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.
Here are this week’s theme park highlights:
- In what sounds like an extreme sports enthusiast's paradise, a $309 million unique sports and entertainment resort is being proposed for a Kissimmee site not too far from Disney World. Xero Gravity Action Sports developers unveiled plans this week for the Action Sports & Entertainment Resort, which would feature amateur and pro X-games-style competitions. The resort plans also include a 250-room hotel, a 14-story ski and snowboard mountain with fake snow, 5 acres of surfing with up to 10-foot waves, an indoor/outdoor skate park, a BMX track and more. Xero Gravity Action Sports is under contract to purchase the land near U.S. 192 and State Road 535, and no timetable for the resort has been revealed.
- One of the highlights of our last visit to Disney World was lunch at Sanaa in Kidani Village. And you know from previous writings that I absolutely LOVE the buffet at Boma, so I was so excited to see that Disney is releasing an Animal Kingdom cookbook that will feature the flavors of India and South Africa this spring.
- New animal carvings on the roots of the Tree of Life have been revealed at Disney's Animal Kingdom, making them the perfect backdrop for your photo ops.
- Flip-flop king Havianas is set to open next week in the Landing section of the soon-to-be Disney Springs. Among the vibrant designs of this Brazilian retailer will be Disney princess styles and "Frozen" merchandise.
- Sixteen gospel choirs are set to perform at the sixth annual Celebrate Gospel at the Disneyland Resort Feb. 21 in recognition of Black History Month. For the first time, performances will take place inside Disneyland Park at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree.
- Of course February is also the month of love, and to celebrate, the Disneyland Resort candy makers have some sweet treats for your sweetie this month, including the prettiest Minnie caramel apple.
- The rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando are rocking a new look, thanks to a makeover featuring retro-style shapes and patterns, sleek details and a brighter palette.
- SeaWorld Orlando's Animal Rescue Team returned 11 sea turtles into the waters off of Canaveral National Seashore on Wednesday morning. Some of the turtles were among the 72 Kemp's Ridleys that were stranded in November.
- One Houston family is in the middle of a 4,000 mile walk from Disneyland to Disney World to honor their late daughter and raise money for pediatric cancer.
- Disneyland Paris' Ratatouille attraction has earned the award for Outstanding VIsual Effects in a Special Venue Project from the Visual Effects Society. The attraction, Ratatouille: L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, uses forced perspective and other techniques to shrink guests to the size of a rat!
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.