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The 9 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (February 26 - March 4, 2018)

This week at Walt Disney World, another rumor pops up about the potential end of IllumiNations, rare characters are set to appear in a few weeks at Disney's Animal Kingdom plus a new limited-time tour is announced!

Outside Walt Disney World, SeaWorld sees a major shakeup after attendance plummets and the Orlando Eye offers a new discount for spring. 

1. IllumiNations rumored to be ending soon

Image: Disney

Rumors about a new nighttime show for Epcot have been swirling since 2015 but according to WDWNT, the replacement for IllumiNations is almost ready, and we could see the debut of this new show before the end of the year. Nothing has been confirmed so far, but given how quickly Disney ended Wishes and replaced it with Happily Ever After, we wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be true. 

2. New 20th anniversary tour to be offered at Disney's Animal Kingdom 

Disney's Animal Kingdom will be offering a new limited time tour for the park's 20th anniversary. Called A Path Less Traveled - Disney's Animal Kingdom 20th Anniversary, this $59 tour will begin at 10:30am, and include a snack, as well as the following activities: 

  • A Visit to Rafiki's Planet Watch – Go backstage and learn about the animal care program at our state-of-the-art veterinary hospital. You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes peek at the Animal Nutrition Center—the meal prep headquarters for more than 1,500 animal residents.
  • Birds Nest Exploration – Play conservationist and check on the homes of the purple martins, a species that migrates here every year.
  • Unforgettable Elephant Encounters – Delve into the wondrous world of our park's largest inhabitants during a one-hour Caring for Giants tour.
  • VIP Viewing of Rivers of Light – Watch the park’s newest nighttime show along the water from the comfort of a premium seat.

3. New exhibit coming to the Stave Church Gallery at Epcot

The current "Norsk Kultur: Inspiration for Disney 'Frozen'" gallery inside the Stave Church Gallery at Epcot's Norway pavilion will close in just a few days on March 12, to make way for a brand new "Gods of the Vikings" display. This new exhibit will give guests the opportunity to learn more about the popular Viking gods Thor, Odin, Freyja and Loki through displays of authentic Viking artifacts, many of which have been sourced through the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)’s Department of Archaeology and Cultural History, which is affiliated with the NTNU University Museum. This is actually the third time Disney has partnered with this group for exhibits in the Norway pavilion. 

Though we'd expect most of this exhibit to revolve around classical interpretations of these mythological characters, we would be very surprised if Disney didn't include a few references to the Marvel series of films, as they have had some success sneaking in references to technically off-limits Marvel characters before

No re-opening date has been announced yet for this exhibit, but we're not expecting this closure to last more than a few weeks. Look for this new exhibit to open sometime either late next month or in early May.  

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