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This week at Walt Disney World, an entire park suddenly closes due to technical issues, an upcharge event gets extended, plus Disney releases some new details about this fall's Night of Joy event. 

Outside Walt Disney World, SeaWorld makes a shocking announcement about the future of its orca program, Universal reveals a ton of new information about Skull Island: Reign of Kong, plus LEGOLAND Florida announces a brand new hotel! 

1. Blizzard beach hit by technical issues

Image: Disney

Due to technical difficulties, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park had to close on March 16th, and remained closed for the rest of the week. Though no official reason was given for the sudden closure, many have speculated that the water pumping issues with Summit Plummet and Slush Gusher that reared their head last year are back again. During this unexpected closure, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon was able to put its current refurbishment period on pause and open for guests wanting to take advantage of this week's warmer weather. 

2. Club Villain extended through May

When the Club Villain dining experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios debuted earlier this year, it was a smash hit, selling out its limited engagement in only a few days. While a price hike did cause a few hiccups when this experience was extended until March, a special offer for DVC members and annual passholders (which brings the increased $129 ticket price back down to $99) has reignited interest in this event, and Disney has wisely extended it until May. Guests are now able to make reservations for shows every Saturday this spring, with 5:45 PM and 9:00 PM events now available.

3. Disney starts parking test

Last week we reported that Disney was considering implementing an upcharge for parking closer to the theme parks, and it looks like guests didn't have to wait long for this test to get underway, as new parking prices are now in effect at both the Magic Kingdom and at Epcot (but interestingly, not at Disney's Animal Kingdom or Disney's Hollywood Studios). Though Disney has yet to make an official announcement about the new parking fees, guests who visit either of these parks will see some new signage at the front gate that reveals a new “preferred parking” option available for guests who are willing to pay a posted $35 fee ($15 for annual passholders, DVC members and resort guests). You can read more about the parking changes at Walt Disney World here. 

4. Second FastPass+ touch point eliminated at most attractions

Earlier this week Disney turned off the second touch points at a few selected attractions in an effort to help keep the FastPass+ line moving as quickly as possible, and now second touch points have been deactivated at almost all of the attractions at the Magic Kingdom, and many at other parks as well. While some guests have reported that they have seen line jumping increase because of this change, thus far Disney is keeping this new policy and has not made any announcement about re-activating these touch points. 

5. Night of Joy details confirmed

Image: Disney

Disney has announced details for the 2016 edition of the Night of Joy Christian music festival, which will take place for the first time at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex instead of the Magic Kingdom. Here's the performance schedule for this year: 

Friday, September 9 – MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Francesca Battistelli, Crowder, Matthew West, Stars Go Dim, Zealand Worship

Saturday, September 10 – newsboys, for King & Country, Young & Free, Switchfoot, Red, Thousand Foot Krutch, Tim Timmons

Because of the new venue, Disney has announced some new ticket options, which give guests the option of opting out of theme park admission. Here's the ticket option breakdown:

Admission for Friday’s concerts only: $39 plus tax (in advance); $45 the day of the show (if available).

Admission for Saturday's concerts plus a day at one Walt Disnety World theme park: $99 plus tax (in advance); $114 plus tax the day of the show (if available).

Admission for both concert days plus a single day at one Walt Disney World theme park: $119 plus tax (in advance).

In addition to these new ticket options, it was revealed that guests who purchase the 2-Day ticket before August 9, 2016 will also receive a single admission to their choice of Disney’s Blizzard Beach or Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon from September 6 – September 12, 2016. Tickets will go on sale next month. 

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Comments

Charging for closer parking is un-American. Every year it seems Disney does something new to make me uninterested in taking my family there.

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