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Showing posts from September, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Apple Fries Coming to LEGOLAND Florida

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Granny’s Apple Fries are undoubtedly some of the most popular snacks that LEGOLAND Florida Guests enjoy while visiting the kid-friendly theme park.
If you had the chance to taste the warm Granny Smith apple fries dusted with cinnamon and sugar you will know that they are delicious. Starting Friday, Oct. 2, the park will offer a first-ever seasonal twist: pumpkin spice apple fries. Both flavors will be available for $5.25, along with a $7.25 combo including a drink.

Magic Kingdom Park Hours Extended Until 10 p.m. Tonight

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In order to ensure that Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort have the best possible experience, the Magic Kingdom Park will be extending operating hours this evening. Park close has been changed from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. for Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. While the majority of attractions, restaurants, and shops will continue to operate until park close, the entertainment schedule is not going to be affected. Stay tuned on OTPN for more news and updates.

Issue Processing Apple Pay with Discover Cards at WDW

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Apple recently began allowing Discover Card members the ability to load their card into Apple Pay; however, the acceptance at Walt Disney World locations is not functioning at this time. The Walt Disney World Resort is aware of this issue and is working to fix it. All other contactless credit cards are processing correctly with Apple Pay. Additionally, all other payment transactions with Discover credit cards are currently working properly at all locations around the resort.

Busch Gardens Welcomes Another Baby Wildebeest

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Busch Gardens Tampa is excited to welcome another baby wildebeest this year. The male was born on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 with the assistance of the animal care team during delivery. Within 24 hours, both the calf and mother were successfully reintroduced to their own herd and welcomed right away.
The gestation period for wildebeest is between 8-9 months and calves will nurse for most of the first year, following their mothers as they move with the herd.

Pirates of the Caribbean Reopens at Magic Kingdom Park

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The extremely popular Pirates of the Caribbean dark ride finally reopened on September 26 to Magic Kingdom Park Guests after a lengthy refurbishment.
As expected, the entire ride feels like new, thanks to the extensive work that has been done around the ride path in the past three months. In addition to better lighting effects and cleaner rockwork (dust had gathered for years, and could be seen even in low light conditions), the Audio-Animatronics received new outfits.

Downtown Disney Officially Becomes Disney Springs Today

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While construction is still i full swing around the Downtown Disney area, another important milestone was reached today. After more than two years since the original announcement, Downtown Disney officially became Disney Springs this morning (the majority of the road signs around property have already been modified to reflect this change). A new Disney Springs map is now available to Guests visiting the area (which does not appear to include any major updates).

Universal Studios Update: Minor Changes Around the Park

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After months of minimal activity, Universal Studios Florida is finally starting to get back to work to prepare for the next wave of new attractions. Indeed, work on the brand-new Fast & Furious ride is already underway, while Twister is still rumored to close before the end of the year to be transformed into an entirely new experience. In addition to these major projects, quite a few areas of the park continue to receive minor improvements. Take a look around with us:

Extra Magic Hours Test Concluding at Kali River Rapids

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Guests visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom in the future should note that Friday, October 2, will be the final morning that Kali River Rapids will operate during Extra Magic Hours (EMH) as part of a seasonal test that began in mid-August. Kali River Rapids will open with the rest of the park at 9 a.m. on EMH mornings beginning Wednesday, Oct. 7. As a reminder, Animal Kingdom's EMH mornings will be moving to Wednesday and Friday mornings in the new fiscal year.

Magic Kingdom Hub Update: Third Castle Tower Unveiled

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After months of construction, the tarps that formerly surrounded the third castle tower (that has been built in the central hub of the Magic Kingdom Park) have finally been removed. While it is still behind walls, the additional tower will soon serve as tech booth that will be used during certain times of the day.
Today, we will take a look around the entire central plaza of the park, as some new sections have opened since our last update. Join us while we tour the area:

LEGOLAND Hotel Restaurant Features Organic Ingredients

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As shared on the official blog of the LEGOLAND Florida Resort, "when guests visit the brand-new LEGOLAND Hotel... they can also enjoy creative food and beverages made with many fresh, organic ingredients sourced locally. Some are really local. As in right out of the hotel’s backyard. As Executive Chef James Boheim explained, items grown in the hotel’s garden are incorporated into many dishes offered at Bricks Family Restaurant and the nearby Skyline Lounge.

Walt Disney World Bus Service Adjustments (Oct. 2015)

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To improve the overall Guest experience at the Walt Disney World Resort, some changes will impact the bus service around the resort beginning Sunday, Oct. 4.
As always, while the following operational adjustments are considered to be permanent, bus schedules (including routes and operating hours) are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the Walt Disney World Resort. Be sure to directly contact the resort for the most up-to-date information on this regard.

New Jedi Training Academy Debuting at Hollywood Studios

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The popular Jedi Training Academy show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will soon close to be reimagined as a new experience that includes new characters and a new villain from the popular Disney XD series, "Star Wars Rebels." To prepare for this, the current version of Jedi Training Academy will accept its last Padawans on October 4, 2015. Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple will include a completely new, themed set when the show reopens in December 2015.

Innovation Summit Coming to the Kennedy Space Center

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Registration is now officially open for the 2015-2016 "Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge" (also known as the Conrad Challenge). Student teams from around the globe will be competing in the tenth annual, multi-phase competition that challenges high school students (between the ages of 13 and 18) to use STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), innovation, and entrepreneurship to develop world-changing solutions for global sustainability.

Complimentary Popcorn Available at Select Disney Resorts

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Starting from Thursday, October 1, 2015, the Walt Disney World Resort will test a new product offering. Guests attending Movies Under The Stars exclusively at Disney's Pop Century Resort and Disney's Contemporary Resort will receive a complimentary bag of pre-popped Pop Secret popcorn to enjoy with the show.
Since this is just a test, this free offering may be unavailable during certain days and/or may be ended at any time. Stay tuned here on OTPN for more updates.

Grand Floridian Resort: Expanded Victoria & Albert's Menu

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Beginning Oct. 1, Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will be expanding its ever exquisite dining experience. The award-winning dining room is adding a new Chef’s Degustation Menu, a series of 10 small courses featuring some of Chef Scott Hunnel’s favorite dishes inspired by the seasons and his world travels to Asia, Spain, Italy, and France. The seven-course Chef’s Tasting Menu will continued to be offered in conjunction with this new offering.

SeaWorld's Aquatica Water Park Offering 50% Off Discount

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Guests looking forward to visit SeaWorld's Aquatica now have another reason to be excited. Indeed, residents of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico can now save 50% on a one day Aquatica admission and experience thrilling water slides, wave pools, unique animal encounters, and other special offerings.
This offer is only available online, and all the tickets purchased as part of this offer must be used before February 29, 2016. Continue reading to learn more.

New Minnie Mouse Greeting Area at Hollywood Studios

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Beginning Thursday, October 8, Guests will have the opportunity to meet Minnie Mouse in an all-new character greeting location in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests will find Minnie in a delightful new space inspired by “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” currently still one of the most popular shows on Disney Junior. Adjacent to the nearby “Disney Junior - Live on Stage!” show, Guests can also meet may other favorite Disney Junior friends.

Pecos Bill Restaurant Closing for Short Refurbishment

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Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom Park in the next few days should note that the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe (a quick-service restaurant located in the Frontierland themed area of the park) will be closed for refurbishment between September 28-30, 2015. The location will reopen on October 1 with a new menu serving fajitas, burritos, and rice bowls. Guests are encouraged to visit other quick service restaurant located in other areas of the park during this downtime.

CityWalk Update: NBC Sports Grill & Brew Now Wall-Free

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Plenty of work has been done around Universal's CityWalk since our last visit.
While the new NBC Sport Grill & Brew has not opened to the public yet, the temporary construction walls that used to surround the building have finally been removed, and much shorter barricades have replaced them. We are definitely expecting the location to officially open (or at least soft-open) in the next two to three weeks. Additionally, walls are now up around the old NBA City Restaurant.

Hollywood Studios Park Hours Extended on September 26

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To ensure that Guests visiting the park have the best possible experience, the operating hours of Disney's Hollywood Studios will be extended tomorrow, Sept. 26, 2015. Park close has been changed from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. In addition to that, a second performance of Fantasmic! is now scheduled to be presented at 9:30 p.m. (operating hours and showtimes are always subject to change).
Be sure to continue to check back on OTPN for additional news and updates.

