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
- First, some news that may impact your upcoming vacation. Chef Mickey's—arguably the most popular character dining spot in Disney World—will be temporarily relocated from July 28 until Aug. 13. Due to unplanned maintenance, the restaurant will shift locations from inside Disney's Contemporary Resort Hotel to the nearby Convention Center. Don't worry about your already booked Chef Mickey's reservations, they're still valid during this temporary move.
- On your next visit to Universal Studios Hollywood, be sure to say Hiiiiiya to Po, Tigress and other Dreamworks Animation favorites. The "Kung Fu Panda" favorites join other pals from "Madagascar," "Shrek" and "Trolls" during these daily meet-and-greets in Universal Plaza.
- The 2017 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival logo was revealed this week. This year's festival icon is culinary star Remy from "Ratatouille." Five new marketplaces were also revealed, including Spain, Avocados of Mexico and—appropriately—cheese.
- Does the recent settlement of a lawsuit open the door for Lord of the Rings to appear in theme parks? If this does happen, you can be sure Leap will wander around yelling "You shall not paaaaaaass!" while stuck in crowds.
- Ka-Chow! New "Cars"-themed food and beverages have rolled into Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. These limited-time offerings include Racer Churros—churros colored red, blue or yellow—Champion’s Corn Cup and the Dinoco Blue Shake—a blue raspberry shake topped with glittering yellow sprinkles and sugar crystals.
- Cool entertainment and sweet treats can be found at Disney Springs this summer. Put down those shopping bags and join The "Beat The Heat DJ Dance Party" and snack on the "Summer of Love"-themed sundae from Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop.
- Our matching his and hers bowling shirts—The Pinsetters— and "The Big Lebowski" quotes are ready. We can't wait to visit Splitsville Luxury Lanes this fall when it opens at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. The rendering for this new bowling/dining/entertainment spot fills us with all the retro bowling awesomeness. "Careful, man, there's a beverage here!"
- If you're going to hold a Club Penguin Island event, Blizzard Beach is the perfect place. The popular Disney Interactive game will have an event at the water park on July 29, featuring a penguin splash competition, coloring contests and a "snowball" toss with water balloons. Water park admission is required to attend the event.
- Two familiar live theatrical shows are becoming part of the same family. Cirque du Soleil is purchasing Blue Man Group. You may catch Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando Resort, while Cirque du Solei's "La Nouba" is appearing at Disney Springs through Dec. 31.
- LEGOLAND FLORIDA gave a family a memorable surprise when their deployed U.S. Army father appeared in a “Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty” water ski show. Judging from the video, there was not a dry eye in the house—and not because it took place at a water show.
- And finally, we're huge fans of Universal's Cabana Bay Resort Hotel. Its retro feel, laid-back vibe and amazing pool make slipping into vacation mode an effortless experience. Check out these 5 hidden gems within this sparklingly fun resort. Also, more excuses for Lebowski quotes. "The Dude abides."
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend.