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:
- After technical difficulties that contributed to opening day wait times of five hours, Frozen Ever After opened in Epcot's Norway on Tuesday. The boat ride, which replaced Maelstrom and retains the same ride footprint, takes guests through Arendelle as the fictional town celebrates "Summer Snow Day." If you've got a trip planned to Disney World this summer, get a hop on downloading our free Orlando app for iPhone, which includes wait times for Frozen Ever After and Soarin' Around the World.
- Universal Orlando is planning to open its new water theme park Volcano Bay by June 1, 2017. The park will offer 18 attractions, from "the daring to the serene," inside four themed areas. Its focal point will be a 200-foot volcano. Universal says it will introduce a new queue experience so guests can focus on having fun and spending time together.
- If adding the Wizarding World of Harry Potter wasn't enough, Universal Studios Hollywood has plans to remove 13 sound stage to allow for continued theme park expansion of its Lower Lot. The 5-year plan doesn't include details about what new attractions will be coming to the park.
- Disney is now offering pre-show packages that include priority seating for the very popular "Frozen - Live at the Hyperion" at Disney California Adventure. You'll enjoy refreshments, photo ops and more ahead of the show, and have the option to add on lunch at Carthay Circle Restaurant or a behind-the-scenes package.
- If Shanghai Disneyland is a little too far away but Epcot is not, you can now take a look at the newest resort inside the China Pavillion in World Showcase. The "Inside Shanghai Disney Resort" gallery includes exclusive artwork as well as a look at the attractions.
- Uber has a new pickup procedure it is testing for visitors at Magic Kingdom. It is using a "first in first out" approach, which assigns drivers based on arrival time into a designated zone around Ticket and Transportation Center. Guests are picked up in the passenger pickup/dropoff area.
- Theme park expert Robert Niles explains the math behind the single rider line and what types of rides it works well. Soarin' Around the World debuted at Disney California Adventure without the single ride line that was there for its previous incarnation as Soarin' Over California.
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.