Disney & Facebook Partnering During Food & Wine Festival

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To help visitors get even more out of this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Disney will be partnering with Facebook to offer a new way for Guests to receive helpful and entertaining content including the Festival map, virtual passport stamps for each marketplace located around World Showcase, the menu available at each booth, recipes, chef videos, as well as friend photos and activity (if friends are at the festival or have visited in the past)

New Kali River Rapids Test at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Between September 27 and October 3, 2015, Guests riding Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom will not be permitted to store personal items on their ride vehicle. Guests will be able to use the complimentary lockers located just across from the attraction’s entrance to secure their belongings for the duration of the ride. This test will conclude on October 4, 2015. Starting from that day, Guests may be once again allowed to carry personal belongings on the ride.

Narcoossee's Waterfront Brunch Coming to Grand Floridian

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Starting from November 22, Guests will be able to enjoy a Waterfront Brunch at Narcoossee's on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa featuring a prix-fixe menu ($69 per adult and $41 per child).
The discounts and dress code that apply for dinner will apply for Waterfront Brunch. Guests with Disney Dining Plan will need to use two meal entitlements per person for the DDP and deluxe plans (one for Premium and Platinum plans).

Islands of Adventure Update: Hulk's Refurbishment Begins

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While the new Reign of Kong project is currently the focus of the majority of our Universal Orlando updates, plenty of work continues to be done in other areas of Islands of Adventure. Indeed, in addition to the major refurbishment of The Incredible Hulk Coaster, there are quite a few miscellaneous news to report from the Port of Entry, Marvel Superhero Island, Toon Lagoon, and more. As always, we invite you to join us and take a look around this fantastic theme park.

New Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Disney Springs Maps

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New guidemaps for select areas at the Walt Disney World Resort will soon be in circulation starting this Friday. On Sept. 25, the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival kicks off with a new guidemap featuring new creative and logos for the seasonal event. On September 27, Magic Kingdom Park debuts a new guidemap featuring the Move It! Shake It! Dance and Play It! Street Party. It will include the newly expanded hub area and various food & beverage updates.

Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher Closed Until 2016

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Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in the near future should note that, due to some major issues, both Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher will be closed through January 3, 2016 (on October 4, 2015, all of Blizzard Beach will close to Guests for its planned, annual refurbishment through January 2, 2016).
For this reason, Guests wishing to experience those two water slides will have to wait until next year to do so. Continue to check back here for more updates.

Photos from "World Rhino Day" Event at Busch Gardens

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This past Saturday, Busch Gardens Tampa celebrated World Rhino Day with exciting crafts, trivia, rhino artifacts, and plenty of educational activities.
World Rhino Day is an international event that recognizes all five species of rhinoceros, and raises awareness about their critical situation in Africa and Asia. During the event, Guests helped the Busch Gardens Animal Care Team create a larger-than-life paper mache globe with a special treat for the rhinos inside.

Epcot Update: Food & Wine Festival Booths Preview

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With only two days to go, it's hard not to get excited for this year's International Food & Wine Festival! In addition to the usual themed booths that are installed every fall around World Showcase, this year there will be even more food and beverage offerings thanks to new temporary kiosks coming to Future World!
Come along with us and check out just some of the themed booths that Guests will find at Epcot this year. We'll have another update when the festival begins:

"Unforgettable Happens Here" Campaign at Disney Parks

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It all happens here. Every second. Every minute. Everyday. All the heightened moments that bring families together and create the indelible moments they’ll share and cherish forever. This fall, Disney Parks is unveiling its new national marketing campaign, "Unforgettable Happens Here" – highlighting the authentic, real moments that families of all kinds enjoy together, across the wide range of amazing experiences at both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. 

The Orlando Eye Offering Special Florida Resident Rate

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The Orlando Eye will have Florida residents walking on sunshine with special rates to ride on the 400-foot observation wheel. Starting from today, residents can purchase flights on the Eye for $18 ($13 for children between the ages of 3-12) with proof of residency. This special offer will save visitors more than 25 percent off regular admission. For a limited time, tickets may be purchased at OfficialOrlandoEye.com or at the attraction’s admissions desk.

