Rikki’s Mouse Bites – Walt Disney World News 5/5/14

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  • The big news that we’ve all been waiting for!  Seven Dwarfs Mine Train officially opens on May 28!
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort is seeing a massive refurbishment right now and it appears it’s all just the start. Disney announced that not only will the resort be changing names (it will now be called Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, in honor of when it opened back in 1971), but it will also see a brand new, updated lobby, with a much smaller fountain in the middle.  (Bye bye big fountain.)  Finally, it was announced that Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto will be opening at the resort.  This lounge will be very similar to the version found at Disneyland Resort.
  • The first section the new revitalization project for Downtown Disney, called The Landing, will open in early 2015.  At that point, the area will be re-branded as Disney Springs.  The second part of the refurbishment will debut sometime in 2016,  including an updated Marketplace and West Side, as well as the all new Town Center.  This summer, we’ll see a few new shops debut.  They include two new Starbucks locations (one a kiosk and one a full store), Marketplace Co-Op (which will be set up as individual little boutique stores inside), Food Truck Park (a spot where all four Disney Food Trucks will reside), and United World of Soccer (a store designed to celebrate the World Cup.)

Tree of Life

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be getting a brand new nighttime show.  It will be called Rivers of Light and will feature swirling animal imagery, water screens, and floating lanterns.  The show will be performed on the Discovery River when it officially debuts, in the next couple of years.
  • Festival of the Lion King will debut in it’s new home at Harambe Theater in June. The show will be located now in the Africa section of the park.
  • A brand new special party will be taking place this summer at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Known as Harambe Nights, this hard ticketed event is scheduled to take place from June 7 – August 9.  Guests will get to partake in a special theatrical showing of a brand new show called, “The Lion King: Concert in the Wild.” The show will feature celebrity narrators and a live orchestra.  Performances will showcase iconic scenes from The Lion King.  Celebrity narrators include:
    • June 7: Viola Davis
    • June 14: TBD
    • June 21: Montego Glover
    • June 28: David Alan Grier
    • July 5: Michael Beach
    • July 12: Harry Lennix
    • July 19: Joe Morton
    • July 26: Alfre Woodard
    • August 2: Brian Stokes Mitchell
    • August 9: Patina Miller

    Afterwards, guests will be invited out to visit the streets of Harambe where they can partake in purchasing exclusive merchandise, meeting Disney characters, and participate in artist signings. There will also be a live band performing in the streets.  The celebration will feature a culinary nod to Africa with multiple buffet stations, sweet bites of gourmet desserts, and a selection of African beers and wines, plus specialty beverages that are all included in the event admission.  Soft drinks and water will also be offered. Tickets can be purchased for $119 for adults and $79 for kids, ages 3-9. There is also Premium Admission available, which provides guests with premium seating for the show. The cost of the Premium Admission tickets are $134 for adults and $94 for kids, ages 3-9.

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