Disney will Celebrate and Universal Studios Will Rock.  Find All the Details Here

Disney will Celebrate and Universal Studios Will Rock. Find All the Details Here

This week in theme park news both Disney and Universal Studios have given us so much to look forward to this year.  More character meet and greets are coming back to Walt Disney World! Disney Cruise Line is marking a momentous anniversary. Disneyland Resort allowed us a sneak peek at the celebration of The Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary. Lastly, Universal Orlando Resort released the concert line up for their Mardi Gras festival beginning February 8th. 

More Princess Experiences Return

Who’s your favorite princess?  Fans of Ariel and Belle will be delighted to hear both princesses are returning to their respective character experiences in New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom.

On January 22, guests can once again greet Ariel in her Grotto and hear her stories from under the sea.  You can even give her a hug!  Pose with the princess and take home a photo memory of meeting the little mermaid.

Princess Ariel
Princess Ariel in her Grotto photo Credit: Disney Destinations

Starting February 19, “Enchanted Tales with Belle” will re-open.  This is an interactive experience where you can join in on the tales of the beast and his beauty.  This attraction includes the book loving Belle interacting with guests and sharing her stories.

Both these experiences will be added into Disney Genie+.

Silver Anniversary at Sea

This summer, the Disney Cruise Line will celebrate 25 years of cruising the open waters.  From May to September 2023, guests aboard select sailings will join the festivities on “Silver Anniversary Sailings at Sea” cruises.  Let’s talk about what’s in store!

Fireworks at Sea

This celebration brings with it a new fireworks spectacular set to iconic Disney music with an original signature song included.  Did you know Disney Cruise Line was the first to showcase a fireworks spectacular at sea? 

Special DCL fireworks at Sea
As the only cruise line to feature fireworks at sea, Disney Cruise Line lights up the sky to dazzle guests with the largest, awe-inspiring fireworks extravaganza presented aboard a cruise ship. The skies above the Disney Dream explode with brilliant colors during “Buccaneer Blast!” – a pyrotechnic spectacular choreographed to a dramatic score featuring songs from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, “Peter Pan” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction at the Disney theme parks. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

New Captain’s Reception

In honor of the Silver anniversary, Disney Cruise Line has also reimagined the Captain’s Reception on these select sailings.  One night during each cruise, you will be invited to the atrium to meet the Captain, the cruise director, and even Mickey and Minnie for an extra special toast. 

Castaway Club exclusive

You can become a member of the Castaway Club by sailing again!  Guests who have returned to the Disney Cruise Line after their first cruise can be part of the Castaway Club and receive special perks.

Exclusive print on DCL cruises
Exclusive print for Castaway Club Members photo credit: Disney Destination

On “Silver Anniversary at Sea”, Castaway Club members will receive an exclusive 11”x14” limited edition framed art print in their stateroom.  The print was designed by Disney artist Joe Kaminski.  This offer is one per cabin while supplies last.


Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens in El Capitoon Theater on January 27th.  This will be the first attraction to feature the mouse duo and their friends at this park.  There will not be a stand-by line yet!  A complimentary virtual queue is your way to snag a spot on this new family friendly ride.  You will also have the choice to purchase an individual attraction purchase to experience the new ride.

inside Micky's Runaway Railway
Guests visit an action-packed carnival as part of their journey aboard Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, opening March 4, 2020, in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The first ride-through attraction in Disney history featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse brings guests into the vibrant world of “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

The “Magic Happens” parade will return to Disneyland Park on February 24.  This daytime parade features Mickey, Minnie, and their friends from Pixar.

Magic Happens parade
“Magic Happens” Parade – Disneyland Park – Disneyland Resort – 2/27/20. (Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)


The year long celebration of the Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary is happening at Disneyland Resort exclusively. 

Disneyland Resort Will Have New Accessories

The entire resort area including both parks, hotels and Downtown Disney will be adorned with platinum inspire decorations including bunting, banners, and medallions.  Sleeping Beauty Castle is getting 2 new fountains, platinum bunting and a shining star adornment for the occasion.  Even Mickey and his friends will have brand new attire to show off.

All The Special Food and Treats

Disney has released their food guide for this special anniversary event in the parks.  Take a closer look at what they have to offer: Inside Look: The Sweets and Treats of Disney100.

Tart for the Disney100
Specialty treats are available for the Disney100 photo credit: Disney Destinations

A Brand-New Exhibit Honors Animators

The Disney Gallery on Main Street USA will present Disney 100 Years of Wonder.  While you are visiting Disneyland Park, check out original artwork form the Disney Animators from both early film classics and their more modern stories. 

Take a glance at an animator’s desk and an original multiplane camera.  Then walk through a tribute to those films that became attractions by the creative imagineers. 

New Disney100 Merchandise

Not only can guest take home a special tumbler or a star glow cube, but Disney will introduce the Disney100 Platinum Celebration Collection. This brand-new merchandise and collectables include exclusive MagicBand+ theme, ears, attire, medallions and more. 

Disney100 Platinum Celebration Collection Photo Credit: Disney Destinations

Disney World

The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2023

The most beautiful festival of the year will start on March 1 and run through July 15.  This year artists are creating new topiaries such as Mirabel, Antonio, Isabella, and Luisa from Encanto.  You will also find The American Adventure Pavilion is hosting a new Princess Tiana topiary.

Flower and Garden landscape
photo credit: @bizzyrunninganddizn

In other news for the festival, the Garden Rocks Concert Series will return to the American Garden Theater.  The lineup of artists has yet to be released.  Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration scavenger hunt will have you hunting for our friend Spike the bee around the park.  Find all his hiding places and get a special prize.

There will be over 15 outdoor kitchens this year with many returning favorites.  Stay tuned for the food guide. 

cast members
one of 15 outdoor kitchens at Flower and Garden photo credit: @dizndonohues

“Blossoms of Fragrance” presented by Scentsy will be on the bridge to World Showcase.  This experience brings Spring to your eyes and nose better than an allergy attack.  Find beautiful butterfly topiaries along with 6 scents stations. 

Blossoms of Fragrance
A perennial guest-favorite springtime event at Walt Disney World Resort is now bursting with fragrant blossoms, seasonally inspired flavors and lively entertainment. The EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival runs March 2 through July 4, 2022, cultivating fresh experiences for the entire family as part of the “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” honoring the Walt Disney World Resort 50th Anniversary. The park-wide event features fun for the whole family inspired by the season, from spectacular Disney character topiaries to lush gardens to fresh flavors from Outdoor Kitchens and more. (Courtney Kiefer, Photographer)

Universal Orlando Resort

The Mardi Gras festival is about to begin!!  From February 8 to April 16, Universal Studios will host Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnival 2023.  The festival includes free concerts by some BIG artists and this year’s line-up has been released.

Music Plaza Stage at Universal Studios
Music Plaza Stage at Universal Studios Florida photo credit: @dizndonohues

The concerts, held at the Music Plaza Stage, are free to anyone with a valid park ticket.  This year’s performers include Patti LaBelle, 3 Doors Down and Sean Paul.  For the complete list and details, check out A Rockin’ Good Time Begins February 4th at Universal Orlando.

These are the highlights of this past week in news from your favorite theme park destinations Disney and Universal Studios.  It’s a great time to plan your vacation!  If you would like more information or a free no obligation quote, email me at Jessica@diznvacations.com  

About the Writer:

Jessica Yashin

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