Home » The 8 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (August 24 – 30, 2020)

The 8 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (August 24 – 30, 2020)

Characters Walt Disney World

This week at Walt Disney World,  construction resumes on several important projects, a new high end MagicBand collection is released, plus Disney implements new social distancing measures at the Magic Kingdom.

Outside Walt Disney World,  SeaWorld adopts a daily schedule, Universal continues downsizing, and Discovery Cove offers a new deal for Florida residents. 

1. Work resumes on several Epcot projects

Though construction had already restarted on some Epcot construction projects, including Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and the park’s entrance redesign, this week work resumed on several other projects including the park’s central spine as well as Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. Work on the latter was entering its final phases before the shutdown and though the attraction missed its original summer 2020 opening target, it seems likely that Disney could have this attraction ready to debut sometime next year. 

2. Halloween celebration announced for the Magic Kingdom

Disney confirmed this week that the Magic Kingdom will be hosting a scaled down Halloween celebration this year beginning next month from September 15 through October 31. During this celebration guests can expect the following: 

  • All guests can wear costumes to the Magic Kingdom during this time
  • There will be a number of themed character appearances throughout the day at various locations around the park
  • Themed food and merchandise will be available for purchase

For more on this special event we’ve got a full rundown of what to expect here

3. $600 MagicBand set commemorating 2020 NBA season now available for purchase

One of the many unexpected events of 2020 was the hosting of the rest of the NBA season at ESPN Wide World of Sports as part of an on-property “bubble” for teams, coaches, and select members of the media. And though the NBA will be wrapping up its season in just a few weeks, if you want to commemorate this event (and have $595 burning a hole in your wallet, you can purchase the above pictured commemorative MagicBand set, which includes the following:

  • 22 standard MagicBand 2 designs featuring the logo of each participating team, inspired by those worn by the NBA players. Teams include: Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, LA Clippers, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, and Phoenix Suns
  • One standard ”Make History” MagicBand 2 design featuring Mickey Mouse icon and four park icons of the Walt Disney World Resort
  • One standard ”NBA Finals” MagicBand 2 design featuring gold artwork and the logo for winning team of the NBA Championship (TBD)

4. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge comes to The Sims 4

Though Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge remains closed at Disneyland and is subject to capacity limits at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, those who want to get their fix of everything Batuu has to offer will be able to do so virtually very soon thanks to a new video game expansion pack for The Sims 4, releasing next month. 

Named Star Wars: Journey to Batuu, this new expansion pack recreates Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and allows players to live out their own Star Wars adventure by teaming up with the Resistance, the First Order, or the rebels, who are all fighting for control over Batuu. Along the way, they will encounter famous faces like Kylo Ren, Rey Skywalker, Hondo Ohnaka and even Vi Moradi. Players can also unlock new artifacts and one-of-kind clothing, customize their own droids and create their own lightsaber, just like they would in the park, and can bring home “souvenirs” to decorate their home.

5. Physical distancing markers appear to help guests stay apart during character cavalcades 

Though Walt Disney World has not been hosting parades due to social distancing concerns, guests have been able to enjoy character cavalcades where a few characters wave at guests from a single float. However, these character interactions have become very popular, and with guests beginning to crowd around cavalcade pathways Disney has had to install physical distancing markers along routes to ensure guests stay safe while enjoying this entertainment offering. 

6. Universal hotels downsize staff 

Just two weeks after Universal Orlando Resort hotels Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and Universal’s Aventura Hotel closed indefinitely, Universal Orlando Resort has notified the City of Orlando that more than 1,000 employees that work across its remaining on-property hotels will be laid off as Universal continues to downsize operations. 

7. Discovery Cove announces new deal for Florida Residents

Discovery Cove has announced that Florida residents can now not only save 20% on reservations they can also receive a Complimentary Premium Drink Package through all of 2021.

8. SeaWorld and Aquatica now operating daily

While many parks are reducing their park operating schedule and hours, SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica have just announced that they will be operating daily starting from now through October 5, 2020. 

SeaWorld will also be extending their operating hours, with the park being open until 10pm for the next two weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). Due to the fact that there may have to be necessary changes to the calendar, check out the park calendar for SeaWorld Orlando here.