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Showing posts from June, 2015

SeaWorld Orlando Welcomes Two California Sea Lions

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This past week, SeaWorld Orlando welcomed two adorable California sea lions to the family. The sea lions were born at Pacific Point Preserve on June 23 and June 26. The recent sea lion births were among six that have taken place over the past few weeks during pupping season. Pupping season for California sea lions occurs during the summer months. These beautiful animals have a 12-month reproductive cycle, consisting of a 9-month gestation period.

DisneyQuest to Be Replaced by NBA Attraction in 2016

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This morning, the Walt Disney World Resort confirmed that DisneyQuest (the indoor interactive theme park located next to the Cirque du Soleil at Downtown Disney) will permanently close in 2016 to make way for the NBA Experience, a new, indoor attraction that was announced at the beginning of the month.
While details have yet to be shared, it is believed that some of the sport-themed games found at DisneyQuest could be reused in the new NBA Experience.

Animal Kingdom Update: New Starbucks Opens (PART 1)

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One of the most amazing Disney theme parks ever created keeps getting better.
While Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park is definitely underbuilt in terms of attractions, its theming is nothing short of superb, and the new themed areas, stores, and food & beverage locations that are being constructed in the park continue to follow the same template that was applied to all the themed areas that opened back in 1998. Let's take a look around to see what is new:

Animal Kingdom Update: New Starbucks Opens (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Animal Kingdom photo-report. As always, we invite you to check out PART 1 before proceeding any further. In the previous part of this large update, we took a quick look around the park's entrance and just a small section of Discovery Island, which is the area that is receiving the most attention at the moment (without counting the new Pandora: The World of AVATAR land, of course). Let's continue to explore the park.

Animal Kingdom Update: New Starbucks Opens (PART 3)

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Welcome to the third (and final) part of our latest Animal Kingdom photo-report. PART 2 of this update can be found by clicking on this link. As you have seen in the past two parts of this photo-tour, a lot of work continues to be done around Discovery Island, the new AVATAR area, and Africa. What about Asia and DinoLand U.S.A., though? While the majority of the construction projects are taking place elsewhere, there's definitely something going on there.

World Hippo Day Activities at Busch Gardens Tampa

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Hippo fans across the world have a great reason to celebrate, as World Hippo Day is coming to Busch Gardens on July 4, 2015. The Edge of Africa will host this world celebration event in style, and we welcome you to join in the fun! Naturally spending most of their day in the water, the hippos at Busch Gardens are in for a bug summer splash with frozen fruit popsicles, watermelons, animal experiences, and tons of interactive fun with the animal staff and you!

Hollywood Studios: The Magic of Disney Animation Closing

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Another attraction will soon close for good at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Just a few minutes ago, multiple news sources were able to officially confirm that The Magic of Disney Animation attraction (which includes the short show starring Mushu, the popular Animation Academy, walk-though exhibits, meet-and-greets, and interactive games) will permanently close on July 12, 2015.
Disney also officially announced that "work is underway on a new experience."

Tokelau Longhouse Opens July 1 at the Polynesian Resort

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The Tokelau Longhouse is set to reopen on Wednesday, July 1, making it the final longhouse opening in conjunction with the Disney Vacation Club expansion that included the rehab of many areas of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
The name of this longhouse comes from Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand located in the South Pacific. The influence of sharks is noticeable throughout the longhouse since Tokelau was officially declared a shark sanctuary in 2011.

Reign of Kong Construction: More Rocks and Theming

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The more we continue to look at the new King Kong themed area, the more we are impressed by it. The amazing thing is that they are not even done yet!
This afternoon we will (virtually) take you to Islands of Adventure to check out the progress that has been done in the past few days in that new area. As you will see, more rockwork continues to be added to the facade, while more themed elements are starting to appear around the area. Let's take a quick look around.

DVC Members Preview New Walt Disney World Offerings

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Disney Vacation Club Members heading to Florida this summer will be able to try two unique experiences coming soon to the Walt Disney World Resort.
From a culinary adventure to a trip through the wilderness, these unique events will have something the entire family will enjoy. And, as an added bonus, Disney Vacation Club Members will be among the first to experience these new events, with exclusive dates open to DVC Members and their Guests!

