This week at Walt Disney World, Disney moves the release date for one of its most anticipated attraction, a previously cancelled upcharge experience returns plus a limited-time character experience leaves Walt Disney World forever!  

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort confirms two celebrity guests for 2017's A Celebration of Harry Potter event, and SeaWorld Orlando begins phasing out an element of its entry proceidure. 

1. Rivers of Light confirmed to be coming next year

Image: Disney

Though we wondered earlier this week whether or not it was even possible for Rivers of Light to make its late 2016 opening target, Disney has seemingly answered this question for us, and has updated its official project page with a 2017 launch date for this new show. Cast Previews are still happening sporadically, but despite this, it looks increasingly that we'll be seeing this new show debut alongside Pandora - The World of Avatar next summer

2. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular returns this week to Disney's Hollywood Studios

Though the seasonal Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! nighttime spectacular will still be bringing Christmas cheer to Disney’s Hollywood Studios until January, the park announced that it will be bringing back its Star Wars spectacular a few weeks early on December 16, 2016 for some holiday season screenings. In order to accommodate both shows, Disney's Hollywood Studios will be scheduling Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular at 6:15PM most nights, with Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! then capping off nights for the rest of the month at 9:00 PM. 

3. Doctor Strange moves out of Walt Disney World, likely for good

Though we really liked the interactive format of the recent Doctor Strange character experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (and how it mirrored the experience of the Star Wars Jedi Training Academy), it looks like this character has been quietly exiled from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Not only has this experience been removed from the official in-park times guide less than a month after it made its initial debut, but all of the signage, props and facades that were tied to this character experience have also disappeared from the park as well, seemingly indicating that Doctor Strange will not be making a return to the resort any time soon. 

4. New "Star Wars Ultimate Tour" will debut in 2017 

Next year, Disney is introducing what it is calling the “ultimate guided tour” for Star Wars fans at Disney's Hollywood Studios, which will debut in January and will be an immersive full-day experience for fans of this franchise. The seven-hour walking tour will include the following activities:

  • A Star Wars “all-in-the-know” tour guide will be on hand for the full day to answer questions, lead discussions, and keep guests on schedule. 
  • Priority boarding for Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, no FastPass+ reservation required
  • The chance to meet two Star Wars characters (currently Chewbacca and Kylo Ren) at the Star Wars Launch Bay
  • An in-depth, insider’s tour around Star Wars Launch Bay that includes additional facts and information about exhibits
  • Screening of the Star Wars: Path of the Jedi film 
  • A quick service dinner at Backlot Express, which will include a drink, a side, dessert, and a Star Wars-inspired entree item
  • Admission to the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party as well as guaranteed viewing for the nighttime spectacular
  • A reserved spot for guests 4-12 interested in participating in the interactive Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple show. 

This new upcharge experience will cost $121.12 per person, and will be offered at Disney's Hollywood Studios starting January 2, 2017. Tours will be available weekly on both Mondays and Saturdays throughout 2017.


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