Happy Friday, everyone!👋
Landon here with another newsletter coming your way from the theme parks. This week, we have a lot to talk about. Let me start by saying we have some 🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨 coming in from EPCOT! This morning, Disney announced its 2024-2025 Disney Ambassadors. These two will help lead the company through numerous special events at the parks and in our community and represent the more than 75,000 Disney Cast Members. You can read all about them here.
Before I get into some of the other news, you might have asked where I was last week.
You all know I’m a huge theme park person – so, I packed my bags and headed out west to check out all the spooky fun that awaits people. I was lucky enough to see Oogie Boogie Bash at Disneyland and Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. 🎃 I wanted to bring you some of my favorite highlights.
Let’s start off at Universal Studios Hollywood – since it is the home of some of the original scary monsters like Frankenstein and Dracula.
As much as I love the event in Orlando, I feel like Hollywood killed it when it came to original houses and IP haunts. Some haunted houses have the same themes as Orlando – but in my opinion – might be a little better this year. 😨 The event felt more intimate, intense and somewhat scary with no place to hide from chainsaws and scare actors.
Some of my favorite houses included the original concepts: Holidayz in Hell and Monstrous: The Monsters of Latin America. 👹 Hollywood also has the Terror Tram, which by day takes guests into some of Universal Studios’ famous film sets, but by night – has been taken over by Larry Larva, an exterminator with hopes of seeing an insect uprising.
The event also has fun food and beverage options including a “Stranger Things” bar packed with fun and colorful libations and foods such as a Demogorgan pizza and Mind Flayer cocktail. 🍸
And you can’t forget to mention, the park’s WaterWorld stunt show has been transformed by night into a fiery and explosive show that centers around Blumhouse’s horrifying Purge films. In all – I would HIGHLY recommend checking out Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights if you get a chance this season or the next. Click here for a preview.
While you’re out there, be sure and check out Super Nintendo World!👍
Flipping the coin would be Disney’s California Adventure’s Oogie Boogie Bash.
This event is VERY popular – with most event dates selling out in a day or two.
Unlike Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party here in Florida, Oogie Boogie Bash features some rare villain characters you won’t see anywhere else, including Sid from “Toy Story,” Marvel’s Agatha Harkness and Yokai from “Big Hero 6.” These characters are scattered throughout the park alongside some treat trails. Don’t forget about Villains Grove, which features some awesome lighting and special effects.
Speaking of treats – you get a TON of candy! 🍬 Bring another bag, you’re going to need it. Also bring your appetite, the event has a small number of special treats. I’ll say MNSSHP has more event exclusive foods if that’s what you’re looking for. Another highlight of the event was the Frightfully Fun parade which features characters including Hades, Jack and Sally and even Ichabod Crane. Ending the night, I felt like the event was a good time overall.
Some other big highlights in Disneyland – Tiana’s Palace, the Haunted Mansion Holidays and the Magic Happens parade! 🤩🤩
All right – I’m done talking about that trip. Let’s get into the long list of news.
Igniting the 💯 magic
Beginning today, the Disney100 celebration officially kicks off at Walt Disney World. The celebration, that is happening companywide, celebrates the magic and possibilities that have come from the Walt Disney Animation Studios. From classics like “Cinderella” to some new films like “Encanto.” At EPCOT, there is a ton to check out during the celebration. including new photo opportunities, murals, merchandise, a light projection show on Spaceship Earth and platinum meet-and-greets.📸
In terms of attractions, Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana will officially open to ALL guests on Oct. 16. Disney annual passholders will get their first chance to experience it this weekend. The popular attraction Soarin’ is also heading back to its original roots, playing “Soarin’ over California.” Get ready to smell those orange groves once again.🍊
We can’t forget about the food and drink options too. Three new EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival Global Marketplaces are coming online as of today including the all-new Wine and Wedge, Bubbles & Brine and Char & Chop. One more Global Marketplace will be coming, Swirled Showcase, but Disney said it hit a small delay in opening in time for this weekend. Should open soon. When it does – I’m trying the Mickey-shaped Liquid Nitro Cake! 😋 Click here to see all the menus at this year’s festival.
