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:
- The Universal Orlando Resort announced this morning that The Incredible Hulk Coaster is closing for an extensive refurbishment from Sept. 8 until next summer. The refurb at Universal's Islands of Adventure will include enhancements to its storyline, ride cars and overall experience. More details are expected to be revealed soon.
- Disney fans attending the D23 Expo in Anaheim today and tomorrow are hoping for news on the future of Disney's Hollywood Studios, which has undergone major changes in the last year. While the Walt Disney Co. is keeping mum about any announcements regarding the Studios, there is an hour-and-a-half session scheduled Saturday on Disney's parks and resorts. Hollywood Studios would be the likely home for new Star Wars and Pixar attractions.
- For you Disneyland fans, the D23 Expo offers a treasure of photos representing 60 years of the resort's history in "Disneyland: The Exhibit." Photos and collectibles, including Ticket No. 1, purchased by Roy O. Disney on July 18, 1955, will be on display. Many pieces will be on display for the first time.
- The transition of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs is kicking into high gear. Starting this month, maps, brochures, road signs and other places will begin phasing in the new name for its entertainment area. The official name change will happen this fall.
- We've learned the back story for one of the coming stars of Disney Springs, Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar, and gotten a look at some of the menu items. Named after Indiana Jones' pilot, the bar will offer food and drinks inspired by Indy's globe trotting. Jock discovered this waterfront locale, and made it his home base, while searching for the Fountain of Youth in 1938. He welcomed his globetrotting friends for drinks, and soon you can enjoy it too. Expect beer and wine, clever cocktails, and small bites, such as Rolling Boulder Sliders with three spice meatballs on mini-buns with yogurt sauce or Brody Brats with mustard and pickled cabbage.
- The bawdy 2013 flick "This Is the End," starring James Franco, Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill, will be the inspiration for yet another house at this year's Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. This 3D horror-comedy maze will take guests inside James Franco's Hollywood Hills home for a major A-list party just as the apocalypse strikes!
- The Orlando theme parks' battle for bigger and better is just getting started, according to one business leisure advisor, and you, me and other theme park-goers will be the clear winners.
- One of the leaders in this battle, the Universal Orlando Resort, is busy moving forward on its buzziest newest attraction, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, set to open in summer 2016. Kong's stone head is now visible within the construction at Universal's Islands of Adventure. T
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.