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
- With an opening ceremony that featured an enchanting South Seas dance performance while the majestic Krakatau volcano flowed in the background, Universal Orlando Resort's newest theme park opened to the public May 25. We had a BLAST attending Universal's Volcano Bay Opening Day as part of the Universal Orlando Blog Squad. We tasted the island-inspired food and drinks while tackling the fantastic rides. Yes, your intrepid frog reporter braved the Ko'okiri Body Plunge—and survived. Look for more details soon.
- On the other side of town, Leap attended the dedication of Pandora—The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom. From Flight of Passage to the bioluminescence that makes the Mo'ara Valley a beautiful spot for a nighttime hop, Pandora exceeded our expectations. The Disney Parks YouTube channel has highlights of the opening ceremony. We have more video and a full review coming soon
- SPOILER ALERT. With Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission BREAKOUT! opening this weekend, media reviews have started popping up. Laughingplace.com posted a lengthy and spoiler-riffic description of the attraction with some neat pics. We'll be hopping in this weekend (red eye flight from Orlando=coffee) and will give you our take on the attraction and the Summer of Heroes entertainment next week.
- Jack is back!"Jungle Jack" Hanna returns to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay this weekend, May 27-28. During Jungle Jack Weekend, guests can hear stories of his travels, and attend meet-and-greets and autograph session.
- If the photo of the Angry Little Pudding Cup—resembling Baby Groot—doesn't get you excited about the food options coming to Summer Of Heroes at Disney California Adventure, then I can't help you.
- The Wilderness must be explored! Wilderness Explorers earning their badges around Disney's Animal Kingdom now have a stop inside Pandora—The World of Avatar. Two badges may be earned within the Valley of Mo'ara, with each one focusing on the alien planet's plant life.
- Hear ye, hear ye! Thoust may now scream for thy ice cream. Kingdom Cones at Legoland Florida is a new ice cream shop where guests can top their cone with "flavor bursts." Cheesecake, black cherry and cotton candy are just a few of the merry options. Tell them Arthur, King of the Britains sent you.
- There's a snake in my boots! The opening date of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios will be revealed in June at D23! Since Disney opened two attractions right before Memorial Day this year, we're guessing it'll be around that time in a few years.
- Here's your latest Banshee Buzz - Walt Disney World News Today has a video and review of the shoulder Banshees guests may purchase at Windtraders inside Pandora—The World of Avatar.
- This news broke after last week's update, but it's TOO AWESOME to not share. Classic horror film "The Shining" was announced as the newest maze to debut at Halloween Horror Nights 27 this fall. Fans will visit the Overlook Hotel-inspired house in Orlando and Florida. #redrum
- The Orange County Register asked this question—Will Future Theme Park Rides Be Based on Original Ideas and Not Movies? This week, Disney debuted two new theme park thrills—Pandora and Guardians of the Galaxy—based on movies. The story of the Waturi, the fictional Islanders who discovered Universal's Volcano Bay, is original. It's a curious topic for sure.
- Finally, I've found my hoppy place. Disney released the first image of the interior of Wine Bar George, coming this fall to Disney Springs.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend!