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WDW Radio Newswire: Opening Dates Confirmed For Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance And Disney Skyliner

Plus….major changes coming to Epcot’s Future World Central,
Gran Destino Tower now open at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort,
and more!

We begin the July 2019 edition of the WDW Radio Newswire with exciting news out of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as the opening date for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has been announced. The attraction will officially open on Thursday, December 5. Its west coast counterpart will be up and operational in Disneyland six weeks later on Friday, January 17, 2020. This news comes as we are about one month from the opening of Phase 1of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This first phase of the new Land will be open to Guests on Thursday, August 29, and will include the grand openings of all the shopping and dining locations of Black Spire Outpost, as well as the debut of Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.


In other opening date news announcements, the Disney Skyliner is set to take flight on Sunday, September 29. When it opens, the Skyliner will connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Epcot International Gateway with Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Art of Animation Resort, Caribbean Beach Resort and the soon-to-be-open Riviera Resort. Construction of the much-anticipated gondola system has been ongoing around property since the summer of 2017, with installation and testing underway for about six months now. It puts the total amount of time between the Skyliner’s official announcement and its opening at just over two years.


Let’s hop back into the parks, as there are several news bits to report out of Epcot. First up are some major changes coming to Future World Central this fall. Disney has confirmed the closure of the Character Spot on Sunday, September 8 and has provided a list of temporary meet and greet locations for some of the characters.  Mickey Mouse and Goofy will initially be in Innoventions West but will later move to Journey Into Imagination pavilion. Minnie Mouse will be at the World Showcase Gazebo, and Daisy Duck will appear outside the American Adventure pavilion. Also announced was the return of the Winnie the Pooh Meet and Greet at the United Kingdom pavilion. The future of the Inside Out and Big Hero 6 Meet and Greets is uncertain, but an announcement is expected.

Those aren’t the only changes coming to Future World, as Innoventions East and the exhibits Colortopia and Nanooze Break are scheduled to close up shop on Sunday, September 8. Also on that day, the Fountain of Nations Show will come to an end. Club Cool will close sometime this fall as well, but Disney has confirmed it will re-open in a new location. Fountain View will also close during this time, but its closure will only be temporary. Several other changes to Epcot Central are expected to be announced at the D-23 Expo next month, so stay tuned to the Newswire for more updates!


For more news out of Epcot, let’s venture over to the Japan pavilion. A new signature restaurant has emerged onto the World Showcase dining scene, as Takumi-Tei has officially opened for business. The restaurant features five dining rooms and is open for dinner from 4 pm to 9 pm. Menu highlights include the Takumi Gyuniku (wagyu beef tenderloin) and the Kamu Rosu (roasted marinated duck). Sushi is also at the forefront, with tuna, yellowtail, and salmon amongst the delicious menu choices. You’ll also find a wide variety of beer, wine, sake, and specialty cocktails to whet your palate.


For more news out of World Showcase, let’s venture to the Canada Pavilion. Refurbishment scrims have recently engulfed the vast majority of the main building, as a major overhaul is currently underway. The water feature has also been shut off during this time. While the exterior of the pavilion gets a facelift, the interior will also see upgrades. The theater will be equipped with a new projection system, and the O Canada! film is set to receive minor updates as well.

For more news on the refurbishment front, let’s hop over to the Magic Kingdom.  Time to follow the hub to the Avenue of the Planets, as this news bit takes us to Tomorrowland. The Astro Orbiter is temporarily grounded, as the attraction will be seeing about a month of downtime this summer. Rockets are scheduled to resume their flight patterns over the Tomorrowland skies on Thursday, August 15. 


It’s time to park-hop to Disney’s Animal Kingdom now, as we board the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. The area re-opened last week with a brand-new Animation Experience located at the Conservation Station. Inside the attraction, you can learn how to draw one of your favorite characters from the Lion King, with each instructor-led session being different and unique. You may learn how to draw Simba on your first visit, and Timon or Pumbaa on your next. The Affection Section has also re-opened. With freshly-hung signage and banners, and with the background music you hear, you’ll find a renewed emphasis on the Lion King tied-in throughout the entire area of Rafiki’s Planet Watch. 


Our final bit of news today takes us out of the parks and over to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Gran  Destino Tower is now open to Guests.  The massive 15-story addition officially welcomed their first Guests home on Tuesday, July 9. With it comes an additional 545 rooms (50 of which are suites), as well as an exciting new array of shopping and dining options. On the rooftop, you’ll find Tolédo- Tapas, Steaks & Seafood, as well as the Dahlia Lounge. Meanwhile, out in the middle of Lago Dorado is the new open-air restaurant, Three Bridges Bar & Grill. These new options are excellent additions to the Coronado Springs dining landscape, and the rooftop restaurant and lounge offer up some breathtaking views around property. 


Well, that’s gonna do it for the July 2019 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!

To learn more about Don and read past issues of the WDW Radio Newswire,  visit his author page.

(Images from the personal collection of Kathy Wicks.)