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TouringPlans Travel Beat 3-2-2024

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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? 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!

  • Flower & Garden Begins at EPCOT
  • Royal Caribbean Announces Delay in Star of the Seas Launch
  • Haunted Mansion Parlor Honors Imagineer Rolly Crump
  • Disney Treasure Signature Song Released
  • Disney California Food & Wine Festival Opens
  • Mickey & Minnie Debut New Outfits on Castaway Cay
  • Headline News Recap

Let’s try something new this week. Every week, our feature image is inspired by one (or more) of the news stories in the comments. Can you guess how the image is related to this week’s news? Put your thoughts in the comments! (Hint: this week’s image is connected to two items.)

Flower & Garden Begins at EPCOT

There was big news on Tuesday (see the headlines), but the little stuff was kind of slow this week. But on Wednesday, the Flower & Garden Festival began at EPCOT! It was a gorgeous sunny day (those of us who have to edit the food pics really notice how much better they look when it’s sunny out) as EPCOT began its 3-month run of “dressed up in florals”. Soarin’ Around the World also returned to EPCOT for the beginning of the Festival. Enjoy these pictures of some of the topiaries and atmosphere (tap to page the gallery), and check out our review of this year’s Garden Graze. And look Ma! No walls!

Royal Caribbean Announces Delay in Star of the Seas Launch

Star of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s second Icon-class ship, set to launch in late 2025. The Star started booking in December 2023, but RCL announced this week that the inaugural sailing on August 17, 2025, and the one immediately following, are canceled. Guests booked on these cruises have a variety of options, including rebooking onto the new inaugural sailing which is now the August 31, 2025 departure.

© Royal Caribbean


Haunted Mansion Parlor Honors Imagineer Rolly Crump

Wouldn’t you like to be memorialized in decor? News of a Haunted Mansion Parlor on the Disney Treasure was pretty exciting when it dropped late last year, and this week Disney announced that one of the Parlor’s busts is modeled on legendary Imagineer Rolly Crump. Crump played an integral role in the design process for the original Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland, so this seems only fitting.

© Disney

Disney Treasure Signature Song Released

The Disney Treasure launches in less than a year, but its anthem “Live the Adventure” dropped this week on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Sung by award-winning artist and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, Live the Adventure “embodies the unique theme of adventure” that is the focus of the Treasure’s spaces and entertainment. And if you’re wondering how you missed the signature songs of Disney’s other five cruise ships? You didn’t – the Treasure is the first to have one.

Disney California Food & Wine Festival Opens

Orlando saw the opening of Flower & Garden this week, but out on the left coast the Festival du Jour is the Food & Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure. This event runs through April 22, and you can check out our parks’ team’s scoop on what to eat. The Best Food from the 2024 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival. And just like EPCOT, Soarin’ got a changeover with Soarin’ Over California returning for the event.

Mickey & Minnie Debut New Outfits on Castaway Cay

Everyone loves a wardrobe refresh, and the Fab Five and their friends are no different. Beginning today, cruisers docking at Castaway Cay will get to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Chip, and Dale in their brand new duds!

© Disney

Headline News Recap

The week started off with some huge news, as Disney World released packages for next year: 2025 Disney World Vacation Packages + New On-Site Perk. And in case you missed it, that new on-site perk is complimentary entrance to a Disney water park on your check-in day for 2025 check-in dates. For the last several years packages have been released in late May or June, so we were a little surprised to see these open up in February this year.

This week in TouringPlans news: updates to the Disney World and Universal Orlando Crowd Calendars. Disneyland will be coming next week; if you’ve got a trip on the dashboard you’ll be notified of any changes.

Last but not least, big Universal news on Thursday with the  full slate of attractions, entertainment, and more for DreamWorks Land. It’s going to be opening this summer! DreamWorks Land Opens This Summer at Universal Orlando

That’s it for this week’s Travel Beat. What news are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!


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Jennifer Heymont

Jennifer has a background in math and biology, so she ended up in Data Science where she gets to do both. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, kids, and assorted animal members of the family. Although it took three visits for the Disney bug to "take", she now really wishes she lived a lot closer to the Parks.

2 thoughts on “TouringPlans Travel Beat 3-2-2024

  • The feature image is from Soarin’ Around the World. The news blurb for Epcot Flower and Garden says it is returning to Epcot. The blurb for California Food and Wine Festival indicates that Soarin’ Over California is returning to DCA. It will replace Soarin’ Around the World (not stated in the blurb, but implied).

    • Yep, the return of Soarin’ Around the World is one of them. But the other one is not the DCA Food & Wine Festival, although I do see your argument.


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