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:
- Disney raised the price of annual passes at Disneyland and Disney World this past weekend. The big shock was at Disneyland, where the top-tier pass now costs more than $1,000, up $270 from the previous price. The Los Angeles Times explored the reasons behind the big jump, and if you've read our post on the Best Times to Visit Disneyland, you can probably guess a few of them.
- While new Disneyland annual passes debuted and others were phased out, a lucky few Disney fans were able to get new passes at the old rates. Disney Stores didn't stop selling the old Disneyland passes until Tuesday.
- In addition to annual pass price increases at the Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resorts, the daily rate for car parking has increased to $20.
- Disney was speaking my love language earlier this week when it announced that a new chocolate shop is opening at The Landing at Disney Springs by the end of 2015. The Ganachery is an all-new concept that will feature freshly made ganache. For those of you who aren't cocoa connoisseurs like moi, ganache is a mixture of chocolate and cream.
- A new restaurant is also headed to Disney Springs in summer 2016. Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine from celebrity Chef Art Smith will offer farm-to-fork cuisine.
- Hugh Jackman made a visit to Disney World last year unrecognized, thanks to Blackbeard. Using the character in the upcoming film Pan as his cover, the Aussie actor was able to escape the public eye so his daughter could celebrate her 8-year-old birthday at the resort.
- Minnie has a new greeting location inside Disney's Hollywood Studios. You'll find her at Mickey Mouse's Clubhouse near the entrance to Disney Junior - Live on Stage!
- The NBC Sports Grill and Brew opened at Universal Citywalk in the spot of the former NASCAR Grill. The restaurant is expected to feature more than 90 screens and a 100-foot-wide stadium screen atop the building.
- In our awwww news of the day, two students fulfilled the lifelong wish of a woman who works at a campus coffee shop in North Carolina by raising enough money to send her and her family to Disney World.
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.