There are new things popping up every day at the Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort. This week features a several new Disney stores and kiosks, live entertainment offerings, and big celebrity guests at Star Wars Weekend. At Universal, we’ve got a look at the amazing new food offerings coming to Diagon Alley, a free concert by Robin Thicke and much more!
What’s New This Week?
Walt Disney World Resort in Florida
New! Another Starbucks Opened at Downtown Disney: Starbucks West Side opened at Downtown Disney’s West Side on Friday, May 30, 2014. IT is a full-sized store featuring the complete line of Starbucks offerings as well as a Clover Bar with special reserve coffees brewed to order. There’s lots of inside and outside seating including a covered patio overlooking Village Lake and an outside fireplace.
New! Anna and Elsa Meet and Greets Extended: Great news for fans of Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen! As of June 1, Anna & Elsa will greet Guests at Princess Fairytale Hall from park open to 30 min prior to close. Additional Fastpass+ reservations have been made available for the additional hours they are expected to be greeting guests.
New! Typhoon Lagoon Bus Operations Changes: Beginning June 10, service to and from Typhoon Lagoon will be adjusted to the following: Prior to 2 p.m. – Guests will continue traveling to and from Typhoon Lagoon via the Downtown Disney/Typhoon Lagoon bus. After 2 p.m. – Guests traveling to and from Typhoon Lagoon will take a bus or monorail to Epcot and will transfer to another bus to get to their destination.
New! Marketplace co-op Opened June 6: Marketplace Co-Op, a new testing ground for specialty merchandise located at Downtown Disney Marketplace, opened June 6, 2014 at Downtown Disney. Inspired by urban shopping centers like Seattle’s Pike Place Market and New York City’s Chelsea Market, the Marketplace Co-Op will house six experimental mini-stores in an open environment. The mini stores are:
- Beautifully Disney – A beauty destination for women featuring make-up, fragrance and beauty accessories.
- Cherry Tree Lane – Accessories for the sophisticated woman with a passion for scarves, shoes, bags and jewelry.
- D-Tech on Demand – A place to personalize and customize your own electronic accessories.
- The Trophy Room – Vintage-inspired lifestyle sports apparel and collectibles.
- Disney Centerpiece – Home products for Guests that want a splash of Disney in their room furnishings, textiles and everyday ware.
- Zoey and Pickles – A girls’ destination containing the latest trends and glamour for the up-and-coming fashionista.
New! United World Soccer Opens: The space that formerly was BLINK by Wet Seal has re-opened as United World Soccer. Just in time for the 2014 World Cup, it offers soccer fans their favorite team jerseys, as well as sports gear, cleats, World Cup apparel and accessories.
New! New Pedestrian Walkway to and from Downtown Disney Marketplace: Construction continues at Downtown Disney as it is transformed into Disney Springs. Beginning June 3, the promenade in front of LEGO Imagination Center will be temporarily closed. Guests traveling to and from Downtown Disney Marketplace will venture through a new pedestrian walkway behind LEGO Imagination Center. Directional signs will indicate route options leading out of and into the walkway to and from Downtown Disney Pleasure Island and West Side.
Reminder! Kiosks Now Open at Downtown Disney: Wetzel’s Pretzels and Häagen-Dazs kiosks are now open between DisneyQuest and Cirque du Soleil. Wetzel’s Pretzels and Häagen-Dazs are open: Monday-Friday: 10:30 a.m. – 11 p.m, and Saturday-Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – midnight Over in the Marketplace, you can grab a cup of your favorite coffee – with a brand-new Starbucks kiosk open now and everyday 8 a.m. – midnight.
New! Festival of the Lion King Returns to Disney’s Animal Kingdom: “Festival of the Lion King,” the popular musical stage show that originated at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1998, debuted at the brand-new Harambe Theatre in the Africa section of the park on June 1. While the theater is new, the show remains otherwise unchanged. The show is a daily park offering and is performed multiple times a day (check your My Disney Experience App or the park’s Times Guide for show times).
Reminder! Harambe Nights Premieres June 7: In celebration of the 20th anniversary of The Lion King, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will host Harambe Nights every Saturday evening June 7-August 9. The event will kick off at 7:00pm with a welcome reception followed by a 7:30pm concert in the new Harambe Theater where iconic scenes from the film will be recreated while a celebrity narrator and a live orchestra, choir and dancers provide a never-before-seen take on The Lion King tale. The celebration will continue after the concert on the streets of Harambe with food, exclusive merchandise and an opportunity to “Go Wild” and dance and interact with live performers. You can purchase tickets at Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or by calling 407-939-1319 for $119 for adults and $79 for children, plus tax. Premium seating is available for $134 for adults and $94 for children, plus tax. The celebrity narrator for the premiere is Viola Davis, known for her roles in “The Help” and “Ender’s Game.”
New! Richard Petty Debuts Piston Cup Junior Ride-Along Cars June 14: Two vehicles from the “Cars” franchise, Aiken Axler and Sage VanDerSpin, are about to make their debut at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at Walt Disney World Resort as a part of the new Junior Ride-Along program. In it, children ages 6 to 13 (and at least 48 inches tall) will have the chance to experience real-life racing excitement as they ride shotgun with a professional driving instructor for three thrilling laps in a specially equipped Piston Cup race car. Junior Ride-Alongs do not require reservations and are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Find more, visitDrivepetty.com or call 800-237-3889.
New! Some Performances of Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Cancelled: Due to upcoming concrete work on Main Street, U.S.A., there will not be morning performances of the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party on the following dates: June 3, June 6 and June 13. The parade will only perform at 5:40 and 7 p.m. on these dates.
New! Changes to Tusker House Dining Hours: Beginning Sunday, June 8, Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will be extending their lunch meal period. The new hours align with the typical lunch and dinner meal period across Walt Disney World Resort. Lunch will be offered 11:00am – 3:30pm and dinner beginning at 4:30pm. Breakfast will continue to be offered 8:00am – 10:55am.Character dining with Donald Duck and his friends will continue to be offered at breakfast and lunch only. Additionally, for the evenings this summer when Harambe Nights will be hosted at Animal Kingdom (every Saturday, June 7-August 9) dinner meal periods will not be available at Tusker House due to the early closure of the land.
New! Sounds Like Summer Concert Series Returns to Epcot June 8: Rock out to the sound of stadium-style shows amidst an old-fashioned American backdrop. From renditions of songs from U2 and the Eagles to covers of classics by Bon Jovi and the Bee Gees, you’re invited to enjoy all the hits flying forth from America Gardens Theatre. It’s a blast by yourself or fun for the whole family! All performances take place at America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. – except on July 4 (when show times are 5:15, 6:30, 7:45 and 9 p.m.). Concerts are included with park admission and entertainment is subject to change.
This year’s concert lineup includes:
- June 8-14: Hotel California ~ A Salute to the Eagles
- June 15-21: Don’t Stop Believin’ ~ Journey Tribute Band
- June 22-28: Good Vibrations ~ A Tribute to The Beach Boys
- June 29-July 5: Don’t Look Back ~ Boston Tribute Band
- July 6-12: Stayin’ Alive ~ A Tribute to the Bee Gees
- July 13-19: Slippery When Wet ~ The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute
- July 20-26: 2U ~ A Tribute to U2
Reminder! Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) to Appear at Star Wars Weekends: For the first time in the history of Star Wars Weekends, Mark Hamill, the actor who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga, will appear at Star Wars Weekends. Hamill will be one of the celebrity guests for Weekend IV, June 6-8, 2014. You can see him in the “Legends of the Force” Star Wars-themed motorcade and in a featured talk show. Hamill’s appearances will most likely be very popular, so be sure to arrive very early. Another very popular guest, Billie Dee Williams, also appears this weekend!
New! Merchandise Events:
- June 4 – 8: Artist Greg McCullough returns June 4 – 8 to Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and will appear later in the month from June 18 – 22 at Art of Disney in Epcot.
- June 5 – 8: Look for special appearances by artist Larry Dotson throughout the day at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace.
- June 12 – 22: Find the latest releases from Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Add to your collection and meet representatives June 12 – 22 and June 26 – July 7. Look for a special appearance by Linda throughout the day, each day, June 12 – 15 and July 3 – 6.
- June 12 – 15: Look for special appearances by artist Larry Dotson throughout the day at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park
- June 14: World-renowned Celebrity DJ Pauly D will appear in the Downtown Disney Marketplace from Noon to 1 p.m. to sign his recently released line of DJ Pauly D headphones from SMS Audio.
- June 14 – 15: It is Car Masters Weekend at Downtown Disney. Special merchandise will be available at various locations.
- June 18 – 22: Artist Greg McCullough returns to Art of Disney in Epcot.
- June 20 – July 3: Artist David E. Doss will be appearing daily at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Stop in and find a new piece of art to add to your collection!
- June 21: Stop by Animation Gallery inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the limited edition release of “Studio Flashback,” featuring Oswald, and meet the artists from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.. Can’t make it to the event? Order yours now!
- June 26 – 29: Look for special appearances by artist Larry Dotson throughout the day at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park
- June 28: Now, all the world is Figment’s stage! To celebrate the launch of the new, limited edition figurine, Figment Actor, sculptor Jacqueline Perrault will be on hand for a special appearance and signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 3 to 4 p.m. at Art of Disney in Epcot. Unable to make it? Take advantage of a special pre-purchase opportunity now through June 27. Also appearing for a special artist signing will be Kevin-John from 1 – 3 p.m.
Closures and Refurbishments
Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort.
Universal Orlando Resort
New! Diagon Alley Food and Beverage Options Revealed: We’ll all have the opportunity to actually step inside places you’ve only seen in the films and read about in the books and actually taste some of the foods and drinks your favorite characters have enjoyed! First up is the Leaky Cauldron, which will look just like it does in the films…all the way down to the huge cauldron that sits in the middle of the restaurant. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious British fare like…
- Bangers and Mash (traditional roasted sausages with creamy mashed potatoes)
- Toad in the Hole (traditional sausage baked into a Yorkshire pudding and served with onion gravy)
- Cottage Pie (a savory combination of meat and vegetables in a potato crust)
- Fisherman’s Pie (salmon, shrimp and cod baked together under a potato crust)
- Beef, Lamb & Guinness Stew (served in a bread bowl)
- Ploughman’s (a feast of English cheeses, crusty bread, cornichon pickles, apple beet salad, Branston pickle and a Scotch egg)
- Split Pea Soup
- Banger Pub Style Sandwich
- Fish and Chips
- And more!
And you can finish off your meal with scrumptious desserts like Chocolate Potted Cream, Cranachan and Sticky Toffee Pudding. There will also be breakfast served at the Leaky Cauldron with two new breakfast items, only available at Diagon Alley: an Apple Oatmeal Flan with Yogurt and Fruit and an Egg, Leek and Mushroom Pasty.
There will also be new beverages for you to enjoy in Diagon Alley like:
- Fishy Green Ale (it’s Fishy Green Ale, use your imagination!)
- Otter’s Fizzy Orange Juice
- Tongue Tying Lemon Squash
- Peachtree Fizzing Tea
- Wizard’s Brew (draught beer)
- Dragon Scale (draught beer)
- Pumpkin Juice
- Butterbeer (of course!)
Another must-stop during your trip to Diagon Alley will be Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment, a cart located in Horizont Alley, where you can enjoy unique elixirs. Here’s how it works: you select from a variety of elixirs like Draught of Peace, Babbling Beverage, Elixir to Induce Euphoria and Fire Protection Potion, and then add the elixir to Gillywater. By mixing them, you’ll see your drink transform before your eyes and experience a delightful flavor surprise. Too cool!
And of course, to top it all off, you have Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. You may remember Florean Fortescue’s from the first book and film “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” when Hagrid bought Harry a chocolate and raspberry ice-cream with chopped nuts. You’ll be able to do the same with unique flavors of ice-cream like…
- Granny Smith (pictured)
- Earl Grey and Lavender
- Chocolate Chili
- Clotted Cream
- Apple Crumble
- Sticky Toffee Pudding
- Salted Caramel Blondie
- Chocolate and Raspberry
- Strawberry and Peanut-Butter
- Orange Marmalade
- Butterbeer (that’s right, Butterbeer-flavored ice cream!)
New! Three CityWalk Venues Opening in June: This month, three new venues will debut at Universal Orlando Resort CityWalk! Menchie’s (popular frozen yogurt shop with self-serve toppings bar) is already open, and later this month, Hot Dog Hall of Fame and VIVO Italian Kitchen will join the CityWalk line-up.
Reminder! Mardi Gras Extended to June 7th for Rescheduled Robin Thicke Concert: The excitement of Mardi Gras now continues through June 7 at Universal Orlando Resort, with a live performance by GRAMMY nominated musician Robin Thicke (performance rescheduled from Feb. 22). Along with the live concert, guests can experience the spirit of the legendary Bayou bash during the dazzling Mardi Gras parade, featuring 12 vibrant floats, including three new additions celebrating Jules Verne’s novel, “Around the World in 80 Days.” Guests can also visit Universal Studios Florida’s very own French Quarter Courtyard to enjoy delectable Cajun cuisine and see performances by bands pulled straight from Bourbon Street.
New! Universal Orlando Released Another Diagon Alley Video: Universal Creative President Mark Woodbury takes you behind the scenes and talks about the vision behind the all-new Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Diagon Alley.
New! Universal Orlando Resort has a new Diagon Alley Contest: Play along and you could win daily prizes or a grand prize of a VIP trip for 4 to Universal Orlando Resort in Florida! http://www.diagonalleysearch.com/
New! Harry Potter Vacation Package Details Announced: Universal recently released the new Harry Potter vacation package. After June 29, guests booking this package will get breakfast at both the Three Broomsticks and the Leaky Cauldron and a special welcome parcel. The welcome parcel will be given to you at check-in at the hotel. This EXCLUSIVE Vacation Package Includes:
- 4-Night Hotel Accommodations
- 3-Day Park-to-Park Ticket to Universal Studios Florida® & Universal’s Islands of Adventure®
- Breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron™ in Universal Studios Florida – one per person
- Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks™ in Universal’s Islands of Adventure – one per person
- Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World Harry Potter™ one hour before the theme parks open
- Special Themed Welcome Parcel
- Convenient at-home delivery of your theme park tickets
- Souvenir owl plush
- Welcome Letter
Date Range: Purchase now – July 31, 2014 with travel June 29 – December 31, 2014.
Closures and Refurbishments
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- None scheduled
- Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 6/7 no show scheduled
Siera is a travel agent with Destinations in Florida. She would love to help you plan your next vacation at no cost to you. Request your free, no obligation quote on the right side of the page or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.