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:
- The "Highway in the Sky" is back! The classic Disneyland monorail is once again taking passengers on an aerial journey through Disneyland Resort. Fly over Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Buena Vista Street and pass by the Matterhorn Bobsleds. You can hop on at either the Downtown Disney District station or the Tomorrowland station. Have your ticket and Disney Park Pass reservation ready if you choose to enter Disneyland Park via the monorail station in Downtown Disney. Over at Disney California Adventure, Disney Junior Dance Party! also makes its return, giving tadpoles and their parents a chance to dance and sing along to Disney Junior songs with Mickey, Minnie, Vampirina and Doc McStuffins.
- Oinktastic news! The all-new, standalone Peppa Pig Theme Park will officially open Feb. 24, 2022, just steps away from LEGOLAND Florida. The theme park based on the popular animated children's TV show, "Peppa Pig," will feature rides, playscapes and more. Tickets, vacation packages and a limited number of annual passes are now on sale.
- Just in time for spring break, two thrill water slides — Rapids Racer and Wahoo Remix — will make a splash in March 2022 at Adventure Island Tampa Bay. Rapids Racer features dueling saucers, along with high speeds and low walls so you can keep an eye on your competition. Formerly Wahoo Run, Wahoo Remix becomes the park's first waterslide to sport synchronized sound and light elements so you can groove through the glowing tunnels.
- We're in a hoppy, jolly mood after finding out that Disney Very Merriest After Hours will feature a new stage show, "Mickey & Minnie's Very Merry Memories" (which also hoppens to be the first stage show to return since Disney World's reopening!). Count us in for nostalgic holiday fun! Disney World has also confirmed the return of many favorite festivities, including the Merry Menagerie at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Sunset Seasons Greetings at Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll, as well as Santa Claus himself who will make special appearances across the resort.
- ICYMI: Disney Genie launches Oct. 19 at Disney World. The new free planning tool includes features such as a personalized tip board (based on your interests), forecasted future wait times, mobile ordering, restaurant waitlists and reservations, virtual queues and a virtual assistant — all in one spot for easy access in the My Disney Experience app. The Disney Genie+ service allows skip-the-line access to 46 attractions, plus you can make individual attraction selections for Lightning Lane access to high-demand rides that are not included with Genie+. Have some questions? We've got some answers, and we will be updating our Disney Genie guide once we get to test the services out ourselves next week!
- Get your lanyards ready! Disney World is introducing new, interactive ways to trade pins, such as mystery boxes and Mickey-themed boards. You can find these boxes and boards at all four theme parks, Disney Springs and select resort locations (exact spots are designated in guide maps). All you have to do is present an Official Disney Trading Pin to the cast member in charge. If you see one that you like on a Mickey-shaped board, the cast member will remove it and give it to you. For mystery boxes, select a numbered drawer and the cast member will open it and hand over the mystery pin to you. You can make up to two exchanges per trading location.
- A Disney Cruise Line exhibit, celebrating the fleet's history and the making of the Disney Wish, has opened at Walt Disney Presents in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Stop by to see a 5-and-a-half foot scale model of the Disney Wish, plus a life-size maquette of a Cinderella statue, a concept model for the stern statue of Rapunzel and more.
- If the exhibit gives you some vacay inspo, you're in luck! Disney Cruise Line announced its itineraries for early 2023 to destinations in the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico. Sail from Port Canaveral and Miami, Florida; New Orleans; Galveston, Texas and San Diego. Bookings open Oct. 21, 2021, to the general public.
- Disneyland welcomed five new cast members with hooves at Circle D Ranch. Champ, Chip, Dublin, Pumpkin and Lily (no surprise — she is already Lily's favorite!) have begun their training, which consists of building trust with humans, learning vocal commands and continuing their skill work for strength and coordination. Eventually, in about six months to a year, you'll see them pulling the trolleys down Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland Park.
- We can't get enough of heartwarming animal stories! Emmie and Binx, Asian small-clawed otters, celebrated their first birthday with tasty pumpkins and a gelatin cake at Discovery Cove. Donna, a 33-year-old male king penguin, has beaten cancer twice under the care of the SeaWorld Orlando team. We hope we hear more stories like these in SeaWorld Orlando's new behind-the-scenes podcast series!
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.