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:
- Unless you've been living under your lily pad, you'll already know the BIG news from this week. But if you haven't, we're hoppy to be the first ones to tell you that you'll be able to hug your favorite Disney characters real soon! Non-distanced, traditional character greetings will be gradually returning as early as April 18 to Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line and Aulani Resort in Hawaii! Not all locations will be available right away, but more and more of these character experiences will continue to come back throughout spring and early summer. Mickey better prepare for a major frog hug!
- And that's not all! Last week, we found out that Minnie Vans and the Disney Cultural Representatives would return to Disney World later this summer, and this week, we learned that Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue will join that list! The fan-favorite dinner show at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will kick off June 23, with reservations available starting May 26. Soon, we'll be able to clap, sing and laugh while we feast on unlimited fried chicken and smoked barbecue ribs once more. Eagle-eyed fans may even notice a few minor tweaks to its script and scenery. We can't wait to be back in Pioneer Hall!
- Are you ready to gulp, gobble and glow? We now know the 2022 dates for both the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival and Disney H2O Glow After Hours at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. First up is H2O Glow After Hours, which will take place on Saturdays from May 28 to Aug. 27 as a separately ticketed event. Tickets are on sale now! Later, the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival will begin July 14, continuing until Nov. 19. As we get more details, we'll be updating our guides — H2O Glow After Hours and EPCOT Food & Wine Festival — so stay tuned!
- We got a first look at the Connections Cafe and Eatery menu, which is set to open at EPCOT this spring (aka very soon)! The new quick-service restaurant will serve burgers, chicken, pizza and salads with an international twist. While you can toadally stick with an American classic burger, you could try the Banh Mi Burger or the plant-based Curry Spice Pizza. There's a first time for everything! To top off the meal, indulge in a Liege Waffle or an Apple Pie Gelato Shake. Yum!
- It's getting closer to the summer opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT. As the latest update, Disney shared photos inside the ride's queue. Guests will enter the Galaxarium, a planetarium-style exhibition featuring planets, stars and other wonders that are shared between Earth and Xandar. (Plus in other Avengers-related theme park news from the opposite coast, Moon Knight has started to make appearances at Avengers Campus in Disney California Adventure Park.)
- Just in time for May the 4th (aka "Star Wars" Day), Space Mountain will once again transform into Hyperspace Mountain for a limited time at Disneyland. The coaster will be closed on April 28 to set up the ride overlay. It'll reopen April 29, and you'll be able to move through space at lightspeed.
- If you'll be at Disneyland Resort anytime from March 31 to April 17, keep an eye out for hidden "eggs" at Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney. To participate in the Eggstravaganza scavenger hunt, you can pick up a game board and stickers at select merchandise locations on property. Then, try to spot the eggs, which are painted as Disney characters, and check them off with the stickers. And finally, return your game board to receive a special collectible egg!
- Universal Orlando recently revealed Halloween Horror Nights dates and tickets for 2022. The shrieks and screams from those brave frogs at Universal Studios Florida will start Sept. 2, and the nightmarish event will come to an end Oct. 31. As usual, there will be 10 new haunted houses, five scare zones and two shows. Your favorite frogs are selling discounted HHN single-night tickets so you can save that money for a new pair of pants.
- The West Coast welcomed its first theme park based entirely on "Sesame Street." Sesame Place officially opened March 26, replacing the former Aquatica water park in the San Diego area. It was a sunny day indeed! Check out our guide about Sesame Place for more information.
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.