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:
- It’s a big day in the Frog Pond. We’re hopping with excitement about seeing Rogue One - A Star Wars Story this weekend (it’s ALL Tad has talked about for weeks). Disney parks are celebrating the film’s opening with some great new additions. Guests that visit Star Wars Launch Bay today (Nov. 16) at either Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disneyland Park, will receive a free Rogue One: A Star Wars Story button. Also at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, AWR Troopers, new characters from the film, will be on patrol as well as featured in the "Star Wars: A Galaxy Far Far Away" show. Tonight also marks the return of “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular.” And if you’ve visiting Disney Springs or Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort, you can see Rogue One - A Star Wars Story at the AMC Theaters. I’m not sure if getting tickets will be as difficult as stealing the Death Star plans.
- Special menus are ... well ... on the menu for New's Year's Eve across the Disneyland Resort. Inside Disneyland, Carnation Cafe, Cafe Orleans and the Blue Bayou will feature special dishes. Napa Rose at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel will offer two elegant options, and Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel will serve a three-course meal New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel will have a family-friendly New Year's celebration - complete with Disney characters, as well as a New Year's Eve buffet at the PCH Grill. Call 714-718-DINE for reservations or visit Disneyland.com/dining.
- Hopping between parks just got easier for Disney World visitors. Paid express buses will now zoom guests with park hopper tickets between parks, using backstage areas rather than dropping off outside the main gates. One day tickets are $15 per person, with seven consecutive day tickets for $24. Regular bus transportation between parks and resorts has not changed.
- The Disneyland Resort made its debut in the 108th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade with a boat inspired by the Main Street Electrical Parade. Catch it and all the floats until Dec. 18 in Newport Harbor, Calif. and then catch the full parade at Disneyland Park starting Jan. 20.
- Visitors to Universal Studios Japan will be the first to leap into Super Nintendo World. Details on the land's attractions and experiences are still unclear, but new artwork on the park's website depicts a multi-level land, with the castles of King Bowser and Princess Peach Toadstool. Mario and pals are scheduled to arrive in 2020, just in time for the Toyko Summer Olympics.
- Swing by Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa on Dec. 17 for a free Garden Party. From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m , there will be live music entertainment and beverages available for purchase at the Mary Poppins Garden, located outside of 1900 Park Fare restaurant. This event is open to everyone, and no reservations are needed.
- A fan favorite is returning to Universal Studios Hollywood for a limited time. From Coraline to Kubo: A Magical Lakia Experience will be on display Dec. 21 to Jan. 15. The exhibit showcases the stop-motion animation process and contains puppets and props from Lakia's films such as "Coraline," "ParaNorman," "The BoxTrolls" and one of Tad's favorite movies this year "Kubo and the Two Strings".
- More days have been added to the coming year's Lunar New Year Celebration at Disney's California Adventure Park. From Jan. 20 to Feb. 5, guests will experience exciting cultural entertainment, delicious international food, and meet Mickey, Minnie, Mulan and Mushu in their best Lunar New Year's outfits. World of Color performances will feature a Lunar New Year themed pre-show, "Hurry Home," which tells the story of Little Lantern making his way back to his family. Awwwww.
- Sea World announced its first international park, to open in Abu Dhabi in 2022. The park will feature attractions, animal experiences and aquariums that focus on animal education and care. SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will have the UAE's first 4-R (research, rescue, rehabilitation and return) facility for injured and distressed marine mammals in the Persian Gulf area.
- Leap and I are not the only adorable theme park couple out there. An article in the Orange County Register tells the story of the married (seriously) couple that landed the roles as the official announcers of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend!