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Showing posts from June, 2016

Single Riders Test at Animal Kingdom's Kali River Rapids

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From July 3-17, Disney's Animal Kingdom will test a single rider option at Kali River Rapids in an effort to allow more Guests to experience the attraction.
Testing is not guaranteed each date during this time window and may start and stop intermittently throughout the day. During this test, single rider Guests will enter using the FastPass+ entrance and be separated further down the queue. All Guests choosing the single riders option must be at least 7 years old.

Hollywood Studios: Creative Costuming Demolition (Part 1)

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It has been quite a while since the last time we had the chance to visit Disney's Hollywood Studios. This once-dying theme park is finally receiving the attention it deserves, and that's clearly evident by the number of temporary walls installed all around the park. Unfortunately, most of these projects are currently taking place in areas not clearly visible from Guest areas, making it difficult to check on the progress that has been made so far. That said, there's still plenty to see.

Hollywood Studios: Creative Costuming Demolition (Part 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Disney's Hollywood Studios photo-report, Orlando Theme Park News Readers! Click here to find PART 1. In the previous part of this new update, we walked around Hollywood Boulevard, checked out the new additions in the Center Stage area of the park, explored a few parts of Echo Lake, and more. That's not the end of our tour, however. Let's continue to check out some of the the other themed areas of the park.

Islands of Adventure Named Best Theme Park in the World

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Universal’s Islands of Adventure has taken the title of world’s top theme park for the second year in a row in the 2016 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards.
When Islands of Adventure opened back in 1999, it placed Guests in the heart of unforgettable adventures by combining innovation with powerful storytelling. The 110-acre theme park features spectacularly themed islands with one-of-a-kind rides, attractions, and shows imaginatively themed to each particular island.

Campfire Now Available at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

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The beach areas around the Walt Disney World Resort temporarily closed to the public as fences were being installed around those areas for safety reasons. A few days ago, Disney confirmed that all beach aroeas around the resort are now once again available to Guests. As part of this change, the campfire at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is available again. Guests can enjoy a campfire with marshmallows at 7 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

More Information About Epcot's 2016 Food & Wine Festival

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A new lineup of popular celebrity chefs and a series of first-time Disney resort cooking and dining experiences will add fresh culinary appeal to the 21st Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The annual Disney tour of tastes from six continents, running 62 days from Sept. 14 through Nov. 14, has become one of North America’s top food festivals that features flavors from around the world at more than 30 global marketplaces. 

Busch Gardens Gets Environmental Sustainability Award

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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay recently received the 2016 "Recycle Florida Today Environmental Sustainability" award. Recipients display outstanding programs and/or business in the field of recycling and environmental sustainability. Busch Gardens has portrayed many of these traits by pursuing significantly increased awareness and demonstrating the ability to motivate others to maximize their recycling, composting, grass-roots efforts, waste reduction, and more.

Transportation Impacts at Magic Kingdom Park July 3 and 4

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On July 3 and 4, Magic Kingdom Park will present a special fireworks show at 9 p.m. that will last approximately 15 minutes and will include perimeter fireworks.
Due to the use of additional pyrotechnic effects, some areas around the Magic Kingdom Park will be used as launch points, causing the temporary closure of certain roads and access points. Additionally, some transportation systems may temporarily be unavailable during the show. Continue reading to learn more.

Frontera Cocina Restaurant Now Open at Disney Springs

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Frontera Cocina, a new contemporary Mexican dining experience developed by renowned chef Rick Bayless, is now open in Town Center at Disney Springs.
Featuring warm colors, an open kitchen and beautiful views of The Spring, the table-service restaurant offers menu items such as Oaxacan Red Chile Chicken, Salsa Verde Shrimp Enchiladas Suizas, as well as a selection of freshly made salsas, guacamole, and many more delectable food and beverage offerings.

Incredible Hulk Coaster Gets New Lighting Package & More

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The Incredible Hulk Coaster will soon return to Universal's Islands of Adventure looking better than ever. Among the many enhancements, Guests will be able to enjoy a completely redesigned queue that will feature a new storyline, amazing special effects, an enhanced loading area, as well as a few surprises along the track. One of the amazing new features that both riders and non-riders will be able to enjoy is the new nighttime look of the coaster. Let's take a quick peek.

More Attractions Added to Extra Magic Hours at Epcot

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Additional Epcot rides and attractions are now available to Guests visiting the park during Extra Magic Hours (as part of this special offering, Guests staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels enjoy extra time in the parks before they open and after they close. To see when Extra Magic Hours are offered for each park, be sure to check the Times Guide or Walt Disney World's official website).
These adjustments are in effect for morning and evening Extra Magic Hours.

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.

SeaWorld Returns Rehabilitated Manatees to Halifax River

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Yesterday morning, a rehabilitated mother manatee and her calf rescued from Ormond Beach, Florida this past May were returned back to the Halifax River by SeaWorld's Animal Rescue Team after a two-month rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando. The two manatees were released near Tomoka State Park in Volusia County. The animals were originally rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and transported to SeaWorld on May 9, 2016.

ABC's "The Chew" Returns to the Walt Disney World Resort

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ABC’s The Chew is coming back to the Walt Disney World Resort for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival this fall. Co-hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz will be taping five shows from October 5 to October 7 against the park’s iconic Spaceship Earth backdrop.
Highlights, cooking tips, and same-day episodes of The Chew will be shown at the Festival Center Theater. Episodes taped at Epcot will air on October 10-14.

Casey Mears Unveils New Miniland Model at LEGOLAND

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Daytona International Speedway has a sleek new look at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. It’s the newest model in MINILAND USA, where visitors discover dozens of LEGO landmarks from across the United States. The sounds of cheering fans greet theme park guests as they approach the 1/20-scale model of the “World Center of Racing,” updated following the "DAYTONA Rising Project" - a $400 million renovation that made DIS the first motorsports stadium in the world.

“Pete’s Dragon” Sneak Peek Coming to Hollywood Studios

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For a limited time starting July 1, a sneak peek of Disney’s reimagined classic “Pete’s Dragon” will be presented as part of the One Man’s Dream attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The sneak peek will be open to Guests from park open to park close and will feature exclusive clips from the live action movie.
The film, which is directed by David Loweryand is based on a screenplay by Malcolm Marmorstein and produced by Jim Whitaker, with Barrie M. Osborne serving as executive producer.

Refillable Popcorn to be Offered Around Walt Disney World

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As part of a limited time offering, between June 26 and September 1, Guests will be able to purchase a souvenir popcorn bucket that may be refilled throughout the day at the Walt Disney World Resort. Guests may purchase the bucket for $10 with refills available for $1.50 each. This offering will be available at all four theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, and ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Refillable buckets may be refilled at any location selling freshly-popped popcorn.

Orlando Attractions Unite to Launch a New Campaign

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It's not a secret that Orlando is a top destination for both business and leisure travel. The city's residents pride themselves on the consistency of their service, and their ability to provide the very best in comfort, entertainment, and treasured memories to all of the guests that come to this amazing place. These are the standards that make Orlando so unique, and the reasons why so many people return year after year. There is simply so much to love about Orlando.

Photo Capture test at Magic Kingdom Park June 28 - July 8

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A "photo capture" test will take place at the Magic Kingdom Park in the coming weeks. During this new test, a camera will be placed in a fixed location, and the participating Guests will be provided with a device that will give prompts and activates photo capture on command. As a thank you for participating in the test, the photo Guests take during the test will be complimentary and available to download. Guests will also be able to share the photos in their Disney account.

Walt Disney World Resort Beaches and Recreation Update

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Just a few days ago, all the beach areas located across the Walt Disney World Resort temporarily closed to Guests for safety reasons. As of today (June 24, 2016), resort beaches are now available to Guests one hour after sunrise until one hour prior to sunset. These areas now include new signage and temporary barriers to promote safety while work continues to come up with some long-term solutions. Cast Members will staff the beaches to assist Guests as necessary.

SeaWorld Awards $5,000 Scholarships to Florida Students

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SeaWorld Orlando recently awarded four extraordinary students, who have a passion for protecting and preserving the environment, with $5,000 educational scholarships toward any college or university they plan to attend as part of the company’s 2016 Environmental Scholarship Program. The four students were awarded their scholarships at SeaWorld Orlando this past Friday before heading into the theme park with their families to celebrate their accomplishment.

