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TouringPlans Travel Beat 7-15-2023

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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? (Sneak peek: it feels like it’s enough for two roundups.) 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!

  • Universal Studios Hollywood Announces Fast & Furious Coaster
  • Disney Cruise Line Raises Prices on Upcharge Dining
  • Disneyband+ Now Offered for Disney Fantasy
  • Villain-Con Minion Blast Team Member Previews
  • Disney Treasure Updates – Now and Future
  • San Fransokoyo Square to Open August 31 + Menu Updates
  • Hallmark Channel Gets Into the Holiday Cruise Business
  • Headline News Recap

If anything you read below tickles your feet, feel free to reach out to our friends at TouringPlans Travel for a free quote.

Universal Studios Hollywood Announces Fast & Furious Coaster

There have been rumors of a Fast & Furious rollercoaster coming to Universal Studios Hollywood for a while, and Universal has now confirmed that not only is it coming, but it’s already officially under construction. The announcement was long on words such as “unique” and “groundbreaking” and a little short on details, but it’s widely reported that the coaster will incorporate a unique “drifting” mechanism for the cars. This will be the first outdoor coaster at USH, and it’s expected that the track will run between the Upper and Lower lots.

Disney Cruise Line Raises Prices on Upcharge Dining

All five Disney Cruise Line ships have seen increases in the cost of meals at Palo, Palo Steakhouse, Remy, and Enchante within the last week. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Palo / Palo Steakhouse Brunch: increased from $45 to $50 (our Palo Brunch review)
  • Palo / Palo Steakhouse Dinner: prix-fixe option increased from $45 to $50 (our Palo Dinner review)
  • Remy Dinner: prix-fixe option increased from $125 to $135 (our Remy Dinner review)
  • Remy Brunch: increased from $75 to $80
  • Remy Dessert Experience: increased from $60 to $65 (Remy Dessert FAQ)
  • Enchanté Dinner: increased from $125 to $135
  • Enchanté Dessert Experience: increased from $60 to $65.
Palo brunch amaretto chocolate fondant
It will cost you more, but this Amaretto lava cake with chocolate fondant from Palo brunch is still the best thing I ate on my cruise.

DisneyBand+ Now Offered for Disney Fantasy

The DisneyBand+, a.k.a. MagicBands for your cruise, has been rolling out across the Disney Cruise Line fleet. Previously, the bands were offered only to those sailing on the Disney Wish; this week it was announced that guests on upcoming sailings of the Disney Fantasy would be able to use the bands. If you have a cruise on the Fantasy that departs July 29 or later, you are welcome to purchase a band — or bring a MagicBand+ that you already own — and use it on your cruise.

Villain-Con Minion Blast Team Member Previews

Minion Blast. (photo by Hedgehog’s Corner)

Minion Land has been the new hotness this summer at Universal Orlando; a few weeks ago saw the opening of the Minion Cafe and now the land’s new attraction is showing signs of life. Illuminations Villain-Con Minion Blast will be the second attraction in Minion Land, following the pre-existing Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. The storyline of Minion Blast is that the Vicious 6 (those are supervillains just in case you couldn’t tell) are gathered at Villain-Con and they’ve arranged a challenge to find their next member. Want to compete for the spot? Pick up a blaster and get a high score on this stand-through shooting game. There’s no confirmed opening date yet, but the attraction is now in technical rehearsals and Team Members have been invited to preview it. It’s getting close.

Disney Treasure Updates – Now and Future

Are you one of those people who can’t get enough of How It’s Made? Well, now you can follow along on the construction of the Disney Treasure. Disney has launched a brand new Ship’s Log page where you can see progress posts on the newest ship in the DCL fleet, scheduled to debut in 2024.

© Disney

Although the page has just launched, it has monthly updates going back to the beginning of construction in January of 2023. Why did they wait so long to show us? Beats me. The latest update tells about the installation of the bridge block and its navigational gear.

San Fransokoyo Square to Open August 31 + Menu Updates

“Summer 2023” can mean a lot of things in Disney time, but for the reimagining of Pacific Wharf into San Fransokyo Square, we now know that it means August 31. Following on the heels of previous announcements about the land’s dining and merchandise locations, this week Disney added menu items and availability dates for the eateries, merch locations, and everything else. Mobile order is available at all locations.

  • July 19: New San Fransokyo selections available at Lucky Fortune Cookery
  • July 26: New San Fransokyo selections available at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill
  • July 26: Rita’s Baja Blenders will be reimagined to Rita’s Turbine Blenders
  • COMING SOON: Port of San Fransokyo Cervecería will open
  • August 31: Pacific Wharf Café will be reimagined to Aunt Cass Café, Guests will be able to meet Hiro and Baymax, San Fransokyo Maker’s Mart will open.
San Fransokyo-style Street Corn with Togarashi mayonnaise, queso fresco, furikake, and bonito flakes served with wheat chicharrones, one of the new menu items at Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill © Disney

Hallmark Channel Gets Into the Holiday Cruise Business

The Hallmark Channel has announced its inaugural Christmas Cruise with a website that’s just as red, aqua, and glittery as you would expect. Sailing from Nov. 5 to Nov. 9, 2024, the cruise will depart from Miami and take a round-trip voyage to Nassau. Join your favorite Hallmark Stars, see the world premiere of a Hallmark Christmas movie before it airs on the Hallmark Channel, and take part in activities such as Carol-oke and the Terrifically Tacky Ugly Sweater Contest. You may have noticed that Hallmark Channel does not normally run a cruise business; Norwegian Gem will be providing the boat.

Headline News Recap

Menus are out for the 2023 Food & Wine Festival. See new dishes and returning favorites: 2023 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival Menus.

Halloween Horror Nights Frequent Fear Passes went on sale plus Stranger Things returns to the event: Stranger Things, Multi-Night Passes, and More Nights Announced for Halloween Horror Nights 2023.

Universal Orlando will be rolling out a new process for accommodating disabilities in the parks. What we know so far: Changes to Universal’s Attraction Assistance Pass Process.

The two biggest names in transportation from the Orlando Airport to Disney World will merge to become Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine Flyer: Sunshine Flyer Announces Merger with Mears Connect.

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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