This week has been an extremely busy one at Walt Disney World, with the announcement of a new character meet and greet at Epcot, the cancellation of a long-running show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, plus rumors that seem to indicate that a new event could be coming sooner than we think, and the opening of the 20th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!
Programming note: Though we normally devote some time to Orlando-area parks outside Lake Buena Vista, there has been so much going on at Walt Disney World (and so little going on everywhere else) over the past seven days that we decided to forgo the “beyond” for just one week. You’ll hear about all the news from Universal Orlando Resort, Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando in next week’s update!
1. Jedi Training - Trials of the Temple to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios later this year
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has announced that the Jedi Training Academy show in its current form will be closing on October 4th to make way for a new Star Wars-inspired show. Set to debut later this year, Jedi Training - Trials of the Temple will still continue to be performed next to Star Tours and will feature the previous show’s audience involvement element. However, this new show will be centered around the Star Wars Rebels series and will have all new sets as well as a villain from the Rebels TV series for young padawans to face off against!
2. Season of the Force dates revealed?
Though Disneyland has gotten almost all of the details about its Season of the Force event, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been almost completely left out of the loop. However, the official annual passholder event page for Walt Disney World now shows this event taking place from January 8th to March 20th, 2016.
Because this is an official Disney website, chances are good that these dates are accurate, but just in case these are “placeholder” dates (which is certainly possible, especially as Disney has not put these dates anywhere else online), we’ll hold off on saying this is officially confirmed, at least for now.
3. Pecos Bill announces refurbishment and menu change
The Pecos Bill Cafe in the Magic Kingdom will be closing next week for a short refurbishment, and will then reopen on October 1st to launch a brand new menu. Instead of the usual burger and fry fare, the new menu will include Mexican cuisine, including fajitas, burritos and rice bowls. This new change is expected to be permanent.
4. New Daisy Duck meet and greet coming to Epcot
Though it was rumored for a long time, Duffy the Disney Bear is finally leaving Epcot. However, the good news is that there will be another meet and greet experience replacing Duffy immediately after his departure on October 3rd. Starting on October 4th, Daisy Duck will be in his place, meeting guests at the World Showcase every day.
5. Kali River Rapids tests new storage policy
Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom will be testing a lockers-only policy similar to that used at Universal Orlando Resort for a few days next week. From September 27 to October 3, guests who want to experience this attraction will be required to use complimentary lockers to store all personal possessions, including bags, backpacks, and smartphones. After the test, guests should be able to use the center console on the raft boats for storage again.
6. Pirates of the Caribbean re-opens after refurbishment
Though Pirates of the Caribbean went down for a long refurbishment earlier this year, the attraction has re-opened with a number of awesome improvements. You can read about all the changes inside this refreshed attraction in-depth here.