Showing posts from May, 2015

New Downtown Disney Garage Exit Ramp Now Available

As Downtown Disney transforms into Disney Springs, the area is "ramping up" (pun intended) to reach another infrastructure milestone. An additional exit ramp is now open in the Orange Garage, providing another way to exit the garage onto westbound Buena Vista Drive (toward Bonnet Creek Parkway) for vehicles parked on levels 3 and 4. Vehicles parked on levels 1 and 2 of the garage will continue to exit on the ground floor through intersections 3 and 5.

SeaWorld Returns 3 Sea Turtles to the Canaveral Coast

On May 20, the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team returned 3 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the world’s most endangered species of sea turtle, to the warm Florida waters by Canaveral National Seashore. The 3 turtles returned were part of the 72 sea turtles that were rescued last November 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.

Hollywood Studios: The Great Movie Ride Gets Updated

Last fall, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) announced new strategic relationships with the Walt Disney World Resort and The Walt Disney Studios to broaden its reach in family entertainment with joint efforts centered on classic film. Guests visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios will now notice some minor (but still important) changes when visiting The Great Movie Ride, as the park's iconic attraction received some upgrades in the queue, pre-show, and the grand finale.

Magic Kingdom Closing Early May 31 Due to Special Event

On Sunday, May 31, the Magic Kingdom Park is expected to host approximately 6,000 attendees of International Pow Wow (IPW) for a private event. For this reason, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland will close at 5:00 p.m., while the rest of the park will remain operating for at least another hour (the park's closing time will be 6 p.m., as seen on this week's Times Guide). Additionally, some of the roads in the area will be temporarily closed during the evening.

Cobra's Curse Family Coaster Coming to Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa will put a spin on family thrills in 2016 with a brand new family thrill ride: Cobra’s Curse. This spin coaster is the only one of its kind in the world, featuring a vertical lift and taking riders on a whirlwind adventure of exciting explorations. Located in the Egypt area of the park, explorers will come face-to-face with an 80-foot snake icon, trek over the park’s Serengeti Plain and discover the mysteries of an Egyptian archeological excavation.

Animal Kingdom Update: Tree of Life Work (PART 1)

As the busy summer season continues to get closer, new areas and walkways are beginning to open in phases at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
At the same time, multiple sections of the park continue to remain closed as they get major refurbishments or entirely new attractions. This morning we will tour the park, to check out the work being done on the Rivers of Light nighttime show, the Flame Tree Barbecue, the new walkway in Asia, and much more:

Animal Kingdom Update: Tree of Life Work (PART 2)

Welcome to the second part of our newest Disney's ANimal Kingdom Theme Park photo-report. Be sure to check out PART 1 before proceeding. In the previous installment of this update, we took a look around the parking lot, the entrance of the park, the walkways around the Tree of Life, the Flame Tree Barbecue area, Pizzafari, and more. We'll now continue our virtual tour of the park focusing on the Asia and Africa themed areas of the park. Enjoy:

Two Blizzard Beach Slides Closed Due to Water Main Leak

Yesterday morning, the popular Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher attractions closed unexpectedly at Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park due to a water main leak. It's unclear when they will reopen, as the two slides have been "temporarily closed until further notice" according to the Walt Disney World Resort.
Guests that are wishing to visit another water park (with a Water Parks Fun & More ticket) will be offered transportation to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon .

"Heroes and Legends" Coming to Kennedy Space Center

On May 29, 2015, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex broke ground on Heroes and Legend,an amazing attraction designed to touch the hearts and minds of the next generation of space explorers scheduled to open in 2016.
Held after this year’s U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction, the groundbreaking ceremony featured a large gathering of astronauts, including many hall of fame members. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the hall of fame.

Celebrate "World Oceans Day" at Walt Disney World

While the official "World Oceans Day" is recognized Monday, June 8, The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion at Epcot will celebrate this special occasion on Wednesday, June 3, to get a head start on celebrating the beauty of our oceans and the creatures that live there. Guests will have the opportunity to explore the 5.7-million-gallon saltwater aquarium, learn interesting facts about the animals and play at different ocean-themed areas inside The Seas from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

DinoLand to Close Early at Animal Kingdom on June 3

Guests visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park should note that, due to a special event happening June 3, DinoLand U.S.A. will have a hard close at 6:30 p.m. This will be accurately listed in the Times Guide that is available to Guests.
Other areas of the park (including most of the rides, attractions, and dining locations) will be open until 7 p.m. on that same day. Be sure to stay tuned here on Orlando Theme Park News for additional advisories and updates.

Volcano Bay Water Park Coming to Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort today announced a project of remarkable vision: to bring to life an entirely new water theme park experience. Called "Volcano Bay," it will join Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure and become the resort’s third incredibly immersive park. Universal’s Volcano Bay will be a place for the entire family. It will be a completely new generation of experience that reimagines what it means to be a water park. 

Grand Floridian Resort: Beach Pool Hours Change

Beginning from this month, the operating hours for the Beach Pool (located at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa) will be 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Previously, the Beach Pool was open from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. (midnight) during the summer season. The location is currently expected to operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the winter season. Be sure to stay tuned here on Orlando Theme Park News for additional news or updates in regards to these services.

Guidemaps Availability Reduced at Magic Kingdom Park

Since the introduction of MyMagic+ and the My Disney Experience mobile app, Guests have had the convenience of managing their entire Walt Disney World Resort visit on the go. As more Guests have begun using this powerful tool to access real time information about all of their offerings (including park maps and showtimes), The Walt Disney World Resort has an opportunity to reduce the usage of paper guidemaps and times guides throughout the park.

"Mako" Hyper Coaster Coming to SeaWorld in 2016

Surfacing summer 2016 at SeaWorld Orlando will be Mako, a new, 200-foot-tall hypercoaster that will reach 73 mph along 4,760 feet of steel track (nearly a mile long) and leave riders feeling both breathless and weightless. Named for one of the ocean’s fastest known sharks, Mako will be the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster in the Orlando area. Hypercoasters are known for high speeds and steep drops and hills that create a feeling of weightlessness or “air time.”

Minor Construction on Vacation Club Way (May 28–29)

Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in the next two days should take note of the following advisory (it should impact a limited number of Guests):
From 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. on May 28–29, 2015, there will be traffic impacts due to an electrical manhole repair on Vacation Club Way. Flaggers will be in place to direct traffic and help Guests to safely drive through the construction zone. As a result, be sure to drive with caution on Vacation Club Way.

New Star Wars Weekends Contest Presented by Topps

Would you like to have the chance to win a complete box of "Star Wars Galactic Files" (valued at $75.00) by participating in a fun contest? The Topps company is giving Orlando Theme Park News Readers the opportunity to do just so.
To enter this giveaway, Readers are asked to take one (or more) photos in front of the many oversized trading cards located near Darth's Mall, the temporary Star Wars-themed store now open at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Dragon Fire Grill Opens June 1st at Busch Gardens Tampa

Just a few days ago, Busch Gardens Tampa officially confirmed that the all-new Dragon Fire Grill will officially open to all park Guests on June 1, featuring cuisines from around the world. Located within the boundaries of Pantopia (the former Timbuktu themed area of the park), Dragon Fire Grill will feature market-style dining, a wide selection of beverages and brand-new entertainment. Continue reading to learn more about this new themed quick-service restaurant:

Magic Kingdom Hub Construction Update: End of Spring

The "Spring Fever" has almost completely disappeared from the Orlando area, as summer crowds start heading to the parks and temperatures keep climbing. In the meantime, work continues in the central hub of the Magic Kingdom Park, which has been busier than usual in the past few days due to the extended holiday weekend. This afternoon we will check on the progress that has been done since our last visit to the park (dating back to the beginning of May).

Disney Dining Plan Enhancements Begin May 31, 2015

As part of the popular Magic Your Way Vacation Package, Disney Dining Plans continue to be Guest favorites at the Walt Disney World Resort. To improve this service, several enhancements are taking place that will expand Guest offerings and simplify the usability of the program. Starting May 31, Guests will have more flexibility and choice in using entitlements in nearly every Disney-operated food & beverage and merchandise venue throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.

Raptor Encounter Officially Opens at Islands of Adventure

An immersive and truly unique meet-and-greet recently opened at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Park Guests can now get close and personal with some of the park's beautiful velociraptors in the new Raptor Encounter, located within the boundaries of the lush Jurassic Park themed area (an appropriate setting). The official Universal Orlando Blog just released some additional information regarding this new experience, including photos and a short video. Enjoy:

Updated Disney's Animal Kingdom Guidemap (May 2015)

Updated guidemaps for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park are currently in circulation around the Walt Disney World Resort. The guidemap cover features ‘Expedition Everest- Legend of the Forbidden Mountain’ and includes the new food and beverage location “Harambe Market,” which is now open in the Africa section of the park. Featuring African-style ribs, chicken, sausages, corn dogs and specialty drinks, Guests will surely enjoy this new themed offering.

The Lion King Musical Early Bookings for DVC Members

Disney Vacation Club Members can enjoy early bookings to purchase tickets for the traveling Tony Award-winning The Lion King musical in select cities.
The show combines stunning visual artistry, unforgettable music crafted by the award-winning songwriters, and exhilarating choreography for an awe-inspiring production that the whole family will enjoy. This truly remarkable tale of hope and adventure has already found its way in the hearts of millions of people.

New Camp Kennedy Space Center Celebrates The Future

For a summer camp experience that educates and entertains children ages 8 to 16, Camp Kennedy Space Center day camp provides young people with an inspiring week of fun and enriching activities. The camp, which incorporates STEM learning and NASA-based curriculum, runs weekly beginning June 8 and ending August 7, 2015. Camp Kennedy Space Center is all new this year with educational activities to keep kids engaged and learning during the summer. 

Summertime Freeze Now Open at Disney’s Castaway Cay

Guests that love to spend their vacation time on a relaxing Disney Cruise will be interested in knowing that a new themed bar recently opened near the shores of Castaway Cay, Disney's private island. Located off of the Pelican Point tram stop and near Buy the Seashore and Flippers & Floats, the Summertime Freeze smoothie bar is now open to all Guests. Olaf’s dream of relaxing in the summer came true when he set his snowy foot on Disney’s Castaway Cay.

"My Disney Girl's Perfectly Princess Tea Party" Changes

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort currently offers younger Guests the opportunity to enjoy the "My Disney Girl's Perfectly Princess Tea Party" on most days.
Beginning November 29, 2015, this themed party will be unavailable Tuesdays and Thursdays (the new schedule is subject to change at any given time and for any reason, especially if a major holiday falls on those days). Be sure to keep this change in mind when trying to book a reservation in the near future.

"Project: Time Off" Invites Floridians to Plan a Staycation

Florida Residents, do you have a few vacation days left for the year? Studies by the U.S. Travel Association show you probably do. On average, Americans fail to use 3.2 vacation days per year, which adds up to 429 million vacation that go unused across the country (click here for additional information).
In celebration of Orlando playing host to the Travel Industry’s Super Bowl, IPW, put those vacation days to use and plan a Central Florida staycation!

Harambe Market Opens at Animal Kingdom (PHOTOS)

The fictional village of Harambe has expanded once again at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park thanks to the opening of the beautiful Harambe Market. This highly-themed new area offers a wide variety of food and beverage options that will surely satisfy the cravings of the many Guests that will pass by the area. Even if you are not hungry, the details seen around this new section of the park will keep you busy for some time. Let's explore this great marketplace together:

Hoypoloi Store to Close May 25 at Downtown Disney

The Hoypoloi store will officially close on May 25 at Downtown Disney, making way for a new location for United World Soccer. Some of Hoypoloi’s products will continue to be available at their sister store, Pop Gallery (which is also located at Downtown Disney West Side). Specializing in authentic soccer gear and merchandise from multiple teams around the globe, United World Soccer will transition from its current kiosk location and open in its new store in July.  

Ross Lynch Presents Newest Madame Tussauds Figure

Music, film, and television star Ross Lynch met his new wax figure for Madame Tussauds Orlando on May 21 at the attraction’s new location at I-Drive 360.
Lynch met with Madame Tussauds artists where more than 300 measurements of his head and body were taken to create a perfect replica of the rising star. At the sitting, Lynch and his father were discussing several ideas for his figure’s pose, when he fell into a casual stance that was reflective of his personality.

"World Showcase: DestiNations" Tour Debuts at Epcot

A new tour, known as World Showcase: DestiNations, brings culture, history, and Disney magic to life at Epcot. From the streets of Paris to the Bavarian countryside, this tour gives Guests the opportunity to see what has inspired the Disney animators for many years in the creation of some of the company's most beloved movie classics. The five-hour World Showcase walking tour discusses highlights from over four thousand years of architecture and world history.

Additional Construction to Begin at Animal Kingdom

The Walt Disney World Resort just announced internally that construction will begin the evening of May 26 on a new “grab and go” food and beverage location in the Asia section (Anandapur) of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
The area that will be under construction is the former FASTPASS distribution area for Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. More updates will be shared as we get closer to the planned opening in late fall 2015.

Universal Studios Update: Spring is Almost Over (PART 1)

The temperature continues going up at a very fats rate. This means that we will soon have to say goodbye to spring, as summer comes back once again.
As mentioned in our previous photo-report (which focused on the new Universal Studios Store themed windows), the resort will soon enter in its 25th year of operation. While no major attraction is scheduled to debut this year, there are a few minor projects taking place inside Universal Studios Florida.

Universal Studios Update: Spring is Almost Over (PART 2)

Welcome to the second installment of our newest Universal Studios Florida photo-report. Be sure to check out PART 1 of this update before proceeding. In the previous part, we took a look around the park's entrance, Production Central, Hollywood, the KidZone, and more. Let's now continue our tour of the park, which will include stops at Springfield, World Expo, the London waterfront, San Francisco, and New York. We hope you will enjoy the rest of this update.

Ballyhoo Guided Tours Being Offered at BoardWalk Resort

Did you know that Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort may enjoy the special "BoardWalk Ballyhoo Guided Tour?" This free 60-minute guided tour explores the history of the original boardwalk in Atlantic City that inspired Disney Imagineers to build the BoardWalk Resort. Your guide will showcase artifacts and unique period artwork designed to take you back in time to another era. Everyone can enjoy this tour, even those not staying overnight at the hotel.

Fantasmic! FastPass+ Selection Advisory for July 21-22

Due to unknown reasons, pre-arrival FastPass+ selections for Fantasmic! will not be available July 21-22, 2015. Therefore, Guests will not be able to make advance FastPass+ selections for the show through the My Disney Experience site/app; however, day-of FastPass+ selections for Fantasmic! will be available.
Guests can visit the multiple FastPass+ kiosks to select same-day FastPass+ offerings for the show. All is expected to be back to normal by July 23.

Endangered Ring-Tailed Lemurs Born at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa recently welcomed three baby endangered ring-tailed lemurs to the more than 12,000 animals that call the park home.
First-time mother Canada gave birth to Squirt on March 19, and twins Schweps and Seagramms were born to Ginger on March 27, 2015. Guests will be able to see the lively baby lemurs in the Edge of Africa area of the park in June as the animal care team continues to introduce them to their new habitat.

Last Beach Party Bash at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Just as a reminder, Disney's Contemporary Resort will be hosting the last Spring Beach Party Bash for hotel Guests on Monday, May 25, 2015. There will be fun games, dancing, prizes, and much more for Guests to enjoy.
This special party is currently scheduled to take place between 6–10:30 p.m. on the Contemporary Beach. Note that in case of adverse weather conditions the party will move to an indoor location. Stop by the reception to learn more.

Magic Kingdom Street Party Adjustments in June 2015

Due to concrete work on Main Street, U.S.A., the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party will be presented at 12:30 and 5:40 p.m. on June 2, 3, 8, 15, and 29. Also during these dates, the Main Street Trolley Show (performing multiple times during the morning) will use the Main Street Fire Truck.
Remember to refer to the park's weekly Times Guide (which can be found here) for the most up-to-date operating hours and entertainment information.

New Universal Studios Store Windows Celebrate the Past

Just a few days ago, the windows of the Universal Studios Store (located inside Universal Studios Florida) were refurbished to include props, merchandise, and artworks celebrating past (and present) attractions that have left their mark at the resort, including JAWS, Kongfrontation, Back to the Future and more.
In the following photos, you will see just some of the displays that Universal Studios Florida Guests are now able to view while passing by the store.

