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:
- The new access ramp from Interstate 4 to Disney Springs in Orlando has opened. When you take the Epcot exit from southbound I-4, you head straight to Disney Springs parking, with the option of heading to the parking garages or the lot near Cirque du Soleil. If you're headed to Disney Springs, this is definitely the way to go and will save you from having to circle back around. Disney Springs is the new expanded entertainment and retail area formerly known as Downtown Disney.
- Morimoto Asia, which opened last week at Disney Springs, is adding daily lunch service, starting Sept. 30.
- The Flying Fish Cafe on Disney's BoardWalk is closing for re-imagination starting Jan. 31 for several months. There will be a new look, along with a new menu, although some favorite dishes will remain.
- A new entertainment venue, Club Disney, is coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios later this year, giving the tadpoles the opportunity to cut a rug with Mickey and the gang on the dance floor. A DJ will spin tunes from Radio Disney, and there will be a seating and snack area.
- Disney has finalized its list of celebrity narrators for the Candlelight Processional at Epcot this holiday season. Actors Daniel Dae Kim and America Ferrera are among several new narrators for this year's event, which retells the story of Christmas through narration and a massive choir and orchestra.
- Universal has expanded its scare actor dining experience at Halloween Horror Nights, opening it to all HHN ticket holders on select nights. The event includes a buffet at Monsters Cafe, photo ops with some gruesome creatures, and a digital download of one photo taken during the event.
- Shutterbutton's, the photo studio inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, has moved from the cramped Quality Quidditch Supplies to the space occupied by the Owlery next to Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions. Even we frogs had trouble hopping through Quidditch Supplies, a popular spot to pick up Harry Potter team gear, so this move should help with that.
- There is good news for you Potter fans on the West Coast. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is getting ready for its opening at Universal Studios Hollywood this coming spring. Test trains are running on the Flight of the Hippogriff, and you can see Hogwarts Castle.
- Spider-Man is headed to Disneyland Park on Nov. 16. At Super Hero HQ, you can visit Asgard and cross the Bifrost to visit the mighty Thor. You'll also be able to virtually suit up as Iron Man and see the Hall of Armor at Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries. Unfortunately, Captain America won't be joining them, at least not this fall, as he is off on another mission.
- And speaking of super heroes, Disney has teamed up with a U.K. company to produce a line of 3-D printed prosthetics for children similar to the robotic limbs used by Robert Downey Jr. in the Marvel film franchise. In addition to the Iron Man prosthetic, there are Frozen and Star Wars-themed ones.
- Attendance growth and rising demand is one reason Disney World has cited for increasing the amount of development it wants to do on wetlands around the property. Last year, Disney purchased a property southeast of the resort with plans to restore it in exchange for this new development.
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.