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This is the weekly rumor and refurbishment update for the Orlando-area theme parks for the week of January 26, 2014.

Walt Disney World:

MyMagic+:

Randomly selected Annual Passholders will now be able to take part in MyMagic+ testing. Passholders that participate in the testing will be able to order a customized MagicBand and make advanced FastPass+ reservations. Three FastPass+ selections can be made per park per day sixty days in advance for a seven day period.

Annual Passholders will be converting from a ticket to MagicBand with discount card.

To receive passholder discounts, guests will receive a discount card with their MagicBands. A gold card will indicate parking is included and a black card will indicate parking is not included. The discount card is not a ticket and can’t be used at any of the touch points around the resort.

The passholder testing will be rolling out in the coming weeks.

Festival of Fantasy Parade:

Disney has announced that the “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade” will debut in March. A specific date has not been announced, but I’m expecting it will be soon. The parade floats have been moved to the storage facility behind the Magic Kingdom a few weeks ago. Overnight rehearsals for the parade have already begun. Now it’s just a month of light, sound and performance rehearsals before the daytime parade makes its debut.

Downtown Disney:

Team Mickey closed this week to begin its transformation into the Marketplace Co Op concept store. The new Marketplace Co Op will open in spring 2014 and feature six different stores.

  • Beautifully Disney: A make-up, fragrance and beauty accessories store for women
  • Cherry Tree Lane: An accessories store for women featuring shoes, bags and jewelry
  • D-Tech on Demand: A personal electronic accessories store
  • The Trophy Room: Sports apparel and collectibles
  • Centerpiece: Disney inspired home products
  • Zoey and Pickles: A store for girls featuring the latest trends

This conversion is part of the Disney Springs expansion, doubling the amount of retail and restaurant space and adding two new parking garages. The entire expansion should be completed by 2016 with elements such as a new parking garage opening later this year.

Refurbishments for February 2014:

Walt Disney World:
  • Blizzard Beach: December 22, 2013 - March 16, 2014
  • Studio Backlot Tour: January 5, 2014 - March 1, 2014
  • Festival of the Lion King: January 5, 2014 - Summer 2014
  • Splash Mountain: January 6, 2014 - March 21, 2014
  • Casey’s Corner: January 6, 2014 - February 15, 2014
  • Winter Summerland Mini Golf: January 20, 2014 - June 1, 2014
  • Monsters Inc. Meet and Greet: January 29, 2014 - February 8, 2014 (removal of the Monster’s University overlay)
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover: February 10, 2014 - March 27, 2014
  • Plaza Restaurant: February 17, 2014 - March 15, 2014
  • Pinocchio Village Haus: February 17, 2014 - March 30, 2014
  • Walt Disney World Monorail: The resort and express monorail will be closed weekdays between 11am and 7pm January 21, 2014 - March 31, 2014
Universal Orlando:
  • Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges: February 2, 2014 - February 14, 2014
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