Over the past few days, news about price hikes and a potential Skyway-style elevated transportation system connecting Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Epcot and nearby hotels have been dominating the news, with fans getting into heated debates about the current and future state of Walt Disney World's theme parks.
However, even though there are quite a lot of big projects in the works right now at Walt Disney World, some smaller changes have been made in recent days that you might miss if you're not paying attention. From the expansion of entertainment at Disney's Animal Kingdom, to several new PhotoPass features, here’s everything you need to know that is happening at the resort that you might have missed!
1. Disney's Animal Kingdom gets an entertainment overhaul
Of course, the big news out of Disney's Animal Kingdom in recent days has been the long-awaited debut of the Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular. But did you know that there have been a number of other changes happening recently around this park as well?
First up, Disney's Animal Kingdom has expanded the amount of brief "streetmosphere"-style live shows around the park. Small stages in Harambe and DinoLand U.S.A. have been erected to house the brief 15-minute bird behavior demonstrations, which were previously performed outside the Flights of Wonder show building. These shows are currently happening intermittently, and are likely in a testing phase, which is why this change wasn't really publicized.
In addition, Disney is trying to incorporate some more preschool-friendly characters in this park, bringing Disney Junior character Doc McStuffins to Rafikki's Planet Watch in the space where Chip 'n Dale used to meet.
Of course, all of these changes are likely being made in advance of the May opening of Pandora - The World of Avatar, which Disney is expecting to really boost up attendance at this park.
2. Oscar statue photo op available this week at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Earlier this week Disney announced that movie fans who come to Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have the opportunity to take a photo with the iconic Oscar statuette in celebration of ABC’s Academy Awards telecast on February 26th. Guests who want to check out this new experience (which will only be available until the day of the Oscars broadcast) can head over to the One Man’s Dream attraction, which now houses this temporary setup (complete with PhotoPass photographer).
3. New MagicShot now available at Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom
And speaking of PhotoPass, Disney has introduced another new animated MagicShot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests who take a PhotoPass photo near the Celebrity 5 & 10 near the front of this park can get an animated shot that includes Mickey Mouse posing along with you while Minnie Mouse takes your picture.
In addition to the Disney’s Hollywood Studios location, this special Magic Shot is also available in front of the Partners statue at the Magic Kingdom.
4. New physical prop PhotoPass feature now testing at the Tangled toilets
In an unprecedented third PhotoPass update, Disney has quietly begun testing a new physical prop feature at the Tangled toilets that allows guests to hold one of the glowing lanterns from the film while posing in front of the restrooms. This new PhotoPass test is being offered at random times throughout the day, and we have no idea if this will be a permanent offering at the Magic Kingdom or not.