Theme Park Thursdays - July 27, 2017

by: Shelley Caran Updated:

Orlando, Fla. - Welcome to Theme Park Thursdays where I will be sharing the latest Theme Park announcements, news, and more!

I'm really excited to get things started, so let's do this!

The Theme Parks really took Christmas in July as an opportunity to get everyone excited about the upcoming holiday season, so let's look at the announcements they all made!

Over at Walt Disney World I attended a media preview of what guests can expect to experience this holiday season, and almost every park & Disney Springs will see additions and enhancements.

Disney Springs

Why wait until December? Disney Springs is celebrating Christmas in July now with special food, beverage, and shopping offers. 

During the holiday season, all of the outdoor entertainment acts will have a Christmas flair, and this year carolers and toy soldiers will be returning to fill the streets of Disney Springs with joy.

Also returning is the Christmas Tree Trail near the bus loop in the Marketplace, but this year there will be 25 themed trees to Disney characters and movies that culminate with meeting Santa in a snowy wonderland. And for a fun bonus, after Christmas Day Santa Goofy takes over meet and greets in this area.

Unfortunately there is no word yet if the Starbright Holiday aerial drone show will be returning, but if you are like me you have your fingers crossed that they will be returning!

Magic Kingdom

I am really excited to share that the Frozen Holiday Wish returns to light up the castle every night for guests and twice a night during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

During the day at the Magic Kingdom guests will find that the Main Street Trolley Show, Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire, and the Movie it! Shake it! Dance it! Play it! Parade will all receive a Christmas overlay.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, the hard ticket after-hours event, will take place select nights November 9 – December 22, and we are going to be sharing more information and tips for making your most of your visit soon on icFlorida.com. But I have to say that I am most excited for Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration show to return to the Castle Stage during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! It was my favorite addition to last year's event!

The big surprise annoucement is that the week of Christmas most of what is offered during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party will be offered to guests. And more specifics will be released soon, but I expect The Totally Tomorrowland Christmas, Club Tinsel, Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade, the Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration stage show, and special meet and greets like this one with Jack Skellington to be part of the fun.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

I am also excited that the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM nightly show will be returning to Disney's Hollywood Studios with new scenes and even more fireworks.

We also found out that two new holiday themed announcements will be coming soon...what a tease!

Epcot

Candlelight Processional returns to the America Gardens Theatre starting November 24th, and they've only announced a handful of celebrity narrators and we expect some big names to be announced soon.

Fan favorites like Holidays around the world, Joyful! A Holiday Gospel Celebration, special food & beverage kiosks, holiday Illuminations! Reflections of Earth nighttime spectacular, and living statues will also be returning to the park this holiday season.

New this year the La Posada celebration inside the Mexico Pavilion in World showcase will be expanded with more mariachi and dancers in a festival atmosphere.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay posted a great photo of Santa's Elves taking a break in the park by riding SheiKra, because they have been hard at work on big Christmas Town announcements that will be coming soon.

ICE! at Gaylord Palms Resort

While not in the theme park, this favorite seasonal attraction made some big announcements earlier this month, and you can find all the details over on icFlorida.com.

Universal Orlando Resort

And finally Christmas is coming both Wizarding Worlds at the Universal Orlando Resort! This year both Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida & Hogsmeade at Universal's Islands of Adventure will be getting decked out in ornate decorations, themed food & beverage, and special entertainment starting November 18th.

The big news is that as night falls holiday magic wraps Hogwarts Castle with projections of Christmas Moments from the Harry Potter Series like you've never seen before.

Let's end this Theme Park Thursday with some quick news from around the parks!

Dragon Challenge

Speaking of Harry Potter at the Universal Orlando Resort, it was announced that the Dragon Challenge coasters at Universal's Islands of Adventure in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade will be permanently closing on September 4th to make way for a family friendly but thrilling Harry Potter themed coaster experience featuring some of your favorite characters and creatures.

Blackout Dates Lifted

Over at Walt Disney World Silver Annual Pass blackout dates have been lifted for August so guests can experience The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Ellen's Energy Adventure at Epcot one more time before they close on August 13th. Starting today you will also be able to schedule FastPass+!

Baseline Tap House

It was announced that Disney's Hollywood Studios will get a new 'corner pub' called the Baseline Tap House that will serve a selection of California craft beers, cider, and wine, 'pub grub', and will feature a shaded courtyard for seating. 

But the exciting part of this news was that it will be in a new area of the park called the 'Grand Avenue' that will be next to the Muppets Courtyard and will celebrate the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles. This area was previously unannounced, so as we get more details & an opening date for the Baseline Tap House we'll bring it to you!

Minnie Vans Hit The Road

While we talked a bit about this last week, I was able to get an up-close look at one of the vehicles in the Minnie Van fleet. 

These vehicles will take parties of up to 6 passengers almost anywhere on property with a Disney soundtrack for $20. For families, each Minnie Van will have 2 car seats for younger passengers. The services works like Uber & Lyft, and an app will be launching soon.

That's it for this week's Theme Park Thursday, but make sure you follow @icFloridaEvents on Facebook & Twitter for the latest news.