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:
- Get ready, foolish mortals! In celebration of the Haunted Mansion's 50th anniversary, Disneyland park is offering frightfully fun after hours events in August. At these special soirees, guests can enjoy spooky sips and bites, themed merchandise and character encounters with dearly departed souls from the Mansion, as well as access to select attractions in Frontierland, Adventureland, New Orleans Square and Critter Country. Madame Leota will conjure up the swinging wake, including a lively cavalcade of musicians, dancers and performers from regions beyond.
- Grub, anyone? So many delicious goodies are coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom park to celebrate "The Lion King" this summer! (And, OK, only one of them actually involves Timon and Pumbaa's favorite buggy snack.) Foodie offerings include the Simba ice cream sandwich, Simba latte art, the King's Cooler (pineapple Dole Whip with rum topped with watermelon and coconut syrup) and our personal favorite, the Bugs 'n Grub Waffle Cone, featuring chocolate soft-serve in a green cone with cookies and cream “dirt” crumbles, gummy worms and a chocolate beetle. Yum!
- Hello, Hagrid! Not long after we got to see the animatronic version of the gamekeeper himself, Universal Orlando has released an additional sneak peek of the coaster ride ... and there's video! Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, opening June 13, will be the longest coaster in Florida, and the only one in the U.S. with a free-fall vertical drop; the coaster will also have the most launches in the world (seven!). Riders can either sit on the motorbike or in the sidecar. If you opt for the sidecar like Harry, you'll sit about 6 inches lower than those "driving" the motorbike. Buckle up!
- Christmas ... in Pandora? It's coming, according to Walt Disney World Resort! For this year's holiday festivities, Disney's Animal Kingdom will be celebrating in some brand-new ways, including a wintry Tree of Life display, Diwali decor in Asia, a Holiday Hoopla Dance Party with Chip 'n Dale in Dinoland, and yes, kitschy holiday decor combining elements from both Earth and Pandora at Pongu Pongu Lounge, thanks to some ex-pats in the area. The holiday festivities will begin Nov. 8.
- Active duty and retired military members and their families can spend a day at SeaWorld Orlando for FREE this summer! Through July 15, veterans and up to three guests can take part in the Waves of Honor offer, available here.
- T-minus one week until the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland! You can catch the land's dedication ceremony LIVE on the Disney Parks Blog on May 29 at 8:20 p.m. PDT/11:20 p.m. EDT for a first look. Meanwhile, the president of the Disneyland Resort, Josh D'Amaro, shared a photo of the inhabitants of Batuu. We can hardly wait, frog friends! Be sure to follow us on Instagram @ThemeParkFrog as we hop through all of the details next week. These are the frogs you're looking for.
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.