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This is the weekly rumor and refurbishment update for Orlando-area theme parks for the week of January 12, 2014.

Walt Disney World:

Magic Kingdom:

A crane is now onsite at the Magic Kingdom next to Cinderella Castle. The crane is there to remove the 500,000 lights used during the castle dream lights and for refurbishment of the castle. The removal of the lights should only take a week or two but the crane will stay until march for the refurbishment process. Work on the castle will take place between 11:30pm and 7:00pm daily.

Disney has released photos of a new float coming to “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” at the Magic Kingdom in spring 2014. The new float is a representation of Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty” and has a Steampunk-inspired design.

© Disney

From the Disney Parks Blog:

“Stretching 35 feet in length and reaching 26 feet above the parade route, the Maleficent Dragon has been designed in partnership with Tony Award-winner Michael Curry, whose previous collaborations with Disney Parks have included the “Tapestry of Nations” parade at Epcot and “Finding Nemo – The Musical” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.”

© Disney

“The “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” is a celebration of Fantasyland, with each of the floats appearing as though the characters of that enchanted land may have had a hand in crafting them, bringing their individual stories to celebratory life on the streets of Magic Kingdom Park. The Steampunk-inspired style of the Maleficent Dragon takes that “maker” spirit to a spectacular level.”

It will be exciting to see what the rest of the floats look like before the spring debut.

Epcot:

Spice Road Table has begun soft openings at Epcot. The new moroccan themed resaurant serves small plates and tapas.

© Disney

© Disney

From the Disney Parks Blog:

“Inspired by the outdoor cafés along the Mediterranean, the whitewashed façade of Spice Road Table is accented in icy shades of blue from the famous “Blue City” of Chefchaouen in Morocco’s Rif Mountains. With 120 outdoor terrace seats, the inside will seat 60 with cozy booths, Moroccan light fixtures, tilework, tapestries and art representing Morocco’s indigenous Berber tribes is showcased.”

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Animal Kingdom:

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new AVATAR inspired land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom took place this past week. Construction has officially begun and rumors that it would never happen can finally be put to rest as Disney moves forward towards a 2017 opening.

© Disney

“Disney’s Animal Kingdom is already home to some of our guests’ favorite attractions,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “With AVATAR, we are adding a spectacular new world and an exciting set of attractions unlike any our guests have experienced. The expansion now under way will make the park a true full-day, must-see experience.”

© Disney

Resorts:

Disney’s flagship and most expensive resort will get a minor refurbishment in the first half of 2014. Rooms throughout Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa will be refurbished and feature all new wallpaper and carpet when completed. This is in addition to replacing the bedspreads (the decorative sheets that are uncomfortable and practically useless) with white duvets which is currently happening at all the Disney resorts.

Here are the starting dates for the refurbishments:

  • Conch Key: January 5, 2014
  • Boca Chica: February 2, 2014
  • Big Pine Key: March 9, 2014
  • Sago Cay: April 27, 2014
  • Sugar Loaf: June 1, 2014
  • Main Building: June 29, 2014

All of the rooms are expected to be completed by August 2014.

 
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