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:
- Universal and Nintendo announced a partnership that would bring the video games and characters to the parks! While specifics were not revealed, major attractions based on Nintendo's most famous characters and games will be coming to Universal's theme parks.
- Universal Orlando made big news of its own, confirming that a King Kong attraction would be coming to Universal's Islands of Adventure in 2016 ahead of the 2017 release of the film "Kong: Skull Island."
- Here's a fun fact: Half of the guests entering Disney World now do so wearing MagicBands. This was one of several revelations in Disney's quarterly earning review, which was overall positive. As a reminder, all guests staying at a Disney resort receive MagicBands for free, while off-site guests have the option to purchase them online from the Disney Store or at Downtown Disney and the theme parks. We've got more information about MagicBands in our Guide to FastPass+.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios is adding a new dining experience during Star Wars Weekends, held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays May 15 to June 14. The Red Hangar will offer Star Wars-themed food and drinks such as chicken and Darth Vader waffles and Yoda Key Lime Pie. There will also be custom cocktails, including the Rebel Red (Grey Goose vodka, Chambord, sour mix and a splash of grenadine) and the Imperial Blue (Maker’s Mark Whisky, Cointreau, Blue Curacao, sweet and sour, topped with Sprite).
- We frogs spent a little time this week enjoying Downtown Disney, dining at The BOATHOUSE, catching Cirque du Soleil La Nouba and indulging in my favorite activity (shopping, of course). Having not visited in a few month, we were amazed by the entertainment area's transformation into Disney Springs. I was very excited to hear that two pedestrian walkways that allow guests to connect directly to the West Side from the second level of the new parking garage opened.
- The very popular Mad T Party is set to return at Disney California Adventure as the Diamond Mad T Party on May 22, bringing a kaleidoscope of sparkle, shine and sound. A live band will play contemporary and classic rock favorites plus mashed-up Disney tunes. When the band isn't on stage White Rabbit DJ will be spinning tunes.
- Just a quick reminder to let you know that the famed Hatbox Ghost is set to make his return May 9 on Haunted Mansion at Disneyland!
- The Los Angeles Times got more details about the Fast & Furious: Supercharged attraction headed to Universal Studios Hollywood. This immersive, 3-D experience based on the franchise will be three times larger than King Kong 360 3D experience and longer than two football fields. Using wind effects and a motion simulator, guests will feel like they're accelerating to 120 miles per hour.
- Last but not least, a deployed Navy father surprised his daughters during a surprise reunion at SeaWorld San Diego. I couldn't help but get a little teary-eyed watching the video.
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 Orlando Planning Guide.