• Getting ready for an ‘Incredible Summer' at Walt Disney World in this week's Theme Park Thursday

    By: Shelley Caran


    ORLANDO, Fla. - I know that we are only a few weeks into Spring, but Summer will be here before we know it and there are a lot of new attractions and entertainment options joining returning favorites at Walt Disney World that you won’t want to miss.

    So pull out those calendars so we can start planning your Incredible Summer!

    An Incredible Tomorrowland Expo Begins at Magic Kingdom Park on May 25

    From May 25 through September 3 Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom will get some SUPER decor and sounds as super heroes from Disney•Pixar “The Incredibles” and upcoming “Incredibles 2”, as part of an Incredible Tomorrowland Expo that celebrates ‘all things super’.

    With the scene set, guests will also have the chance to meet Mr. Incredible, Frozone, and other supers including Edna Mode for the first time ever. And it wouldn’t be a celebration without a dance party on the Rocket Tower Stage.

    Galactic Nights returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios May 27

    Star Wars: Galactic Nights is a separate ticketed one-night-only event held after park hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from 7 pm until midnight that celebrates the entire Star Wars Saga with exclusive entertainment, encounters with rarely seen characters special photo opportunities, event-exclusive merchandise, and unique food & beverage offerings.

    Here’s what you’ll find this year:

    • The event-exclusive projection show, Star Wars: Galactic Destinations, will debut a new, surprise planet. Keep your eyes open!
    • New talent from the Star Wars galaxy will make a special appearance during the event.
    • Guests can meet an array of legendary Star Wars characters, many who are available only during Star Wars: Galactic Nights, including Rey, Captain Phasma, the 7th Sister, AWR Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and even EWOKS.
    • Fan-made Droids! DroidBuilders, the international community of Star Wars fans who build their own replica robots from the Star Wars galaxy returns with new droids to surprise guests.
    • The Seize the Saga Scavenger hunt returns with a new immersive photo location. Guests who collect all the clues will be rewarded with exclusive artwork that will enhance their event credentials.
    • An exclusive Star Wars: Galactic Nights poster will be given to every guest.
    • Limited-edition, event-exclusive merchandise will be available featuring art from the upcoming movie Solo: A Star Wars Story.
    • Guests can savor their way through the galaxy with new menu offerings available only during this event. Tasty new items include loaded red curry duck fries inspired by the Battle of Crait and dueling gazpacho inspired by the famous lightsaber duel between Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and Sith Lord Darth Maul.

    “Solo: A Star Wars Story” opens on May 25th, and there will be some elements from the newest film in the Star Wars saga.

    Actor Joonas Suotamo who plays Chewbacca in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” will make a special appearance at the event. 

    The event’s Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away presentation will debut some new video moments from “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” 

    And the park’s nighttime projection show, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, will debut a new action sequence from the film.

    In addition, guests will also be able to shop for event-exclusive merchandise and try a specialty cupcake themed to the film.

    Tickets are now available at all Walt Disney World ticket locations and online at $129 for adults and $124 for children ages 3-9 with discounts available for annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members. 

    The Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live! Concert Series Begins June 9
    at Epcot

    We are all really excited for the “Guardians of the Galaxy” coaster to open at Epcot, but this Summer Star-Lord and Gamora will be in the park hosting a show at the American Garden Theater that takes a musical journey through the cosmos in The Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live! concert series. 

    The shows will feature tunes from Star-Lord’s Awesome Mixtapes, the soundtrack from the two movies, that will be performed five times daily from June 9th through August 19th.

    See “The Incredibles 2” at AMC Disney Springs June 15

    Don’t forget that Supers make things incredible, and “Incredibles 2” will debut at AMC Disney Springs on June 15. 

    This time in “Incredibles 2” the tables are turned as Helen is in the spotlight, while Bob navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home with Violet, Dash and baby Jack-Jack, whose superpowers are emerging. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone must find a way to work together again—which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible.

    Disney H20 Glow Party Nights Begin at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park June 21

    Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon will join in on the Incredible Summer fun starting June 21 with the new Disney H20 Glow party nights. 

    Thursday and Saturday evenings, Rex and his “Toy Story” pals will transform Typhoon Lagoon like never before by throwing a glow party in the surf pool and throughout the park from 8 to 11pm. 

    Rex, a.k.a. Partysaurus Rex, will serve as host and invite guests of all ages to join the festivities. All attractions will be open for guest enjoyment and, as part of the fun, there will be special food and beverage offerings, “Toy Story” character greetings, a DJ dance party on the beach and more. Disney H2O Glow Nights also will feature The Wharf, a unique, adults-only area with a private bar, entertainment and additional seating.

    Tickets are on sale now and are $55 per person plus tax for adults and $50 per person plus tax for children ages 3-9. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (407) 939-1872.

    Toy Story Land Opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios June 30

    Walt Disney World’s “Incredible Summer” takes its celebration to the next Leven with the grand opening of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on June 30, and I had the opportunity to join Imagineers on a unprecedented behind the scenes tour of the construction site.

    The bad news? I wasn’t able to take photos. The good news? I can share with you the insight I gained from my visit and will be visiting monthly to see the land’s progress.  

    So if you don’t know, Toy Story Land is a new 11-acre land will shrink guests to the size of a toy and allow them to explore the fun and adventure of Andy’s backyard.

    Inside of Toy Story Land there will be two new attractions: the family coaster Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. Toy Story Land also will feature an existing guest-favorite attraction, Toy Story Mania!, with a brand new entrance which will be a great welcome to the attraction’s three tracks.

    Then the land’s Woody’s Lunch Box will be a new quick-service restaurant that will offer up tasty meals and old-fashioned soda floats to Toy Story Land guests.

    During my visit to the Toy Story Construction site, my biggest takeaways were:

    • That the land’s scale is that you have been shrunk to the size of a Little Green Army man, so they’ve planted large grasses and that is why some figures seem so large in comparison to others.
    • All of the land’s facades are ‘made’ by Andy from play sets and his favorite toys, so all of the edges are a little jagged and nothing is really in a straight line.
    • The sheer size of Slinky Dog Dash is AMAZING in person. The theming is seamless and the length of the track is surprising. I am super excited!
    • Alien Swirling Saucers will be a celebration of all things 90’s…especially the music that will be playing during the attraction.
    • When the groundbreaking Mr. Potato Head AA was removed from Toy Story Mania! Imagineers promised it would return…and while I don’t have a specific location, they said that it will absolutely be back in Toy Story Land!
    • And we also learned on our tour that you’ll have the chance to encounter some of your favorite characters from the Disney•Pixar “Toy Story” films daily, including Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl.

    If you can’t wait until this Summer to experience these new offerings, starting this month you can get the excitement going!

    Immersive New Pixar Character Experience for Children opens April 13

    Disney’s Contemporary Resort will soon be home to an immersive new Pixar character experience that is exclusively for children ages 4-12 and takes place nightly from 5-10:30 pm. 

    The Pixar Play Zone will offer a playful and exciting evening that will transport kids on an adventure with their favorite characters from “Monsters Inc”, “Toy Story”, “Cars”, and “The Incredibles.”

    Kids will learn how to battle the enemies of Star Command in Space Ranger Training, learn the ropes of the Wild West with Woody and Jessie during Woody’s Roundup, show off their sweet dance moves during the Incredible Dance Party with Mr. Incredible and Mrs. Incredible, and take part in The Piston Cup Challenge among other activities. 

    The evening includes dinner, other activities and arcade games. Which is a great way for parents to have a night out at the parks while the kids have a ton of fun!

    The new Pixar experience is $65 per child plus tax.  For more information and to make reservations, call (407) 824-5437.

