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Showing posts from October, 2016

PizzeRizzo Opening Nov. 18 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Beginning Friday, Nov. 18, friends of Rizzo will be able to enjoy lunch and dinner at the new PizzeRizzo in Muppets Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This classic family pizzeria, owned and operated by Rizzo himself, is a great place for all Guests to grab a pizza, a drink, and enjoy a casual Italian-American dining experience as seen through the eyes of the lovable Muppet. Serving the same pizza and salads, PizzeRizzo replaced the former Pizza Planet location.


Guy Harvey Visiting SeaWorld on November 19 and 20

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Guests can meet world-renowned marine artist and conservationist Guy Harvey at SeaWorld Orlando during Guy Harvey Weekend taking place November 19 and 20. Guests will dive deeper than ever before as they explore the underwater world of sharks through inspiring conversations, extraordinary artwork, meet-and-greets and signing opportunities. Hear uplifting stories and gain insight into Guy Harvey’s work during hosted chats taking place at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. 

Operating Hours of Rafiki’s Planet Watch Now Consistent

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Starting from this week, Rafiki’s Planet Watch will operate from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This change will make it easier for Guests to remember the operating hours and will provide year-round consistency. With this change, the Wildlife Express Train will make its last departure to Conservation Station at 4:30 p.m. daily. At Rafiki’s Planet Watch Guests can get a behind-the-scenes look at the park's animal care center and to get up close to animals.

Sneak Peek of “Moana” Coming to Hollywood Studios

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For a limited time starting from Saturday, November 5, a sneak peek of Disney’s newest animated film, “Moana” will be presented as part of the Walt Disney - One Man’s Dream attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios, offering Guests an advance look at scenes from the film. “Moana” is the story of an adventurous teenager who sails out on a mission to save her people. During her journey, Moana meets the once-mighty Maui, who guides her in her quest.

Updated Aerial Imagery of Walt Disney World (Sept. 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 October 2016).
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 (Sept. 2016)

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Earlier this month, the great NearMap site was updated to show a current aerial view of some of the major cities around 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!

Wilderness Lodge: Roaring Fork Exterior Seating Changes

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Effective Nov. 1, the exterior seating area outside of Roaring Fork Snacks will be closed for renovations. This area will remain close throughout the duration of the project. During that time, the outdoor seating area will be given a new covered awning, allowing future Guests to utilize it even during the rainy season. Many tables and chairs will be temporarily relocated to the area surrounding the Trout Pass Pool Bar (located nearby) to increase the bar's seating capacity.

Adjusted Menus for Amorette's Patisserie and Aristocrepes

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Beginning Friday, Oct. 28, Aristocrepes and Amorette’s Patisserie (both located within Disney Springs) will be adjusting their menus to add more offerings.
Aristocrepes will begin selling popcorn, Mickey-shaped soft pretzel and cheese, assorted chips, and beverages. Additionally, beginning from Friday, November 11, Aristocrepes will transition to a seasonal location, serving a variety of holiday beverages including hot chocolate, unique cocktails, and more.

Magic Kingdom Times Guide Changing Starting October 30

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Starting from Sunday, October 30, the Magic Kingdom Times Guide will include enhancements to improve the Guest experience as they travel through the park.
All park experiences are now divided based on the themed land they are found at. This should help Guests to see all available offerings before moving on to the next area. Additionally, the overall layout of the guides has been adjusted for easier reading. The October 30-November 5 Times Guide can be found below.

Trail Behind Tree of Life Reopens and Kangaroos Return

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The trail found between Creature Comforts and Adventurers Outpost is once again open for Guest use at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park following an extended refurbishment (note that Tarzan will not be returning to his previous location on the trail, and will instead continue to meet at his current location near Pizzafari). Also, after time away while work was taking place around Discovery Island, red kangaroos have returned to their habitat near the Tree of Life.

Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course Advisory (Oct. 27)

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Guests currently visiting the Walt Disney World Resort should be advised that the Gardens Course at Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf (the family-friendly side that includes animations and statues representing many of the characters from Disney's "Fantasia") will be closed today, October 27 for routine maintenance.
The Fairways Course will remain open until 10:30 p.m. The Winter Summerland Miniature Golf courses will also be open for all Guests to enjoy until 11 p.m.

