Hi there! Welcome to our weekly roundup of the most interesting theme park news around the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and other theme parks.
This week’s theme park highlights:
- It's not often that we begin the recap with the discussion of traffic, but this week it's an appropriate subject given that we're talking about Downtown Disney construction. As you may know, Downtown Disney is in the midst of being re-imagined into Disney Springs. When completed Disney Spring will double the area's dining and retail options and likely attract even more guests to the area. Downtown Disney construction began last year, and the project continues. To keep traffic flowing, Lake Buena Vista Drive is being widened from seven to 10 lanes, two parking garages are being constructed (one is expected to open in late 2014) and two pedestrian bridges are being planned. Additionally, and perhaps most significantly, a new I-4 interchange will give visitors direct access to Disney Springs. As anyone who has met traffic on Lake Buena Vista Drive can attest, this is welcomed news. Downtown Disney remains a must-do, but know that it may take you a little bit longer to get there, especially in the evenings and on weekends. What do you think about the changes? Let us know in comments below.
- The villains are coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios on August 23, and more details have been released about this one-night-only special event. The Streets of America will be the place to meet old favorites such as Cruella De Vil, Jafar and Dr. Facilier and rarely seen villains such as Shan Yu from "Mulan," Captain Gantu and Dr. Hamsterviel from "Lilo & Stitch: The Series," and Bowler Hat Guy from "Meet the Robinsons." There will also be a dance party, a place to meet The Dark Side and even the chance to parlay with Barbossa. Sounds like my kind of party!
- "The Purge: Anarchy" is coming to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood this fall.
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror celebrated its 20th anniversary this week, and the Disney Parks Blog shared 20 fun facts about the attraction. I learned a thing or two!
- It was a warm and fuzzy week over at SeaWorld Orlando, where Owlfred, a great horned owl, was reunited with his caretaker. While Owlfred cannot return to the wild, he will continue to remain at the park as part of the animal ambassador team.
- We brought you a few of Knott's Berry Farm's must-see attractions. At the top of our list was the Calico Mine Ride, which just reopened after a lengthy refurbishment led by Garner Holt Productions. Garner Holt himself offered even more details about the process of re-animating this classic dark ride.
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 planning pages.