Friday, January 21, 2022

Theme Park Wrap-Up

Disney’s Riviera Resort.

With the beginning of a brand-new year comes a lot of announcements, openings, closings and more from the Central Florida theme parks. So much happened in just one month, so let’s get into it!

Walt Disney World

  • To kick off the new year, the Disney Parks Blog shared an all-new 30th anniversary logo for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which features the new designs of Mickey and Minnie. These versions of the classic pair will be part of the upcoming attraction, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
  • The Maleficent dragon float made its highly-anticipated return to the Festival of Fantasy Parade in Magic Kingdom this month, after catching on fire last May. The float has since received a refreshed look, and now sports enhanced safety features designed to keep accidents from happening in the future.
  • Initial testing has begun on the new Disney Skyliner gondola system, which will begin regular operation this fall. This new transportation system will connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four nearby Disney resort hotels – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and the upcoming Disney’s Riviera Resort.
  • Speaking of Disney’s Riviera Resort, the new Disney Vacation Club (DVC) hotel is now accepting reservations for December 2019. This will be the 15th DVC property for Disney, and it will feature its own Disney Skyliner station.
  • Walt Disney World announced the opening date for a new experience headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, called “Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy.” Rookie racers will get to learn the ropes from McQueen himself starting March 31.
  • Guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be able to meet the large, exotic bird known as “Kevin” from Disney/Pixar’s “UP” starting sometime this month.
  • The guest-favorite stage show, Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live! will return to Epcot this summer. Guests can enjoy daily performances at the America Gardens Theater in the World Showcase from June 14 – Aug. 18.

Universal Orlando Resort

  • Universal Studios Florida saw the closing of its pastry shop, Beverly Hills Boulangerie. This closing will make way for a brand new offering, rumored to be called the Today Show Café.
  • Universal Orlando announced the concert lineup for its annual Mardi Gras Celebration, which includes BUSH, Macklemore, Sabrina Carpenter, Ziggy Marley, Pitbull, and more. This year’s event runs daily from until April 4.
  • Reservations have opened for Universal Orlando’s newest Value hotel, Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites. The coastal-themed hotel will offer 2,050 guest rooms, with rates starting at $76 per night. Dockside Inn and Suites is set to open in May of 2020.

SeaWorld Orlando

  • SeaWorld Orlando’s Seven Seas Food Festival will return this year starting Feb. 15, with even more days for guests to sip and sample while enjoying concerts at Bayside Stadium. New for this year, guests can now enjoy the festival on Fridays, in addition to the usual Saturdays and Sundays. Concerts will still be held on Saturdays and Sundays only.
  • January was an important month for Aquatica Orlando, as it became the first water park in the world to be designated as a Certified Autism Center. The water park received this distinction after completing a staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training course, along with an on-site review of the park property and guest experience. 

The Maleficent dragon float returned to Magic Kingdom’s Festival of Fantasy Parade. | Submitted Photos

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

  • It’s the “Year of Beer” at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, as the theme park is offering two complimentary beer samples to guests age 21 and older every time they visit the park for the entirety of 2019. Guests can pick up their complimentary brews at the Garden Gate Café.

Legoland Florida Resort

  • Legoland Florida announced its third on-site accommodation, Pirate Island Hotel, will open in spring 2020. This new hotel will offer 150 rooms, a heated pool and pool deck, character experiences, and a pirate ship out front that will be perfect for photo opportunities.
  • The park also announced the opening date for its latest expansion, The Lego Movie World. Guests will be able to explore the world where “everything is awesome” starting March 27. The new area will feature three new rides, a dining location, character photo-ops, and a space-themed playground. 
  • Legoland Hotel is also getting in on the fun with new Lego Movie World-themed rooms, which are now available to book for stays starting April 8.

Catch more theme park happenings, news, and updates here next month or every day at

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