Posts

Showing posts from April, 2015

Intel-Cornell Cup Competition at Kennedy Space Center

Image
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will host the fourth annual Intel-Cornell Cup competition May 1 and 2, with students from 17 universities showcasing new and innovative technology inventions. Students have the opportunity to win up to $10,000. All of the technology uses the latest Intel Galileo and Atom Development Boards and aims to address current needs in health, environment, disaster relief and more. A total of 22 inventions are competing this year.

Disney Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony for "Flavor Lab"

Image
The Food & Beverage Concept Development team at the Walt Disney World Resort was excited to break ground on a new research and development facility.
This state-of-the-art building, located near Disney's Port Orleans Resort, will provide the perfect place to create new and unique concepts. The facility will serve as a hub of new product, packaging and equipment innovation for both culinary and beverage programs across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Captain EO Vs. Tomorrowland: Finding the Differences

Image
As many of our Readers know, Captain EO "temporarily" left the Magic Eye Theater at Epcot (and Disneyland in California) and was replaced by a sneak peek of one of Disney's upcoming live-action movies, Tomorrowland. While the switch was done in just a week, quite a few minor changes are visible to Guests, especially to those who are more familiar with the area (we are aware that many are not fans of the Imagination! pavilion as a whole). Let's see...

SeaWorld Returns 11 Sea Turtles to the Atlantic Ocean

Image
This morning, the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team returned 11 Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles to the warm Florida waters by Canaveral National Seashore. The 11 Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles returned were part of the 72 sea turtles that were rescued back in November 2014 during a mass cold stranding off the Massachusetts coast. They were transferred to SeaWorld Orlando from the New England Aquarium by the U.S. Coast Guard for rehabilitation and expert care.

Allergy-Friendly Menus Coming to More Disney Locations

Image
As it was recently announced, new allergy-friendly menus addressing the most common allergy and dietary requests are being introduced at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. The next phase officially launched today (April 29) and included several table-service restaurants at Disneyland Park, as well as table-service and quick-service restaurants at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and locations at Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon Water Parks. 

Erwin Pearl Store Opening Soon at Downtown Disney

Image
Another new retail location is scheduled to open at Downtown Disney on April 30, 2015. Erwin Pearl will offer a fine selection of enamel, precious and semi-precious fashion jewelry, and many accessories marked by style, creativity, and outstanding quality. The expansive line of affordable luxury jewelry is made from the finest materials, such as hand-painted French enamels, 22k gold plating, sterling silver and freshwater pearls. The location will follow Marketplace hours.

SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando Photo-Gallery (PART 1)

Image
One of the four major attractions that will soon open within the new I-Drive 360 complex held a media preview on Monday, April 28, 2015.
The SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium was filled with people wanting to explore the depths of the seas and oceans of our planet... without getting wet, obviously. It was really a thrilling experience to visit this family-friendly exhibit, and we would like to share with you some of the photos we took during our self-guided tour:

SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando Photo-Gallery (PART 2)

Image
Welcome to the second part of our large SEA LIFE Orlando photo-gallery. Click on this link if you are looking for PART 1 of this update. In the previous part of this photo-report, we took you around the first few themed rooms of this great aquarium, where we checked out the entrance, photo-op, the pre-show, the Ocean Caves, Shark Shipwreck, and much more. Let's continue our tour of this attraction. There are many other places to explore...

SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando Photo-Gallery (PART 3)

Image
You have reached the last part of this SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium photo-gallery. If you are looking for PART 2 of this update, click on this link.
Previously, we had the chance to explore the Coral Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and Seahorse Hideaway. Let's conclude our tour by checking out the Indian Ocean, Stingray Cove, the Everglades Wetlands, and more. As always, we encourage you to share your comments at the end of this post:

Interesting Food & Beverage Tests at Hollywood Studios

Image
Starting from today (April 28, 2015) and through May 12, some of the Guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be able to participate in food & beverage tests at the Backlot Express restaurant (next to Star Tours) and/or Fantasmic! in which they will be able to place orders via a mobile app, Express Order.
Guests who have a FastPass+ selection and/or dining reservation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the test period will be eligible participate in the test.

