Sunday, March 7, 2021

Grand Openings Galore!

Theme Park Wrap-Up

What normally is a quiet month in the theme park world turned out to be jam-packed with announcements, reveals and grand openings! Let’s dive right into it!

Walt Disney World

Disney finally revealed the opening date for the highly-anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, coming to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World this year. Guests will be able to experience a brand-new planet in a galaxy far, far away starting May 31 at Disneyland park, and Aug. 29 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has begun construction on a new hybrid coaster.

Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland rocked the theme park world with their announcement that smoking and wagon strollers would be banned in the parks. Starting May 1, smoking areas will no longer be found inside the parks at either resort, the water parks and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida, and the Downtown Disney District in California. Also on May 1, the Disney Parks will adjust their guidelines on stroller sizes, which will require they be no larger than 31 inches wide and 52 inches long.

Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy recently made its big debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This new show experience takes guests into the world of Disney/Pixar’s “Cars” as they become rookie racers and learn the rules of the road from Lightning McQueen himself!

An opening date for the upcoming NBA Experience at Disney Springs was finally announced this month. Guests will be able to make their basketball dreams come true when the immersive experience opens on Aug. 12. 

Disney announced that the personalized Walk Around the World bricks near Magic Kingdom park and the Transportation and Ticket Center will soon be destroyed to make way for the future. The bricks are set to be removed as the resort adds new walkways, additional metal detectors and bag screening stations, and re-works tram loading and unloading areas.

Jaleo, the Spanish restaurant by Chef José Andrés, opened its doors at Disney Springs this past month. The restaurant features a menu of tapas that reflects both traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine, along with sangrias and a selection of Spanish wines. 

The parking lots at Disney’s Hollywood Studios were recently recast, as each of the studio-themed lot names are now represented by iconic Disney characters. Guests can now park in lots named for Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Olaf, and BB-8.

Universal Orlando Resort

SeaWorld Orlando’s new Sesame Street area has opened.

Halloween season has officially begun, as Universal Orlando has announced that a new house based on seasons 2 and 3 of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” will be coming to this year’s Halloween Horror Nights.

This month also marked exciting reveals from Universal on their upcoming Wizarding World attraction, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. As guests travel through the Forbidden Forest, they’ll encounter magical creatures from the Wizarding World, get tangled up in the Devil’s Snare, and twist, turn, race forward and backward at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. It opens on June 13. 

Universal Orlando’s new value hotel, Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites, now has an official opening date! The new Value category hotel will open to guests on June 27. 

SeaWorld Orlando

It was a big month for SeaWorld Orlando, as their brand-new Sesame Street area opened to guests! Guests can now take a walk down Sesame Street for the very first time, and experience all the fun, learning and laughter firsthand. The land features rides, dry and wet play areas, and interactive experiences for all ages.

SeaWorld Orlando also launched a brand-new Brew Club membership for guests, where they can receive their own beer stein and get discounted refills all year long. Membership includes a 20 oz. personal beer stein and stein storage location within the club area located inside Waterway Grill.

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will have a new house based on seasons 2 and 3 of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” 

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay announced construction has begun on a new hybrid coaster that will replace the former Gwazi roller coaster. Once open in 2020, this new wood and steel coaster will be North America’s tallest hybrid, and the fastest, steepest hybrid coaster in the world.

Legoland Florida Resort

Everything got even more awesome at Legoland Florida Resort this month, as The Lego Movie World officially opened to guests! This park expansion features three new rides and other attractions, all inspired by “The Lego Movie” and its new sequel, “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.”

Catch more theme park happenings, news, and updates here next month or every day at


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