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:
- The Universal Parks & Resorts and Nintendo partnership is powering up. Universal released a new video and details with Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative, and Shigeru Miyamoto, Creator of Mario, that gives fans more information on how Mario & Co. will be hopping into Universal Resorts. Nintendo-themed areas are coming to Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort, and Universal Studios Hollywood. Universal says these new realms will be expansive, immersive and interactive. Guests will feel like they're playing their favorite games—but in real life. Sounds a lot like the highly themed Wizarding Worlds!
- The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge has a new name and will be getting new amenities in the summer of 2017. The new name is Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. The former quiet pool, Hidden Springs, is getting reimagined to tell the backstory of Boulder Ridge. Fashioned after an old quarry, the Boulder Ridge Cove pool area will feature an expanded sun deck and zero-depth-entry pool. The new Geyser Point Bar and Grill and a new quick-service restaurant will give all guests more dining options. As shown from the renderings, the new dining will offer prime views of the Seven Seas Lagoon. You can see a list of the construction there on our Disney World refurbishments page.
- Highway in the Sky Dine-Around is a way for guests to experience the delightful tastes found at each Magic Kingdom resort located along the Monorail circuit. This unique dining package begins at The Wave… of American Flavors at Disney's Contemporary Resort, travels to Disney's Polynesian Resort for island-inspired appetizers and drinks, then heads to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for a wine dinner at Citricos. Your evening's final stop is back at the Disney's Contemporary Resort for a dessert spread on a private patio to view the Magic Kingdom fireworks. This unique dining experience starts Dec. 2. Guests can call 407-WDW-DINE for reservations.
- If you've made your way to Disney Springs this month, then you might have seen the amazing "Starbright Holidays - An Intel Collaboration" drone show. The Disney Parks blog posted a video that gives you a behind-the-scenes look into the technology and preparation behind this innovative holiday show.
- It's looking a lot like 2017 will be the year of festivals for Epcot. Kicking off the new year will be a new festival, The International Festival of the Arts. Running from Jan. 13-Feb. 20, this festival celebrates visual, performing and culinary arts. Look for appearances by Disney artists, celebrity chefs and enjoy performers singing hits from Disney's Broadway shows.Information about the new topiaries appearing at The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival were announced. Running March 1 through May 29, guests will see new topiaries of Belle from "Beauty and the Beast," a "Cars"-themed area in celebration of the upcoming "Cars 3" and, my favorite addition … a 6-foot-tall Figment from Epcot's Imagination Pavilion. The extremely popular Epcot Food & Wine Festival is expanding. Next year's festival will run for 75 days, from August 21st through November 13th. Along with cooking demonstrations and celebrity chef appearances, the Eat to the Beat concert series will return to this fall's festival.
- Surf's up LEGO fans. April 7, 2017 is the official opening day of the LEGOLAND Beach Retreat. Located inside the LEGOLAND Florida resort, this family-friendly hotel features 83 beach-themed bungalows and 166 total rooms. The guest bedrooms feature plenty of amenities and decorated with beach-themed LEGO artwork and details. The bungalows offer outdoor play areas and shaded patios.
- Last but not least, The Secret Life of Pets is joining Universal's Superstar Parade. Starting in December, Max, Duke, Snowball other favorites from the film will appear in their own all-new float. The pets join favorites like "SpongeBob SquarePants," "Dora & Diego," and "Despicable Me." We're always fans of more animals added to theme parks.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend!