May was a highly anticipated month in the theme park world, thanks to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at the Disneyland Resort in California. However, we had plenty of exciting news here in Florida – let’s dive into it!
Walt Disney World
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios unveiled its brand-new logo. The new design takes the park from its movie lot past to the present and future of immersing guests in the stories they know and love.
Walt Disney World announced that this fall, guests staying in Disney resort hotels and select other hotels will have the chance to enjoy “Extra” Extra Magic Hours inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opens on Aug. 29 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The park will open from 6-9 AM. daily from Sept. 1 – Nov. 2 for guests to experience all the park has to offer.
The Disney Skyliner gondolas finally had their wraps removed this month, as the transportation system continues to go through its test-and-adjust period. There are 22 character designs for the cabins, and guests can take a ride in them around the resort starting this fall.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom debuted a brand-new version of their nighttime pageant, “Rivers of Light.” Now titled “Rivers of Light: We Are One,” the new show illustrates the connection between humanity and the world around them through memorable moments from Disney films like “Bambi,” “The Lion King,” and more.
The upcoming space-themed restaurant, set to open next to Mission: SPACE in Future World at Epcot, is now scheduled for a 2019 opening. The new table-service restaurant will offer a menu with internationally-inspired cuisine, over 1,000 bottles of fine wine, and a variety of craft beer.
A new table service restaurant is coming to the Japan pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase this summer called Takumi-Tei. The restaurant will be inspired by the natural beauty of Japan, and feature a menu that evokes the relationship between nature and the artisan.
Just announced this past month, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will finally get a holiday celebration with new entertainment and festive décor. Winter will spread to every land of the park, and transform from day to night with unique offerings that everyone can enjoy.
A new collection of Mickey Mouse ears and Minnie Mouse ear headbands created by celebrities, designers, Imagineers and artists has launched at both Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort. Called the Disney Parks Designer Collection, the line will feature new designs each month, ranging from $60-$600. Featured creators in the collection include Heidi Klum, Vera Wang, Shag, and more.
The Play Disney Parks mobile app has added two new experiences for guests visiting Walt Disney World: one inspired by Splash Mountain in Magic Kingdom and another for Kidcot Fun Stop at World Showcase in Epcot.
Universal Orlando Resort
This month finally brought us our first look at the Hagrid animatronic that will be a part of Universal Orlando’s newest Wizarding World attraction, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Universal Creative worked directly with actor Robbie Coltrane, who portrays Hagrid in the “Harry Potter” films, in order to study his body movements and facial expressions to create the figure.
Yet another haunted house was revealed for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, and this time, it was an original! Called “Depths of Fear,” guests will dive into the unknown with an underwater setting, monstrous creatures, and a countdown to a terrible, watery fate.
The resort held the grand opening for its all-new dining location, the Today Cafe in Universal Studios Florida this month. NBC’s Al Roker and the Today Show team were on-hand to broadcast the event live from the cafe, which was created to feel as though you’re stepping onto the morning show’s iconic set.
Free beer has made a comeback for the summer at SeaWorld Orlando! Now through Sept. 2, from 10:30 AM to one hour before park close, guests ages 21 and older can pick up one complimentary, 14-ounce domestic beer at Mama’s Pretzel Kitchen Patio Bar per day.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is turning up the heat with the return of their Summer Nights event. Now through Aug. 11, guests can enjoy extended park hours, ride their favorite rides in the dark, and watch fireworks every Friday – Sunday night. A new summertime menu with plenty of sweet treats and eats was also added for the event.
Catch more theme park happenings, news, and updates here next month or every day at AttractionsMagazine.com.
Brittani Tuttle is a writer with Attractions Magazine, the only publication that covers all the major theme parks and attractions worldwide. In addition to the magazine, there is “The Attractions Show” online, an email newsletter, podcast, app and more. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit AttractionsMagazine.com.on her blog: www.mycardsandhowtheygrow.wordpress.com.