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TouringPlans Travel Beat 3-23-2024

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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!

  • Shop Updates in Disneyland’s Critter Country
  • D23 Ticket Details and Agenda Announced
  • Work on Dinoland in Animal Kingdom Likely to Begin Soon
  • New Fireworks Viewing and Other Season of the Force Details
  • Even More Barbie: Mattel Announces Second Theme Park
  • Cash Booking for Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Announced
  • Royal Caribbean Building New Beach Club on Cozumel
  • Headline News Recap

Can you guess which story inspired today’s cover image? Put your ideas in the comments below.

Shop Updates in Disneyland’s Critter Country

As Splash Mountain transforms into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, the surrounding lands undergo a related transformation. The Briar Patch retail location will be reimagined as Ray’s Berets, selling headwear, apparel, accessories, etc. with firefly Raymond “as proprietor”. The left side of the Pooh Corner merchandise location will also be reimagined as Louis’ Critter Club Retail Shop, while the right side will remain as a purveyor of merchandise and treats from the Hundred Acre Wood. Critter Country will close temporarily beginning on May 1, 2024, while these transformations are in process.

D23 Ticket Details and Agenda Announced

D23: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event 2024 will take place from August 9-11 in Anaheim, CA, and details are out. Tickets go on sale as follows:

  • 3/26, D23 Gold Member Pre-sale
  • 3/27, Visa Cardholder Pre-sale
  • 3/28, All D23 Members (D23 membership is free).

All tickets go on sale at 12 pm Pacific Time on their respective days. For more details, see the event site. A high level agenda was also released, shown below.

Work on Dinoland in Animal Kingdom Likely to Begin Soon

OK, here at Travel Beat we routinely wrap up news that didn’t make the headlines, but we usually don’t cover it to the level of permits and credible rumors. We’re making an exception here because this one is BIG. Remember last year at Destination D23 when we recapped the announcements from Destination D23? Remember when it was announced that Dinoland would be reimagined into a new land inspired by “the tropical Americas”, and Indiana Jones and Encanto were floated as possible IP to put in this space? And Disney released the concept art shown below?

Our thoughts when looking at this concept art from Disney

Walt Disney Imagineering filed permits this week for a backstage trailer compound at Animal Kingdom, and the details include backstage road access, parking for 300 cars, and a footpath to the Dinoland area. Based on the timing, location, and what’s happened for projects this size – reimagineering an entire land – in the past, we believe this is Disney pulling the trigger on the Dinoland retheme.

New Fireworks Viewing and Other Season of the Force Details

Season of the Force will run from April 5 to June 2, 2024 at Disneyland, featuring limited-time entertainment, food, and merch. No details on the food yet – that’s coming separately – but Disney handed down details of everything else this week.

Season of the Force merchandise © Disney

Expected to launch:

  • New merchandise available at Star Trader, Star Wars Trading Post, and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
  • The Hyperspace Mountain overlay will return to Space Mountain
  • As previously announced, new scenes from Andor, Ahsoka, and the Mandalorian will be added to Star Tours beginning April 5 (this addition is permanent)
  • Star Wars Magic Shots and PhotoPass lenses, including a new holopuck Magic Shot that will feature Grogu, Din Djarin, or other characters
  • A brand new nighttime experience: “Fire of the Rising Moons”
© Disney

Fire of the Rising Moons will transform Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge into a celebration of freedom during the park’s regular evening fireworks, with selections from John Williams’ Star Wars film scores and accompanying MagicBand+ lights and vibrations. Guests will be able to take in Fire of the Rising Moons from several areas in Batuu, including the Black Spire Spaceport, the TIE Echelon docking platform and the speeder garage.

Even More Barbie: Mattel Announces Second Theme Park

Kansas City will be getting a Mattel Adventure Park, slated to open in 2026. This follows the first park in Glendale, Arizona which is currently set to open later this year. What can you do in a Mattel Adventure Park? Well, let’s remember that Hot Wheels is a Mattel IP, so if you ever wished you could shrink down and ride all your Hot Wheels coaster tracks when you were a kid, this is your chance.

© Mattel

Other major attractions include the Barbie Dream Closet Experience, which uses holograms to “bring Barbie to life”, and family fun based on Thomas and Friends, Uno, and other Mattel games and intellectual properties. Personally, I will be there for the He-Man vs. Skeletor laser tag, but I understand that I might be showing my age.

Cash Booking for Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Announced

Disney had previously announced a variety of booking dates for Disney Vacation Club Members to make reservations at the Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort or for the general public. But if you don’t want to buy, and you just want to plunk down some green stuff for a stay, now you know when you can do that. General reservations for cash stays at the newest DVC resort open on July 1, for arrival dates on or after September 27, 2024.

Royal Caribbean Building New Beach Club on Cozumel

© Royal Caribbean

Do you love cruise line private islands, private ports, and private stuff? Then you will be happy to hear that Royal Caribbean is building a Royal Beach Club on Cozumel. Unlike private ports and private islands, private Beach Clubs are generally part of a cruise operator’s excursion lineup and require a fee to visit. But they still feature amenities and activities designed specifically for the cruise line’s passengers.

Headline News Recap

The Wish and the Treasure are getting a sister! OK, we already knew that, but this week Disney announced the name and the theme for the third Wish-class ship. The Disney Destiny Cruise Ship — Everything We Know So Far

Disney will have something fun happening in every park, plus Disney Springs this summer. Summer Fun (Including a Drone Show!) at Disney World in 2024. Admittedly, we don’t yet have a date for the opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in the Magic Kingdom (and it technically wasn’t part of Disney’s summer fun announcement either) but actual people did ride testing this week so it’s getting close. Disneyland folks shouldn’t feel left out, as the test-and-adjust team was announced for the Disneyland version this week as well; we expect it’s not far behind.

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.

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