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
- Water has returned to the Rivers of America at Disneyland. The northern part of the river—dry since last year due to construction on Star Wars Land—has now been refilled. We hope this means the steam trains, sailing ships and Fantasmic! are close to returning. All of these attractions and more are expected to reopen this summer.
- Lightsaber Churros have been spotted at Disneyland. They're not as clumsy or as random as pretzels, an elegant snack for a more civilized day.
- In WE CAN'T WAIT TO VISIT news—the Universal Orlando Resort is now taking reservations for its newest property, Universal's Aventure Hotel. With over 600 standard rooms and suites, this value hotel features upscale theming, a pool, as well as a rooftop bar and patio, providing an amazing view of Universal's Volcano Bay. Guests will also receive on-site perks such as Early Park Admission. The hotel is scheduled to open August 1, 2018. As you know, we offer discounts on all of the official Universal hotels, and we'll soon be offering discounts on this one.
- Counting down the days until you can see Magic Kingdom's new nighttime show—Happily Ever After—in person? If you don't mind seeing it live streamed, you can watch the show's May 12 debut on the Disney Parks Blog.
- I. Am. Groot. Everone's favorite plant-tree-thing will be appearing with Star-Lord and Gamora during Summer of Heroes at Disney California Adventure. The Disney Blog posted photos of the terrific threesome. Summer of Heroes starts May 27, the same day Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT! opens.
- A visit to Universal's Volcano Bay is something you're sure to remember. Judging by the pictures of Volcano Bay merchandise showcased on the Universal Close Up blog, you may need another suitcase just for souvenirs.
- Changes are under way to Kraken coaster at SeaWorld Orlando. As the coaster undergoes its transformation into a VR coaster, the familiar blue Kraken outside of the queue has been removed. The new entrance and coaster experience will debut this summer.
- Seeing as we blitzed our frog friends with countless selfies during our visit a few weeks back, we can verify this story is 100% correct. The Los Angeles Times posted an article on how Disneyland is the most-Instagrammed tourist destination in the world. #frogsofinstagram
- We hope you're working on Halloween costumes and practicing your caroling. Tickets for the two biggest parties of the year are now on sale. Hop over to our guides for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party to see the prices for the specific dates in 2017 that you're looking at. Oh, what fun it is to buy holiday tickets in May.
- Noooo. Oneeeee. Eats like Gaston. Serves treats like Gaston. New macaron dessert trios debuted at Gaston's Tavern in the Magic Kingdom. Guests may choose from two different trios, each with different flavors.
- How amazing is Serena Williams? Not only is she the no. 1-ranked tennis player in the world, but she knows how to rock a pair of Na'vi ears. Serena visited Pandora—The World of Avatar this week and posted a great photo in front of the floating mountains.
- As guests begin to catch their first glimpses of Pandora, the Disney Parks Blog takes us into the artistic inspiration and design of this new land with an in-depth video.
- Finally, fans of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will want to "drop in" to Midsummer Scream 2017. This Halloween/haunt festival will feature a panel —"Beyond the 5th Dimension: Creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror"—that features some of the imagineers responsible for creating this amazing attraction. Midsummer Scream takes place July 29 and 30 in Long Beach, Ca.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend!