The Downlow | Friday, Nov. 25

Happy belated Thanksgiving, friends! We hope you are enjoying a great holiday weekend with friends and family wherever you are. We are back in Central Florida for a week of fun at Walt Disney World! The agenda includes Mickey’s Verry Merry Christmas Party 2016, fun rides and good eats! We’ll be sure to do a photo recap of our trip when we get.

In the meantime, we’ll keep the theme park news rolling!

The Downlow for Friday, November 25, is here!

Updates on Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

At the D-23 Expo last weekend, Disney unveiled some additional details about Pandora: World of Avatar, the new land in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Disney announced the new land will open in Summer 2017! We know the land will feature two new attractions: a Soarin’-style attraction where visitors will “ride” on the backs of flying banshees and explore the world of Avatar; and The Na’vi River Journey, a family-friendly boat ride that will allow guests to explore Pandora’s bioluminescent wildlife up close! Disney teased the river ride by releasing a short clip of the Na’vi shaman that will greet visitors at the end of the ride (see above!).

Disney also released a few pieces of new art work showcasing some building interiors we can expect to find in the new land. Our friends over at Theme Park Construction have the details.

Moana meet and greet now open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Image: WDW News Today
Image: WDW News Today

Recently, constructions walls were up at the back of One Man’s Dream, the Walt Disney retrospective near Pixar Place in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. People were unsure what was going in at the back of that building, but now we know. It’s a meet and greet with Disney’s newest hero, Moana! WDW News Today has more on the new character interaction!

Big Changes Coming to Hong Kong Disneyland

Image: NYT
Image: NYT

Hong Kong Disneyland, suffering from a major case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) to their new little sister Shanghai Disneyland, has unveiled a $1.4 billion upgrade plan for the park! The new changes include a complete overhaul of the existing castle and additions of two “big name” lands: Marvel and Frozen! New York Times has more on the story.

New Festival Coming to Epcot

Image: Attractions Magazine
Image: Attractions Magazine

We know that big changes are coming to Epcot. Fans are holding their breath right now over recent remarks made by Bob Chapek, Disney’s Chairman of Parks and Resorts, that Epcot would be overhauled over the next few years to make the park more “timeless, relevant and family friendly” while maintaining the original intent of the park. Chapek said that Imagineers have been told to “dream big” when it comes to new attractions at Epcot. While that sure sounds like we’re going to get more rides based on familiar Disney property (like the rumored Ratatouille ride in the France pavilion), we are nervous about what it means for the educational components of the park that have been slowing eroding away. We’ll remain open-minded.

And in the meantime, Disney announced that starting January 2017, Epcot will add another festival to its lineup that already includes the International Food and Wine Festival and the International Flower and Garden Festival: Epcot International Festival of the Arts! The festival runs from January 13 to February 20, and will feature a mixture of visual, culinary and performing arts from across the world.

Our friends at Attractions Magazine have more details, including this exciting news:

In the inaugural year of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, a collaboration with Disney Theatrical will bring an exciting new showcase of favorite music and Broadway talent to the America Gardens Theatre stage. Over the six weekends of the festival, park guests will enjoy different pairings of Broadway talent in concert, performing songs from some of Disney on Broadway’s award-winning shows, including ‪The Lion King‪, Newsies, and Aladdin, to name a few.


And that’s the Downlow for Friday, Nov. 25! We’re looking forward to this new festival at Epcot. Let us know if you’ve ever been to Epcot’s other festivals in the comments below!

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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