Walt Disney World Monorail Service Suspended Until 6 p.m.

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Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom Park this afternoon should note that service on the express monorail will be suspended until 6 p.m. today (September 23).
During this time, Guests can use the resort monorail or watercraft to reach their destination. While service is expected to be restored starting from 6 p.m., the operating hours of the Walt Disney World monorail system could be changed at any time and without notice. Continue to check back here on OTPN for updates.

Duffy the Disney Bear Leaves Epcot to Make Way for Daisy

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Beginning Sunday, October 4, Epcot Guests will be able to meet Daisy Duck at the gazebo near Showcase Plaza (the large area located between the two stores, near the entrance of World Showcase). As a result of this adjustment, Duffy the Disney Bear’s last day at Epcot will be Saturday, October 3, 2015.
Duffy the Disney Bear merchandise will remain available for purchase in multiple locations throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, including Epcot's shops.

Reign of Kong Update: More Themed Walls and Rockwork

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The massive outer walls of the showbuilding containing the new King Kong ride continue to receive a lot of amazing details at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
The rockwork that was previously only visible on the left side of the facade is now being extended to the right, and even more particulars are now visible. In addition to that, the mural behind the attraction's facade continues to be painted and the building housing the queue is taking shape. Explore the area with us:

Contemporary Resort: New RFID Pucks at Contempo Café

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The technology behind the reservation system that has been used for years at the Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom Park is now also available at the Contempo Café! Just last week, RFID pucks were implemented at the quick-service dining location on the fourth floor Grand Canyon Concourse at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. These pucks have officially taken the place of the old tent card table markers that were used throughout the restaurant's dining room.

The Landing Boat Dock Now Open at Downtown Disney

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The Landing boat dock (formerly known as the Pleasure Island boat dock) officially returned to operation this morning. As a result, the Sassagoula River Cruise transportation to Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa returned to its original docking location at The Landing dock. Hotel Guest transportation is available about every 20 minutes.
The Downtown Disney water taxis has also resumed service to all three docks.

Anniversary of the First Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis

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Guests are invited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of space shuttle Atlantis’ first launch at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on October 3, 2015.
Exclusive “30 Years of Atlantis” events will be offered throughout the day and include watching a live version of the engaging video series “Tell Me A Story,” ongoing showings of the video “Reflections of Atlantis,” as well as multiple meet and greets and exclusive signing opportunities with many Atlantis astronauts.

Elephant and Rhino Day Activities at Animal Kingdom

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Guests visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will be able to celebrate both elephants and rhinos at Rafiki's Planet Watch on Thursday, Sept. 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guests will have the opportunity to learn more about rhinos through an interactive puzzle, create wildlife corridors for elephants to learn how conservation groups keep wild places connected, learn the differences between how black and white rhinos eat, hear how elephants communicate, and more.

Fantasia Gardens Golf Closed for Private Event Sept. 23

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Guests visiting the Walt DIsney World Resort in the next few days should note that both Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf courses will be closed for a private event on Wednesday, September 23, from 12:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.
The two courses will reopen to all Guests from 4:30 p.m. until close (11 p.m.). The Winter Summerland Miniature Golf courses (located right next to Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park) will be open all day for Guests to enjoy.

Parc Astérix: One of Europe's Best Theme Parks (PART 1)

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When talking about the best theme parks in Europe, many people might name Disneyland Paris, De Efteling, Europa-Park, or PortAventura. Unfortunately, very few mention Parc Astérix, which is located about 20 miles from Paris.
This amazing park includes some of the most beautifully-themed lands, a great variety of attractions the entire family can enjoy (and thrill seeker as well), and an attention to details that can rival Disney Parks. Take a look around with us:

Parc Astérix: One of Europe's Best Theme Parks (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our special photo-gallery dedicated to the great Parc Astérix! Be sure to also check out PART 1 if you haven't already done so. In the previous part of this update, we had the pleasure of enjoying walking around some of the gorgeous themed areas of this park, including the Via Antiqua, the Roman Empire, Greece, Travel Through Time, and more. Let's now continue our visit of the park. As you'll see, there is still a lot to check out.

New Ratatouille Scavenger Hunt Game Coming to Epcot

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Beginning September 25, (while supplies last), Guests can take part in Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak during the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and help Remy as he ventures around World Showcase collecting all the ingredients he needs to create his signature dish, the famous Ratatouille.
Guests will be able to purchase a map at select merchandise locations and record their discoveries by placing the corresponding sticker on their own map.

Bus Stop Refurbishment at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

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Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom Resort Area should note that, beginning from September 24, the bus stop at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will be closed for a refurbishment and all Walt Disney World transportation will relocate to the outer lane in the porte cochere. Bus schedules will not be affected.
During this construction project, Disney's Magical Express buses will also pick up and drop off Guests underneath the porte cochere of the Grand Floridian.

Remembering "Lucy: A Tribute" at Universal Studios Florida

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One of the smallest, yet most interesting experience that Guests could enjoy at Universal Studios Florida is now a thing of the past. We are referring to the quaint exhibit formerly known as "Lucy: A Tribute," which could be found along Hollywood Boulevard and was dedicated to the famous (and beloved) redhead.
Lucille Désirée Ball did a lot of things during her career (she was an actress, comedian, film studio executive, etc.), and this exhibit was dedicated to her.

Roaming Character Test to Take Place at Magic Kingdom

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During the morning hours of September 20-23, Peter Pan will appear throughout Fantasyland as part of a new play test. He will explore the entire land, constantly moving and may not be able to stop to take photos or sign autographs.
While this test is scheduled to take place during the morning, it is subject to change at any time. Peter Pan will be available in the afternoon at his traditional meet and greet location near the queue of the Peter Pan's Flight attraction.

Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher Closed Sept. 19-21

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Due to technical issues that are still unclear, be advised that both Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher will be closed on Saturday, September 19 and Monday, September 21, 2015 at Disney's Blizzard Beach (the rest of the water park is expected to operate as usual). As a reminder, all of the slides and water play areas of Disney's Typhoon Lagoon will also be open to all Guests.
Please, continue to check back here on OTPN for additional news and updates.

Busch Gardens Tampa Expecting Baby White Rhino

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As we approach World Rhino Day (which will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 22), Busch Gardens Tampa has some very exciting news to share with us.
Kisiri, an 18-year old southern white rhinoceros, is expected to give birth to her third calf within the next few weeks. Kisiri has had two successful births already, Jasiri in 2012, and Zohari in 2010. Tambo, a male southern white rhinoceros at Busch Gardens Tampa, is the sire of the calf, as well as Jasiri and Zohari. 

Flights of Wonder Showtimes Change at Animal Kingdom

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From Sunday, Sept. 20, through Saturday, Sept. 26, the Flights of Wonder show (located in the Asian themed area of Animal Kingdom) will conduct a showtime change test. The third show of the day will move from 1:45 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Guests visiting the park will be able to check out the show at 10:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2:45 p.m., and 3:45 p.m. during that time. As always, be sure to refer to the Times Guide for scheduled showtimes and character greetings.

Animal Kingdom Park Hours Extended on September 20

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To ensure that Guests visiting the park have the best possible experience, Disney's Animal Kingdom will have extended hours on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015.
Park close has been changed from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for that day. While the majority of the attractions, restaurants, and shops will remain operational during that additional hour, this change is not expected to affect the show schedule. As always, we encourage you to check back here on OTPN for additional updates.

First Pedestrian Bridge Officially Opens at Disney Springs

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As Downtown Disney continues to transform into Disney Springs, yet another milestone has been reached with the opening of the first pedestrian bridge.
Located near Team Disney, this new bridge provides convenient access to and from Downtown Disney/Disney Springs and will enable Guests to cross Buena Vista Drive without waiting for traffic. With the opening of the new pedestrian bridge, the crosswalk near the Team Disney building will no longer be available.

Orlando Eye Operating Hours Change (September 2015)

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The Orlando Eye, Central Florida's new observation wheel, recently made some adjustments to its operating schedule that will allow the attraction to open later.
According to a Twitter update posted by I-Drive 360 (the entertainment, complex where the observation wheel is located), The Orlando Eye will now operate from 12 p.m. to 10 a.m. Monday-Thursday, 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays (link to calendar).