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Showing posts from December, 2016

Disney's Wilderness Lodge Expansion Update (Dec. 2016)

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A major expansion project is currently underway at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
Guests staying at this Walt Disney World hotel are undoubtedly seeing visible transformations around various areas of the resort, including the areas close to Bay Lake. As you will be able to see in the pictures included in this update, the new waterfront buildings are beginning to take shape; in addition to that, work continues to take place in the expanded pool area for the Boulder Ridge Villas.

New Virtual Reality Experience Debuts at Fun Spot America

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Since spring 2013, Guests visiting Fun Spot America in Orlando have been able to enjoy the Freedom Flyer, a suspended family coaster that was introduced as part of a major expansion project. Guests now have the chance to experience this thrilling attraction in a whole new way! On Friday, December 16, the Orlando park added the brand-new Virtual Reality (VR) experience on select seats of the Freedom Flyer, adding a completely new dimension to the popular attraction.

Characters in Flight Closing for Refurbishment Jan. 9-13

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Characters in Flight (the colorful tethered balloon that's located in the West Side of Disney Springs, next to the bridge leading to The Landing) will be temporarily closed refurbishment from Monday, January 9 through Friday, January 13, 2017. When it reopens, the balloon itself will feature a new look and color palette.
The balloon's new look is expected to fit the updated theme (and color scheme) of the surrounding areas. Make sure to check it out during your next visit!

PHOTOS: Tree of Life Garden Reopens at Animal Kingdom

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The beautiful Tree of Life Garden has officially reopened to Guests at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park after having been closed to the public for years.
Guests walking around this charming area will notice that there are no nets to be seen anywhere along the way (which is great news, especially since a number of nets were installed in other areas after a "branch" of the tree fell). Additionally, Guests can get a good view of the kangaroos from this area of the theme park.

Busch Gardens Hosting Run For The Fund 5K on Jan. 20

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For more than 40 years, SeaWorld Parks have initiated and supported wildlife conservation, research, and education at home and around the world. Launched in 2003, the Fund was created to provide guests with an easy, direct way to get involved and make a difference. Now in its third year, the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund’s Run for the Fund 5K gives runners the chance to make a difference and support animal conservation efforts worldwide. 

New Maps for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, & Hollywood Studios

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New maps for Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, and Disney's Hollywood Studios will soon be in circulation around the Walt Disney World Resort. Starting Saturday, December 31, Epcot will debut new guidemaps with Test Track on the cover. On Sunday, Jan. 1, both Magic Kingdom Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios will debut updated maps. Magic Kingdom's guidemap features the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, while the one for Disney's Hollywood Studios features Chewbacca.

Blizzard Beach Closed on Dec. 30 Due to Cold Weather

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Guests planning on visiting the Walt Disney World Resort in the next few days should note that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will be closed on Friday, December 30, due to forecasted low temperatures. Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses will be operating as usual. As a reminder, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is currently closed for refurbishment and is expected to reopen on Sunday, March 12, 2017.

New Special Events Coming to LEGOLAND Florida in 2017

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LEGOLAND Florida Resort has an awesome lineup of special events in store for 2017, promising plenty of fun, fireworks, and festivities at the popular vacation destination, including two all-new events. Whether it’s fan-focused celebrations of blockbuster properties like “The LEGO Batman Movie” and LEGO Star Wars or an exclusive Kidz Bop concert series, the park offers an incredible calendar of kid-centric events that bring to life the limitless creativity of the LEGO brand.

New "Welcome Show" Coming Soon to Magic Kingdom

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As more Guests continue to arrive early at the Magic Kingdom Park, the Walt Disney World Resort will enhance the morning arrival experience by opening up Main Street, U.S.A. earlier than the rest of the park and by introducing a new "Welcome Show" on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage. Starting January 9, Guests will be able to enjoy the early morning charm of Main Street, U.S.A. with photo opportunities, breakfast offerings, and shopping before the park opens.

Roadway Impacts Around Walt Disney World on Dec. 31

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Roadways around the Walt Disney World Resort are expected to become busier than usual in the next few days. Guests that are planning on visiting the theme parks and resorts in the area should plan for extra travel time and be sure to pay attention to road signs, as road closures and re-directs will be in place across property on Dec. 30 and 31. Find out about the roadway impacts occurring the week of New Year's Eve at the Walt Disney World Resort below.

I-Drive 360 Update: Take a Tour of Madame Tussauds

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The popular Madame Tussauds Orlando has introduced a number of new wax figures to its already large collection in the past few months. The themed rooms found inside this attraction are incredibly immersive and the wax reproductions of celebrities, historical figures, and movie characters look incredibly realistic.
This photo-report will take you inside this Orlando attraction to check out almost all of the rooms and figures that can be found at Madame Tussauds Orlando.

Disney Provides First Look Inside AVATAR Land's Rides

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Being one of the most anticipated theme park lands ever, Pandora: The World of AVATAR continues to be the subject of heated discussions among Disney Parks fans. Even those who do not believe that this new land "fits" at Disney's Animal Kingdom surely agree that it will look absolutely spectacular, and this was based simply on photos taken outside the land and a handful of artworks. Earlier today, Disney released a video that gave us a first look inside Pandora's attractions.

Stance Now Open in the Town Center at Disney Springs

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Stance, described as the “Masters of Knit,” is now open at Disney Springs.
Specializing in high-quality socks and underwear, the new store offers products for men, women, and kids in a variety of styles and designs. Since its inception six years ago, Stance has quickly grown into a brand that embraces creativity and originality. The Disney Springs location features an artistic wall showcasing artists, athletes, and more to celebrate the “uncommon thread” between people.

SeaWorld Update: Journey to Atlantis Now Closed (Part 1)

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Few theme parks in Central Florida match the beauty of SeaWorld Orlando. The landscape that's seen inside the park is simply amazing, thanks to the colorful flowers and the beautiful plants and trees that are found around every corner.
In addition to such natural wonders, SeaWorld offers plenty of attractions and exhibits to Guests. While two of their most popular rides (Journey to Atlantis and the Sky Tower) are currently closed for refurbishment, there's still a lot to see...

SeaWorld Update: Journey to Atlantis Now Closed (Part 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest SeaWorld Orlando photo-report. As usual, we encourage you to check out PART 1 of this update before continuing. In the previous part, we walked around the entrance of the park and then we moved on to Key West and the nearby Sea of Mystery (which includes Journey to Atlantis). We will now continue to explore this area of the park and then we will move on to Antarctica and the nearby Waterfront. Enjoy the photos!

SeaWorld Update: Journey to Atlantis Now Closed (Part 3)

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Welcome to the third and final part of this SeaWorld Orlando photo-update. Be sure to also check out PART 2 of our latest report by clicking on this link. So far we have explored the entrance of the park, Key West, the Sea of Mystery, Antarctica, the Waterfront, Shark Wreck Reef, and more. We will now complete our tour of this amazing theme park by walking around the remaining themed areas. Be sure to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section!

Preview of Culinary Treats for Epcot 's Festival of the Arts

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With its gorgeous backdrop of iconic architecture from around the globe, Epcot’s World Showcase is a great place for outdoor events or delightful strolls around the lagoon. Sipping and tasting culinary delights along the way is one of the best parts of any festival, and the completely new Epcot International Festival of the Arts promises to take food to new heights in “Food Studios” located along the promenade. The festival will combine visual, culinary and performing arts.

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Returns January 4

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The 24th annual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna will return to Walt Disney World Resort January 4-8 with a series of events leading up to the big race that winds through each park and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. To accommodate the weekend’s multiple events, Disney will make some adjustments to the transportation schedule, including road closures during the races. As a result, Guests may encounter detours and delays.

Busch Gardens Tampa Welcomes Nine Newborn Nyala

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A few days ago, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed nine newborn Nyala.
This African antelope has a light brown coat with both white stripes and spots--a great combination for camouflage! While a male Nyala can grow to be almost 300 lbs., an average newborn only weighs 10 lbs. These little ones can be found roaming with the herd near the Serengeti Safari Tour. If spotted in the morning hours, they can often be found huddled together under the bamboo grasses.

Disney's All-Star Music Resort to Offer Brunch on January 1

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For the first time, Disney's All-Star Music Resort will transform the back section of the Intermission Food Court into a table-service location on Sunday, January 1, 2017. On that day only, hotel Guests (or those visiting the resort for the day) will be able to enjoy a brunch offering that's all-you-care-to-eat from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. This offering is $21.99 for adults and $11.99 for children. Availability will be based upon walk-up opportunities. Check at the location for more details.

Operational Impacts at Disney Springs on December 31

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With the busiest time of the year upon us, the roadways around Disney Springs and the rest of the Walt Disney World Resort are anticipated to be busier than usual, particularly on December 31. For this reason, Guests and Cast members should expect to encounter some detours and delays and drivers should allow for extra travel time. Resort Guests are encouraged to use Walt Disney World transportation. Continue reading this article for additional information.

Volcano Bay Update: New Themed Structures Appear

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The new Volcano Bay water park will undoubtedly be an amazing place to visit.
While we are still a few months away from its grand opening, it's already clear that this park will be a winner thanks to its amazing icon (we are sure everyone will agree with us that choosing a volcano as the park's central icon was a great idea), its colorful water slides, and the tropical landscape that will dominate this gorgeous place. Just like you, we can't wait to set foot inside Volcano Bay.

Gasparilla Island Grill Reopens Dec. 21 at Grand Floridian

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The Gasparilla Island Grill officially reopened to all hotel Guests on Wednesday, December 21 at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. At that time, Beaches Pool Bar & Grill and the Courtyard Pool Bar will resume normal operations.
In addition to that, Mizner's Lounge will also be reopening to visiting Guests tomorrow afternoon (Thursday, December 22, 2016). The Cítricos bar & lounge will continue to remain open to Guest as an alternative option on December 21.

Magic Kingdom Entertainment Adjustments on Dec. 31

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We are only 10 days away from the busiest day of the year for Orlando's theme parks. Of course, the area's attractions are usually extremely busy also on days leading to December 31. For this reason, the Magic Kingdom Park will add more entertainment offerings (like every year) while also adjusting the showtimes for some of the existing offerings. Continue reading to learn more about what's in store for Guests visiting the Magic Kingdom Park in the coming days.

Universal Studios Photo-Report: Fallon & Furious (PART 1)

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This is it. The busiest time of the year is here! While the parks are getting ready to welcome more Guests than usual, work continues on the new rides currently under construction at Universal Studios Florida (that is, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon and the nearby Fast & Furious: Supercharged). As you will see, plenty of changes are now visible on the outside of the showbuildings that will soon house these massive new attractions. Let's check them out:

Universal Studios Photo-Report: Fallon & Furious (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our new Universal Studios Florida photo-report. As always, be sure to check out PART 1 of this update by clicking on this link. In the previous part, we walked along the park's main entrance and stopped by the "Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon" attraction to check on the progress that has been done on the facade of the building since our last visit. It's now time to find out what's new in the future site of the new Fast & Furious ride.

Limited-Time Offers at Disney Springs (December 2016)

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With more than 50 new locations now open and more than 100 coveted brands, specialty shops, and Disney-themed boutiques, there has never been a better time to enjoy and discover Disney Springs. In addition to checking out all that's new around this massive entertainment district, Guests visiting Disney Springs can also enjoy some limited-time offers this month, including a 30% discount at Sanuk and a 15% discount at Sound Lion. Continue reading to learn more.

Star Wars Guided Tours Begin Jan. 2 at Hollywood Studios

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Beginning from January 2017, Guests will be able to experience the epic Star Wars saga and all the Star Wars adventures Disney’s Hollywood Studios has to offer with the new Star Wars Guided Tour. Led by a Star Wars “all-in-the-know” tour guide, this seven-hour guided tour brings together Star Wars experiences to transport Guests to that galaxy far, far away. The tour includes reserved viewing areas for shows, a quick-service meal, a dessert party, and much more.

New Solar Canopy Debuts at LEGOLAND Florida Resort

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A few days ago, LEGOLAND Florida celebrated Tampa Electric’s completion of a solar canopy over portions of the parking lot that’s now producing electricity (and shade) for guests. These solar panels can produce enough electricity to power more than 200 homes and enough shade for more than 600 cars. It’s Tampa Electric’s second large-scale photovoltaic (PV) array to be installed in the communities it serves, and its first large-scale array in Polk County.

All Discovery Island Trails Now Open at Animal Kingdom

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For the past few months, the majority of the trails and pathways located around the Tree of Life have not been accessible to Guests due to work being done in surrounding areas and on the Tree of Life itself. We're excited to share that the very last section of the Discovery Island Trails in front of the Tree of Life is once again accessible to Guests. This area provides a great place to get an up-close look at the park's amazing icon and the newly-reintroduced kangaroos.

