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Showing posts from April, 2016

Recap of Animal Kingdom's Brand-New Nighttime Offerings

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Beginning May 27, many new nighttime offerings will debut at Animal Kingdom.
As previously announced, the Tree of Life will come to life throughout the night, Kilimanjaro Safaris will have extended operating hours, two new entertainment experiences (Harambe Wildlife Parti and Discovery Island Carnivale) will feature lively music, Tiffins will open as the park’s first signature restaurant and, just for a limited time, "The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic" will be performed.  

Last Viva la Música Performances at SeaWorld Orlando

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Viva la Música is sizzling at SeaWorld Orlando with new flavors and some of the hottest Hispanic artists in the industry. This fiery, festive celebration runs for two more weekends (May 7 and 14) and is included with  regular park admission.
On Saturday, May 7, musician, composer, singer and trombonist, Willie Colón will perform some of his all-time hits; then, on May 14, Latin music legend Wisin will hit the Bayside Stadium and perform some of his record-breaking hits.

Grab 'n' Go Breakfast at the Grand Floridian Resort's Villas

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For the month of May, a selection of grab 'n' go breakfast items will be available for purchase in the lobby of The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Guests will be able to purchase these items daily from 7:30 until 10:30 a.m., and will include the following (subject to availability): Nilla Wafers Cookies, Donut Holes, Cinnamon Roll, Blueberry Muffin, Coffee Cake, ZBar, Cliff Bar, fresh fruit, as well as assorted beverages (water, milk, apple juice, and orange juice).

New Sprinkles Bakery Opens on May 15 at Disney Springs

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Sprinkles, touted as the world’s first cupcake bakery by Food Network, recently announced that it will officially open its doors on Sunday, May 15 in the Town Center area of Disney Springs. The new location will include a traditional bakery that will offer an assortment of cupcakes, ice creams and cookies, along with the brand’s very unique Cupcake ATM that dispenses freshly-baked cupcakes and cookies for Guests on the go. This promises to be a very "sweet" addition...

Busch Gardens Gives a Preview of the Cobra's Curse Lift

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How does it feel like to come face to fang with the snake king icon that acts as the centerpiece of Busch Gardens Tampa's new Cobra's Curse family coaster?
The park wants you to find that out for yourself, as the new spinning coaster is expected to open in the coming months. In the meantime, though, you can get a glimpse of the exciting view that Guests will be able to enjoy as they climb to the top of the lift that will eventually lead to a a thrilling drop (and much more).

New Food and Beverage Offerings Now Available at Epcot

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Guests who enjoy exploring all the options available at Epcot's unique eateries are invited to try the all-new food & beverage offerings now available around World Showcase. At the Liberty Inn, Guests can now find a Clam Chowder Soup and a Frozen Coke with a float of Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey. At the Fife & Drum Tavern, the new Henry’s Hard Orange Soda is now being sold (it is also available as a float). Finally, the UK Beer Cart now offers House-Made Crisps.

Earfell Tower Demolished at Disney's Hollywood Studios

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What has been considered by many as the original icon of Disney's Hollywood Studios is now gone. The Earfell Tower (its name was conceived as an homage to the famed Eiffel Tower in Paris) was removed overnight at the park, leaving a rather large empty space in the backstage area where this icon once stood.
While the news of its sudden removal certainly caught everyone by surprise, the demolition of the Earffel Tower was confirmed by Disney several months ago.

NBCUniversal Confirms DreamWorks Animation Acquisition

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NBCUniversal, a division of the Comcast Corporation (which is also the parent company of the Universal Orlando Resort), today announced the acquisition of DreamWorks Animation. Known as one of the most admired family brands in the world, DreamWorks Animation creates animated feature films, television series and specials, live entertainment, and related consumer products. The studio will officially become part of the large Universal Filmed Entertainment Group.

New Entertainment Tests Begin Soon at Animal Kingdom

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As previously announced, multiple new entertainment offerings will make their official debut on Memorial Day weekend at Disney's Animal Kingdom. As that time approaches, select new atmosphere entertainment acts will start to make their way to the theme park as part of a soft-opening phase. Beginning next week, the Harambe Acrobats will start performing in Africa, while other new street shows will also take place elsewhere in the park. We'll keep you posted.

