This week at Walt Disney World, summer 2016 gets off to a blockbuster start with the addition of nighttime attractions at Disney's Animal Kingdom, the opening of a third track at Toy Story Midway Mania, plus the limited-time revival of a newly upgraded Epcot favorite!
Ouside Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort's parent company files some interesting permits pertaining to the development of transportation in between current and future theme parks, an Islands of Adventure classic introduces a new feature, plus a new mural is unveiled at SeaWorld Orlando
1. Nighttime entertainment and attractions debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Friday, May 27th marked the official kickoff of nighttime operations at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and saw the introduction of Kilimanjaro Safaris After Dark, The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic and the Tree of Life: Awakenings show. For more on these new shows (and what we thought of them) click here.
2. Toy Story Midway Mania opens third track early at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Though Disney was originally projecting that the third track for Toy Story Midway Mania would not open until next week, Disney's Hollywood Studios surprised guests by opening the third track earlier this week, to the joy of park-goers looking to take a spin on this attraction without dealing with its infamous wait times. You can read more about how this new opening has already affected wait times around this ride-strapped park here.
3. $35 Preferred parking option now available at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney has expanded its $35 preferred parking option to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which actually has the smallest of the resort’s theme park parking lots. However, if you just have to park in the Stage lot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, now you can thanks to the new preferred parking option at this park.
4. Summertime refurbishment for It’s a Small World announced
It's a Small World at the Magic Kingdom will be closing for a few weeks this summer beginning on August 22 and lasting through to September 15, reopening to guests on September 16th. It is unknown what (if any) changes are coming to this attraction, but given the length of this attraction's downtime, it seems likely that some of the animatronics will probably be spruced up, and the whole attraction will get some regular maintenance.
5. Town Center Bus Loop now open at Disney Springs
Disney Springs opened its brand new bus terminal earlier this week, which is much larger than the previous bus area is structured similarly to Magic Kingdom's bus depot, with specific bays for different destinations/resorts. In addition to the new bus terminal, there are now dedicated lanes now open along Buena Vista Drive that are specifically for Disney busses, which should help further relieve traffic in this area.
6. Bus transportation to Walt Disney World water parks gets summer adjustment
Beginning today, guests wanting to get to and from Walt Disney World Resort hotels to either of Disney's water parks will not be able to take a direct route to the water park. For guests wanting to visit Typhoon Lagoon from a resort, guests will need to travel to Disney Springs first and then hop a connecting bus to Typhoon Lagoon. Similarly, guests wanting to get to Blizzard Beach, will need to take a bus to Disney's Animal Kingdom, and then get a bus to Blizzard Beach.
7. Soarin' Over California re-opens at Epcot with subtle improvements
The original Soarin' re-opened at Epcot this past week for a limited engagement ahead of the debut of Soarin' Around the World next month. Understandably guests were excited for this Epcot favorite to return (the wait time ballooned to 180 minutes just 5 minutes after the park opened this past Friday), and those who were among the first to re-experience this classic were able to experience a cleaned up version of this attraction. Gone is the grainy film footage and digital artifacts, replaced by crisp, clear visuals thanks to the newly-installed IMAX Laser projectors. Even if you've already said goodbye to this Epcot classic, it might be worth stopping by one last time before June 17th to experience this temporarily upgraded attraction.