Plus… Flights of Wonder being replaced by new UP-Themed Show, Update on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and more!
It’s a new year and there’s a ton of news to report from the Vacation Kingdom of the World. So let’s get to it. It’s time for the January 2018 Edition of the WDW Radio Newswire!
We begin this edition of the Newswire at Epcot, where the 2018 International Festival of the Arts is officially underway. The Festival kicked off on Friday, January 12, and will run daily through Monday, February 19. A Figment topiary is on hand to greet Guests just inside the Main Entrance, complete with paint brush and palette. You’ll also find artist seminars and other vibrant displays throughout the park, with the bulk of the action located in World Showcase. The World Showcase Promenade has over a dozen Food Studio Kiosks in place, with five new kiosks making their debuts this year. The new food kiosks can be found in China, Italy, Japan, Morocco and France. The Odyssey Restaurant serves as the Festival Showplace, and inside you’ll find a vast array of new and old attraction posters similar to the ones that line the Walt Disney World Railroad Train Station tunnel at Magic Kingdom Park. In addition, the America Gardens Theatre plays host to the Disney on Broadway Concert Series. The shows feature music from Disney favorites like Aladdin, Tarzan, Frozen, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and more. The concerts take place Fridays through Mondays, with showtimes at [5:30] PM, [6:45] PM, and [8:00] PM.
For more Epcot news, let’s venture over to Norway, where the Kringla Bakeri og Kafe will soon be closing for a lengthy refurbishment. The closure is set to begin on Sunday, February 4, with a re-opening date slated for sometime this summer. During the closure, a makeshift kiosk will be in place at the pavilion serving up most of the delicious treats normally found at Kringla, including the vastly popular School Bread.
Let’s stroll over to The American Adventure now, as a month-long refurbishment is now underway. The refurb began on Monday, January 15, with a re-opening date scheduled for Thursday, February 15. During the closure, projection system upgrades will be taking place. This is the first major refurb for the attraction in over a decade, so we may also see some updates to the finale film as well.
Time to head back into Future World now, as there’s news to report over at The Land pavilion. Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable will be permanently closing at the conclusion of the day on Sunday, February 3. The 20-minute film made its debut on January 21, 1995, giving it a very respectable run of just over 23 years. There’s no official word yet as far as a replacement goes.
Time to park-hop over to Magic Kingdom Park now. Let’s head down the Avenue of the Planets into Tomorrowland, where Disney has officially filed the constitution permits for the TRON Lightcycle Power Run Coaster. The new attraction was announced at the D23 Expo last July, and the recently filed permits show that the new coaster will be nestled in the area behind Space Mountain and the Tomorrowland Speedway.
For more MK news, let’s follow the hub over to Liberty Square, as a lengthy refurb for the Liberty Square Riverboat is now underway. The closure began on Monday, January 8, with a re-opening date slated for Friday, July 20. If plans stay in place, this will put the total downtime for the paddlewheeler at just over six months.
Time to park-hop over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios now for an update on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Vertical construction has now reached its highest point, with the majority of the framework for the buildings now in place. Construction walls have been removed from Grand Avenue, allowing for a look at what will be the entrance to the new land. Work has now shifted over to the land’s tunnel entrance, and rock work installations have begun as well. Disney officially broke ground on the new land back in April 2016, so we are now 21 months into the construction phase.
For our final bit of news today, let’s park-hop over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Flights of Wonder had its final performance on Saturday, December 31, and work is now underway on the show’s replacement. UP “close encounters” will feature Wildernesses Explorer Russell, as well as his trusty canine companion Dug. They will be joined by Anika, a young lady from the Anandapur Village who serves as caretaker for the birds and other winged creatures at the aviary. UP Close Encounters is slated to open in April 2018, with shows set to take place daily at the Caravan Theater in Anandapur Village.
Well, that’s gonna do it for the January 2018 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!
(Photos copyright Disney)
To learn more about Don and read his recent posts for WDW Radio, visit his author page by clicking the link on his name at the top of this post.