Special DVC & AP Discount for "Disney After Hours" Event

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Due to lower-than-expected attendance during the "Disney After Hours" event at Magic Kingdom, discounted tickets for this after-hour party are now available for Disney Vacation Club members and all Walt Disney World annual passholders (including those with Seasonal, Weekday Select, or Epcot After 4 passes).
These specially priced tickets are $75.00 (plus tax) for the following event dates: April 28, May 5, 8, 12, and 19. The availability of discounted tickets is limited.

New 4D Movie Debuting May 26 at LEGOLAND Florida

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Guests will be able to enjoy an all-new "4D" film experience starring the LEGO NEXO KNIGHTS at LEGOLAND Florida Resort starting Thursday, May 26.
It’s an immersive, animated adventure created especially for LEGOLAND Parks around the world. As part of this attraction, Guests wil help the Nexo knights will have to defeat the evil Jestro and his minions in a 4D world. Additionally, Guests will be able to go on an interactive quest using the Nexo Knights mobile app.

Disney Springs Update: Town Center Opens Soon (Part 1)

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In less than three weeks, the new Town Center neighborhood of Disney Springs will officially open its doors at the Walt Disney World Resort, bringing a plethora of new restaurants and shops to this already expansive entertainment district.
While there have been some mixed feelings about the newest themed area of Disney Springs, it will undoubtedly be nice to even just walk around the area once it opens to Guests, as it will feature themed buildings and water features.

Disney Springs Update: Town Center Opens Soon (Part 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Disney Springs photo-report, OTPN Readers. Be sure to check out PART 1 of this update before proceeding. Previously, we took a look around the future bus terminal that has been built right in front of the Town Center as well as some areas of the West Side. Now, let's explore the other themed neighborhoods of Disney Springs, including The Landing, The Town Center, and the Marketplace. We hope you'll enjoy your tour.

SeaWorld and Guy Harvey Partner for Ocean Conservation

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On Wednesday, April 27, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and world-renowned marine artist and conservationist Guy Harvey announced a partnership focused on ocean health and the plight of sharks in the wild. The two organizations have decided to partner to raise awareness of these important issues, and collaborate on science and research to increase understanding of how to protect even more efficiently these predators, which are essential parts of the marine environment.

Princess Fairytale Hall FP+ Update at Magic Kingdom

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With Anna and Elsa moving to the Royal Sommerhus at Epcot in June, Princess Fairytale Hall will continue offering advance FastPass+ selections to meet both princesses through early June. Afterwards, other characters will replace them. Royal Sommerhus at Epcot will be the new place where Guests can meet Anna and Elsa in person; however, they will continue to visit Magic Kingdom daily to appear in the Festival of Fantasy Parade and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire.

"Cementosaurus" Icon to Be Repainted at Animal Kingdom

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Very few people might not know this, but the large dinosaur that act as the icon of DinoLand U.S.A. at Animal Kingdom actually has a name: Cementosaurus.
As part of the major projects that aim to improve the overall look of the park, the large dinosaur located at the entrance to Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama is slowly transitioning from orange to green, giving it a more "realistic" look (that is purely based on how the majority of dinosaurs are depicted in this day and age).

CityWalk Update: New Chocolate Factory Takes Shape

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There is so much is going on at Universal Orlando's two theme parks, and we are all aware of this. That said, some Guests visiting the resort might forget that CityWalk also recently received a partial makeover that included the introduction of multiple new venues, and there are even more to come in the near future.
This morning we will take a look at the Toothsome Chocolate Factory and other smaller projects taking place around this ever-changing entertainment district.

Slush Gusher, Summit Plummet Closed at Blizzard Beach

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As reported in the past, two of the most iconic water slides of Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park have had quite a few issues in the past months, forcing them to remain closed for an extended period of time. As of today, the Slush Gusher and Summit Plummet attractions are still closed for maintenance. Both slides are expected to be unavailable until at least May 6, 2016, but it would surely not be surprising to hear that they could remain closed for a few more weeks.

Bus Stop Closure at Walt Disney World's Dolphin Hotel

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Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort next month should be aware that, beginning Sunday, May 15, The bus stop at the Dolphin Hotel will be closed due to construction. All Guests at the Swan and Dolphin hotel will utilize the bus stop located at the Swan. This work is scheduled to last until mid-September. At this time, it is still not clear whether this closure is caused by an upcoming refurbishment of the bus stop itself or by an unrelated construction project.

