Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park now open for nighttime adventures
If you are looking for adventure look no further than the Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park in Kissimmee, because now you can have nighttime adventures with the addition of new lighting on several of its exhilarating courses.
Adventurers can experience night climbs on Friday and Saturday evenings. The adventure park will open in the morning with a first climb at 8:30 a.m. It will then close briefly in the afternoon, reopening for night departures at 6, 6:30 and 7 p.m.
The all-new night adventure includes access to three courses: Green (minimum elevation/minimum skill level), Blue (medium elevation/medium skill level) and Silver (advanced elevation/medium skill). In addition to the aerial courses, guests will receive two rides down the park’s giant 425′ twin ziplines.
“We’ve been providing an awesome experience for visitors and residents alike for years,” said Pina Barbusci, one of the park’s owners. “We’re excited to open up even more opportunities for guests to feel the thrill of a Tree Trek adventure and make lasting memories with these night climbs.”
Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park contains 97 aerial challenges, four adult courses, two kids courses and giant twin ziplines, making it the perfect experience for the whole family. Surrounded by Florida’s natural beauty in a pine forest, the park is one of the top-rated experiences in Kissimmee. It is located just minutes from the Disney area.
Nighttime climb tickets are intended for those 9 and older who can reach a height of 5’9″ while standing flat on the ground. Tickets are $44.95 each. Additional items such as gloves and unlimited water are available for purchase.
The Ripken Experience at Walt Disney World Resort to Bring Premier Youth Tournaments to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in 2020
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and Ripken Baseball announced they are bringing the Ripken Experience premier youth baseball tournaments to Walt Disney World in 2020.
Ripken Baseball, known for delivering big-league baseball experiences to youth ballplayers, will launch with top-level youth baseball tournaments next year for ages 6-18 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
The Ripken Experience at Walt Disney World Resort will encompass 11 ballfields – six youth-sized baseball fields equipped with lights for night games and five professional-sized fields, including The Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which hosted big-league spring training games for more than two decades.
“One of the core pillars of Ripken Baseball is to remember to have fun, so what better place to compete and maximize the family sports travel experience than right here at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort,” Ripken said. “We are thrilled to be working with such an iconic and internationally-respected brand as Walt Disney World to provide teams and their families with the most memorable experiences.”
Leveraging the world-class guest service and entertainment that visitors have come to expect from Walt Disney World Resort, Ripken Baseball will offer participants many opportunities to have magical experiences away from the ballfield. For instance, youth baseball participants will be treated to a dazzling opening ceremony and have free time in the Disney parks to experience new and popular attractions, such as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opens Aug. 29.
“At Disney Sports, we create the best possible experience for all of the athletes who walk through our gates,” said Faron Kelley, vice president of Disney Sports. “Working with baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr., and his outstanding youth baseball academy, we will be taking the baseball experience at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to a new level of excellence.”
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex joins Ripken Baseball’s lineup of youth sports destinations, including the Ripken family’s hometown of Aberdeen, Maryland; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Across its facilities and national clinic tours, Ripken Baseball last year hosted more than 70,000 ball players from 42 states and eight countries.
Ripken earned the nicknamed “The Iron Man” because he set the Major League Baseball record for most consecutive games played (2,632). Ripken spent 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles where he was a 19-time All-Star shortstop. He was a two-time American League Most Valuable Player (1983, 1991) and elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.
The Ripken Experience at Walt Disney World Resort is one of several major youth sports experiences held annually at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Others include the Disney Soccer Showcase, Disney Spring Training and the Pop Warner Super Bowl Dance and Cheer Championship.
About Ripken Baseball
Ripken Baseball brings teammates, coaches and families together through its Big League Experiences, while teaching the values of the game, and how to play it the right way – the Ripken Way. Ripken Baseball continues to innovate the game through onsite tournaments, camps and clinics hosted at their state-of-the-art youth baseball and softball facilities – The Ripken Experience Aberdeen Powered by Under Armor (Maryland), The Ripken Experience Myrtle Beach (South Carolina), The Ripken Experience Pigeon Forge (Tennessee), and The Ripken Experience at Walt Disney World Resort (opening in 2020 in Florida).
Celebrate National Roller Coaster Day by riding your favorite coasters at the most thrilling time of day – nighttime – during Thrill Fest Ride Night!
For the second year in a row, and just in time for National Coaster Day, SeaWorld Orlando will host Thrill Fest Ride Night on August 16th with extended park hours.
Included in admission, guests can take the coaster challenge and ride all of their favorite thrills at SeaWorld Orlando: Manta, Mako, Infinity Falls, Kraken and Journey to Atlantis will stay open until 11:00 pm for coaster enthusiasts to enjoy during Thrill Fest Ride Night.
Ride Night Coaster Tech Talk
Go Behind-the-Scenes and experience an exclusive “Coaster Tech Talk” with our Operations and Ride Maintenance teams to see one of the Mako trains inside the “coaster house” and learn from the experts about its unique features.
This free 20-30 minute tour will be limited to 50 guests per tour and available on a first-come, first-serve basis at 1 pm and 2:30 pm on August 16. Guests must sign up in person at the Mako Gift Shop in order to participate.
Extended Happy Hour
Happy Hour, featuring buy one, get one free drinks will be extended at Waterway Grill and Flamecraft Bar until 11 pm on August 16.
Ride Photo Special Offer
Valid throughout National Roller Coaster Day, on August 16 guests can purchase five ride photos for $20, redeemable at Adventure Photo in the park.
And don’t forget to take advantage of the 2019 SeaWorld Orlando Fun Card with Aquatica Orlando option exclusively for Florida residents!!!
With the SeaWorld Orlando Fun Card you can pay less than a day to play all year when you buy a 2019 SeaWorld Orlando Fun Card for $79.99, and now you can add Aquatica for only $20 more!
Here are some things to know about the 2019 SeaWorld Orlando Fun Card:
8th Annual Great Irish Hooley Music Festival Will Rock Labor Day Weekend at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs
Central Florida’s rip-roaring, toe-tapping, high-voltage boutique Irish music festival will serve up a colorful live playlist of traditional Irish, Celt grass, folk, blues and soul August 30-September 2 during the 8th Great Irish Hooley at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs.
There’s no cover charge to join the fun, which begins at 4 p.m. Friday, August 30 and continues into the wee hours of Labor Day, September 2.
Never heard of a “hooley?” It’s an old Gaelic term for a party with music and entertainment with fun for the whole family. The Great Irish Hooley will include Celtic face painting, Hooley-crafted cocktails and beer plus creative new bites by the pub’s inventive culinary team. Raglan Road also will serve the delicious Rollicking Raglan Brunch Saturday, August 31 through Monday, September 2.
This year’s Hooley entertainment headliners include:
Billow Wood – Playing Irish and U.S. music festivals, this four-piece band fuses its unique brand of instrumentation with multi-vocals and harmonies for a blend of Irish and folk music. The band, which released its long-play album, “Can You See Me” – available for streaming and downloading on Spotify and other music sites – will have everyone tapping along to its bass and drums.
Strings & Things – Before returning to Raglan Road this summer, the original Irish folk/trad four-piece band Strings & Things toured in London and throughout Ireland with their own original sound and a variety of crossover songs featured on their first original album, “Turbulence.”
High Time – This fresh new trio from Connemara, Ireland, combines Irish music and an intriguing blend of modern folk influences to produce a rich sound and exciting experience. The band rocks an energetic statement with its instrumental line-up of flute, whistles, harp, bodhran, guitar and vocals – as well as some Irish dance steps thrown in!
TradGad — Three talented musicians from Kerry, Dublin, Colin Foley (guitar, vocals); Fionn Morrison (Uilleann pipes, whistles); and Ciara Ni Bhrian (guitar, fiddle, mandolin, Uilleann pipes, tin whistle, banjo and bazouki, charm Raglan Road audiences with their vibrant performances.
Maca – Two Irish sister-musician-songwriters dubbed “Ireland’s next big thing” are rocking Raglan Road Pub stages with their extraordinary talent. Saoise Carty (guitar,vocals) and Naoise Carty (fiddle, vocals) are from Wexford, Ireland.
The Rolling Wave – Stephen & Abby are one of the finest traditional Irish music duos around. These accomplished, energetic musicians work their crowd for some lively audience participation.
Atlantic Bridge – These accomplished musicians blend their rich musical backgrounds to create a fresh, exciting mix of country, folk and Irish trad music.
The Raglan Road Irish Dancers — Plucked from the cast and stages of the world’s greatest Irish dance shows, the Raglan Road Irish Dancers perform throughout the Great Irish Hooley. You can even learn some traditional Irish dance steps – no experience necessary!
Throughout the Hooley, guests can step up to one of Raglan Road’s 130-year-old imported-from-Ireland bars or grab a table for authentic contemporary Irish fare.
In May 2019, Raglan Road received OpenTable honors as one of the top 100 restaurants in America with “all the ingredients for the perfect big night out – upbeat energy innovative cocktails . . . and outstanding food.” A TripAdvisor Hall of Fame honoree and The Daily Meal’s 2018 “Best Irish Pub” in Florida, Raglan Road is known for its beer-battered fish and chips, Shepherd’s pie with a contemporary twist, delectable seafood and desserts, plus gluten-free entrees.
The festival will run from Friday afternoon at 4 pm through the wee hours of Labor Day (actually 1 a.m. Tuesday).
Owned and operated by Irish partners John Cooke and Paul Nolan, Raglan Road features traditional Irish dishes and new creations with a Celtic twist.
The restaurant’s warm interior of aged walnut and mahogany woods from old Irish bars and churches was built in Ireland and shipped to Orlando.
Live entertainment nightly includes a suite of shows featuring Irish bands and dancers. Guests also can enjoy shows beginning at noon during the weekend Rollicking Raglan Brunch. Lunch is served 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner 3-11 p.m.; Bar menu 11 p.m.-late; Saturday and Sunday Rollicking Raglan Brunch is served from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant is located at Disney Springs in the Walt Disney World Resort, 1640 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
The Universal Orlando Resort has announced plans for an ambitious new theme park that will be called Universal’s Epic Universe that will bring “experiences beyond your wildest imagination to life” according to the park’s official press release.
“Our new park represents the single-largest investment Comcast NBCUniversal has made in its theme park business and in Florida overall,” said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Corporation. “It reflects the tremendous excitement we have for the future of our theme park business and for our entire company’s future in Florida.”
