What’s New This Week?
Walt Disney World Theme Parks
Magic Kingdom Park
New! ‘Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire’ Set to Open in June: The previously announced new castle stage show ‘Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire’ is now set to open in June 2016. As a reminder, ‘Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire’ features Mickey and his troupe of Merry Makers who have been preparing to host a joyous festival and have ventured far and wide to invite friends from other lands to join their celebration. From the Land of the Bewitching Bayous, Goofy has invited Tiana, Naveen and Louis to add a little spice of New Orleans jazz to the party. From the Land of the Enchanted Woods, Donald Duck brings some new friends he met at the Snuggly Duckling, and Daisy introduces us to her special guests, Rapunzel and Flynn. Finally, Mickey shares a surprise with Minnie, as he has traveled to the Land of the Mystic Mountains to invite Olaf, Anna and Elsa, who contributes a blast of her icy magic. It all culminates in a grand dance, as the Merry Makers invite all their new friends to join in the fun on this special day in Magic Kingdom Park.
New! Changes to Fireworks Dessert Party: Same day reservations will be available for the Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party starting April 19. All Guests attending the fireworks dessert party will enjoy a variety of themed desserts at the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant as they do today. Then, Guests with same-day reservations move to the Plaza Garden area for the fireworks show, while Guests who have booked in advance will view the fireworks from the Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant. The cost is $59 for adults and $35 for children, including tax. Reservations for the Tomorrowland Terrace viewing location can be made in advance by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dine, or calling 407-WDW-DINE. Same-day reservations are available at the Tomorrowland Terrace podium starting at 10:30 a.m. each day.
New! Elena of Avalor – Disney’s First Latin-Inspired Princess To Debut in August: This August guests at Walt Disney World Resort and will be able to see Princess Elena, Disney’s first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures. La princesa Elena will debut in the Disney Channel series “Elena of Avalor” this summer. A teenager in fairytale kingdom, Elena adds a new dimension to the Disney-princess world. Elena will appear this summer in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort.
Reminder! Temporary Changes to Parades and Shows: Some Magic Kingdom entertainment offerings will be impacted certain dates throughout spring. The Main Street Trolley Show and Move it! Shake it! Dance and Play it! will be adjusted April 20 and 25 and May 16, 19, 23, 26 and 31. On these dates and Move it! Shake it! Dance and Play it! will be presented at 12:30 and 5:40. Additionally, the Main Street Trolley show will use an alternate vehicle April 4-23.
New! Soarin’ Around the World Opening Date Announced: Imagine a wind-through-your-hair flight above The Great Wall of China, a bird’s-eye view of the Sydney Harbor in Australia, gliding around the Matterhorn in Switzerland … These are among more than a dozen breathtaking ways you’ll be able to experience the wonders of the world when Soarin’ Around the World makes its groundbreaking debut across the globe this summer. The next generation of the popular Soarin’ attraction makes its premiere at the grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland this summer as Soarin’ Over the Horizon. The next day on June 17, guests at Disney California Adventure park at the Disneyland Resort and Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort will be able to experience the adventure themselves.
New! Frozen Ever After Attraction Set to Open at Epcot in June: The Frozen Ever After attraction that’s currently being constructed in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot is set to open in June. Frozen Ever After will take guests on an adventurous boat tour through the kingdom of Arendelle. Once inside, guests will be transported to the “Winter in Summer” Celebration where Queen Elsa embraces her magical powers and creates a winter-in-summer day for the entire kingdom. Guests will pass Troll Valley on their way up the icy North Mountain to Queen Elsa’s Ice Palace, and later on return to the Bay of Arendelle. After disembarking, guests can top off their “Frozen” experience by meeting the royal sisters in their new Royal Sommerhus greeting location. Inspired by a Norwegian countryside cabin, Anna and Elsa have opened their summer home for visitors.
New! Celebrate Earth Day at Epcot: The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will celebrate Earth Day all weekend April 22-24. Start your Earth Day fun by checking out the Festival’s first-time expansion into The Land, where you can see large overlays of edible flowers. The greens harvested from the pavilion are part of the Field Greens salad at the Cider House outdoor kitchen. You’ll have a chance to meet a pocket beagle named Captain Ron who is visiting from Disney’s Vero Beach Resort where he normally assists Disney’s Sea Turtle Conservation team in detecting the location of freshly laid eggs in sea turtle nests. Captain Ron and his trainer Pepe Peruyero will make appearances at 10:30 a.m, 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Earth Day weekend. The duo will give a short presentation about their work, and will be available for photos. Birds known as purple martins enjoy visiting Walt Disney World Resort and at 11:00 a.m. each day during Earth Day weekend, you can get an up-close look at a nest with a purple martin expert, presented by the The Florida Audubon.
