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:
- Walt Disney Imagineering has shared that TRON Lightcycle Run is entering a new phase of ride testing at Magic Kingdom Park. The ride vehicles will be slowly moved through the ride track, ensuring everything is working correctly before moving up to faster speeds and eventually approved for person testing. Keep an eye out — this next process will be visible to guests in Tomorrowland. We're so hoppy for more construction progress on this highly anticipated attraction!
- It's a grand weekend full of grand openings! Those on the West Coast are ready for SeaWorld San Diego's newest coaster, Emperor, opening March 12. Emperor is the tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster in California. The 143-foot vertical drop accelerates to more than 60 mph. The 2,500 feet of track will go through inversions, barrel roll, loops and spins. The attraction is named after the Emperor penguin, the world's largest penguin, which can only be seen in North America at SeaWorld San Diego.
- After several weeks of annual passholder previews, Iron Gwazi finally debuts March 11 (today!) to the general public at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. High praise from us frogs! We just can't stop talking about it.
- SeaWorld Orlando's Aquatica will debut a new slide, Reef Plunge, on March 13. This body slide will take guests through 330 feet of twists and turns. The clear tunnels allow viewing of lots of marine life swimming in the surrounding water, including dolphins, leopard sharks and other fish. The new attraction is an update to the previous Dolphin Plunge slide.
- After nearly two years, the Festival of Fantasy parade has returned to Magic Kingdom! Though some holiday parades have returned to Disney World for select events, this is the first full-length day parade to make its return. With only slight modifications, the large parade packs in lots of characters and floats, including the ever-popular Maleficent dragon. Check out our guide for the best spots to watch the parade and cavalcades! While at Magic Kingdom, be sure to check out the new Disney Adventure Friends cavalcade and the return of Mickey's Magical Friendship Faire, now with a new finale in honor of the 50th anniversary!
- Let's a-go! ICYMI, Universal officially announced that Super Nintendo World is set to debut in Universal Studios Hollywood in 2023! Guests will be transported into the beloved video game universe with attractions, interactive areas, shopping, dining and more. The immersive land will be the first of its kind in the United States after initially opening in Universal Studios Japan in 2021. Universal Orlando plans to open its own East Coast version when Epic Universe debuts in summer 2025.
- In honor of Women's History Month, Disneyland Resort is highlighting our favorite Disney heroines, as well as the talented female cast members who create magic at the parks through art, music, food and more. Right when entering Disneyland Park, guests can see a display honoring Minnie Mouse. The iconic Mickey floral display has been transformed to Minnie for the first time since 1955. See special artwork, culinary delights, merchandise and more all created by women at Downtown Disney. And be sure to stick around and hear women-led bands and DJs take to the Downtown Disney LIVE! stage nightly throughout March.
- We've learned more details about the "Disney The Little Mermaid" show debuting aboard the Disney Wish this summer. This Broadway-style show will be an original take on this iconic animated film and can only be seen on the Disney Wish. Guests will be a part of this world with amazing set design, special effects, choreography, and a reimagined script and score. Fans of the film will still enjoy popular numbers such as "Under the Sea," "Kiss the Girl" and "Poor Unfortunate Souls," with some unique spins.
- Guests at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort can enjoy special offerings in honor of Disney and Pixar's newest film, "Turning Red," debuting March 11 on Disney+. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, guests can see a sneak peek of the film at Walt Disney Presents. Special treats are available throughout EPCOT and Disney Springs for a limited time. At Disney California Adventure, enjoy a "Turning Red" photo-op near Silly Symphony Swings.
- Those visiting LEGOLAND California might notice something a bit pre-historic at Miniland U.S.A. The newest addition is LEGO dinosaurs in Miniland. The designers added over 30 creatures to the build. It's out of this world!
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.