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The 8 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (July 30 - August 5, 2018)

This week at Walt Disney World, new upcharge experiences are announced for Disney's Animal Kingdom, American Idol returns to Walt Disney World plus a new character experience is confirmed for Disney's Hollywood Studios!

Outside Walt Disney World, SeaWorld announces a new event, LEGOLAND offers a late summer freebie and Universal treats its annual passholders! 

1. Festival of the Lion King Dining Packages announced

Beginning in just a few days on August 13th, Disney's Animal Kingdom will begin offering two new Festival of the Lion King Signature Dining Packages. Both options include a three-course lunch or dinner at Tiffins Restaurant along with reserved priority seating at Festival of the Lion King.

The more expensive Tier I package includes reserved VIP seating at the show as well as a commemorative cast photo and a specially guided safari. This package costs $99 per adult and $49 per child age 3-9.

The more value oriented Tier II package only includes priority reserved seating at Festival of the Lion King in addition to the meal at Tiffins, with no VIP seating or safari included. Cost for this package is substantially less expensive though, at $74 per adult and $29 per child age 3-9.

Image: Disney

This new offering will be available daily though the rest of the summer and up until the holiday season kicks off on November 21. No discounts for annual passholders or DVC Members will be available for this dining package, however, guests on the Disney Dining Plan will be able to use two table service entitlements for a Tier II package.

2. Walt Disney World to host American Idol auditions again

American Idol Experience Auditions Sign

Image: Leigh Caldwell, Flickr (license)

Last year American Idol kicked off its audition tour at Walt Disney World, and it looks like 2018 will continue this tradition, but with a few changes. Instead of Disney Springs, auditions will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on August 25th. Season 1 winner Maddie Poppe, runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson and finalist Catie Turner will make special appearances. 

Registration will begin at on the day of the event at 7:00 am with auditions starting at 9:00 am. Overnight camping will not be allowed, and celebrity judges will not be on site. All singers must be at least 15 years old to audition.

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