Disney Monorail Operating Schedule Changes Begin May 3

Image
As part of ongoing infrastructure work being done around the Walt Disney World monorail system, monorail service will run on an adjusted schedule beginning at 11 p.m. on May 3, 2015. This schedule is set to continue through early July. During that time, buses and watercraft will remain available to Guests.
That being said, you should take note of the fact that full monorail service will be available daily during the busy Memorial Day week period (May 24-27, 2015).

CityWalk Orlando Update: Sports Bar Construction Update

Image
The new Sports bar that is rumored to be replacing the former NASCAR Sports Grille continues to slowly take shape within Universal's CityWalk.
This afternoon, we will take a close look at the entrance of the building (which is getting a completely new facade) and the side facing Universal Studios, which is still wide open. This is still believed to be the first of a series of new restaurant projects. Join me as we walk around this ever-growing entertainment area:

Blizzard Beach Closed Today Due to Inclement Weather

Image
Be advised that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will remain closed today, April 28, 2015, due to inclement weather conditions. The water park is expected to operate as normal starting from tomorrow (April 29, 2015).
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and both miniature golf courses are currently open and will continue to operate without interruption for the rest of the day. Be sure to check back here on OTPN for any additional news and updates.

Animal Kingdom Park Hours Extended April 28 and 30

Image
In order to give Guests more time to enjoy the park, operating hours at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme park will be extended until 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, and Thursday, April 30 (note that park hours printed on the park's Times Guide may be incorrect). Offerings available during the additional hour will be updated for Guests on My Disney Experience. The Guest Relations Help Desk will also be able to provide an update once offerings are determined.

SeaWorld Orlando Heats Up with the Viva la Música Event

Image
A few days ago, SeaWorld announced that El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico will take the stage during the park's Viva la Música event on Saturday, May 2. This salsa-orchestra group is considered the most popular salsa group to ever exist, and the most successful music group from Puerto Rico. The group has been producing hits for five decades with 40 albums and CDs. They have received many awards including a Latin Grammy for Best Tropical Album.

Dockside Margaritas Officially Opens at Downtown Disney

Image
Just in time for warmer weather, Dockside Margaritas shakes things up with their grand opening at Downtown Disney Marketplace. This new waterfront bar provides beautiful views of Buena Vista Cove and gives Guests the opportunity to kick back and relax in true Florida style as they enjoy handcrafted margaritas, authentic Floridian brews, and other beverages made from natural ingredients.
Live entertainment adds to the laid-back and tropical vibe of this great location.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Breakfast Available Through July

Image
The prix fixe breakfast test at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom Park has been extended to run through July 18, 2015. Additionally, with the pre-order functionality now available, Guests with a breakfast reservation will receive pre-order information via their dining confirmation email. Guests can now pre-order meals through My Disney Experience from 30 days to 5 minutes prior to their reservation. Click here to learn more about this temporary test.

Islands of Adventure: Sindbad Show Closed (PART 1)

Image
After focusing almost solely on the new King Kong themed area for the past few months, we can finally say that a few more projects are currently taking place inside Islands of Adventure. As you will see in this latest photo-report, work has begun in the former site of the Triceratops Discovery Trail. At the same time, The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad stunt show recently closed to be completely refurbished and updated. We will discuss about the details in the update.

Islands of Adventure: Sindbad Show Closed (PART 2)

Image
Welcome to the second part of this new Islands of Adventure photo-report. Be sure to check out PART 1 of this update if you have not already done so. Previously, we took a look around the entrance of the park, the Port of Entry, Seuss Landing, and the majority of The Lost Continent. Let's continue to explore the rest of the park, because there is a lot that we still need to check out. Enjoy the rest of the photos and be sure to share your comments and opinions.

Updated Animal Kingdom Park Map Now Available

Image
Starting from today, updated Animal Kingdom park maps were made available to Guests visiting the park. As always, the overall look of the map has been left completely unchanged, even though we spotted some minor differences when examining the pathways and the depiction of certain areas of the park. As you'll see, the new walkway connecting the entrance of Kali River Rapids to the Expedition Everest area has been added. But that's just one of the changes.

Walt Disney World Resort: Backstage Lane Construction

Image
If you are planning on visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in the next few weeks, be sure to note that Backstage Lane will be under construction from April 27-May 8 (note that, despite having the word "backstage" in its name, this road is open to all Guests heading to Downtown Disney and the surrounding resort area). During that time, all traffic on Backstage Lane will be in a "split lane" configuration, causing possible delays to Guests and Cast Members.

SpaceX Rocket Launch Viewing at Kennedy Space Center

Image
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests can experience the stunning sights and powerful sounds of the April 27 launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, scheduled for 6:14 p.m., with three exclusive launch viewing locations from which to choose (this launch was previously scheduled for April 24, 2015).
The rocket will lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carrying the TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSat.

Hollywood Studios Update: Theater Rehabs (PART 1)

Image
The gorgeous Chinese Theater continues to receive a lot of attention at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Indeed, the roof of the theater was recently refurbished and repainted (as you will see in the following photos), bringing back some details that were lost in the past due to less-than-stellar upkeep. Additionally, work also continues in the hub of the park, near Pixar Place, next to Disney Junior: Live on Stage!, and in a few other areas. Let's take a look around together:

Hollywood Studios Update: Theater Rehabs (PART 2)

Image
Welcome to the second part of our newest Disney's Hollywood Studios photo-report. As usual, we recommend checking out PART 1 before proceeding. As you have seen, the center stage of the park (the hub) is definitely getting a lot of the attention, while other sections of the park receive minor additions and refurbishments. We will now continue to check out the rest of the park, focusing on Pixar Place, the Backlot, the Streets of America, and Echo Lake.

Magic Kingdom Park Hours Extended Today (April 24)

Image
To make sure that Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort have the best possible experience, the operating hours of the Magic Kingdom Park have been extended today. Park close has been changed from 12:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
The park's entertainment schedule is not expected to be altered today due to this operating hours change. As always, we invite you to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional advisories and updates.

New 200-Foot-Tall Coaster Coming to SeaWorld Orlando

Image
Just a few minutes ago, SeaWorld Orlando sent a very exciting message to all members of the media. In it, the park officially announced that a new attraction will open at SeaWorld Orlando in 2016, which will not be for the faint of heart.
A new, 200-foot-tall roller coaster (rumored to be a hyper coaster) is making its way to Orlando. The attraction will become Orlando's tallest and fastest coaster (the record will be broken again when the Skyscraper opens at the SkyPlex).

Downtown Disney Roadwork to Impact Parking Garage

Image
Roadwork on Buena Vista Drive near Downtown Disney is about to ramp up as crews prepare to pave the way for dedicated bus lanes and lane expansions. Beginning the night of Monday, April 27, the middle of the intersection near Team Disney will be blocked and affect the way drivers enter and exit Team Disney and the parking garage at Downtown Disney. The pedestrian crosswalk in this area will continue to remain available during that time.

Updated Animal Kingdom Guidemaps to Be Available Soon

Image
New guidemaps for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will be in circulation at the Walt Disney World Resort starting April 26. For the first time in years, the guidemap cover will feature ‘Finding Nemo – The Musical’ and will reflect new pathways that recently opened (or that will soon be made available to Guests visiting the park). The new guidemaps will include the English version, as well as all five translations and the Guide for Guests with Disabilities.

SeaWorld Team Rescues Great Blue Heron in Ocoee

Image
SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team recently responded to a distressed Great Blue Heron with an aluminum soda can stuck on its bill.
The blue heron was found in the neighborhood of Wesmere, located in Ocoee, Florida, off Highway 50. SeaWorld became aware of the distressed bird after receiving calls from multiple residents who had witnessed the struggling animal, and arrived on site on Thursday, April 16, 2015 to rescue the injured bird.

"Monkey Kingdom" Research Stations at Animal Kingdom

Image
This year’s “Party for the Planet” celebration officially unveiled two exclusive research stations located within Rafiki’s Planet Watch and the Main Entrance of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. These new research stations, offered in partnership with Hewlett-Packard and Conservation International, will provide Guests the opportunity to get a hands-on look at the technology scientists use to learn more about animals and their natural habitats.

