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:
- We learned a little bit about six new Star Wars characters who will join the adventure aboard the Halycon, as part of the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser experience. Disney introduced Captain Riyola Keevan, a well-respected leader; Lenka Mok, the cruise director; SK-62O, an astromech droid devoted to Mok and Captain Keevan; Sammie, the new mechanic; D3-O9, another droid who runs ship logistics; and First Order Lt. Harman Croy, who is rooting out and exposing Resistance members onboard. Guests will interact with these crew members, as well as Rey, Chewbacca and Kylo Ren. Reservations are now open to the general public.
- The Disney MagicMobile service has released new designs for your digital pass. You can now pick from special 50th-anniversary designs that feature some of the Disney Fab 50 characters, such as Mickey, Figment and Olaf. Also, you can now charge food and merchandise purchases to the payment card on file at your Disney Resort hotel room during your stay.
- Cirque du Soleil is flying back into action with the debut of "Draw to Life," the brand-new show at Disney Springs. The show, which was originally scheduled to debut in 2020, officially premiered Nov. 18. "Drawn to Life" is the first collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering. The story focuses on a young girl named Julie as she goes on a journey to finish an animation started by her father, who was a Disney animator. Stay tuned — you'll soon be able to save some green with discounted tickets from your favorite frogs!
- Mickey's Toontown is getting a makeover! The reimagined land at Disneyland Park will feature new open, grassy areas and sensory experiences for families to play together and unwind. In the middle of CenTOONial Park (one of the new play areas), guests will be able to play with water tables at the base of a fountain, which will be brought to life at night. Nearby, the roots of a dreaming tree will provide opportunities to play, crawl and explore. Mickey's Toontown will close in March 2022 and reopen in early 2023.
- The holidays are here! Theme parks across the country have kicked off their respective holiday events. Last week, Disney World, Disneyland, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando/San Diego/San Antonio and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay started to spread Christmas cheer. Knott's Merry Farm starts today and the festivities at Universal Studios Hollywood begin next week. You can catch all of the details in our various event guides!
- Speaking of the holidays, you can start making your foodie wishlist for the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. The Holiday Kitchen menus are now available, and we can't wait to try the new dishes and feast on festival favorites! The full schedule of celebrity narrators for the Candlelight Processional has also been released. Lily is so excited to see Auli'i Cravalho, the voice of "Moana"!
- When it opens in February, the Peppa Pig Theme Park will be a certified autism center. A detailed sensory guide will be available online, as well as informational signs at every attraction, that will help parents identify potential triggers. The staff will undergo comprehensive autism sensitivity and awareness training. Additionally, many of the attractions have been designed to be wheelchair-accessible for all ages. LEGOLAND Florida is also working toward becoming a certified autism center.
- You won't have to worry about your wallet being too heavy ... Knott's Berry Farm has gone cashless! As of Nov. 15, in-park locations can only accept credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay to make purchases. There's also an option to transfer cash to a prepaid card at Cash-to-Card kiosks at select locations in the park.
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.