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 Most Magical Place on Earth has also been named 2020's best! Magic Kingdom Park topped Tripadvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards this year. Universal's Islands of Adventure had been the winner for the past five years and landed at number three this year. Disney's Animal Kingdom ranks number four, followed by Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood in the fifth and sixth spots. Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios sit at numbers 11 and 12, and Disney California Adventure Park at number 15. Congratulations, Magic Kingdom! Just in time for Cinderella Castle's sparkling new debut! In case you're wondering, Puy du Fous of France was number two. What do you think about this list?
- Good news, sports fans! The NBA season starts back up this week at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. You can catch all-new hoops-themed gear at Disney Springs (including ears, of course!).
- National Geographic's 8th annual SHARKFEST programming, highlighting shark research and conservation efforts, is now airing nightly through Aug. 22 (and on Nat Geo WILD starting Aug. 9). The Disney Parks sharks wanted to get in on the event, too, and put together this toadally cute infographic featuring some fin-tastic facts to share about themselves. (Betcha didn't know you needed to see a shark in Mickey ears!) Wave at Gilligan, Nadia and Hali the next time you're at The Seas with Nemo and Friends! In the meantime, you can catch even more finned friends by tuning into SHARKFEST.
- While Universal's Halloween Horror Nights events have been canceled for 2020 in both Orlando and Hollywood, you can still get into the spooky season vibes at Universal Studios Florida! The park's Tribute Store is now open, complete with scary-good props and special effects, and HHN 30 merchandise until the main event returns in 2021.
- Knott's Berry Farm is expanding its food festival again! With a new name, Taste of Knott's will begin Aug. 21, and will offer over 35 food and drink items, some straight from the original Knott's Berry Farm Cookbook! In addition, the event will expand from Ghost Town to Fiesta Village and the Boardwalk, and guests will be able to shop at more than 14 artisan booths or grab some limited event merchandise at select retailers. Taste of Knott's will run through Sept. 13, and to limit capacity, tasting cards will be sold in advance. If you've wanted to jump over for a taste, be sure to hop to it!
- Disney's Animal Kingdom welcomed a new baby mandril this week! The veterinary team hasn't been able to determine whether the baby is a boy or girl just yet, as mama Scarlett is keeping the new bundle of joy very close to her ... which means the baby is unnamed for now (but clearly very loved). The duo have already been making short appearances in their habitat on the Kilimanjaro Safari with the other members of their mandril troop. Welcome, baby!
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.