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Showing posts from March, 2016

Animal Kingdom Lodge: Sense of Africa Tour Coming Soon

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You will never fully appreciate just how tall a giraffe is until you're standing a few feet away from one, and she peers down to look right into your eyes. It's a truly unforgettable moment, one that Guests will certainly cherish as part of the new experience, Sense of Africa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge experience. The intimate behind-the-scenes tour will give Guests a unique peek into the people, food, art, and animals of Africa with a few surprises along the way.

Manatee Rehabilitation Area Opens at SeaWorld Orlando

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Earlier today, in conjunction with Manatee Appreciation Day, SeaWorld Orlando opened Manatee Rehabilitation, an area for park guests to see the behind-the-scenes rescue and rehabilitation work SeaWorld does to save wild manatees.
The new Manatee Rehabilitation area allows park guests to step into a working wild manatee acute care facility, come face-to-face with animals that have been ill or injured, and follow their journey to recovery and release back to the wild.

New Inside Out Character Greeting Opens April 3 at Epcot

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The Walt Disney World Resort has officially confirmed that the new Inside Out-themed character greeting location will open to Guests on April 3, 2016.
In this new area located in the expanded Epcot Character Spot (which is slowly taking over the space formerly occupied by Innoventions West), Guests will be able to journey through Riley’s long-term memory, catching a glimpse of her own Islands of Personality, and then meet Joy and Sadness at the Headquarters.

New Textile Services Facility Opens at Walt Disney World

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Gilbane Building Company, a global leader in construction services, announced that the Walt Disney World Resort Textile Services Laundry Facility project was honored with a National Excellence in Construction Pyramid Award by the ABC (the Associated Builders and Contractors) in the Industrial Category.
Representatives from Gilbane were on hand to receive the award during ABC’s 26th annual Excellence in Construction Awards celebration in Fort Lauderdale.

Theme Park Food Reviews: Fast Food Boulevard (PART 1)

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Our friend Joe Morganelli is back once again with two new food reviews.
About two weeks ago, he checked out a few of the offerings available at select Flower & Garden Festival kiosks located around Epcot's World Showcase. This afternoon, he will share with us his thoughts regarding two food items currently being sold in the Springfield area of Universal Studios Florida: the turkey wrap from Moe's Tavern and the fish taco from the Bumblebee Man Taco Truck.

Disney's Blizzard Beach to Remain Closed April 3-5, 2016

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Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort next week should note that, due to planned maintenance, Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park will be closed April 3-5, 2016. Some of the main attractions of the park (including Summit Plummet) have been having some major issues in the past few months, so it is likely that they will be addressed during this short refurbishment project. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon will be available for Guests daily from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Downtown Disney Starbucks Offering a New Dinner Menu

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Earlier today, the Starbucks located at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California began serving beer, wine, and small plates as a part of a new Evening Program.
Beginning from noon, several tables on the patio will be marked “Reserved” to allow Guests who purchase alcohol a place to sit since they cannot take the beverages into the Downtown Disney District. A host, busser, and runner will be available to provide any additional service to the Guests in the patio.

Busch Gardens Tampa to Host Special Activities on April 23

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Busch Gardens Tampa Guests are invited to celebrate the Earth on April 23, 2016. Between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Guests will learn how to help humans, as well as many different animal species around the world with various keeper talks, games, activities and prizes. Tables will be set up in the Edge of Africa, Myombe Reserve, Penguin Pointe, Cheetah Run, Jungala, Conservation Cabin, and the Animal Care Center. Multiple animal ambassadors will also be present.

Walt Disney World Monorail News: Express Beam Closures

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Beginning from Tuesday, April 12, the temporary monorail service suspensions affecting the Express Beam every Wednesday and Thursday will also occur on Tuesdays (scheduled monorail closures may be adjusted to accommodate extra magic hours). As a reminder, the Walt Disney World monorail system is currently in the middle of a project that will result in a completely automated transportation system that ultimately aims to be safer and more efficient than ever before.

Writer’s Stop Adding New Offerings at Hollywood Studios

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For a limited time starting from Sunday, April 3, Hollywood Studios Guests can drop by Writer’s Stop for an updated menu in a relaxing atmosphere while they wait for their reservations at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. Writer’s Stop will be open from 11:30 a.m. to one hour prior to the closing time of the Sci-Fi-Dine-In Theater. New menu additions include appetizers such as a warm pretzel with spicy mustard and cheese sauce and a selection of beer, wine, and soft drinks.

Reign of Kong Update: Ride Vehicles Testing Continues

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The mysterious Reign of Kong themed area is going to be unveiled very soon.
While we have been stating that far too many times, we are really getting close now. In addition to the fact that the majority of the exterior work has almost been completed, ride vehicles have been testing for weeks now, meaning that we are getting closer to possible soft openings in the coming two or three months (if not earlier). Let's take another look around this new land while we wait for it to open.

Fulton's Crab House Refurbishment Begins April 4, 2016

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Fulton's Crab House (a steamboat-shaped restaurant located in the Marketplace section of Disney Springs) will close on April 4 to undergo refurbishment.
When it reopens this fall, the reimagined restaurant will feature a new interior reflecting a modern yachting theme and new spaces such as a rooftop lounge overlooking Disney Springs, outdoor waterfront bar, and private dining areas. The completely new menu will continue to focus on fresh seafood and steaks.

Disney's Water Parks, Mini-Golf Courses Currently Closed

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Guests currently visiting the Walt Disney World Resort should be advised that Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, and both of Disney's Miniature Golf Courses are temporarily closed due to inclement weather. All these locations will reopen when it will be deemed safe to do so.
Additionally, the majority of outdoor attractions will also temporarily close at the four theme parks. Be sure to check back here on OTPN for additional updates.

Universal Studios: New Facade Takes Shape in New York

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The new Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is still more than a year away from opening at Universal Studios Florida (judging from the current status of the project); that said, the themed facade is already taking shape in front of the partially demolished building that will soon house this brand-new attraction.
In this photo-update, we will walk around some areas of the park to check out the progress that has been done since our last visit. Enjoy this virtual tour.

Coral Reef Restaurant Dinner Reservation Test at Epcot

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The Coral Reef Restaurant (a table-service location found within The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion at Epcot) will be testing something new starting from this week. Between March 27 and April 3, 2016, the restaurant will offer dinner reservations until 9:30 p.m., remaining open 30 minutes after park close.
While this test will end on April 3, it is not known whether it will return in the near future or if this will become a permanent change. We will keep you informed.

New Pool and Bar Officially Open at the Polynesian Resort

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On Thursday, March 17, a grand opening ceremony was held to mark the official opening of the Oasis Pool and the adjacent Oasis Bar and Grill. Cast Members and resort Guests were in attendance to celebrate this spectacular new addition to the resort. With spring just around the corner, the weather was perfect for a day spent at the pool. The ceremony included traditional hula dances and live music. The entire area is now available to all Guests staying at the resort.

Singer Scott Stapp Visits Discovery Cove with His Family

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Grammy-award winning singer Scott Stapp, most notably known for being the lead vocalist and founding member of the rock band Creed, visited Discovery Cove in Orlando today with his wife, philanthropist and VH1 reality star Jaclyn, as well as their two children, Daniel, and Milan. The family met Roxy (an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin that calls Discovery Cove home) and were able to learn more about these magnificent animals and even swim with Roxy side by side.

"Jungle Book" Sand Sculpture Coming to Animal Kingdom

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To celebrate the release of Disney’s “The Jungle Book,” a new live-action epic adventure released next month, artisans will carve a sand sculpture inspired by the film at the Oasis, just past the main entrance of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
The team will be working on the sculpture periodically on March 28-30, which will be on display as a photo opportunity for Guests through April 24. There will also be special activities and giveaways in the area on Earth Day (April 22).

Afternoon Tea Returning to Disney's Beach Club Resort

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Starting from this week, Walt Disney World Resort Guests can once again enjoy Afternoon Tea at Disney’s Beach Club Resort in the Crescent Solarium.
The comfortable solarium overlooking the nearby Crescent Gardens provides an elegant setting for hotel Guests to enjoy classic afternoon tea accompanied by savories and sweets, such as house-made scones, petite sandwiches, and fresh pastries. A variety of alcoholic beverages will also be available for purchase.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster Track Installation Completed

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One of the most iconic theme park rides ever created is finally back. While we'll have to wait a few more months until The Incredible Hulk Coaster reopens to Guests at Islands of Adventure, crews have worked hard day and night to install the last track pieces of this massive attraction. As of today, it appears that the entirety of the new track is finally in place, even though more work is still being done around the footers and the indoor queue. Let's take a look around.

Device Update at Agent P's World Showcase Adventure

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Beginning from this week, Guests willing to join Agent P to thwart some of Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s evil plots as part of Agent P's World Showcase Adventure will now have the option to use their own personal high-tech detection device (also known as a smartphone). Guests may still choose to receive a Field Operative Notification Equipment at the Odyssey Bridge or International Gateway starting points to help maneuver through their missions around World Showcase.

Magic Kingdom Entertainment Adjustments (April 2016)

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Walt Disney World Resort Guests should be advised that, due to concrete work scheduled to take place around Main Street U.S.A., some Magic Kingdom Park offerings will be impacted on select dates throughout April and May 2016.
On April 4, 6, 10, 19 and 24, the Trolley Show will use the Main Street fire truck instead of the trolley, and the Move it! Shake it! Dance and Play it! Street Party is currently scheduled to be presented only twice a day, at 12:30 and 5:40 p.m.

Discovery Cove Guests Can Help Save the Ocean Reefs

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Guests who swim among tropical fish at Discovery Cove in Orlando now have a new connection to the world’s oceans: When they swim in the Grand Reef, or participate in the SeaVenture underwater dive experience, they are surrounded by (and supporting) a conservation research program aiming to protect ocean reefs. Rising Tide Conservation is an initiative that promotes efforts to breed and raise tropical fish in aquaculture facilities rather than collecting them in the wild.

Helicopter Flyover at Disney's Hollywood Studios on April 7

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Walt Disney Entertainment Broadcast Productions has scheduled two helicopter flyovers of Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Thursday, April 7, 2016.
The areas of focus will be Hollywood Boulevard and the courtyard around The Great Movie Ride (from Hyperion Theater to The Great Movie Ride to Disney’s Hollywood Studios arches, previously known as Mickey’s Face/Icon Courtyard). It is believed that this helicopter flyover will take place for promotional purposes.

Rivers of Light Update: Testing the Lotus Flower Barges

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The new Rivers of Light show will officially debut exactly one month from today at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. This nighttime spectacular promises to engage the senses of Guests of all ages, multiple times each evening.
While we wait for the grand opening day, let's take a look around the Discovery River to see the amount of progress that has been done in the past few days. As you'll see, some of the show's amazing props are being tested during the day.

Last Cobra's Curse Track Piece Installed at Busch Gardens

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The final track piece has been installed for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s most anticipated family coaster, Cobra’s Curse, scheduled to open this summer.
The 4,475-pound track piece was bolted into place on March 19, marking the end of track construction and the beginning of the testing phase. This thrilling coaster will feature a menacing 30,000-pound snake icon as well as a 70-foot vertical lift that will take riders within inches of its 4-foot-long fangs.

Disney Springs Guest Relations Operating Hours Update

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Starting from this week, the Disney Springs Guest Relations lobby will open at 9 a.m. Additionally, while Times Guides for Walt Disney World's four theme parks will continue to be available at the location, the Disney Springs Times Guide is currently unavailable. It is not clear whether this is just a temporary change or a permanent removal. In the meantime, Guests visiting the Disney Springs area should use the My Disney Experience app for operating hours and show times.

Disney After Hours Event Coming Soon to Magic Kingdom

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Walt Disney World Resort Guests will soon have the opportunity to enjoy a new special event at Magic Kingdom Park taking place on select nights throughout April and May 2016. This ticketed event will be known as "Disney After Hours."
The event will enable all participants to enjoy more magic in less time at the Magic Kingdom Park, with a shorter than typical wait time for popular attractions and character greetings. Ice cream and bottled beverages are also included.

Cody Simpson Unveils New Madame Tussauds Figure

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Australian-born singer-songwriter Cody Simpson came face-to-face with his new wax figure in Orlando. Simpson was surrounded by a group of fans who entered a contest to win the chance for a meet-and-greet with the star, as he unveiled the new wax figure. Simpson met with Madame Tussauds artists where more than 300 precise measurements of his head and body were taken to create a perfect replica of the star. He also provided artists with clothing and accessories.

Walt Disney World: Airline Check-In Service Hours Change

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Starting from Monday, April 11, the Airline Check-In service offered at Disney's hotels will be available from 5 a.m. until noon to better meet Guest demand.
Resort Airline Check-In is a complimentary service that lets all resort Guests flying on participating airlines check in for their flight, collect their boarding pass, and check their bags at the airline check-in desk located at Disney's resorts. As a reminder, some Guests might be required to check in directly at the airport.

Minor Changes Coming to Two Hollywood Studios Lands

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A few days ago, we posted a brief news on our social media pages involving a newly-renamed themed area of Disney's Hollywood Studios. This afternoon we are going to follow up on that news to add a few more details and to discuss about possible future plans for one of the oldest (yet most appreciated) areas of a park that's undergoing its biggest expansion ever. Indeed, it looks like the Walt Disney World Resort is finally ready to give the Muppets a bit more elbow room.

SeaWorld Installs the Final Piece of Mako's Giant Track

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On March 15, 2016, SeaWorld Orlando installed the final piece of Mako’s nearly mile-long steel track, completing the footprint of what will be Orlando’s longest coaster (as well as fastest and tallest). The 12,500-pound, final piece of track was lifted high in the air by a giant crane and then bolted into place by workers. The moment finished off a track that is 4,760 feet of pure thrill. This January, SeaWorld topped off the coaster's highest point, reaching 200 feet in the air.

Old Faithful Club Relocation at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

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Effective immediately, the "Old Faithful Club"(the concierge lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge) has relocated to the Vice Presidential Suite on the seventh floor. The lounge will remain in this location until the Old Faithful Club has been fully reimagined. All Club Level Guests can be assisted with dining reservations, childcare arrangements, tours or other recreational activities, transportation, and any other needs they may have during their Walt Disney World Resort vacation.

Harambe Market Area Closing Early on March 21, 2016

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Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park has hosted a variety of special events in the past few years, and these are expected to continue to take place in the park even more often, thanks to the new offerings that will be opening soon. One of these after-hour events will take place on March 21 in the new Harambe Market area; for this reason, the location will close to Guests at 5 p.m. (the rest of the park will close at 7 p.m.). This will not be reflected in this week's Times Guides.

Reign of Kong Update: Additional Themed Lights and Props

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We are getting very close. In just a few months, Islands of Adventure Guests will finally get to experience one of the most immersive and thrilling dark ride ever created. If all the details seen on the exterior of this attraction reflect the look of what's inside (and we are sure they do), it's going to be a very intense ride.
This afternoon we will stop by the Reign of Kong area to see what has changed since our last visit. We hope you'll enjoy this quick tour of this mysterious island.

New Maps for Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Water Parks

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Updated guidemaps for Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Water Parks will be available starting March 20. The new guidemaps include English maps, as well as all five translations and the Guide for Guests with Disabilities.
While park maps are updated on a regular basis, it is important to take note of the changes that are introduced every few months (for example, the updated Magic Kingdom Park map includes some food & beverage updates and more).

The Ganachery Opens Temporary Location at Senses Spa

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The Ganachery, the chocolate shop that recently opened at Disney Springs, is spreading the love this weekend in the form of chocolate and delectable treats.
During regular operating hours on March 26–27, select items that are currently being sold at the Disney Springs location will also be available for purchase at Senses-A Disney Spa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort. Guests will be able to pair their reinvigorating spa treatments with some sweet treats next week.

"Rockin’ Paper" Attraction Coming to Crayola Experience

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Rockin’ Paper, an all-new attraction that brings personalized paper creations to life, will be unveiled at the new Crayola Experience Orlando this summer.
At Rockin’ Paper, Guests will first decorate paper creatures, then marvel as they turn, bop, and rock in a show all of their own, set on a colorful stage, complete with lights and music. Each new set of paper stars will dance to a different song, creating a whole new experience every time Guests will interact with them. 

Blizzard Beach Water Park to Remain Closed March 18-19

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Due to some technical issues, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will remain closed today (Friday, March 18), and tomorrow (Saturday, March 19). The water park is currently expected to reopen to Guests on Sunday, March 20; however, the Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher slides will continue to be unavailable.   In the meantime, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will be open to Guests from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily as the park's refurbishment has been completed.

Additional Nighttime Kilimanjaro Safaris Details Released

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The new Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular might be this year's most exciting addition for Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, but it won't be the only one.
Among the other new offerings, the very popular Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction will start operating after sundown for the first time, allowing Guests to observe some animal species that are more active at night. Earlier this morning, the Walt Disney World Resort released additional information about this experience.

SeaWorld to End Orca Breeding Programs and Live Shows

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SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., one of the leading theme park and entertainment companies, today announced that the killer whales – or orcas – currently in the company’s care will be the last generation of orcas at SeaWorld. The company will end all orca breeding as of today. SeaWorld's parks will also introduce new, inspiring, natural orca encounters, rather than theatrical shows, as part of their ongoing commitment to education, research, and rescue of marine animals. 

The Incredible Hulk Coaster Track Installation Continues

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Just two days ago, the OTPN Team returned to Islands of Adventure to check out the amount of work that has been done in the park since our last update.
Today, we will focus on The Incredible Hulk Coaster, as that is one of the most popular attractions in the park. As you will see, the majority of the coaster track is now in place, and even more track pieces were installed in the past two days (the iconic cobra roll is now almost completely done). Let's take a look around:

Backstage Work Continues at Disney's Hollywood Studios

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As the park continues to get ready to start building two new themed lands, work continues to take place in backstage areas at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
In addition to the demolition of Catastrophe Canyon and the work being done to vacate the former Creative Costuming building, a quite large portion of the backstage areas located south of the existing Cast Member parking garage was closed and officially became a construction zone on Tuesday, March 15, 2016.

SeaWorld Releases Manatee Rescued in South Carolina

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SeaWorld Orlando's Animal Rescue Team returned a rehabilitated manatee last Thursday to the warm Florida waters after being rescued from a power facility in Charleston, S.C. this past December. The manatee (named Goose during his 3 month rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando) was returned near the Kennedy Point Marina in Titusville. Prior to his return a satellite transmitter was attached around his paddle like a belt to ensure he follows proper migration patterns next winter.

Blizzard Beach to Remain Closed Today and Tomorrow

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Due to technical difficulties, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will be closed for today (March 16) and on March 17, 2016. For this reason, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park which will be available until 6:00 p.m. today and will also be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16. Disney's Blizzard Beach is expected to reopen to all Guests on Friday, March 18. The specific cause for this sudden closure is still not clear. We will keep you updated.

Universal Releases Photos of King Kong's Massive Vehicle

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For an attraction as massive as Reign of Kong at Universal Orlando Resort, a new kind of ride vehicle was needed to put Guests in the heart of the story.
The expedition vehicle for this new attraction measure over 40 feet long and 13 feet high, weighs in at 17 tons and carries up to 72 people. The front and back axles that support the vehicle’s 45-inch wheels can be steered individually. This lets the ride vehicle take sharp turns and pull off some complicated maneuvers.

Walt Disney World Monorail Operating Hours Adjustment

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In the past months, the operating hours of Walt Disney World's monorail system were changed to accommodate work that is being done along its track.
Disney recently stated that the Express Beam will have a temporary midday closure on Friday, March 18, and Saturday, March 19, from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. As a result, Express Beam operating hours are scheduled to be from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and then from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. (on March 18 and 19, 2016 only).

Magic Kingdom Extends Hours, Adds Parade Performance

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The operating hours of the Magic Kingdom will be extended Monday, March 21 through Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Park open changed to 8:00 a.m.  In addition to that, a second Main Street Electrical Parade performance will be taking place at midnight Monday, March 28, through Thursday, March 31, 2016. As always, be sure to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for any additional updates and advisories in the next few days.

New Summer Event and 4D Movie Coming to LEGOLAND

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The new LEGO Nexo Knights 4D: The Book of Creativity will open May 26, 2016 at LEGOLAND Florida. Set in the futuristic Kingdom of Knighton, this theatrical attraction will pit five young knights against the evil Jestro and his sidekick, the Book of Monsters. Based on the new LEGO series of building sets and the just-launched TV show, the 12½-minute experience includes “4D,” real-world effects that bring the high-tech action bursting off the screen and into the audience.

Ninjago Themed Attractions Coming to LEGOLAND Florida

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In addition to the second hotel, LEGOLAND announced that an all-new Ninjago-themed land will soon open between the Land of Adventure and LEGO City.
Inspired by the very popular series of LEGO building sets and the long-running TV show “LEGO NINJAGO: Masters of Spinjitzu,” this new, fully immersive land invites guests to step into a magical kingdom where they’ll experience a first-of-its-kind attraction that promises to blend multiple, unique special effects.