Universal’s Epic Universe Announcement: Nine Things to Know
1. Universal’s Epic Universe will be the 4th park to open as part of the Universal Orlando Resort.
2. The park will be built on a 750-acre site just south of Sand Lake Road and east of Universal Boulevard, and this new addition will almost double Universal’s total available acreage in Central Florida.
3. Universal’s Epic Universe will be considered the South Campus of the Universal Orlando Resort with the current parks & CityWalk as North Campus and the Endless Summer Resort on International Drive the Mid-Campus.
4. Universal’s Epic Universe will take story telling, environments, and attractions to a new level for the Universal Orlando Resort!
The park’s vision is to create an entirely new level of experience that forever changes theme park entertainment that will take guests on a journey where beloved stories expand into vibrant lands – and where that journey is as much a part of their adventure as the ultimate destination.
5. This is not just a theme park filled with attractions! The new theme park will feature an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants, and more.
6. Transportation will be important to this new park, and it is approximated a 12 minute trip from the Main Campus of the Universal Orlando Resort.
7. Universal Orlando currently employees 25,000 people and will hire an additional 14,000 team members as part of Epic Universe, including professional, technical, culinary and other specialized positions at a base salary of $15 per hour.
8. Orange County and the Universal Orlando Resort are partnering to create better roadways and a new ‘streamlined’ permitting process that will include a permitting office that will be located inside of the Orange County Convention Center
“The investment Universal is making in our community and the benefit all of us will see is substantial,” said Mayor Jerry Demings. “This will benefit nearly every segment of our economy – from tourism to high-tech.”
Mayor Demings also spotlighted Universal’s role in the Kirkman Road extension. This is a 50/50 public-private partnership in which Universal is investing $160 million to extend Kirkman into the area where the new park will be located.
“The Kirkman extension will improve transportation through a busy and growing portion of our county and open up the entire area for additional development – including an important expansion of our Convention Center,” he said.
9. What Universal spokespeople did NOT share was a lot of details about the ‘lands’ that will be in the park and an opening date.
As details become available I will be sharing details about Universal’s Epic Universe, and to make sure you find out first make sure to follow @onthegoinmco on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
SEA LIFE Orlando guests will test their skills against five superpowered sea creatures
Underwater Superheroes is a limited-time, interactive experience at SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium that let’s guests will learn about the superpowers of five sea creatures and put their own skills to the test through interactive games and challenges daily until September 2, 2019.
“We love to create immersive and exciting experiences for guests to learn about sea creatures and their unbelievable abilities,” says James Paulding, general manager. “The more people learn about sea life, the more they can appreciate these creatures and contribute to the many efforts to keep them safe and thriving for generations to come.”
The Underwater Superheroes experience features stations offering hands-on challenges that feature the superpower of each creature throughout SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium.
Guests will test their speed against a shark, strength against a crab, intelligence against an octopus, and more.
Additionally the Aquarium’s dive team will plunge into the ocean habitats and answer questions while swimming alongside sharks, fish, and stingrays.
The experience will also include daily shows, featuring the octopus camouflaging itself against changing backgrounds, painting underwater masterpieces, and more.
During the event, guests who post on social media using #SEALIFESuperheroes while wearing their favorite superhero outfits inside of the Aquarium will be entered to win prizes.
The Underwater Superheroes experience is included in the price of admission.
SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium offers a wave of underwater adventures with sea creatures from around the world. Come face-to-fin with thousands of fish, sharks, stingrays, sea turtles and many more.
Prepare for a world of glittering scales, humongous tentacles and razor-sharp teeth. Get ready to plunge deep into the oceans, explore a 360-degree ocean tunnel, meet a friendly rescue sea turtle and touch exotic starfish and anemones. You can even jump behind the scenes and see all it takes to keep an aquarium running.
The Dr. Phillips Center is always announcing new shows & concerts, and this week there are two events going on sale that you won’t want to miss!
HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE IN CONCERT
— On Sale Date: Wednesday, July 31, 2019 at 10 a.m. —
Show: HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE™ IN CONCERT
Show Date: Saturday, December 28 and Sunday, December 29, 2019
Show Time: 7 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Venue: Walt Disney Theater
Tickets: Start at $45.50
Dr. Phillips Center and CineConcerts invite fans back to the Wizarding World for an evening of music and magic in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire™ in Concert. Relive the magic of Harry Potter™ soaring across the big screen in high-definition and experience the music of a live symphony orchestra performing Patrick Doyle’s unforgettable score.
Dr. Phillips Center in association with CineConcerts
— On Sale Date: Friday, August 2, 2019 at 10 a.m. —
Show: IL DIVO: A HOLIDAY SONG CELEBRATION
Show Date: December 7, 2019
Show Time: 8 p.m.
Venue: Bob Carr Theater
Tickets: Start at $59.50. VIP Packages available.
Il Divo has always stood out for its unique mix of opera and pop. Since its debut in 2004, IL Divo has triumphed on the most important venues around the world and has sold over 30 million records.
First discovered and mentored by Simon Cowell in 2003, the group is composed of the Spanish Carlos Marin (baritone), the Swiss Urs Buhler (tenor), Frenchman Sebastien Izambard (tenor) and American David Miller (tenor), became a pioneer of a musical genre unknown until that time when in 2004 they released their debut album “IL Divo”.
