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:
- For the first time since opening Oct. 1, 2021, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure will utilize a traditional standby queue instead of a virtual queue, starting Jan. 10, 2022. Guests will still have the opportunity to skip the line by purchasing individual Lightning Lane access for the ride. With this change, the virtual queue system will no longer be in use for any attractions at Disney World for now. However, it may come back from time to time, particularly to help with the launch of new rides and experiences.
- Grad Nite is returning to Disneyland after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19! On select dates in May and June, high school graduates from the class of 2022 can celebrate all night long in Disney California Adventure. Grad Nite parties take place from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. and typically feature meet-and-greets with Disney characters dressed in graduation gear and themed food and drinks.
- 2022 is a big year for new roller coasters! At SeaWorld Orlando, Ice Breaker will launch (four times, to be exact!) Feb. 18, 2022, to the general public for the first time. SeaWorld also plans to hold passholder previews on select days from Jan. 30 to Feb. 15, with priority given by pass level. Ice Breaker will be the first of four highly anticipated roller coasters to open this spring at SeaWorld parks across the country. Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Pantheon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Emperor at SeaWorld San Diego are all set to open the following month.
- While we're excited to welcome lots of new attractions in 2022, we're also saying farewell to Shrek 4-D this weekend. Since 2003, guests have been going on an adventure with Shrek and Donkey to save Princess Fiona from a ghostly Lord Farquaad. While the attraction and its gift shop are permanently closing, the character meet-and-greet experience with Shrek and Donkey will continue to operate daily.
- Disney was recently granted a patent for a Virtual World Simulator that doesn't need a headset, glasses or any other digital device to experience a virtual world or augmented reality. According to the patent, the new technology would create 3D imagery with multiple projectors at a high-rate speed and continuously use a SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) technique while moving through a real-world venue, such as a theme park attraction. This is something that Tad is definitely keeping an eye on!
- Hoppy New Year from our Frog Family to yours! We hope you had a froggerific start to 2022. To celebrate, we hopped over to EPCOT and danced our way into the new year. Each pavilion in World Showcase had something going on to keep the party rolling ... silent disco in the U.K. was my personal favorite. Check out Tad's video on YouTube to see what it was like!
- If your New Year's resolution is focused on maintaining your health and wellness, then get off to a great start with new complimentary group fitness classes at Disney Springs during the month of January. On select Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m., you can participate in either HIIT Workout or Yoga classes in Town Center. Even though the classes are free, you still need to register in advance and space is limited.
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.