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:
- Disneyland has begun draining the Rivers of America as part of construction for the coming Star Wars Land. To accommodate the new land, the river will be re-routed and the size of Tom Sawyer Island will be reduced. The Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia will have slightly shorter routes on the river when it reopens to boats, which is thought to be in 2017. Crews have already demolished the Circle D Corral, where the horses used on Main Street U.S.A. were housed. Actual construction on the new land is expected to begin in April.
- Captain America is headed back to the Disneyland Resort, starting April 3, but he'll have a new home at Disney California Adventure along with Spider-Man. Thor is headed back to Asgard, but you never know when he might drop in to the new meet-and-greet location.
- Over at Disney World, Joy and Sadness from "Inside Out" are joining Baymax from "Big Hero 6" at the expanded Epcot Character Spot in Future World.
- Forbes dove into the technology behind some of the rides and experiences inside Universal Orlando, including the illusion that makes disappearing onto platform 9 and 3/4 possible before boarding the Hogwarts Express.
- Universal is researching additional holiday offerings, including different concepts involving The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It sent a survey out with some of the new offerings, including a possible Yule Ball or holiday party in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade similar to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom.
- Last but not least, Disney World provided more details about its upcoming "Rivers of Light" nighttime spectacular at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The new, original show will combine light, sound and water for a mystical animal experience that will transport guests from the Asian jungles to African safaris and beyond.
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.