Back in November, Bob Chapek, the Disney Parks Chairman, announced that Epcot will be getting a "major transformation" that will be making the park "more Disney, timeless, relevant, family-friendly" while also keeping the original vision alive. He told his team of Imagineers to "dream big" when thinking of ideas. As many blue sky bloggers have been openly wishing for for years, we may actually see Epcot be fixed in our lifetimes. Rumors have the budget for this park-wide update to be something like $300-400 million, with a large part going towards Future World in particular.

Future World is in a strange place right now. Rides that were originally informative have become thrilling. Buildings that were meant to show off technologies of the future have become business sponsored expo halls and character meet and greets. The Health Pavilion is rotting away, only being used a couple of times a year for festivals. And Universe of Energy wins the award for most awkward ride re-skinning of all time, forever trapped in 1996, and featuring an outdated 1970s view of dinosaurs.

Last September "The Sum of All Thrills" closed at Innoventions, the last fun thing left to do in that building. Innoventions West is permanently closed already, and East has only two small exhibits remaining. It's only a matter of time before they close as well and the original CommuniCore buildings are completely gutted to make room for something, who knows what. Check out the video and photo report below for the current state of things as well as some of the many rumors floating around the Disney-sphere about what we might see materialize in the near future at the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.


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It's the final week before Christmas and while the parks are getting busier and busier, workers are not letting up, working harder and harder to get Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon done in time for its spring 2017 opening at Universal Studios Florida! The new attraction's main entrance sign has been installed, as well as the NBC store's signs. And work continues to theme the bland soundstage building. Over at Fast & Furious Supercharged, all but one small section of the huge show building has now been enclosed. The giant structure can now be seen towering over the buildings in San Fransisco. And finally I took a look at this year's Macy's Holiday Parade, the 15th annual! Check out the video and photo report below and stay tuned for more theme park updates.


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Land is still being cleared for Star Wars over at Disney's Hollywood Studios and the flat New York skyline facades are completely gone now. Toy Story Land is coming along now that all the pavement has been removed, the entire production tour building has been removed and the old Streets of America city hall is gone. PizzeRizzo, the new Muppets themed pizza restaurant is now open in Muppets Courtyard, replacing the old Pizza Planet restaurant. The new re-skin includes cute funny nods to the Muppets throughout, but otherwise hardly adds to the park's overall (muddled) atmosphere. And I checked out the new Rogue One props and costumes on display in the Preview Gallery at the Star Wars Launch Bay. See the video and photos below for more information and stay tuned for more theme park updates!


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01281-mts-still023There's lots of activity going on at The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World! The Tomorrowland rocks are completely finished being painted metallic blue and look great. The Carousel of Progress has received a shiny new sign to match its new paint scheme. And Disney is now offering private cabana rentals near Space Mountain. The cabanas seat up to 8 guests and will cost you $650 for the day. They include seating, small fridge with soda and water, small bags of chips, charging station, complimentary personalized mouse ears for everyone in your party and one novelty ice cream per guest. You also have access to a special Tomorrowland menu (menu food not included with cabana rental price) and a personal server will bring it to you. They don't look too great from the outside, just being event tents, but they're cozy on the inside. Are they worth $650? Maybe not. More than anything, being so far to the edge of the park makes it inconvenient. How often will your family find themselves this far away from the center of the park to take a load off? Not $650 worth of often, that's for sure.

01281-mts-still033Big Thunder Mountain has re-opened after its refurbishment. Swiss Family Treehouse has also re-opened. The Haunted Mansion has been closed for a four-day renovation. The exterior work on the mansion is complete and work has moved inside. It should re-open December 2nd or 3rd. The new street show in Liberty Square named The Muppets Present: Great Moments in American History has started running. And it's Christmas time at the Magic Kingdom. Decorations and music are in the air on Main Street, USA. Santa is meeting with children near City Hall. And the Jungle Cruise has been "transformed" into the annual Jingle Cruise, complete with corny x-mas jokes and decorations. Check out the video and images below and please Subscribe to the YouTube channel for more updates!


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01258-mts-still001The holidays have arrived at Disney's Animal Kingdom and DINOSAUR is back open again! After its recent refurbishment, DINOSAUR has re-opened with new lighting and special effects and more. While the ride is still incredibly dark, some areas have been enhanced with lit-up backdrops and the Compsognathus have been replaced with projected screens (which is actually an improvement in my opinion.) Some other improvements include the Carnotsaurus skins' paint scheme has more detail and the museum lobby displays in the queue have been improved. Over at Pandora: The World of Avatar construction, the pathway leading into the new area has received new lanterns and a big weird scary fake plant too. See the video and images below for more information and stay tuned for more theme park updates!


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01183-mts-still043Christmas is in the air at Universal Studios Florida, as decorations are showing up all over the park. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon will be opening in Spring of 2017 and it's starting to look more ready every day. The front facade is quickly beginning to match the concept art released nearly a month ago. Fast & Furious Supercharged construction is finally in full swing as a gigantic show building has been erected. The Roboasis near the Men in Black ride has closed to make way for a new enclosed Coca-Cola Refreshment Station! Not only can you purchase and fill up your souvenir Freestyle cups here, but this is the first location at the Universal parks where you can purchase a single use fountain cup for the Coke Freestyle machines! The RFID sticker on the cup's bottom only allows for one fill-up, which is great for folks that aren't willing to carry around a plastic cup all day but want a Freestyle flavor (like me!) Check out the video and snapshots below and stay tuned for more updates!


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01162-mts-still030Wow, what a difference a few months can make. The volcano, named Krakatau, has reached its incredible 200-feet-high goal and it can be seen for miles around. Around the open backside we can get a good view of many of the main attractions for Volcano Bay, including the highly anticipated water coaster, named Krakatau Aqua Coaster. The water coaster will use 4-person canoes as its ride vehicles taking riders throughout the volcano before plunging through a waterfall at the end. I cannot wait! In addition to the volcano, work is moving on to the park entrance, pedestrian tunnel (that leads to Tram drop-off,) and of course the two Cabana Bay expansion towers that border the new water park. The views from those rooms' windows of a towering volcano are going to be impressive. Check out the update video as well as snapshots and more details below. And stay tuned for a Universal Studios update coming soon!


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01146-mts-still015With all that's happening around Walt Disney World, it's easy to miss out on some of the smaller projects. While there's not a giant Star Wars land or new attraction being built at the Magic Kingdom, there's still a lot happening. So let's take a look. First off, Fall is in the air with pumpkins and other decorations lining Main Street, USA. But in the distance, you can already see Christmas lights being strung up on Cinderella Castle. The rocks at the entrance to Tomorrowland are receiving a new color scheme. The original red color worked when "Mission to Mars" was a popular attraction, but today's Tomorrowland has a more whimsical and timeless feel. These newly painted blueish metallic rocks fit the new aesthetic much better. Also in Tomorrowland, the Carousel of Progress has received a new paint scheme as well.

01146-mts-still058Big Thunder Mountain is closed for regular maintenance. The popular coaster ride should be re-opening by the end of November 2016. Swiss Family Treehouse is also closed for refurbishment. No word yet on a re-opening date. Exterior work is happening at The Haunted Mansion. Scrims are up along the bottom half of the mansion's facade and work walls line half the queue. It looks like awnings are being updated along portions of the queue as well. Minor work is being done on posts outside of It's a Small World. Both Mansion and Small World are still open during this construction. Check out the video and images below and of course, stay tuned for more theme park updates!


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01058-mts-still004It has been a few years since I've visited Disney's Hollywood Studios so I thought I'd check out this currently front-heavy theme park and see how all the new (massive) projects are coming along. Toy Story Land, which should hopefully be opening within the next two years, is off to a good start. The third track for Midway Mania is open and keeping lines short(er). They've made great progress clearing the land and moving out all the debris so construction can begin soon. Star Wars Land (or the Star Wars Experience as it's being referred to in-house) is not as far along. With much more to tear down on the Streets of America and surrounding areas, there will still be some time before we actually see vertical construction I'm afraid. That being said, it is surreal to be able to see clear across the Streets of America without facades in your way. Seeing Muppets from Writer's Stop is interesting for sure.

01058-mts-still005bbbAnd speaking of The Muppets, the newly re-themed restaurant PizzeRizzo is coming along nicely and should open for guests within a month or two. This former location of Pizza Planet is receiving a makeover to create a more cohesive "land" for the Muppets called Muppets Courtyard. The only last remnants of a true backlot, Muppets Courtyard has a New York street feel, and the new PizzeRizzo facade really shows that. (If they could only do something about the unthemed soundstage smack in the middle of the area that currently houses a Muppet gift shop.) I was happy to see a little nod to Pizza Planet in the newly designed pizzeria. It says "Best Pizza on the Planet", but PIZZA and PLANET are in big block letters. Beautiful way to remember the former location. New outdoor bathrooms are being added as well, aptly named Gonzo's Royal Flush. Check out the video plus many images below and stay tuned for more theme park updates!


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01034.MTS.Still047Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom will be an entirely new themed land filled with bioluminescent plants, floating mountains, two new attractions as well as themed dining and shopping options. The area is looking spectacular, at least what parts of it that can be seen from guest areas. Much of the floating mountains and show building exteriors are complete and work has begun on guest pathways and more. While I was there I saw that my favorite ride, DINOSAUR, is currently closed for refurbishment. It should be opening back up sometime in late October (or hopefully sooner). Check out the video update as well as images and concept art below, and stay tuned for some more Walt Disney World construction updates coming soon!


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