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Showing posts from October, 2015

Remember to "Fall Back" for Daylight Saving Time Tonight

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As a reminder, daylight saving time ends tomorrow morning (Sunday, Nov. 1) at 2 a.m. Before going to bed tonight, remember to set clocks and watches back by one hour. While you’re adjusting all your clocks also remember to change your home smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries, as a safety measure.
Additionally, use extra caution while commuting (especially during the evening hours) as you acclimate to brighter mornings and darker evenings.

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Event Details

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The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend returns to Walt Disney World Resort Nov. 6-7 with a series of runDisney events leading up to the big race.
As the only nighttime runDisney event, the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon provides Guests a very unique opportunity to run under the stars through three Disney theme parks and finish with an exclusive after-party at Epcot (some rides will be available to Guests) during the International Food & Wine Festival.

Magic Kingdom Hub Update: Castle Ramps Still Closed

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The major expansion project that has greatly altered the look of the central hub of the Magic Kingdom Park is almost being completed. In fact, the majority of the temporary walls that used to block the new pathways (which built on parts of the hub that were formerly occupied by plants) have now been removed.
The only walls that are now left can be found in front of the two ramps leading to Cinderella Castle, which are being completely redone. Let's take a closer look: 

LEGOLAND Water Park to Remain Open for an Extra Day

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The LEGOLAND Florida Resort officially announced that Guests will be able to enjoy an extra day to have fun in the sun by opening LEGOLAND Water Park on Sunday, November 1, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (the water park was originally scheduled to close for the season on October 31, 2015). The water park will open for the 2016 season on Saturday, March 12. As a reminder, the theme park operates year-round, occasionally closing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Morning Rope Drop Expanded

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As some of our Readers may already know, all four Walt Disney World theme parks usually open certain areas of the park about 15 to 30 minutes before the advertised opening time (Magic Kingdom may open a smaller area on certain days due to the Welcome Show) to begin spreading the crowds that could end up clogging the park entrances. Hollywood Studios is seemingly benefiting from this, as the morning rope drop was recently expanded to additional areas.

New Entertainment Tests to be Hosted at Animal Kingdom

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New  entertainment groups are expected to be part of a test that will take place in the next few weeks (between November 1-14) within the Africa themed area of the park, particularly around the Harambe Theatre District, the Africa stage, and in the Harambe Market. Rehearsals will occur Nov. 1-2 and Nov. 8-9 after park close, while actual performances will take place during park hours Nov. 3-7 and Nov. 10-14. The experiences being tested may not become permanent.

Help Busch Gardens Name New Southern White Rhino

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Busch Gardens Tampa is asking fans to help name the park’s newest addition – a female southern white rhinoceros calf born the afternoon of October 16.
The park’s animal care staff selected their top three names for the calf, all of which are Swahili, including: Nyota (which means “star”), Nadra, (which means “rare”), or Alasiri (meaning “afternoon”). The park is giving everyone a chance to vote by simply logging on to the Busch Gardens Tampa Facebook page.

Shop Disney Parks Now Offering Onsite Delivery Options

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The new Shop Disney Parks mobile application (which allows Guests to find, buy, and also ship select merchandise products offered around the Walt Disney World Resort) has been improved thanks to the introduction of a great, new feature. In fact, it was recently announced that Resort Hotel Delivery (available only at Disney hotels) and Park Gate Pick-Up (delivery to the front of the park) are now available for Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort.

Magic Kingdom Park Hours Extended Sunday, November 8

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To make sure that Guests visiting the park have the best possible experience, the Magic Kingdom Park will be extending operating hours on November 8.
The park is now scheduled to open to all Guests at 8:00 a.m. (previously, the park was scheduled to open at 9 a.m.) Due to this change, the popular Welcome Show will be anticipated so that it will still take place before the park opens. Be sure to continue to check back here on OTPN for more advisories and updates.

Islands of Adventure: Hulk Coaster Keeps Disappearing

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The replacement of The Incredible Hulk Coaster's track continues to take place at an amazingly fast pace. The coaster's cobra roll was still mostly intact the last time we visited Islands of Adventure (just a couple of days ago), yet we heard that it was almost completely removed last night, leaving only the launch portion and the main drop still standing (in addition to some track supports).
Take a closer look at what's left of one of the world's most iconic roller coasters:

New Agent P's World Showcase Adventure Test at Epcot

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Guests who enjoy Epcot's popular scavenger hunt game based on the Phineas & Ferb franchise will be interested in knowing that, in the next few weeks, Cast Members will test a new way for Guests to participate in this interactive game.
Indeed, Disney will soon release a new "Agent P's World Showcase Adventure" app that park Guests will be able to download (free of charge, of course) on their personal mobile device that will allow them to trigger multiple special effects.

Animal Kingdom Update: Huge Floating Mountains (Part 1)

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The massive floating mountains being built in the future Pandora themed area of Disney's Animal Kingdom are definitely going to look absolutely spectacular.
While we are still a few years (sigh!) away from the grand opening of this new land, these tall structures already dominate the skyline of Animal Kingdom, as they can see both inside and outside the park. This afternoon we will be taking a closer look at the these mountains, and then we'll check out the rest of the park.

Animal Kingdom Update: Huge Floating Mountains (Part 2)

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Welcome to the second part of this new Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park photo-report. Part 2 of this update can be found by clicking on this link.
In the previous part of this update we took a look around many lands of the park, focusing on the Oasis, Discovery Island, DinoLand U.S.A., as well as the future Pandora: The World of AVATAR. Now we will shift our attention to Asia, where work related to the new Rivers of Light nighttime show continues to take place.

Typhoon Lagoon and Golf Courses Closed Due to Rain

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Guests currently visiting the Walt Disney World Resort should note that Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and both miniature golf courses found on property (Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Disney's Winter Summerland) are temporarily closed due to inclement weather. They will reopen when it is safe to do so.
Additionally, most of the outdoor attractions at the nearby theme parks may not be operating at this time. Check back here on OTPN additional updates.

New Ride Hosted by Jimmy Fallon Coming to Universal

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Just a few minutes ago, Jimmy Fallon officially announced that yet another new attraction is scheduled to open at the Universal Orlando Resort in 2017.
Why was this announcement made specifically during Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show? Well, that's because he will be the host of this new attraction, which is expected to be a flight simulator that will take Guests flying above (and below) New York City. This will be just one of the many new additions coming in 2017.

Digital Gift Cards and YuDo Coming Soon to Disney Parks

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Beginning November 16, digital Disney Gift Cards will be accepted at the Walt Disney World Resort and other domestic locations as another payment option for Guests. This new version of Disney Gift Cards will work just like plastic gift cards. Digital Disney Gift Cards may be loaded into and stored in various digital wallet applications (i.e. Gyft, GoWallet, Passbook). Guests may load cards into the mobile application of their choice to use as a form of payment.

New Disney Conservation Fund Buttons Officially Debut

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In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Disney Conservation Fund, new buttons are now being distributed to every Guest that makes a contribution at locations around Walt Disney World Resort, including Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park; The Seas with Nemo & Friends and The Land pavilions at Epcot; Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge; aboard Disney Cruise Line ships; and more. Multiple new button designs are expected to debut throughout the year. 

ULA Engineer Presentation at Kennedy Space Center

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Guests visiting the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will be able to hear about the events leading up to the October 30 Atlas V rocket launch from United Launch Alliance (ULA) avionics engineer Art Meraz during an interesting series of presentations at the Visitor Complex on October 27-30, 2015. Art Meraz will share with Guests a step-by-step look at all the different stages of the Atlas V rocket launch from liftoff to deployment of a GPS IIF-11 satellite. 

Customize Your Own MagicBands at Magic Kingdom Park

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Guests now have a new option to create a custom graphic MagicBand at the Walt Disney World Resort. MagicBand on Demand is a new station inside the Tomorrowland Power & Light Co., a themed shop located near Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom Park. This new option is similar to the D-Tech on Demand boutique first introduced in June 2014 at the Marketplace Co-Op, an innovating retail concept that is still open to all Guests in Disney Springs Marketplace.

Grand Floridian Resort: A Grand Brunch at 1900 Park Fare

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Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will offer "A Grand Brunch at 1900 Park Fare" over select peak weeks to accommodate Guests visiting the resort later this year. This unique dining experience offers both breakfast and dinner items from 12:45 to 3 p.m. on the following dates: Nov. 22–28 and Dec. 20–Jan. 2.
1900 Park Fare breakfast will operate as normal, seating guests until 11:45 a.m. Dinner service will also operate as normal, beginning at 4 p.m. every evening.

In-Park Charging Options for Universal Orlando Guests

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In this day and age, the majority of Guests visiting the Orlando theme parks and attractions usually carry an electronic device (such as a smartphone, a tablet, a camera, and so on) to capture their memories or to contact family members.
What if there is a need to charge them? In the past few years, some of the parks in the area introduced some charging stations (like SeaWorld Orlando) that are definitely useful. The Universal Orlando Resort currently offers two new options.

New "Kawaii: Japan's Cute Culture" Exhibit Opens at Epcot

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The Bijutsu-kan Gallery in the Japan pavilion at Epcot now features the "Kawaii: Japan's Cute Culture" exhibition. The exhibit displays how the simple concept of kawaii, or "cute," now plays a major role in Japanese culture and is expressed while at home, work, and play. It explores the evolution of how kawaii design began in Japan's Shinto past and now appears throughout everyday Japanese life, from schoolhouses to construction sites. It is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Animal Kingdom Park Hours Extended Monday, October 26

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In order to give Guests more time to enjoy the park, operating hours at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme park have been updated for Monday, October 26, 2015.
The park is now scheduled to remain open until 6:00 p.m. (it was previously scheduled to close at 5 p.m.). Offerings available during the additional hour will be updated for Guests in the My Disney Experience site and app. The Guest Relations Help Desk will also provide an update on any offerings being added.

Astronaut Hall of Fame to Be Replaced by New Attraction

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The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame will close Nov. 2, 2015, at its current location in preparation for a new, next-gen attraction at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Heroes and Legends, featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. The visitor complex broke ground on Heroes and Legends back in May 2015 and is scheduled to open the new attraction in late 2016. The Early Space Exploration building closed on Sept. 28, 2015, to be transformed into the new attraction.

Chef Bayless to Open New Restaurant at Disney Springs

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Another celebrity chef just signed on to the growing roster at Disney Springs. Chef Rick Bayless, a six-time James Beard Foundation winner, announced just a few days ago that he will open the new Frontera Fresco in summer 2016.
Frontera Fresco will feature authentic Mexican specialties such as hand-crafted tortas, tacos, fresh-made guacamole and classic Mexican braised meat entrees, all prepared using exclusively natural, high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. 

Temporary Fence Installation at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

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A temporary fence is currently being installed around some areas of Disney's Wilderness Lodge. Due to the construction, the nature trail is now closed to allow access to the work area. At this time, all of the resort offerings (other than the nature trail) will continue to remain open and operational for Guests. The fence is currently expected to be completed by Nov. 2. With that, Teton Boat & Bike Rentals, Hidden Springs Leisure Pool, and the beach area will be closed. 

Reign of Kong Update: Mural Expansion in Progress

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The exterior of the large facade hiding the showbuilding of the new Reign of Kong attraction is almost done. While there is still some work that needs to be done around it (especially next to the ride path, as the queue area and some of the themed elements that Guests will be able to see are still under construction), the rockwork looks great thanks to the many details that have been added in the past few months (including some interesting fire effects). Take a look around:

Musical Group Ribab Fusion Debuts in Morocco at Epcot

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Live entertainment is surely an integral part of the World Showcase experience, immersing Guests in the diverse cultures of the nations represented at Epcot. Continuing the park's efforts to keep entertainment at Epcot fresh and present Guests with new experiences, Epcot recently introduced a new act to the show lineup. Ribab Fusion, a popular band from northern Africa, began performing in Morocco on Wednesday, October 21 and will run through January 2, 2016.

Mickey Mouse Greeting Area Change at Hollywood Studios

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Mickey Mouse is moving to a new location at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
His last day at the Backlot Tour character greeting area is today (Oct. 23, 2015). During his move, Mickey Mouse will don his classic outfit and meet with Guests near the Studios Center Stage location on October 24. Starting Sunday, October 25, Sorcerer Mickey will be meeting with Guests in his new location near Walt Disney: One Man's Dream. That will remain his new home for the time being.

Busch Gardens Announces Birth of Southern White Rhino

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A female southern white rhinoceros calf was born at Busch Gardens Tampa on October 16. The calf is healthy and is currently being cared for by mom with the Busch Gardens animal care team watching closely. Newborn white rhinoceros usually weigh about 150 pounds and can gain four pounds every day for the first year. White rhinos are the second largest land mammal after the elephant, and can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds when fully grown.  

Magic Kingdom Update: Castle Ramps Construction

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Our own Photographer Alex is back today with some great photos of the Magic Kingdom Park, showing the work being done around the central hub as well as some of the minor projects that are taking place in other lands of the park.
As you will see, all the new pathways in the central plaza of the park are now open to Guests, with the exception of the two castle ramps, which are still under construction. Enjoy this tour of the park (a new camera was used this time!).

"La Vida Health Club" Reopens at Coronado Springs Resort

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On Monday, October 19, La Vida Health Club officially reopened its doors to Guests at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort offering fitness equipment, spa, and salon services. The facility has been redesigned using natural elements from the southwest, bringing the charm and elegance of this rich culture to this great themed resort. Upgrades to the facility include increased capacity for nail services, as well as a relaxation area while Guests await their spa services.

I-Drive 360 Attractions Closing Early on November 19

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As you might already know, all the major attractions found in the new I-Drive 360 entertainment district are open year-round. That being said, the operating hours of some of these attractions may be affected by special events on certain days of the year. In fact, a few days ago, Merlin announced that The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando, and the SEA LIFE Aquarium will be closing at 2:00 p.m. on November 19 for a private event. They will reopen on Nov. 20.

"Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine" Coming to Hollywood Studios

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Minnie Mouse will soon begin to host special dinner parties throughout the year at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant, celebrating the glamour of Hollywood, the delight of spring and the excitement of summer. Each season will bring with it unique music, décor, costumes, menu items, party favors, and some interactive musical moments. Guests can book reservations for Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine starting Oct. 27 by calling 407-WDW-DINE or visiting Disneyworld.com/dine.

Animal Kingdom Park Hours Extended on October 27, 2015

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To make sure that Guests visiting the park have the best possible experience, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will be extending its operating hours on Tuesday, October 27. Park close changed from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. While the majority of attractions and stores are expected to remain open until closing time, this change will not affect the park's entertainment schedule on that day.
Be sure to continue to check back here on OTPN for more news and updates.

Islands of Adventure: Disassembling The Hulk (PART 1)

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Lots of work has been done on The Incredible Hulk Coaster in the past weeks.
In addition to the removal of themed props from the queue area (you will see that later on in this photo-update), many sections of the coaster's track have been completely removed. As of today, the entire back section of The Incredible Hulk Coaster is missing, but the attraction will soon be back, looking better than ever. Let's take a closer look at it, and then we'll check out the rest of the park.

Islands of Adventure: Disassembling The Hulk (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Islands of Adventure photo-report. Be sure not to miss PART 1 of this update, which can be found right here. In the previous part of this update, we took a look around the Port of Entry area of the park, as well as The Incredible Hulk Coaster. Let's continue to explore this wonderful park by focusing on Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, as well as The Lost Continent. There's still much more to see around this place...

What's New and What's Next at Disney's Hollywood Studios

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In the years ahead, the major expansion of Disney’s Hollywood Studios will take Guests to a galaxy far, far away and to infinity and beyond with the opening of “Star Wars” and “Toy Story” themed lands. As these out-of-this-world stories begin to come to life, other experiences will continue to be brought to the park in the near term, to keep things fresh and continue to delight Guests. Let’s check out some of the offerings that have recently debuted or are opening soon:

Fire Alarm Test to Take Place at Grand Floridian Resort

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Guests planning on visiting Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in the next few weeks should note that, on November 3, between 2 and 3 p.m. there will be fire alarm testing the in the main building of the hotel (also known as building 4).
During this time, Guests may hear and see alarms around many areas of the building. Cast Members will be present to remind all Guests that it will all be part of a test. Be sure to check back here on OTPN for additional news and updates.

Universal's 25th Anniversary Concert Series Returns in Nov.

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The Universal Orlando Resort is bringing back its "25th Anniversary Concert Series" and is inviting everyone to come celebrate the unforgettable moments that have been created in the past 25 years. In addition to all your favorite rides, shows, and attractions, on select nights between November 14 and November 28, 2015, the Music Plaza Stage at Universal Studios Florida will come alive with amazing live performances. Click here for the official concert schedule.

