7 Quiet Changes at Walt Disney World You Probably Didn’t Notice

Over the past few days, news about price hikes and a potential Skyway-style elevated transportation system connecting Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Epcot and nearby hotels have been dominating the news, with fans getting into heated debates about the current and future state of Walt Disney World’s theme parks. 

However, even though there are quite a lot of big projects in the works right now at Walt Disney World, some smaller changes have been made in recent days that you might miss if you’re not paying attention. From the expansion of entertainment at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, to several new PhotoPass features, here’s everything you need to know that is happening at the resort that you might have missed!

1. Disney’s Animal Kingdom gets an entertainment overhaul

Of course, the big news out of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in recent days has been the long-awaited debut of the Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular. But did you know that there have been a number of other changes happening recently around this park as well?

First up, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has expanded the amount of brief “streetmosphere”-style live shows around the park. Small stages in Harambe and DinoLand U.S.A. have been erected to house the brief 15-minute bird behavior demonstrations, which were previously performed outside the Flights of Wonder show building. These shows are currently happening intermittently, and are likely in a testing phase, which is why this change wasn’t really publicized. 

Image: Disney

In addition, Disney is trying to incorporate some more preschool-friendly characters in this park, bringing Disney Junior character Doc McStuffins to Rafikki’s Planet Watch in the space where Chip ‘n Dale used to meet. 

Of course, all of these changes are likely being made in advance of the May opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar, which Disney is expecting to really boost up attendance at this park. 

2.  Oscar statue photo op available this week at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Image: Disney 

Earlier this week Disney announced that movie fans who come to Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have the opportunity to take a photo with the iconic Oscar statuette in celebration of ABC’s Academy Awards telecast on February 26th. Guests who want to check out this new experience (which will only be available until the day of the Oscars broadcast) can head over to the One Man’s Dream attraction, which now houses this temporary setup (complete with PhotoPass photographer).

3. New MagicShot now available at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom

Image: Disney

And speaking of PhotoPass, Disney has introduced another new animated MagicShot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests who take a PhotoPass photo near the Celebrity 5 & 10 near the front of this park can get an animated shot that includes Mickey Mouse posing along with you while Minnie Mouse takes your picture.

In addition to the Disney’s Hollywood Studios location, this special Magic Shot is also available in front of the Partners statue at the Magic Kingdom.

4. New physical prop PhotoPass feature now testing at the Tangled toilets

In an unprecedented third PhotoPass update, Disney has quietly begun testing a new physical prop feature at the Tangled toilets that allows guests to hold one of the glowing lanterns from the film while posing in front of the restrooms. This new PhotoPass test is being offered at random times throughout the day, and we have no idea if this will be a permanent offering at the Magic Kingdom or not. 

 5. Costuming building to be relocated at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Here’s one update that regular guests at Walt Disney World definitely wouldn’t ordinarily know about, but might be intrigued to learn about: the current costuming building for this park, which is well-hidden directly across from the parking area (you’ve probably walked by it a dozen times without noticing it!) is being relocated to somewhere else in the park. 

Now while you may think this is an uninteresting development at first (who cares where a backstage Cast Member building is?) considering this building is unconnected to the current construction zones for Toy Story Land or Star Wars Land, it has been speculated that Disney could be removing this building to either expand the parking lot or, most intriguingly, to make way for the aforementioned gondola transportation system. While it’s certainly possible that Disney could just be relocating this building to a more convenient area for Cast Members, considering all the big developments ar this park, it is certainly tantalizing to think of some of the other possibilities surrounding this change. 

6. The MuppetVision 3D balloon has been removed from the Muppet Courtyard

If you make a habit of walking through the Muppet Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you may have noticed that this area has been going through some subtle changes in the past few months, with the most recent being the conversion of the iconic Muppet fountain into a planter. However, it looks like another dramatic aesthetic change has happened just a few weeks ago in this area of the park.

Due to ongoing construction behind the MuppetVision 3D building as well as the eventual sightlines from inside what will one day be Star Wars Land, Disney has pulled down the iconic Muppets hot air balloon, which previously sat atop the MuppetVision 3D attraction. It is currently unknown if this balloon will be relocated to somewhere else inside the Muppet Courtyard, or if it is truly gone forever. Of course, we’re hoping for the former, but given the amount of space inside this land, the latter seems much more likely. 

7. The Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party now being performed at night

Image: Disney

While it has not been publicized very heavily, guests who pay attention to their times guide may notice something peculiar this spring: the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party is now being performed on select nights after dark. Though this long-running parade has been a fixture during the daytime, this is the first time that it is being performed prior to the nightly Wishes spectacular. Evening performances are currently scheduled through Spring Break, and it is currently unknown if this new, extended schedule will be sticking around into the summer months. 

  • Originally in Theme Park Tourist By , Wednesday, February 22, 2017 05:55

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