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Showing posts from March, 2017

Typhoon Lagoon Introduces Changes After Refurbishment

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After closing for its annual refurbishment back in December 2016, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon continued to be busy as construction crews worked hard to bring a number of enhancements to some of the water park's attractions and amenities. In addition to installing new signs and maps, some of the queues around the water park received new fans, pools and slides were repainted, and more. This is definitely a great year for Typhoon Lagoon, as the park also opened a new attraction just a few days ago.

New “Countdown to Pandora” Collection Pin Release on April 6

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The second of three pins in the “Countdown to Pandora – The World of Avatar” limited edition collection will be released at Discovery Trading Company (found on Discovery Island at Disney's Animal Kingdom) on April 6. Each individual pin will have an edition size of 1,250. Guests may buy up to two (2) limited edition pins, per style, per release. The final pin in the set will be released on May 4. Pins at each release are first-come, first-served and will not be available via Shop Disney Parks app or the online store.

Portobello Country Italian Trattoria Closing for Refurbishment

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On April 24, 2017, Portobello Country Italian Trattoria (a restaurant located next to the Paddlefish in The Landing area of Disney Springs) will temporarily close its doors to undergo a major refurbishment. With collaboration from James Beard Award-winner Chef Tony Mantuano, the restaurant will be completely reimagined and will feature an authentic Italian concept including a family-style menu along with a selection of Italian craft beers and wines. The location is currently expected to reopen this fall.

Universal Reveals Details About Volcano Bay Annual Passes

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After (patiently) waiting for months to know just how much Guests will have to pay to get into Universal's Volcano Bay, the Universal Orlando Resort finally unveiled more details about the annual passes that will include this new water park. Not surprisingly, all of the existing annual passes will remain unchanged and will still allow Guests to enjoy the two theme parks (blockout dates may apply). All of those passes (Seasonal, Power, Preferred, and Premier) will soon also be available as 3-park annual passes.

LEGOLAND Adds More Services for Guests with Autism

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In an ongoing effort to make LEGOLAND Florida Resort a more welcoming place for all kids and families, the popular vacation destination has introduced a wide variety of services and initiatives to assist guests with autism spectrum disorders as well as their caregivers. Last spring, the Central Florida resort partnered with the North and Central Florida chapter of Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, to better serve park Guests on the autism spectrum.

"Party for the Planet" Returning to Animal Kingdom on April 21

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The upcoming documentary feature from Disneynature hits theaters on April 21, just in time for Earth Day and "Party for the Planet" (a special event that includes multiple activities available to all Guests visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom throughout the day).
Born in China follows the adventures of three animal families: the majestic panda, the savvy golden monkey and the elusive snow leopard. To celebrate the film’s release, several of the activities in Party for the Planet will be themed to Born in China.

Test Track Closing at 6 p.m. at Epcot on Thursday, March 30

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Guests planning on visiting Epcot in the next few days should note that Test Track will close at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 30 for a private event. Approximately 600 Guests will arrive by bus to the Odyssey Parking lot (which is located backstage) at 7 p.m. for this event. Please, note that while the entire Test Track courtyard area will be closed to regular park Guests, the other two Future World East rides (Universe of Energy and Mission: SPACE) and the Colortopia exhibit will follow their regular operating hours.

Universal Orlando's Hotel Tour: Exploring Royal Pacific Resort

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Most Guests visiting the beautiful Loews Royal Pacific Resort will realize that the hotel shares some similarities with the not-so-distant Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.
Both hotels are themed after tropical locations and cater to visitors who want to relax while also being close to the theme parks and the exciting rides and attractions they offer. As you will see in this photo-gallery, all of the areas of this resort are maintained very well, and the amenities that are offered to Guests are excellent. Let's take a look.

New "Virtual Queue" Being Tested at Disney's Water Parks

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In an effort to explore the concept of a virtual queue system for park Guests, Disney’s Water Parks will conduct virtual queue testing at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon from March 28 to April 7. Similar to the system that will be used at Universal's Volcano Bay water park, the virtual queuing systems are designed to enable users to reserve a place in line for an attraction without having to physically wait in the queue, providing an enhanced Guest experience and more time to enjoy additional experiences.

