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:
— Undercover Tourist (@ThemeParkFrog) January 9, 2018
- Florida's Biggest Party is returning Feb. 3 through April 7 with the Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Orlando Resort. Universal announced the 2018 lineup of artists to be gracing the Music Plaza Stage. Big names in pop, rock, country, R&B and more will be getting into the "Big Easy" spirit such as Macklemore, Fifth Harmony, The Beach Boys and Kelsea Ballerini, who was kind enough to give us frogs a retweet! With such a great schedule, it'll be hard to choose which concerts to attend ... but we can't wait to get into the groove!
- As we reported a couple of weeks ago, Universal Orlando is debuting a brand-new Hogwarts Castle projection show. Debuting on Saturday, Jan. 27 (with a special preview for resorts guests on Friday, Jan. 26) at A Celebration of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando will present The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts™ Castle. Celebrate your house pride as stellar new projections dance across the wizarding school!
- The Disney Parks Blog unveiled plans for reimagined World of Disney stores coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts in 2018. Beginning mid-February, stores on both coasts will undergo interior redesign work to be completed in phases. The improvements are anticipated to be "dynamic and distinctly Disney," so I have no doubt we'll love them! I'm so excited to see the changes ... and hoppy to hear that I can continue shopping at World of Disney throughout the construction.
- SeaWorld San Diego will be offering a special behind-the-scenes experience beginning Jan. 13 and continuing each weekend through the remainder of the month. Inside Look offers guests the opportunity to meet staff, see animals up close and gain fascinating knowledge in 11 different areas focused on rescue, care, conservation and research.
- Epcot's International Festival of the Arts kicks off its second year Jan. 12 with more food, exhibits and entertainment than ever! Don't tell Food & Wine, but this might be our new favorite Epcot festival. We have the ultimate guide to tackling this action-packed event.
- Disneyland fans said farewell to much of Paradise Pier on Jan. 8 as California Screamin', Mickey's Fun Wheel, Cove Bar, Ariel's Grotto and more closed for good to make way for new Pixar Pier attractions and experiences. We're sorry to see these beloved attractions go, but can't wait to see what's to come at our favorite West-coast park! (Pssst. You can see all Disneyland refurbishments right here with us frogs!)
- Disney World's remaining Children's Activity Centers (Lilo’s Playhouse at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Simba’s Cubhouse at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Sandcastle Club at Disney Beach Club Resort) will be ending operations July 31, according to Attractions Magazine. Don't worry, in-room babysitting will still be available through a recommended sitter service if you're seeking a night out away from the tadpoles. (No judgment here!)
That’s it for the theme park news this week! Have a great weekend.