The 9 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (July 24-30, 2017)

This week at Walt Disney World, an unexpected closure hits Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom prepares for a fall character shuffle, plus the grand re-opening date for Mission: Space is confirmed!

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal sets an official closing dates for Dragon Challenge, a new maze is announced for Halloween Horror Nights and more!

1. My Disney Experience gets room check in update

Image: Disney 

Guests staying at Disney Resort hotels now have the option to use Disney’s Online Check-In service on the My Disney Experience mobile app. This feature enables Guests to start the check-in process up to 60 days before their arrival, and also gives them the opportunity make room requests, add credit card information and authorize charges right from the app!

2. Disney’s Animal Kingdom gets a character shuffle this fall

Beginning this fall, there will be a few changes to the character lineup at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. First up, guests will be able to meet Timon on Discovery Island daily, starting  October 1. However, that also unfortunately means that Tarzan will be leaving the park on September 30 to make way for this new character experience.

3. MuppetVision 3D closed until Wednesday for unplanned refurbishment

Do Not Enter

Late last week MuppetVision 3D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios unexpectedly closed for refurbishment. We don’t know why this attraction suddenly went down, but according to Disney’s calendar, this attraction should be open again by August 2nd.

4. Mission: Space to re-open from refurbishment on August 13th with new mission and height restriction

Image: Disney

It was recently confirmed that Mission: Space will finally reopen from its extensive refurbishment in just a few days on August 13, 2017, perhaps not coincidentally on the same day that Ellen’s Energy Adventure inside the Universe of Energy is slated to close. When this ride reopens it will feature a new “Green Team” mission that takes guests on a gentle journey around Earth from orbit that has been described as Soarin’ in space. In addition, the height restriction will be lessened for the Green Mission side with the addition of new X-2 booster seats which will bring the height requirement down to just 40 inches

5. Grand Avenue opening this fall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

If you’ve walked into the Muppet Courtyard recently, you may have noticed that Disney has been hard at work at repainting the few remaining facades from the former Streets of America that face the construction walls. And while Disney didn’t really say anything at the time about this change, it announced earlier this week that this new color scheme (which includes deep blues and grays) was indeed purposeful, as Disney is turning this small corner of the park (which is next to the former Writer’s Stop) into a brand new land: Grand Avenue

Inspired by the spirit of present-day Downtown Los Angeles, the now-confirmed Grand Avenue “land” (which is actually based by a real street in California) will feature some familiar facades with some new colors designed to recall the look of vintage office buildings and warehouses that are common in Los Angeles.

Image: Disney

And though there won’t be any major attractions in this new area (there simply isn’t any space!), Disney has announced a brand new watering hole named the Baseline Tap House will be opening here this fall. This brand new location is being described as a cheerful corner pub specializing in beer and wines from California. Disney has even created a bit of a backstory for this location, saying that Baseline Tap House celebrates the revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles by paying homage to the building’s former life as the Figueroa Printing Company, a mom-and-pop print house that had ties to the Disney studios in nearby Burbank

6. Marketplace Fun Finds closes to make way for new Star Wars store

Image: Disney

Fun Finds in the Marketplace at Disney Springs closed last week for refurbishment and it was confirmed that when this store reopens later this week it will have a new name and will sell Star wars merchandise. In addition, the Star Wars section of Once Upon a Toy will close this week to make way for a new experience.

7. Dueling Dragons set to close at Islands of Adventure this fall

Dragon Challenge

Though it had been rumored for several years, earlier this week it was confirmed that Dragon Challenge, the ride formerly known as Dueling Dragons, will indeed be closing forever this fall, with its last day of operation now taking place on September 4th. And though details are scarce, Universal has confirmed that the new attraction replacing Dragon Challenge will be a roller coaster thrill ride of some sort, though it will not be outdoor like its predecessor, and will have some dark ride elements, similar to Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. You can read more about this development here.

8. SeaWorld Orlando announces new Killer Whale up close tour

Image: SeaWorld

SeaWorld Orlando has announced a new Killer Whale Up-Close Tour which is a 45-minute experience which allows guests to learn from the park’s killer whale trainers, meet the whales and get to know them, and take part in an interaction with one of the whales. During the daily tour, SeaWorld’s whale trainers will tell stories and share information about the whales, show how the whales participate in voluntary husbandry sessions, discuss their healthcare and feeding habits and more. Tours start daily at 10:00 AM and cost $79 per person.

9. Ash vs Evil Dead maze announced for Halloween Horror Nights

Image: Starz

Universal has announced another maze for their Halloween Horror Nights event, this one based on the Ash vs. Evil Dead TV show, which is currently airing on Starz. Guests who brave this maze will summon Deadites from all over to the town of Elk Grove, Mich., where they will encounter the beings, which are people or things possessed by evil demons.

 

 

-Originally published in Them Park Tourist, July 30, 2017 by Amanda Kondolojy

 

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