SeaWorld Orlando Releases Nine Endangered Sea Turtles

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About 47 different sea turtles have been rescued and cared for by the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team this year, including 24 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles that were originally rescued in Massachusetts and flown to Florida in January for life-saving rehabilitation by SeaWorld experts. On April 20, nine of those Kemp’s ridley sea turtles were returned to the warm Florida waters in Little Talbot Island State Park, following a total of 15 weeks of extensive rehabilitation.

Fulton's Crab House Restaurant to Reopen as "Paddlefish"

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Fulton's Crab House, the boat-shaped restaurant currently under refurbishment at Disney Springs, has just announced it will reopen this fall as "Paddlefish," a reimagined restaurant with a concept reflecting a modern luxury yachting theme.
Paddlefish will celebrate the freshest seafood while featuring steaks and chops. Paddlefish's menu will showcase an array of contemporary seafood dishes such as Lobster Risotto with poached Maine Lobster and Redfish with coconut milk.

Beach Party Coming to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

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Guests staying at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa are invited to join the hotel's crew for a retro beach party on Friday, May 6, and between May 27 and May 30, 2016. This special event will include music, games, activities, and many other offerings. The party is going to take place on the beach located in front of the resort from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on both dates, weather permitting. As always, all Guests (even those staying at other Disney hotels) are invited to attend.

LEGOLAND Florida to Install Solar Panels in Parking Area

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LEGOLAND Florida Resort and Tampa Electric are partnering on a 2-megawatt solar energy project that will produce electricity (and shade for visitors) at the popular vacation destination, a project that was officially announced to the public as part of an Earth Day commemoration held on April 22 at the theme park.
Beginning this spring, Tampa Electric will install a canopy of solar panels over the resort's preferred parking lot, located right next to the theme park entrance.  

Magic Kingdom Update: Castle Stage Rehab Continues

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The Magic Kingdom Park will see very few additions this year, as Disney wants Guests to focus their attention on the other three theme parks this summer.
Of course, we should not forget that a new stage show is coming this summer, replacing the former Dream Along with Mickey show. To make way for the new Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire (which is currently scheduled to debut in June), work continues to be performed on the Castle Stage to improve its functionality.

Epcot's Trading Post Now Offers a Selection of Beer & Wine

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The Trading Post store (located in the Canada pavilion at Epcot) recently started offering a selection of beer and ice wine. Guests can now choose from a variety of options from 11 a.m. until park close daily, including Molson Canadian, Labatt Bourbon Barrel, Blanche de Chambly, Inniskillin, Neige Premiere Apple.
Be sure to stop by this shop next time you visit World Showcase to check out these new offerings and much more (availability and prices subject to change).

Turtle Fest Exhibit Opens at SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium

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SEA LIFE Orlando has hatched a new plan with the opening of Turtle Fest on Earth Day, an interactive exhibit at the aquarium that pays tribute to the turtles, tortoises, and terrapins that populate our beautiful planet. As part of his family-friendly exhibit, Guests will find several new reptiles, including the Diamondback Terrapin, Northern Red-bellied Cooter, the Australian snake-necked turtle, and more. The exhibit is included with regular admission to the aquarium.

New Specialty Kiosks Bring More Flavors to Disney Springs

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As Disney Springs nears completion on the largest expansion in its history and emerges as a new waterfront district, three new food & beverage kiosks will be opening next month, offering diverse cuisines and plenty of new options.
The kiosks will be known as Aristocrepes (selling crepes of all kinds), The Daily Poutine (serving Canadian-style food), and B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co. (serving artisan sausages). Continue reading to learn more about these new locations.

Road Expansion Coming North of Magic Kingdom Park

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As part of ongoing efforts to improve traffic flow for Cast Members and Guests accessing the Walt Disney World Resort from the north entrance, roadwork is planned to start on April 25 in the area north of the Magic Kingdom Park.
Because of this work, drivers using Reams Road to reach locations across the Walt Disney World Resort should be mindful of construction work and personnel in the area. These roadwork projects are expected to be complete in the fall.  

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Welcomes Two Baby Sloths

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Spring has sprung, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is excited to announce the two newest additions to the theme park: two baby sloths, weighing only six to 19 ounces each. The newest Hoffman’s two-toed sloth was born on March 24, and a Linne’s two-toed sloth was born on April 2. As a leading zoological facility, Busch Gardens will share information about these new babies with the scientific community, as not much is documented about the gestation of these species.

