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.
- It's always news when Disneyland makes Fastpass system changes. Guests will continue to receive printed tickets in the normal way, but now guests must have their park ticket scanned in order to enter the Fastpass Return line. The Fastpass printed tickets are now reminders. This change sets the table for the eventual rollout of the Disney MAXPASS system—a paid option that will allow guests to book Fastpass reservations via mobile phone.
- With the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival just around the corner, the lineup for "Eat To The Beat" Concert Series has been unveiled. Free with admission to Epcot, guests can see favorites such as .38 Special, Billy Ocean, Tiffany—TIFFANY YOU GUYS!—and Hansen. Some of the new artists appearing will be American Authors, 10,000 Maniacs, Postmodern Jukebox and, wait for it ... Kenny G! The Epcot Food and Wine Festival runs Aug. 31-Nov. 13.
- Searching for a tapas-style menu that offers up a taste of the tropics? Strong Water Tavern at Lowes Sapphire Resort at Universal Orlando Resort may be your new favorite place. This article lists the must-try—and must-Instagram—plates and drinks. NOTE: RUM BAR!
- Gourmet Doughnuts at The Coffee House at the Disneyland Hotel? It's a good thing I consider vacation time "cheat days."
- "Ye come seeking adventure and on-ride photos eh"? After a long absence, the Talking Skull has returned to Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom. The Skull serves as a focal point for a newly installed on-ride photo opp.
- Wondering how to spend your time in-between Tapu Tapu reservations at Universal's Volcano Bay? The park listed 13 ways for you to make the most of your virtual wait. Tip for #9 - Wai-Waitermelon at Kunuku Boat Bar.
- Disney is spreading its magic to the Magic. Disney will become the Orlando Magic's first jersey sponsor, starting in the 2017-2018 season. Disney will also expand its presence in the Magic's home arena. Oh, how I miss the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
- We love Disneyland, but not as much as Jeff Reitz. This week, Mr. Reitz visited Disneyland for the 2000th consecutive day. That's almost FIVE AND A HALF YEARS. EVERY. DAY.
- Success in Shanghai. Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger stated that Shanghai Disneyland was close to breaking even after one year in operation. At a cost of $5.5 billion dollars, the park has welcomed over 11 million guests since opening.
- OMG Bieber!!! Everyone's favorite Canadian singer is now appearing at Madame Tussauds Orlando. I'll be classy and not make a "wax personality" joke.
- Kungaloosh! This classic beverage from the gone but not forgotten Adventure's Club will return to Disney Springs. Dockside Margaritas will serve this and other Pleasure Island-era cocktails as part of a Throwback Thursday promotion.
- LEGOLAND Florida is making eating easier. The resort now provides binders that list ingredients of every menu item. Perfect for picky eaters or those with dietary restrictions.
- And finally, gone are the days of traveling to Pandora—The World of Avatar for our Lumpia fix. With this recipe, we can now make this signature dessert in our own home. It's a wonderful homesickness cure for our pet banshee who's not into living on a lily pad.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend.