MickeyBlog Breaking News Update – February 26, 2018
Wow, this week has had some huuuuge announcements about Disney theme parks and movies. Here are some of the highlights!
20 Years of Animals!
Earth Day 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Rather than host a single-day celebration, Disney’s throwing a two-week party! They’re calling it a Party for the Planet, and everyone’s invited! The dates are April 22nd through May 5th.
Given the nature of Animal Kingdom, the priority during these two weeks is animal awareness. The central location for the events is Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Here, guests can enter and watch the proceedings at the animal hospital. You can also learn more about Disney’s conservation practices and even a few things about animal nutrition. April 22nd also marks the debut for UP! A Great Bird Adventure featuring Russell and Dug, so it’s the perfect day to visit Animal Kingdom!
While we’re on the subject of this park, it has a new resident! Disney revealed the birth of a baby hippo last month, but they were cagey about the details. This past week, we learned that it’s a boy! Throw balloons and streamers in the air in celebration! Disney named the baby Augustus, and you can see pictures and video of him here. Currently, our new hippo friend is tiny. He weighs a modest 168 pounds, but don’t worry! Once he’s fully grown, he could weigh as much as 9,920 pounds!
Now with More Bald Eagle!
The American Experience Pavilion at the World Showcase has two primary claims to fame. One of them is the theatre where Epcot hosts many of its concerts. The other is the American Adventure attraction, an opening day attraction that has thrilled patriots for more than 35 years. Well, this show is receiving a long overdue update now.
Disney’s finally adding digital projection and a modern speaker system to make it look and sound more current. They’ve even created a special orchestral version of Golden Dream during the renovation. Also, the show will get some new additions, too. Part of the show will highlight some historical events that have taken place since 1982, the time when the American Adventure debuted. Fans of the original show will love the modernized 2018 take on it!
Go On, Unfold Your Menu!
Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom is the toughest Advanced Dining Reservation to book at Walt Disney World, and that’s been the case since it opened. Not content to settle for maximum occupancy, park planners have found a new way to boost sales here. They’re adding “an enhanced prix fixe dinner menu that boasts a variety of delectable French-inspired dishes and new offerings.” Yum!
While concerns exist about whether this Parks Blog announcement is the first sign of a change from Table Service to Signature Restaurant status, the news is otherwise wonderful. The new menu sounds delectable. Guests will enjoy a three-course menu with an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert. You’ll have your choice of options for the appetizer and entrée, while the dessert is a personalized platter, presumably one that features the Grey Stuff.
The link above has pictures of many of the new meal offerings. WARNING: You shouldn’t read it if you’re on a diet. The images of food are basically guaranteed to make you run grab a snack out of the fridge.
New Adventures at Disneyland!
A few years ago, Disney revealed that they would add a new restaurant near Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom. That eatery, Skipper Canteen, is one of the best themed restaurants at Walt Disney World. Park planners have noted the success of the project and chosen to do something similar at Disneyland.
The Aladdin Oasis at the Happiest Place on Earth is gone forever. In its place, Imagineers are constructing a new area. Called The Tropical Hideaway, the highlights of this location are an “exotic traders’ market”, a Jungle Cruise-themed restaurant, and a tiki room. There’s no word yet on whether the restaurant is a new property or a redux of Skipper Canteen.
More Disney Springs and Downtown Disney Changes
You may think that MickeyBlog News has new updates about the entertainment districts of Disneyland and Walt Disney World every week. It’s not your imagination. Disney’s worked hard over the past two years to keep both shopping areas fresh. This week, two additions are ready for public consumption while they’ve announced a third.
The announcement involves Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs. The building’s adding a Quick Service restaurant as a counter service alternative to its current option. The Table Service meal isn’t for everyone, and so the plan is to add some to-go options for tourists who want to explore the property. It’s a smart business decision since $18 milkshakes aren’t for everyone.
Also at Disney Springs, the Disney Corner has opened. It’s a visually stimulating shop that Disney describes as a “two-story store filled with princess fun.” Primarily catering to women, at least according to Disney, it’s a limited time store, something of an unusual concept. You can see the type of products available at the Parks Blog. It has an image gallery of some exciting products.
Downtown Disney at Disneyland has its own wonderful new store. Called Disney Home, it sells exactly the kinds of products you’d expect with that name: home goods. Anyone who loves to fill their kitchen with Disney products will make this place a regular part of their shopping routine. The store is so great that the Today Show posted an article about it…and that’s a program that’s in direct competition with Disney’s ABC production, Good Morning America. You know something is good when an adversary praises it!
Hollywood Studios Takes But Also Gives
So, I have a bit of bad news for people traveling to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in April and May. Disney is currently performing renovations at Toy Story: Midway Mania! as a part of the impending arrival of Toy Story Land. To create the new entrance to Pixar area, cast members are adjusting some of the space inside the Midway Mania! building. For this reason, they’ve had to close the tracks and part of the line queues. It’s kind of disruptive right now, albeit a temporary aggravation.
As part of the change, Disney’s not taking FastPass+ reservations for the attraction during parts of April and May. You also can’t book a FastPass while in the park. It’ll be like the dark ages before FastPasses existed. The lines are first come, first served from April 9th through May 7th. After that, the ride will return to normal operating procedures. And you’ll definitely want a FastPass when you visit this summer since Toy Story Land will spike traffic in the area.
The good news is that the new themed land will follow the pattern of Pandora – The World of Avatar. During the early days of that development, Disney offered Extra Magic Hours to guests staying at official resorts. Guests lapped up these additional opportunities to ride the two new attractions.
Toy Story Land will operate the same way during its first few weeks. Beginning on June 30th, Hollywood Studios will have Extra Magic Hours from 7 am to 8 am each morning. On Fridays, the park will also provide two hours of post-closing Extra Magic Hours.
Obviously, you’ll want to stay at a Disney resort during those first few weeks of Toy Story Land. Make sure to contact a MickeyTravels agent to book an affordable hotel room at a great property onsite.
Thanks for visiting MickeyBlog.com! For a free quote on your next Disney vacation, fill out the form below!