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Showing posts from February, 2016

Universal Studios Update: Fallon, Fast & Furious, and More

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Welcome to our newest photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! This afternoon we will take you back to one of our favorite theme parks to check on the progress that has been done since our last visit. As you'll see, Universal Studios Florida is really busy building multiple new attractions and experiences (Race Through New York, Fast & Furious: Supercharged, and the replacement of Roboasis), and all of them are being built from the ground up. Take a look:

New Wishes Dessert Party Available at Narcoossee's

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Narcoossee's will soon introduce a limited-time special event at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the new Narcoossee's Wishes Dessert Party.  Every Friday in March, Guests can enjoy signature desserts (including cannolis, cheesecake, fruit tarts, brownies bites, and more) and beverages beginning 30 minutes before Wishes starts at the Magic Kingdom Park. Guests can book this experience for $59 per Guest (including tax & gratuity) by calling 407-824-1400.

New Disney Springs Shops and Restaurants Opening Soon

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As Disney Springs continues to expand and double its existing dining, shopping, and entertainment options at the Walt Disney World Resort, more exciting high-profile tenants are coming onboard, including Anthropologie, LACOSTE, Under Armour, kate spade new york, Sephora and Lucky Brand, among others.
Earlier today, a total of 30 new tenants were announced as coming to the Town Center area of Disney Springs, including new retail shops and dining venues.

"La Voz Kids" Filming This Week at Universal Studios

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"La Voz Kids" has officially returned to the Universal Orlando Resort to produce its fourth season. Tapings already took place February 27-28, while additional tapings are currently scheduled for Wednesday, March 2, and Thursday, March 3 at 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (showtimes are subject to change without notice).
In order to participate, all audience members must commit to a four-to-six-hour taping schedule and must arrive to the park at least one hour prior to taping. 

Disney Introduces New Tiered Pricing for One-Day Tickets

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Starting from today, all Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort will notice that the theme parks have adopted a new pricing structure that introduces three new "seasons": Value (low crowds), Regular, and Peak (summer, holidays).
Guests wanting to buy one-day tickets for either of the four Walt Disney parks will first need to check online to see which kind of ticket they'll need to purchase in order to be able to enter the park(s) on the specific date they have chosen.

Animal Kingdom Update: Pandora Construction (PART 1)

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While in the past few weeks we have talked about Animal Kingdom's latest food & beverage updates, plenty of progress was done in the multiple areas of the park that are currently still under construction, including The World of AVATAR.
This photo-report will also take you around Discovery Island, where numerous restaurants and shops continue to be expanded, as well as Asia, which will soon become home to the amphitheater for the new Rivers of Light nighttime show.

Animal Kingdom Update: Pandora Construction (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Disney's Animal Kingdom photo-report. Make sure to check out PART 1 before proceeding any further. In the previous part of this update we enjoyed some views of the great floating mountains that are Beginning to dominate the skyline of the park. In addition to that, we also took a look around Discovery island to see what's new around the central hub of Animal Kingdom. Let's now explore the rest of this amazing park.

SeaWorld Orlando Offering Free Beer for Limited Time Only

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Now through March 6, in celebration of SeaWorld’s popular Bands, Brew & BBQ Festival, the park is offering a special discount of $20 off SeaWorld single-day tickets that are purchased in advance as well as a FREE ice-cold 5-ounce craft brew served on tap alongside a warm sample of pretzel bites at  the park.
The discounted price for the single-day tickets is $79. The offer also is available to all active SeaWorld Orlando annual Pass Members who register online.  

Animal Kingdom Lodge Revamps its Popular Night Safari

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For years, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has offered the popular Night Safari, an experience where Guests have the opportunity to board a safari vehicle at night and trek across the resort’s savanna to see how the animals behave after the sun goes down. The use of night-vision goggles allows for unique views of the animals as well as the resort. Beginning Tuesday, March 1, the aptly-named Night Safari will be officially renamed Starlight Safari.

Disney Springs Watercraft Operating Hours Changing Soon

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Starting from Sunday, Feb. 28, the operating hours for the Disney Springs water taxis and the Sassagoula River Cruise will be from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. As a reminder, Sassagoula River Cruise boats transport Guests to Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa at The Landing Dock. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort can be reached from the Marketplace Dock. The water taxis only connect the three docks located within Disney Springs.

New Busch Gardens Coaster to Include Snakes in Queue

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During a recent media event, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay confirmed that Guests walking through the indoor portion of the queue of Cobra's Curse (the park's newest coaster) will be able to enjoy a great, themed scenery and... live snakes.
The inclusion of live animals in the attraction's queue area shows that Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is still committed to offer to Guests thrilling new attractions while also educating them about the creatures that we share our planet with.

Magic Kingdom: Diamond Horseshoe Reopens Temporarily

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Starting March 13, Guests at Magic Kingdom Park will have an additional table-service option for lunch and dinner. The Diamond Horseshoe will be open daily, serving up a hearty, all-you-care-to-enjoy feast for hungry Guests.
The meal will kick off with a Frontier Salad topped with roasted corn, corn bread croutons, and housemade chipotle-ranch dressing. Guests will then be able to choose between three different entrees and two mouth-watering desserts.

Animal Kingdom News: Turkey Legs Discontinued & More

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Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park already made plenty of menu changes in the past few months, but it looks like even more changes are coming soon.
Indeed, earlier today, the park has announced that turkey legs will no longer be available at Disney's Animal Kingdom beginning from March 1, 2016. In addition to that, the menu of certain restaurants and kiosks located in Discovery Island and DinoLand U.S.A. will receive some new menu items for Guests to enjoy.

Islands of Adventure Update: JP River Adventure Rehab

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A few days ago, the OTPN Team went back to Islands of Adventure to check on the work that has been done around this amazing park since our last visit.
As you will see, more track pieces of The Incredible Hulk Coaster continue to be installed every day (in fact, while these photos were taken just this past Monday, we are sure that they have done a lot of progress since then), while the Jurassic Park River Adventure ride is now closed for refurbishment. Let's take a look.

Grand Floridian Resort: Main Entrance Refurbishment

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Beginning from Sunday, Feb. 28 through Saturday, March 12, the main entrance leading to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will be partially modified due to a refurbishment project that is expected to affect the surrounding areas.
During that period of time, cars will only be allowed to enter through that access point (the temporary entrance lane will be the far left lane of the security booth). All traffic will then be directed to exit through the Convention Center traffic light.

8:15 p.m. Spirit of Aloha Show Cancellations (Feb. 26-27)

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Due to expected inclement weather conditions, the 8:15 p.m. shows of Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show for Friday, February 26 and Saturday, February 27, 2016 have been cancelled (as a reminder, the dinner show is held in an outdoor venue). As a result of this adjustment, Guests with reservations will be assisted with booking alternate dining arrangements. As in previous occasions, Guests who do not wish to dine elsewhere may request to receive a refund instead.

I-Drive 360 Update: New Kiosks, Filming, & Other Changes

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I-Drive 360 is one of the newest entertainment districts in Central Florida, yet it continues to expand and add more shopping and dining options quite often.
As you will see in this photo-update, some of the buildings that were once empty are starting to become available, as new businesses open their doors to Guests visiting this beautiful area. In addition to new kiosks opening near the terminal of The Orlando Eye, new restaurants are now available to visitors. Take a look:

Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar Wins 2016 VIBE Vista Award

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Walt Disney Parks and Resorts was recently recognized for its outstanding and immersive experiences and creative concepts with the 2016 VIBE Vista Award for Best Menu Program (beverages) for Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar at the recent VIBE conference in San Diego. VIBE is the leading beverage industry forum that showcases national trends, insights, and opportunities. This award recognizes an innovative menu that complements the adventurous spirit of the restaurant.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge Expansion: Guest View Update

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As the major expansion project continues to impact Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Guests staying at this cozy resort are seeing visible transformations around various areas, including the view from their room (which might not be the best).
To deliver the best service possible, the Walt Disney World Resort shared some photos of select areas that are visible from some of the rooms. This aims to help Guests in understanding better if they should select a certain room or not.

New "Hello Kitty" Store Soft-Opens at Universal Studios

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Last Monday, a new store opened to Guests visiting Universal Studios Florida.
While the opening of new merchandise locations is not usually the sole subject of one of the posts on our site, we believe that Universal's new "Hello Kitty" will be very popular among Guests, as this particular character has a huge following around the world. In addition to that, a new character meeting location featuring Hello Kitty herself will soon open nearby. Take a look around the store with us.

Make-a-Wish Mickey Mouse Ear Hat Coming to Disneyland

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Beginning from this week, select merchandise locations found at the Disneyland Resort will start offering the limited release "Make-A-Wish" Mickey Mouse Ear Hats (while supplies last) to support the ongoing Make-A-Wish #ShareYourEars campaign, which was featured as part of the two-hour-long Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration TV special that aired on ABC on Sunday, February 21.
This new, limited-edition hat won't be available at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Blizzard Beach Closed Feb. 25-27 Due to Cool Weather

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Planning on visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in the next few days? Then be advised that Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park will be closed Thursday, February 25 through Saturday, February 27 due to forecasted low temperatures.
Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses will be open during normal business hours. be sure to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional advisories and updates.

Reign of Kong Update: A Peek at the Lighting Package

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Yesterday evening, the online theme park fan community was incredibly excited to see some photos of the great lighting package that will enhance even further the mysterious tone of the new Reign of Kong area at Islands of Adventure. While the facade of this new attraction is already very impressive during the day, the subdued lighting and the dark skies (with a beautiful full moon, too!) certainly make this entire area even more intriguing. Let's now explore it together...

Epcot Photo-Update: What's New Around World Showcase

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Epcot's World Showcase is truly one of the most inspiring and amazing themed areas ever created. While Future World is currently going through a very difficult time (many pavilions are either empty or in need of an update), World Showcase continues to be very popular among Guests, even though the area still needs a lot more attractions. While we wait for those to be added, lets take a look around and see what is currently being done around this area of Epcot.

Adventures by Disney to Introduce Three New Itineraries

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This year, Guests can experience a different Disney vacation filled with unique destinations, classic storytelling, and memories that will last a lifetime with new itineraries joining the great (and ever-growing) Adventures by Disney collection.
These new itineraries will take Guests in exciting destinations such as Montana, Walt Disney World Resort & Central Florida, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. Two Adventure Guides will accompany you to help you experience it all.

"Alabama" and "Foreigner" to Perform at SeaWorld Orlando

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There are only a few weekends left to enjoy SeaWorld Orlando’s popular Bands, Brew & BBQ Festival, which includes free concerts for all Guests to enjoy.
On Saturday, February 27, SeaWorld will rock with the famed ALABAMA (the band that changed everything) who has had forty-three #1 singles including twenty-one #1 singles in a row. The weekend will wrap-up on Sunday, February 28 with Foreigner who has ten multi-platinum albums and sixteen top 30 hits.

All-Star Resort News: Duck Pond Pool Closure and More

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Guests planning on staying at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort should note that the Duck Pond Pool is currently closed for a short refurbishment and is expected to reopen at noon on February 24. The Fantasia Pool will be available. In addition to that, beginning from this week, all arcades found at Disney's All-Star Resort will have 24-hour access. As always, operating hours are subject to change without notice at the discretion of the resort's management team.

Disney Parks Release New Star Wars Land Renderings

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Thousands of Disney theme park fans on the East Coast of the United States watched "The Wonderful World of Disney" show on ABC earlier this evening.
This television special celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Disneyland Resort in California, and it included some exclusive artistic renderings of the new Star Wars themed lands coming to Disneyland Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios, images of some of Shanghai Disneyland's themed areas, and more.


LEGOLAND Adds New Daytona Speedway Stadium Model

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This week, Daytona International Speedway unveiled a dramatic new look for the world’s first motorsports stadium, taking the race experience to a whole new level for fans. The $400-million project took about two years to complete and has resulted in a complete re-imagination of an American icon. While fans enjoy the sleek, new stadium during this year’s Speedweeks, the LEGOLAND Florida Resort is working on their own miniature replica of the stadium for Miniland. 

"DVC 25 and Beyond Bash" Coming to Magic Kingdom

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As previously reported, Disney Vacation Club is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a variety of new happenings for DVC Members this year, starting with the Disney Vacation Club 25 and Beyond Bash, an exclusive after-hours event at the Magic Kingdom Park that will take place on February 25 and March 3.
Both events are scheduled to take place from 9:30 p.m. to midnight, with event Guests starting to be allowed into the Magic Kingdom Park starting from 7 p.m. 

Toy Story Midway Mania Closing for One Day on March 15

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As work continues at Disney's Hollywood Studios to open an additional track at Toy Story Mania this summer, this attraction will not be available on March 15.
Guests who had made a FastPass+ selection for Toy Story Mania on that day will be provided with a FastPass+ selection for another experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Since this closure is linked to the new track, it's possible that the majority of the work will be done in the existing queue area of the ride.

Universal Studios Update: Gutting the Old Twister Building

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Just a few days ago, we showed you some amazing aerial images showing all the construction projects taking place around the Universal Orlando Resort.
This evening we will head back to Universal Studios Florida to take a look around the park and check out the progress that was made in the past few days. As always, we will stop by the future Fast & Furious-themed attraction, the Race Through New York simulator, the former Roboasis, and more. Enjoy the tour.

"Happily Ever After Party" to Take Place at Disney Springs

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On Sunday, February 21, Disney Princess Half Marathon event participants will be able to celebrate their race accomplishment with family and friends and enjoy an evening of fun, relaxation, and good times at the Happily Ever After Party at Disney Springs (all three areas, or "neighborhoods," will participate). During this event, runners will be able to take advantage of several special offers by simply presenting their finisher medals at multiple retail and dining locations.

New Star Wars Entertainment Coming to Hollywood Studios

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Following the extraordinary popularity of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Walt Disney World will unveil even more Star Wars-themed entertainment, including one of the most elaborate fireworks and projection shows in the park’s history.
Just in time for spring, the new Star Wars live entertainment experience Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away and a First Order stormtrooper procession will officially debut on Monday, April 4, 2016 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

LEGOLAND Water Park Adds New Build-A-Boat Attraction

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When it opens for the 2016 season on Saturday, March 12, LEGOLAND Water Park will debut its very first expansion since opening back in May 2012!
Currently under construction between LEGO Wave Pool and Build-A-Raft River is Creative Cove, a fun new area featuring several great amenities and an all-new attraction built just for kids. Build-A-Boat is a hands-on activity center found near the Imagination Station where kids can build and race LEGO watercraft.

Flame Tree Barbecue Maintenance Begins February 22

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Work around the Flame Tree Barbecue restaurant (located on Discovery Island at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park) is scheduled to begin after park close on Sunday, February 21. During that time, the pathway leading from Discovery Island to DinoLand U.S.A. will be temporarily reduced, causing minor changes in the flow of Guests. As a reminder, the Guest restrooms in the area (which can be found near the new open-air stage) will remain open during this work.

Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival: 2015 Concert Lineup

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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay continues to amp up the park's annual Food & Wine Festival with even more chart-topping artists including country sensation Chris Young,  musical legends Goo Goo Dolls and Latin superstars Chino y Nacho.
These top artists have been added to a star-studded line-up that also includes Andy Grammer, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Meat Loaf, Third Eye Blind, The All-American Rejects, O.A.R, Gente de Zona, MercyMe, and many more.

Mickey's Pantry Refurbishment Starting at Disney Springs

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Mickey's Pantry (a themed retail locations found in the Marketplace section of Disney Springs) will undergo refurbishment beginning Monday, February 29.
During that time, Guests may continue to purchase Disney-themed housewares and kitchen products at the nearby World of Disney store. Guests interested in Spice & Tea Exchange products should visit www.spiceandtea.com for online ordering. Mickey's Pantry is currently expected to reopen on March 15, 2016.

Updated Aerial Imagery of Walt Disney World (Feb. 2016)

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As we already reported previously, the NearMap site was updated  earlier today to show a more current aerial view of Orlando (images are from February 5).
Thanks to this update, we are able to get an up-close look at some of the areas that are currently under construction around Central Florida's theme parks. In this update we'll check out all of the areas around the Walt Disney World Resort that are under construction. Let's take a look around and see what's new.

Updated Aerial Imagery of Universal Orlando (Feb. 2016)

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On February 5, 2016, the amazing NearMap site was updated to show a current aerial view of some of the major cities in the United States, including Orlando.
Thanks to this update, we are able to get an up-close look at some of the areas that are currently under construction around Central Florida's theme parks. As you will see, the progress that has been done in some locations is nothing short of amazing (this update only includes the Universal Orlando Resort). Enjoy!

Typhoon Lagoon Refurbishment Extended Until March 19

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The seasonal refurbishment of Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park has been extended. The park is now scheduled to reopen to Walt Disney World Guests on Sunday, March 20. During this time, Guests can enjoy Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park as an alternative, which will continue to operate regularly.
All previously scheduled Festival Disney events that are planned to take place at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park are not expected to be impacted.

New Character Greeting Experiences at Hollywood Studios

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Two new character greeting locations are coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios this spring. Opening in the Echo Lake themed area of the theme park, the new Celebrity Spotlight will be the place where park Guest will be able to meet the lovable snowman Olaf, from Disney’s “Frozen.” Olaf will be living his dream “In Summer,” chilling on the beach and ready with warm hugs for all his friends.
Celebrity Spotlight is currently under construction right next door to Star Tours.

SeaWorld Orlando Unveils Themed Coaster Car for Mako

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Today, SeaWorld Orlando unveiled the custom-built Mako lead car that will take riders on a thrilling experience this summer on the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster in Orlando. In a collaboration between SeaWorld’s animal experts and ride engineers, the car is inspired by the look and physiology of an actual Mako shark, including five gills on each side, eye placement and sleek, hydro-dynamic look. The new coaster will run a total of 3 trains of 7 cars per train.

Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire Coming to Magic Kingdom

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This summer, "Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire" show will officially debut on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage at the Magic Kingdom Park, featuring Mickey Mouse and favorite characters and songs from "The Princess and the Frog," "Tangled," and "Frozen." In this all-new, live stage show, Mickey and his troupe of Merry Makers play host to a joyous festival, the Royal Friendship Faire, and have traveled far to invite friends from other lands to join the celebration. 

Disney Springs Update: Town Center Expanding (PART 1)

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We have to admit that we underestimated the extent of this massive, multi-year Disney Springs expansion project in the past. What we thought was going to be a refresh of this entertainment district is undoubtedly getting much more exciting thanks to the new themed neighborhoods, food and beverage offerings, and all the other additions that continue to be added. The photos included in this update should give you a slightly clearer idea about the amount of work being done.

Disney Springs Update: Town Center Expanding (PART 2)

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Welcome to the part 2 of our new Disney Springs photo-report, OTPN Readers. PART 1 of this extensive update can be found by clicking on this link. In the previous part we took a brief look around the Marketplace area of Disney Springs (including the newly-expanded World of Disney Store and more) as well as some of the buildings that make up the Town Center. Now we will take a look around the rest of Disney Springs, including The Landing and the West Side.

SeaWorld Parks in Orlando Bring Increase to Starting Pay

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SeaWorld Orlando announced a few days ago that it will increase the minimum starting pay rate for employees (referred to as ambassadors) to $10 per hour.
This 50-cent increase will be effective starting July 1, 2016. SeaWorld also will be increasing wage rates for almost 100 job titles, both existing positions and new hires, as part of the company’s commitment to compensate employees with competitive pay. The increases will apply to roles in the three Orlando parks.

Princess Half Marathon Returning to Walt Disney World

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The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals returns to Walt Disney World Resort on February 18-21. The sold-out race is expected to draw more than 50,000 spectators and runners from the United States and several other countries around the world. As one of the largest race weekends geared toward women, Disney's Princess Half Marathon celebrates women’s health and empowerment and promotes an active lifestyle.

Winged Encounters Showtimes Change at Animal Kingdom

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Beginning from today, February 14, the first show of "Winged Encounters" will begin at 9 a.m. instead of 8:44 a.m. at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
As part of the show, Guests can watch beautiful macaws flying around the Tree of Life before descending into Discovery Island while also learning a few fun facts from a variety of avian specialists. As a reminder, "Winged Encounters" will not take place during the morning of Wednesday, February 17 due to filming.

Reign of Kong Update: Taking a Peek Inside the Building

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This Reign of Kong photo-update is quite special, as it includes something that we have personally not seen before. While construction walls still surround the entire area, the large gates in front of the building that houses the new Reign of Kong attraction have been opened again, revealing one large and ominous prop that represents the very mysterious tone of this brand-new themed area.
Join us as we explore an uncharted land ruled not by man... but by a giant ape.