Hi there! Welcome to our weekly roundup of the most interesting theme park news around the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and other theme parks.
This week’s highlights:
- Big news this week for Harry Potter fans! Testing has begun of Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando ahead of next year’s opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley.
- Disney World reached a milestone as well this week on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom Park. Imagineers added a piece from the now defunct Snow White’s Scary Adventures to the roller coaster/dark ride, scheduled to open in spring 2014.
- Certainly one of the cutest gift ideas I saw this week were the miniature-sized, iconic Disney treat magnets, spotted at World of Disney at Downtown Disney. Alas, there was no Dole Whip.
- One of my favorite places to shop besides Downtown Disney is World Showcase in Epcot, because there are so many unique gifts, even some that aren't sold anywhere else in the U.S., so I was excited to see so many worldly gifts on the Disney Parks Blog.
- Shamu Stadium is undergoing a major refurbishment this January at SeaWorld Orlando, with shows One Ocean and Dine with Shamu on hold during this time. Trainers instead will do a Shamu Up Close presentation that will give guests a peek at the killer-whale training.
- Florence Henderson, everyone's favorite mother (besides moi, of course), was given the Who-Manitarian Award at the kickoff of Grinchmas at Universal Hollywood for her work with the City of Hope nonprofit.
- Darth Vader, perhaps someone's favorite father, instagrammed a selfie.
- One of the most spectacular reasons to see SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration is the Winter Wonderland on Ice, and this year, the ice skaters will be spinning in redesigned costumes, festooned with tens of thousands of sparkling rhinestones.
- Last but certainly not least, the executive pastry chef at the Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel has created a 2,000-pound, entirely edible Christmas scene out of chocolate, including a life-sized Santa and 7-foot-tall Nutcracker.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend!
If you’re thinking about a trip to Disney World, make sure to check out the other news, tips and information we post to the blog throughout the week. If you’re ready to plan your trip, we recommend you start with our planning pages.
— Mommy Frog