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. With it being a holiday weekend, we're keeping it short and sweet, but there was some big news that we don't want you to miss!
Here are this week’s theme park highlights:
- DisneyQuest is set to close in 2016 at Downtown Disney to make way for the NBA Experience. We're a little sad as this was one of our favorite rainy-day activities, and well, one of Tad's favorite any-time experiences. The building will undergo an expansion to make way for the NBA-themed restaurant, retail space and interactive experience. We don't have more details as of now, but we'll let you know when we do!
- Also closing, this one on July 12, is the Magic of Disney Animation at Disney's Hollywood Studios. This follows a long line of attractions that have closed at the Studios as it undergoes re-imagineering. Work is under way on a new experience to take its place. The Animation Gallery will remain open until late August.
- Are you already looking forward to Epcot Food & Wine Festival? I know I am. So I was intrigued to hear that this year there will be not one, but two, Future World food marketplaces. This Next Eats area will include dishes from ABC's "The Chew." Among them, Savory Pork Spareribs with Cheesy Mascarpone Grits; Ricotta & Zucchini Ravioli with Tomato Sauce, and Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Figs and Pistachio Brittle. And speaking of "The Chew," the hosts will be taping shows in front of a live audience at the festival October. Click here for more information on how to get tickets to the taping. This year's festival runs from Sept. 25 through Nov. 16.
- We had news of our own this week as the Frog Family has released a brand-new FREE iPhone app for the Orlando theme parks. Yes, it covers Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld, offering wait times, touring plans and our crowd calendar.
- Those of you who will be visiting Disneyland on July 17 are invited to show your Disney Side, 1955-style. This is the actual day of Disneyland's opening, and you can see from the photo that folks were indeed dressed to the nines.
- Lee Greenwood, who sings "Good Bless the U.S.A." will be at SeaWorld's Summer Nights this Sunday, performing at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The American Military Spouses Choir will perform Saturday.
- If you can't be at Disney this 4th of July, you can at least enjoy the fireworks, which will be live streamed from Magic Kingdom at 9 p.m. Eastern. No matter where you'll be this holiday weekend, we hope you have a safe and fun time!
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.