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Showing posts from January, 2016

Nickelodeon Hotel to Become Holiday Inn Resort Orlando

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One of Central Florida's family-friendly resorts is about to receive some major changes that will include a new name, new theming, and much more.
The Nickelodeon Hotel (located just a few miles away from one of Walt Disney World's entrances) just celebrated its 10th anniversary, but it will be the last time the location will celebrate a milestone under that name. Indeed, the resort will become the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark beginning April 17.

"A Taste of Disney" Returns to Disney's Vero Beach Resort

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What do you get when you mix an ocean-side vacation with dynamic cooking demonstrations by renowned Disney chefs? “A Taste of Disney,” a very special, unique culinary event that is returning again to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort!
Disney Vacation Club Members are invited to escape to the charming beachside restaurant, Sonya’s at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, where they will have the chance to learn the secrets behind signature dishes from the Disney Resorts.

'Ohana's "Best Friends Breakfast" Extended Until Noon

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Starting today (Sunday, January 31), Guests will be able to enjoy an extra hour of fun with Lilo, Stitch, and friends while enjoying a Polynesian-inspired buffet breakfast at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. This special dining offering that takes place at 'Ohana is currently being served from 7:30 a.m. until 12 p.m. daily (previously, breakfast would end at 11 a.m.). Guests can make reservations by visiting waltdisneyworld.com or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. 

Universal Orlando Resort Releases Updated Rider’s Guide

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Universal Orlando recently recently updated the Rider’s Guide for Rider Safety and Guests with Disabilities. This guide offers detailed descriptions about every attraction located at Universal Studios Florida and the neighboring Islands of Adventure, and includes specific information for Guests with disabilities.
Available at Guest Services, the "Rider’s Guide" provides a clear outline of the accommodations at each attraction, as well as their physical requirements.

Disney's All-Star Resort: Pool Closures, Restroom Rehab

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Beginning from Saturday, January 30, all pool decks at Disney’s All-Star Resort will close to Guests at 9 p.m. and the surrounding gates will be locked.
Guests will no longer be able to be on the pool deck when a lifeguard is off duty and will need to exit the pool area at that time for safety reasons. Those looking to enjoy other amenities after 9 p.m. will be invited to check out the arcades, food courts, or the pool bars that can be found around the resort.

Parking Shuttle No Longer Available at Disney Springs

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Starting from this week, all Guests who park at the Team Disney and Speedway parking lots will be directed to cross Buena Vista Drive using the new pedestrian bridge to visit the Disney Springs area. The complimentary shuttle service that was previously available to Guests will no longer be provided from these lots. As a reminder, parking lots accessible to Guests with disabilities is available in the surface parking lots (located near the West Side) and the Orange garage.

The LEGO Movie 4D Opens at LEGOLAND Florida Resort

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In an evening of glitz and glamour befitting a classic Hollywood movie premiere, LEGOLAND Florida Resort welcomed celebrities, media, and VIP guests to a gala event January 28 for the grand opening of “The LEGO Movie 4D - A New Adventure.” The theatrical attraction reunites Emmet and friends in an all-new short story combining dazzling 3D computer animation accompanied by many “4D,” real-world effects inside the theater, including wind, water, and fog.

Additional Information on 2016 Flower & Garden Festival

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Two new spring-inspired "Outdoor Kitchens," three mischievous Disney topiary characters and an innovative musical play garden will all debut during the 23rd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, which is scheduled to take place March 2-May 30, 2016. The popular spring festival at Walt Disney World Resort, known for its tasty edibles, sweeping floral displays, and dazzling topiary creations, will expand from 75 days to a total of 90 days this year.

Disney's Hollywood Studios: Club Disney Closed on Jan. 30

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Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort should keep in mind that, due to a private event held inside Sunset Showcase on January 30, the operating hours of Club Disney (the indoor dance party taking place daily at Disney's Hollywood Studios) will be closed on January 30 (Club Villain will not be offered that day).
Normal operating hours will resume on January 31. The entertainment schedule of the park is not expected to receive any other changes at this time.

Kung Fu Panda Arrives at Madame Tussauds Orlando

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Madame Tussauds Orlando has rolled out the welcome mat for Po, the lovable Panda turned Dragon Warrior from the successful animated movie trilogy Kung Fu Panda. Po’s figure will be on display starting today, the opening day of the theatrical release of Kung Fu Panda 3. Interestingly, Po’s shorts were made from three types of silk and a jacquard fabric, which were specially dyed to create 10 different color patches in the style of his animated outfit in the films.

Hollywood Studios Update: More Walls Appear (PART 1)

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After noticing all the construction going on at the same time at Universal Studios Florida it might feel disheartening to see nothing going on at Hollywood Studios.
Fortunately, it seems that work on the new themed lands coming to Disney's movie-themed park is finally beginning. In the past weeks, numerous temporary walls were installed around areas of Echo Lake and the Streets of America, and that is just the beginning, as more areas of the park will close very soon.

Hollywood Studios Update: More Walls Appear (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Hollywood Studios photo-report. As always, we invite you to check out PART 1 if you have not already done so. In the previous part of this update, we walked along Hollywood Boulevard and then we moved on to the Center Stage area, Animation Courtyard, and Pixar Place. Let's now continue our photo-tour by checking out other areas of the park including the Streets of America, Echo Lake, Sunset Boulevard, and more.

New Food & Beverage Menu Updates at Animal Kingdom

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Several weeks ago, we reported that select kiosks located throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom received new names to better match the theme of the park.
Despite the name changes, the kiosks' menus had not been updated at that time, but that is about to change now. In fact, some of Animal Kingdom's food & beverage locations introduced some menu changes earlier this week. Continue reading to learn more about the new dishes available around the park.

Universal Orlando Brings Back Special "3rd Day Free" Offer

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The Universal Orlando Resort recently announced that it would bring back the popular "3rd Day Free" offer. Starting from now through April 12, all residents of the United States and Canada will receive a third day free with the purchase of a 2-day ticket. The offer includes three days of access to both Universal Orlando theme parks, as well as free access to live entertainment at Universal CityWalk.
Guests can also purchase Blue Man Group tickets or Unlimited Express passes.

Grand Floridian Resort: Upcoming Maintenance Projects

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In order to maintain quality show, service is scheduled to be done on some of the outdoor lighting on the buildings of the Grand Floridian on January 28-30.
Guests staying in Building 4 may notice teams performing maintenance outside their windows on Thursday, January 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (a repelling team will be visible to Guests staying in the associated rooms during that time). All other work is scheduled to occur overnight and will have minimal Guest impact.

Harrison Ford to Share New Details About Star Wars Land

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Disney Parks fans certainly have a lot to look forward to in the coming months.
In addition to the new attractions and experiences scheduled to open in the parks, it appears that some very interesting, new details about Star Wars Land (coming to both Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios) will be released in February. According to Entertainment Weekly, Harrison Ford himself will share these details during a TV special that will be aired on ABC on February 21.

SeaWorld Returns Home Rescued Sea Lion Shot in Face

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After more than two months of monitoring a sea lion with fishing line wrapped around its head and a serious eye injury, SeaWorld was finally able to rescue him from a dock at a local marina. Initial visual contact with the animal proved that he had a fishing hook embedded into his eye. Rescuers attempted to safely connect with the animal; however, these attempts failed because there was no opportunity to safely rescue the animal. Fortunately, the situation improved.

Tangled Show Returning to Disneyland Park in California

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Rapunzel (with frying pan in hand) and his friends have officially returned to the Royal Theatre at Disneyland Park in California to share their adventures.
Accompanied by Flynn Rider and comedic storytellers, Messieurs Smythe and Jones, the “Tangled” show allows park Guests to learn more about Rapunzel's story with a very happy ending. Reenacting her best day ever, Rapunzel begins her story looking out of her tower wondering when her life would finally begin. 

After-Hour Varsity Cheer Events Coming to Magic Kingdom

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The Magic Kingdom Park is currently expected to host three special after-hour events for Varsity Cheer competitors, between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. on January 29, February 5, and March 11. On Feb. 5, participants will be mixed with regular day Guests for the first hour, as the park is scheduled to close at midnight.
Guests participating in the special event will have colored wristbands. After the park closes, only Guests with wristbands will have access to the attractions.

Universal Studios Update: Old Outdoor Theater Demolition

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Since the closure of the Beetlejuice show had been postponed last December, some fans might have thought that Universal Studios Florida was not in a hurry to remove the San Francisco theater. That assumption proved to be wrong.
In fact, in true Universal Orlando style, the theater (including the themed stage, seating area, roof, and everything behind it) completely disappeared in a matter of days. And that's just one of the major projects taking place in the park.

Blizzard Beach to Be Closed for Cold Weather Jan. 27-29

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Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in the next few days should note that Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park will be closed Wedensday, January 27 through Friday, January 24 due to forecasted low temperatures (high 50s).
Disney's Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses will be open following the usual operating hours. As a reminder, Typhoon Lagoon is currently closed for refurbishment. Check back here on OTPN for more updates.

Launch of Disney's New "YuDo" Digital Wallet App Delayed

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The launch of the new YuDo by Disney app (a new digital wallet app that can be used to make purchases with digital gift cards) has been officially postponed.
Originally scheduled to be released on January 21, 2016, the new app is still in Beta testing and, while it will become available on the app store later this year, Disney has not announced a new release date. The reason behind this delay is unclear. Be sure to click on this link to learn more about this new application.

Celebrate Africa Event Returns to Animal Kingdom Lodge

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Cultural representatives at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge will be celebrating African culture with Guests on Wednesday, February 3, from 10–11 a.m. in the Jambo House lobby. Everyone (even those not staying overnight at the resort) is encouraged to participate in this celebration that will include music, dancing, and plenty of inspiring pride. Younger Guests will also be able to have their faces painted and learn about the many activities that are a part of African culture.

Harbor Nights Romantico Returning to Portofino Bay Hotel

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Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is inviting guests to experience once more "la dolce vita" with select wines (including sparkling wines) and gourmet foods from each of the hotel’s on-site restaurants, live music, and more under the twinkling lights of the picturesque and romantic Harbor Piazza at this beautiful themed resort.
Harbor Nights Romantico will take place Friday, February 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Visit loewshotels.tix.com to learn more and to purchase tickets.

Animal Kingdom Update: Rivers of Light & More (PART 1)

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This year will undoubtedly be one of the most important and meaningful ones for Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. While the new Pandora land is still more than a year away from opening and no other new ride is scheduled to open in 2016, the brand-new Rivers of Light nighttime show will debut in the Discovery River, causing an extension of the park's operating hours. Additionally, some areas of the park are being enhanced for the enjoyment of Guests. Take a look:

Animal Kingdom Update: Rivers of Light & More (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of this new Disney's Animal Kingdom photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers. PART 1 can be found by clicking here. As you have seen in the previous pictures, a lot of work is taking place around Discovery Island, as most of the area's kiosks, restaurants, shops, and exhibits continue to be refreshed. In addition to that, work continues to be done in Africa, specifically in the Savanna (at Kilimanjaro Safaris). Let's continue our tour.

Grand Floridian Resort: Phone Charging Stations Available

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Guests staying at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort can now take advantage of a new, complimentary service if their mobile device is running low on "juice."
Indeed, new phone charging stations were recently installed near the Courtyard Pool Bar and the Beach Pool Bar & Grill, which can be used free of charge. A variety of plugs are available that will be able to be used with any device. Check out the rest of this post to find a photo of one of these new charging stations.

Busch Gardens Announces 2016 Festival Concert Lineup

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The Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Food & Wine Festival returns this spring with wild flavors and concerts for every taste. The popular Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival returns again with a lineup of concerts from musical legends, sensational new culinary selections (including duck tacos, lobster ravioli, truffle fries and almond coconut truffles) and an expanded  selection of more than 120 wines, craft brews and cocktails from around the world.

Entertainment Schedule Change Coming to Disney Springs

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As the major Disney Springs expansion continues to take shape, more changes continue to be introduced to provide Guests with the best possible experience.
For this reason, beginning January 24, 2016 the regular entertainment schedule (including the street bands and the shows taking place on the Waterfront Stage) will be adjusted. The entertainment window will be changed from 7-11 p.m. to 6-10 p.m. This permanent change will be reflected in next week's Times Guides.

Afternoon Tea to be Served at Disney's Beach Club Resort

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Beginning Thursday, Feb. 11, Disney’s Beach Club Resort will begin offering Afternoon Tea at the Crescent Solarium during select dates including February 11-14, March 24-29, May 5-8, and September 1-5. The tranquil, comfortable solarium overlooking Crescent Gardens provides an elegant setting for Guests to enjoy classic afternoon tea and sweets, such as house-made scones, petite sandwiches and pastries. A variety of alcoholic beverages will also be available.

