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.
This week’s theme park highlights:
- Disney is making it even easier to collect your Disney World ride photos. If you are wearing an active MagicBand on select attractions, your photos will automagically appear in your My Disney Experience account. So no more waiting in line to get your Disney World ride photos. It's getting easier for those of you who don't have MagicBands too. After you ride select attractions (now in Magic Kingdom and soon to roll out in the rest of the parks), find your pic on the preview wall and then touch your park ticket or Memory Maker Card to the touch point to pair your photo. Additionally, those with active MagicBands will find their on-ride video from Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror automagically associated with your account. In fact, if you've been to the park within the past 45 days or so, you might find your photos and video are are already there!
- Earlier this week, we brought you details about two new restaurants coming to Disney Springs next year. Even better news, though, is that the first of two parking garages is set to open Nov. 20 ahead of the busy holiday season.
- Disney shared a few more details about A Frozen Holiday Wish, coming to Magic Kingdom this holiday season. From Nov. 5 through Dec. 31, Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff will appear nightly in an all-new stage show at Cinderella Castle. Queen Elsa will transform the kingdom with a glimmering ice castle!
- The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels are getting a $125 million makeover, with a redesign of all 2,267 of its rooms. The project, which will include new furniture, larger HDTVs and Westin Heavenly beds, has already begun and will be complete in 2016. The concept for the refurbs was done by Interior design and architecture firm Garcia Stromberg/GS4 Studios, which designed the Conrad Hotel Ft. Lauderdale and the Waldorf Astoria's Boca Beach Club.
- Once Upon a Toy at Downtown Disney is getting an early release of the Disney Infinity 2.0 Starter Pack this weekend, which includes two of my favorite Disney characters, Merida and Stitch. Game developers will be on hand at the toy store, and guests will also receive one complimentary Disney figure with their purchase of the starter pack at the toy store on Nov. 1 and 2.
- The Boston Globe asked the question of whether grownups could appreciate Universal Orlando's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - Diagon Alley™. As if they really had to ask!
- Meanwhile over at Universal Studios Hollywood, Theme Park Insider looks at the progress of construction for Springfield and Hogsmeade Village (that's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter). The two new Upper Lot areas are expected to open in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
- Those of you who have been reading the blog know how much I love Disney's caramel apples, so I had to include this quick update about the Rocky Road Gourmet Apple. It's back at the Disneyland Resort for a limited time this November. Yum!
- Christmas Town is set to return at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay this holiday season on select days. The brand-new Pantopia will be set alight with glowing lanterns that will light the way to Mrs. Claus family feast, while the Egypt area of the park will transform into Bethlehem.
- Happy Halloween, wherever you may be! Today's treat comes from the Disney Parks Blog, which shared this Halloween-inspired light painting from Magic Kingdom! As Tad says, "So cool!"
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.