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 theme park highlights:
- Universal Orlando led the annual Thea Awards, with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - Diagon Alley™ picking up its Paragon Award and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™ taking the outstanding achievement in attractions. "It's a small world" was honored with the Thea Classic award.
- My two favorite sea lions, Clyde and Seamore, are set to return to SeaWorld Orlando this spring in Clyde and Seamore's Sea Lion High. The all-new show will see the comedic sea lions enrolling in high school!
- Work continues on the transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs. The first of two planned parking garages at Downtown Disney has opened to guests just in time for the busy holiday season. Additionally, the "Springs Bottling Co." marquee has gone up over what will be Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs. The sign is part of the architectural details that help tell the story of the re-imagined entertainment area.
- 'Tis the season for holiday gift giving, and Disney World is making it a little easier. You can now buy MagicBands on the Disney Parks online store. These bands do not have to be linked immediately, so they can be given as gifts.
- Universal Studios Hollywood is set to kick off its holiday celebrations Monday at 8:30 p.m. with a ceremony to light up a massive, 40-foot-tall tree at Universal CityWalk. Carson Daly will be on hand to introduce Santa as well as the 10 finalists from this seasons' "The Voice," who will perform after Santa takes the stage.
- More than 18,000 runners participated in the inaugural Marvel Super Heroes Half Marathon at Disneyland Park. You can see portraits of some of the runners in their best super hero running attire.
- Almost that many screaming fans came out to see One Direction perform for free at Universal CityWalk. There was a bit of a kerfuffle over the whereabouts of Zayn, who apparently didn't make it down with the rest of the boys.
- The Mad T Party at Disney California Adventure is heading back through the looking glass after Nov. 30. The big question is what will take its place!
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.