Islands of Adventure Update: The Hulk Coaster Returns

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Last year, The Incredible Hulk Coaster officially closed at Universal’s Islands of Adventure to undergo a major refurbishment that included the complete removal of its track and the retheming of its queue. After months of work, the very first pieces of track were spotted behind Storm Force Accelatron, and more pieces are expected to be installed in the next few days, bringing back to life one of the most iconic thrill rides ever built. Let's see how the attraction currently looks.

Photo-Tour of the Beautiful Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

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Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing and inspiring themed hotels found at the Walt Disney World Resort.
In addition to the grandeur of the lobby and the expansive savanna located behind it, the hotel features plenty of African artifacts and educational activities that set it apart from other resorts. If that wasn't enough, the hotel also contains some of the highest-rated restaurants on property that shouldn't be missed.

Surfboard Bay Pool Rehab at Disney's All-Star Resort

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Guests planning on staying at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort should note that the Surfboard Bay pool will be closed for refurbishment from Jan. 25-28.
Guests wanting to enjoy an afternoon at the pool (despite the cooler-than-usual weather conditions) will still be able to visit the Grand Slam pool. If Guests wish to visit one of the pools located in the "Music" or "Movies" sections of the resort, a Cast Member will be available to transport them during that time.

SeaWorld to Remove Deep-Water Lifting Floors from Pools

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SeaWorld has decided to remove the prototype deep-water lifting floor from all of the three SeaWorld parks. These lifting floors, which were still in their testing phase, were installed more than 4 years ago and intended as another safety tool for conducting in-water desensitization training in the deeper pools. The change comes on the heels of a decision by Cal/OSHA, California's Occupational Safety and Health Agency) to dismiss citations related to the orca training program.

New "Zootopia" Exhibit Coming Soon to Animal Kingdom

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The Walt Disney World Resort just announced that a new exhibit themed after Disney's newest animated feature will open at Animal Kingdom later this month.
The Zootopia exhibit will be located at the Conservation Station area of Rafiki's Planet Watch and will highlight the extensive animal research that was done (in the real world, of course) to create the characters that we'll get to know when the movie comes out in theaters in March. The exhibit opens January 29, 2016.

Voluntary Recall of Select Infant Bodysuits at Disney Parks

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Disney Parks and Resorts announced a voluntary recall today for approximately 10,000 "Darth Vader" and "Disneyland 60th" bodysuits manufactured by Jem Sportswear due to a potential choking hazard for young children, as the snap(s) may detach from the bodysuit causing a small part or parts to be released. The infant bodysuits were sold exclusively at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, as well as the Disney Wonder, Magic, Dream, and Fantasy cruise ships.

Reign of Kong Update: Huge Entrance Arch Gets Painted

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This will be without a doubt one of the most exciting years ever for the Universal Orlando Resort, especially since a brand-new dark ride is scheduled to open this summer at Islands of Adventure, and that's in addition to the refurbished Incredible Hulk Coaster, the new Sapphire Falls Resort (opening just behind the new King Kong-themed attraction) and the small Hello Kitty experience taking shape at Universal Studios. Today we will focus on the new Reign of Kong ride.

Epcot Introduces "Zero Waste" Initiative for IllumiNations

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IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” is one of Walt Disney World's most beloved and recognized nighttime spectaculars. It has received dozens of awards since its debut in 1999, including 11 consecutive Best Outdoor Night Production Show Golden Ticket Awards. As it looks toward the future, “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” continues to be a forerunner in fireworks shows, as the park's Creative Operations Integration team and technicians work towards zero waste.

Hotel Plaza Hilton Stops Participating in Extra Magic Hours

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Starting this year, Guests staying at the Hotel Plaza Hilton (locate near Disney Springs) no longer participate in Walt Disney World's Extra Magic Hours.
As a reminder, Guests staying at one of the Walt Disney World hotels, Shades of Green, or the Golden Oak community can still continue to enjoy Extra Magic Hours by simply presenting their resort ID cards (or MagicBands, if applicable). No other changes have been announced by the Walt Disney World Resort.

Gold Statues from New Attraction Installed at LEGOLAND

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In preparation for the premiere of “The LEGO Movie 4D - A New Adventure” at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, the attraction’s star, Emmet Brickowski, has been immortalized outside the Wells Fargo Fun Town Theater with two giant, golden statues evoking the classic glitz and glamour of show business (Please, note that any resemblance to another famous golden award statue is coincidental, of course. At least that’s what the park's lawyer have told us to say.)