Downtown Disney Celebrates Our Natural World Today

Image
Guests visiting Downtown Disney this afternoon will have the great opportunity to interact with many Cast Members and outside vendors across property and spend some time enjoy multiple activities celebrating our amazing planet.
If you are planning on visiting any of Downtown Disney's themed areas (the West Side, The Landing, and the Marketplace), be sure to look for some of the following activities (weather permitting and subject to change at any given time):

I-Drive 360 Update: A Look Inside the Terminal (PART 1)

Image
The official opening day of I-Drive 360 is just around the corner, and workers are applying the final touches in the various attractions, shops, and restaurants that will soon open within this brand-new entertainment district.
Today's update will focus on the outside courtyard located right in front of The Orlando Eye and the terminal of the observation wheel, which also includes the entrances of the other two Merlin attractions. Let's start to take a look around:

I-Drive 360 Update: A Look Inside the Terminal (PART 2)

Image
Welcome to the second part of our newest I-Drive 360 photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers. PART 1 of this update can be found here. In the previous part, we focused on the new parking area that has been created behind The Orlando Eye, the outdoor courtyard, and the themed murals on the buildings housing the Madame Tussauds Museum and the SEA LIFE Aquarium. Let's now take a look inside the beautiful terminal of The Orlando Eye:

In-Room Phone Test at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Image
Beginning Monday, April 27, a test will be implemented at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to test new room phones that have a one-touch “Disney Services” button to connect hotel Guests with Guest Services Call Center Cast.
The new phones will replace the current phones, which have many buttons for individual services (e.g., dining options, front desk, wake-up call.) During this test, the Guest Services Call Center Cast will be available to assist Guests.

Animal Kingdom Park Hours Extended April 22, 2015

Image
To make sure that Guests have the best possible experience, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will be extending operating hours Wednesday, April 22.
Park close has been changed from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. While most attractions will remain open until 7 p.m., the entertainment schedule for that day is not expected to be changed. As usual, we recommend you check back frequently here on Orlando Theme park News for additional updates.

Universal Studios Update: Garden Villas Area Expanding

Image
Most of the themed areas of Universal Studios Florida are completely free of any walls or barricades. After multiple years of aggressive expansion, it seems like things have really started to slow down, even though this is just a period of transition that should soon bring even more major projects to this fantastic theme park. As you will see, work continues in the Garden of Allah Villas area, while other sections of the park get refurbished. Let's take a look around:

Magic Kingdom Update: More Walls Installed in the Hub

Image
The major work being done on the central hub of the Magic Kingdom Park has resumed. While very little progress was done during the last few weeks (due to the high crowd levels), more is starting to be done in the heart of the park's central plaza, near the iconic Partners statue, which is now covered again.
As you will see, work also continues on the side of the hub, where new castle towers have been installed and new pathway also continue to take shape.

Disney Water Parks, Mini-Golf Courses Temporarily Closed

Image
Please, be advised that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, as well as Disney’s Miniature Golf Courses are temporarily closed due to inclement weather. UPDATE: all attractions have now re-opened.
If you are currently driving around the area, exercise extra caution, especially if you encounter thunderstorms or heavy rain. Also, be sure to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates in the future.

Clyde and Seamore's Sea Lion High Debuts at SeaWorld

Image
SeaWorld Orlando's newest (and funniest) show officially debuted in the park's newly-renamed Sea Lion Theater on Thursday, April 16, 2015. Just like its predecessor (Clyde and Seamore's Take Pirate Island), this great addition features two amazing sea lions, an otter, and even a walrus. Aside from that, everything else - including the set, the music, and some of the actions that the animals perform - is new, providing another reason to visitors to come back.

"Frozen" Summer Fun Premium Package Returns

Image
This summer, all Guests visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios will once again be able to enjoy "Frozen" Summer Fun at from June 17 to September 7, 2015.
During this special time, Guests can book the "Frozen" Summer Fun Premium Package to experience three of the event's most popular offerings from private locations. In addition to that, Guests that purchase the package will be able to enjoy refreshments and an assortment of decadent desserts during the day.

Walt Disney World: Floridian Way Closing Overnight

Image
Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom Resort area in the next few days should note that paving work will take place on Floridian Way beginning at 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, until about 6 a.m. on Wednesday, April 22. This work is scheduled to continue starting from 10 p.m. on April 22 until about 6 a.m. Thursday, April 23.
During these construction hours, traffic will be one-way only. Expect delays and allow for extra travel time when entering or leaving the area.

SEA LIFE Orlando Welcomes Sharks to Their New Habitat

Image
The SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium introduced sandbar sharks to their new home in Orlando last week. The sandbar sharks, also known as brown sharks, were transported to their 192,000-gallon habitat, joining their new aquatic neighbors. This marks the second group of fish to arrive at the aquarium, which previously included Everglades Pygmy Sunfish, Butterflyfish, Triggerfish, Moray Eels and more. More than 5,000 sea animals will be featured in 32 display habitats.

Animal Kingdom Update: More Walls Removed (PART 1)

Image
Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park is growing. This wonderful theme park will soon offer many more new attractions, shows, experiences, restaurants, and shops to future Guests. While waiting for these new additions to officially open, Guests will have to continue to be patient and deal with the large amount of walls that have been installed in many areas of the park. That being said, some walls recently came down around Discovery Island. Take a look:

Animal Kingdom Update: More Walls Removed (PART 2)

Image
Welcome to the second part of our newest Disney's Animal Kingdom photo-report. Be sure to go back to PART 1 of this update before proceeding. In the previous part, we walked around the parking area, the entrance plaza (where the new Monkey Kingdom sand sculpture is located), The Oasis, and Discovery Island. Since many projects are taking place around Discovery Island, we will continue to take a look around the area, and then we'll move on.

Animal Kingdom Update: More Walls Removed (PART 3)

Image
Welcome to part 3 of this latest Animal Kingdom photo-report. Feel free to go back to PART 2 of this update for even more photos of Discovery Island. As you might have noticed, the past two parts of this article have been almost completely focusing on the center and west side of Discovery Island. Now, we will focus on the east side (which is closer to the new Pandora - The World of AVATAR) and then we will visit Africa and the Harambe area.

Fifth Annual “DREAM BIG 5K” Takes Place at SeaWorld

Image
The Dawn Brancheau Foundation’s Fifth Annual Dream Big 5K was held this morning at SeaWorld Orlando. All event proceeds will benefit community service projects positively impacting organizations in Central Florida. The Dream Big 5K is a scenic 3.1 mile fun run through SeaWorld Orlando. Participants were encouraged to form teams and ask family, friends, and co-workers to join them. During the run, Dawn's inspirational music from her personal iPod was played.

Pirates of the Caribbean's Refurbishment Shortened

Image
As many of our Readers will remember, the Walt Disney World Resort recently confirmed that one of the most iconic attractions of the park - Pirates of the Caribbean - will close for a major refurbishment that was originally going to last more than four months. Earlier this morning, it was announced that the attraction is now scheduled to be closed from June 8 through September 25 (previously the refurbishment was scheduled to start on May 11).

Updated Downtown Disney Map Includes New Stores

Image
Just a few days ago, the Downtown Disney guidemaps were updated to include some of the newest additions to open around this great entertainment district.
Among the new venues featured on the map, Guests will find The BOATHOUSE Restaurant, the Super Hero Headquarters, Erwin Pearl, Art of Shaving, Sound Lion, Apex by Sunglass Hut, Chapel Hats, and Havaianas stores, as well as Eric McKenna's Bakery NYC, and much more. Take a look:

The Orlando Eye Lights Illuminate the I-Drive 360 Area

Image
For the first time ever, The Orlando Eye's beautiful LED lights were turned on in front of a large crowd that included Merlin employees and media members.
After turning on the huge switch, the huge observation wheel started to slowly turn clockwise, and the thousands of lights installed on the outer ring started to illuminate the wheel, little by little. The final product is absolutely outstanding... and we only saw one color scheme (more are coming soon)! Take a look:

Disney's Contemporary Resort to Host Beach Party Bash

Image
Disney's Contemporary Resort will be hosting a special spring Beach Party Bash for Guests staying at the hotel during April and May. Guests will be able to enjoy fun games, dancing, prizes and more. The April bashes are held from 6:30-10:30 p.m. on the Contemporary Beach (in case of inclement weather, the special event will take place in the Fantasia Ballroom). More information will be coming soon surrounding the events in May.