    Animal Kingdom Celebrates their 20th Anniversary on April 22

    This summer, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is celebrating its 20th anniversary on April 22nd with animal encounters, family-friendly activities, specialty desserts and more during an expanded Party for the Planet celebration April 22-May 5.

    Over the two-week “Party for the Planet” celebration, guests can attend conservation talks by animal-care experts and participate in enhanced interactions with some of the more than 2,000 animals that make their home at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited park.

    Rafiki’s Planet Watch will take center stage for the year-long 20th anniversary. It’s home to fun educational exhibits and activities that help create awareness of animal issues. During the 20th anniversary, Rafiki’s Planet Watch will offer backstage experiences with experts where guests can learn about animal nutrition, visit the veterinary hospital and hear how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation.

    Guests can also commemorate their visits to the theme park with special photo opportunities.  They can step into an oversized picture frame celebrating the park’s 20th anniversary. Other photo frames support Disney’s “Reverse the Decline,” an initiative created to help protect 10 threatened animal species. One recent success of the program was the birth of two critically endangered Sumatran Tiger Cubs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

    Just for kids is the chance to earn a limited-edition badge as part of the Wilderness Explorer program. The badge is one of many that youngsters can earn by completing fun activities throughout the park.

    Party for the Planet will also include six different Tiffins Talks – themed dinners hosted by animal experts at Tiffins, the theme park’s signature, full-service restaurant. 

    The 20th anniversary fun also includes a commemorative adventure guide, limited-edition merchandise, and a special-edition print created by renowned Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, who will be available on April 22 from 1-4 p.m. to sign prints at Discovery Trading Company. 

    There are also two super new experiences debuting as part of the celebration:

    • UP! A Great Bird Adventure premieres April 22, Earth Day, coinciding with the start of the park’s 20th anniversary celebration. The show features Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his furry friend Dug, from the Disney•Pixar animated film “UP,” as they discover bird species from around the world.
    • Donald’s Dino-Bash!, which opens Memorial Day Weekend, is a “dino-tastic” celebration where Donald Duck takes over Dinoland U.S.A. The world’s most famous duck is celebrating his recent discovery that ducks are descendants of dinosaurs. He’s brought along feathered friends Scrooge McDuck and Launchpad McQuack, plus other Disney characters to meet guests. In addition to bringing his own decorating touch to the land, Donald puts on a nightly dance party where everyone can shake their tail feathers. The dance party is the newest addition to the lineup of after-dark entertainment that keeps the fun going past sundown at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

    Enjoy ‘Late-Night Your Way’ at Disney Springs this weekend

    Every Thursday through Saturday after the clock strikes 10 pm, Disney Springs comes alive with late-night offerings until 2 am for adults.

    The Landing is the Disney Springs neighborhood where late night is taken to the next level with a collection of venues offering a variety of unique experiences within steps of each other so you can mix and match offerings to design the perfect night, with choices that range from sophisticated to laid back; romantic candlelight to high-energy dancing; and the ability to hop to each venue with complimentary parking and no cover charges.

    Some late highlights include: 

    • The Edison’s mix of live musicians,flapper-style dancers, stunning aerialists and a DJ; 
    • At The Boathouse live-band performs inside until midnight, but the over-the-water deck bar offers stunning nighttime views;
    • At Raglan Road you can discover hearty pints, tasty bites, and a robust entertainment line-up; and
    • Look for a special entrance that leads upstairs to a tucked-away ‘Forbidden Lounge’ at Morimoto Asia for appetizers and cocktails.

    Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival until May 28

    I know that we’ve already talked about it on Theme Park Thursday, but don’t forget that the Epcot International Flower and Garden festival is still under way until May 28th with tasty plates, rocking concerts, and beautiful blooms!

    That’s it for this week’s Theme Park Thursday! Thanks so much for watching, commenting, and sharing these chats every week. 

    Make sure to follow @icFloridaEvents on Instagram and Twitter for even more theme park news and fun! Also, make sure to use the #icFloridaInsider for a chance to be featured on our channel.

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