New! ‘Finding Dory’ Characters to Join Crush in ‘Turtle Talk’ This Summer: Starting in early May, guests visiting Epcot will be able to spot Dory and some of her friends from the new film “Finding Dory” at the park’s “Turtle Talk With Crush” attraction. Some of her new pals you can expect to spot within the attraction include Destiny the whale shark, Bailey the beluga whale and Hank the “septopus” (that’s a seven-legged octopus). Crush’s son and best pal Squirt will also be swimming by for the first time. And you may spot Nemo and his dad Marlin.
Reminder! 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Under Way: From March 2-May 30, take time to stop and smell the flowers at Epcot – and while you’re here, try delicious fresh foods, rock out with classic bands and dig in to all that the Flower & Garden Festival has to offer! With new topiaries, Outdoor Kitchens, experiences for kids and more, there’s always something to discover. Upcoming Garden Rocks concerts include:
- April 22-24 – NEW! Bad Company, former lead singer BRIAN HOWE “Can’t Get Enough”
- April 29 – May 1, 2016 – NEW! Georgia Satellites – NEW to the Festival “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
New! “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” to Open in June: This new nightly show is the next generation of the current Star Wars-inspired fireworks show. It will combine fireworks, pyrotechnics, special effects and video projections that will turn the nearby Chinese Theater and other buildings into the twin suns of Tatooine, a field of battle droids, the trench of the Death Star, Starkiller Base and other Star Wars destinations. The show will be punctuated with a tower of fire and spotlight beams, creating massive lightsabers in the sky. This new show will be the most elaborate fireworks display to take place in the history of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
New! Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” Previews”: Beginning May 6, guests visiting Disney Parks will be able to catch a preview of scenes from the movie in sneak peeks planned for Disney California Adventure park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will get to see this advance look at clips from the film, as part of the One Man’s Dream attraction. Plan to catch this 10-minute sneak peek of Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” before time runs out! It will be playing for a very limited time, May 6 – June 12, 2016.
New! Toy Story Land Attractions Details Revealed: In Toy Story Land, you’ll find yourself shrunk to the size of a toy to explore the world of Andy’s backyard with your favorite Toy Story characters, including Woody and Buzz. There are two new themed attractions being developed for Toy Story Land. The first – Slinky Dog Dash – will be a family coaster attraction you’ll want to ride again and again. The attraction features a coaster track that Andy has built all over his backyard using his Mega Coaster Play Kit, but as you know, he has a pretty amazing imagination, so he’s combined it with some of his other toys. On Slinky Dog Dash, you will zip, dodge and dash around many turns and drops that Andy has created to really make Slinky and his coils stretch to his limits. The second all-new attraction in Toy Story Land will be Alien Swirling Saucers. This attraction is designed as a toy play set that Andy got from Pizza Planet, inspired by the first Toy Story film. Aliens are flying around in their toy flying saucers and trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle with “The Claw.”
New! Additional Toy Story Mania Track to Open Soon: Beginning Memorial Day weekend, even more guests will be able to experience Toy Story Mania with the addition of a third track.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
New! Nighttime Attractions to Debut Memorial Day Weekend: Starting this Memorial Day Weekend, guests will be able to enjoy Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a whole new way – after the sun goes down! Here’s a taste of what to expect:
- “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” Show – For the summer, Discovery River will become the stage for a limited-engagement show inspired by Disney’s hit live-action film “The Jungle Book.” “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” is filled with music and special effects that celebrates the new film and the classic songs, now infused with an Indian influence. Note: This show is taking place where Rivers of Light was scheduled to debut.
- The Tree of Life Awakens – Disney Parks Blog author Thomas Smith previously shared the first look at this amazing sight, in which the park’s iconic Tree of Life undergoes an extraordinary “awakening.” You can expect to see animal spirits come to life throughout the evening by magical fireflies. Each scene appears to emanate from within the tree itself and reveals stories of wonder.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris After Dark – Guests can enjoy Kilimanjaro Safaris in the evening hours, thanks to special lighting that will allow guests to explore the savanna – and its inhabitants – well into the night.
- Harambe Wildlife Parti – Guests can turn into “party animals” at the Harambe Wildlife Parti and enjoy lively African music, exotic foods and drinks, and explore the local marketplace.
- Discovery Island Carnivale – On Discovery Island, guests can join the local community in their celebration of their love for nature in this party that features music, dancers, stilt walkers, food and more.
- Tiffins – Guests can enjoy the park’s newest eatery, Tiffins, for both lunch and dinner.
- Nighttime Attractions – The park’s attractions, which will be operating in the nighttime hours, will take on a whole new life. For the first time, guests will be able to experience the thrill of attractions like Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids – surrounded by darkness. They’ll also be able to enjoy colorful midway games and attractions in DinoLand, U.S.A.
New! Tiffins to Open Memorial Day Weekend: Tiffins, the newest Walt Disney World table-service restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, will open Memorial Day weekend for lunch and dinner. Located in the park’s Discovery Island area, the menu is inspired by the world travels of the park’s creators (Tiffin is the Indian word for a lunchbox used by travelers, and also the word for a mid-day meal). No reservations are necessary in the adjacent Nomad Lounge with beautiful waterfront views. Look for a menu of small bites like a vegetarian summer roll, seared Wagyu beef skewer and honey-glazed coriander-spiced pork ribs.
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
Reminder! Ample Hills Creamery Opening This Spring at BoardWalk Inn and Villas: In honor of the 20th anniversary of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas, we are enhancing the charm of this turn-of-the-century resort with even more unique venues, including a new take on the old-fashioned ice cream parlor opening this spring. Ample Hills Creamery, a Brooklyn-based company known for their creative approach to all things ice cream, will open its first location outside of New York City featuring their signature products, including a one-of-a-kind flavor exclusive to the Walt Disney World Resort. Guests will stroll the promenade enjoying unique flavors such as Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Malty Salty Pretzel Punch and Coffee Toffee Coffee. Stay tuned for more details leading up to the opening of Ample Hills Creamery at Disney’s BoardWalk.
New! New Aquatic Play Area Opens at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter: There’s a new space at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter that’s just for little ones who like to splash around and stay cool. Decked out in the bold hues of Mardi Gras gold, purple and green, this new aquatic play area lets guests 48 inches and under enjoy water slides that are just their size, play with fun water cannons, and splish-splash among fountains.
Walt Disney World Resort – General
New! Disney Springs To Open More Than 30 New Shops & Dining Spots Throughout the Summer: Opening in the coming month, the fourth Disney Springs neighborhood will focus on retail but will also offer several new dining options. Among them: Sprinkles Cupcakes with an available-all-day cupcake ATM Machine; Blaze Pizza, offering fast-fire’d custom built artisanal pizzas; Amorette’s Patisserie featuring petit cakes and signature dome cakes that are works of art; D-Luxe Burger with options for burger aficionados and milkshake connoisseurs; and two by James Beard Award-Winning Chefs … Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine, a farm-to-table concept by Chef Art Smith, and Tablas Frontera, with exquisitely crafted Mexican cuisine by Chef Rick Bayless.
Reminder! Kristoff & Olaf To Host Frozen Games At Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park: Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will play host to the inaugural Frozen Games this summer. The Winter Games Committee has taken advantage of the freak snowstorm over Central Florida and will host an impromptu sporting event known as The Frozen Games. They’ve even invited Kristoff and Olaf to lead teams of guests in a day full of fun “Frozen” activities, before the warm sun melts the snow away. Guests visiting the waterpark can to join “Team Kristoff” or “Team Olaf” and participate in a variety of activities, including Ice Pail Relays, a Snowball Toss to Ski Pole Limbo and Slide Races. Olaf and Kristoff will join the Winter Games Committee members in the games’ Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and will give updates throughout the games to report on their team’s achievements.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
April 20 – 24: Celebrate Earth Day with some of our favorite nature-inspired product offerings! Pick up some plant stained stationery from Boiled Books or watch the Fairy House Ladies build whimsical creations at Island Mercantile. Visit Mombasa Marketplace to find some of Jortra Boutique’s handmade jewelry, made with coffee beans, cantaloupe seeds, and orange peels or start growing your very own plumeria plant from Just Plumerias.
April 22: Meet Walt Disney Imagineer and Portfolio Creative Executive, Joe Rohde, who will be on hand to sign his artwork, created for the Disney Conservation Fund Reverse the Decline Initiative. Joe will also sign the new Disney Conservation Fund coffee table book that he contributed to. Look for Joe to appear from 1 – 2 p.m. at Discovery Trading Company (previously Disney Outfitters).
April 22 – 23: Take part in a special Disney artist showcase with Costa Alavezos, Tim McCloskey, Randy Noble, Don “Ducky” Williams, and Darren Wilson, as we celebrate the release of some of their latest works of art. Meet the artists, April 22 from 6 – 8 p.m. and April 23 from 4 – 6p.m. at Art of Disney in Disney Springs Marketplace. Tip: Please note Randy Noble will only be appearing on April 22.
April 21 – 24: Meet renowned international artist Larry Dotson from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., each day at Art of Disney and add some of his latest pieces to your collection.
Closures and Refurbishments
Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort. Be sure to subscribe to my Blog for all the latest news on What’s Around the Mouse.