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:
- Have you started listening to Christmas music already? Yes, we're guilty. Soon enough, we'll be able to hear our favorite carols in person! After missing them last year, Mannheim Steamroller and the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular will once again spread holiday cheer at Universal Orlando. The Mannheim Steamroller concerts will be held only on Dec. 4, 5, 11 and 12, 2021, at Universal Studios' Music Plaza Stage. Meanwhile, the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular has a new home — this year, the show will take place in the former Blue Man Group theater. The guided Holiday Tour, the Holiday Tribute Store and the Holiday Tree Hunt are also confirmed to return.
- Main Street, U.S.A. replaced its fall foliage and pumpkins with wreaths and garland faster than you could say, "Jingle Bells." The overnight transformation at Magic Kingdom included new EARidescent wreaths, the 60-foot Christmas tree and Jingle Cruise. Holiday decor has extended to the other parks as well. Psst ... Santa Gertie is back, and she's joining the 50th-anniversary fun!
- Last week, Disney World dropped holiday foodie guides for the theme parks (still waiting on the EPCOT International Festival of the Holiday menus), resorts and Disney Springs, and this week, it was Disneyland's turn. We learned all about the seasonal treats, food and beverages that will be available at the parks and hotels, plus the menus for the Disney Festival of Holidays. Let's just say that Santa Claus won't be the only one with a tummy full of cookies (and churros and hot cocoa ... I could go on and on).
- SeaWorld Orlando is also gearing up with new and returning festivities for its annual Christmas Celebration. Catch live concerts and theatrical performances from the all-new Sounds of the Season performance series. Holiday Reflections: Fireworks and Fountains Finale will hoppen on each event night. Plus Winter Wonderland on Ice, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Sesame Street Christmas Parade all return.
- Disney Cruise Line revealed some incredible details about Hero Zone onboard the Disney Wish. Hero Zone is described as a futuristic sports area for family-friendly competition, known as the Incredi-Games. Inspired by "The Incredibles," the game show features an obstacle course with physical challenges, along with music and special effects.
- Over at Disney California Adventure, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure is now testing a standby line without the need for Boarding Groups. The ride has used a virtual queue since it opened June 2021, though it's possible that the virtual queue could be reactivated at any time or any day. If so, guests will need to be inside Disney California Adventure to join a Boarding Group.
- All good things come in threes! At Disney's Animal Kingdom, a new baby rhino was born this week, the third calf to join the "crash" (a group of rhinos) within the past 13 months. Lola, the mother, and her calf, who doesn't have a name just yet, will nurse and bond backstage before they join the others on the Harambe Wildlife Reserve.
- The inaugural runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend is revitalizing three races from the past and adding new twists. Expedition Everest 5K will once again be a nighttime 5K but the scavenger hunt will take place during the 5K instead of after. Race for the Taste 10K will mirror the previous race and celebrate Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT. The Tower of Terror 10-Miler will take place in the morning instead of at night. Runners can take on all three for the Springtime Surprise Challenge event.
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.