Tag Archives: theme park

It was a fun run, but this was the final weekend for the first annual Epcot Festival of the Arts, (see my review and full coverage here.) In just a little over a week we'll be jumping right into Epcot's next big event, the Flower & Garden Festival! Gardens, topiaries and many food booths are already starting to show up all around Future World and World Showcase. Plus, a couple children's playgrounds are being constructed as well. Flower & Garden starts March 1, 2017, see my previous article for complete food menus and event information.

Also going on in the park, you can now purchase prints of all of the fantastic paintings featuring Figment from the "Brush with the Masters" scavenger hunt at the arts festival. Prints can be ordered through the Disney Art of Animation On Demand kiosks at Epcot and Disney Springs. You can choose an optional frame and your artwork is delivered to your home within a couple weeks. And finally, we check in on the construction of Choza Tequila, the new food stand opening soon at Mexico in World Showcase. Once open, you'll be able to get hand-crafted margaritas and classic Mexican cuisine like tacos, empanadas, chips and fresh guacamole. Check out the video and photo report below and stay tuned for more theme park updates!

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Construction is actually underway over at Disney's Hollywood Studios! We're finally seeing some movement on the Star Wars and Toy Story land work. The queue building for Slinky Dog coaster is going up and foundation work is happening at Star Wars land. The Muppets balloon with Kermit's face on it has been removed from the MuppetVision theater tower. This was to prevent it from being seen from within Star Wars land, (although I'm not sure why it had to come down so soon.) See below for more details about these massive new expansions, including concept art and a map outlining the ride placements in relation to the rest of the park.

Elsewhere in the park, Starring Rolls Cafe has closed its doors for good, with many of its baked goods now only available at the Trolley Car Cafe across Sunset Blvd. The tables out front are still present for guests, and signage remains (for now,) but there's no indication that Starring Rolls is ever going to be coming back. And lastly, guests now have a chance to check out a preview for the new live-action Beauty and the Beast at One Man's Dream. Plus, you can see props and Belle's dress used in filming. See the video as well as the extensive photo report below and stay tuned for more theme park news and updates!


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Lots more trees and plants have been added since my last visit to check out Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom. It's beginning to get more difficult to see into the area with all of the new plants and trees being planted, but that's a good thing for full immersion in the new land once it's open. Just one more sign that we're getting closer to the opening! I got video and photos of the bridge leading into Pandora for the first time this update. I was excited to see a flock of Imagineers surveying the area while I was there too.

Kali River Rapids is closed for its annual refurbishment and is scheduled to re-open sometime in the Spring. The water has been drained from the ride as part of this rehab. I saw workers touching up painted designs on the load platform using stencils while I was there. The new monkey enclosure at Maharajah Jungle Trek is now open featuring lion-tailed macaques. And I took some video of the Rivers of Light stadium seating, effects, projectors and boats since I hadn't gotten a good look at it yet myself. Watch the video and check out the photo update below for more details!


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Universal's Volcano Bay will be officially opening May 25, 2017. I wanted to check in on construction this week now that scaffolding has started to come down around the 200 foot tall volcano, named Krakatau. The rockwork looks amazing, and has more color in it than I thought when only viewing it from far away. New ancient ruins have been added along the base of the volcano since I was last here. During my visit, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many of the water slides already have water running through them for testing!

I also got a good look at the new park's entrance plaza and new title lettering. They were paving the plaza's walk up while I was there. The I-4 entrance and exit lanes have been shifted temporarily for work that continues on the pedestrian tunnel beneath the road. This will lead guests to and from a tram drop-off area on the other side. Check out the video as well as photo report below and stay tuned for more regular Volcano Bay updates in the future as we inch ever closer to the grand opening date!


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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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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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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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