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:
- Get your paintbrushes ready! The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts will celebrate the performing, visual and culinary arts from Jan. 14 through Feb. 21, 2022. We're hoppin' excited that the Disney on Broadway Concert Series will return to this year's festival! We always love watching and singing along with the Broadway stars performing songs from Disney on Broadway productions (and toadally missed them last year). Details about the singers and schedules will be announced at a later date. Other experiences such as the Food Studios, live shows by performance and visual artists and the paint-by-number mural complete this masterpiece of a festival.
- Sad news for daring frogs — Universal Orlando Resort confirmed that Fear Factor Live will permanently close Nov 1. The show, which was based on the former reality series, "Fear Factor," challenged participants from the audience to partake in extreme stunts. Upon Universal Studios Florida's reopening in 2020, the Fear Factor Live stadium was used as a U-Rest mask relaxation area and is currently being used for the Halloween Nightmare Fuel show during Halloween Horror Nights. Universal has not said what will happen to the space in the future.
- Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood! The holiday festivities begin Nov. 26 and run daily until Jan. 2, 2022. Catch "The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle" projection show and holiday performances by the Frog Choir in Hogsmeade. Visit the 65-foot-tall Grinchmas tree and spread holiday cheer with the Grinch, his dog, Max, and Who-ville citizens. We can't wait!
- Disneyland Park debuted a new store called Plaza Point, where it's Christmas every day of the year. Pick out the perfect personalized ornaments and more at this year-round, holiday-themed gift shop. Plaza Point will also showcase decor and merchandise for seasonal holidays throughout the year, so stop by during the Lunar New Year, Easter and Halloween — just to name a few.
- The soon-to-debut Walt Disney World Swan Reserve Resort revealed more details about its four new restaurants — Amare (full-service), Tangerine (poolside bar and grill), Grounds (grab-and-go) and Stir (lounge). The hotel offered a sneak peek at some highlights from Amare's Mediterranean-inspired menu. There will be a buffet and a la carte items for breakfast; salads, flatbreads and entrées for lunch; seafood entrées such as sea bass al cartoccio for dinner; and pistachio caragli, Greek yogurt cheesecake and Meyer lemon panna cotta for dessert.
- Aquatica Orlando is sprucing up ahead of the spring break season. In March 2022, the water park will introduce Reef Plunge, a thrilling body slide that zooms past a new water habitat with dolphins, leopard sharks, sardines and other cold-water fish. Other enhancements around the park include the addition of 1,000 more lounge chairs, a new beach bar, a quick-service pizza place and an upgraded Banana Beach Cookout.
- Disney Genie has officially launched at Disney World! We had a lot of fun bringing you along with us and answering your hoppin' questions live on Instagram, as we navigated Disney Genie for the first time. Do you still have questions? Check out our Disney Genie and Genie+ FAQs, as well as our comprehensive guide to the Disney Genie planning tool and the skip-the-lines Genie+ service. And don't froget — we're now selling discounted Disney World tickets with Genie+ included!
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.