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:
- Looking for a special way to "Drop In" one final time at the West Coast location of the Hollywood Tower Hotel? The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - 13th Hour special event will take place Jan 1, 2017, from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. inside Disney’s California Adventure. Guests will be able to experience the "lights-on" version of the attraction, enjoy a dessert buffet and beverages, performances by the Silver Lake Sisters and access to exclusive merchandise.
- Plenty of new Star Wars experiences and additions are coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. First, the new film "Rogue One - A Star Wars Story" is making its way into the park. AWR Troopers, new characters from the film, will be on patrol as well as appearing in the "Star Wars: A Galaxy Far Far Away" show. "Rogue One" movie props have appeared in Star Wars Launch Bay. The popular "Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular " will return Dec. 16 for performances through the end of the year. (The Christmas spectacular "Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!" will also be shown nightly, so you can see them both!) And if that’s not enough for you, a seven-hour Star Wars Guided Tour that involves a guided exploration of Star Wars Launch Bay, the chance to participate in Jedi Training (for ages 4 to 12), a journey on Star Tours and more will be available in the near future.
- We're so hoppy to hear that the spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination is coming home. The Main Street Electrical Parade will return to Disneyland for a limited run in 2017. From Jan. 20 to June 18, 2017, guests will be able to see the beloved parade roll through Disneyland for the first time since 1996. For fans who can’t wait to hear "Baroque Hoedown," there will be a specially ticketed after-hours premiere event Jan 19.
- At Universal Studios Hollywood, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has gone through a slight change. The 3D footage on the attraction is now 2D, like its counterpart in Orlando. This is good news for people who get motion sickness and dizzy from watching 3D, but alas, it’s not enough for my queasy stomach. Now we frogs are always green, but it will be good to see if there are less green-faced people stepping off of this incredibly themed ride. Leave a comment in the blog if you know of any motion sickness healing spells.
- Warwick Davis and Matthew Lewis are two of the actors from the Harry Potter films who will be part of A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando this coming Jan. 27-29. Davis played Professor Flitwick and Griphook, while Lewis played Neville Longbottom.
- "Beauty and the Beast" is the theme for this year’s Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Taking place Feb. 23-26, 2017, at the Walt Disney World resort, Beauty and the Beast will be weaved into this year’s race elements, entertainment and merchandise. The Disney Parks blog has photos of all the themed metals that participants can receive.
- Add bowling shoes to your "What to Pack for Disneyland" list (or just rent them). Splitsville Luxury Lanes is coming to the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort. Look for 20 lanes of bowling, two bars, gourmet food and plenty of live entertainment to in late 2017.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend!