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The 10 Big Updates From Walt Disney World (And Beyond) This Week (February 15-21)

This week has been extremely newsworthy for Walt Disney World, with half a dozen new attractions announced for the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, all opening later this year. In addition, a high profile refurbishment signals the final phases of one of Disney’s most eagerly-awaited projects. 

Outside Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando debuts the ride vehicles for Mako, Universal announces early ticket deals for 2016’s edition of Halloween Horror Nights plus LEGOLAND Florida announces a new attraction for their water park. 

1. Dates for 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival announced 

It was announced earlier this week that the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will officially open on September 14th and will run every day through November 14th. This year’s 62-day edition of the festival is the longest ever, beating last year by over a week. You can learn more about this year’s festival here.

2. New Magic Kingdom show announced

Image: Disney

After a decade of performances, Dream Along With Mickey is finally being retired in just a few weeks and will be replaced by Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. This new show will feature characters from Frozen, The Princess and the Frog, and Tangled, and will debut sometime this summer. We’ve got much more information on this upcoming show here.

3. Catastrophe Canyon demolition now underway 

Catastrophe Canyon

Image: Disney

Though it’s been more than a year since the Studio Backlot Tour closed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it has been confirmed that demolition of the centerpiece of this attraction has finally begun in anticipation of a future groundbreaking for Toy Story Land. While this new land doesn’t have an opening window quite yet, it looks like we can expect work to begin sometime in the near future.

4. New Star Wars attractions announced for Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Image: Disney

Disney’s Hollywood Studios already has a number of Star Wars-inspired attractions, but it was revealed this week that this park is getting even stronger with the force later this year. Beginning April 4th, the Center Stage area (which is in front of the Great Movie Ride) will play host to a new live show entitled Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away. This just-announced new show will play out iconic moments from the Star Wars series, not just from Episode VII, but from previous Star Wars films as well. Confirmed characters that will appear in this show include Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and Chewbacca  In addition to this new show, April 4th will also see the debut of a fun new daily experience where guests can watch a platoon of Stromtroopers led by Captain Phasma march across the park several times per day.

However, the biggest new Star Wars attraction will be a new nightly spectacular coming this summer. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular will be the most technical nighttime spectacular to ever be performed at Walt Disney World, and will combine fireworks, pyrotechnics, special effects and high-definition video projections to create a truly immersive experience for Star Wars fans to enjoy. We’ve got more details on all of the new Star Wars attractions coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios here.

5. Toy Story Midway Mania to close for single-day refurbishment 

Image: Disney

It was confirmed yesterday that Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios will be closed for a one day refurbishment on March 15th 2016. During this extremely brief refurbishment work will be done on the third track expansion, which is still scheduled to open Summer 2016.

6. New character experiences to debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios later this year

Image: Disney 

In our final update from Disney’s Hollywood Studios this week, it was revealed that several new character meet and greet experiences are coming to this park in the near future. In just a few weeks, a new “Celebrity Spotlight” meet and greet will open in the Echo Lake area of the park, that will feature a rotating cast of characters, starting with Olaf. 

Also this spring, Mickey and Minnie will be moving into a new, permanent meet and greet area in the former American Idol audition rooms. You can read more here

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