Dr. Phillips Center in association with Live Nation
How to Buy
Tickets may be purchased online at drphillipscenter.org, by calling 844.513.2014 or by visiting the Bill and Mary Darden Box Office in person at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at 445 S. Magnolia Avenue between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday.
Online and phone ticket purchases are subject to handling fees.
Prices, shows, artists, dates and times are subject to change at any time without notice.
With the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios only a month away, it’s time to start preparing!!!
To start our journey into this new land, let’s start by talking about where we find ourselves in the Star Wars galaxy itself.
The Planet of Batuu
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is set on the planet of Batuu which is a far-flung destination along the galaxy’s Outer Rim, on the frontier of Wild Space – the uncharted region beyond all known star systems.
Batuu was once a thriving stop for traders and travelers before advancements in lightspeed technology.
Now its lush forests and majestic mountain regions are known only to those who dare to venture this far into the Outer Rim to visit its Black Spire Outpost.
When guests arrive at the Black Spire Outpost, they will find themselves immersed in a world set somewhere after the events of The Last Jedi and shortly before this December’s Episode IX where they will encounter aliens, droids, and other inhabitants of Batuu as they search for rare and unique goods, discover unusual food and drink, or even join a crew seeking adventures.
Recently, the struggle between the First Order and the Resistance has made its way to this remote planet.
Scott Trowbridge, the Portfolio Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, has said that this elite garrison from the First Order is known as the ‘Red Fury’.
These Stormtroopers are searching for someone or something, and you can find them near the life-sized version of the TIE Echelon, a new ship which has a cockpit similar to Kylo Ren’s batwinged shuttle but the curved foils of Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced x1.
Just be careful…The Red Fury doesn’t like strangers approaching their ship.
But if you venture beyond Black Spire’s gates, you’ll find where the resistance has set up a hidden headquarters.
Be on the lookout for a Blue Squadron X-wing, parked on a low platform alongside an A-wing fighter. This area is meant to be part of Batuu’s tranquil Surabat river valley, where early planetary beings set up their own community in cliffside and cave dwellings.
Keep in mind, the Resistance doesn’t think of this home base as permanent. They are in a weakened state, and if The First Order strikes, they’ll have to take off in a hurry.
They’re here on Batuu out of necessity, but you’ll have to visit the park (and maybe see Episode IX) to understand exactly why this place is important to both sides.
Characters in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Off the beaten path, this outpost has become a haven for the galaxy’s most colorful — and notorious — characters.
While exploring the Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu, guests may also encounter some familiar faces such as Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8 and Chewbacca, and could even find themselves face-to-face with Kylo Ren himself.
They won’t be meeting guests, signing autograph books, and doling out hugs ..these characters aren’t an attraction, they are on the streets as part of the land’s story,
Rey and Chewbacca can be found near the ancient ruins outside Black Spire Outpost recruiting locals and visitors to join the Resistance.
The First Order Stormtroopers search The Black Spire Outpost in search of the Resistance near the First Order encampment at Docking Bay 9, and even Supreme Leader Kylo Ren joins the hunt during the day.
But there’s also a character you may not know roaming the streets
Resistance spy Vi Moradi may be new to Black Spire Outpost visitors, but her story has close ties with General Leia Organa and Captain Phasma and in Black Spire Outpost as she keeps tabs on the First Order and lets visitors know that the Resistance is growing.
And Disney’s Cast Members are also immersing themselves into the story of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
As local citizen’s of Batuu, Cast Members have their own personas and story of their roles at the Black Spire Outpost.
The Language of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
When you are walking the streets of the Black Spire Outpost, you’ll notice that the writing on the wall, literally in most cases, and on Cast Member name tags aren’t in English but in Aurebesh, the written language in the Star Wars galaxy.
You can find several decoders online, but the easiest way is to use the free Play Disney Parks App…which we will be talking about next time!
There are also some sayings that you might hear around the Black Spire Outpost that you will want to familiarize yourself with including:
Bright Suns = Good Morning
Rising Moons = Good Evening
Travelers = Humans visiting Batuu
On Planet = In the Land
Datapad = Cell phone
Refresher = Bathroom
Hydrator = Water Fountain
Being “Off World” = You’re going outside of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Ignite the Spark = Greeting for the Resistance
Light the Fire = A Resistance callback to “Ignite the Spark”
Only the ancients know = I don’t know
Til the Spire = Farewell
Good journey = An Informal Goodbye
May the Spires Keep You = A Formal Goodbye
Reading more about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
While you don’t NEED to know anything about Star Wars to enjoy your visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge the creative minds at Lucasfilm, Marvel Comics, and Disney have been working on building the history of Batuu.
Over on Laughing Place, they have done a great job of breaking down the ‘essential’ reading for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.
According to the site, “This deep and complete narrative will immerse fans in Star Wars lore, guide them around the planet, introduce essential characters, and reveal interesting secrets that can all be discovered from the comfort of home.”
Here’s what they had to say…Starting with the five-part comic series, of which two have been released.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge focuses on Dok-Ondar, the Ithorian junk dealer who has spent his life collecting countless artifacts from the entire history of the Star Wars galaxy. On a side note, visitors to Batuu will be able to visit his Den of Antiquities and purchase a variety of mysterious and interesting items from every era of Star Wars.
Pirate’s Price sees Hondo Ohnaka sitting down in Oga Garra’s Cantina in Black Spire Outpost to tell mercenary Bazine Netal three exciting tales about his relationship with the Millennium Falcon. Fans will even encounter Hondo and the legendary ship on Batuu at the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run attraction.
Fans can dive into the lore of Batuu with the novel Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson, set to be released on August 27, 2019.
The novel’s description on Amazon reads:
Walk the ancient streets, meet the colorful characters, and uncover the secret history of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the new expansion to the Disney Parks experience!
After devastating losses at the hands of the First Order, General Leia Organa has dispatched her agents across the galaxy in search of allies, sanctuary, and firepower—and her top spy, Vi Moradi, may have just found all three, on a secluded world at the galaxy’s edge.
A planet of lush forests, precarious mountains, and towering, petrified trees, Batuu is on the furthest possible frontier of the galactic map, the last settled world before the mysterious expanse of Wild Space. The rogues, smugglers, and adventurers who eke out a living on the largest settlement on the planet, Black Spire Outpost, are here to avoid prying eyes and unnecessary complications. Vi, a Resistance spy on the run from the First Order, is hardly a welcome guest. And when a shuttle full of stormtroopers lands in her wake, determined to root her out, she has no idea where to find help.
To survive, Vi will have to seek out the good-hearted heroes hiding in a world that redefines scum and villainy. With the help of a traitorous trooper and her acerbic droid, she begins to gather a colorful band of outcasts and misfits, and embarks on a mission to spark the fire of resistance on Batuu—before the First Order snuffs it out entirely.
We are really excited to share even more about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge!
DISCLOSURE: I was invited by the Walt Disney World Resort to find out more about the holiday season, but all opinions are my own.
The 2019 Walt Disney World holiday season begins on November 8th with returning favorites as well as the debut of all-new seasonal offerings in all four parks and Disney Springs.
The holidays at Walt Disney World are filled with special live entertainment, characters in festive garb, seasonal décor, holiday treats, specialty eats, miles of garlands and decorations, and a shimmering castle to lift holiday spirits.
To help you plan your trip to Walt Disney World during the holidays, here is a look at holiday happenings throughout the four parks and Disney Springs!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Joins in the Holiday Fun for the First Time
Disney’s Animal Kingdom will introduce the biggest holiday season in its two-decade history, with festive new entertainment and holiday décor in every land. Daytime and nighttime, guests will experience the majesty of nature and holiday magic.
Here is some of what’s in store:
In the heart of the park, on Discovery Island, guests will find themselves immersed in a magical scene. By day, stylized, life-sized animal puppets mingle with villagers who make the island their home. As day becomes night, rooftop luminaries in animal shapes and bird lanterns throughout Discovery Island will bring a warm glow to the village.
As the sun sets, the Tree of Life will awaken with a series of wintry tales emerging from within, backed by a familiar and heartwarming holiday musical score. Between awakening moments, the Tree of Life will shimmer and sparkle throughout the night, alive with the magic of nature and the spirit of the holidays.
Dinoland, U.S.A. will rock out with the DJ-led “Holiday Hoopla Dance Party with Chip ‘n Dale” and plenty of interactive fun and games. Throughout the land, characters gathered for “Donald’s Dino-Bash!” will get in the holiday spirit with colorful costumes.
Diwali, the Holiday Festival of Lights in India, has inspired the residents of Anandapur in Glowing flowers, lanterns and more will illuminate the main square leading to the waterfront stage, home to authentic and colorful cultural performances.
The village of Harambe in Africa will welcome guests with a unique holiday presentation, fusing Western traditions with the colors and texture of authentic African celebrations; colorful costuming and new music flavors each performance.
Tusker House diners get their merry on as Safari Donald Duck and his pals spread holiday cheer.
Guests will find out-of-this-world Christmastime fun at Pandora – The World of Avatar. Ex-pats living and working on the moon of Pandora roll out seasonal fun with a display at Pongu Pongu of kitschy holiday décor, pairing vintage pieces from Earth with items handcrafted from materials indigenous to Pandora.
A Christmas tree will tower over the park entrance. Decorated with traditional ornaments and hidden animals, the tree is a prelude to the holiday magic that awaits inside the park.
Magic Kingdom Park to Unveil New Holiday Fireworks Show & Attraction Overlays
The skies above Magic Kingdom Park will sparkle to life this holiday season as visions of fireworks dance in the air during an all-new nighttime show – Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks. Hosted by Minnie Mouse, the holiday extravaganza invites guests to come together in a celebration of heartfelt moments and the magic of Christmas.
The show will be presented during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which takes place select dates Nov. 8-Dec. 22, and nightly Dec. 23-29.
Also, for the first time ever during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, select Magic Kingdom attractions are receiving special enhancements just for the holidays!
When you get behind the wheel on the Tomorrowland Speedway, you’ll find yourself cruising a festive freeway filled with thousands of lights and stylized décor.
