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 to take the plunge on SeaWorld Orlando's all-new roller coaster, Ice Breaker, this spring! While SeaWorld previously teased that something was coming, we finally got some details about what the coaster will be like. The park's first launch coaster will feature four launches, taking riders both forward and backward up to 52 mph on a 90-second ride. Toadally cool!
- Meanwhile, one of Tampa Bay Busch Gardens' coasters, Gwazi, is transforming from a wooden coaster to a 206 feet-tall hybrid coaster, featuring a steel track with wooden supports. Riders will be taken upside down three times at speeds of up to 76 mph. The new-and-improved Gwazi will also open in spring 2020.
- Want to ring in the new year with the Na'vi or a yeti? Disney's Animal Kingdom will be open until midnight to celebrate New Year's Eve this year! Throughout the evening Dec. 31, guests can enjoy special NYE-themed food and drinks and shake their tail feathers to live DJs in Asia, Discovery Island and DinoLand U.S.A. before counting down to midnight on the Tree of Life.
- Gather your courage, brave frogs, because Halloween Horror Nights Orlando officially began Sept. 6!! You can check out a sneak peek of the brand-new Ghostbusters House in the clip above (hop over to our YouTube channel to see even more horrifying houses ... if you dare!). On the opposite coast, Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood will bring the spooks, scares and Eggos beginning tonight. We frogs were there for the fan preview last night, and the West Coast version of Ghostbusters was one of our favorites.
- Boys and girls of every age, wouldn't you like to see something strange? Haven't been able to catch "Disney's Not So Spooky Spectacular" fireworks show at Magic Kingdom this year during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party? Or looking to watch it over and over again like Lily does on our YouTube channel to relive all of the not-so-scary moments vicariously through the screen? Disney Parks Blog will be live streaming the brand-new fireworks spectacular on Sunday, Sept. 15, at 10:10 p.m. EDT. Keep your eyes peeled for the Pumpkin King himself, Jack Skellington, Zero, Mickey, Minnie, wicked Disney villains and so much more!
- Disney opened a new pedestrian bridge this week in an effort to make it easier for visitors traveling by foot between the main entrances of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure and the parking garages. The new Magic Way pedestrian bridge connects the new 6,500-space Pixar Pals garage and the 10,000-space Mickey & Friends parking structure to Downtown Disney, giving visitors the option to skip the parking tram shuttle and walk to the esplanade instead.
- Need some feel-good news this week? Six-year-old Jermaine Bell had been saving money for a birthday trip to Disney World for over a year. But as hurricane Dorian approached the South Carolina coast, Jermaine emptied his piggy bank of his savings and instead bought hundreds of hot dogs, bags of chips and bottled water to serve to hurricane evacuees passing through. As Jermaine celebrated his 7th birthday, Mickey Mouse and a group of Walt Disney World cast members made a surprise visit to tell Jermaine the hoppy news that he and his family are going to Walt Disney World Resort after all, on the mouse! Jermaine and his family will enjoy a VIP getaway to the Most Magical Place on Earth later this month. Way to go, Jermaine — have a frogtastic trip!
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.