"A Pirate's Adventure" Game Now Offering Bonus FastPass

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As part of a limited time offering, starting June 22, Guests who complete at least three of the five missions included in "A Pirate's Adventure ~ Treasures of the Seven Seas" at Magic Kingdom Park will receive a FastPass+ bonus for Pirates of the Caribbean. Guests will also continue to receive the "Collectible Treasurer Finder Cards" after completing each mission. The bonus FastPass+ selection will be given when they complete the missions and obtain the collectible card.

Hollywood Studios Park Hours Extended & More Changes

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The busy summer season has finally arrived, and that's evident by looking at the crowds that are visiting the countless theme parks in the Central Florida area.
One of the busiest months is July, as that's when the majority of the schools around the country are closed. Due to the high number of Guests expected to visit the Walt Disney World Resort, Disney's Hollywood Studios has planned multiple operational changes on select dates throughout the month of July.

Universal Orlando Unveils New Volcano Bay Renderings

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Imagine seeing a lush, tropical oasis unfolding before you, instantly transporting you to a little-known Pacific isle. In the distance, a colossal volcano rises above a sparkling beach, boasting majestic waterfalls by day and blazing lava by night.
Universal’s Volcano Bay is a radically-innovative water theme park opening next year at Universal Orlando Resort. Spanning 28 fully immersive acres, Universal Orlando’s third park will be an entirely new kind of water theme park experience.

Updated Epcot Park Map Now Includes All New Attractions

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As we reported just a few days ago, a new Epcot guidemap is now available at the Walt Disney World Resort. The updated map features the addition of Soarin' Around the World, Frozen Ever After, the Royal Sommerhus, and more.
The updated version includes is currently available in English, as well as all five translations and the "Guide for Guests with Disabilities." The next update to the park's guidemap is expected to be introduced before the Food & Wine Festival.

Bus Area Expansion Begins at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Over the next few weeks, a new construction project will take place next to the Guest parking lot of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Construction work to expand the bus load zone area of the park officially begun Sunday, June 19. Temporary walls have already been installed around certain sections of the area. At this time, it is not known how many new shelters will be built and if the older structures will be completely replaced or if they will be just refurbished.

SEA LIFE Orlando Welcomes New Wave of Yellow Tangs

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SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium has welcomed a new group of yellow tangs, also known surgeon fish (Zebrasoma flavescens), who were bred entirely in captivity.
The Finfish Research Group at the Oceanic Institute aims to reduce pressure on wildlife populations and maintain the ocean’s fragile ecosystems by developing environmentally friendly research technologies in broodstock, live feeds, and hatchery-based production methods for numerous different marine species. 

Additional Information About Tiffins and Nomad Lounge

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Animal Kingdom's first signature table-service restaurant and its lounge have a lot of offer Guests visiting this amazing park. Located on Discovery Island, next to Pizzafari and along the walkway near the future Avatar land, Tiffins celebrates the art of traveling, with cuisines from around the world. The restaurant opens daily at 11:30 a.m. and offers lunch and dinner service until 9:30 p.m.
Reservations are not required, and walk-ups are usually available to all Guests.

Inside Shanghai Disney Resort Exhibit Now Open at Epcot

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The House of the Whispering Willows gallery (located at the China pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase) is currently hosting the new "Inside Shanghai Disney Resort" exhibit, where Guests can get an exciting first look at Disney’s unique new international destination. This new gallery showcases a variety of exclusive artwork and props, as well as a look at the classic and cutting-edge attractions within Shanghai Disneyland’s six lands of fantasy and thrilling adventure.

New "Secret Life of Pets" Ride Coming to Universal Parks

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Earlier today, NBCUniversal Chief Executive Officer Steve Burke revealed some interesting information regarding one of the future project for Universal's parks.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Burke mentioned that a new ride is in the works for one or more of their theme parks (Universal Studios Hollywood and one of Universal Orlando's parks seem to be the most likely locations). The new attraction would be themed after the upcoming "Secret Life of Pets" movie.