Fall Bounceback Promotion Returns to Walt Disney World

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From October 27 through November 22, select quick-service restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks will print a merchandise discount on all receipts, offering 10% off any future purchase at participating Disney Springs merchandise locations valid through November 23. Guest will have to surrender detached coupon from receipt to receive the discount. Continue reading the post for the list of participating quick-service restaurants and merchandise locations.

SeaWorld Creates One-of-a-Kind Wetsuit for a Penguin

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Guests visiting Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando can see one penguin that does not quite look like the others. She’s wearing a wetsuit!
The female Adelie penguin recently experienced feather-loss, which can happen to penguins in their natural habitats. As a result of her feather-loss, the bird had a hard time regulating her body temperature. SeaWorld’s aviculture team set out to assist her and created a special wetsuit to mimic her former coat of feathers.

"Once Upon a Time" Show Coming Soon to Magic Kingdom

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Beginning November 4, Magic Kingdom Park will present “Once Upon a Time,” a nighttime experience that will transform Cinderella Castle with state-of-the-art projections, taking Guests on a magical storytelling journey like never before.
Inspired by the Tokyo Disneyland show of the same name, “Once Upon a Time” will feature many beloved characters and musical moments from tales such as “Cinderella,” “Peter Pan,” “Frozen,” “Beauty and the Beast” and more.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Closing for a Short Refurbishment

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Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith will be closed for refurbishment at Disney's Hollywood Studios from October 27 through November 9. The Coaster Courtyard will also be temporarily unavailable throughout the refurbishment.
Additional signs will be located in front of the courtyard during park hours to help communicate this downtime to all Guests. Consider visiting Star Tours – The Adventures Continue and the Tower of Terror as alternatives during this time. 

New Additions Coming to International Drive Through 2019

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The International Drive resort area continues to change, revitalize, and increase its presence as a major player in Central Florida's booming hospitality industry.
The past year was a game-changer for the tourism corridor with the opening of highly anticipated new projects including new offerings within the very popular I-Drive 360 area and the approval of "VUE at 360" and the nearby $500 million SKYPLEX entertainment complex. There are even more offerings coming soon.

Magic Kingdom Update: Stitch is Gone... For Now (PART 1)

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We never get tired of visiting the Magic Kingdom. True, it surely feels like we are in the busiest park in the world (and attraction wait times confirm that), but there's always something new and exciting to see. Even though there are no new attractions under construction, some of the existing attractions are currently being enhanced or refurbished, such as Big Thunder Mountain, Swiss Family TreehouseCarousel of Progress, and more. Take a look around with us.

Magic Kingdom Update: Stitch is Gone... For Now (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Magic Kingdom Park photo-report. As always, be sure to check out PART 1 of this update before proceeding. In the previous part of this update, we took a look around the area surrounding the entrance of the park, Main Street U.S.A., the hub, and Tomorrowland. Now we will focus on the most popular themed land of the park: Fantasyland. While there's not a lot going on there, it is one of the park's most photogenic areas!

Magic Kingdom Update: Stitch is Gone... For Now (PART 3)

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Welcome to the third part of our latest Magic Kingdom Park photo-report. Don't forget to check out PART 2 of this update for even more photos of the park. In the previous part we took a quick look around Fantasyland, checking out the wait times of some of the land's most popular attractions, then we moved on to Liberty Square to see what changed in that section of the park since our last visit. We will end our day by exploring Frontierland and Adventureland. Enjoy!

Permanent Bag Check Shelters Coming to Universal

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Since the Universal Orlando Resort introduced bag check procedures, Guests might have noticed how some of the checkpoints looked temporary, especially those located at the end of the walkways connecting Universal's theme parks and CityWalk to the five on-site hotels. It looks like that's finally about to change.
During our latest visit, we noticed that the former bag check areas located next to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure have been completely removed.

Hollywood Studios Update: Demolition Proceeds (PART 1)

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Since the start of the work on the future Star Wars and Toy Story themed lands, the Orlando Theme Park News team has visited Disney's Hollywood Studios more often than in the past. This theme park is definitely one of the smallest and uninspiring parks in Central Florida, but it will soon become one of the most popular thanks to the additions mentioned before and other new offerings that may not have been revealed to the public yet. Let's explore the park together.

Hollywood Studios Update: Demolition Proceeds (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Disney's Hollywood Studio photo-report. Don't forget to check out PART 1 of this update by clicking on this link. Previously, we took a look around Hollywood Boulevard, the Center Stage area, the demolition of the former Streets of America themed backlot, and more. Let's now continue our tour of the park by exploring Muppets Courtyard and Echo Lake. As always, we hope you will enjoy the rest of the photos of this update.

The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to Be Renamed

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Effective Tuesday, October 25, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (located next to the main building of the resort) will be renamed Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The reason behind renaming this particular section of the resort is to give Disney Vacation Club members a better sense of identity and a deeper connection with the theming of the resort itself. Over the next few days, signs and electronic displays will be updated to reflect the new name.

Islands of Adventure Update: Pteranodon Flyers Change

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Only a few changes have happened at Islands of Adventure since the opening of the new Reign of Kong attraction and the reimagined Incredible Hulk Coaster.
While this is to be expected, you can count us among those who truly enjoy seeing new things every time we visit theme parks. Of course, in true Universal style, we were again surprised during our latest visit to Islands of Adventure, as we noticed that a new virtual queuing system is in place at Pteranodon Flyers.

Overnight Entertainment Tests at the Magic Kingdom Park

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All Guests planning on staying at one of the Disney resorts located around the Seven Seas Lagoon (including the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Polynesian Village Resort, Contemporary Resort) and Bay Lake (Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground) are advised that overnight entertainment tests will take place inside the Magic Kingdom Park from a few hours after park close until park open on October 21, October 25-28, and November 1-4.

Disney Visa Character M&G Location Change at Epcot

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Last week, the character greeting experience at Epcot reserved exclusively for Disney Visa Cardmembers moved from Innoventions West to a new location next to Journey Into Imagination with Figment (the move took place on Friday, October 14). The location still operates from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Guests are still be able to meet their favorite Disney characters and receive free photo downloads. That space used to be a Figment meet and greet in the past.

Celebrate International Sloth Day at Busch Gardens Tampa

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Busch Gardens Tampa Guests are invited to visit Jambo Junction on October 22 to celebrate International Sloth Day. Activities will be held by the sloth’s habitat.
Sloths are part of a group of animals called Xenarthrans, which also includes anteaters and armadillos. There are 2 species of two-toed sloths and 4 species of three-toed sloths around the world. Sloths are found high in the trees where they spend about 20 hours resting, eight hours of which can be sleeping.

Grand Floridian Garden Party & Restaurant Hours Change

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Guests staying at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa are invited to join Cast Members in the Mary Poppins garden, located outside the 1900 Park Fare exit at the front of the resort, for a relaxing night of live music and unique seasonal cocktails for purchase. The "Grand Floridian Garden Party" will take place on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 7–10 p.m. No reservations are required, and all Guests are welcome to attend (even those that won't be staying overnight at the resort).

Walt Disney Imagineers Painting Inside Animal Kingdom

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Beginning mid-October and continuing into the foreseeable future, Walt Disney Imagineers will be painting at easels inside Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park from 7 a.m. through 9:30 a.m. on most Fridays. They will travel with rolling cases, canvas, easels and individual drop cloths, and will set up as a group in one specific area of the park. They will pack up and exit Guest areas by no later than 9:30 a.m., so most Guest may not be able to see them while they paint.

Universal Studios Update: Fallon, Furious, & Coke (PART 1)

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It's hard to believe but October is almost over! While we wait for cooler weather to make its way to the Central Florida area (not too cold, though!), we thought this would be a good time to go back to Universal Studios Florida to check on the progress that has been done so far in the park's three major construction areas. As always we'll first stop by the new Race Through New York attraction, then we'll head to Fast & Furious, and finally we'll check out the new Coke kiosk.

Universal Studios Update: Fallon, Furious, & Coke (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our new Universal Studios Florida photo-report, OTPN Readers! Be sure to check out PART 1 of this update by clicking here. Previously we walked around Production Central and then we entered the New York themed section of the park where the new Jimmy Fallon attraction will soon open. Now we will move on to San Francisco to take a look around the future Fast & Furious-themed ride; after that, we will head to World Expo. Enjoy!

Bus Stop Beverage Test at Disney's All-Star Music Resort

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As part of a limited-time test, Disney's All-Star Music Resort will begin offering bottled beverages at the bus stop starting from Monday, October 24, 2016. Guests will be able to purchase these beverages from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. daily. If this test proves to be successful, this service may be extended to other resorts and/or offered for more than just a few hours each day in the future. Stay tuned here on Orlando Theme Park News for updates regarding this and other tests.

Walt Disney World Reveals the 2017 Marketing Campaign

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There is a world, like no other world. Where the things we love never end.
Savory moments and moments to savor. Real fantasy and fantastic reality. Even smiles and laughter have no limits. It’s a world where happiness can be found around every corner, filled to the brim with memories and wonder. A place where Magic is Endless. "The Magic is Endless" is Walt Disney World’s new marketing campaign, inviting everyone to discover all the magic found across its resort.

Pregnant Manatee Flown to SeaWorld’s Rescue Facility

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The SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team is now caring for an 800-pound pregnant manatee that arrived earlier today (Tuesday, October 18, 2016) on a U.S. Coast Guard plane from Connecticut - an amazing 1,300 mile journey. The manatee, named Washburn was picked up in Nantucket Sound and sent to the Mystic Aquarium for rehab. Manatees are not native to Massachusetts and the water is too cold for them to survive. The manatee is currently at SeaWorld Orlando.

Meet Princess Elena at Magic Kingdom Starting Nov. 24

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Beginning from Thursday, November 24, Princess Elena of Avalor will greet Guests in Princess Fairytale Hall at Magic Kingdom Park. Guests will be able to choose between a visit with Elena and Cinderella or Rapunzel and Tiana.
FastPass+ reservations for dates that include Elena appearances are available in My Disney Experience. Several times daily throughout the fall, Elena will also join Cinderella during the “Princess Elena Royal Welcome” on the castle stage.

Animal Kingdom Update: More AVATAR Details (PART 1)

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Disney's Animal Kingdom has introduced plenty of new offerings this summer. Even though we are still waiting for Rivers of Light, Guests visiting this beautiful theme park can now enjoy quite a few new nighttime entertainment offerings.
Next year is going to be even more remarkable, of course. The new Pandora - The World of AVATAR already looks impressive when seen from the exterior of the park, so we can only imagine how immersive this new themed land will look!

Animal Kingdom Update: More AVATAR Details (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of this new Disney's Animal Kingdom photo-report. Be sure to also check out PART 1 of this update by clicking on this link. In the previous part we took another peek at the floating mountain that can be seen from the parking lot of the park. Additionally, we walked through Discovery Island and more. Let's now complete our tour of the park to see what else has changed since our last visit. As always, we really hope you will enjoy the photos!

Hard Rock Café Orlando Offers First-Ever Meatless Menu

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Hard Rock is going green with its new, limited-time vegetarian menu just in time for "Vegetarian Awareness Month." Now through Sunday, Nov. 13, Hard Rock Café Orlando will expand its legendary menu offerings and serve up fresh and unique vegetarian-friendly dishes and plant-based beverages. Hard Rock Café Orlando has added several new vegetarian menu items to provide guests with flavorful options in various categories of classic, all-American cuisine.

Gasparilla Island Grill Under Refurbishment Starting Oct. 17

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Beginning from Monday, October 17, Gasparilla Island Grill (located at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa) will be temporarily closed for refurbishment through mid-December. During that time, resort Guests will be able to refill their resort mugs at the following locations: Mizner’s Lounge, Beaches Pool Bar and Grill, and Courtyard Pool Bar. In addition to that, Guests will have a variety of alternative food and beverage options. Continue reading for more information.

Walt Disney World Refurbishment Update (October 2016)

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Guests visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park might have noticed that the park's only dark ride, DINOSAUR, is still closed for refurbishment, even though it was originally scheduled to reopen this week. The refurbishment is now planned to be complete November 20. In the event that a Guest has made a FastPass+ selection for this ride prior to that date, Disney will automatically make other arrangements for the Guest, providing another FastPass+ selection.

Ninjago World Opening January 12 at LEGOLAND Florida

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Starting Jan. 12, 2017, kids are invited to enter a kingdom where they become the ninja in their very own NINJAGO adventure when a whole new themed land opens at the LEGOLAND Florida Resort. NINJAGO World will add an immersive area filled with several hands-on, outdoor activities where kids can sharpen their ninja skills before the ultimate showdown on NINJAGO The Ride, an attraction that blends 3D computer animation, “4D” effects, and brand-new technology.

Coca-Cola Polar Bear Meeting Guests at Disney Springs

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A new meet and greet experience featuring the iconic Coca-Cola Polar Bear will debut this week at the Coca-Cola Store in the Town Center at Disney Springs.
Guests will have the opportunity to feel the chill of the arctic when they visit the beloved bear in his new home. Ready to share plenty of bear hugs, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear is camera-friendly and known for high fives and for plenty of fun photo moments. The meet and greet is located on the second floor of the store

The Muppets Take Over Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom

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Everyone’s favorite zany characters are now starring in an all-new live show at the Magic Kingdom Park. “The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History” is filled with laughter as the town crier of Liberty Square, James “JJ” Jefferson, is joined by Sam Eagle, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and The Great Gonzo to tell stories of American History. Show creators wanted to be as authentic to the Muppets as possible and keep the integrity of the characters.


Volcano Bay Update: Water Slides Installation Continues

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Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando's new water park, already looks impressive.
While we are still months away from its official grand opening, the centerpiece of the park looks absolutely massive, and the water slides installed so far look very exciting! We can't wait to see all the surprises that Universal has in store for us. In the meantime, come along with us and take a quick peek at the area that will soon be home to an amazing new water park. We hope you'll enjoy the photos.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Parking Lot Expansion Begins

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be literally paving the way for the reimagining of the park by increasing the size of the existing parking lot, providing even more parking space for Guests and Cast Members working in the park in the future.
As part of this work, a temporary conveyor structure was recently installed over World Drive to shift soil across the road and into the park. This is expected to be a multi-year project, and more details about this project will be shared soon. 

In-Park Ticket Sales Test at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Now through Nov. 5, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be testing an in-park ticket sales location near the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safaris, open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.
Without leaving the park, Guests will be able to upgrade their ticket by adding more days or options (such as the Park Hopper option), upgrade their tickets to an annual pass, purchase tickets for Magic Kingdom's special events, and more. Guest Relations services such as dining reservations are also available.

LEGOLAND Florida Currently Closed Due to Bomb Threat

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About an hour ago, LEGOLAND Florida Resort (including the theme park and the adjacent hotel) temporarily closed to Guests. The park tweeted the following advisory: "A bomb threat was discovered on our property. We have evacuated the theme park & hotel for the safety and security of guests and employees."
Very few details are available at this time, but the LEGOLAND Florida Resort will continue to monitor the situation and will release more information soon.


Champagne & Wine Lounge Coming to the Grand Floridian

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Coming to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa as part of a test, Guests will be able to enjoy the Garden View Lounge into the evening while indulging in an elegant selection of champagne and wine. A limited small plate menu to include items such as caviar, charcuterie, and seafood will compliment these beverages for a sophisticated experience. This new dining experience will soft open on Oct. 13, 2016. The Garden View Lounge will be available to Guests from 7-10 p.m.

Bodh’aktan Now Appearing in Canada Pavilion at Epcot

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Bodh’aktan, a group of performers combining the musical traditions of Quebec and other Canadian provinces with rock, folk, Celtic and punk music, has begun a limited engagement on The Mill Stage in the Canada pavilion at Epcot. Hailing from Quebec, Bodh’aktan will appear 5 days a week through October 22, 2016.
Showtimes are 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 6:15 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. For more information be sure to check out this week's Epcot Times Guide.

Hollywood Studios Update: Demolition Progress (PART 1)

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A very large portion of Disney's Hollywood Studios is now completely empty.
In addition to the removal of the Streets of America facades, "Lights, Motors, Action," and the Studio Backlot Tour, almost all of the buildings that were found in backstage areas between the old Catastrophe Canyon and Mickey Avenue are now gone. These empty plots of land will soon become new Star Wars and Toy Story themed lands. Come along as we check the work that has been done.