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:
- No tricks — all treats! Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort begins today, bringing with it Jack Skellington's seasonal Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland park, the Coco-inspired Plaza de la Familia celebration at California Adventure and spooky seasonal decor, food and merchandise for guests to enjoy in both parks. Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort takes place now until Oct. 31, 2019.
- In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, Walt Disney Co. announced that it will send more than $1 million in cash and in-kind support to the Bahamas to aid in recovery efforts. Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line's private island, experienced tropical-force winds during Dorian, and a new port in the Bahamas on the island of Eleuthera was recently announced as part of Disney Cruise Line's expansion.
- Hold the fork! If you've been to Disney Parks lately, you've likely noticed its efforts to reduce single-use plastic products through efforts such as reusable shopping bags and paper straws. Now, for Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival, guests can also reduce waste from plastic utensils. Rather than getting new plastic utensils at each marketplace or food vendor, festival-goers can opt for reusable bamboo utensils instead. Disney’s fork-knife-spoon set comes with a cloth carrying case and costs $14.99. Looking for some ways to put that set to good use? Check out the video above for a first look at the foodie fun in store at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival!
- Speaking of festivals, dates have been announced for next year's Epcot International Festival of the Arts! The festival will return from Jan. 17 to Feb. 24, 2020 and will feature live concerts and art performances, workshops, art signings and so much more. If you're hopping to Epcot to catch the Festival of the Arts, you may be just in time to see some brand-new film experiences, including the “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” in France, “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” in Canada and “Awesome Planet” in The Land, all of which are set to debut in January 2020. (Psst ... you can catch up on all of the details from 2019's festival here.)
- We know many East Coast wizards have been waiting for this news: The Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle show will debut at Universal Orlando this month! On select nights from Sept. 14 to Nov. 15, 2019, Hogwarts castle will illuminate with images of the darker side of the Wizarding World, including dementors, death eaters and mountain trolls. Get your wands ready to cast that Patronus spell!
- Orlando's largest outdoor dance floor?! Count us in! Tickets are now on sale for EVE, the long-running Universal Orlando New Year’s Eve event held at Universal CityWalk. Ticket prices will increase after Dec. 15, so hop on it now if you want to boogie in the new year!
- The wildest ride in the wilderness, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, celebrated its 40th birthday this week at Disneyland Resort! While the attraction was originally launched at Disneyland, the coaster can now be found at Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. Hoppy birthday to our favorite runaway train!
- A brand-new baby eland made its debut at Disney's Animal Kingdom this week! The healthy calf was born just after Hurricane Dorian passed by the area, earning the calf the name Doppler. While gender is not known as of yet, the calf has already taken its first steps. Baby and mama will return to the savanna in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out!
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.