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

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Guests currently visiting the Walt Disney World Resort should note that Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park and Disney's Miniature Golf Courses are temporarily closed due to inclement weather. They will reopen when it is safe to do so.
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will remain closed for the remainder of the day, as more storms are expected to make their way to this area in the next few hours. Be sure to check back here on OTPN additional updates and advisories.

Beach Areas Still Closed at the Walt Disney World Resort

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Due to a recent incident involving the death of a young Guest, all beach areas located across the Walt Disney World Resort are currently closed to the public.
Pontoon boats and Boston Whaler boats may still be rented, while Sea Raycer rentals and Sammy Duval water sports are temporarily unavailable. Additionally, Guests are not permitted to fish on any resort waterway with their personal equipment at this time. Disney's watercraft service is now operating as normal.

Casitas Pool Area Construction at Coronado Springs Resort

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Beginning from Monday, June 20, the Casitas Pool area at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort will be under construction. Work will take place Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. During this time, the pool will remain open to Guests. As always, Guests staying at the resort may also use the other quiet pools scattered around the area as well as the "Dig Site" pool, located in the middle of the resort. The length of this construction project is currently unknown.

Latest LEGOLAND Florida Resort Updates (June 2016)

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LEGOLAND Florida Resort Guests have a lot to look forward to this summer. On Saturday, June 18, the LEGOLAND Night Lights will officially begin. This brand-new event features extended hours, a parkwide scavenger hunt with a chance to win a LEGO prize pack, new character meet-and-greets, a DJ “glow” dance party, and a spectacular LEGO NINJAGO fireworks show. The party takes place every Saturday and Sunday through July 31, plus July 4. But that's not all.

Soarin’ Around the World Opens with New Interactive Game

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Starting today, “Soarin’ Around the World” will depart on a brand new adventure at Epcot. This exciting, multi-sensory attraction allows Guests to embark on a breathtaking journey along the majestic Great Wall of China, through Monument Valley, and over the Great Pyramids of Egypt. Guests will also glide over the windy peak of Switzerland's Matterhorn mountain, by the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris and sail over Australia's spectacular Sydney Harbour!

Updated Animal Guide Now Available at Animal Kingdom

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For many years, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park has been providing very useful guides that help Guests locate all the animals found around the park and identify endangered species in their care. A new edition of this Animal Guide is now available near the entrance of the park and in most merchandise locations.
While some animals were removed in the past few years, new species can now be found around the park, including the painted dogs at Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Magic Kingdom Character Updates Beginning From Today

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Starting from today (Friday, June 17), Guests visiting the Princess Fairytale Hall will be able to meet Cinderella and Rapunzel separately, each alongside another visiting princess. Anna and Elsa will no longer have a greeting location at Magic Kingdom Park, as they now meet Guests at Epcot's Royal Sommerhus. Guests visiting Magic Kingdom may see Anna and Elsa in Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade and the new castle stage show, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire

Lacoste, Free People, and More Debut at Disney Springs

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More new stores have now officially opened to Disney Springs Guests in the Town Center area. The LACOSTE shop offers its iconic polo shirts and sport-inspired premium casual wear for men, women and children as well as leather goods, footwear, eyewear, watches and more. Vince Camuto made its Central Florida debut earlier this week. Located near the Town Center bus loop, Vince Camuto offers handbags, fragrances, sportswear, clothing, and much more.

Soarin' Closing at 5 p.m. this Afternoon at The Land Pavilion

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As announced a few months ago, today will be the very last chance for Guests to enjoy the original Soarin' Over California attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort in California. To prepare for the official debut of Soarin’ Around the World, Soarin’ will promptly close at 5:00 p.m. this afternoon. Guests who had previously booked FastPass+ selections after 5:00 p.m. will be offered an earlier time for the same attraction or a different experience.

New Theater Loading Process Testing at Animal Kingdom

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Through June 18, Animal Kingdom's theater operations team will test opening the theater for “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” only 60 minutes prior to the first show. In the past few weeks, the outdoor amphitheater began opening 90 minutes prior to showtime. As a reminder, Guests with FastPass+ entitlements should head to Asia, whereas those choosing to wait in a standby line or if they have a dining package should make their way to DinoLand U.S.A. 

Universal Orlando Resort Officially Introduces a New Logo

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Universal Orlando recently introduced a brand-new logo to represent the resort. The company believes that the new logo modernizes and evolves its brand and aligns Universal Orlando with the master Universal brand. The updated logo is currently expected to be rolled out methodically over multiple years. During this time, Guests visiting the resort might see both the new and the old logo coexist as brochures, directional signs, and marquees are updated or phased out.

Port Orleans Resort Food Court Closing for Refurbishment

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Beginning July 11, the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory food court will be temporarily closed for future enhancements at Disney's Port Orleans Resort.
An alternative dining experience will be available adjacent to the lobby and Scat Cat’s Lounge. This location will be serving Guest favorites such as jambalaya, gumbo, po-boy sandwiches, other hot and cold entrees, and the resort's famous beignets. A selection of grab ‘n’ go meals also will be available for purchase.

Updated Magic Kingdom, Epcot Guidemaps Coming Soon

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New guidemaps for Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot will soon be in circulation at the Walt Disney World Resort. On Friday, June 17, the updated Magic Kingdom Park map will begin to be available, and it will feature the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train on the cover. Just a few days later (on Tuesday, June 21), the new Epcot guidemap will debut, and it will feature an image from the new Soarin’ Around the World attraction, which will officially open to Guests a few days earlier.

"Miniland 400" Event to Be Held at LEGOLAND Florida

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On June 20, LEGOLAND Florida Guests will have the chance to celebrate to the sound of roaring engines and cheering fans during the “Miniland 400,” a special, one-day-only race. NASCAR driver Casey Mears will visit the park to preview the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ return to the Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 on July 2, 2016. Mears will be seated in a kid-size vehicle racing against a 10-year-old girl representing the Make-A-Wish foundation.

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort: Exterior Building Cleaning

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Exterior building cleaning will take place Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. around Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in the next few weeks.
Guests staying at the hotel are encouraged to bring all personal belongings from the patio and balcony inside during these hours. While this work is in progress, Guests should be aware that Cast Members may need to briefly access rooms to dry off the patio and windows. Contact the front desk for more information.

Latest Disney's Hollywood Studios Advisories (June 2016)

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If you are planning to visit Disney's Hollywood Studios in the next few weeks, be sure to keep in mind that there will be reduced traffic lanes while entering the park's main auto plaza and parking lots due to some major modifications coming to the area. Barrier walls and fences have been installed as part of the work.
As a result, remember to allow additional travel time when driving through this area, and continue to remain alert for lane closures through the end of summer.

Universal Studios Update: New York Attraction Construction

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The summer season has officially begun here in Orlando. Many of the schools in the area are now closed until the end of August, marking the beginning of one of the busiest times of the year for the parks and attractions in Central Florida.
This morning we'll focus on Universal Studios Florida, where two major projects continue to take shape in two separate themed areas: the Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon simulator and the Fast & Furious ride. Take a look:

2017 Disney Dreamers Academy Class Selections Begin

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High school students nationwide can now apply to be among 100 individuals selected to be part of the 2017 Disney Dreamers Academy class with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE, the innovative mentoring program at Walt Disney World Resort. The 2017 Disney Dreamers Academy will mark the program’s 10th year. Steve Harvey, syndicated radio and television personality, along with ESSENCE will host selected Dreamers during a four-day educational exploration in 2017.

Afternoon Tea Event Coming to Disney’s Beach Club Resort

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Starting from June 16, Guests will once again be able to enjoy the "Afternoon Tea" event at Disney’s Beach Club Resort in the beautiful Crescent Solarium.
The tranquil, comfortable solarium overlooking Crescent Gardens provides an elegant setting for Guests to enjoy classic afternoon tea, savories and sweets, such as house-made scones, petite sandwiches, and some pastries. Alcoholic beverages will also be available for purchase during this limited-time event.

Mako Officially Opens at SeaWorld Orlando (PHOTOS)

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A powerful new predator arrived at SeaWorld Orlando on June 10, challenging even the most confident thrill-seekers to experience its remarkable speed and stature. Now that it is officially open, Mako (the 200-foot-tall hyper coaster) has become the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster among Orlando’s popular theme parks. The coaster anchors a two-acre realm that includes SeaWorld’s existing Shark Encounter attraction, interactive learning exhibits and more.