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:
- Can you believe we're already #HalfwaytoHalloween?! To get into the spooky mood, Disney announced a new Halloween-themed Disney After Hours event coming to Magic Kingdom Park this fall! Disney After Hours BOO BASH will take place on select nights from Aug. 10 to Oct. 31, from 9 p.m. to midnight. Festivities will include Halloween character cavalcades, character sightings throughout the park, performances from the Cadaver Dans, spooktacular decor, lighting and music, treat stops and more. Guests can dress up in their best costumes, and enter the park as early as 7 p.m. without a day ticket or a Disney Park Pass reservation. Tickets will go on sale next month. We can't wait to learn more!
- Get your taste buds (and cameras) ready! More dining options at Walt Disney World Resort will be returning in the near future. Starting May 16, Chef Mickey's will begin serving an all-you-care-to-enjoy, family-style dinner, along with surprise appearances from Mickey and his pals. (Chef Mickey's character breakfast returned back in December.) Later in the summer, the popular Tusker House Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom will reopen with modified appearances from Donald Duck and friends. Additionally, Cape May Cafe will reopen May 18 for breakfast and dinner, but Minnie's Beach Bash Character Breakfast and the Seafood-and-More Dinner Buffet will not return upon reopening. You can book reservations for Chef Mickey's dinner and Cape May Cafe starting May 7, and Tusker House reservation information is still to come.
- Orlando theme parks are now adjusting their COVID-19 guidelines following the advice of the CDC and local health officials. Walt Disney World Resort announced that on-site temperature screenings will be phased out across the resort beginning May 8 for cast members and May 16 for guests. Meanwhile, over at Universal Orlando Resort, on-site temperature screenings will be removed and physical distancing markers will be reduced to 3 feet apart, effective immediately. SeaWorld Orlando is also removing temperature screenings for guests. Other policies, such as face coverings, still remain in effect at all theme parks.
- Just in time for summer, Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel at Disneyland Resort will reopen June 15, 2021, with limited capacity. Guests can now book room reservations. Initially, Paradise Pier won't have any food and beverage offerings, but hotel guests are welcome to dine at the Downtown Disney District and Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which includes Napa Rose and Storytellers Cafe (both are reopening May 28 for all guests, even those not staying on-site — woohoo!). Hotel guests can also have select Downtown Disney restaurants deliver directly to the lobby.
- ICYMI: We learned more details about Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, the new immersive hotel coming to Walt Disney World Resort in 2022. Originally set to launch 2021, guests will have to wait a little bit longer before they can embark on a two-night adventure aboard the Halcyon. Until then, we won't stop thinking about training with the brand-new "real" lightsaber (the blade activates from hilt to tip right before your eyes)! Catch up on all of the deets with our Galactic Starcruiser guide.
- Say cheese! Capture Your Moment, Disney's private photo session service, is expanding to Disney's Animal Kingdom. The Tree of Life can be the perfect backdrop as you celebrate a special occasion in front of the camera. The 20-minute session with a Disney PhotoPass photographer must be reserved in advance. You can now book sessions, which will be offered daily as of May 17, starting at $50. Sessions can include up to eight guests — and don't froget, you can now drop your masks for photos!
- In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Disney World is recognizing A World of Voices to honor the diversity and representation of the AAPI community through experiences, entertainment and food and beverage offerings. At Magic Kingdom Park, Moana and Mulan have recently joined the character cavalcades (and will continue to make appearances after this month). Mulan also now appears in the Princess Processional at EPCOT. Meanwhile, royal detective Mira will be greeting guests in the Disney Junior Motorcade at Disney's Hollywood Studios through the end of June. Throughout May, there will be special menu items at Lotus Blossom Cafe in EPCOT and Amorette's Patisserie in Disney Springs — among other food and entertainment offerings.
- Knott's Berry Farm reopened to season passholders May 6, ahead of its grand reopening to the public May 21. Following shortly behind, Knott's Soak City Waterpark will reopen May 29. Berry good news, indeed!
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.