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Animal Kingdom’s Holiday Celebration Expands & Other Disney News This Week

Every week I gather the latest news from Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, and other Disney parks to help you keep up with all of the changes. Here is the most recent Disney news for the week of May 20-May 26, 2019:

As I previously noted on social media, between traveling, celebrating my birthday, visiting family, and taking a little break from my phone and computer, I didn’t have the chance to share my news post on Sunday like I normally do, which is why I’m publishing it a few days late. That said, you can expect my next Disney news of the week post for May 27-June 2 to go live this Sunday, meaning I’m getting back to regularly scheduled programming. With that, let’s talk news!

1. The Rainbow Disney Collection Is Here

The new Rainbow Disney Collection celebrating Pride month is here. You can find the colorful products across both Disney World and Disneyland. You can even find these items, in addition to merchandise not found in the parks, on shopDisney.com. Most importantly, whenever you purchase any items from the collection now through June 30, 2019, Disney will donate 10 percent of the proceeds to GLSEN, “the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ students.”

2. Get Ready For The Holidays At Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will look different this year for the 2019 holiday season beginning Nov. 8.  Animal Kingdom’s holiday celebration is expanding in a merry and bright way by adding new entertainment and all kinds of themed-decorations across all four lands: Discovery Island, Asia, Africa, and Pandora — The World of Avatar. Here’s what guests can expect:

*Discovery Island: Explore a “celebration of winter” with sparkling white decorations, colorful animal-inspired luminaries and bird lanterns that will also light up at night. There will even be a gathering of winter animals during the day “in the form of life-size, artisan-sculpted puppets,” including reindeer, foxes, polar bears, and penguins. The Tree of Life will also awaken at night with a series of wintry tales.

*Dinoland, U.S.A.: The characters at Donald’s Dino-Bash! will celebrate with decorations in the style of Donald Duck and his friends. There’s even the Holiday Hoopla Dance Party with Chip ‘n Dale.

*Asia: A celebration of Diwali will overtake the area between Anandapur Theater and the waterfront stage.

*Africa: In addition to western holiday traditions blending with African celebrations, new costumes and music will be added to the groups performing in Harambe. At Tusker House, the character dining experience with Mickey, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy will also get into the holiday spirit.

*Pandora: Pongu Pongu will have “kitschy holiday decor combining vintage pieces from Earth with items handcrafted from materials indigenous to Pandora.”

3. A Lot Of ‘Star Wars’: Galaxy’s Edge News

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens on May 31 at Disneyland Park. Of course, special merchandise can be purchased on opening day — and not just in the land, but across the entire resort. Here’s where you can find items:

  • Star Wars Launch Bay: Limited Edition, Limited Release, and Annual Passport pins, along with other products.
  • The Emporium, Star Wars Launch Bay upper level, Star Trader, and Pooh Corner (Disneyland Park), Elias & Co. (Disney California Adventure),  World of Disney (Downtown Disney District), and shops at the Disneyland Hotel: Items celebrating Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge that can’t be found in the land.
  • The Emporium, Star Wars Launch Bay upper level, Star Trader, and Pooh Corner: Galaxy’s Edge opening day dated merchandise, including AP items.
  • The Emporium, Star Wars Launch Bay upper level, Star Trader, Pooh Corner, Elias & Co., Trolley Treats (DCA), World of Disney, Disneyland Hotel shops: Additional AP items.

NOTE: Line ups for merchandise begin no earlier than 2 a.m. on May 31. Remember, parking opens at midnight. Also, just an FYI for those who have reservations to explore the land, you can check in two hours prior to your reservation start time.

The Disney Parks Blog is hosting a live stream of the dedication ceremony for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on May 29. Tune into the Disney Parks Blog that day at 8:20 p.m. PST for both the dedication and a first look at the land.

Finally, in the Galaxy’s Edge news department, the guidemap for the land at Disneyland Park is here! You can explore it online at Disneyland.com or via the Disneyland app. You can also check out the Merchant and Food Guide on Disneyland.com.

4. Select WDW Hotels Adding Mobile Ordering

Select Walt Disney World Resort hotels are adding Mobile Ordering over the next few months. Some of the restaurants include Everything POP Shopping & Dining at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

5. The Haunted Mansion’s 50th Anniversary

Disneyland Park is celebrating The Haunted Mansion’s 50th anniversary with two “Haunted Mansion: Celebrating 50 Years of Retirement Unliving” after-hours events. There will be themed-backdrops for photos, a 13th Hour Celebration Kick-off along Rivers of America with Madame Leota, themed-food, beverages and merchandise, characters from the Haunted Mansion, and access to select attractions in New Orleans Square, Critter Country, Frontierland, and Adventureland. Click here to purchase tickets and more information about admission and the events lineup.

FYI: Tickets are now on sale and they cost a very steep price of $299/person.

6. New Summer One World Ticket Deal Announced

Beginning June 4, 2019, you can purchase the new Summer One World Ticket Deal, which allows guests to explore Disney World’s four theme parks and two water parks, with six admissions for only $74 per admission (a total price of $444, plus tax). You have to purchase the deal between June 4, 2019 and Aug. 23, 2019 in order to take advantage of it. There is also flexibility with the tickets, meaning you can visit more than one park per day. The tickets must also be used between June 4 and Aug. 28. Better yet, you can pari this deal with a Disney World resort hotel and save up to 25 percent on rooms at select hotels for stays most nights on May 28, 2019 through Aug. 28, 2019 when you book through Aug. 28, 2019.

7. ‘The Lion King’ Foodie Guide & PhotoPass Opportunities

There are all kinds of new Lion King-themed food and beverage options at Animal Kingdom, including a sipper and popcorn bucket! The treats are available now through the end of summer. Be sure to head on over to the Disney Parks Blog for photos and descriptions.

In further Lion King news, there are four new Magic Shots available at Animal Kingdom every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for summer on the bridge leading into Africa, near Harambe Market, near the Kilimanjaro Safaris exit, near the ticket windows at the park’s opening, and in Africa overlooking the Tree of Life. You can also pose with the colorful backdrop at the park’s entrance, themed props near the Tree of Life, or take photos at Lion King Corner near Pizzafari.

8. New Animated Magic Shots At WDW

There are several new PhotoPass opportunities now available at WDW, including a limited-time one at Magic Kingdom Park in front of Cinderella Castle (look for the photographer in the East Plaza Garden). Three more Animated Magic Shots are also offered — one at Magic Kingdom, one at Animal Kingdom, and one at Epcot. To see all four shots in action, click here.

9. Soarin’ Over California Is Returning!

This is some very exciting news for those who miss Soarin’ Over California. The attraction is returning to Disney California Adventure from June 1 through June 30.

That’s it for Disney news from this past week. I’ll continue to collect park updates, so be sure to keep your eyes open for my weekly news post!

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