The holidays have started to set in at Central Florida’s theme parks and attractions. This month was the beginning of most of the holiday festivities at the parks, with plenty of updates from Walt Disney World, plus a few updates from local attractions. Let’s get into it!
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World has officially installed the first of half a million solar panels as part of a 270-acre, 50-megawatt solar facility that will help power the resort. When this new facility reaches completion in a few months, it will generate enough renewable energy to power two of the four Disney parks in Central Florida.
After a year of design, development, and refurbishment, the newly re-imagined World of Disney opened its doors at Disney Springs. The entire look of the world’s largest Disney store has been changed, and now emphasizes the magic behind the world of magical Disney storytelling.
The brand-new vehicle entrance for Disney’s Hollywood Studios is officially open, changing how guests arrive and park their vehicle at the park ahead of next year’s opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The new way to the park’s entrance and exit is now located just off Osceola Parkway, with plenty of updated road signs to help drivers find their way.
For a limited time this month, guests visiting Walt Disney World caught a sneak peek of Disney’s newest animated feature, “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” Guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios got an advance look at Walt Disney Presents before it hit the theaters on Nov. 21.
In even more “Ralph Breaks the Internet” news, guests can meet Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz at Epcot in Innoventions West, and then later in the year in the ImageWorks area of the Imagination pavilion.
Starting this December, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will join Magic Kingdom in hosting Disney After Hours ticketed events. These nighttime offerings are a chance for guests to experience the magic of a Disney park for three hours after regular park hours have ended – which means little-to-no wait for rides, character meet-and-greets, and more.
Universal Orlando Resort
Things are mostly quiet at Universal Orlando, now that Halloween Horror Nights has ended and the wait for the holiday season begins.
The park quietly opened a brand-new storefront in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley this past month – Globus Mundi Travel Agents.
This new small shop offers a variety of wizarding travel-themed merchandise, including official Globus Mundi-branded items, Hogwarts merchandise, Platform 9 3/4 items and more. The store also features theming that advertises wizard travel to London, Paris, Scandinavia and other locales, as well as a Ticket Office and Travel Information toward the back of the shop.
Guests of all ages can enjoy the spirit of the holidays during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration at SeaWorld Orlando.
Held on select dates from Nov. 17 – Dec. 31, guests can enjoy a variety of entertainment offerings, experiences, and more including the Sea of Trees, “Winter Wonderland on Ice” ice skating show, “Clyde & Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas” comedy show, Sesame Street’s “Elmo’s Christmas Wish” stage show, and more.
In addition to all the entertainment, guests can see over 3 million twinkling lights throughout the event, as well as surprise snow flurries filling the sky by the waterfront.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
The holidays are also on their way to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay with their annual Christmas Town, running Nov. 17 – Dec. 31.
This year features new events for guests to enjoy, including millions of sparkling lights, holiday shows, and a Sing-a-Long Train. The event will feature extended hours on weekends, as well as additional select dates. This offering is included with regular daily admission to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, or an annual pass, and will be open until 10 PM on select nights.
Central Florida Attractions
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park has announced a lengthy refurbishment that will begin this month. Work will be done to improve the park’s sidewalks, tear down and rebuild a bridge by the park’s entrance, as well as renovate the Underwater Theater, where their famous mermaid shows are performed.
There will be no mermaid shows during this renovation period, which will run from Nov. 26, 2018 – March 15, 2019. The park will also not be offering their Riverboat Cruises or Wildlife Shows during this time, as all of the sidewalks lead to those areas.
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.