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:
- Slasher superstars are set to scare up TWICE the screams. Prepare yourself for the Titans of Terror at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood. Freddy Krueger ("A Nightmare on Elm Street"), Jason Voorhees ("Friday the 13th") and Leatherface ("Texas Chainsaw Massacre") will be featured in the ultimate horror maze. The trio will join Chucky ("Child's Play") for even more terrifying encounters on the Terror Tram. Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood starts Sept. 15.
- We're helping to scare up a good time at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort. Not only are we offering discount Halloween Horror Nights tickets again this year, but now through Aug. 20 you can win a screaming good vacation to the resort. Enter to win a three-night stay at an official Universal Orlando hotel plus tickets to the theme parks, Blue Man Group and Halloween Horror Nights.
- CAPCOM will have a new commander when Mission: Space returns to orbit Aug. 13. Actress Gina Torres ("Suits," "Firefly," "Westworld") will appear in the attraction's new pre-show videos. Farewell, former CAPCOM Gary Sinise ("Forrest Gump").
- The upcoming Disney-Pixar film "Coco" will be added to Disney California Adventure's annual celebration of Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. This festival includes music, Mexican folk art, and décor and food inspired by the holiday. The celebration runs Sept. 12 to Nov. 2.
- Mobile food ordering at Disney World is expanding. Guests can now purchase food with their fone (I know it's phone, just go with it) at Backlot Express at Disney's Hollywood Studios. With this addition, mobile ordering is now available at select counter service restaurants in each Disney World theme park.
- If you're hopping down to Disneyland, check out the parking policy changes coming to Downtown Disney. Starting Aug. 16, guests will receive two hours of free parking with a minimum purchase of $20 at any Downtown Disney location (including quick-service and kiosk locations).
- Delight. Fear. OMGWHATHAVEIGOTTENMYSELFINTO?!?! These are just some of the things that the Universal Close Up Blog captured with they filmed first-time reactions on The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure.
- Can't-miss photo ops await you at Disney World on Aug. 19 during Disney PhotoPass Day. Special opportunities in each park—as well as Disney Springs—will give you unique Magic Shot photos as well as meetings with favorite characters. Opportunites include posing with Mulan and Mushu at Epcot or shots with Cinderella's Coach at Magic Kingdom.
- CUTE ANIMAL PICTURES ALERT. Baby Gators have arrived at Gatorland. The 50+ baby alligators are about 12 inches long and about a year old. The new arrivals are featured in the Baby Gator Swap section of the park.
- This. Is. American Idol. Think you have what it takes to be the next Kelly Clarkson? ABC's "American Idol" will be kicking off auditions at Disney Springs on Aug. 17. Past Idol winners Jordin Sparks, Kris Allen and Ruben Studdard will appear along with the "American Idol" bus. From Aug. 18 through Sept. 15, visitors will be able to audition at the "American Idol" pop-up audition kiosk.
- One of our favorite experiences at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival is back. Yes, I know there are food and drinks but ... the "Ratatouille"-themed Hide and Squeak will send guests scurrying around Epcot searching for everyone's favorite mouse-sized culinary master.
- And finally, it's time to say farewell to two Disney World attractions. At Epcot, Ellen's Energy Adventure—formerly known as the Universe of Energy—will be powering down on Sunday. Ellen and her dinosaurs will be moving out and "Guardians of the Galaxy" will Rocket into the building in the near future. Over at Disney's Hollywood Studios, it's time to yell "That's a wrap" on The Great Movie Ride. The last remaining attraction from the park's opening day will make room for a future experience—Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. If you can't make it back to the park before the curtain falls, take a final journey via Tad's Great Movie Ride video.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend.