Programming note: We’ve combined our weekly Walt Disney World updates with our regular central Florida updates into one big wrap up! From now on, you can check back here every Saturday for all the latest and greatest going on at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and other parks around central Florida.
This week has been quite the eventful one at Walt Disney World, as Animal Kingdom’s Harambe expansion opens, a new backstage tour is announced for Epcot plus a big refurbishment is announced for Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
Elsewhere in Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort announces a Jurassic World attraction, the first details about Halloween Horror Nights 25 are revealed, Busch Gardens and SeaWorld announce new ticket prices and more!
1. World Showcase DestiNations Discovered tour announced
Epcot will be home to a brand new behind the scenes tour beginning next week. The World Showcase DestiNations Discovered experience is a five-hour walking tour that takes guests backstage, giving them a rare look behind-the-scenes of the IllumiNations show. The tour costs $109 per person and includes lunch at a World Showcase restaurant and a cultural demonstration at one of the pavilions. Tour reservations can be made now.
2. Final beam placed for Flamingo Crossings hotel
The Flamingo Crossings hotel project on the west side of Walt Disney World hit an important milestone this week as a “topping off" ceremony took place Thursday as the final structural steel beam was placed for the new complex's first two hotels. While news about the larger Flamingo Crossing project as a whole remains scarce, if you want to brush up on what this project is (and why it matters) we've got a run-down here.
3. Harambe Marketplace opens
The expanded Harambe section of Africa at Disney's Animal Kingdom opened today, including the much anticipated Harambe Marketplace quick service restaurant. We’ll have much more on this next week, but we’ve got a sneak preview of some of the amazing menu items that will be available at this dining location here.
4. Wilderness Lodge extensive refurbishment planned
Though it has not been officially announced yet, Walt Disney World has filed permits that reveal plans to extensively refurbish its signature Wilderness Lodge hotel. Among the notable changes coming to the hotel are new bungalow-style DVC villas (like those at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort), the addition of at least two more restaurants and the construction of a new pool. You can read much more about the planned Wilderness Lodge refurbishment (and check out the permits yourself) here.
5. Chef Mickey’s announces new brunch seating
Popular character dining spot Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort will be introducing a new brunch seating on May 31st. This new "in between" meal will cost the same as breakfast ($37.99 for adults and $19.99 for ages 3-9) and will last until 2:30PM. You can read much more about this new development (as well as check out what menu items are specific to the brunch seating) here.