Magic Kingdom Update: Miscellaneous Refurbishments

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The slower season is the best time for the Walt Disney World Resort to work on refurbishing the buildings and themed facades that may be faded or have other issues due to being exposed to many different weather conditions.
This afternoon, we will take a look around the majority of the lands of the Magic Kingdom Park (with the exception of the hub, as that will be covered in an upcoming update) to see what work is currently being done. Enjoy the photos:

One-Night "Star Wars" Event Coming to Walt Disney World

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To celebrate the opening of the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” film, the Walt Disney World Resort will be hosting an opening night event on Dec. 17.
This special ticketed event will begin at the AMC Disney Springs 24Theatres between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., when event Guests will get a confirmed seat at the first few public showings of the new film and then enjoy a private, after-hours party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that will last until 2:00 a.m.

Cobra's Curse Construction Update (October 9, 2015)

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The Busch Gardens Tampa Blog recently shared a great photo-update covering the construction of the park's newest family roller coaster, Cobra's Curse:
"Big things are happening on the Cobra’s Curse construction site! 14 containers of ride steel [were recently delivered], and vertical ride assembly has already started. Earlier this week [the week of October 4, 2015], we began setting the first ride columns into place and our first track segment was set in place.

Epcot: Disney Confirms Soarin's Lenghty Refurbishment

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As you might remember, we were the first to report an interesting rumor about a long Soarin' refurbishment that would involve the theaters, the queue area, the attraction's entrance, as well as the nearby tour desk and restrooms. Earlier today, the Walt Disney World Resort finally confirmed the closure of the ride, stating that "Soarin' will close for refurbishment beginning January 4, 2016 and shall reopen in the summer of 2016." More information will be shared soon.

Disney's Hollywood Studios Park Hours Extended (Oct. 18)

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In order to ensure that Guests visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios have the best possible experience, the park will extend its operating hours Sunday, Oct. 18.
Park close changed from 8:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Extra Magic Hours will now take place from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. While the majority of the rides, attractions, and exhibits will remain open through park close, this change is not expected to impact the entertainment schedule. Stay tuned on OTPN for more updates.

New Retail Shop Coming Soon to the Marketplace Co-Op

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Keeping true to its original intent as a testing ground for a multitude of Disney retail concepts, the Marketplace Co-Op (a location including different stores) will soon open a new retail shop that will be known as Twenty Eight & Main.
The shop will feature stylish men’s clothing and accessories designed for the discerning gentleman who enjoys visiting Disney Parks. As a result, the Trophy Room’s last day of operation is Nov. 1. Twenty Eight & Main will open on Nov. 6.

CityWalk Update: NBC Sports Grill & Brew Officially Opens

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After months of construction, the NBC Sports Grill & Brew restaurant officially opened its doors to Guests visiting the ever-growing Universal's CityWalk.
Far from being the usual, unthemed sit-down restaurant, this new location offers retractable walls (yes, we said walls!) that can be easily removed to create one huge outdoor restaurant, offering a large amount of television screens and an open kitchen that can also be seen from the second floor. Let's take a look:

Walt Disney World: Watercraft Downtimes On October 19

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Due to water bridge enhancement work, watercraft service (including recreation boats) from Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground to Magic Kingdom Park will be unavailable beginning at 11 a.m. Monday, October 19, for about six hours. The circular route connecting Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness Resort will not be impacted because it does not travel through the water bridge.

Grand Slam Pool Refurbishment at Disney's All-Star Sports

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Starting from Monday, October 26, through Sunday, November 8, the Grand Slam pool at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort will be closed for resurfacing.
Guests staying at the resort will still be able to use the Surfboard Bay pool (located at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort), as well as pools located at nearby resorts, including the Calypso and Piano pools (Disney's All-Star Music Resort), or the Fantasia and Duck Pond pools (Disney's All-Star Movies Resort).

Season Finale of Tanked Filmed at SEA LIFE Orlando

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Basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal and Animal Planet's Tanked stars, Wayde King and Brett Raymer visited SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium for the season finale of the hit series. Before finalizing the design for a new tank that was recently installed in Shaq’s home here in Orlando, the trio explored SEA LIFE's iconic 360-degree walkthrough ocean tunnel, Stingray Cove, and other habitats to find inspiration within Orlando's newest aquarium, located at I-Drive 360.