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:
- Until this week, little had been revealed about the Epcot Frozen meet-and-greet and attraction planned for the space occupied by the former Maelstrom attraction. But thanks to plans filed with the South Florida Water Management District this week, we know that Disney will be constructing on undeveloped space between Norway and Mexico for the Frozen meet-and-greet. This is a much larger footprint for the Frozen additions expected to open in 2016 than previously believed and will also be the first major addition to World Showcase in many years.
- Starting earlier this week, the FastPass+ viewing location for Magic Kingdom parades is being relocated from the Central Plaza Viewing Area to the Town Square Viewing Area, near the flagpole, for both day-time and night-time parades. Starting Feb. 27, the viewing location for Magic Kingdom fireworks will relocate from the Rose Garden Fireworks Viewing area to the Main Street Plaza Gardens, adjacent to Casey's Corner and the Plaza Restaurant.
- Universal Orlando unveiled the concert lineup for this year’s Mardi Gras celebration, which is held on select days Feb. 7 through April 18. Among the performers this year will be Jesse J, Trace Adkins and Kelly Clarkson.
- Concerts will also be a part of Busch Gardens Tampa’s inaugural Food & Wine Festival, which takes place Saturdays and Sunday March 7 through April 6. Gavin DeGraw, Kenny Rogers and El Gran Combo are among the performers, with more still to be announced.
- LEGOLAND Florida has moved up the debut of its 152-unit LEGOLAND Hotel. It will now officially open for business May 15. Additionally, the park is adding on a LEGO Friends expansion that will feature a horse-themed disc coaster called Mia’s Riding Adventure and an interactive show called "Friends to the Rescue."
- Happy birthday, Space Mountain. Hard to believe it's this old, but the intergalactic coaster celebrates its 40th birthday.
- Also celebrating 40 years this week is Carousel of Progress, which was created originally for the 1964 New York World’s Fair before it was moved to Magic Kingdom. It officially opened Jan. 15, 1975.
- Disney World dining favorite Flame Tree Barbecue at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is undergoing refurbishment starting Jan. 20 through March 31, but you can find many of its popular dishes in other places around the park.
- Busch Gardens is adding a new restaurant later this year called Dragonfly Grill that will offer food stations featuring Italian, American, Mexican and Asian cuisine. The restaurant will open in the location of Pantopia Grill, close to the park’s newest attraction, Falcon’s Fury.
- Starting today through Sunday, those of you in Orlando can enjoy some of the tasty bites of new Boardwalk restaurant Trattoria al Forno at Downtown Disney when its chefs takeover one of the food trucks at Downtown Disney.
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 planning pages.