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:
- Hoppy Independence Day, frog friends! Universal Studios Hollywood will celebrate the holiday by bringing back its annual Fourth of July fireworks spectacular. The Sizzling Salute to the Stars and Stripes show is included with park admission. At 9 p.m., fireworks will explode in the night sky as Universal-themed music and patriotic tunes accompany the dazzling display. Similar Fourth of July fireworks shows will hoppen this weekend at other theme parks across the country, including SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa, SeaWorld San Diego, Knott's Berry Farm, LEGOLAND California and LEGOLAND Florida.
- Speaking of fireworks, nighttime spectaculars have finally returned to Walt Disney World Resort! "Happily Ever After" at Magic Kingdom and "EPCOT Forever" at EPCOT lit up the night sky July 1 for the first time since March 2020. (Jordan Fisher even surprised cast members at their special preview of "Happily Ever After" a couple nights before!) It's no surprise that I shed a tear when I saw the first spark. Many of the song lyrics took on a whole, new meaning: "Say goodbye to the pain of the past. We don't have to feel it anymore." Who knew "Love is an Open Door" would make me so emotional? Meanwhile, "Mickey's Mix Magic" will return for nightly performances at Disneyland Park, starting July 4. We can't wait!
- Parades are also returning at certain Florida theme parks! At SeaWorld Orlando, the Sesame Street Parade will pop up Fridays through Sundays, starting July 10, at select times throughout the day. You can also now catch Universal's Superstar Parade at Universal Studios Florida. Since returning this past week, it's been hoppening once a day at 7 p.m.
- Is your tummy rumbling? Mine sure is after learning about all of the foodie news from Walt Disney World! With a new "Mary Poppins" theme, Cítricos at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is reopening July 15 (with reservations available now). Trail's End Restaurant at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort will reopen July 17, with family-style skillets. At Magic Kingdom, Casey's Corner reopened, and Plaza Ice Cream Parlor will reopen July 7. Over at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Eight Spoon Cafe reopened (psst, the Pulled Pork Jelly Donut sandwich is back!), and Dino Diner will reopen July 4. A new Disney Family Night Dinner is also available through mobile ordering at Centertown Market (Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort) and Gasparilla Island Grill (Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa). The dining bundle includes a three-course, take-out meal and an original card game. Phew, that was a mouthful!
- Even more restaurants are returning this month over at Disneyland Resort! To kick off July, Harbour Galley, Hungry Bear Restaurant, Lucky Fortune Cookery, Corn Dog Castle, Schmoozies!, Tangaroa Terrace Tropical Bar & Grill and Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar are all open once more. Refreshment Corner and Clarabelle's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream will return July 8 and Kat Saka's Kettle July 15. The majority of these locations offer mobile ordering, except for Kat Saka's Kettle and Trader Sam's. Yay for more yummy options!
- Just in time for the Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary Celebration, Disney will roll out the new Early Theme Park Entry benefit to Disney World hotel guests and guests of other select hotels, starting Oct. 1. Early Theme Park Entry will allow these guests to hop inside a half-hour early at every theme park, every day. Guests staying at Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort hotels will also enjoy extended evening hours on select nights at select theme parks, beginning in early October. Also, watch out for surprise resort appearances by Pluto and Goofy in their EARidescent best!
- Ready. Get Set. Go! Runners will soon be able to cross the finish line during runDisney events at Walt Disney World theme parks once again, starting this fall. The 2021-2022 runDisney season will include the Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon Weekend powered by AfterShokz (Nov. 4-7, 2021), Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (Jan. 5-9, 2022), Disney Princess Half-Marathon Weekend (Feb. 24-27, 2022) and a brand-new runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend presented by Otterbox (March 31-April 3, 2022), which will feature different race themes and distances each year. Other new opportunities include Disney Princess Sunrise Yoga (during the Disney Princess Half-Marathon Weekend), virtual race options for all events and runDisney Kids Adventures.
- "Mickey's PhilharMagic" is getting a "Coco"-themed update, which includes the musical number, "Un Poco Loco"! The new animated scene will debut at Disneyland Park (and Disneyland Paris) July 17, and it will eventually be added to the Magic Kingdom version later this year during the 50th Anniversary Celebration. As a collaboration between Disney and Pixar animators, it marks the first creative project with characters from both studios sharing the screen.
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.