Soarin’ Around the World Opening on June 17 at Epcot

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Beginning June 17, Guests will be able to depart on a brand-new adventure as Soarin’ Around the World officially opens at Epcot. Combining stunning sights, spectacular sounds and even subtle scents, the attraction will take Guests of all ages on an exhilarating flight spanning six continents and featuring some of the world’s most iconic landmarks. This multisensory attraction will allow Guests to soar and explore some of the most spectacular scenic wonders of our world.

Princess Elena of Avalor Coming Soon to Magic Kingdom

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Magic Kingdom Park will welcome the first Disney princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures, Elena of Avalor, following her television debut in a new animated series this summer on Disney Channel. Princess Elena is a bold, caring, funny, and clever 16-year-old who is ascendant to the throne in the fairytale kingdom of Avalor. The series follows the story of Elena, who saves her kingdom and must learn to rule with the support of her appointed Grand Council and her friends.

Reign of Kong Update: New Mess Tent Opens to Guests

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We have been waiting for more than a year to see the removal of the temporary walls installed around the new Reign of Kong area at Island of Adventure. Now, it looks like Universal is finally ready to start unveiling some of the features of this mysterious land. Even though the majority of the walls are still up, Guests can now visit the new Mess Tent, a themed kiosk that sells the usual theme park snacks. Of course, there are plenty of details to enjoy. Let's take a look around.

“Alice Through the Looking Glass” Preview at Disney Parks

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For a limited time starting May 6, a sneak peek of Disney’s all-new spectacular adventure “Alice Through the Looking Glass” will be presented as part of the One Man’s Dream attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios and at the newly-renamed Sunset Showcase Theater (which originally housed the Muppet*Vision 3D attraction and then the Frozen sing-along) at Disney California Adventure.
Alice Through the Looking Glass” will open in theaters in 3D on May 27, 2016.

Disney Reveals New Details About Frozen Ever After Ride

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For the first time, Guests will be able to explore the kingdom of Arendelle when “Frozen Ever After” opens in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot in June 2016.
As part of this family-friendly adventure, Guests will walk under a stone archway and enter the kingdom of Arendelle to celebrate a “Summer Snow Day.” Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, trolls, and Marshmallow join them on their journey through the frozen willow forest, past Troll Valley and up to Elsa’s magnificent ice palace.

New Jungle Book Show Coming Soon to Animal Kingdom

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Nightfall brings more mystery and majesty to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park as guests discover rich new experiences under the stars. Whether riding Kilimanjaro Safaris at sunset, dancing alongside African performers in Harambe, or reveling in a live musical celebration of Disney’s The Jungle Book, guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom can enjoy the park’s captivating new vibe and tone when it expands its offerings with extended hours and enhanced entertainment.

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

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Universal Studios Florida currently has a good number of projects going on at the same time inside this ever-growing theme park. In addition to the two major attractions that are taking shape in New York (Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon) and San Francisco (Fast & Furious: Supercharged), some minor work is being done around Production Central that involve the installation of new metal detectors for the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster. Let's take a look.

Disney Transforms Park Icons Into Storytelling Canvases

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An inspiring story can come to life on any surface. Whether you're looking down Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Resort, watching the “Once Upon a Time” show at Tokyo Disneyland or seeing Cinderella Castle transform in “Celebrate the Magic” at Walt Disney World Resort, the experience is always breathtaking.
With the help of multiple teams working together, shows that involve projection mapping have become a true staple for Disney Parks & Resorts worldwide.

Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party Change at Magic Kingdom

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Because of the popularity of Magic Kingdom's Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party, the experience will be expanded starting April 19 so that more Guests will be able to enjoy it. All Guests attending the event will enjoy a variety of desserts at the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant, just like they do today. Then, Guests with same-day reservations will move to the Plaza Garden area to watch the show, while Guests who booked in advance will view the fireworks from the restaurant.

SeaWorld Shares Latest Update on Tilikum's Health

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Earlier today, SeaWorld Orlando shared the latest update about Tilikum's health from Director of Animal Training Kelly Flaherty-Clark. In this official statement, she said the following: "As we’ve noted from the onset, Tilikum has some good days and some not so good days. He recently had a few of the not so good days in succession. Over the weekend and today his appetite improved a good deal, and we are encouraged by his increased engagement with trainers."

Several Activities Coming to Epcot to Celebrate Earth Day

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Spring is in full swing at Epcot as plenty of flowers, plants, and special activities continue to be available to Guests visiting the park during this year's Flower & Garden Festival. In addition to these seasonal offerings, Epcot will celebrate our planet with more activities during Earth Day Weekend, which will take place on April 22-24. All of the new offerings that will be available during the weekend will encourage Guests to learn more about the amazing natural world we all share.

New Themed Events Coming to Disney's All-Star Resorts

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The Walt Disney World Resort just revealed that new themed "Guest Days" are coming soon to new themed Guest days at Disney's All-Star Resorts. These special events are scheduled to occur every week as a surprise and delight to Guests staying at one of the three themed sections of the hotel (Movies, Music, and Sports), and they will include special activities, food & beverage offerings, and entertainment. These event might not be advertised to surprise Guests.

Theme Park Food Reviews: Fast Food Boulevard (PART 2)

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More than two weeks ago, our friend Joe Morganelli reviewed two food items currently being sold in the Springfield area of Universal Studios Florida (we are referring to the turkey wrap that's available at Moe's Tavern and the fish taco).
This week, we are happy to share with our Readers three of his newest food reviews, which take place in the same themed area of Universal Studios. Let's hear his thoughts about the Riblet sandwhich, the Clogger, and the large donut.

"Circle of Life" Reopening This Week with Minimal Changes

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The Harvest Theater is scheduled to officially reopen to Guests this Saturday at the Walt Disney World Resort, according to this week's Epcot Times Guide.
The venue, located inside The Land pavilion, will still feature the Circle of Life, an environmental movie presented by Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa. While this attraction has been closed for months, we have been told that changes inside the theater are very minimal, and these will not be noticed by most visitors.


Same-Item Purchase Limits in Effect at Walt Disney World

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In order to provide all Guests the same opportunity to purchase Disney-branded merchandise, starting from this month, a same-item purchase limit of 10 will be implemented on product sold online, through the new Shop Disney Parks mobile app, and at stores located at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort; Disney Vacation Club; Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa and Disney Cruise Line.
This purchase limit previously only applied to select items (like Frozen apparel).

Islands of Adventure Update: Camp Jurassic Work & More

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While all the track pieces of The Incredible Hulk Coaster were installed several weeks ago, this massive coaster is still expected to be closed for a few more weeks as work continues to be done around the indoor queue, the loading area, the tunnel, and the track supports. Additionally, some areas of Camp Jurassic are currently behind walls as crew work hard to replace the concrete in the area. Let's take a look around the park to see what else is new since our last visit.

New Dining Options Coming to Disney's Vero Beach Resort

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As part of the ongoing commitment to enhance and refresh the many offerings available at Disney's themed hotels, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort will re-imagine its food and beverage experience, taking a new approach to dining at the resort.
Later this year, Disney Vacation Club Members and Guests will be able to enjoy several new offerings at the resort, including a table service restaurant, a quick-service marketplace location, as well as a poolside bar.

Minor Fitness Center Updates at Select Disney Hotels

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Guests staying at Disney's Contemporary Resort should note that, starting from this week, the Olmpiad Fitness Center will not be manned and accessible 24 hours, by MagicBand only. The services of facial and massages are available in the treatment rooms just like in the past. Similarly, the Study Branches fitness center (located at Disney's Wilderness Lodge) is now self-service, continuing to offer in-room treatments. Reservations can be booked calling 407-WDW-SPA.

SeaWorld Orlando Officially Begins Testing Mako's Trains

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Mako made its very first run along its 4,760-foot steel track at SeaWorld Orlando this week. During the inaugural test ride, Mako plunged 200-feet down from its initial lift hill, surged through nine air-time hills and reached speeds of 73 mph.
Mako’s tight turns and speed are inspired by reality. Mako sharks are known for their top speed, making extreme jumps and the ability to quickly change course as they pursue their prey. Riders will become submerged into the world of the mako shark and feel the power of this predator starting from June 10, 2016.

Media Preview Event Impact at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Approximately 800 local and national media members are expected to attend the "Awaken Summer" media preview next week, which will highlight upcoming offerings (including new attractions) across the Walt Disney World Resort.
Event Guests are will visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park the evening of Tuesday, April 19, getting to see previews of many of the experiences that are in development. The event will be hosted in Africa, Asia, and Discovery Island.

Princess Aurora Visiting Fantasyland Guests From April 17

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Beginning from Sunday, April 17, Princess Aurora will move from Main Street, U.S.A., to Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom Park. Guests will find her near the castle wall, where Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella used to be.
As a reminder, character greeting locations are subject to change without notice and for any reason (especially due to inclement weather conditions). Be sure to check the park's Times Guide while visiting the park for additional information.