This week at Walt Disney World, a favorite restaurant reopens with a new menu and style, a lengthy refurbishment is confirmed, plus new additions are confirmed for the Magic Kingdom and Epcot! 

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal prepares to re-open The Incredible Hulk just as it closes another in-park entertainment offering, plus Busch Gardens Tampa extends a popular in-park event. 

1. Disney files new patent for...foot recognition?!?

Image: Disney

This week news broke that Disney has filed a patent application for a machine that can take images of theme park guests’ shoes to gather data and help customize visits. The patent application describes this new device as a “system and method using foot recognition to create a customized guest experience.” Disney representatives have said there are no current plans to use this technology in a theme park, but as we've seen in the past, that can change very quickly. Though we can't imagine what Disney would use this kind of a machine for...

2. Flying Fish to reopen next week 

Image: Disney

Flying Fish will reopen after its lengthy refurbishment later this week on August 3rd. Guests who return to this reimgined eatery will find a completely redesigned interior with an on-stage kitchen and more modern decor. An all-new menu has been crafted by Chef Tim Majoras as well, which you can find below:

3. Celebrate the Magic to have lengthy August refurbishment for projector upgrades

The Magic Kingdom's nightly Celebrate the Magic castle show will be closing for refurbishment in just a few days on August 5th for nearly a month, reopening to guests on August 31st. Though no reason was immediately given for this closure, insiders suggest that new projectors are being installed, which should bring the projection quality of this show up to that of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, which is now playing at Disney's Hollywood Studios. 

4. ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex reveals new sporting complex

Image: Disney

Walt Disney World and ESPN have formally announced a new sporting facility for the ESPN Wide World of Sports facility, which will accomodate more than 8,000 spectators and will be flexible enough to house a number of different sporting events, including basketball, volleyball, concerts, cheerleading and dance competitions. This new venue is now under construcion and should be ready in about 18 months

5. New Muppets show announced for the Magic Kingdom

Image: Disney Disney confirmed this week that a new show entitled The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History will be debuting this fall at the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square area. This new show will feature interactive stories, plenty of familiar characters, and an original song. You can learn more about this new show in-depth here.

6. Seasonal updates confirmed for Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire

Disney confirmed earlier this week that new show Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire will be changing in just a few months. Like other shows around the Magic Kingdom (like Celebrate the Magic, for instance) this show will change slightly depending on the season. In fact the first few changes will be coming in just a few weeks as Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire gets ready to celebrate autumn. The show will then change again towards the end of the year to mark the holiday season. 

Though the vast majority of the show will remain the same throughout the year, these seasonal changes will bring updates to both the music that is played as well as the costumes that the characters wear during the the finale scene. So even if you've seen this show before, if you are a fan you might want to stop by the Magic Kingdom at least two more times in 2016 to see the additional "versions" of this show. 

7. Sunshine Seasons discontinues breakfast

Sunshine Seasons

Image: Disney

Though it was only a few weeks ago that popular Epcot eatery Sunshine Seasons debuted a refreshed breakfast menu, it looks like this new menu was destined to be short-lived as Disney confirmed this past week that this dining location would no longer open before 11:00AM, effective this Monday. No reason was immediately given for the abrupt halt of breakfast service at Sunshine Seasons, but we think it has something to do with this year's attendance slowdown, which you can read more about here

8. A new entertainment act comes to Germany

In case you hadn’t noticed, there has been a mystery stage up in Epcot's Germany pavilion for several months now. And while this stage sat vacant for quite a long time puzzling guests (us included) we finally learned this week that Disney will be using this stage for a new live entertainment act. Beginning this week Margret Almer & The Bavarian Band will be performing at this small stage five days a week. This is expected to be another temporary entertainment offering, though no closing date has yet been set. 

9. New coupon deal debuts at the Magic Kingdom

Disney has also been incentivizing guests to grab a bite to eat at the Magic Kingdom and then visit Disney Springs by offering a 10% coupon deal that will be good to use until the beginning of September (you can read more about that deal here).  

10. Comcast quasi-confirms attendance slowdown at Universal parks

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

Though we have to wait another week to hear about Disney's financial results, Universal parent company Comcast recently released their quarterly results and while attendance at Universal Parks and Resorts' Hollywood and Japan locations was discussed, Orlando was not mentioned at all, which many have taken to be a tacit admission that attendance has slowed down during this period at Universal Orlando Resort.

11. Straight Outta Food Truck show discontinued at Universal Studios Florida

While Disney looks like it is going to be beefing up in-park live entertainment as a response to the slowdown of tourism in Orlando, it looks like Universal is responding by doing the opposite. The Straight Outta Food Truck street show, which was a fun interactive show with a hip-hop edge saw its last day of operation yesterday, on July 30th, and is not expected to return. 

12. The Incredible Hulk to re-open very soon

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

It has been certainly been exciting seeing The Incredible Hulk get re-built from the ground up (literally!), but understandably, fans of this attraction have been anxious for the reimagined version of this attraction to reopen. And fortunately, it looks like fans will get their wish very soon! While Universal hasn't officially announced a launch date, they did announce via the UOAP Facebook group that a select number of passholders will be able to take part in an event in the near future (a date was not specified) that will allow them to be the first to experience this reimagined attraction. With the announcement of this event plus extensive testing going on during park hours, we'd imagine that it will only be a few more days before this roller coaster roars back to life at Islands of Adventure. 

13. Pokemon GO Lure-a-Thon extended at Busch Gardens Tampa 

Image: Busch Gardens Tampa

When Pokémon GO was first released, Busch Gardens Tampa hosted a number of one-off "Lure-a-Thon" events to cater to fans of this mobile phenomenon. These events have proved to be very popular, and as a result Busch Gardens has extended these events and will now be holding them daily through Sunday, August 7th. Pokémon trainers are encouraged to wear their team colors and can also visit team hubs which will be identified by color throughout the park. Lure-a-Thon hours are from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM and 5:00PM to 9:00PM. 


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