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The 10 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (July 5-11, 2015)

This week at Walt Disney World, we learn a lot more about the Wilderness Lodge refurbishment, another princess meet and greet gets shuffled around the Magic Kingdom and the first celebrity narrators for 2015's Candlelight Processional at Epcot are revealed!

Outside Walt Disney World, at Universal Orlando Resort, the NBC Media Center makes its debut (and its not quite what we thought it was...) plus Busch Gardens announces a money-saving deal for the rest of the summer,  Madame Tussaud's gets a fabulous five-some of new wax figures and another house for this year's Howl-O-Scream event is revealed!

1. Wilderness Lodge refurbishment gets detailed

Though we first heard news of the impending refurbishment of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge hotel several months ago, Disney finally confirmed this development and has begun sending out letters to guests with reservations at this hotel with information about what changes to expect both in the long-term as well as during their stay. Among the highlights from this guest letter is the confirmation that this refurbishment will kick off later this year and it set to be complete by 2017. It was also confirmed that the Hidden Springs leisure pool is being upgraded into a full size pool complete with a larger deck as well as a hot tub area.

2. New DVC-only private parties announced for Typhoon Lagoon

A DVC Members-only party is being held this year on select nights at Typhoon Lagoon. Known as the Disney Vacation Club Neighborhood Beach Bash,  this complimentary after-hours event will be filled with fun, food, and special experiences, including character meet and greets, relay races and other surprises. The event will be held from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on the following dates: Thursday, July 23 Tuesday, July 28 Tuesday, August 4 and Tuesday, August 11. DVC members must be staying on property during one of these dates in order to attend (so, if you’re a local and just want to drop in, you won’t be admitted).

3. Tiana and Naveen are on the move at the Magic Kingdom 

Tiana and Naveen are moving from their normal meet and greet location at the Liberty Square gazebo to the nearby Heritage House (next to the Hall of Presidents) until further notice. It is unknown whether this is a permanent change or just a limited time test.

4. All Hess gas stations to be rebranded as Speedway

Though Hess gas stations are a common sight around Walt Disney World property (there are three of them after all), plans are being made this month to re-brand all of the on-property Hess locations as Speedway. Work on changing the signage around these gas stations will take place next week, with each of the three locations closing for a 24 hour period while work is completed. The coversion to Speedway should be completed before the end of the month. 

5. 2015 Candlelight Processional reservations now open 

Disney opened dining reservations this week for 2015’s Candlelight Processional at Epcot, and confirmed several narrators for this year as well. Confirmed to be returning to the stage are fan favorites Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Edward James Olmos and Joe Morton. More narrators still have yet to be announced, but you can check out the schedule thus far below:

TBD - November 27 to 29, 2015

Neil Patrick Harris - November 30 to December 3, 2015

Whoopi Goldberg - December 4 and 5, 2015

Joe Morton - December 6 to 8, 2015

TBD - December 9 to 11, 2015

Meredith Vieira - December 12 to 14, 2015

TBD - December 15 to 23, 2015

Edward James Olmos - December 24 to 26, 2015

TBD - December 27 to 28, 2015

Amy Grant - December 29 to 30, 2015

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Tiana & Naveen's move might be due to the construction on the Adventureland restaraunt that is right behind their gazebo, possibly. When we were at MK the last week of June, the two had a tarp that looked like a garden behind them.

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