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This week at Walt Disney World, IllumiNations gets one step closer to closing, annual passholders get a new perk, plus Epcot opens a new exhibit. 

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal finally acknowledges its worst-kept secret, plus SeaWorld holds a special event next weekend! 

1. Disney Parks to reduce plastic products with new initiative 

Bloody Mary

Image: Disney

The Walt Disney Company announced plans this week to eliminate single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers at all Disney owned and operated parks across the globe by mid-2019. This initiative will lead to a reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually.

In addition to the straw ban, Disney also announced that they plan to start using refillable in-room amenities in hotels, reducing plastics in guest rooms by 80 percent.

Plastic shopping bag usage will also be reduced, as guests will now have the option to purchase reusable bags at a nominal price. 

2. Permits filed for construction around the World Showcase Lagoon

Image: Disney 

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Reedy Creek Improvement District has approved a new construction project that will bring extensive electrical upgrades to Epcot's World Showcase Lagoon. This nearly $2 million project will involve drilling a pipe from the South side of the lagoon onto one of the manmade islands as well as “electrical upgrades” that include money to purchase new transformers and switches.

And though these budgetary items may sound like maintenance work, with such a big pricetag we're inclined believe that this new construction project is laying the groundwork for the long-rumored successor to the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth nighttime spectacular. 

3. New exhibit open in American Heritage Gallery

Though the biggest draw at The American Adventure pavilion is of course the show that shares its name with the entire pavilion, this location is also home to the American Heritage Gallery, which offers a look at some often-overlooked pieces of history. However, if you find yourself stopping by this location, you can also check out a new exhibit titled "Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art", which is now open. 

This new exhibit is produced in cooperation with of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington, D.C. Some of the featured artists with works on display are fashion designer Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo), noted doll maker Glenda McKay (Ingalik-Athabascan), and Juanita Growing Thunder (Assiniboine Sioux) from the Growing Thunder family of Montana.

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