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:
- New Disney After Hours dates have been announced for Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort ... through March 2020! For three hours after the hosting park closes to the general public, guests can enjoy shorter ride lines, as well as unlimited popcorn, treats and beverages. (Psst ... Tad hopped to a few of these events this summer and wrote all about his experience!)
- Universal Orlando has relocated its ride share pick up and drop off location. If you're utilizing a ride share service such as Uber or Lyft, you'll need to head to the dedicated area on the fifth floor of the north parking garage. There will be a dedicated lane at Universal’s parking garage to enter and exit, and no parking fee will be required to do so. The change went into effect this week.
- "The Happiest Horses on Earth" are getting a new barn! The horses and ponies at Tri-Circle-D Ranch at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, including the Headless Horseman's trusty steed, Rocky, will soon get to enjoy a more modern-looking home with updated outdoor facilities. The Draft Horse Barn and Pony Farm is now temporarily inaccessible to guests until the new barn debuts in spring 2020. Until then, pony rides at the Trail Blaze Corral and the resort’s trail rides and carriage rides will continue to operate as normal.
- We'll be toadally honest since we're among friends: Our first priority at any Disney special event is always the food ... but the adorable, perfectly themed merchandise comes in a close second. Disney released a sneak peek of the merchandise coming to this year's International Food and Wine Festival, which begins Aug. 29 at Epcot, and it did not disappoint. Flippy sequins FTW!
- Hey, batter batter! The Ripken Experience is coming to Disney World Resort in 2020. Hall of famer Cal Ripken Jr. is bringing his youth baseball academy to ESPN Wide World of Sports starting Memorial Day Weekend 2020. In addition to baseball tournaments for players ages 6-18, the weeklong experience will include opening day and skills competitions, private coach Q&A sessions and player and coach gifts.
- The official lineup for Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood is now complete! The tenth and final house will be The Curse of Pandora’s Box, where some guests may find themselves knee-deep in Greek mythology (and perhaps also Hades) if they can't resist the temptation to touch ancient artifacts. Once the box is opened, it can't be closed!
- If you've been following us for a while, you know how out-of-this-world we think Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is. And now, it's been named one of TIME's "World's Greatest Places 2019." The immersive land (or should we say, the planet of Batuu) is now open at Disneyland and will be open at Disney World Resort as of Aug. 29. Congratulations!
- The D23 Expo starts today! We are hopping with excitement to see what news comes out of the convention. Do you have any guesses? Be sure to share in the comments ... and tune in next week for the full deets!
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.