And if you’re looking for something out-of-this-world, head to EPCOT’s Space220 restaurant! 🚀 The sit-down celestial dining spot is celebrating two years in operation (🤯has it really been that long) with some stellar new cosmic cocktails and food options.
🏌️ Swinging into savings
For anyone hoping to get to check out some of the newest Disney thrills at the theme parks – Disney has a new weekday ticket deal for you to check out. 🎟️
From TRON Lightcycle Run to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there is possibly something you haven’t done or seen in a while. This ticket is perfect for you. This ticket deal is only available for Florida residents. It also has multiple options for flexibility. Do you need 2, 3 or 4 days? The tickets also have some add-ons that include the water parks and park hopper options. These tickets will be valid beginning Oct. 2. After checking out some of the theme parks, how about a round of mini golf?
I checked out some of them this week as part of National mini-golf day! ⛳ Do you have a favorite?
Tram-tastic news 🚎
Gone are the days of walking to-and-from the theme park entrances back to your car.
As of today, all courtesy trams have returned to Walt Disney World. 😃The resort announced last month that trams at EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be returning, and sure enough this week – they did! Let’s all celebrate by keeping our hands, arms, feet and legs inside the tram as we continue down this newsletter.
🚗✨Wishes on wheels
Remember those specialty Florida license plates that Disney put out during the 50th anniversary celebration?
I know a few people that have one and they made a huge impact on the Make-A-Wish organization. 🚘Well, if you missed your chance to get one – fear not. This week, Walt Disney World announced that right now you can get your hands on a newly designed Walt Disney World license plate. The specialty plate is available to all Florida drivers. Just like the last one, some of the proceeds go to Make-A-Wish which helps fund cost-free vacations for families with critically ill children. You can also gift the license plate to someone who you know wants one in Florida. I have made it easy to get one with several links in this article here.
🙌Rock the Universe & Garage Sale🛍️
We’re entering the final week of Universal Orlando’s passholder appreciation days. It runs through Sept. 30, allowing passholders to take advantage of special discounts, exclusive food and drinks and so much more. This weekend, Universal is opening those discounts even further on some of its merchandise with its merchandise garage sale. According to an email sent out to passholders, the event will take place today through Sept. 25 at Universal Studios Florida. 🛍️ The entrance will be located next to the Halloween Horror Nights tribute store and will be open till 3 p.m. each day. Universal says merchandise items will be “deeply discounted.”
Speaking of Universal Orlando – this week we got even more details about its “Rock the Universe” event coming next year. 🎶 The full Christian artist lineup was announced along with special ticket deals, which are now on sale. Rock the Universe begins Jan. 26.
🔥Fear and fun 🧊
A couple weeks ago, during the busy days of Destination D23, SeaWorld Orlando welcomed guests to its Howl-O-Scream event. 🧟
I was there to check out what’s new at this year’s event. The terrifying sirens are back alongside a handful of haunted houses, scare zones and live entertainment. Something new this year is a 🤡 circus style scare zone near the new attraction, Pipeline: The Surf Coaster. You will also get to ride many of the attractions at night with lower wait times. In terms of scary, I didn’t think it was that bad. For anyone hoping to take part in this year’s event – listen up! Now through Sept. 24, you can get tickets for as low as $44.99, plus tax. Happy haunting!
Holiday savings 💸
For the scaredy cats out there, maybe Legoland Florida and Peppa Pig theme park are your style. 👍
For a limited time, the theme parks are rolling out a special deal that gets you access through the holiday season. You’ll be able to see all the Halloween and Christmas events with the 3-Month Play Pass. It starts at $119 at Legoland Florida and $67.99 at Peppa Pig theme park. 🤑 The theme parks said bookings must be made from now through Dec. 19.
Wildlife Wonders 🦓
Finally, this week, some adorable news out at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. ☺️
The park is celebrating the number of animal births that have happened over the past year. Hard to believe but they have welcomed more than 300 new animals to the park this year alone! From a new Shetland Pony to new Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra foals! The news comes as the park celebrates 25 years in operation!
I think that wraps things up from me this week.
After a week away – I had a lot to throw out there. I hope you all have an amazing weekend, and I will talk to you all again soon.