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Disney News & Events

National Winnie the Pooh Day: How to salute the silly old bear on Jan. 18

in Disney News & Events

SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel

Fans of a certain tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff can spend Jan. 18 celebrating the silly old bear on National Winnie the Pooh Day. The holiday coincides with the Jan. 18, 1882, birthday of author A.A. Milne — who brought the stuffed bear to life in his books.

You can always commemorate the day by consuming a smackerel of honey (Pooh’s favorite snack), reading Milne’s stories or watching Winnie the Pooh cartoons or movies. Those in Central Florida also have a few other options for observing the holiday.

Ride the Walt Disney World attraction

Guests can re-live some classic Milne stories as their Hunny Pot navigates through various scenes on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh at Magic Kingdom. Plus, while waiting in line for the ride, there are a few interactive areas: Rabbit’s Garden, the Hunny Wall, Piglet’s House and Eeyore’s Gloomy Place.

If you go: The park is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Jan. 18 at 1180 Seven Seas Drive in Lake Buena Vista. Tickets are $114 for ages 10 and up and $109 for kids ages 3-9 on Jan. 18.

Shop for the perfect Pooh presents

After exiting the ride, check out Hundred Acre Goods, which carries everything from stuffed animals to T-shirts. While you’re shopping, enjoy storybook drawings and pages on the walls and ceiling.

If you go: The store is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Jan. 18 at 1180 Seven Seas Drive in Lake Buena Vista. Tickets are $114 for ages 10 and up and $109 for kids ages 3-9 on Jan. 18.

Think, think, think at the Thotful Spot

Spend time with Tigger and Pooh in a shady place in the Hundred Acre Wood. The Thotful Spot at Magic Kingdom offers Disney guests a chance to take photos and interact with these iconic characters. The experience is offered 10:45 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on Jan. 18.

If you go: The park is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Jan. 18 at 1180 Seven Seas Drive in Lake Buena Vista. Tickets are $114 for ages 10 and up and $109 for kids ages 3-9 on Jan. 18.

Free photo op

Those looking for a free opportunity to see Pooh and friends should head to Disney Springs. In between Star Wars Trading Post and Goofy’s Candy Company, find Pooh, Piglet and Tigger waiting on a log to take pictures with visitors.

If you go: Disney Springs is open 10 a.m.-12 a.m. on Jan. 18 at 1486 Buena Vista Drive in Orlando.

Dine at The Crystal Palace

If you’re feeling rumbly in your tumbly, head to The Crystal Palace for a bite to eat. The Magic Kingdom buffet serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The best part? Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and more mingle with guests while they eat, making for a memorable meal.

If you go: The park is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Jan. 18 at 1180 Seven Seas Drive in Lake Buena Vista. Tickets are $114 for ages 10 and up and $109 for kids ages 3-9 on Jan. 18.


Special Report: Universal’s Harry Potter ride and Disney’s Star Wars will open in 2019. Price hikes may come, too.

in Disney News & Events/Theme Parks News & Events

SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel

As the arms race between the theme parks intensifies in 2019, tourism experts say they expect huge crowds — and rising ticket prices — to continue in Orlando.

“All the major theme park operators have put a lot of money in 2019, Disney in particular,” said Rick Munarriz, a senior analyst for Motley Fool.

The biggest new expansion will be Star Wars land built on 14 acres with two signature rides. It’s scheduled to open in late fall in Orlando.

“Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge has the potential to be as big, if not bigger, than Hogsmeade’s addition to Universal’s Islands of Adventure,” said University of Central Florida hospitality associate professor Duncan Dickson, referring to the Harry Potter expansion that opened in 2010. “It’s going to be an exciting year.”

Universal also is building a new roller coaster based off the Harry Potter franchise that’s set to open sometime in 2019 at Islands of Adventure. The theme park operator has kept quiet on the details of the ride and not announced which month it will open.

A Universal spokesman did not return a message for comment for this story, although a company public relations employee teased recently news is coming on social media.

2019 could also be time for Universal Orlando to start making major announcements, Munarriz predicted, with the company sharing more about what will be coming to get people to thinking about travel plans early.


