The 10 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (May 8-14, 2017)

This week at Walt Disney World, Wishes gets its final swan song before the much-anticipated debut of Happily Ever After, tickets are now on sale for the Magic Kingdom’s two seasonal events, plus a surprising attendance trend is revealed in Disney’s most recent financial results.

Outside Walt Disney World, SeaWorld continues its unfortunate tailspin, Universal Orlando Resort sets an opening date for its newest hotel, plus a TV show is set to film at Busch Gardens Tampa!

1. Happily Ever After debuts at the Magic Kingdom

Image: Disney

This week was bittersweet for Magic Kingdom fans, as it saw both the end of Wishes on May 11th and the debut of Happily Ever After on May 12th. Though we were sad of course to see Wishes go, Happily Ever After is a fitting replacement, even if it might never achieve the iconic status of its predecessor. You can check out the full show in the video below, and see what we thought about this new show here.

2. Tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party now on sale

Image: Disney

It may still technically be spring, but tickets are now on sale for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party as well as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. You can learn more about this year’s events (and how much more you’ll pay for tickets) here.

3. D-Living reopens with new summer theme

Image: Disney

The D-Living home goods store at Disney Springs recently shed its Beauty and the Beast theme and has now transformed into a summer paradise with beach towels, garden decorations, and even a Star Wars grill now for sale inside this specialty location. Decoration around the store now includes bright floral displays, topiaries and moving butterflies.

4. Walt Disney World sees a gain in attendance

After several straight quarters of attendance losses in 2016, it looks like 2017 has finally brought guests back to Walt Disney World in a meaningful way, as this week’s financial revealed that attendance at domestic theme parks (which also includes the Disneyland Resort) attendance rose 4 percent in Disney’s second quarter. In addition to the attendance bump during the second quarter, Disney also reported that its parks and resorts division saw 9 percent increase to $4.3 billion compared with the same quarter last year. Operating income also increased 20 percent to $750 million during this period. You can learn more about Disney’s performance during this last quarter here.

5. Cars 3 preview coming to One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Image: Disney

Though guests can continue to check out the preview for the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film for the next week at the One Man’s Dream attraction, beginning May 26, this attraction will be home to a sneak peek of Disney·Pixar’s upcoming Cars 3 film. This preview will run through June 25.

6. New celebration cake available to order this week

Image: Disney

Starting May 17, a new Mickey Mouse celebration cake will be available for guests to order at most Disney-owned-and-operated table-service restaurants at Walt Disney World Resort. The new Mickey Mouse celebration cake is specially designed to commemorate special occasions with a predesigned congratulations message and will cost $35. The celebration cake serves 4-6 people and is available in decadent chocolate or sweet white chocolate

7. Disney announced new hotel discounts to celebrate the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar

Image: Disney  

 

This week Disney announced a new Avatar-themed deal that offers big discounts for guests planning a trip this summer to Walt Disney World Resort. Guests who will arrive between May 28th and August 31st, 2017 are now eligible to save up to 25% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels when they book.

8. Universal Orlando Resort’s Aventura Hotel has opening date

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

Universal’s Aventura Hotel began accepting reservations this week from August 1, 2018 onwards. This new tower-style hotel promises to offer affordable accommodations and will offer 600 standard rooms with views of Universal Orlando Resort’s two theme parks and the new Volcano Bay water park. You can learn more about this new hotel here.

9. SeaWorld Orlando attendance falls through the floor

Image: SeaWorld

Earlier this week SeaWorld released its second quarter financials, and unfortunately things seem to be going from bad to worse for this park, as it was revealed that across all of SeaWorld’s parks (including San Diego, San Antonio, and the flagship Orlando park) attendance has dropped 14.9 percent (approximately 491,000 visitors) during the first quarter of 2017 with 2.8 million visitors entering the parks in the quarter ending March 31, as compared to 3.3 million during that same period last year. You can read more about how SeaWorld is faring here.

10. Surprise pregnancy hits SeaWorld Orlando

Image: SeaWorld 

SeaWorld Orlando announced this week that, quite unexpectedly, a 16-year-old Commerson’s dolphin named Ringer is pregnant and is due to give birth any day now. This is unexpected as Ringer had previously been on birth control. Ringer is among a group of four Commerson’s dolphins at SeaWorld’s Aquatica water park that were expected to be the theme-park company’s last. However, it looks like there will be at least one more new resident moving in very soon!

 

-Originally published in: Theme Park Tourist by Amanda Kondolojy May 14, 2017

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