Cake Decorating Experience Coming to Amorette's Patisserie

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Beginning March 31, Guests visiting Disney Springs can grab an apron and work side-by-side with Amorette’s Patisserie pastry artists to decorate their own Mickey Mouse dome cake in the Cake Decorating Experience at Amorette’s Patisserie. As part of the experience, Guests can sip on complimentary specialty coffee, mimosas, and bellinis while learning how Amorette’s Patisserie blends artistry and storytelling in all of their pastry and cake designs. This experience will be available only for a limited time.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort Hosting Hire Event on March 28

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The LEGOLAND Florida Resort is hiring Model Citizens for many positions, including guest experience hosts in Admissions, Attractions, Food & Beverage, and Retail.
Those who are interested should attend their next hiring event, which will take place tomorrow (March 28) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Winter Haven’s Polk State College, WST Building 127, 999 Avenue H NE. On-the-spot interviews will be conducted during the event. Meanwhile, those interested can also apply online by clicking on this link.

Hollywood Studios: Star Wars Land is Going Vertical (PART 1)

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While thousands of Guests continue to visit Central Florida's theme park during Spring Break, construction work proceeds inside Disney's Hollywood Studios as the park gets ready to welcome two new themed lands. As you will notice in this update, not much can be seen in the future site of Toy Story Land (even though plenty of work is taking place behind the buildings located along Pixar Place and Mickey Avenue), while more earth continues to be moved around Star Wars Land. Let's take a look.

Hollywood Studios: Star Wars Land is Going Vertical (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our latest Disney's Hollywood Studios photo-report. As always, we invite you to check out PART 1 of this new update before proceeding. In the previous part, we walked around the beautiful Hollywood Boulevard, the Center Stage area, Animation Courtyard, Pixar Place, as well as Commissary Lane. We will now move on to Muppets Courtyard, Echo Lake, and Sunset Boulevard. We hope you will enjoy the rest of this large photo-tour of Disney's Hollywood Studios!

Bob Iger to Remain Chairman and CEO of TWDC Until 2019

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The Walt Disney Company Board of Directors announced that it has extended Robert A. Iger’s contract as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to July 2, 2019.
Orin C. Smith, Independent Lead Director of the Disney Board said “Given Bob Iger’s outstanding leadership... and his clear strategic vision for Disney’s future, it is obvious that the Company and its shareholders will be best served by his continued leadership as the Board conducts the robust process of identifying a successor.”

Universal Orlando's Hotel Tour: Visiting the Hard Rock Hotel

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Just a few days ago, we posted a large photo-gallery of the luxurious Portofino Bay Hotel, one of the five on-site resorts located at Universal Orlando. This morning, we will continue our tour of these hotels by exploring the Hard Rock Hotel, which happens to be the closest to Universal's two theme parks and the adjacent CityWalk. While this resort may not seem to have the intricate details seen in the other hotels, its upscale look and amenities definitely appeal to many Guests. Let's take a look around.

Mission: SPACE Closing for Refurbishment June 5 - Late July

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Guests visiting Epcot this summer should expect to find at least one of the park's thrill rides closed for refurbishment (all of the other major attractions should be operating). Mission: SPACE will be closed for refurbishment starting from June 5 and is expected to reopen to Guests at the end of July (dates subject to change). Rumors circulating around the web point to the possibility of being able to choose among several different "missions" when the ride reopens. Stay tuned for more information about this project.

Evening Extra Magic Hours Returning to Animal Kingdom

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Pandora – The World of Avatar is set to open on Saturday, May 27 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. To give Guests as much time in the land as possible, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. every day for a limited time beginning May 27, and will also offer more Extra Magic Hour opportunities. Twice per week, Extra Magic Hours will be offered in the morning to Guests staying at any of the on-site resorts to experience all that the park has to offer. But that's not all...

Upcoming Disney Springs Offers, Discounts (March 26-April 1)

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The Walt Disney World Resort recently started celebrating "Marketplace Monday" with a special, limited-time deal every Monday in March around Disney Springs. On March 27, Guests can show the @DisneySprings Twitter account offer on their mobile device to receive discounts at select locations throughout Disney Springs (more details can be found in this same article after the "jump"). In addition to that, some shopping and dining locations will offer discounts all week long. Continue reading to learn more.

Unique Island-Inspired Food Coming Soon to Volcano Bay

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Universal Orlando's culinary team, led by Corporate Executive Chef Steven Jayson, is excited to elevate the food and beverage experience at Universal's Volcano Bay, the amazing, new water theme park opening on May 25. From the minute Guests arrive in the morning until well into the night, they will have more than 60 delicious options to choose from, from snacks to entrees to desserts. You (and your taste buds) will enjoy a wide range of island-inspired dishes, all inspired by the flavors of the South Pacific.

The Music of Pixar Live! Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Starting May 26, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will present “The Music of Pixar LIVE! A Symphony of Characters.” This limited-time concert event will showcase memorable music from Pixar Animation Studios films, complete with a live orchestra as well as appearances by beloved Disney•Pixar characters. “The Music of Pixar LIVE!” will be presented three times nightly at Theater of the Stars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (following the regular daily performances of “Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage”).

Walt Disney World to Live Stream "Wishes" on March 23

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As the Walt Disney World Resort shared earlier this year, “Wishes” fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park will officially end its run on Thursday, May 11, 2017 to make way for the brand-new nighttime spectacular, “Happily Ever After.” The Disney Parks Blog will live stream "Wishes" this Thursday, March 23 at 8:55 p.m. The broadcast will kick off with a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of “Wishes” and viewers will be treated to an update about the new Happily Ever After show before the live stream concludes.

Universal Orlando's Hotel Tour: Portofino Bay Hotel (PART 1)

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The Universal Orlando Resort has five on-site hotels (that number will increase soon as the new Aventura Hotel is scheduled to open in 2018 next door to Sapphire Falls and one or more new resorts are rumored to replace the old Wet 'n Wild water park) that have very different themes and great amenities. This morning we will take a look around Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, which is currently still the most luxurious resort on property. Get ready to be transported to the beautiful Provincia di Portofino, Italy:

Universal Orlando's Hotel Tour: Portofino Bay Hotel (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of this Loews Portofino Bay Hotel photo-gallery! Be sure to check out PART 1 of this update for even more photos of this amazing resort. In the previous part, we took a look around the entrance of the resort, the lobby area, the indoor "village" (which includes quite a few themed facades and a shop), and the "Piazza Centrale." Now we will focus on the two pool areas, the waterfront village, and more. We hope you will enjoy the rest of this virtual tour of this themed, on-site hotel.

Vet Hospital Closed for Refurbishment at Animal Kingdom

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The Animal Hospital and Veterinary Treatment Room located in Rafiki’s Planet Watch recently closed for refurbishment and is expected to reopen around mid-June. Several enhancements will take place during the refurbishment, and after reopening, Guests will have the ability to view procedures in which the hospital staff uses two new CT (computed tomography) scanners for animal diagnostics. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of only two animal hospitals in U.S. zoos with CT scanners on the premises. 

Salon by the Springs Construction Begins at Wilderness Lodge

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The recent opening of the new Geyser Point Bar & Grill (a quick-service restaurant located at Disney's Wilderness Lodge) has enabled the Walt Disney World Resort to re-imagine the former Trout Pass Pool Bar, which will soon become the "Salon by the Springs," offering a variety of manicure, pedicure, and hair services. Construction to start this transformation officially began on Monday, March 20. The construction team will continue to work during the resort's approved noise hours of 9 a.m. through 6 p.m.   

Construction for Third Garage Begins April 1 at Disney Springs

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To service the growing parking needs of Disney Springs, Reedy Creek Improvement District is building a third parking garage and pedestrian bridge. Located next to the Casting building across from Disney Springs, this new garage will ultimately provide up to 3,000 additional covered parking spaces not only for Guests and Cast of Disney Springs, but also for the Casting and Partners (formerly SunTrust) buildings. The new structure will also include the same smart technology as the existing parking garages.

Mobile Order Service to Be Available at the Satu’li Canteen

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With a completely new land taking shape to open on May 27, Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will transport guests to the visually stunning land of floating mountains and bioluminescent plants. And, of course, there is a culinary chapter to the story of the Na’vi. Guests will be able to enjoy creative, flavorful dishes based on the healthful bounty of Pandora, with wholesome grains, fresh vegetables, and hearty proteins at Satu’li Canteen (which will feature a grill in the dining room).

Magic Kingdom Update: New Entrance Sign & More (PART 1)

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Visiting the Central Florida parks during "spring break" can be quite challenging due to the massive amounts of crowds that come to enjoy their time off. Out of all the area's theme parks, the busiest is the Magic Kingdom Park, but that doesn't mean that those who visit these attractions won't get rewarded for their patience. Indeed, the parks offer extended operating hours and additional shows during this time of the year. Oh, and fans can also look forward to new offerings, too. Let's see what's new this week.

Magic Kingdom Update: New Entrance Sign & More (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Magic Kingdom Park photo-report, OTPN Readers. Don't forget to check out PART 1 of this update before proceeding. In the previous part, we took a quick look around the Transportation & Ticket Center, the main entrance of the park, Main Street U.S.A., the central hub, and Tomorrowland. While we have already covered quite a few areas, there's still much more to see. It's time to head to Fantasyland (including Storybook Circus), Liberty Square, and more.

Universal Orlando Resort Introduces New Youth Program

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What happens when you take your physics textbook and turn it into a roller coaster? That's what students will be able to experience as part of "Your Classroom in Motion: A STEAM App Series," the latest Universal Orlando Youth Program. Several programs make up this brand-new series. Each one is unique and contains three parts: (1) pre-visit classroom lessons, (2) Career-focused videos from NBC Learn, and (3) thrilling in-park attraction and app-based experiences at Universal Orlando Resort

Redesigned Guidemaps Coming Soon to Magic Kingdom Park

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Redesigned guidemaps are coming to the Magic Kingdom Park on Sunday, March 19. The guidemap (the English version, as well as all five translations and the Guide for Guests with Disabilities will all be updated) features "Once Upon a Time" on the cover and will have a slightly different look that is very similar to the current Epcot map.
While the overall design will surely not look unfamiliar to most Guests, the map seems to include more details (it's definitely more colorful) and feels a little less cluttered.

Upcoming Disney Springs Offers & Discounts (March 19-25)

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The Walt Disney World Resort recently started celebrating "Marketplace Monday" with a special, limited-time deal every Monday in March around Disney Springs. On March 20, Guests can show the @DisneySprings Twitter account offer on their mobile device to receive discounts at select locations throughout Disney Springs (more details can be found in this same article after the "jump"). In addition to that, some shopping and dining locations will offer discounts all week long. Continue reading to learn more.

The Universal Orlando Resort Introduces Redesigned Website

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The official website of the Universal Orlando Resort just got a major makeover with redesigned features to make it even easier for Guests to navigate it. Visitors to the site can now filter by their interests to find the exact adventures they want and locate key information quickly and easily with a simplified navigation that is user-oriented and more intuitive. Plus bold, beautiful images and videos make it all come alive. Each venue now includes page attributes: easy-to-spot, top-level details, and more.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch Animals Making In-Park Appearances

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In an ongoing effort to connect Guests to the wonders of our natural world, Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment Cast Members are bringing animal experiences into high-traffic areas of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. These appearances feature ambassador and domestic animals including reptiles, small mammals, as well as birds. These appearances will not be listed in the Animal Kingdom Times Guide and an Animal Care Cast Member will be present with the animals at all times.

New Start Wars Land Attraction to Feature Two AT-AT Walkers

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Progress is being made on the Star Wars-themed lands being created at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. These amazing lands will transport Guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories will come to life. Guests will also be able to take the controls of Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission, and an be in the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance in two new rides.

"Express Fresh" Test Ends on April 1 at Select Disney Hotels

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To address the evolving needs of Walt Disney World Guests, the new option added to the in-room dining program (known as "Express Fresh") will continue to be offered at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort through April 1. This test complements the existing in-room dining program by offering quick meal options. The meals are presented at the Guest’s room door in disposable containers. Express Fresh is offered in the menu guides as a separate insert along with the regular menu.

Drive-Through Check-in Debuts at LEGOLAND Beach Retreat

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Only a few weeks remain before LEGOLAND Beach Retreat welcomes it first guests to enjoy endless fun in the sun. The all-new accommodations represent a whole new way to play at the LEGOLAND Florida Resort, with their own set of outdoor-themed amenities. One of the most unique amenities will be the new drive-through check-in, a speedy process that will get resort Guests from their car to their "cove" in minutes (by the way, the “coves” are horseshoe-shaped groupings of colorful LEGO bungalows).

New Experiences Coming to the Disney Fantasy This May

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On May 17, 2017, exciting new experiences will debut on the Disney Fantasy after the ship undergoes dry dock. From exploring the universes of Star Wars and Marvel, to shopping at unique new on-board venues,there's a lot that Disney Cruise Line Guests can look forward to. These enhancements will debut on the Disney Fantasy sailing from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas on a three-night voyage. Beginning May 20, the ship will resume a regular sailing schedule that includes 7-night Caribbean cruises.

The Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane Opens at Disney Springs

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A new apparel and accessories collection will soon debut at Disney Springs inside the Marketplace Co-Op store. "The Dress Shop," a brand-new collection that combines vintage style with modern fits, draws inspiration from classic Disney characters as well as theme park attractions, including Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, “it’s a small world,” Minnie Mouse, Snow White, Alice, and more. In preparation for the launch of The Dress Shop, the Cherry Tree Lane room will be temporarily closed March 26-30. 

SeaWorld's Food Festival to Take Place Daily Through April 16

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With Spring Break in full swing, there’s more to explore at SeaWorld than ever before.
One of the park's offerings, the popular Seven Seas Food Festival, is expanding to entice guests throughout Spring Break. Featured flavors from the event will be offered daily starting March 17. Guests will continue to set sail on a taste adventure as they sip and sample their way through international street food traditions. The Seven Seas Food Festival is the perfect culinary complement to a full day of fun at SeaWorld. 

Disney Water Parks Closed March 15-16 Due to Cool Weather

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Guests that are planning on visiting the Walt Disney World Resort over the next few days should be aware that Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will be closed Wednesday, March 15 and Thursday, March 16 due to forecasted cold weather conditions (highs will be in the mid-60s). Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses will be open during normal business hours. Be sure to check back here on OTPN for additional updates.

Miss Adventure Falls Now Open at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

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Miss Adventure Falls officially opened to all Guests on March 12 at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. In a first for a water attraction in Central Florida, guests will be transported in their treasure rafts to the top of the slide, passing by Mary’s wrecked ship where her parrot is talking alongside their treasures. From there, this white-water adventure will take them through twists, turns and dips where they will see deep-sea artifacts Captain Oceaneer collected on her many treasure hunts around the world.

"Caribbean Carnaval" Coming to Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

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Loews Sapphire Falls Resort will soon take Guests on a flavorful, musical tour through the Caribbean with an all-new Caribbean Carnaval! This event, featured Wednesday nights year-round (beginning April 5) showcases the vibrant colors, rich sounds and delightful tastes of the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad. Guests will enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring Caribbean cuisine, plus complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, as well as wine, beer, and Planter’s Punch for Guests 21+.

Stitch’s Great Escape to Be Open to Guests on March 13-17

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The infamous Stitch’s Great Escape (located in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom Park) will be available to park Guests March 13-17 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily before it returns to a seasonal operation on March 18. The fact that the attraction will reopen (even if only for a brief amount of time) might be surprising to some, as recent rumors pointed to a possible permanent closure of the attraction. As always, be sure to check back here on Orlando Theme Park News for more updates.

Limited-Time Offers Available Around the Disney Springs Area

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The Walt Disney World Resort recently started celebrating "Marketplace Monday" with a special, limited-time deal every Monday in March around Disney Springs. On March 13, Guests can show the @DisneySprings Twitter account offer on their mobile device to receive 20% off food and non-alcoholic beverages at Wolfgang Puck Express, free chips and a drink with sandwich purchase at the very popular Earl of Sandwich, a free glacier at Goofy's Candy Company, and 10% off storewide at Little MissMatched.

Gaylord Palms Adds FlowRider and Three New Water Slides

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Aquatic Development Group (ADG) has completed a second phased expansion at the Gaylord Palms and Convention Center adding a FlowRider Double as part of a major $4.2 million expansion that included a new slide complex. ADG was also the original designer and builder of the resort’s two existing recreational waterfront areas, Cyprus Springs and South Beach. As part of this $4.2 million expansion, The Gaylord Palms hotel also added three new waterslides to their aquatic recreational area.

"Spring Forward" on March 12 as Daylight Saving Time Begins

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Daylight saving time begins Sunday, March 12 at 2 a.m. in the United States and other parts of the world. That means that it's nearly time to spring forward by setting clocks and watches ahead by one hour. Most electronic devices (including mobile phones, computers, and cable boxes) adjust automatically, but others like kitchen appliances and the clock in your car might need to be changed manually. This is also a great time to change the batteries in your home smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

"Minnie’s Springtime Dine" Returns Soon to Hollywood Studios

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Starting from March 20, Minnie Mouse and her friends (dressed in their garden party best) will host a springtime celebration at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant. The menu features classic picnic foods with a twist, like refreshing coconut-lavender lemonade and springtime salads like watercress or basil-lime fruit salad. Guests can also enjoy a carving station and divine desserts. Reservations for dinner are now open, and can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dine or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.


Universal Studios Update: Fast & Furious Ride Construction

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Now that Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is in the technical rehearsal phase (don't forget to check out our review of this new ride), the only other attraction that's currently under construction inside Universal Studios Florida is the future Fast & Furious: Supercharged. As you will see in this photo-report, the building containing the queue of the ride continues to grow in size, and the area surrounding the attraction's entrance is starting to change even more. We hope you will enjoy the pictures.

Disney Provides Sneak Peek of Pandora -The World of Avatar

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Pandora – The World of Avatar will officially welcome humans on May 27 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. This brand-new land will immerse guests in a mystical world of massive floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking new experiences. The largest addition in the history of Animal Kingdom, Pandora carries on the theme park’s tradition of celebrating the intrinsic value of the natural world that surrounds all of us, transformation through adventure, and a personal call to action.