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The 8 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World This Week (December 27 - January 2)

This week at Walt Disney World, Disney shifts the start time for the Festival of Fantasy parade, several attractions close for refurbishment, plus we learn more about a brand new show coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom later this year. 

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. The Festival of Fantasy parade resumes 3:00 start time

Image: Disney

The 3:00 parade has become such an institution at the Magic Kingdom that Disney has even created a line of merchandise themed around the classic tourist question "When is the 3 'o clock parade?" However, last August, the daily Festival of Fantasy parade moved to 2:00 PM, where it stayed through the holiday season. However, effective this week the parade has been moved back to 3:00 PM. 

2. Month-long refurbishment for The American Adventure announced

The American Adventure in Epcot's World Showcase will be closing for a month-long refurbishment beginning in just a few days on January 15. The attraction will be closed through February 14, reopening to guests on February 15. Though unconfirmed changes happening during this refurbishment are rumored to include upgrades to the projection and sound systems as well as a new finale film.

3. New details about "Up" inspired show revealed

December 31st marked the final day of performances for the long-running Flights of Wonder show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with the Caravan theater now closed for refurbishments while Disney prepares for an as-yet untitled show featuring characters from the 2009 film Up. However, thanks to an audition notice posted by Disney Parks Live Entertainment, we know a little bit more about what this new show will entail.

The casting listing is for Anika, a young woman who lives in the Anandapur Indian village and spends her time as a caretaker of birds in the Caravan aviary. She is the descendent of a Maharani, a free-spirit, and the storyteller in her proud family.

Image: Disney

In addition to this new character, the notice broadly describes the new experience as one that will give guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his furry friend Dug as they discover species of birds from around the world.

No opening date has been announced yet, but Disney has said they are targeting a spring 2018 opening date for this new experience. 

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