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:
- The Universal Orlando® Resort revealed more details today about Hogwarts™ Express. The train from the the Harry Potter films will transport guests between The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - Diagon Alley™ and the coming London area. Staying true to the series, guests will be transported from Muggle world to the wizarding world as they pass through a brick wall at the King's Cross Station to arrive at Platform 9 ¾.
Additionally guests would actually look out of the train and be able to see a Harry Potter scene being played out. Depending on where guests are seated, the scene will look different. Each journey from Diagon Alley to London and London to Diagon Alley will provide different experiences, each with a different story and different characters. Guests will see Hagrid, the Weasley twins and Buckbeak the Hippogriff. These very tantalizing details have us VERY excited for the opening of Hogwarts Express and the entire Wizarding World of Harry Potter area!
- Similar to the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Desserts Party at Magic Kingdom, Epcot is debuting the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party on March 15. The party, to be held on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, will offer a buffet of sparkling wines and desserts, and a prime view of IllumiNations, Epcot's fireworks show at Showcase Plaza. With a price of $49 per adult and $29 per child, this is definitely a splurge, but the prime viewing of the fireworks and the festive atmosphere is sure to make it memorable!
- Universal is extending its Mardi Gras celebration through June 7 to reschedule the appearance of Robin Thicke, who canceled his performance Feb. 22.
- While we provided tips for meeting Elsa and Anna in Epcot earlier in the week, the Disney Parks Blog has provided us a look at the "Frozen" merchandise available at the parks. Of course, there is high demand right now for Elsa and Anna costumes (more for Elsa than Anna since they are harder to come by). Look for a new shipment of those costumes in the parks soon. The dresses will also be offered as part of the castle package at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques.
- We got another look at the props inside the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The new family coaster/dark ride is set to open this spring at Magic Kingdom!
- This year's St. Patrick's Day celebration has begun already at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant in Downtown Disney. The Mighty St. Patrick's Festival, which runs through the actual holiday, features traditional dishes, drinks, Irish bands and plenty of family fun. The Frog Family loves any reason to celebrate, but especially when we get to wear green ;).
- The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade debuted Sunday to overwhelmingly positive reviews. The daytime Magic Kingdom parade features many Fantasyland favorites, including Peter Pan, Rapunzel and others. The floats are larger in scale than previous floats and are much higher up! The real showstopper is Maleficient's fire-breathing dragon!
- Finally, the Space Shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex is hosting a "Symphonic Odyssey," a concert and fundraiser courtesy of the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, on March 22.
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.