Animal Kingdom Entertainment Changes Beginning May 24

Beginning May 24, 2015, some entertainment adjustments will take place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. As part of these changes, Guests will be able to meet Tarzan daily along the Discovery Island Trail, while Pocahontas will be greeting Guests intermittently at the Discovery Island Character Landing location.
As always, we encourage you to always reference the park's Times Guide (which can be found here) for the most up-to-date character greeting times.

Port Orleans Resort: New menu at Boatwright's Dining Hall

With the warmer weather quickly approaching, the popular Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort has updated its menu offerings to Guests.
While the Gulf Delta Chilled Shellfish has been removed from the old menu (highlights are found HERE), the Ol’ Man Island Oysters have been added, now combined with the new Colonel’s Peace Pieces, featuring a blend of lightly fried oysters, crawfish, shrimp, okra, and drizzled with the house-made remoulade.

This Month in Space - MAY 2015

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex just shared with us the newest edition of the special "This Month in Space" series. These articles help all of us to remember interesting details about the rich past of space exploration.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering fun and educational activities. We are sure you will agree with us that there is no better source for such interesting information.

Hollywood Studios Update: The Stage Returns (PART 1)

The first phase of the Disney's Hollywood Studios hub restoration project has finally been completed. In addition to the removal of the hat (imagine that it was still around just a few months ago!), new palm trees have been planted in the refurbished planter where a temporary stage now stands. The second (rumored) phase of this project points to a retractable (and permanent stage). Let's take a look around the park to see what else has changed in the past few weeks:

Hollywood Studios Update: The Stage Returns (PART 2)

Welcome to the second part of our newest Hollywood Studios photo-report. Be sure to check out also PART 1 of this update by clicking on this link. Previously, we walked around the entrance of the park, the beautiful Hollywood Boulevard, the central plaza of the park, Echo lake, and nearby areas. Let's now move on to other sections of the park, such as the Muppet*Vision 3D area, the Streets of America, the former Backlot area, Pixar Place, and more.

Hollywood Studios Update: The Stage Returns (PART 3)

Here we are on the third and final of our latest Disney's Hollywood Studios photo-report. Click on this link to go back to PART 2 of this update.
As you will have noticed by taking a look at the previous photos, the Star Wars Weekends props are everywhere. We will have a photo-gallery covering the offerings of this year's event in the next few days, as well as a great giveaway opportunity for our Readers. For now, let's complete our tour of the park.

SeaWorld Announces Support for Killer Whale Research

On May 19, 2015, SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. announced a commitment of $1.5 million over three years to a new partnership with The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (abbreviated: NFWF) through the Killer Whale Research and Conservation Program (abbreviated: KWRCP). Support of the KWRCP is part of SeaWorld’s $10 million pledge to fund research and conservation for killer whales in the wild – the largest private commitment of its kind.

Magic Kingdom/Disneyland Times Guide for 24-Hour Event

As you already know, the Magic Kingdom Park (and both parks at Disneyland Resort California) will remain open for 24 continuous hours from 6 a.m. on May 22, 2015 until 6 a.m. on May 23, 2015. While all three parks will offer non-stop entertainment, some attractions and dining locations may take a break at a certain time during the event. One of our sources was able to provide us scans of the Times Guides for the three locations. We hope you'll find them helpful:

Animal Kingdom: Harambe Market Officially Opens May 23

The new Harambe Marketplace is set to open to all Guests this Saturday (May 23, 2015) at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
The beautiful Harambe Market will include a variety of African-inspired foods and beverages (similar to the ones you’d find in a street market in Africa) at four walk-up windows and more shaded places for Guests to relax and enjoy. This new addition also includes a new pathway to Asia for Guest convenience. 

Florida Residents Spring Offer at Kennedy Space Center

With the return of the popular Florida Four-Pack special, there is no better time for Florida residents to experience Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
The Florida Four-Pack offers a party of four Florida residents the opportunity to experience all the fun and excitement the Visitor Complex offers at the special price of $139 plus tax – a savings of more than $60. Available through June 14, the Florida Resident $139 Four-Pack is available only via an online coupon.