Disney sets opening date for Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy

in Disney News & Events

SOURCE: Orlando Rising

A new show with the star of Pixar’s “Cars” franchise, Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, is set to debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on March 31.

First announced in June 2018, the show will bring guests “face to face” with Lightning McQueen and other “Cars” characters, including Tow Mater and Cruz Ramirez.  

“You’ll be part of the next generation of rookie racers, and you’ll learn the rules of the road from Lightning’s years of experience,” Jeremy Schoolfield, managing editor at Walt Disney World public relations, wrote on the Disney Parks Blog. “This will be the untold story of Lightning McQueen — as told by Lightning McQueen!”

A short glimpse at the show was included in a video from an Associated Press offering backstage look at Disney World’s live entertainment. Disney producers are shown exploring a model of the show in virtual reality, featuring a stage with Lightning McQueen animatronic. Only a small portion of the real animatronic is shown, but the AP reported it’s “almost ready.”

“You finish up your design, then you actually move into your production process and that’s actually where we are right now,” Gene Harding, a Disney live entertainment producer, told the AP.

The new show will be housed in the Sunset Showcase theater. This has previously been used as an event space when Disney hosts media previews (including last year’s Toy Story Land opening), but is currently off-limits to guests behind a gate near Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.


Disney-built Crossroads center tenants can stay until at least August 2021

in Disney News & Events

SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel

A popular shopping center near an entrance to Disney World won’t be forced to close this year after all, according to a report in GrowthSpotter.

The stores and restaurants at the Disney-built Crossroads of Lake Buena Vista will have more than two and a half years to operate before the property will be taken for the multibillion-dollar rebuild of Interstate 4.

Tenants at the property, including Red Lobster, Gooding’s Supermarket and Buffalo Wild Wings, will be allowed to remain rent-free at the Crossroads center until at least the end of August 2021. Previously tenants were told they had until the end of 2019 to move out, so the new deal gives them at least an extra 18 months.

Florida Department of Transportation officials, Crossroads tenants and the property’s owner met in Orange County district court Monday in the first eminent domain hearing for the 29-acre property. Deals have now been made with 23 of the 24 tenants in a transaction that will cost FDOT at least $146.9 million, court documents show.

A court ruling Monday allows FDOT to take possession of the land as soon as the $146.9 million is paid. FDOT still needs to make deals with property owner U.S. Cities Fund and Gooding’s, the last location in what was once a chain.


Here’s what to expect at Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts

in Disney News & Events


KISSIMMEE, Fla. – For the third year, the celebration of performing and visual arts comes together with food and drinks for 39 magical days. 

From daily, live performances by Broadway stars to creative food that you can indulge in, Epcot International Festival of the Arts will also give guests a chance to become an artist through hands on experiences. Guests should also expect to enjoy more live music this time around.

“This year, one of the biggest things is Disney on Broadway concert series has now expanded to seven days a week,” said David Baldree, a producer for Disney Parks Live Entertainment.

Kerry Butler, one of the Broadway performers, said it feels like home to perform there.

“I feel like these are my people because I am a huge Disney fan. To get to sing for people who also love Disney, I just feel at one with the audience,” Butler said.

Butler, alongside Kevin Massey, will perform some of Disney’s most iconic Broadway songs, including hits from “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King” and one that we can’t seem to let go of — “Frozen.”

“I love these concerts. They’re so fun. The music is so fun. Kerry is so fun. It’s great to be around the parks every day, but when we get to be there and start the show at 5:30, I light up,” Massey said.

It will be Massey’s third time performing for this event.

The Festival of the Arts will also feature artwork from over 100 artists. 


Disney: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party tickets already on sale

in Disney News & Events

SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel

The good news is that you have seven months to get your costume ready. Walt Disney World has started selling tickets to the 2019 edition of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, the after-hours event at Magic Kingdom theme park.

The first Not-So-Scary night will be Aug. 16, one day earlier than in 2018. There will be 36 evenings to see the park in full Halloween mode — special parade, fireworks, shows and trick-or-treating — between then and Nov. 1.

The dates are Aug. 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30; Sept. 2, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27 and 29; Oct. 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 27, 29 and 31; and Nov. 1.

The cost of admission varies by date. Adult prices range from $79 to $135, the latter being for the Oct. 31 event. Admission for ages 3 to 9 range from $74 to $130.

For tickets, go to or call 407-827-7350.


9 arrested in early morning armed road-rage near ESPN Wide World of Sports

in Disney News & Events

SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel

Osceola deputies arrested nine suspects Wednesday morning in an armed road-rage incident outside theESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, according to Orange County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cpl. Rose Silva.

Orange County deputies first received a call at 3:22 a.m. about an incident on Victory Way and Osceola Parkway and alerted Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

A 28-year-old man was driving westbound on Interstate 4 when a van drove up next to him and began shouting and pointing, Silva said. The van driver cut off the other driver and slammed thebrakes, forcing the carto stop. Nine people — eight men and one woman, all between the ages of 21 and 41 —stepped out of the van and surrounded the car, Silva said.

One person from the vanbrandished a firearm, Silva said.

The victim managed to drive awayand called 911.


A Giraffe Gave Birth at Disney World in Front of the Most Surprised Safari Ride Guests

in Disney News & Events

SOURCE: Travel + Leisure

The magical world of Disney just got a new resident, and some park goers actually got to see it say hello to the world.

According to the Walt Disney World News Today Instagram account, a pregnant giraffe at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom was spotted giving birth to her calf right in the middle of the savanna in the park’s popular Kilimanjaro Safari on Jan. 14.

Normally, the animals would be taken back to enclosures to let nature take its course in private, but some lucky park guests not only got a fun ride through the popular park attraction, but also got a full view of one of Earth’s many wonders as well. It’s like watching an Animal Planet documentary, but up close and personal.


Disney: Epcot readies arts fest for big encore

in Disney News & Events

SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is returning to Walt Disney World, so it’s high time get those creative juices flowing. The event runs daily between Jan. 18 and Feb. 25, and the bulk of the entertainment is included in regular theme-park admission. (You’ll have to pony up for food — insert your own starving- artist joke here — and hands-on workshops.)

Here’s a primer to Epcot’s post-holidays/pre-Flower & Garden festival.

•The bigger-than-life, walk-in portraits have been winners from the festival’s get-go back in 2017. Usually the line isn’t bad, and it’s worth the wait for an original photo of you incorporated into a painting. It’s a social-media gem. The ones based on Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and “Washington Crossing the Delaware” (an Emanuel Leutze work) are fun, but we are drawn to “Luncheon of the Boating Party” by Renoir, over in France (naturellement). Disney calls these experiences “Artful Photo Ops.”

Another good shot is the large mural, painted square by square by guests, on a wall along World Showcase Plaza.


2019 is Going to be a Great Year at Disney Parks!

in Disney News & Events

SOURCE: Chip and Co.

2019 is off to a great start, and the Disney Parks have lots of plans to make it their best year yet!  What is going on? Let’s take a look!

The all-new “Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party” is coming this month, and you are not going to want to miss it.  Channeling the Mickey Mouse Club, this new parade will feature updated floats, catchy songs and choreography, new characters, and even live singers!

From January 18 – February 25, 2019, Epcot will be filled with lots of art, entertainment, and food! Guests will have the chance to meet more than 50 artists from around the world, sample culinary works of art, and experience the Disney on Broadway concert series 7 days a week. Not enough fun? Guests can also become part of the art in fun photo-ops around the park.

2019 is certainly the year to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios – they are celebrating their 30th Anniversary all year long. The year starts out with An Incredible Celebration at Pixar Place. Get your groove on with all of your favorite Incredible’s characters! Next up is the premiere of the Lightning McQueen Racing Academy – a high-speed show set in the world of Cars. Get ready to be amazed at the Wonderful World of Animation Nighttime Show, which starts this May. And what is Disney without Mickey Mouse? For the first time ever, your favorite mouse will have his own attraction! Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway allows guests to experience a wacky multi-dimensional ride based on beloved short cartoons. Finally, coming this fall from a galaxy far, far away – Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be opening!! No date has been announced, but we will keep an eye out and announce it here as soon as it is available!


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