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:
- We frogs are counting down the days until the 4th of July. If you'll be visiting Disney World or Disneyland, there is special entertainment, including a patriotic finale to Disneyland Forever and World of Color on the 4th of July on the West Coast. At Disney World, you can catch Disney's Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky at Magic Kingdom on July 3 and 4, and see a patriotic finale to IllumiNations on July 4. If you won't be at the parks, you don't have to miss out. You can catch a live stream of the Magic Kingdom fireworks July 4, stating at 8:50 p.m. EST.
- SeaWorld Orlando will be celebrating the 4th with fireworks and patriotic music from the 13th Army Band, Florida National Guard, on July 4. Country singer Lee Greenwood will perform July 3 and 4 at 6:30 p.m.
- While we're getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July, it's never to early to get a jump on New Year's Eve plans. Disney's Contemporary Resort will play host this year to a fancy-schmancy party beginning at 8 p.m. that will feature music from the 60s' to present day, bites and wine pairings, a view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks and a champagne toast. Tickets are extremely limited, so get a hop on them starting July 4 if you want to attend.
- In an impressive show of growth, Universal Orlando has submitted plans for a sixth hotel. This 600-room hotel would be on Adventure Way, just south of its Sapphire Falls Resort, which opens July 14.
- In more Universal Orlando news, Islands of Adventure was named the world's top theme park by fans in TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards for the second year in a row.
- Those of you eagerly awaiting the new Walking Dead attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood can get a sneak peek ahead of its July 4 opening.
- A brand new pin trading scavenger hunt will debut at Magic Kingdom on June 30. This Steampunk-inspired pin hunt will have guests venturing out in the park following clues, and those who complete the quest can purchase a completer pin!
- More retails outfits are set to open at Disney Springs to help you with the perfect outfit, including Levi's, Superdry, Sugarboo & Co., Shore, Columbia Sportswear and Coca-Cola Store Orlando.
- And Rick Bayless' Frontera Cocina has just opened at Disney Springs, offering contemporary Mexican cuisine in addition to a quick-service taco counter.
- While the full lineup hasn't yet been finalized for the Epcot Candlelight Processional, dining packages have gone on sale for the holiday season. Fan favorite Neil Patrick Harris will be back again to narrate the story of Christmas along with newcomer Cal Ripken Jr.
- Lily's favorite Descendant, Sofia Carson (Evie), stopped by Magic Kingdom ahead of the upcoming debut of her new movie, the Disney Channel Original "Adventures in Babysitting." She answered a few questions, including which Disney World attraction would most appeal to Evie. (Hint: It includes her mother, Snow White.)
- Last but not least, if you've got a trip planned to Orlando this summer, get a hop on downloading our free planning app for iPhone, which includes wait times and show times for all of the new Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld attractions. We've also added a new "near me" feature while you're in the parks!
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.