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:
- Just in time for the 50th-anniversary celebration, Disney World fireworks dessert parties and dinner packages will return as a way to make your nighttime spectacular experience extra special. Starting Oct. 3 at Magic Kingdom, you'll have three dessert party options: pre- and after-party times (both include a reserved viewing location), or a party with reserved seating at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant during the show. There will also be a 50th anniversary-themed dessert party at Disney's Contemporary Resort (starting Oct. 2) and Ferrytale Fireworks (a sparkling dessert cruise on Seven Seas Lagoon, starting Sept. 18). At EPCOT, dining packages will be available Oct. 1 at Rose & Crown and Spice Road Table.
- Listen up, Rebels! Starting Sept. 23, Disney's Hollywood Studios will be pausing the use of the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The attraction will switch to a traditional standby queue for the first time since it opened in 2019. However, that doesn't mean that the virtual queue will be gone forever. Boarding Groups may return at a later date, or be used from time to time.
- Our first Christmas present came early! The Candlelight Processional will return as part of the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, which will take place Nov. 26 through Dec. 30. This year, the cast choir will expand instead of featuring community groups and school choirs. Celebrity narrators will be announced at a later date. We can't wait!
- ICYMI: Disneyland Park is introducing Disney Merriest Nites for the 2021 holiday season. The limited-capacity, after-hours party will be held on five select nights. Mickey Mouse is hosting with a little help from his friends. Guests will also have a special viewing of A Christmas Fantasy parade, as well. For all of the details, check out our festive guide!
- In 2022, we'll get to venture back into the big, blue world. A reimagined "Finding Nemo — The Musical" will debut sometime next year at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park. Don't worry ... fan-favorite songs, "In the Big Blue World" and "Go with the Flow," will not be forgotten. (Even Dory remembers those lyrics!)
- Don't mind our drooling. Space 220 revealed prix fixe menus for its two-course lunch and three-course dinner offerings. The space-themed restaurant opens Sept. 20 with walk-in availability through Sept. 26. Reservations will open Sept. 20 for dates Sept. 27 and beyond. Also, Steakhouse 71 (formerly The Wave ... of American Flavors) at Disney's Contemporary Resort will open Oct. 1 for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Until then, take a first look at the menus and make a reservation now!
- Sunny days are ahead — Sesame Place San Diego will be opening in March 2022! Frogs of all ages will be able to visit their favorite furry friends from the Sesame Street neighborhood. Replacing Aquatica San Diego, the theme park will feature rides, waterslides, shows, a parade, interactive elements, photo opportunities and so much more.
- The storyline of Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin is getting a new spin! The Disneyland Park ride will feature Jessica Rabbit as a private investigator who's determined to stop a rise in crime in Toontown, all thanks to Toon Patrol Weasels. The update will replace a couple of scenes that have become culturally outdated.
- The crash of rhinos is getting bigger! Disney's Animal Kingdom Park recently welcomed a new baby white rhino. First-time mom, Jao, and her baby are currently bonding backstage. In the coming weeks, the pair will join the others on the Harambe Wildlife Reserve where guests can eventually spot them while riding Kilimanjaro Safaris. The baby boy is the twelfth rhino born at Disney and the second born in the last year. Plus another rhino, Lola, is expecting her first baby later this fall, so he won't stay the youngest for long!
- The scares don't stop coming! Knott's Scary Farm began its annual reign of terror Sept. 16, while SeaWorld San Diego is all ready for the first frights at its inaugural Howl-O-Scream event tonight. Bonus: Catch us at SeaWorld Orlando's Howl-O-Scream Sept. 19, and follow along on our Instagram stories. Need a break from screaming or have tadpoles in tow? Go trick-or-treating at SeaWorld Orlando's Spooktacular, which starts this weekend.
- Universal Orlando announced the musical acts for Rock the Universe, which includes Casting Crowns, for KING & COUNTRY, Matthew West and more. Tickets are now on sale for Florida's biggest Christian music festival, which is hoppening Jan. 28 and 29, 2022.
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.