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:
- Celebrate Soulfully has begun at Disneyland Resort, highlighting music, food and new experiences to celebrate Black heritage and culture! Kicking things off is "Celebrate Gospel," Feb. 19 and 26, featuring contemporary Gospel artists such as Jonathan McReynolds, Mali Music and Kierra Sheard, as well as community choirs. Throughout the month of February, guests can enjoy nightly live entertainment, including Saturday afternoon Gospel performances, in the Downtown Disney District. Take in live chalk-art each week, browse merchandise from Black-owned businesses, enjoy spirits, wines and beer from Black-owned businesses and even check out new Penny Proud-inspired art installations throughout the Downtown Disney District. While the celebration is kicking off during Black History Month, it will continue throughout the year, including special offerings at Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival and the return of the Tale of the Lion King this spring. For more information about the Celebrate Soulfully event, hop over to our What's Coming to Disneyland post! And over on the East Coast, Celebrate Soulfully is hoppening at Disney World — catch "The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure" at EPCOT, jazz musicians and art displays at Disney Springs and more!
- After record-breaking starvation numbers due to poor water quality, federal and state efforts have begun efforts to care for threatened Florida manatees — and SeaWorld Orlando has ramped up efforts for the beloved marine mammal, too. The marine park announced that it added five 40-foot pools to accommodate up to 20 manatees within two weeks.
- Finally, after a two-year delay, Iron Gwazi opens this weekend to passholders before its official March 11 debut at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. We lucky frogs got a special media preview of the hybrid coaster this week, and OMG, we are croak-less!!! Tad absolutely loved it and rode both of the front and back rows with Leap. Front row is fun — you get the slow creep when you reach the top and get a terrifying view of the 91-degree drop that makes it seem like the track disappears below you. But back row is a completely different beast — it whips you around and feels much faster and more intense. We all agree it was toadally worth the wait!
- Ever wondered how the epic (and toadally fun) VelociCoaster came to life? Wonder no more! Universal Orlando has released a video, "The Making of Jurassic World VelociCoaster," on YouTube, with Mario Lopez as your host.
- Ready for the big game? A mini version of SoFi Stadium, host of the Super Bowl LVI Game, will make its big debut next month at LEGOLAND California. The LEGO model will be 30 feet long, 15 feet wide and 4 feet tall.
- And speaking of the Super Bowl, ESPN will be broadcasting from Disneyland Resort this week! Fans may catch glimpses of Disneyland in segments of "Postseason NFL Countdown," "NFL Live," "SportsCenter" and more. On-site, Disneyland Resort guests may catch a glimpse of some of their favorite ESPN shows and personalities at the Paradise Bay viewing area at Disney California Adventure Park. And Downtown Disney will offer a fan experience outdoors, including games, giveaways and more.
- More details about Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival have been cooked up! A dozen festival marketplaces will serve small bites and beverages, and restaurants such as Pym Tasting Lab and Terran Treats will have special festival items. There will also be a brand-new cupcake decorating experience for junior chefs during "Alice's Wonderland Bakery Unbirthday Party." On top of it all, Soarin' Over California will return for a limited time during the festival, beginning March 4.
- Ahead of Peppa Pig Theme Park's Feb. 24 debut, we've learned additional tasty details about the menu at Miss Rabbit's Diner. The sit-down, quick-service restaurant will serve classic favorites, such as grilled cheese and PB&J sandwiches, pizza and mac and cheese, as well as healthy dishes including a rice and quinoa bowl. For dessert, enjoy a signature "Muddy Puddle" milkshake or a Marshmallow "Mud" Cup (which includes gummy frogs!). If you're planning a trip, you can save some green with discounted Peppa Pig Theme Park tickets bundled with LEGOLAND Florida admission through us frogs!
- Sandals Resorts International will be sponsoring the 2022 Olympic Jamaica Bobsleigh Team, competing this month in Beijing. The team manager, Nelson Christian "Chris" Stokes, has been an active member of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Team since it began in 1988, and was part of the Olympic Team who inspired "Cool Runnings." He was also a Sandals Resorts team member at Montego Bay in the 1980s. When it returns to Jamaica, the team will join forces with the Sandals Foundation to plan long-term initiatives to groom the next generation of athletes, including school visits, athletic training clinics and nutrition workshops. The team will also be doing meet and greets with Beaches and Sandals Resort guests.
- Today marks the debut of the all-new Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade at Magic Kingdom Park — take a look at what else is coming to Disney World in 2022 in the video below!
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.