New Greeting Area for Pocahontas at Animal Kingdom

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June 23, 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of Disney’s 33rd animated classic, “Pocahontas.” The film has been loved for its Academy Award-winning music, as well as its heroine, ever since its theatrical release back in 1995.
Guests can now visit Pocahontas in a new character greeting location at Walt Disney World Resort. She has traveled “just around the riverbend” to the old Discovery Island Character Landing at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

Jurassic World Merchandise Available at Universal Orlando

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Fans of the new Jurassic World film are now able to sink their teeth (not literally) into all-new merchandise around the Universal Orlando Resort.
With a wide assortment of products, it’s now very easy to show off the fandom. Guests can purchase shirts, hats, drinkware, and much more featuring the new blue and silver Jurassic World logo. Stores also offer a colossal assortment of Jurassic World toys and plush, including selections featuring Indominus Rex.

New Hours for Hess Station Shuttle at Downtown Disney

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The operational hours for the free Guest shuttles that run from the Hess Station to Downtown Disney are changing slightly. Starting from Sunday, June 28, the hours will be as follows (be aware that shuttle times are subject to change):
- Sunday-Thursday: from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
- Friday-Saturday: from 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Guests who do not wish to use the shuttle may park in the new Orange garage.

New Guest Relaxation Area Coming Soon to Epcot

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Relaxation at Epcot is getting a whole new look. Starting June 28, 2015, Guests visiting Future World can take a break from the heat and charge their personal devices in comfort in the corridor between Character Spot and Club Cool.
With new seating and additional charging areas, the new Guest relaxation area will also offer two food & beverage carts serving frozen beverages, packaged sweets, and other savory options. Be sure to stop by this area in the future.

Fun Spot Orlando Update: More New Flat Rides Added

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Fun Spot America has been adding quite a few new attractions to its Orlando location. Some of these additions can be defined as mild thrill rides, even though there are also plenty of new attractions that can be enjoyed by the entire family, such as the new Gator Spot. In addition to that, some rumors point to the possibility of having an actual dark ride open within the park (we will talk about that project later this year). Let's take a look around the park:

Harambe Market Closing Early Today Due to Special Event

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Guests touring Disney's Animal Kingdom should be aware of the fact that the new Harambe Market will be closing at 5:30 p.m. this afternoon (Friday, June 26, 2015) in preparation for a convention to start in the courtyard at 7 p.m.
The new bypass connecting Asia with the Harambe area also will be closed beginning at 6 p.m. The current Animal Kingdom Times Guide will be incorrect, as they will not display the updated operating hours of the Harambe Market. 

Disney Parks Around the World Officially Ban Selfie Sticks

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As you might have heard in the past, Disney Parks in Florida and California recently banned selfie sticks from being used on rides and attractions. Today, a Disney Parks spokesperson confirmed that soon Guests will not be able to use selfie sticks at all when inside the parks. Here's the official statement:
We strive to provide a great experience for the entire family, and unfortunately selfie sticks have become a growing safety concern for our Guests and Cast.

Discovery Cove Celebrates 15 Years of Milestone Moments

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This summer, Discovery Cove in Orlando will celebrate 15 years since its grand opening. When the park first opened on July 1, 2000, it was an anomaly in the world of theme parks: a reservation-only experience limited to approximately 1,000 guests per day. At 15 acres, Discovery Cove opened with three signature experiences: guests could swim with dolphins, snorkel with rays and tropical fish, and hand feed exotic birds. But the number of offerings continued to grow.

Flame Tree Barbecue Reopens June 30 at Animal Kingdom

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Disney's Animal Kingdom Guests will soon be able to get all of their Flame Tree Barbecue favorites at the newly refurbished location. In fact, the popular quick-service restaurant (located within Discovery Island, right next to the entrance of "It's Tough to Be a Bug!") is currently planned to reopen June 30, 2015.
The work to cover the walkways to seating areas has not been completed yet. Construction will continue while the location is open without impacting Guests. 

Disney Water Parks and Golf Courses Temporarily Closed

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Guests currently visiting the Walt Disney World Resort should note that Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park, and Disney's Miniature Golf Courses are temporarily closed due to inclement weather. They will reopen to all Guests when it will be safe to do so.
Drivers should also be aware of the fact that the adverse weather conditions may affect their travel plans. Check back here on OTPN for additional updates.

