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The 11 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (November 28 - December 4, 2016)

5. First details revealed for 2017's Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Image: Disney

Temperatures might be cooling down in Central Florida but Disney is already looking forward to spring, and has released the first details about what guests who attend next year's Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival can expect. This year's event will begin on March 1 2017, and will feature a number of new elements, including the following: 

  • Two new Outdoor Kitchens will join 13 returning Outdoor Kitchens this year, making this the biggest year yet for unique food offerings. 
  • A brand-new "next generation" Belle topiary will debut outside the France pavilion, and will include detailed, sculpted facial features and Belle's iconic yellow ball gown, which will be artfully recreated with golden blooming Joseph’s Coat plants.
  • An all-new 6-foot-tall topiary of Figment will be making its Flower and Garden debut outside the Imagination pavilion, and will be perched atop a 5-foot-diameter ball fashioned from yellow Joseph’s Coat.
  • The popular Garden Rocks concert series will expand to four days each week, with three concerts each Friday through Monday. In addition, dining packages that include reserved seating will be offered in 2017.
  • A new interactive Cars-themed play garden will include a new character topiary from Cars 3

6. Enhanced menu now available for ABC Commissary casual dining

Image: Disney

Earlier this week Disney debuted a new "casual dining" concept for the ABC Commissary quick service restaurant, and in addition to the new table service element, several new menu items are now available for dinner service only (which now starts at 3:30PM). New appetizers include jalapeño poppers and pita chips with hummus. New entrees include Chimichurri Steak served with fire-roasted corn, Barbecued Chicken and Ribs with coleslaw, and a Southwest Burger with Pepper Jack cheese, bacon, guacamole and jalapeño poppers. 

7. Rivers of Light Cast previews continue

Rivers of Light

Image: Disney

Last week several hundred lucky Cast Members and their guests were able to be among the first to check out a technical rehearsal of Rivers of Light, the long-delayed nighttime spectacular at Disney's Animal Kingdom. And while Disney still hasn't announced any information about a potential release date, it has been confirmed that more technical rehearsals will continue this week, which certainly seems like a good sign for those who are impatient to see this show and is hopefully an indication that this show will debut soon. 

8. Disney's Animal Kingdom cuts hours at select attractions

Adventurer's Outpost

Image: Disney

Beginning this week at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, two attractions will be getting a new operating schedule for the rest of the year. Kali River Rapids will now be open from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM from December 4th through the 17th. When high season kicks up later this year, the attraction will be open from 10:00 AM –though 7:00 from December 18th-24th, and then this attraction will return to a nearly full-day schedule, opening from 9:00 AM-7:00 PM from December 25th-31st.  In addition, this park’s Minnie and Mickey meet and greet will now only be available from the park opening until 4:30 PM daily for the foreseeable future.

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