This week at Walt Disney World, Disney's Hollywood Studios sets some ambitious holiday plans, a loooong refurbishment at Disney's Animal Kingdom gets even longer, plus a popular character finally gets a new meet and greet, a new drinking establishment is confirmed for Disney Springs and a limited-time test expands!
Programming note: Though we normally devote some time to Orlando-area parks outside Lake Buena Vista, there has been so much going on at Walt Disney World over the past seven days that we decided to forgo the “beyond” this week. You’ll hear about all the news from Universal Orlando Resort, Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando in next week’s update!
1. Dinosaur refurbishment extended (again) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Though Dinosaur was originally scheduled to return from its refurbishment this week on October 17th, 2016, it looks like Disney will be keeping this ride closed a little longer as it puts the finishing touches on this extensive refurbishment. The ride is now scheduled to reopen almost a month later than expected on November 20th, 2016. While Disney has not said what work is being done on this ride during this refurbishment, considering the length of this now almost four month closure, we'd imagine some major interior work is being done, and hopefully we will know more soon!
2. Parking expansion project now underway at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has begun work on a multi-year project that will bring additional guest and Cast Member parking to the park in preparation for the openings of Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land (neither of which have a target opening date yet). As part of this project, guests will notice construction equipment along World Drive, including a temporary conveyor structure above the road.
3. Another limited time guest services test pops up at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Just a few weeks ago the Magic Kingdom began testing adding a second guest relations location to the Magic Kingdom, and now it looks like that test has been expanded to Disney's Animal Kingdom. Now through November 5, this park will have a pop-up Guest Relations location near the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safaris that will be open from 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM daily. Guests who stop by this location will be able to purchase and/or upgrade tickets, make dining reservations, and of course get help if they are encountering issues with a specific part of their Walt Disney World visit.
4. Elena of Avalor moves into the Princess Fairytale Hall at the Magic Kingdom this fall
Beginning next month on November 24, Princess Elena of Avalor of the Disney Channel TV show of the same name will finally begin meeting guests at the Magic Kingdom's Princess Fairytale Hall. Elena will be moving in with Cinderella (replacing Aurora), while Rapunzel and Tiana continue to meet on the other side of this attraction. FastPass+ reservations for dates that include Elena of Avalor are available for resort guests to make now, and we'd imagine wait times will probably be pretty intense for this popular new character at first (at least judging by the reaction to the Princess Elena Royal Welcome Show), so you'll definitely want to make a FastPass+ reservation if at all possible.