Hi there! Welcome to our weekly roundup of the most interesting theme park news around the Walt Disney World Resort, the Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and other theme parks.
Here are this week’s theme park highlights
- Babies are all the rage at Discovery Cove! The all-inclusive day resort welcomed five baby dolphins last month, the most born there in a month since 2009. The first baby, a female named Kona, arrived Aug. 3 and was followed by Titan, Nero, Star and Storm. Each weighed in at about 35 pounds. Discovery Cove hasn't announced when the babies will be seen by the public, but they eventually will be introduced to each other and more dolphin social groups. For now, they are being monitored around the clock by trainers and veterinarians, and remain with their mothers.
- Speaking of new babies, Disney World welcomed several new animals and babies of its own! Most notable is the introduction of red lechwe, a waterbuck-like animal. The red lechwe can be seen at the Kidani Village section of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge on the Pembe Savanna. Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park also welcomed two new baby pink-backed pelicans. The pelicans took 30 days to incubate and will take an additional 70 to 85 days to grow feathers. You can see the pelicans at Kilimanjaro Safaris.
- The Orlando Sentinel has gotten more details about Universal Orlando's brand-new virtual reality experience that will debut at this year's Halloween Horror Nights. The Repository will allow groups of four to work together to solve a mystery. Participants will wear virtual reality headsets that will transport them into the "paranormal realm." Live scare actors will heighten the reality. Reservations are required for the experience, which is an additional charge over event admission at $49.99 per person. Although the actual experience is 25 to 30 minutes, Universal is recommending that guests block out 90 minutes for participation. You horror fans will definitely want to factor that time into your planning—there is already so much to see and do in one night! If you're set on The Repository, you may want to consider adding on a second night or an Express Pass for the houses.
- Knott's Berry Farm is also introducing a virtual reality experience during Knott's Scary Farm that will allow guests admittance into a mental hospital where a possessed patient is on the loose. Fear VR: 5150 will be an additional fee over event admission, and a price hasn't yet been announced. Those of you who dare to experience it will need to get in line at 7 p.m. on Knott's Scary Farm nights at the ticket kiosk outside The Dead of Winter: Revenge of the Wendigo. Capacity is limited.
- Halloween Time officially begins today at the Disneyland Resort. This is definitely a treat—especially the reopening of Haunted Mansion with its Nightmare Before Christmas overlay! If you can't make it to the park, you should definitely check out Tad's video of Haunted Mansion Holiday.
- Parents visiting Disney World soon may notice children ages 3 through 9 using the fingerprint readers at park entrances during admission. This has been the standard admission process for adult tickets and now applies to children's tickets too, although parents can opt to have their own fingerprints scanned instead. Children under age 3 do not need tickets, and their admission remains free.
- The annual Night of Joy and Rock The Universe concert series start tonight at the Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resorts respectively. The Christian music festivals will feature artists such as Casting Crowns, MercyMe, Switchfoot, TobyMac, Tim Timmons, Skillet, Lecrae, Jeremy Camp and more.
- New Disney California Adventure merchandise using vintage-style Mickey has made its way to the park. The new merchandise, which includes shirts, hoodies, pins and even new blue logo Mouse Ears, was designed by Disney Design Group artists.
- With the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival opening next week, 2016 merchandise is rolling out in the park. Drink and dinnerware, apparel, bottle openers, pins, magnets and more will be available. If you're planning on visiting during this most delicious event, check out what else is new for 2016 and look for more tips from us very soon.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend!