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
- We can't wait to dive into Universal's Volcano Bay, opening May 25. As if it wasn't enough for us to be tempted by the slides and sandy beaches, the Volcano Bay dining options have our frog-mouths watering with delicious anticipation. With a whopping 60 different delicious options, visitors will munch on island-inspired cuisine as well as signature cocktails and brews. Universal has a video that highlights some of the tempting dishes. In addition to the culinary delights, Universal unveiled the names of some of the dining locations. Whatever THE FEASTING FROG is, we're going and never leaving. Well played, Universal. Your Volcano Bay dining options have us excited to visit.
- If your tadpoles are into dancing, head west to Disney California Adventure. An all-new, live show Disney Junior Dance Party will debut May 26 and feature high-energy performances from "Doc McStuffins," "Mickey and the Roadster Racers," "The Lion Guard," and "Sofia the First."
- For music of an orchestral kind, "The Music of Pixar LIVE A Symphony of Characters" will premiere at Disney's Hollywood Studios on May 26. Featuring a live symphony orchestra, the show will showcase music from Disney•Pixar films. I will be a hot mess if they do "Married Life" from UP.
- Inside the Magic posted a preview of Knott's Showdown in Ghost Town, a new VR experience arriving at Knott's Berry Farm in April. I have no idea how our frog heads will fit into those headset things.
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg is also getting into the VR game. Rather than a building a completely new experience, the park will be retrofitting its former Europe in the Air attraction to become the first VR motion simulator in North America.
- ACADEMY AWARD WINNER ALERT. Reese Witherspoon ( SO GOOD in "WALK THE LINE") was on hand for the official grand opening of Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs.
- Great Springtime events are BLOOMING at the Disneyland Resort. The resort's Easter-themed scavenger hunt EGG-Stravaganza will run from April 1-16. In addition to the hunt, Easter treats will be hopping up for purchase, including our favorite handmade chocolate Easter eggs FILLED WITH FUDGE.
- Calling all Orlando drummers! The Blue Man Group is helping to judge participants who could win a performance showcase during the 2017 Florida Music Festival.
And for our finale, some information on Pandora—The World of Avatar
- Fastpass+ reservations for the two attractions—Avatar Flight of Passage and Na'vi River Journey are now available for guests that are staying at a Disney World Resort Hotel and are 60 days away from their visit. Note that you may only book one of these two attractions in advance. We have some early thoughts on Fastpass+ strategies for experiencing these two attractions here.
- Disney released backstory information about all of the locations within Pandora — The World of Avatar. The stories are neat windows into the stores that Walt Disney Imagineering crafted within this new land.
- Dining at Pandora — The World of Avatar will be an "other-worldly" experience. The Satu'li Canteen will be serving customizable bowls—giving guests creative options such as wood-grilled chicken, slow-roasted beef, sustainable fish or chili-spiced fried tofu. The steamed "pods" – bao buns with either cheeseburger or vegetable curry look yummy. Children can choose from options such as a cheese quesadilla or a steamed "pod" (cheeseburger bao bun). Also of note, this will be the first restaurant in Disney World to offer Mobile Ordering through the My Disney Experience app. Click. Pick up. Yum.
- As we mentioned yesterday, between May 27 and July 4, 2017, on-site Disney World Resort hotel guests will have access to Nightly Extra Magic Hours at Pandora — The World of Avatar. This 11 p.m to 1 a.m. access will let you enjoy this new land in all its bioluminescence beauty.
That’s it for the theme park news this week. Have a great weekend!