Programming note: we’re running this week’s Walt Disney World update a little early, as we are anticipating lots of announcements from D23 over the next 24 hours. We’ll be back on schedule next week!
This week at Walt Disney World, a long-rumored restaurant finally gets official thanks to the ongoing D23 event, changes are confirmed to be in the works for one of Adventureland's most popular attractions and the backstory behind Jock Lindsay's Hangar Bar is revealed (with a surprising SEA connection!)
Outside Walt Disney World, a nearly year-long refurbishment is confirmed for The Incredible Hulk roller coaster at Islands of Adventure, package tickets go on sale for 2016's Celebration of Harry Potter event plus Busch Gardens Tampa announces the first original house for this year's Howl-O-Scream event.
1. Skipper Canteen restaurant confirmed
During a special Jungle Cruise panel Friday at the 2015 D23 convention, Disney finally confirmed the existence of the long rumored Jungle Cruise-themed restaurant at the Magic Kingdom. Officially named The Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper Canteen, this new location will be taking over the space occupied by the former Adventureland Veranda restaurant and will be welcoming its first guests later this year.
Interestingly, this new dining location will tie into the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, which has been absent from Walt Disney World since the closure of the Adventurer's Club in 2009. Alberta Falls, the proprietor of this new location is the daughter of the late founder Albert Falls, who is a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. In an unprecedented move, it was confirmed that narrative changes will be coming to the Magic Kingdom's Jungle Cruise ride to support the story and theme of this new restaurant.
2. Disney unveils Pandora: The World of Avatar model
One of the things we knew would be at this year’s D23 event was a model of Pandora: The World of Avatar. You can check out the video below for a closer look at this model, but eagle-eyed viewers will notice a large building on the right side, which is likely the unannounced quick service restaurant that has been rumored for several years. Though Disney still hasn’t confirmed this restaurant yet, they have been telling D23 visitors that there will be unique food offerings in this area, so it seems strange that they haven’t confirmed this dining location yet, which is obviously a part of the model and has been alluded to more than once.
3. Havaianas to open dedicated flip-flop stores inside Disney theme parks
Brazilian flip-flop brand Havaianas has announced a new partnership with Disney that will make Havaianas the “official flip-flop” of Walt Disney World. Under this new deal, Havaianas will be sold in nearly two dozen stores across Walt Disney World and new in-park stores dedicated to this brand will open across the resort over the course of the next few years.
4. New shopping extension of MyMagic+ announced
This week, Disney made the surprise announcement that they would be expansing MyMagic+ in a massive way. In the coming weeks, a new Shop Disney Parks app will be released for both iOS and Android users that will allow guests not only to locate specific merchandise inside Walt Disney World parks, but also buy items and have them shipped directly to their hotel room or home. You can read more about all the amazing things this new app can do here.
5. Menu items and backstory revealed for Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
Construction on Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs is nearly complete, and as we move closer to this location’s fall opening date, we’ve learned a few new details about this location, including some interesting revelations about the story behind this location. Per the Disney Parks Blog:
"Jock made a home at this waterfront property in the 1940s after discovering this charming little town while flying Indiana Jones over the Sunshine State in search of the elusive Fountain of Youth in 1938. As a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, Jock often welcomed his globetrotting friends to his hangar for a drink and fun times."
The SEA connection is quite intriguing, and the second made this week (it seems as if SEA is making a stateside comeback!) In addition to the additional story details, we also got a sneak peek at some of the menu items that will be offered at this location. Pictured below are the Dr. Elsa’s She-Deviled Eggs, the Squid! Why’d It Have to Be Squid fried calamari flatbread, Pretzels with house-made mustard and beer-cheese fondue, and Rolling Boulder Sliders with three spice meatballs on mini-buns with yogurt.