This week at Walt Disney World, Disney's Hollywood Studios gets a big character shuffle, a new feature for My Disney Experience debuts, plus two refurbishments kick off.
Outside Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort lifts summer block-out dates, Busch Gardens announces a new premium event series, plus a late summer event comes to SeaWorld Orlando.
1. Disney’s Hollywood Studios gets a character shuffle
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has gotten a big character shuffle this week as Chip & Dale, Goofy, Daisy and Donald are now meeting in new locations at this park. Though these characters were all previously found in the Center Stage area of the park, the characters are all now spread out in different areas.
Daisy and Donald can now be found at the front of the park and are meeting guests near the front of the Sid Cahuenga memorabilia shop, while Goofy and Chip & Dale, are now on Commissary Lane, near where the Mickey and Minnie in Red Carpet Dreams meet and greet is.
2. Get directions feature debuts on My Disney Experience
Earlier this week, a new feature was added to My Disney Experience app that Google Maps users will likely be very familiar with: step by step navigation. Guests who want to use this new feature can now select an attraction, restaurant, shop, or landmark from the in-app map, and then select 'Get Directions,' to get detailed directions from their location (obtained via GPS) or from another, selected spot in the resort. So, if for instance you know you are going to be hitting Star Tours later in the afternoon and want to find the best way to get to Fantasmic! before 7:00PM, you can select Star Tours as your starting location (even if you’re standing in line at Toy Story Midway Mania) and Fantasmic! as your destination in order to see the most efficient route to take that evening to ensure that you get to the show on time.
Once the “to” and “from” are selected, the app will display detailed travel directions that will show exactly how far you are traveling and how long it is estimated that your route may take. For guests traveling outside a theme park, the map will also display various transportation options, including walking, buses, monorail, and boats. So, for instance, if you have reservations at Artist Point for dinner and need to know how long it will take you to get there from Epcot (and what transportation options are available), you can now do just that with a few taps.
3. Voyage of the Little Mermaid and surrounding shops to close next week
Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Disney's Hollywood Studios will be closing for a short refurbishment this week beginning today and lasting until July 27th. Interestingly, the two shops on either side of this theater venue (The Studio Store and In Character) will also be closed during this brief refurbishment period.
4. Dinosaur refurbishment also kicks off this week
Dinosaur is closing for a massive refurbishment later this week beginning on July 25th. Interestingly, though this refurbishment was originally announced as ending in September, Disney has extended the length of the closure, and is now saying the attraction will be open again later this fall. Though we don't know what changes are happening at this attraction, we'd imagine that some pretty extensive work is going on to warrant such a lengthy closure.
5. The AbracadaBar is now open
The BoardWalk's newest watering hole, The AbracadaBar, is now open for guests who are looking for a little bit of magic with their libations. Cocktails at this establishment are typically between $10-$15, and many have a "magical" component that involves some interesting presentation. Much like other Disney bars around the resort, eagle-eyed fans can look for some interesting references to S.E.A., Disney animated films, and other attractions in this lavishly-decorated establishment. Guests who visit this bar should also look around every hour at the thirteen minute mark for a very cool effect that recalls the night the magicians who used to frequent this bar went missing...