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:
- Following up on some news we mentioned a couple of weeks back, Disney is set to begin construction by the end of 2017 on a $1 billion Disneyland expansion, with new attractions, a 5,000-space parking garage and other improvements. The $1 billion investment was dependent on the City of Anaheim approving a 30-year ban on ticket tax, which it approved with a 3-2 vote. Now we just wait to see what new attractions Disney has in mind.
- Victoria & Albert's just keeps raising the bar. The only AAA five diamond restaurant in Central Florida and one of three in the state of Florida has debuted a 10-course Chef's Degustation Menu. The dishes were inspired by Chef Scott Hunnel's world travels to Asia, Spain, Italy and France. The 10-course meal will take place in the main dining room. In the Queen Victoria Room, guests can also enjoy 10 course paired with Victoria & Albert's most exclusive wines.
- Speaking of wine, over at Disney's Grand Californian, the Napa Rose is offering guests the opportunity to sip some of its rarest vintages via a WineStation, which offers 1-ounce, 3-ounce and 5-ounce pours.
- Disney World has removed a banner bearing the Confederate flag from a display in Epcot's American Adventure. The "Southern Cross" did not take up the entire flag but was visible in the top left corner.
- Packages have gone on sale for the 2015 Candlelight Processional at Epcot. The re-telling of the Christmas story backed by a full choir runs nightly at American Gardens Theater. Neil Patrick Harris and other celebrities will take turns hosting the event. Guests can get guaranteed seating at one of the three nightly shows by choosing to dine at select Epcot restaurants.
- A new tea cafe has opened at Downtown Disney. The Tea Traders Cafe by Joffreys opens in The Landing, the first of four neighborhoods opening in Disney Springs. A Tea Smith will be on-site to hand-blend loose leaf and herbal teas.
- One Direction's Liam Payne made a stop at Universal Orlando and its new Raptor Encounter experience at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
- Prince Charming will finally get his due in a live-action Disney movie. The movie is in its early stages and doesn't yet have a director, released plot details and, more importantly, a prince. Who would you cast? We'd love to hear your picks in comments below.
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.