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
- Start packing for an interplanetary vacation. Disney has announced that Pandora - The World of Avatar will be opening at Disney's Animal Kingdom on May 27. Announced in 2011 and under construction since 2013, we're this close to experiencing the world of the Na'vi. To help prepare visitors, a new website—VisitPandora—is live to help educate future visitors. Who wants me to pick up that Mountain Banshee plush for them when I visit?
- SeaWorld San Antonio is opening up for the 2017 season with celebrity ecological artist Guy Harvey. He will unveil a new mural for the park's Great White coaster. Harvey will also appear at the park later this year for the park's upcoming coaster Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster. SeaWorld San Antonio's season opens Feb. 25.
- Get ready to TapuTapu. Universal's Volcano Bay will feature a unique wearable that will let guests reserve their spot in lines. Universal released information, including a video, about this innovative device. Like a pair of 3-D glasses, you'll pick up your device upon entering and drop it off when you leave. It will also activate interactive elements around the water theme park. We can't wait to hop down and try this out.
- Take me to the river. Drop me in the water. Rivers of Light is ready to light up the nights at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Beginning Friday, Feb. 17, guests will be able to experience this nighttime show that celebrates the beauty of all living things through water, sound, dramatic lighting and special effects. Dining packages are available for select performances.
- Magic Kingdom will debut a new "kiss goodnight." Beginning May 14, Happily Ever After will light up the night sky above Cinderella Castle. Projection mapping will combine with Disney storytelling, pyrotechnics and classic Disney characters in a show that will inspire guests to find their own "Happily Ever After." Two unique parts of this show will be an original score and original, hand-drawn animation of characters such as Ursula, Aladdin and Tiana.
- We're all about secret menus. Laughingplace.com tried out some tempting treats that were tied into the Main Street Electrical Parade's return to Disneyland. It's possible that these adorable delicacies are still available, as long as you know where to look for them.
- Fins up Parrotheads! Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville has soft opened at Universal CityWalk Hollywood. This is the 25th Margargaritaville and the first location on the West Coast. I'll post Leap's karaoke version of "A Pirate Looks at 40" some day.
- Shield your eyes Atlanta Falcons fans. Super Bowl hero James White of the New England Patriots visited Magic Kingdom on Monday and participated in a special parade. White's appearance marked the 30th anniversary of the first Super Bowl champion saying "I'm going to Disney World!"
- All The Feels Alert. The LEGOLAND Florida blog posted a great story of a boy who was saving money for a huge LEGO set but chose to donate that money to a fellow student's fight with cancer. Read the blog to see what happened when LEGOLAND learned of Jefferey's act of kindness.
- Finally, I'm happy to report that Tad has something else other than Star Wars - The Last Jedi to obsess over. Disney announced that the Star Wars-themed lands currently under construction at Disneyland in Anaheim and Disney's Hollywood Studios would open in 2019!
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend!