In this edition of Theme Park Bits:
- Disney has released a sneak peek at the experience of Star Wars: Galaxy Edge
- A petition is gaining steam, attempting to relieve Disney or the trademark of "Hakuna matata"
- Disney World's most popular video for paid DVC events moving forward
- Has one of Epcot's old audio Animatronic figures leg chair?
- And more!
Every theme park worthy of salt has a nighttime celebration that's designed to dazzle and awe audiences from around the world. The Universal Orlando Cinematic Celebration has released a variety of characters from all kinds of movies over the 100-year-old studio. Of course, as you see from this behind-the-scenes video, most of the movies are from the last few years, such as Jurassic World The Secret Life of Pets , and the Harry Potter films. The nighttime spectacular looks quite exciting, even if only one of those movie franchises is particularly entertaining.
If you are not sure, "Hakuna matata" means "no worries." (For the rest of your days, natch.) You may or may not know that this phrase is not something that was created for the 1994 smash hit The Lion King but a real phrase in the Swahili language spoken by tens of millions of people in Africa. Though the phrase has been co-opted by Disney for a long time for its shirts sold in theme parks, a petition recently started making waves in getting the House of Mouse to stop enforcing trademark on a phrase that's to Swahili speakers as “Good morning” is to most English speakers. With the 2019 remake coming soon, I imagine this will continue to make headlines, raising very legitimate and valid questions about cultural appropriation.
We now have some urgent, breaking news: an Audio-Animatronic figure from Epcot may have been chaired . Though this may not really be, urgent for real, it's genuinely something that's kept Disney Twitter for the last week or so, and what a fitting use of "abuzz"! Buzzy is the name of the character who may have been seated, from the long-closed Cranium Command attraction to the long-closed Wonders of Life pavilion. Buzzy, Twitter users are arguing, was stolen in part because Disney has failed to archive its not-in-use figures, thus making it easier to take away without anyone knowing for sure what happened. There's a lot of information about this, but this is true: Disney really ought to be archiving its historical theme park figures. There is no good reason for this.
If you are traveling at Disney's Animal Kingdom anytime soon, you should keep an eye out for the park's newest animal ambassadors. They're two donkeys, named Jack and Jill, who have been located at Animal Kingdom since its opening day in 1998, and they'll be roaming around Africa and Discovery Island to help tell a story. (If you have any questions about it, it's a story about just about every element in one of the parks.) Specifically, they'll be letting guests know how South American donkeys are used to help replant forests and emphasize conservation efforts there and around the world. I am kid about story, but Animal Kingdom is my stealth favorite Disney World park, and its embrace of conservation is one of the reasons why. If you were to Disney World soon, and I mean real soon you ought to stop by a limited -time restaurant experience at the Magic Kingdom. You may like me, and not even have known that Aunt Polly's was a restaurant on Tom Sawyer's Island, but it'll be open through January 5 with special items like Becky's Buttery Biscuit (say five times fast) and Mississippi Mud Pie. You can't go to this restaurant until the 5th, so don't wait for the New Year's weekend weekend.
Oh, have the excess of money to spend on being a Disney Vacation Club member . If, unlike me, you are a DVC member, bully for you. Well, and also, you will soon be able to spend even more money at special events at the Contemporary Resort. Specifically, you can head over to the top of the world soon for paid events between January 14 and June 30 of next year. It's not yet clear what the future of the lounge will be starting in July, and that's probably dependent on how successful the DVC events are in the first half of 2019. Still, adding on another prix-fixe item for only an exclusive set of guests goes against the notion of Disney World being a park for any and all families, what do I know.
If you are a rabid of the Disney theme parks, and / or a rabid of the Star Wars universe, you were doubtless pleased with Christmas morning to wake up and watch … that trailer for Jordan Peele's new movie! That looks pretty creepy, right? OK, but I'm just kidding around, because I really mean the new sneak peek video of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge set to open at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in the new year. Though most of the video is still displaying what amounts to test footage – the country is still under construction in both Anaheim and Orlando – the experience of what it will be like to ride inside the Millennium Falcon seems like it's going to be worth the multi -year wait
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