The Downlow | Friday, Nov. 18

PizzeRizzo opens Friday. It was still behind construction walls when we visited in October.

Hey guys! Thanks for stopping by the site! We’ve been stockpiling some news and notes from around the theme park world this week and now we’re ready to roll.

The Downlow for Friday, November 18, is here!

Getting Closer to Racing through New York with Jimmy Fallon
Universal Orlando continues work on the new simulator ride, Racing Through New York with Jimmy Fallon! We talked about the ride in past posts, but our friends over at Orlando Informer have shared a video of why you should be getting excited about it!

Harry Potter is Getting a Tune Up
For the first time since it opened in June 2010, Universal Islands of Adventure’s hugely popular Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride will be closed for a short refurbishment in December. Think about it – these rides operate 12-14 hours a day, 365 days a year. The wear and tear on the parts and equipment is expansive and after a while, it’s not enough to just service the ride in the overnight hours. The refurbishment will close Forbidden Journey from December 1-18 but will NOT include an upgrade to 3D as had been rumored in the past.

Haunted Mansion…in the light!
We’ve all been there – you’re riding your favorite theme park attraction when all of a sudden, it comes to an unexpected stop. A voice on a speaker cuts through the commotion letting you know that the ride is experiencing difficulties. And then you wait. For most people, the shorter the wait, the better. For the Downlow, we keep our fingers crossed that the ride won’t start and we’ll have to evacuate, getting glimpses of the “back stage” areas of the ride and other spaces that visitors never normally see! Recently, riders of the Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom got to do just like and fortunately, someone thought to take a video of it! Check it out at WDW News Today!

Live Action Beauty and the Beast Trailer Released
Disney has started to turn their attention to more live action films of late. In recent years, the studio has had huge success with hits like Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Maleficient and 2015’s The Jungle Book. With live action versions of  popular titles like Mulan, Alladin and The Lion King already in various stages of production, Disney is ramping up buzz on its upcoming Beauty and the Beast movie! Scheduled for release in March 2017, Beauty and the Beast looks to be nearly identical to the animated classic that was released in (gasp) 1991! The movie starts Emma Watson (Harry Potter series) and Dan Stevens, and the new trailer looks fantastic! Watch it here!

Today is Opening Day for PizzeRizzo!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open its new restaurant, PizzeRizzo, today! Located in Muppet Courtyard beside the popular Muppet show, PizzeRizzo is the remodeled and upgraded remnants of the old Pizza Planet restaurant. When we were there in October, the building was still behind construction walls. But now those walls are down and Disney has announced that the restaurant will open today. WDW Magic has some great photos of the exterior of the building! We can’t wait to try this place on our next visit!

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM Opening Night
DHS’ new holiday nighttime show, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM, opened this week to rave reviews! The show, which is meant to help folks remember how much they loved the Osborne Spectacle of Dancient Light (RIP), is a projection/laser/firework extravaganza that uses the Mann’s Chinese Theater building as its backdrop. Dewayne Bevil from the Orlando Sentinel was there for opening night and you can read his review here. And if you really want to spoil yourself, you can watch a good video of Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM in its entirety here!

Christmas Festivities Aren’t Just For Disney
We know that Disney is rolling out its new Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM show at DHS and the new holiday “drone” show over at Disney Springs. But Universal Orlando isn’t slacking in the holiday cheer either! Starting December 3, Universal Studios Florida will host many of the giant balloons from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the streets of the park! At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, guests have a chance to meet the meanest Christmas meanie – the Grinch!- and see a great live show, “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular”. And on select dates, the Christmas music maestros Manheim Steamroller will hold concerts at the park! Those select dates are Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18.

Well, that’s the Downlow for today, friends! Are you excited to see Beauty and the Beast? Have you ever spent time during the holidays at a theme park? Let us know in the comments below!

And don’t forget – if all this theme park talk is making you wistful for a dream theme park vacation of your own, half of our Downlow team (Ang!) is a travel expert and can help you book and plan the vacation of your dream! Check out her Travel Page for me info!

Interested in a free Disney/Universal quote?

Ang Bertugli Spece, one half of the Dis Downlow team, is a travel consultant with Simply Enchanted Travel and would love to help you get started planning a dream vacation!

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