At Travel Beat we have all the “other” news from the last week or so—the stuff that wasn’t big enough to stop the presses for. What did the newsroom bring us this week? (Sneak peek, baby elephant!) Bullets are just ahead if you’re in a hurry, and more details follow below. Don’t forget to check out the Headline News Recap, in case there was something you missed!
- Disneyland Haunted Mansion to Close For Refurb Jan. 22
- Disney Legend Dick Nunis Dies at 91
- Summer House on the Lake Now Open at Disney Springs
- New Port Canaveral Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
- Interior Concept Art for DVC Cabins at Fort Wilderness
- Dates Released for 2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival
- Animal Kingdom Welcomes Baby Elephant Corra
- TouringPlans Blog Gets a Makeover
- Headline News Recap
Disneyland Haunted Mansion to Close for Refurb Jan. 22
Haunted Mansion Holiday will cease this year’s run in late January, with the last day of operation being January 21. Although there’s always a period of downtime during the changeover to regular operation, this year’s closure will be longer due to the reimagining of the grounds and the addition of the outdoor queue. (See TouringPlans Travel Beat 9-2-2023 for more details on this project.)
Disney Legend Dick Nunis Dies at 91
Dick Nunis, one of the opening day Cast Members at Disneyland in 1995 and a star in the Disney Firmament with his own window on Main Street, has passed away. You can read more about this Disney Parks giant in this week’s In Memoriam Saturday Six.
Summer House on the Lake Now Open at Disney Springs
Summer House on the Lake opened quietly this week. Reservations are not available in My Disney Experience (although the menu is) but they can be made through Open Table or on Summer House’s website. In addition to lunch and dinner, Summer House will offer brunch on the weekends – and maybe it’s just me, but their lineup looks tuned to give Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ brunch a run for its money. We’ll be dropping in soon for a review.
New Port Canaveral Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Port Canaveral has announced that they are installing 6 new FPL EVolution® Level 3 fast chargers for electric vehicles. The chargers, which will be located in the “Cove” area of the parking and include an ADA-compliant station, will be operational within a year. This type of fast charger can fully charge an electric vehicle in an hour, and are being provided for use by passengers who wish to charge their vehicles after debarking and before setting out on the journey home. More stations are being planned for the future.
Interior Concept Art for DVC Cabins at Fort Wilderness
Disney has released new concept art for the interiors of the Fort Wilderness project, where the existing Cabins will be converted to DVC 1-bedroom units. When this news was first announced, we speculated as to how the cabin footprints could be used to provide a 1-bedroom unit with a “master bedroom” and sleeping area for four in the other areas, plus laundry which is standard in all other DVC 1-bedroom units. It looks like that’s not going to happen.
In the released concept art shown above (you can tap in to page through the gallery), the bunkbeds clearly remain in the master bedroom. The pull-down Murphy bed that we expected is there in the sitting area, although what’s up with that 90-degree angle to the television? And there was no mention made of laundry facilities in the unit.
I don’t know about the potential market for these units, but here’s what I can tell you. My family owns DVC, and one reason we bought was to be able to vacation for a week and us parents to have a separate sleeping space from our kids. It will be interesting to see how these play out. (Have thoughts? Let us know in the comments.)
Dates Released for 2024 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival
This year’s EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival will begin on February 28, 2024. No end date was released … and we’re not sure what that means, but we’re sure we’ll find out eventually! More news to come as we have it.
Animal Kingdom Welcomes Baby Elephant Corra
I think I speak for every human mother everywhere when I say that the idea of a 22-month pregnancy gives me strong pause. Let’s hear it for elephant mom Nadirah, who just came to the end of hers! Baby Corra (birthweight 218 pounds!) was recently born at Animal Kingdom, the first in seven years since her Aunt Stella was born in 2017. Corra is also the first second-generation calf born at the park; mom Nadirah was the third elephant born at the park in 2005. Nadirah and Corra will rejoin the herd in public view after a bonding period of several days, so look for them in the coming weeks.
TouringPlans Blog Gets a Makeover
If you’re browsing the blog you might notice some changes this week. We’ve updated the colors and fonts to match our website redesign, and we’ve got all new menus to make browsing for your favorites easier. The homepage got a facelift too, but if you’re looking for the familiar list of all posts we still have it – just tap “See Everything!” on the homepage buttons. Love it? Hate it? Let us know in the comments!
Headline News Recap
The Disney Cruise Line kids clubs are a main draw for families. There were some changes to the age policies this week. Disney Cruise Line Changes Kids’ Club Ages
That’s it for this week’s Travel Beat. What news are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!