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
- I am Groot. I am Groooot. Iiiiii am Groot. I am grooooooot. I. Am. GROOOOOT. Sorry, practicing the language of my favorite tree creature because I'm going to need it when I MEET HIM at Disney California Adventure during Summer of Heroes. This Marvel-centric celebration kicks off May 27, the opening day of the Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout attraction. Super Hero Encounters will also debut on this day at Disneyland, featuring Groot, Captain America and Spider-Man. Dig out your Sony Walkmans and get ready for year-round enjoyment with the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off too! O-o-h Child. Things are gonna get easier. The limited-time Heros of Summer celebration will feature Hawkeye and Black Widow—YEAH GIRL POWER—in the Avengers Training Initiative, as well as Marvel-themed merchandise and food.
- Big changes are in store for two Disney resorts. Coronado Springs Resort will be adding a 15-story tower that will add 500 rooms. The resort will also transform the landscaping and will refurbish existing rooms. The tower will feature rooftop dining that will allow for views of fireworks displays. At Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, new shopping and waterfront dining will be coming to the resort's marketplace.
- If you're ready to Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, you'll want to hop online Feb. 24 to try and score tickets for his "The Tonight Show" tapings at Universal Orlando on April 3-6.
- Our frog family enjoys at day at the ballpark. If you're swinging into Florida to catch some Spring Training action, remember that the Atlanta Braves workout and play at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This is the 20th year that the Braves have held Spring Training here, and it's a fun place to catch your favorite major leaguers before the season begins. What do frogs and outfielders have in common? We like catching flies.
- Celebrating the upcoming live-action release of "Beauty and the Beast," Fantasyland at Disneyland Park will host limited-time experiences that will bring this story to life. The Village Haus Restaurant will become the Red Rose Tavern, featuring themed Beauty and the Beast decor and a new menu, including the Grey Stuff. The Disney Blog has more details on all of the upcoming enchanted offerings.
- Fans on the East Coast that are looking to get into the "Beauty and the Beast" spirit can now see Belle's rose and the dress worn by Hermoine...I MEAN... Emma Watson at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- Celebrate Gospel returns to Disney California Adventure this Saturday, Feb. 18. Featuring over a dozen choirs from around Orange County and Los Angeles, this celebration of gospel music is a family favorite.
- Swimming on by to the SeaWorld Seven Seas Festival? The Orlando Sentinel took a peek at the festival's dishes, theme and entertainment.
- For those of you who enjoy corkscrews, loops, vertical acceleration and G-forces, check out USA Today's list of the nine most anticipated roller coasters of 2017.
- Happy National Hippo Day! Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is recognizing this celebration of these African mammals with an event tomorrow. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors are invited to the Hippo Pool for hippo-themed trivia games, hands-on activities and hippo feeding with frozen treats.
- NEED-TO-TRY FOODIE ALERT! Lunar New Year at SeaWorld San Diego wraps up this weekend. The park posted a video about its stir-fry noodles and other Asian-inspired dishes that are available. Good thing Saturday is my diet cheat day.
- We can't wait to DIVE into Universal's Volcano Bay. While the park's opening day of May 25 is too far away for our liking, Attractions Magazine posted a photo update of amazing aerial photos. Yes, we're mentally staking out our spot for the wave pool. Note to self - price analysis of Undercover Tourist helicopter or drone.
- One of our favorite Disney World restaurants, Jiko - The Cooking Place, debuted a new menu. The Animal Kingdom Lodge's fine dining restaurant brought in two new chefs to create new dishes such as Durham Ranch Elk loin and Tanzanian chocolate mousse for dessert. NOM.
- I thought my Disney meet-and-greet needs were met when Baymax arrived at Epcot. I was wrong. So. Wrong.
- After running in soft opening the past week, tonight is the first official showing of Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The park's first nighttime show celebrates the beauty of all living things and features water, sound, dramatic lighting and special effects. We're sending Tad down to Orlando to get a video if this show, which we'll be hoppy to share with you soon.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend!