Rumor round-up for August 20, 2014: Universal’s hotel expansion, millions more for Avatar, Ministry of Magic whispers

MICHAEL GAMBON as Albus Dumbledore in Warner Bros. Pictures' fantasy "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.? PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE USED SOLELY FOR ADVERTISING, PROMOTION, PUBLICITY OR REVIEWS OF THIS SPECIFIC MOTION PICTURE AND TO REMAIN THE PROPERTY OF THE STUDIO. NOT FOR SALE OR REDISTRIBUTION

For this week's edition of the Rumor Round-Up, we're taking a page out of Harry Potter (no pun intended) and firing up the old crystal ball to try and divine what the future may hold for the biggest names in the Orlando themed world. Think of it as a tour of your near-future vacation. Let's get hopping, shall we?   2015: Royal Pacific Resort's expansion No, this isn't the rumored fifth hotel that is going next door in the empty plot of land in between Royal Pacific Resort and the … [Read more...]

Magic Kingdom trip report – August 2014 (Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, LeFou’s Brew vs. Butterbeer, Hub construction)

Magic Kingdom - August 2014.

My Walt Disney World trip this month was to Magic Kingdom last Sunday, on a very sunny, very hot day. Although we did not spend a long day at the park, by pre-planning our FastPass+ attractions, my family and I were able to enjoy ourselves and not have to wait for a lengthy period of time for our preferred rides. When we arrived at the park, the summer version of the entertaining Main Street trolley show was occurring. Talented performers usually ride the horse-drawn trolley and stop at … [Read more...]

Rumor round-up for July 29, 2014: Skull Island opening date, Cabana Bay’s price hike, and Disney’s paper FastPasses return

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Figuring out Skull Island’s opening date Over the years, the San Diego Comic Con has not only grown exponentially larger, it’s also taken on the air of a mega-event like the Electronic Entertainment Expo, where big press conferences are held and major bombshells are dropped and (fanboy) lives are irrevocably changed. Also like E3, however, all this built-up hype tends to have a certain level of blowback, as many – if not most – companies either can’t or won’t play into the expectation game. … [Read more...]

The American Idol Experience: A magical look behind the scenes and a heartfelt goodbye

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Walt Disney World recently announced that "The American Idol Experience" show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be closing at the start of 2015. This attraction has a special place in my heart, and, while I may no longer be a Disney Cast Member, I would like to take this moment to share some of my stories and some interesting moments right from the very beginning of "American Idol." For anyone who has not been to "The American Idol Experience," the basic premise is this: guests can … [Read more...]

Disney’s 2014 fall season: Halloween & Christmas parties, food festivals, marathons, and more

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From Labor Day to Thanksgiving, there’s a bounty of festive offerings at Walt Disney World to satisfy all tastes. With an art show, sporting events, annual holiday parties, concerts, and international food fest, the Vacation Kingdom is the place to celebrate the golden days of the harvest season. The fall lineup kicks off on September 1 with the popular Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, offering three extra nights of happy haunts. Here’s more:   Mickey’s Not-So-Scary … [Read more...]

Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – July 2014 (Frozen Summer Fun invades Disney!)

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Do you wanna build a snowman? For the first time in forever, you can do just that at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! My family and I visited DHS to celebrate our son’s birthday and to experience the new Frozen Summer Fun occurring daily now through September 1, 2014. Near the entrance to the park, we saw a new large sand sculpture of Olaf, the loveable snowman from the Disney movie Frozen, and it helped set the mood for a cool day. After swiping our MagicBands, we were each given a … [Read more...]

Rumor SPOTLIGHT for July 16, 2014: What if Universal buys SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment?

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In case you missed the news last week, we’ve recently been hearing that Universal owner Comcast might want to buy SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (which includes Busch Gardens and other parks across the U.S.). It isn’t nearly as farfetched as it might seem on first blush; Comcast, as noted in last week's Rumor Round-Up, has suddenly found itself inebriated with the themed industry, more than willing to drop half a billion dollars a year on upgrades and expansions for its American … [Read more...]

Orlando for beginners: Explore beyond the parks for some of Disney’s best dining

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“So, where’s the best place to eat while I’m at Disney?” It’s a favorite question on forums across the internet, partially because the dining options at Disney are diverse and, sometimes, daunting to vacationers. With all the choices Disney offers, the answers to the question are never quite the same, but some familiar favorites rise to the top every time: Le Cellier, Crystal Palace… But many times, those answers fail to consider one of the most important options in Disney dining: the … [Read more...]

Rumor round-up for July 11, 2014: Universal’s Volcano Bay water park, Disney expansions, and Comcast buying SeaWorld

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Volcano Bay, the future, and you Three years ago, HHNRumors, of all sites, came across a trademark filling for a new water park called, oddly enough, WonderSea Island. Nothing ever came of the request – until last week, that is, when Parkscope noticed a new filling for something called Volcano Bay, which has to do with water attractions at Universal Orlando. It left the site guessing that it was either the new, updated name for WonderSea or simply one of the new park’s areas. When … [Read more...]

Orlando for beginners: Disney versus Universal in theming – which is best for you?

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Theming 101 There’s a reason they’re called theme parks. Since the legendary inspiration for Disneyland as Walt Disney watched his daughter on an amusement park carousel, the idea of a theme park has been centered around the notion of creating an environment, a unique place separate from the dangers and worries of the everyday world. That idea of being transported to a fantastical place has played a major role in the themed industry; it is part of what parks market, and it is a part of what … [Read more...]

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