The crew at Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is putting some “Ha Ha Ha” in their “Ho Ho Ho,” with a new show for everyone visiting the Monster World during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Space Mountain launches you on a trippy jaunt through the cosmos, filled with dazzling lighting and high-energy holiday tunes.
Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland becomes a wild and wacky Christmas party, as you spin your teacups to one of four new holiday combos of lights and music.
This holiday season will also see Magic Kingdom transformed into an enchanting wonderland with dazzling decorations, holiday treats, a shimmering ice castle and more. Returning holiday favorites include:
With glittery Cinderella Castle as its centerpiece, Magic Kingdom shines its brightest during the holidays. Guests will be swept into a magical scene of seasonal music, characters in their festive finery and fireworks bursting above. During A Frozen Holiday Wish stage show, Queen Elsa magically transforms Cinderella Castle with glistening ice.
Holiday Fireworks Dessert Parties are a sweet way to enjoy the new holiday fireworks. Offered nightly, each festive party includes seasonal treats and dazzling views of the new fireworks spectacular. Dessert parties are not included with theme park admission. For schedules, pricing information and reservations, guests can visit DisneyWorld.com or call (407) WDW-DINE.
Each of the 23 nights of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will feature performances of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas and Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration stage show. Guests will also experience select rides and attractions (including the “Jingle Cruise”), savor complimentary treats, discover event-exclusive merchandise and delight to a magical “snowfall” on Main Street, U.S.A.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates: November 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24; December 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22. For more information and ticketing, guests can call (407) 939-1872 or visit Disneyworld.com.
Beloved Epcot Candlelight Processional Begins November 29 as Highlight of Holiday Festival
Joyous Yuletide traditions from across the globe are at the heart of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays.
From November 29 through December 30, 2019, merry-makers will be immersed in a vast world of holiday decorations and entertainment, themed merchandise, festive cuisine and costumed storytellers in many of the 11 World Showcase nations including:
Epcot’s grandest holiday tradition – the Candlelight Processional – features the retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator backed by a 50-piece orchestra and massed choir. Performances will run three times nightly during the festival. Narrators already announced for this year include Whoopi Goldberg, Pat Sajak, Steven Curtis Chapman and Edward James Olmos. More narrators will be announced in the coming months. Dining packages include guaranteed seating for the holiday event and can be booked starting July 3 by calling (407) WDW-DINE.
Special Holiday Kitchens sprinkled throughout World Showcase will serve up tasty treats inspired by treasured holiday recipes from across the globe.
World Showcase pavilions will come alive with the sights and sounds of special entertainment celebrating each country’s holiday heritage.
Chip & Dale are gathering ornaments for their Christmas tree and guests can join in the fun! To be part of Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt, guests will purchase a map and stickers from select merchandise outlets and scout World Showcase locations looking for the famous chipmunks and their ornaments. Completed maps are returned for a special festive surprise, courtesy of the chipmunk duo.
Epcot guests can quite literally do their holiday shopping around the world. The World Showcase pavilions are filled with favorite fragrances, jewelry, toys, stocking stuffers and more.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet guests at The American Adventure pavilion.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Glitters with Special Holiday Entertainment
Holiday adventures begin at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as new attractions, and lands turn this theme park into one big holiday gift.
Add seasonal shows, enchanting “snowfalls,” décor and more, and it’s easy to see how holidays here become extraordinary:
Park guests will be mesmerized by the Sunset Seasons Greetings show projected onto the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Boasting amazing laser effects and “snow,” the experience also includes stories, songs and cheer courtesy of favorite Disney friends.
The nighttime spectacular “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” will treat holiday-goers to iconic music, fireworks, special effects and state-of-the-art projections to create a one-of-a-kind holiday experience at the iconic Chinese Theatre. To add a sweet touch, guests will be able to make reservations for the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party. This event is not included with theme park admission, and pricing and reservation information will be available later this year.
Holiday touches and festive décor throughout the park will include seasonal fun inside Toy Story Land, as well as joyous greetings from Santa or Santa Goofy.
As a curtain-closer, Olaf delivers a special holiday finale in For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along.
Disney Springs Delivers Season’s Greetings
Perfect for this special time of year, the Disney Springs retail, dining and entertainment district is where guests can make a holiday list and check it twice as they breeze among dozens of trendy brand-name stores and a large and varied collection of Disney merchandise. They can also indulge the holiday hungries at great dining spots that will also serve up seasonal cheer.
Live entertainment will include the spectacle of toy soldier stilt walkers, carolers and Living Statues in holiday attire. Holiday decorations set the colorful stage for Disney Springs festivities, which run November 8 through January 5, 2020:
Guests strolling the Christmas Tree Trail will be treated to custom-decorated holiday trees, each dedicated to a popular Disney theme featuring favorite Disney characters.
Guests will be invited to join in Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt and discover where the mischievous Experiment 626 is hiding.
Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s (MGM) Killer Klowns from Outer Space lands at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights in all-new chilling maze at the Universal Orlando Resort bringing together the most twisted scenes and ghastly gags from the popular horror sci-fi film at the nation’s premier Halloween events.
Based on the cult 1980s film favorite, the Killer Klowns from Outer Space mazes will transport guests to the sleepy small town of Crescent Cove, taken over by a pack of murderous clown-like creatures.
Guests will be lured by the sweet smell of cotton candy and ice-cream and find themselves in an otherworldly circus tent where they’ll come face-to-face with the crazed klowns and their sinister, side-splitting antics.
As they make their way through the Big Top Space Ship, guests will witness diabolical klowns making cotton candy cocoons from unsuspecting victims and will realize the joke’s on them as they are next to become the gooey snack.
From one shrieking klown to the next, the mazes will lead guests through the doomed community of Crescent Cove to an eerie amusement park closed for the season. Trapped in a terrifying funhouse full of killer klowns, guests will be left screaming as there’s no stopping this twisted three-ring circus.
Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 25 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights to become victims inside their own horror film.
Multiple movie-quality mazes based on iconic horror television shows, films and original stories come to life season after season. And, the streets of each park’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing scare-actors lunge from every darkened corner.
Halloween Horror Nights begins Friday, September 6 in Orlando, and additional details about the events will be revealed soon.
For more information about “Halloween Horror Nights” and to purchase tickets at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.
Record-Breaking 120+ restaurants join Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining for 2019
Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining returns August 23 – September 30, 2019, where foodies can dine on haute cuisine from more than 120 fine dining restaurants offering a $35 three-course, prix fixe dinner menu.
A full list of participating restaurant partners is available now by visiting OrlandoMagicalDining.com, where you can view participating restaurant menus, including special options for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets, and the ability to make dining reservations directly though OpenTable.
“Now in its 14th year, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining has reached an unprecedented number of restaurants with more than 120 and 11 new to the program,” said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. “The expanding depth of options for diners this fall reflects Orlando’s thriving culinary scene found in all areas of our destination, from the tourism corridor and Restaurant Row to downtown Orlando, Winter Park and beyond.”E
New to Magical Dining for 2019
Eleven new restaurants – including two celebrity chef restaurants – have joined the program for the first time:
Bella Tuscany Italian Restaurant
Bites & Bubbles
Menagerie Eatery & Bar
Mia’s Italian Kitchen
The Backroom Steakhouse
The Edison at Disney Springs
The H Cuisine
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill
Special Diet Options
Orlando’s dining scene has made increasing strides toward catering to all foodies. For the second year in a row, diners can easily identify vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options marked on the OrlandoMagicalDining.com website.
These special menus are available across the destination, from downtown Orlando venues like Artisan’s Table to Paddlefish in Disney Springs, Hamilton’s Kitchen in Winter Park, Winter Garden’s Market to Table and even in the theme parks, at Sharks Underwater Grill at SeaWorld Orlando.
Dining with a Purpose
Every year, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining contributes one dollar from each meal served through the program to local charities.
DISCLOSURE: I was an invited guest of the Walt Disney World Company to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to share The Lion King goodness in the park, but all opinions are my own.
The Lion King has always played a huge role in the fabric of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and to celebrate the animated classic’s 25th anniversary Walt Disney World is celebrating in a big way with new and enhanced experiences.
With so many great new experiences, I wanted to share how you can have a Disney Day themed to The Lion King at the park!
Since Disney’s The Lion King was first released in theaters 25 years ago, we have lost half of Africa’s lions. Only 20,000 remain. The time to act is now.
For each rider on Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom during opening week of The Lion King film (July 19 – 25, 2019), Disney Conservation Fund will donate $2 (up to $350,000) to the Wildlife Conservation Network in support of the Lion Recovery Fund’s efforts to help double the number of lions across Africa by 2050.
Lions are threatened from a combination of factors, including: poaching, loss of prey and destruction of habitats, and Disney has launched The Lion King “Protect the Pride” campaign in conjunction with the Wildlife Conservation Network’s Lion Recovery Fund in an effort to double the lion population by 2050.
Since 1995, the Disney Conservation Fund has directed up to $75 million ($13M to projects across Africa) to save wildlife and protect the planet.
Disney has already donated more than $1.5 million to the Wildlife Conservation Network’s (WCN) Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) and its partners and will make additional grants as well as invite fans to help double the donation for a total contribution of up to $3 million. Fans may participate by taking part in celebratory experiences and purchasing special-edition products, as part of The Lion King Protect the Pride campaign.
The Animation Experience at the Conservation Center
Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Affection Section and the Wildlife Express Train are once again open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and now there is a brand-new additional experience for everyone to enjoy!
In honor of the celebration of Disney’s “The Lion King,” The Animation Experience at Conservation Station offers you the opportunity to learn how live animals have inspired some of the most iconic characters from this beloved “tail” while learning more about some of the animals who call Disney’s Animal Kingdom park home.
During the experience you will create a personalized piece of Disney art through an instructor-led animation class.
You could draw Simba, Zazu, Pumbaa, Timon, or another friend. Each session will be different so be sure to visit often to complete the collection.
Disney FastPass+ Service will be offered for the experience, and you can make those selections using the My Disney Experience app.
The Lion King Merchandise
Would it be a trip to Walt Disney World if you didn’t at least look at the souvenirs, and for this celebration you’ll find some extROARdinary new merchandise at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
You can find a large selection of items inspired by The Lion King at various locations around the park, but you’ll find the largest selections at Mombasa Marketplace, Island Mercantile, and Discovery Trading Company.
The Lion King Photo Opportunities
To help you celebrate, Disney PhotoPass photographers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are offering photo opportunities inspired by inhabitants of the Pride Lands – including four brand new Magic Shots!
You can also snap a photos in a colorful backdrop at the entrance of the park, have fun themed props from “The Lion King” near the Tree of Life, during a tender moment between Simba & Nala, or strike a pose at Lion King Corner near Pizzafari.
I think these photo opportunities are so much fun, and a great way to remember your Disney Day!
The Lion King Inspired Treats around the Park
And what better way to celebrate The Lion King than with a ‘whole pride of eats and treats’! The Disney Parks Blog has broken down all of the tasty goodies you’ll find at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this summer.
From latte art and ice cream sandwiches to special cones and more, there are enough treats here to have a feast fit for a (lion) king!
Hakuna Matata Dance Party on Discovery Island
Who is ready to let loose? The Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party is a family-friendly event featuring music, dance, games and some of your favorite Disney friends—including Timon, Rafiki, and surprise friends!
Get into the groove as a live world beat-style band starts the party by adding a cool twist to popular Disney hits.
Perfect for Guests of all ages, the festivities are held daily at the Discovery Island Stage—don your dance shoes for tons of problem-free fun!
The Lion King Scavenger Hunt
Some of your favorite Lion King characters are hidden around Harambe. Each time you spot one, add the corresponding sticker to your map. Whether you choose to hunt for all the carvings or not, return your map to Mombasa Marketplace in Harambe or The Outpost Shop in the Oasis by September 28, 2019 for a savanna surprise.
The adventure costs only $6.99, and are available while supplies last. Also there is one surprise per map, so if you have a few seekers you may consider purchasing a few maps.
The Festival of The Lion King
Join the inhabitants of the Pride Lands for a grand gala in honor of Simba, the lion cub who would be king.
As the lights dim, hear the sounds of the African savanna. A kinetic kaleidoscope of color floods the stage as colossal puppets, extravagantly costumed dancers, amazing acrobats, a daring fire dancer and incredible stilt walkers dazzle the senses.
During spectacular theatrics, you’ll relive all the classic songs from The Lion King, including “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” The spectacular finale includes a soaring rendition of “Circle of Life.”
It’s a moving and immersive theatrical experience celebrating music that has touched generations of Disney fans—and a festival you’ll want to be part of again and again!
Rivers of Light: We Are One
Eastern festival traditions merge with innovative technology to offer a dazzling nighttime pageant of lantern floats, grand theatrical imagery and a soaring musical score!
Enter a breathtaking world that remains hidden by day, but comes alive at night to tell the story of how mankind has been inspired by animals and all of the natural world.
With the enhanced Rivers of Light: We Are One, you’ll experience a new story about the milestones we all share in our journey through the great circle of life. It’s a tale told in powerful fashion—featuring the addition of even more dramatic Disneynature live-action footage and a tapestry of classic moments from animal-inspired Disney animated films, including The Lion King.
You’ll be captivated by a re-imagined soundtrack as the original musical score now is woven together with familiar Disney themes, carrying us through moments of discovery, fun, friendship, fear and love.
Tree of Life Nighttime Awakenings
Flickering fireflies magically appear and stir to life the animal spirits in the tree’s towering trunk—bringing to light a dazzling visual display swarming with color and animated imagery.
Gaze upon a young doe embarking upon a thrilling journey. Behold love blossoming between a pair of hummingbirds. Spy a sly fox spreading gifts of love among the denizens of a wintry forest.
A feast for the eyes, each revelation celebrates the eternal balance and harmony that exists in all living things, big or small, and is sure to inspire and delight your whole family tree.
Reawakening Your Love of The Lion King
The Tree of Life sleeps tonight—or does it? Through September 30, experience the wonder as an original musical score and mystical images—featuring animals and themes inspired by The Lion King—take you on a sublime journey. Be there to see this slumbering iconic tree become even more stunning in a new awakening.
This is just one of many ways that you can celebrate The Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!!!
If you haven’t had the chance to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris, here’s what you can expect.
Onboard the Kilimanjaro Safaris you explore the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, home to 34 species living in 110 acres of picturesque open plains, shady forest landscapes and rocky wetlands.
Your rugged safari vehicle is driven by an expert guide, who helps point out animals and shares fascinating wildlife facts during this extraordinary expedition.
On each expedition vehicle there is a listing of the animals you **may** see on Safari, but these are real animals who have minds of their own so every expedition is a unique and unforgettable experience.
Be sure to keep your eyes open and have a camera ready—you never know what you’ll see on a Kilimanjaro Safaris outing.
The dawn of a new era in Disney transportation is right around the corner!
On September 29, Disney Skyliner gondolas will take flight and officially begin transporting guests around Walt Disney World Resort.
This state-of-the-art transportation system has been taking shape around the Walt Disney World Resort, and when it opens will offers a new way to experience the resort with amazing views only available from the sky.
The Disney Skyliner connects Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four resort hotels- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and the new Disney’s Riviera Resort scheduled to open in December 2019.
Some Disney Skyliner cabins feature graphics based on Disney films, attractions, and characters.
Guests will take flight with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Chip & Dale, and other Disney stories including:
Goofy, Pete, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow
Pirates of the Caribbean
Before you know it, Disney Skyliner will be floating guests across Walt Disney World Resort!