Heartlake City Officially Debuts at LEGOLAND Florida

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A day ahead of its official opening, LEGOLAND Florida Resort offered media an exclusive preview of its newest land, LEGO Friends Heartlake City.
The theme park’s newest themed area is based on the popular LEGO Friends product line and is closely modeled after the five LEGO Friends characters (that include Olivia, Stephanie, Emma, Mia, and Andrea) and the many adventures in which they embark. Continue reading to learn more about the new offerings.

Magic Kingdom Update: Spotlight on Adventureland (Part 1)

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While work continues in the central hub of the Magic Kingdom Park, the rest of the park is getting quite a lot of attention. In addition to the usual Main Street facades behind tarps (that is really becoming almost a normal sight), the former Adventureland Veranda continues to be expanded and the nearby attractions keep on receiving upgrades, like the Jungle Cruise or Pirates of the Caribbean (which is currently closed for refurbishment). Let's take a look around:

Magic Kingdom Update: Spotlight on Adventureland (Part 2)

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Welcome to part 2 of our newest Magic Kingdom photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers. Be sure to check out PART 1 by clicking on this link. In the previous part, we took a look around Town Square, the rest of Main Street U.S.A., as well as the majority of Adventureland. Let's now continue our tour of this land, and then we'll move on to the rest of the park. There are a few minor changes to check out around Liberty Square and Fantasyland.

SeaWorld Orlando Cares For Rough-Toothed Dolphin

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On June 21, 2015, SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team was called by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to receive and care for a rough-toothed dolphin who was found beached on the shoreline of Clearwater Beach. Rough-toothed dolphins are found in warm climates and in deep waters. They are known to live near Hawaii and the Northern Gulf of Mexico. The 200-pound, 7-foot adult male was retrieved by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Window Display Celebrates Polynesian Village's History

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Imagineers looked to the past to create the future of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. To remind Guests about this, a new heritage wall celebrates the resort’s beginnings and the influences that led to its new design. Windows once used by Wyland Galleries (just off the main lobby) were originally scheduled to be covered. Instead, a display honoring the history and inspiration of the resort was determined as a natural fit for a property with such a passionate Guest following.

New Spa Offerings at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

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New hand and foot treatments are now available at the Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center, located at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (407-WDW-SPAS):
Manicure (45 minutes) - $35Pedicure (50 minutes) - $55Polish Change (15 minutes) - $12

Orlando Visitors Can Now Call a Taxi Through a New App

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Mears Transportation recently launched a new app for taxi service that allows users to reserve a cab and pay their fare right from their smartphones. The new Mears Taxi app makes the process of ordering transportation faster and simpler.
“Our commitment to service excellence is something we take very seriously at Mears,” stated President Paul Mears III. “The Mears Taxi app is a tool for our customers that puts quick, reliable taxi service in the palm of their hands.”

Disney Water Parks and Golf Courses Currently Closed

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Guests currently visiting the Walt Disney World Resort should note that Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park, and Disney's Miniature Golf Courses are temporarily closed due to inclement weather. They will reopen to all Guests when it will be safe to do so.
Drivers should also be aware of the fact that the adverse weather conditions may affect their travel plans. Check back here on OTPN for additional updates.

Port Orleans Resort: New Merchandise and More Updates

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Disney's Port Orleans Resort is undoubtedly one of the most beloved moderate resort found at Walt Disney World. Multiple special events take place year-round at the hotel, and new resort-specific merchandise continues to be added to the stores' offerings on a regular basis. This is a positive trend, of course.
A few days ago, one of our Readers contacted us to let us know that a few more items were recently added. Additionally, there are other news you should know.

Universal Orlando Rumors: New NBC Themed Attraction

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In the past few months, some Universal Orlando fan sites reported some rumors that pointed to having a possible NBC Experience coming to the Garden of Allah Villas, a themed area located in the Hollywood section of Universal Studios.
While quite a few sources have confirmed that this will, indeed, be an NBC-themed attraction, we could soon see something being installed in the area that would finally officially confirm the theme and nature of this "mysterious" addition.

Disney's Water Parks Refurbishment Schedule (2016)

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The 2015-2016 refurbishment schedule for Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon was recently updated. Here is the new downtime schedule for both water parks:
1) Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park is now expected to be temporarily closed for a scheduled refurbishment from October 25, 2015 through January 2, 2016;
2) Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is scheduled to be temporarily closed for its seasonal refurbishment from January 3 through March 12, 2016.

The Oasis Opening Early at Animal Kingdom From June 29

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Beginning June 29, 2015, Guests visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom will be able to enter the Oasis area up to 30 minutes prior to park opening on most days.
During this additional time in the park, Cast Members will be available to assist Guests in making FastPass+ selections for the day, rent strollers or wheelchairs, and more. Attractions, shows, and exhibitss will be available after park opening time. This test will continue for approximately four weeks (except EMH). 

SeaWorld Awards Scholarships to 13 Florida Students

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SeaWorld Orlando awarded 13 extraordinary students, who have a passion for protecting and preserving the environment, with $1,000 scholarships to use at any college or university that they plan on attending as part of the company’s Environmental Scholarship Program. The students received their scholarships at SeaWorld Orlando during an awards ceremony which took place Friday at noon.
The scholarship was offered to high school seniors in Orange County Schools.

Site Reveals How Much Disney Parks Make Every Second

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Have you ever wondered how much money is made every single second at a Disney theme park? While it is virtually impossible to know the exact amount that is made (it is unlikely that Disney would officially release a statement on this regard), an unofficial site is now able to estimate the per-second earnings of each Disney park in the world. According to BroadAndBlue.com, the biggest money-maker of the company is, unsurprisingly, the Magic Kingdom Park.

Queue Test at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

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As part of a test at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the queue at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show will not open until 30 minutes prior to showtime on June 25-26, 2015. Guests arriving more than half an hour prior to the show will be encouraged to continue enjoying the park until the queue has opened.
Upon opening the queue, Guests with FastPass+ entitlements for the show will enter the theater prior to standby Guests (following the standard practice).

CityWalk: NBC Sports Grill & Brew Construction Update

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Universal Orlando's CityWalk is expanding again. While the second phase of this expansion project doesn't sound to be as major as phase one, two new locations will soon open along the central lagoon: the NBC Sports Grill & Brew and an unnamed new restaurant or attraction for the space currently occupied by the NBA City restaurant. This afternoon we will take a look around the area, focusing solely on the future NBC Sports Grill & Brew. Enjoy the photos:

Interactive Water Feature Rehab at Contemporary Resort

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Guests staying at Disney's Contemporary Resort should note that the hotel's main interactive water feature will be temporarily closed on Tuesday, June 23 and Wednesday, June 24, for scheduled maintenance. The water play area is currently scheduled to reopen on Thursday, June 25, 2015.
Resort Guests should contact the Front Desk for more information or to receive directions to other interactive water features available at Walt Disney World.

New Disney Conservation Fund Buttons Now Available

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In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Disney Conservation Fund, Guests will begin receiving a new Conservation Hero button at all contribution locations throughout the parks and resorts. As locations deplete their current supplies of buttons, they will be replaced with the new 20th anniversary button style. The goal is for all “old” buttons to be used before new ones are distributed, and the new buttons are anticipated to be distributed starting the week of June 21.

Aquatica Orlando Hosts World's Largest Swimming Lesson

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On Thursday, June 18, Aquatica Orlando hosted the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson. SeaWorld's Aquatica was among the 900 aquatic centers, pools and waterparks that hosted a swim lesson to help break last year’s world record of 36,564 lesson participants and help save lives. Beating last year’s record at the water park, 149 children took part in the record setting swim lesson that took place at Big Surf Shores, one of Aquatica's expansive wave pools. 

Downtown Disney Update: Visiting The Landing (PART 1)

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The major Downtown Disney expansion project continues to change the overall look of this entertainment district. The beautiful landscaping, the highly-themed new buildings and props seen around The Landing, and the larger pathways contribute in creating an even more pleasant experience for Guests, despite the temporary walls and traffic conditions that still plague the area. This morning we will take a look around to see what has been done since our last visit.

Downtown Disney Update: Visiting The Landing (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Downtown Disney photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers. PART 1 can be found by clicking here. In the previous installment of this update, we took a look around the West Side and a section of The Landing. As you have seen, plenty of work is being done around those areas, but there's mush more going on in the rest of The Landing and the Town Center. Let's continue our tour of the future Disney Springs:

Downtown Disney Update: Visiting The Landing (PART 3)

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Welcome to the third (and final) part of our latest Downtown Disney construction update. Be sure to check out PART 2 by clicking on this link. Previously, we took a brief tour of The BOATHOUSE, and then we moved on to the rest of The Landing. After that, we took a peek behind the walls to check out the progress that has been done in the Town Center since our last visit. Let's continue to walk around the area. There's much more to see...

Kennedy Space Center: Rocket Launch on June 26

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Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests can experience the stunning sights and powerful sounds of the June 26 launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, scheduled for 11:09 a.m. EDT, with four exclusive launch viewing locations from which to choose. The Falcon 9 rocket will lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for this seventh of 14 resupply missions by SpaceX for NASA, delivering food and supplies to the crew aboard the ISS. 

Disney's Hollywood Studios: "Frozen" Summer Fun Map

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The "Frozen" Summer Fun event is in full swing at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Guests who enjoyed last year's activities will be glad to know that the majority of them has returned to the park this summer, including the great fireworks show at the end of a fun-filled day. If you are planning on visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios in the next few months, we are sure you will enjoy taking a look at the current park map, which includes all the special activities currently available.

In-Room Bathroom Test at Coronado Springs Resort

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Starting from last Sunday (June 14, 2015), a test was implemented at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort (which involves Ranchos rooms 7165 and 7166) to collect Guest feedback regarding new in-room bathroom configurations.
Guests selected to stay in the pilot rooms will be invited to participate in a ten minute phone interview once they’ve a reasonable amount of time to test one of two new bathroom configurations. Continue reading for additional information.

King Kong Project Update: More Scaffolding Appears

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The new King Kong land continues to take shape at Islands of Adventure. While a big section of the scaffolding that was around the humongous facade came down last week, more temporary structures and tarps recently appeared in front of the new arch that will soon welcome Guests into the new realm of Kong.
Today, we will bring you back to the park to visually check out the progress that has been done since the last time we stopped by the area. Enjoy the photo-tour.

Poolside Service Now Available at the Polynesian Resort

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Relaxing just got easier for Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Guests.
Poolside service is now available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at the completely refurbished Lava Pool Deck and the nearby beach. Guests can choose to have cocktails, non-alcoholic drinks, flatbreads, sandwiches, kid’s meals, decadent desserts, and much more delivered right to their spot in the sand (or on the pool deck). The poolside service began on May 31, 2015 to a very positive response.  

After-Hour Entertainment Tests at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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As part of the largest expansion in the history of Animal Kingdom, new nighttime entertainment acts will be added for Guests to enjoy after the sun goes down.
To prepare for these new shows, Animal Kingdom's entertainment cast will be hosting early dress rehearsals around the Tree of Life after park close on June 22, 23, and 24. The Animals, Science & Environment team will be engaged and will make sure that this will have no impact on the welfare of the nearby animals.

SeaWorld Returns Sea Turtle to Port Canaveral Waters

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On the morning of June 13, 2015, the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team returned a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, the world’s most endangered species of sea turtle, to Canaveral National Seashore’s Playalinda Beach during the Titusville Sea Turtle Festival. Weighing 4.5 pounds at the time of rescue, the turtle has been thriving during the rehabilitation process, gaining strength and weight. The healthy turtle now weighs 8.5 pounds, nearly double its rescued weight.

Monorail Service to Epcot Currently Unavailable

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Due to technical issues, the Epcot monorail beam is currently unavailable. Bus and watercraft transportation is available for Guests to travel to and from Epcot.
Guests staying at Disney's BoardWalk, Disney's Yacht & Beach Club , or the Swan & Dolphin hotels may use either walk or use watercraft transportation to exit the park. All Guests staying at other Disney Resort may use the buses near the main entrance of the park. Be sure to check back on OTPN for updates.