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.
Here are this week’s theme park highlights:
- The Universal Orlando Resort has filed plans for a water park with the South Florida Water Management District. Plans for the site, located south of Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort along Interstate 4, include a tall volcano with slides, a wave pool, lazy river and rapids ride. We're excited to hear more details about the Universal water park, but the resort has not confirmed the project, and no opening date has been given. Theme Park Insider offers an interesting look at why theme park resorts build water parks.
- After teasing us last week, details were released this week about Star Wars Days at Sea, a day-long celebration taking place aboard eight sailings on the Disney Fantasy in early 2016. The special event will bring Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Stormtroopers and other characters from across the galaxy for meet-and-greets, the Jedi Training Academy experience, Star Wars trivia, a Star Wars deck party, screenings of the first six Star Wars films and more. Star Wars Days at Sea will take place on select sailings to the Western Caribbean from January through April.
- For those needing a Star Wars fix sooner, Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios is getting bigger and better. While the celebrity lineup and other details haven't been released yet, we do know that the popular "Stars of the Saga" talk show, hosted by James Arnold Taylor, and Darth's Mall are moving to larger locations
- We frogs love a good party, and we wish we could make the Happily Ever After Party this Sunday in Downtown Disney. The party will let Disney Princess Half Marathon finishers, their guests and the general public kick off some steam, with a DJ, great food (some free for runners) and my favorite recreational activity, shopping!
- And for those of you who have always wondered what a runDisney race is like, or have friends who are racing, you can watch live streams of the half-marathon.
- If you can't get a medal, how about an Oscar? Through Sunday you can walk the red carpet inside The Magic of Disney Animation at Disney's Hollywood Studios and have your picture taken with a genuine Oscar statuette.
- Universal Orlando Resort announced that Sharknado 3, starring Ian Ziering and Tara Reid, is being filmed on property through Feb. 24. Most of the filming will be on a sound stage at Universal Studios Florida, but some scenes will be filmed from the park.
- SeaWorld Orlando revealed Fred Hammond will be its final performer in the brand-new Praise Wave Christian concert series on Feb. 28. Steven Curtis Chapman is scheduled to perform tomorrow.
- Celebration of the Lunar New Year is in full swing at Disney California Adventure through Sunday. You can celebrate with festive eats, including steamed bao filled with pork and served with sweet chili sauce.
- Theme Park Insider took a tour of Twisted Coloussus' construction at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Work is about 40 percent complete for the new hybrid wood-steel coaster that is set to open in late spring.
- Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating 50 years with a nighttime version of the iconic Studio Tour this summer. It will debut alongside the new Fast & Furious Supercharged ride that is part of the tour.
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.