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:
- Trader Sam himself will not be returning as part of the Jungle Cruise refurbishment at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, but his name will live on as part of the new final scene. In the updated storyline, Alberta Falls, proprietor of the Jungle Navigation Company Ltd., has entrusted her longtime friend, Trader Sam, to manage the new Lost & Found location ... but Trader Sam has other plans to make extra money and become the best merchant in the jungle by turning it into a gift shop. While he's out finding new inventory, the animals have the last laugh. The Magic Kingdom version has been undergoing changes while the ride continues to operate, and the Disneyland version is expected to reopen this summer, according to Disneyland's president Ken Potrock from a D23 Inside Disney podcast episode.
- From that same podcast episode, Potrock also shared that Disneyland will be launching its new annual pass membership program before the end of 2021. Earlier this year, Disneyland officially canceled its annual pass program due to uncertainty from the pandemic.
- Frogtunately, things have only gone up from there, and the magic is finally returning to Disneyland Resort today after nearly 14 months! Hop to @themeparkfrog on Instagram as we share some of that magic with you! If you're planning a return trip soon, be sure to review our guide so you're toadally prepared and know what to expect.
- Disney Cruise Line revealed many enchanting details about the spaces and experiences aboard the newest ship, Disney Wish, which will set sail in summer 2022. Highlights include AquaMouse (the first-ever Disney attraction at sea), a live "Frozen"-themed theatrical dining experience and a swanky "Star Wars"-themed bar styled as a spaceship. The ship will also feature influences from the stories and characters of Disney, Pixar and Marvel Cinematic Universe. Alexa, play "How Far I'll Go." The Disney Wish ... it calls me!
- A couple of special holidays are coming right up, which only means one thing for us frogs — treat time! For any "Star Wars" fans, catch a number of limited-time "Star Wars"-themed desserts at Disney's Hollywood Studios May 4 and 5. Lightsaber churros?! We'll hop there faster than lightspeed! Also, celebrate Mom with a Mother's Day brunch, or opt for a special cupcake or cocktail. Check out the Mother's Day foodie guide to find special treats throughout Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.
- Bruce is back! The popular "Jaws" photo-op in Universal Studios Florida had been missing its star shark, who hangs from a wooden frame by his tail with his mouth wide open. After he went missing from his San Francisco spot earlier this year, Universal confirmed that it was only temporary while Bruce was getting spruced up. And yes, he still has all of his teeth.
- Over at Universal's Islands of Adventure, Jurassic World VelociCoaster will begin to hatch this weekend! Universal is holding special previews for lucky passholders May 2 to 5. Registration dropped last week, and spots quickly filled up. The highly-anticipated roller coaster will completely roar to life June 10.
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.