• Big Star Wars News and Food & Wine updates on this week's Theme Park Thursday

    By: Shelley Caran


    Orlando, Fla. - This week's Theme Park Thursday has a look at big Star Wars news at Disney Springs, ways to celebrate World Photo Day, how you can name a walrus, and upcoming events at the Theme Parks of Central Florida!

    Big Star Wars News for Disney Springs

    Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB and The VOID announced that a new hyper-reality Star Wars experience called “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire” will be coming to Disney Springs this holiday season giving Star Wars fans the opportunity to step beyond reality and into a galaxy far, far away.

    While you are in a hyper-reality, you are untethered and free to explore the play area while interacting with your friends, family, and even Star Wars character. In the gaming environment you wear a VR headset, noise cancelling headphones, headset, and vest with modules that combine visual and sensory cues to trick your mind into believing you are somewhere else.

    The Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire experience is currently under construction in the back of Once Upon a Toy store in the marketplace section of Disney Springs.

    World Photo Day

    At Walt Disney World they're celebrating World Photo Day on August 19, 2017, with special photos with some of your favorite characters and 'magic shots' throughout the parks and Disney Springs.

    Some of my favorites are that Meeko will be joining Pocahontas at Character Landing on Discovery Island at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Mushu joining Mulan at the China Pavilion at Epcot, and at Disney's Hollywood Studios you can hit the villain jackpot from 10 am to 5 pm when The Queen from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Maleficent, and Cruella de Vil will meet with guests at Sunset Showcase. 

    You can find a full list of photo opportunities and their locations on the Disney Parks Blog!

    Don't forget that Annual Passholders have access to their PhotoPass pictures for free as part of their perks for being passholders!

    Disney leaving Netflix

    While this may not be totally theme park related, The Walt Disney Company announced that they will stop providing new movies to Netflix starting in 2019 to launch their own streaming service in hopes that they can take advantage of the ever growing trend to go to online media services.

    As part of the announcement from Bob Iger, Chairman/CEO of The Walt Disney Company, no decision has been about the distribution of movies and series from Marvel & "Star Wars" producer Lucasfilm after 2018.

    Have you ever named a Walrus?

    Back in June SeaWorld Orlando welcomed their first walrus calf, and now they are looking for your help to name her!

    They've narrowed it down to three choices, and until August 14th you can head over to the SeaWorld Orlando blog where you can vote #TeamGinger, #TeamGabi, or #TeamUmma.

    Me? I'm #TeamUmma all the way!

    There are big happenings around the theme parks the rest of August that you won't want to miss out on!

    Walt Disney World

    You can scare up a good time at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on 32 select nights at the Magic Kingdom beginning on August 25th. Highlights of this hard ticket event, not included with normal theme park admission, are attractions, Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, Happy HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular, Disney characters donning favorite Halloween costumes, and treat trails throughout the park. Advance tickets are $74 for adults and $69 for ages 3-9. Make sure to visit Disneyworld.com/Halloween for party dates and prices, or call 407/WDISNEY (407-934-7639).

    The food and fun of the 2017 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival kicks off earlier than ever on August 31 for 75 days! This year's Food & Wine Festival will have 35 marketplaces that will celebrate 35 years of Epcot serving tapas-sized dishes and drinks. At the festival guests can enjoy the popular Eat to the Beat Concert Series with 32 musical acts that is included with admission to Epcot or take their experience up a notch and enjoy premium dining and tasting experiences, try their hand in a scavenger hunt, and see culinary demonstrations for additional charges. And don't forget that ABC's “The Chew” will return to tape a week's worth of shows from October 4th to 6th!

    And you don't want to miss your change to be a part of the Frozen Games at Blizzard Beach! Until August 13 you can join Team Kristoff or Team Olaf to participate in a variety of activities, from Ice Pail Relays and a Snowball Toss to Ski Pole Limbo and Slide Races. What makes the games a must-do is the chance to meet Kristoff, because this is the only place at Walt Disney World for you to take a photo and chat about his ice harvesting skills.

    SeaWorld Orlando

    All summer long, the nights at SeaWorld Orlando have been amped up with additions of the Electric Ocean Spectacular, that is included with your admission to the park.

    Now this is a new kind of nighttime spectacular that take you through a series of shows, into an “underwater” party hosted by a DJ & full of glowing friends, and animal encounters that culminates in a firework filled finale.

    Highlights of Electric Ocean include:

    • “SeaWorld and Bubble Legendary present Pop,” a unique live performance in the Nautilus Theater that is full of awe-inspiring bubble displays and choreography,
    • “Sea Lions Tonite,” the hilarious show starring sea lions, Clyde, Seamore, and even the SeaWorld Mime has returned with lots of laughs and parodies,
    • “Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up The Night,” a high-energy show featuring original music, colorful production elements, and the chance to see SeaWorld’s majestic killer whales,
    • Club Sea Glow, SeaWorld’s family dance party featuring specialty acts, puppeteers and entertainers, and 
    • “Ignite” the night's finale that combines synchronized water fountains, pyrotechnics, towering flames, powerful lasers, and fireworks to illuminate the night sky.

    Don't worry because you still have a little longer to experience Electric Ocean as it takes place every Saturday night until it's final party on Sunday, September 3rd.


    That's it for this week's Theme Park Thursday, but make sure join us every Thursday on Facebook to chat with us live!

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