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The 7 BIG Updates from Walt Disney World (And Beyond) This Week (June 10-16, 2019)

This week at Walt Disney World, Epcot brings back a summer favorite, a new animation-themed attraction is announced for Disney's Animal Kingdom, plus a new discount is announced for annual passholders!

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort opens Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure to fanfare and long waits, plus SeaWorld launches a new educational initiative. 

1. Epcot brings back Guardians of the Galaxy show for the summer

Image: Disney

After a yearlong hiatus, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Live! returned this weekend at the America Gardens Theater at the back of Epcot's World Showcase. The show features Star-Lord and Gamora in person as a 7-piece alien band brings many recognizable tunes from Awesome Mix Volumes 1 & 2.  Groot also makes an appearance at this show. Here's an official synopsis:

After saving their world from certain destruction, Peter Quill—a.k.a. Star Lord—brokered a deal with Nova Prime and the Xandarian government to bring an outreach program to his home planet. The purpose? To share Xandar’s rich heritage and culture with Earth’s people. As luck would have it, Peter informed Xandar’s leaders that there’s already a place on Earth with a similar mission… a theme park called Epcot, where all of Earth’s cultures are celebrated. So, as part of their first outreach, Xandar has sent some of their most talented performers to showcase their music!

Guests will have plenty of chances to catch this new show, as showtimes will be daily at 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:45 PM, 6:45 PM, 8:00 PM, and will run daily through August 18th.

2. Rafiki's Planet Watch reopening next month with new "Animation Academy" attraction

Last fall, Disney announced that Rafiki’s Planet Watch (and the connected Wildlife Express train) would not be available to guests for an indeterminate amount of time, releasing a statement that said they "anticipated" reopening this attraction in Spring 2019. However, though Disney definitely missed that original Spring opening date, they have confirmed that this attraction will once again welcome guests this summer beginning on July 11th. 

When this attraction reopens guests will have the chance to check out an all new Animation Experience at Conservation Station, which will give guests the opportunity to learn how live animals have inspired some of Disney's most iconic characters, before creating a personalized piece of Disney art through an instructor-led animation class. Each session will be different, and will include characters such as Simba, Zazu, Pumbaa and Timon.

Interestingly, Disney is offering FastPass+ Service for the Animation Academy, and guests can find it among the tier 2 attractions in the My Disney Experience app. 

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