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:
A note from Mommy Frog: We missed you, frog friends! While we temporarily pressed pause on theme park news updates, we've been touched by the good news we've been hearing. We are hoppin' excited to get back to our regular schedule of sharing weekly highlights with you again, whether it's theme parks reopening, activities to get lost in the magic at home or uplifting ways that the theme park community is supporting one another at this time.
- Shanghai Disneyland will reopen May 11! The theme park's phased reopening, the first of the Disney Parks to do so amid closures due to COVID-19, follows the reopening of the resort's shopping and entertainment district and hotel. Along with this exciting announcement, Disney Parks Chief Medical Officer outlined some policies and procedures the company is considering in order for additional resorts, including Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort, to reopen safely to guests.
- Likewise, Disney Springs will begin a phased reopening May 20. During the initial phase, a limited number of third-party shopping and dining operations will begin to open. There will be limitations on capacity, parking and operating hours. Additional protocols and procedures may be announced closer to the opening date, so be sure to hop to our updates post for more information as it's announced!
- For May the Fourth (aka "Star Wars" Day), Disney dropped some at-home astromech fun: the Droid Depot mobile app! Create your own droid virtually, or bring your real-life BB- or R-series sidekick to life at home with all-new interactions. Plus, you can choose your favorite galactic tunes from DJ R3X, straight outta Oga's Cantina, and watch your droid dance along!
- And if you're looking for even more ways to celebrate your love of all things "Star Wars," don't froget to check out our video on our Top 10 Favorite "Star Wars" Experiences in the theme parks! (Your droid can watch too — no judgement here.) Which one is your fave?
- In news that made us a little greener than usual, Elio, a Security Host at Disney's Hollywood Studios, took over Walt Disney World's Twitter account to give fans at home a tour around the park. So jelly! What an awesome job, Elio — thanks for protecting the magic for us all!
- Universal Orlando Resort donated over 1,300 face-shield bands to healthcare workers in Central Florida ... and they've all been 3D printed! Generally, Universal's 3D printers are used to create small components, such as Volcano Bay's TapuTapu wristbands. Amid the resort's COVID-19 closure, team members realized that these machines could be put to use creating personal prevention equipment for the community. Once the headbands are printed, they're dropped off with AdventHealth Nicholson Center, where they are fully assembled and delivered to campuses in the area. In addition, Universal Orlando Resort has donated thousands of ponchos to the City of Orlando, Orange County, Osceola County and Seminole County fire departments as critical PPE for their first responders.
- While we can't hop to the Wizarding World in person just yet, we've been brushing up on our Hogwarts know-how by revisiting the Harry Potter book and film series. And now, the two are colliding! Daniel Radcliffe read chapter one of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," "The Boy Who Lived," online for muggles and wizards alike to relive the magic. The Wizarding World at home teased that "new readings from a stellar cast of narrators" will be available each week." We can't wait! Now, about that Butterbeer ...
- Disney introduced non-medical, reusable cloth face masks featuring favorite Disney, Pixar, Marvel and "Star Wars" characters, available for pre-order on ShopDisney.com. Additionally, Disney is donating one million cloth masks for children and families in underserved or vulnerable communities across the U.S., to be distributed by MedShare. Disney committed to donating profits of up to $1 million from the sale of these face masks to MedShare, as well — and that goal has already been met!
- Walt Disney World Resort has also donated over 400 yards of fabric and 2,400 yards of elastic to the Orlando Ballet. After the temporary suspension of the ballet's performance season, their wardrobe department has been hard at work sewing face coverings for members of the community, including non-medical, non-industrial grade face coverings for healthcare workers.
- If you're looking for the perfect brunch dish for Mom this weekend (hint, hint, Frog Family), your search is over! Disney has released the recipe for Tonga Toast, a banana-stuffed version of French toast that has been wow-ing guests of Disney's Polynesian Village Resort since 1971. Drool. Hoppy Mother's Day, Mommy Frogs!
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.