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Major Epcot Changes Happening Soon & Other Disney News This Week

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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 July 1-7, 2019:

1. Major Epcot Changes

There are major Epcot changes happening soon to the central Future World area. As you can see below (courtesy of Serena from Living By Disney), Disney confirmed the upcoming updates. The changes are part of the park’s major overhaul project that is expected to be completed by Epcot’s 40th anniversary in 2022.

As reported by WDW Prep School via Instagram Story, here’s where some of the new character spot locations will be after Sept. 8:

  • Imagination Pavilion: Mickey Mouse
  • World Showcase Gazebo: Minnie Mouse
  • American Adventure: Daisy Duck
  • U.K. Pavilion: Winnie the Pooh

2. ‘Lion King’-Inspired Merchandise Now Available

There is new merchandise inspired by The Lion King available for purchase at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You can choose from several T-shirts with Nala and Simba, a Funko Pop collection featuring Rafiki, Simba, Scar, Pumba, and Timon, a special MagicBand (only available at Walt Disney world Resort beginning July 19), and two Alex and Ani bracelets. The merchandise can be found at Mombasa Marketplace, Island Mercantile, and Discovery Trading Company.

3. Patriotic Fourth of July Treats 

Here are some patriotic Disney treats that are available through the end of July.

Downtown Disney District: 

  • Salt & Straw, Berry Ice Creams: Birthday Cakes & Blackberries flavor, Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero flavor, and Fresh Sheep’s Cheese & Strawberries flavor

Magic Kingdom:

  • Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, It’s a Party! Sundae: Red velvet cake topped with birthday cake ice cream, vanilla sauce, raspberry sauce, whipped cream, a cherry, and red, white, and blue sprinkles
  • Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, Sugar Cookie Sandwich: Birthday cake ice cream sandwiched between two sugar cookies with red, white, and blue sprinkles

4. Disney Parks Designer Collection Reveals More Ears

New ears from the Disney Parks Designer Collection were revealed. Alex and Ani’s design (below, right) is currently available at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Here’s a complete schedule for future releases:

  • ALEX AND ANI – July 5
  • Noah Fine Art – July 26
    • Noah’s design honors Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney. On July 26 and 28 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and July 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Disneyana in Disneyland Park, Noah will be signing ears.
  • Kim Irvine – Aug. 9
    • Kim Irvine, a Disney Imagineer, the Art Director of Disneyland Park, and the face of Madame Leota in Haunted Mansion Holiday,  created a “ghostly Minnie ear headband” that’s perfect for The Haunted Mansion’s 50th anniversary.  The ears are also reversible and showcase Madame Leota. These ears will be available at Disneyland Resort on Aug. 9, at Walt Disney World on Aug. 10, and on shopDisney.com on Aug. 12. Anyone attending The Haunted Mansion: Celebrating 50 Years of Retirement Unliving at Disneyland on Aug. 7 and Disney Villains After Hours at Magic Kingdom on Aug. 8 can purchase the ears early.
  • Betsey Johnson – Aug. 16
  • SHAG – Aug. 26
    • The “tiki-riffic Mickey ear hat” can be purchased before Aug. 26 at this year’s D23 Expot at Disney DreamStore.
  • Heidi Klum – Sept. 28
  • Her Universe – Oct. 4
    • Ashely Eckstein from Her Universe and Star Wars designed Princess Leia Bun-inspired  ears that will be available at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and shopDisney.com on Oct. 4. The ears will also be available early at the 2019 D23 Expo at Disney DreamStore.
  • Loungefly – Fall 2019
    • Loungefly created  “mini-sized art style Minnie ear headband” that won’t debut until early this fall.
  • Jerrod Maruyama – Fall 2019
    • Jerrod Maruyama’s Hipster Mickey ear hat will also be available early at this year’s D23 Expo.
  • The Blonds – Fall 2019
    • Look forward to a decadent crystal-encrusted ear hat from The Blonds.
  • COACH – Fall 2019
    • COACH designed a “genuine crafted leather, floral-inspired ear headband.”
  • Joe Rohde – April 2020
  • Vera Wang – Spring 2020
  • Cupcakes and Cashmere – Spring 2020
  • Her Universe – Spring 2020
  • Kevin Rafferty – Spring 2020
  • Karlie Kloss – Spring 2020
  • John Coulter – Summer 2020

All of these ears will be available for purchase online here and at each of the following locations:

  • Disneyland: The Disney Dress Shop, Disneyana, and Off the Page at Disneyland Resort in California
  • Walt Disney World: Ever After Jewelry Co. & Accessories, MouseGear, Uptown Jewelers, Once Upon a Time, and Discovery Trading Company

5. Splash Mountain Wishables Are Here

The newest Wishables collection inspired by Splash Mountain is here for the month of July. You can purchase the collection starting now across Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, and shopDisney.

6. More Candlelight Processional Narrators Announced

Neil Patrick Harris (12/2-12/5) and Gary Sinise (12/13-12/15) have been added to the 2019 list of Candlelight Processional narrators. The special holiday event during Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays begins Nov. 29 and ends Dec. 30.

7. GCH Craftsman Bar & Grill Coming To Grand Californian

A new bar and grill is coming soon to Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Disneyland. First, White Water Snacks will become “GCH Craftsman Grill” and will continue to serve its current menu. A new lounge area near the pool will be called “GCH Craftsman Bar” and will only be available to resort guests with a designated wristband. You can check out the menu here.

8. Special 2020 runDisney MagicBands Revealed

There will be new limited-edition 2020 runDisney MagicBands available in limited quantities for official 2020 race participants. They cost $34.99 plus tax and can be purchased prior to events via the Products tab in your runDisney Account.

9. Takumi-Tei Officially Opens At Epcot

Takumi-Tei is now open at Epcot’s Japan pavilion. The signature dining location is currently accepting walkups for dinner starting at 4 p.m., but reservations can be made beginning July 16.

10. Walt Disney World Buses Get Transformed

This month, there will be brand new Walt Disney World buses featuring the Sensational Six (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, and Daisy). Not only will the exteriors be transformed, but so will the interiors with some buses even having USB charging ports for guests.

11. Meet More Disney Artists At Downtown Disney

If you find yourself at the Downtown Disney District in July, you can meet several different artists. Here’s the schedule:

  • David McNeley, aka “Mcbiff,” at the WonderGround Gallery: July 6-7, 27-28 from 2-5 p.m.
  • Matt Spangler at the WonderGround Gallery: July 12, 19, 26 from 6-10 p.m. and July 13-14, 20-21, 27-28 from 5-9 p.m.
  • Temecula Olive Oil. Co tastings at Disney Home: July 13-14, 20-21, 27-28 from 1-4 p.m.

12. March Of The First Order Update

As revealed by Walt Disney World Today’s official Twitter account, Hollywood Studios’ March of the First Order came to an end on July 6 in preparation for the First Order Stormtroopers move to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

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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