Dedicated Passholder Entrances Coming to Disney World

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Starting from Wednesday, December 21 and continuing through January 2017, Annual Passholders will get easy access to all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks with special Passholder lines at the main entrance of each location.
At Magic Kingdom Park, these dedicated lines are located on the far left (West) side of the main entrance, next to the Express Monorail. At Hollywood Studios, they will be found on the far right, near the package pick-up location of the park.

Sea Life Aquarium Update: Exploring the Turtle Fest Area

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The Sea Life Orlando Aquarium is undoubtedly one of Orlando's most enjoyable minor attractions. Despite being located only a few miles away from one of the top marine theme parks in the world, the aquarium is filled with highly-detailed, themed environment that features some of the beautiful creatures that live in our beautiful oceans. In this photo-update, we will check out the aquarium's newest exhibit, Turtle Fest, as well as all of the other themed environments. Enjoy!

FastPass+ Kiosks Change at Epcot (December 18-24)

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From December 18 to December 24, the FastPass+ kiosk located in the Future World East Breezeway near the Mouse Gear shop (at Epcot) will be staffed by Cast Members until 1 p.m. Afterwards, the kiosks will continue to be available to Guests as self-service kiosks (Guests will be able to make FastPass+ selections on their own). Visitors who need assistance from a Cast Member after 1 p.m. should visit the kiosk in the West Breezeway near the Epcot Character Spot.

Select Magic Kingdom Restaurants to Sell Wine and Beer

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In response to Guests’ growing desire for food and beverage pairings, several Magic Kingdom table-service locations will expand their menus to include more beverage selections. Libations such as wine and beer will be available at Tony’s Town Square, Jungle Skipper Canteen, and the Liberty Tree Tavern (similar to Be Our Guest's offerings) starting from December 23. The additional beverages have been specially selected by Disney's master sommelier for the ideal pairing.

Kidz Bop Named Official Partner of LEGOLAND Florida

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LEGOLAND Florida and Kidz Bop, the No. 1 music brand for kids announced a multi-year alliance that will make Kidz Bop the official music partner for the park.
The partnership announcement almost coincides with the launch of the eagerly anticipated Ninjago World, an exciting new theme park land set to open Jan. 12, 2017, where kids will “become the ninja” in their very own martial arts adventure that is inspired by the long-running (and very popular) LEGO franchise.

More Offerings Available at All-Star Resort's Pizza Kiosks

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You may have heard about the new pizza kiosks that recently opened near the bust stops of Disney's All Star Resort. These food & beverage locations are now serving breakfast daily. The World Premiere Express (located at All-Star Movies Resort) is now offering breakfast pastries and donuts from 7:30–10 a.m., while Intermission Express (found at All-Star Music) offers breakfast sandwiches from 8–10:30 a.m. Both locations will continue serving pizza from 7–10 p.m.

Restaurantosaurus to Offer Breakfast Dec. 19-Jan. 7

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For a limited time, Guests visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will be able to enjoy quick-service breakfast options at Restaurantosaurus in DinoLand U.S.A. The location will open to Guests 30 minutes after park open and serve breakfast until 10:30 a.m. from Monday, Dec. 19, through Saturday, Jan. 7.
Restaurantosaurus will be serving Mickey waffle platters for both children and adults, in addition to a premium topping bar featuring 12 different condiments. 

New SeaWorld Theme Park to Open in Abu Dhabi by 2022

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SeaWorld is heading to the middle east, in partnership with "Miral," to create a new, next-generation marine life themed park experience, as well as the UAE’s first Marine Life Research, Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Return Center by 2022!
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will also include the United Arab Emirates’ first dedicated marine life research, rescue, rehabilitation, and return center with world-class facilities and resources for the care and conservation of local marine life. 

Hollywood Studios Update: Visiting PizzeRizzo (PART 1)

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Disney's Hollywood Studios still has a long way to go before the new Toy Story and Star Wars themed lands officially open, but that doesn't mean that Guests visiting the theme park shouldn't look forward to see something new during their upcoming visit. In fact, in addition to the movie previews that are shown inside Walt Disney: One Man's Dream, Guests can enjoy a quick-service meal inside the new PizzeRizzo restaurant and look forward to Star Tours sequences.

Hollywood Studios Update: Visiting PizzeRizzo (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our latest Hollywood Studios photo-report. Don't forget to check out PART 1 of this update for more pictures taken in the park. In the previous part, we checked out the Center Stage area as well as Muppet Courtyard, where we also took a tour inside the new PizzeRizzo restaurant. Now we will quickly take a look at the exterior facade of this reimagined quick-service location and then we will move on to Echo Lake, Pixar Place, and more. Enjoy!

Super Nintendo World Coming to Universal Studios Japan

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Super Nintendo World is coming to Universal Studios Japan and will be the first such opening in the world, featuring globally renowned characters and game worlds from Nintendo. Super Nintendo World is targeted to open in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. While Universal Studios Japan will be the first location to open, Nintendo themed areas are also coming to Orlando and Hollywood as announced by Nintendo and Universal Parks & Resorts on November 29, 2016.

Stitch’s Great Escape to Operate Daily on December 17-31

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Stitch’s Great Escape (the infamous attraction/show found near the entrance of Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom Park) will be available for Guests to enjoy December 17-31 before it returns to a seasonal operation on January 1, 2017.
Park Guests are encouraged to stop by the attraction during this limited time for a close encounter with the mischievous Stitch, especially since recent rumors say that the attraction may permanently close in the not-so-distant future.

Grand Floridian Garden Party Returning on December 17

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Guests of all ages are invited to visit the Mary Poppins Garden, located outside the exit of 1900 Park Fare at the front of the resort, for an evening of relaxation at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The "Garden Party" is scheduled to place on Saturday, December 17, from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. During this special event, Guests will enjoy live music and will be able to purchase unique cocktails. No reservations are required, and everyone is welcome to attend.

New Auntie Anne’s Location Opens at Islands of Adventure

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Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, the world’s largest soft pretzel franchise, made famous by its fresh, hand-rolled snacks, recently opened its second location at Universal Orlando Resort. This walk-up location found inside Islands of Adventure is one of many locations opened at a theme park destination since Auntie Anne’s first rolled into theme parks in 2013. This great, new addition is located just past The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man in Marvel Super Hero Island.

Aulani Introduces New Experiences Inspired by "Moana"

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Since Moana made her official arrival at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, she has inspired many new and exciting experiences for Guests to enjoy at the resort.
Guests now have the opportunity to meet the brave wayfinder and learn of her breathtaking adventures at Mo’olelo Fireside Stories with Moana, enjoy Uncle’s Kahakai Canoe Race, and even get a "Moana makeover" in the resort's Painted Sky Teen Spa. Continue reading to learn more about these great additions.

Morning Extra Magic Hours Adjustment at Magic Kingdom

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Beginning from December 11, Enchanted Tales with Belle (the character meet & greet/interactive show located in the Fantasyland Forest at the Magic Kingdom Park) will no longer be available to Guests during morning Extra Magic Hours. The character greeting location will continue to operate as normal once the park opens to all Guests. The other rides and attractions open during morning Extra Magic Hours are expected to continue to be available as usual. Stay tuned.

New Andretti Indoor Karting Coming to Orlando in 2017

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Opening in June of 2017, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games is set to be Orlando’s newest premier entertainment and event destination, featuring heart-pounding indoor karting, gaming, great food, and unique event spaces for groups of all sizes. The 150,000 sq. ft. facility will feature high-speed electric superkarts on a multi-level, banked turn track, a state-of-the-art arcade, 12 lanes of upscale boutique bowling, and professional racing simulators from CXC Simulations.

Disney Springs Update: What's New, What's Next (PART 1)

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Disney Springs continues to grow at a very fast pace thanks to the new kiosks, restaurants, shops, and entertainment offerings that are continuously added.
While this entertainment district was officially renamed Disney Springs not too long ago, the transformation phase is not over just yet. We are still waiting for a number of (major) new offerings that will make this area a must-see, including the Observatory, The Edison, and Paddlefish. Let's take a quick look around.

Disney Springs Update: What's New, What's Next (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Disney Springs photo-report, OTPN Readers. Remember to check out PART 1 of this update before proceeding. In the previous part, we enjoyed a panoramic view of the Disney Springs area from the Orange Parking Garage. In addition to that, we checked out the exterior of the new Planet Hollywood Observatory and other stores and dining locations found within the West Side. We will now focus on the rest of The Landing.

Disney Springs Update: What's New, What's Next (PART 3)

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Welcome to the third (and final) part of our latest Disney Springs photo-report. Don't forget to also check out PART 2 of this update by clicking on this link. Previously, we were able to take a look around the West Side, The Landing, and a small section of the Town Center. As you might expect, there's still much more to see around the heart of Disney Springs. After we end our tour of the Town Center we'll move on to the oldest section of Disney Springs: the Marketplace.