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:
- Attention all Padawans and Jedi Masters! The brand-new Star Wars Trading Post opened to the public Feb. 19 in the Downtown Disney District, after Legacy Annual Passholder previews earlier this week. Now themed after a Resistance base, the former Rainforest Cafe has transformed into a one-stop intergalactic shop for Star Wars merchandise. Pick up a T-shirt from the latest Child-inspired streetwear collection, or find legacy lightsabers, pre-built droids, holocrons, adult and youth robes, plush toys and more! We've got our eye on the Paddy Frog light up sipper.
- The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is now taking reservations for Sept. 1, 2021 and beyond! As the newest addition to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts, the boutique, 14-story hotel is expected to open its doors later this summer. It will feature 349 guest rooms, a signature Mediterranean restaurant, a scenic pool area and rooftop space for exclusive events. Guests will also be able to access amenities at the Swan and Dolphin hotels.
- Arrgh, matey! LEGOLAND Florida debuted its new water-ski stunt show to kick off its 10th birthday celebration and the ongoing PirateFest Weekends. Brickbeard’s Watersport Stunt Show introduces Calico Jade, a new female LEGO pirate character, who oversees Captain Brickbeard's pirate academy. The 20-minute show packs in wakeboarding, barefoot skiing and other water stunts, including a human pyramid (a nod to the Cypress Gardens ski shows) and a FlyBoard.
- In celebration of the upcoming film, "Raya and the Last Dragon," new experiences are coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom. Beginning Feb. 22, learn how to draw Tuk Tuk, Raya's adorable part-pill bug, part-pug companion, during The Animation Experience at Conservation Station. From Feb. 19 to 21, watch artists work on a 40-foot sand sculpture, featuring Raya, Tuk Tuk, Sisu the last dragon and the Ongi. The display itself will remain available to see at the Discovery Island Stage through the end of March.
- After being closed since early December, Hong Kong Disneyland has officially reopened for a third time. In honor of its 15th Anniversary, guests will be able to experience the new Castle of Magical Dreams and attend special anniversary celebrations, which include new exhibits and audio tours to learn more about the castle’s transformation, as well as exclusive merchandise and food and beverage offerings.
- Busch Gardens Tampa's annual Food & Wine Festival begins Saturday, Feb. 20, continuing every weekend through April 25. Enjoy over 110 items to sample, including 20+ new dishes, 20+ refreshing cocktails and a variety of 50+ wine, beer and seltzer options. The event includes physically distanced concerts featuring local talent and top artists every Saturday.
- Universal Orlando has been teasing the opening date of Jurassic World VelociCoaster on its Twitter account. To help hold us over until an official announcement, Universal released exclusive VelociCoaster wallpapers and another behind-the-scenes look into how the landscaping adds to the overall theming of Jurassic Park. Pretty rad! But Universal, if you're listening, we're ready for that opening date!
- ICYMI: You can now book 2022 Walt Disney World Resort vacation packages! Discount tickets are also available directly through us (lock them in at the current prices now before our annual price rise!). The Disney Park Pass reservation system has been extended through January 2023.
- Oh. My. Goodness! Walt Disney World Resort released information about its 50th anniversary celebration! For 18 months, the Disney World theme parks will join the party, which will even feature a signature color — EARidescence — to shimmer and sparkle on park icons, character outfits and more. "The World's Most Magical Celebration" will begin Oct. 1, 2021. Looking to keep up with all of the dazzling details? Hop over to our full celebration post!
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.