Blizzard Beach to Be Closed for Cold Weather Jan. 23-24

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Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in the next few days should note that Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park will be closed on Saturday, January 23 and Sunday, January 24 due to forecasted low temperatures (high 50s).
Disney's Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses will be open following the usual operating hours. As a reminder, Typhoon Lagoon is currently closed for refurbishment. Check back here on OTPN for more updates.

Nine Dragon Restaurant Introducing New Menu at Epcot

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The Nine Dragons Restaurant (located in Epcot's China pavilion) is introducing an updated menu. Guests are encouraged to try one of the new assortment of Chinese "Burgers" on the menu featuring braised pork belly, sweet-and-sour fish or General Tso's chicken on steamed buns. Or, take your pick at the variety of options available as part of the new Nine Dragons Restaurant prix-fixe lunch special with your choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert for $17.98 per person.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Rescues American Bald Eagle

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The official blog of Busch Gardens Tampa recently shared a truly inspirational story about the rescue of one of the most beautiful birds in the world. Here it is:
"Kamali’s story is a rescue story. She was found at a young age with a gunshot wound in her wing and rescued by the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey before being brought to the park for further care. The wound hindered her capability to fly well enough to properly hunt, so she was deemed non-releasable to the wild.

Disney to Release New YuDo Digital Wallet App on Jan. 21

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YuDo by Disney, a new digital wallet app that provides parents with visibility into where and how their children are shopping, will launch on January 21, 2016.
"YuDo by Disney" can be used to make purchases with digital gift cards from more than 175 third-party merchants in more than 100,000 stores, restaurants, movie theaters, online shopping destinations, and more. The Walt Disney World Resort, including its theme parks and resorts, will also be included in that list.

Kylo Ren Coming Soon to Disney's Hollywood Studios

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Beginning next month, Guests visiting the Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (and at Disneyland Resort in California) will get to interact with one of the newest villains from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Guests will encounter Kylo Ren, a dark warrior with a mysterious past, on the bridge of his First Order Star Destroyer. Kylo Ren is a leader of the First Order, seeking to destroy the New Republic, the Resistance and the legacy of the Jedi.

Brevard Zoo Introduces Exclusive New Animal Experiences

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Anyone who’s wanted to get nose-to-nose with a lemur or feed a giant anteater will definitely want to check out Brevard Zoo’s newest animal encounters.
Billed as “Lemur Rendezvous” and “Jungle Encounter,” these premium, behind-the-scenes experiences “whisk guests off the boardwalk and into the world of our animals,” according to Michelle Smurl, director of animal programs at the Zoo. “Connecting with animals on this level is indescribable. It’s magical.”

Epcot Update: Pixar Short Film Festival, Soarin's Closure

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Epcot has seen quite a few changes in the past few weeks. In addition to the ongoing construction taking place in the Noway pavilion (the new Frozen Ever After ride and the nearby character greeting location will open to Guests later this year), Captain EO officially closed its doors and was replaced a few weeks later by the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. In addition to that, Soarin' closed for a six-month refurbishment that also brought other changes in The Land.

New Disney PhotoPass & Disneyland Application Updates

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Effective January 26, 2016, Disney PhotoPass will introduce a number of new updates, along with accessibility through the newest version of the Disneyland App launching that same day. These enhancements include a new PhotoPass website, the new Disney PhotoPass+ One Day Product (which was also recently launched at the Walt Disney World Resort), and the ability to access any Disney PhotoPass account directly from the Disneyland app.

Commerson's Dolphin Passes Away at SeaWorld Orlando

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SeaWorld shared some sad news today: "We are saddened to share that Betsy, a 33-year-old Commerson's dolphin, has passed away. Betsy lived at SeaWorld San Diego and was recently relocated, along with two longtime companions, to join more of their species in Orlando. The published life span for Commerson's Dolphins is up to 18 years, which Betsy far exceeded in her long life with SeaWorld (A. S. Guide to Marine Mammals, Walker’s Mammals of the World).

More Attractions Closing at Disney's Hollywood Studios

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Yesterday morning the Walt Disney World Resort officially confirmed that the "Lights, Motors, Action!" Extreme Stunt Show will shut its doors for the final time on April 2, 2016, along with other nearby locations that were not mentioned.
Today, Disney confirmed that more attractions and offerings will also close that day at Disney's Hollywood Studios, including Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure, Monsters, Inc. character greeting, Studio Catering Co., and more.