By Banks Lee
From openings and closures, to sneak peeks and rumors, 2016 was another busy year for Orlando’s theme parks and attractions. We are taking a look back at the 10 most viewed stories on our blog in 2016.
NOTE: Not every major news story of 2016 will be featured here. This list is based on the view count of our blog posts. Click on the headlines to read our full original stories in a new browser window.
In April 2016 the Streets of America section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios closed for good to make way for the Star Wars and Toy Story lands. As walls were installed, updated concept art for Toy Story Land appeared near the former Backlot Tour entrance. While not radically different at first glance, if you compare the artwork above to the new artwork in the original post, you’ll spot some changes, both subtle and significant.
As Walt Disney World continues to make MagicBands and MyMagic+ more personalized, new interactive screens were added to the end of It’s A Small World at the Magic Kingdom that will display the names of guests and bid them goodbye. The effect only works if the guest is wearing their MagicBand that is connected to their My Disney Experience account. This is only the beginning of the personalizations that Disney can add and has added around the resort.
One of the biggest openings in Orlando for 2017 has to be Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are a lot of people excited to get glimpses inside the new immersive land, and Disney released a new look on Christmas Day. Just a week later and it’s already on this list of top posts from 2016. Are you excited to travel to Pandora this summer?
Every year, Disney films their annual Christmas Day special ahead of time, usually in November or early December. People are always curious on when it’s filming, who’s performing, and if they can be in the audience, so we try to help give as much information as possible with posts like this one.
One of 2016’s many openings happened outside the theme parks in the heart of the International Drive tourist area as the World’s Largest Entertainment McDonald’s reopened after a lengthy remodeling. The location features many items no usually found in a regular McDonald’s, “Create Your Taste” stations, an arcade and a 22-foot tall play structure.
People love to speculate about rumors, they help keep conversations and excitement going while waiting for new projects to be built and/or announced Sometimes things end up happening, sometimes it’s just all talk. This rumor article from the beginning of 2016 took a look at topics like The Secret Life of Pets, Halloween Horror Nights, Nintendo, and Marvel.
There is always that one post every year that surprisingly takes off, and this was ours from 2016. Interest in an adults-only night at the Orlando Science Center was high, with a lot suggesting they should do this more often. As a kid at heart myself, I would have to agree.
As part of the construction of Star Wars Land at Disneyland in California, it was announced that their Rivers of America would be drained and undergo a major transformation with a new waterfront in Frontierland, along the north bank. The Disneyland Railroad track would also have to be re-routed for this project, which is currently well under construction.
In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew had its sights set on the Central Florida area. By the time it had reached the coast of Florida, it had veered to the right, still causing major coastal damage but sparing the attractions areas. Regardless, theme parks and attractions around Central Florida took necessary precautions and closed for one day on Friday, Oct. 7. We updated this blog post with all of the current information we could find about closures during those few days. It’s no surprise that post reached many views as people bookmarked it to check in and see updates.
Like I stated earlier, people love rumors, and this rumor has been a major talking point ever since Disney bought Marvel in 2009. Universal Orlando has the theme park rights to Marvel in Florida, so it’s always a point of speculation if Disney may get the Florida park rights. Of course Disney can still put Marvel in all of their other parks outside Florida, and they have found ways to add minor Marvel experiences to Walt Disney World via sneak previews and last year’s Doctor Strange mini-show. If you’re looking into reading all about the history of Marvel in the Florida parks, give this post a read.
Hope everyone has a Happy New Year! With so much coming to Central Florida in 2017, what do you think will be on our list next year?