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:
- For those of you who relate more Cruella de Ville and Captain Hook than Peter Pan and Cinderella, Disney has unveiled a brand-new "Villains Unleashed" party at Disney's Hollywood Studios that will include 50 -- yes, 50! -- villains. This separately ticketed event, similar to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party will be held Aug. 23. Besides meet and greets with your favorite villains, including a Star Wars villain zone, "Villains Unleashed" will be a fireworks spectacular pre-show to Fantasmic!, Villainy In The Skies, plus the Hades Hangout & Dance Party. Guests are encouraged to dress up and show their Disney villain side. Tickets go on sale June 9.
- Universal has revealed some of the entertainment and interactive experiences that will be found inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, including the conversing shrunken head and conductor aboard the Knight Bus alongside the London waterfront. What I found more exciting is that guests will be able to trade some of their own muggle money for Wizarding Bank notes that can be used in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade Village for purchases. Of course, these Gringotts Bank notes will also make most excellent souvenirs!
- Perhaps more exciting, the Weasleys - Fred, George and Ginny (played by James Phelps, Oliver Phelps and Bonnie Wright in the Potter films) -- got a sneak peek of Diagon Alley and provided plenty of photos for us! Yes, we are getting closer to an official opening!
- Those of you seeking Father's Day ideas for your favorite Disney dad need look no further than the Disney Parks Blog! I've got my eye on the 101 Dalmatians limited-edition Father's Day 2014 pin for Leap.
- The Marketplace Co-Op has officially opened in Downtown Disney, offering six different boutiques under one roof! Cannot wait to see it!
- Mark Hamill makes his Star Wars Weekends debut at Disney's Hollywood Studios. He shares more details about the upcoming "Star Wars Episode VII," in which he'll reprise his role as Luke Skywalker.
- Tinker Bell's Magical Nook has moved to Town Square Theatre alongside Mickey Mouse. You can meet the mischievous fairy alongside her oversized treasures, and FastPass+ is available.
- Speaking of Magic Kingdom character changes, the greeting times for Elsa and Anna were expanded. The "Frozen" sisters now greet until 30 minutes before closing, which should help ease the waits. Were you able to get FastPass+ reservations? We did for our upcoming trip - is SOOOOO excited!
- We got a behind-the-scenes look at "The Lion King - Concert in the Wild," the centerpiece of Disney's Animal Kingdom's newest event Harambe Nights, which debuts tomorrow night.
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.