This week at Walt Disney World, a secret-ish new character event debuts at Disney's Hollywood Studios, a new show hits the Magic Kingdom plus Disney's developing drone program gets ready for take-off and a new limited-time test comes to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa!
Outside Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort reveals a ton of new details about both its new Volcano Bay water park as well as the upcoming Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon attraction, which is set to open next year. SeaWorld Orlando also announces a new dining plan especially for annual passholders that could be a very good deal for frequent visitors.
1. Once Upon a Time debuts at the Magic Kingdom
Last week Disney made the shocking announcement that it was replacing the Celebrate the Magic castle projection show with Once Upon a Time, which is a brand new show that transports guests into the worlds of Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Frozen and more. And as was previously announced, this new show debuted on November 4, 2016. While Once Upon a Time is similar in format to Celebrate the Magic, this new show uses state of the art projections, as well as several pyrotechnic and lighting effects, making it much more technically impressive than its predecessor. This new show is now playing nightly at the Magic Kingdom before the Wishes fireworks spectacular.
2. Doctor Strange brings the Mystic Arts to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This week marked the beginning of a very interesting character experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios: Guests who venture to the far end of the Pixar Place area of the park (just before the construction wall) can now find a new mini-show starring Marvel character Doctor Strange. This show is similar in format to the Jedi Training Academy, and allows young guests to train with Doctor Strange and hone their powers of the mystic arts.
It is unknown how long this new show will be sticking around, but considering Disney has extensively themed the area around where this pop-up show is taking place (eagle-eyed guests will find references to other Marvel characters here as well), it seems likely that this attraction will be available at the park for some time.
Note: While this event was not mentioned in the times guide for November 4th or 5th, it looks like Disney has now added it to the times guide, so it should be easier to find in the park. However, it is still not showing up inside the My Disney Experience app or the online entertainment listings.
3. Disney gets FAA approval to fly drones
Though we've known for some time that Disney has been developing its own drone technology for use inside its theme parks, this project hit a roadblock in the form of an FAA restriction a few years ago. However, this week, the FAA has issued a waiver for Walt Disney World, which means the resort can now operate drones during nighttime, in multiples, over its own airspace.
While Disney has yet to make any firm announcements about drone use in its theme parks, it seems likely that they will either augment their current shows with this technology or perhaps even develop something new in the near future. One thing is for sure, it is certainly exciting to think about the possibilities for this technology!