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The 8 Big Updates From Walt Disney World (And Beyond) This Week (January 25-31)

This week at Walt Disney World, yet another attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios is confirmed to be closing in the near future, more information is released about what guests can expect from 2016's Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, plus, permits are filed for yet another expansion. 

Outside Walt Disney World, LEGOLAND Florida opens a new attraction, Universal Orlando Resort makes some changes to their early admission policy, and the Orlando Eye announced a contest for couples hoping to get married this Valentine's Day! 

1. Club Disney closing in a few days

Though it has only been a few weeks since the Club Disney character dance party opened at the Sunset Showcase Theater, it looks like this attraction will cease normal operation later this week on Feb. 6, 2016, and will then become seasonal, potentially returning during high capacity days.

We don’t know yet what be offered in place of Club Disney once it ceases daily operation, but some have speculated that this venue will host private events (much like the former Premiere Theater did). In any case, if you were a fan of this attraction, you only have one more week to go check it out before it dances away (at least for now). 

2. Two new outdoor kitchens announced for Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Image: Disney

With only a month to go before 2016’s Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival kicks off, Disney has announced some new details about two new Outdoor Kitchens that will join this year's kiosk lineup: La Isla Fresca and Cider House.

At La Isla Fresca guests will find tropical-inspired dishes, including Jamaican Braised Beef with Pigeon-Pea Rice, Jerk-Spiced Grouper and Chicken with Mango Salsa. At the new Cider House, guests will be able to sample a Field Greens salad with greens harvested from The Land pavilion, heirloom apples, Stilton cheese and dried blueberries.

3. Walls at Disney’s Hollywood Studios seem to suggest Muppets Land rumor is true

For the past few weeks we’ve been reporting on a rumor that suggests that the current Pizza Planet refurbishment will actually bring a Muppets-themed restaurant to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, essentially turning the area around MuppetVision 3D into it’s own mini Muppets Land. Earlier this week walls went up around Pizza Planet, and while this isn’t definitive proof, the walls look a little different from the nondescript, gray walls you can find in other areas of the park, and actually have a number of jokes on them that are similar to The Muppets’ “style”. Again, while this doesn’t exactly prove anything, it does seem like more evidence that this project is indeed going ahead as rumored. 

4. Disney files plans for ESPN Wide World of Sports complex expansion

Image: Disney 

Earlier this week Disney filed permits with the South Florida Water Management district for an expansion to its on-property ESPN Wide World of Sports complex that would include a new multi-story building located behind the Josten's Center. This new addition would adding 286,000 square feet of space, using a 179,000 square feet footprint, according to the permit.In addition to the new building, the permit indicates an additional parking lot will be constructed as well to handle the extra crowds. Work has not yet started on this project. 

5. Disney's New "YuDo" Digital Wallet app delayed 

Image: Disney

Though guests can already use MagicBands and Apple Pay around Walt Disney World to pay for food and souvenirs, last year Disney announced YuDo by Disney, a new digital wallet app that guests could use to load Disney gift cards on to their smart devices. However, this app seems to be running into some trouble, as it was supposed to come out last year, was delayed until January 2016, and has now been delayed again, this time indefinitely.

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