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:
- Star Wars fans headed to Disney World this week were in luck. Meet-and-greets with Chewbacca and Darth Vader opened inside the brand-new Launch Bay and updated scenes from The Force Awakens on Star Tours: The Adventures Continue came to life. There are Star Wars-themed food, drinks and merchandise too, including a $4,000 Vader costume. It's just a little taste of what's to come when Star Wars Land opens in 2017.
- Sunday is the last day to see Captain EO at Epcot. The Michael Jackson film in Future World will be replaced by "Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival."
- It's gingerbread time at the Disney World resorts. The classic gingerbread house at Disney's Grand Floridian debuted Nov. 19 and will be on display through Jan. 1. For those who want to pick up a few tips, you can stop by in front of the house every day except for Sunday for demos. At Disney's Boardwalk Inn there is an old-fashioned sweet shoppe made from gingerbread, peppermint bark, sugar cookies and candy cane gelato. There are other creations at the Contemporary, Beach and Yacht Club, and end dates vary.
- Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa has a grand new gingerbread house, and it is grand indeed. It's more than 7 1/2 feet tall and 12 feet wide and includes several Hidden Mickeys. Just for you stat geeks, it took more than 600 lbs. of gingerbread, 100 gallons of frosting and 2 gallons of egg whites to make this masterpiece.
- LEGOLAND Florida is celebrating the holidays with its annual Christmas Bricktacular, which is held on select nights in December and kicks off this Saturday. For the first time ever, a Christmas fireworks celebration will light up the night over Lake Eloise.
- Disney has partnered with Vans for an amazing shoe wear collaboration that can only be found at Disney Springs. The collection features designs from "Jungle Book," "The Little Mermaid" and my favorite, "Alice in Wonderland."
- Disney is live streaming Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade and "Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season" Dec. 6 from Magic Kingdom. Tune in at 8:15 p.m. Eastern for the parade and 9:30 p.m. for the fireworks show.
- In awwww news, San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence proposed to his girlfriend with Magic Kingdom as the backdrop. She said yes!
- Want to build a candy snowman? It's not too hard to make adorable marshmallow Olaf's.
- Blue Man Group is hosting a sensory-friendly performance this Saturday at 6 p.m. to support Autism Speaks. Modifications are being made to the performance and audience interaction will be limited for this show, part of Blue Man Group's nationwide efforts to support autism.
- Last but not least, Universal Orlando extended its run of Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue. Fans can catch the show at Universal Studios Florida through Jan. 5.
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.