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:
- Say it ain't so! The news of The Great Movie Ride closing in August for good at Disney's Hollywood Studios has left us teary-eyed. The announcement was made at D23 Expo (with plenty of other huge news) that the classic Disney ride's last operating day will be on Aug. 13, 2017. Our favorite mouse is getting his very own " 2 1/2 D" attraction called Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, though, to replace The Great Movie Ride. Looks like our dreams are coming true with another huge announcement at D23 of a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction coming to the east coast! Along with The Great Movie Ride, Ellen's Energy Adventure at Epcot is shutting down for good on Aug. 13 and will be replaced with the new ride. This isn't the only change happening in Epcot! The China pavilion will also be receiving a major overhaul with a new film, while Future World is getting completely redesigned. We can also look forward to a Ratatouille ride (similar to the one at Disneyland Paris) to Epcot's France pavilion. (And it'll probably leave us hungry.) Mission Space is also getting a makeover with a new Green Mission and a restaurant! Here are more of the new things coming to Disney World! And here is our full list of upcoming Disney World refurbishments and closures.
- Disney World's new Minnie Van point-to-point service, announced during D23 last week, is set to debut within a few weeks. While the polka dot Minnie vans (haha) have been spotted around the resort, they are not in soft opening yet, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Much like ride sharing services, guests are said to be able to summon them by smart phone.
- Do you love Pixar movies as much as we do? (Do they leave you sobbing like us?) Well, hoppy day for you! A Pixar Fest is coming to Disneyland in 2018 to celebrate all-things Pixar. Along with the celebration comes more spectacular fireworks, special characters and entertainment. Pixar Play Parade will once again return to Disneyland Park, while Paint the Night Parade heads over to Disney California Adventure Park. Paradise Pier is transforming into Pixar Pier bringing Pixar stories to life.
- Cravin' some mac & cheese with a flare? Hop like us frogs over to Universal Orlando, including the new Universal's Volcano Bay water theme park, to find some of the most cheese-ilicious dishes. I've got my eye on the Shrimp and Lump Crab Macaroni and Cheese at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium!
- You can get up close and personal with the Orcas at SeaWorld Orlando. The park introduced its new 45-minute tour, allowing guests to learn about the whales, meet them and learn about the training involved.
- Hooray for the return of Fantasmic! We are bursting at the seams with this iconic show's return to Disneyland Park, and we've got some fantastic Fantasmic! tips to celebrate the show's return. Be sure to grab a few of the special treats at Disneyland Park, including the Mickey-shaped Blackberry Beignets at the Mint Julep Bar. And don't forget to wish a Happy Birthday to Disneyland Park! The park turned 62 years old July 17.
- Have you gotten your Hogwarts letter, but can't make it over to Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando to grab a wand? Have no fear! Ollivanders just might be coming to a mall near you. Warner Bros. Consumer Products announced earlier this week that they have partnered up with GES (creators of Harry Potter: The Exhibition) to bring "Christmas in the Wizarding World" to major shopping malls! These pop-up shops will fully immerse guests by transporting them into a snow-covered Hogsmeade village and allow them to Christmas shop Harry Potter-style.
- And last but certainly not least—get your costumes ready! Spooky fun is coming to Disney California Adventure Park this Halloween with Cars Land and Buena Vista Street being taken over by ghouls, witches and more. Mater's Junkyard Jamboree will be transformed into Mater's Graveyard JamBOOree and Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters becomes Luigi's Honkin' Haul-O-Ween! In fact, just refer to Radiator Springs as Radiator Screams during the spook-tacular holiday. Buena Vista Street will also receive a Halloween makeover with decor inspired by Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. The spookiness at Disney California Adventure will last Sept. 15-Oct. 31 with Halloween Time at Disneyland.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend.