Plus…. Rivers of Light Opening Date pushed back and Jungle Book-inspired show to debut in the interim, Opening Date for Soarin’ Around the World announced, and more!
We begin the May edition of the WDW Radio Newswire with some exciting news out of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A new piece of concept art was released recently, which shows some pretty specific details for Toy Story Land. Let’s begin with Toy Story Land’s main attraction: Slinky Dog Dash! Slinky Dog Dash will be a family coaster (think somewhere between Goofy’s Barnstormer and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train thrill level), with excitement aplenty from start to finish, as the attraction will be chock-full of hairpin turns and stomach-churning drops. As the backstory goes, Andy has used his “Mega Coaster Play Kit” to construct a super-sized coaster track in his backyard. For the ride vehicle, Andy has turned to his trusty pal Slinky Dog. The end result is a thrilling, high speed adventure that’s still mild enough for the youngsters to enjoy. But that’s not all, as there’s another exciting attraction coming to Toy Story Land: Alien Swirling Saucers! As you might have guessed from the title, Alien Swirling Saucers is based off those lovable, little three-eyed aliens from the first film in the Toy Story franchise. The backstory here has Andy putting together another play set, this time it’s one he’s aquired from Pizza Planet. Guests will board a rocket ship for a rip roarin’ spin around the solar system, complete with a rockin’ cosmic soundtrack. But this is no joyride through the planets, as the aliens will be attempting to catch your ride vehicle in the clutches of “The Claw!” There’s still no official opening date for Toy Story Land, but with the recent leveling of Catastrophe Canyon and the Earffel Tower, the clearing stages are now well underway. In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on the latest as it’s announced.
Let’s park-hop over to Epcot now, as the opening date for Soarin’ Around the World has just been announced. The attraction will take flight on Friday, June 17th. Soarin’ Around the World will take Guests on a whirlwind, multi-continent trek, highlighting globetrotting destinations like the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, and the Eiffel Tower in France. The original version of Soarin’ has been closed since Monday, January 4th, as construction on a third ride system and show building has been ongoing, as well as updates for the old show building’s audio and projection systems. For those of you who may be traveling to WDW on or after June 17th, FASTPASS+ reservations for trips inside the 60 day window can be booked now.
For more news out of Epcot, let’s venture over to the Norway pavilion, where we’re inching closer and closer to an opening date for the Frozen Ever After attraction and the Frozen Royal Sommerhus meet and greet. Disney has now confirmed that both experiences will be officially opening in June. An exact opening date in June has yet to be announced, but look for “soft-openings” to begin even earlier than that, possibly as early as Memorial Day Weekend. Frozen Ever After takes up residence in the building formerly occupied by the Maelstrom attraction, and features a family-friendly boat ride through the icy Kingdom of Arendelle as the gang celebrates a “Summer Snow Day.” The nearby Royal Sommerhus is an entirely new building located in a cleared space between the Norway and Mexico pavilions. Here guests of all ages will be able to meet and greet with Anna and Elsa in a charmingly-themed environment fit for Royalty, as the Meet and Greet is modeled to resemble the girls’ summer cabin in the quaint Norwegian countryside.
Time to hop over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom now for some news on Rivers of Light. Unfortunately, the show did not open up on Earth Day, April 22nd, as previously scheduled. Details are sketchy and unconfirmed, but word on the street points at the delay being related to control issues with the floating barges. Whatever the reason may be, Rivers of Light is officially delayed, with an update forthcoming in mid/late May. But the Rivers of Light delay has opened the door for another show to open up in the interim. Jungle Book: Alive with Magic is set to debut Memorial Day Weekend. Based on the recently released and hugely popular live-action film, the show is the perfect fit to fill the void left in the nighttime entertainment lineup by the delay of Rivers of Light. The show will feature an Indian influence, and at the forefront will be the classic songs we all know and love. The show will even incorporate some elements from Rivers of Light into the mix. All in all, this is a great save here by Disney. Now they have some additional time to tweak Rivers of Light, and in the meantime we get to enjoy a Jungle Book show for a couple months!
For our final bit of news today, let’s stay in Animal Kingdom and venture over to Discovery Island for an update the progress of Tiffins. The table service restaurant is currently under construction, with plans now in place for a Memorial Day Weekend Grand Opening. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, and will hold a seating capacity of just over 250 Guests. Seating is spread out over three unique and distinctly themed dining rooms. The main dining room is the Grand Gallery, which holds 114 Guests and focuses its theme on the animal species under (or in need of) protection from the Disney Conservation Fund. The other two dining rooms will put emphasis on specific regions highlighted at the park. The Trek Gallery seats 74, with Asian theme and decor featured throughout. The smallest dining room is the 64-seat African inspired Safari Gallery. Let’s shift our focus over to the menu for Tiffins now, which will feature a culinary mashup of mouth watering exotic foods and drinks from the continents of the world. Appetizers include dishes such as the Asian and African inspired Lobster-Popcorn Thai Curry Soup, and the European inspired Marinated Grilled Octopus. Entrees include hearty offerings such as Berber Spiced Lamb Chop, Berkshire Pork Tenderloin, Grilled Head-on Shrimp, and Miso-Glazed Black Cod. To wash it all down, you can grab a beer, cocktail, or non-alcoholic flavored lemonade from the drink menu, which features a quenching mix from Africa, South America, and Asia. In addition to Tiffins, the Nomad Lounge will also be opening up over Memorial Day Weekend. Adjacent to Tiffins, the Nomad Lounge will serve up small plate samplings and provide indoor and outdoor seating for over 100 Guests (55 inside, 46 outside). Menu items for the lounge include tasty dishes like Seared Wagyu Beef Skewer, Indian Butter Chicken Wings, and Honey-Glazed Coriander-Spiced Pork Ribs.
Well, that’s gonna do it for the May edition of the WDW Radio Newswire, but I’ll be back again next month with lots more news, notes, and happenings from Walt’s beloved Florida Project!
Don Myers has covered news and recent events in Walt Disney World for the WDW Radio Blog since 2011. He has been enamored with “all things Disney” since his first trip to WDW in 1986. As they say… the rest is history! Don was also a contributing writer for Celebrations magazine, submitting over 30 articles and 7 cover stories for the publication from 2009 to 2012.