney construction update. As always, we'd like to remind you to check out PART 1 before proceeding. As you have noticed, while there are only minor projects taking place around the West Side (the Planet Hollywood area will soon be part of the Town Center), plenty of work is being done around the parking garage and The Landing. We will now continue to take a look around these and other areas:

U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction to Take Place in May

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On Saturday, May 30, 2015, four space shuttle astronauts will be inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame during a public ceremony held at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction: John Grunsfeld, Ph. D., Steven Lindsey, Kent Rominger, and M. Rhea Seddon, M.D.
These astronaut heroes will join the ranks of other well-known space explorers including Alan Shepard, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin. 

Disney Princess Half Marathon Road Impacts (Feb. 19-22)

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The Walt Disney World Resort will be hosting the popular Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Feb. 19 through Feb. 22, 2015. For that reason, you should be aware that several roads will be operating under traffic restrictions or closed completely starting from 4:00 a.m. through 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 21 and then again from 11:00 p.m. (Saturday) through 11 a.m. on Sunday, February 22, 2015.

Animal Kingdom: Discovery Island DVC Kiosk Being Moved

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On the evening of February 15, more walls were placed by Creature Comforts at Animal Kingdom to accommodate the relocation of the Disney Vacation Club kiosk currently by Pizzafari. The new location will be next to the bridge to Africa.
This work will be done in phases, and a pathway to First Aid, Baby Care, and the Service Animal relief area will be maintained. A date the Disney Vacation Club kiosk will begin operating in this new area has not been determined.

Hard Rock Hotel Debuts Stylish New Guest Rooms

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Inspired by music and the hotel’s on-site location at Universal Orlando Resort, the newly renovated guest rooms at Hard Rock Hotel capture the vibe of rock against a backdrop of clean and contemporary surfaces. The new look features a mix of retro-inspired shapes, patterns and colors paired with sleek-lined details. “We are excited to reveal a totally new and distinctive look for our guest rooms and corridors,” says Managing Director Carlton Hudson. 

Spirit of Aloha Show Cancellations on February 19, 2015

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Due to expected inclement weather conditions, both the 5:15 p.m. and the 8:15 p.m. seatings of Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show have been cancelled for tonight (Thursday, February 19, 2015). Guests with existing reservations will receive assistance with booking alternate dining arrangements, while Guests without a reservation will not be offered or sold tickets for the aforementioned showtimes. Guests with a reservation may also request a refund.

New Disney Stunt & Special Performance Design Dept.

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The many spectacular shows at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts require highly skilled Cast Members and the employment of safety-conscious design and planning. The new Stunt & Special Performance Design department, created in December 2014, is now a key partner and global resource for Operations, Safety, and Standards and Sustainment teams on existing shows, as well as Creative and Production teams on shows in development.

Madame Tussauds Orlando Museum Preview (PART 1)

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Yesterday morning, the Merlin Entertainment company announced that The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando, and the SEA LIFE Aquarium will be officially opening May 4, 2015 at I-Drive 360. That said, you can get a peek at one of these great new locations right here on Orlando Theme Park News.
In fact, today we will share with our Readers more than 170 photos taken inside the great Madame Tussauds wax museum. Let's begin our tour...

Madame Tussauds Orlando Museum Preview (PART 2)

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Welcome to part 2 of our special Madame Tussauds Orlando preview. Looking for PART 1 of this photo-tour? Then, you can check out by clicking here. In the previous installment, we took a quick look around the "Authentic History" themed section of the museum, which will take Guests back in time. Afterwards, we met some very remarkable individuals in the "History and World Leaders" area. Let's continue our tour. Who knows who we'll  be able to find:

Madame Tussauds Orlando Museum Preview (PART 3)

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Welcome to the third part of our new Madame Tussauds Orlando preview. PART 2 of this exclusive photo-tour can be found by clicking on this link.
In the previous part of this update, we checked out the "Arts and Science" themed area, where Guests will encounter some of the most influential and forward-thinking people that ever existed. After that, we looked around a bonus area where Guests will learn the history of Madame Tussaud (the actual person), and the "Sports" section. Let's continue to walk around, shall we?:

Madame Tussauds Orlando Museum Preview (PART 4)

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Welcome to part 4 of this Madame Tussauds Orlando preview. Looking for PART 3? Be sure to check it out before proceeding by clicking right here.
In the previous part, we took a look around the rest of the "Sports" themed section of the museum. Then, we moved on to the "Music" area, where visitors will meet stars that have made history with their music, as well as current singers. Finally, we walked around the "TV" area, which we'll continue to visit:

Madame Tussauds Orlando Museum Preview (PART 5)

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We have finally reached the final part of our new Madame Tussauds Orlando preview. Click here if you would like to go back to PART 4 of this update.
In the preceding part, we completed our tour of the "TV" section of the museum, and then we moved on to the "Film" themed area, where we found some of the most recognizable actors and movie producers of all time. Let's now focus on the very last area of the attraction, known as the "A-List Party":

Upgraded Guest Laundries at The Grand Floridian Resort

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On February 11, all Guest laundry facilities located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa were upgraded to new self-reporting, high-efficiency TurboWash machines. Guests now have the option to pay with a credit or debit card.
Additionally, Guests can now check if laundry machines are available on their mobile phone and receive text message notifications when a laundry cycle is complete. Continue to read for additional information on this service.

Animal Kingdom: More Construction Walls Coming to Asia

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Beginning the evening of Wednesday, February 18, 2015, construction walls will be added to the area near Expedition Everest to support infrastructure work for Rivers of Light. These additional walls will result in a reduced pathway in the area, so a Cast Member will be positioned there to help with Guest flow.
This project is planned for completion by late March 2015. Crews will be working throughout the day and night to complete the work as efficiently as possible. 

Grand Opening Date for I-Drive 360 Attractions Announced

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After waiting for months, Merlin Entertainments PLC announced this morning the grand opening date for its three newest Central Florida attractions, The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando, and SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium.
All three highly anticipated attractions will officially open on May 4, 2015, but some could get an exclusive sneak peek. Guests who sign up for the attraction newsletters will have a chance to be among the first to preview each attraction.