Hi there! Welcome to our weekly roundup of the most interesting theme park news around the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and other theme parks.
Here are this week’s theme park highlights:
- If it felt more crowded in the last three months of 2014 at Disney World and Disneyland, that's because it was — 7% higher. But maybe you didn't feel it or see it, and that's the whole point. Disney reported very strong 4th quarter earnings, with "Frozen," park and hotel attendance, and MyMagic+ all being cited as positive financial influences. A boost in spending at Disney World was attributed to MagicBands, and CEO Bob Iger also cited it as helping "to manage more people at a time."
- Along with the earnings, Disney offered its first glimpse of Shanghai Disney Resort, set to open in 2016. With many of the park's iconic features nearing completion, we got a look inside Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure, one of the park's headliners inside the first-ever Pirates-themed land, Treasure Cove.
- Closer to home, Starbucks opened inside Disney's Hollywood Studios at Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, and Cinderella's golden carriage has arrived. You'll find it on the Streets of America until April 11. The live-action "Cinderella" opens in theaters on March 13.
- Over at Disney California Adventure, preparations are being made to celebrate Lunar New Year. From Feb. 19-22, guests will find music, dancing and festive decor as they celebrate the "Year of the Sheep."
- Olivia Newton-John is set to open the first Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Orlando this weekend. Just don't expect to catch her on a roller coaster — it's not her thing.
- Next weekend, Lecrae and Colton Dixon will perform at SeaWorld Orlando's Praise Wave on Feb. 14. More performers will be announced for the Christian music concerts on Feb. 21 and 28.
- New England Patriots' Julian Edelman and Malcolm Butler celebrated their Super Bowl win at the Happiest Place on Earth on Monday after the big game.
- Speaking of the Super Bowl, Universal Studios Hollywood's first commercial for its coming Fast and Furious: Supercharged attraction during pre-game coverage.
- Last but not least, I leave you with scenes from A Celebration of Harry Potter, held this past weekend at Universal Studios Florida. While the actors who played the Weasley twins, Luna Lovegood and Professor Dumbledore were on hand, the real stars were the fans, who dressed up as their favorite characters from the films.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend!
If you’re thinking about a trip to Disney World, make sure to check out the other news, tips and information we post to the blog throughout the week. If you’re ready to plan your trip, we recommend you start with our Orlando Planning Guide.