The past month has been filled to the brim with exciting updates and reveals, plus lots of holiday fun at all of Florida’s theme parks.
Walt Disney World
- Starting with the most exciting piece of news: the names of the rides coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios have finally been revealed. Guests will climb aboard the famous space freighter in “Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run,” and face the wrath of the First Order on “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.”
- Other announcements from a recent Disney D23 Official Fan Club presentation included a new nighttime projection show, “Wonderful World of Animation,” set to debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios next year; a fall 2019 opening season for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride at Hollywood Studios; two new nighttime spectaculars to replace “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” at Epcot; and more.
- The Disney Skyliner gondola system is now testing and is expected to open to guests next fall. This new transportation system will connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four nearby resort hotels: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and the upcoming Disney’s Riviera Resort.
- The Disney After Hours Event has expanded to two new parks this month, and guests can now enjoy this separately-ticketed offering at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. These nighttime offerings give guests a chance to experience the park for three hours after regular day guests have left, with most attractions running with little-to-no-wait.
- Holiday celebrations are in full swing at Walt Disney World, where guests can enjoy Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, or experience holiday traditions from around the world during the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.
- Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill is now open to guests at Disney Springs, offering a laid-back California dining experience for lunch and dinner.
- A new hotel tower, called “The Cove,” was announced for the Swan and Dolphin Resort. Ground has officially been broken on the new tower, which is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2020.
Universal Orlando Resort
- An exclusive new Coca-Cola Annual Passholder lounge is now open at Universal Studios Florida for a limited time. Located inside the Studio Styles façade, this lounge offers amenities like an arctic Coke cooler, charging stations, message boards, comfortable seating, and the occasional visit from Universal’s colorful cast of characters.
- The holidays are back at Universal Orlando Resort, with plenty of merriment, magic and mischief in store for guests. Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade have transformed for Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s is back with over 30 larger-than-life balloon floats. The Grinchmas show, and Mannheim Steamroller concerts have also returned.
- Universal also gave us a first look at the guest rooms inside Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites, opening next summer. Universal’s first value hotel will feature a vibrant color scheme and warm wood tones as guests are immersed in the free-spirited style of surf culture.
SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa
- SeaWorld Orlando has announced an expanded event lineup for guests to enjoy in 2019. The 2019 event lineup will include tasty and family-friendly events, all included with an Annual Pass or theme park admission. Some of these events include Elmo’s Birthday Weekend, Seven Seas Food Festival, Electric Ocean, and more.
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is getting into the holiday spirit with their annual Christmas Town celebration. New experiences for this year include millions of sparkling lights, holiday shows and a Sing-A-Long Train. Plus, guests can meet Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends at both SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.
Legoland Florida Resort
- Legoland Florida has announced plans for a new five-story, 150-room hotel that will feature a pool and large deck area. This will be the resort’s third on-site hotel and is scheduled to open sometime in 2020.
- Christmas Bricktacular is back at the park that’s built for kids, offering plenty of Lego builds, holiday treats and resort-wide live entertainment. This year’s event features a brand-new live show on the Lego City Stage, “Holly Jolly Jubilee.” In the show, Santa’s elves are ready to send the big guy off to the North Pole, and are sure to get everyone singing and dancing along the way.
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.