Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! This week, we are heading to Animal Kingdom for a nice surprise and some updates. Avatar approaches!

Welcome to Animal Kingdom!
Welcome to Animal Kingdom!

Not too much has changed at Pandora.
Not too much has changed at Pandora that we can see from outside the construction zone. But it’s looking impressive from what we can see.

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The kangaroo exhibit is back from behind walls.
The kangaroo exhibit is back from behind walls.

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The World of Pandora

Walls have shifted and we are able to get a glimpse of the detail and work going into the project from a guests view!

It looks like some of the big walls behind the pictures have been taken down here.
It looks like some of the big walls behind the pictures have been taken down here.

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If you walk over to the Nomad Lounge, you can get a first glimpse of some of the transition theme from Discovery Island to Pandora.
If you walk over to the Nomad Lounge, you can get a first glimpse of some of the transition theme from Discovery Island to Pandora.

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The Tree of Life

Its been almost four years since nets went up and trails closed, now we can finally walk around the tree of life again!

Heading into the Tree of Life Garden.
Heading into the Tree of Life Garden.
I believe it was almost four years ago when the nets went up, and this trail eventually closed.
I believe it was almost four years ago when the nets went up, and this trail eventually closed.

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I'm happy to say that it is open and net free!
I’m happy to say that it is open and net free!

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Beautiful views.
Beautiful views.
You can get up close and personal with the tree here.
You can get up close and personal with the tree here.

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So many great details of the animal carvings.
So many great details of the animal carvings.

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An extremely pleasant surprise. I never thought this was going to open again, but it adds so much to the mood of the park and the sense of exploration. Fantastic.
An extremely pleasant surprise. I never thought this was going to open again, but it adds so much to the mood of the park and the sense of exploration. Fantastic.

Asia

Now off to Asia to see a Yeti about a missing Santa Hat.

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A Harambe holiday.
A Harambe holiday.

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Express transportation loads right near the Safaris entrance, and the loud purple sign doesn't fit in at all.
Express transportation loads right near the Safaris entrance, and the loud purple sign doesn’t fit in at all.

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The Harambe Market was closed early the day I visited, which is odd for being peak visitor season for Walt Disney World.

These photos were taken at about 3:45 and most of the eateries in Harambe Market were closed.
These photos were taken at about 3:45 and most of the eateries in Harambe Market were closed.

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Nice to no longer see construction on this side of the Tree of Life.
Nice to no longer see construction on this side of the Tree of Life.

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Kali River Rapids now opens at 10am daily.
Kali River Rapids now opens at 10am daily.

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There are some new lion-tailed macaque on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
There are some new lion-tailed macaque on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

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Rivers of Light

Rivers of Light had its first Cast Member preview…. seven months after its original planned opening date of 4/22/2016. It’s been seven long months of waiting.

Most of the consensus has said that it is not been the best nor the worst show, most say the technology is amazing but the show lacks that “Wow” moment that has been something Disney is great creating.

For any of our readers that have actually seen the show, what are your thoughts?

Is that a Rivers of Light boat in the distance?
Is that a Rivers of Light boat in the distance?
It is true, Rivers of Light has played before Cast Members for previews.
It is true, Rivers of Light has played before Cast Members for previews.

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Reviews of the show are mixed, with some saying it is beautiful, and others saying it drags on a bit too long.
Reviews of the show are mixed, with some saying it is beautiful, and others saying it drags on a bit too long.
The area around it and all the theming is wonderful.
The area around it and all the theming is wonderful.

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New Fastpass+ signs near the entrances.
New Fastpass+ signs near the entrances.

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There is a new dance party in DinoLand for no reason.
There is a new dance party in Dinoland for no reason.

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The Flame Tree BBQ seating area is finally out from behind walls.
The Flame Tree BBQ seating area is finally out from behind walls.

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Dinosaur Returns!

This fantastic ride has returned after a multi-month refurbishment that was delayed from its original return date mid-October. Overall it looks great and received some much needed TLC.

Dinosaur has also reopened recently from a long refurbishment.
Dinosaur has reopened recently from a long refurbishment.
I'm happy to report that the ride is in the best shape it has been in a very long time, with many effects restored and working once more.
I’m happy to report that the ride is in the best shape it has been in a very long time, with many effects restored and working once more.

 

More News From Disney World

With Christmas and the Holiday Season celebration in full swing this week, I’d like to take a minute to remind you of some new offerings around the resort both in and outside the theme parks.

  • The Magic Kingdom recently unveiled “Once Upon A Time” a new nighttime projection show. The new show is an adventure through some of your favorite Disney moments, with Mrs Potts and Chip from “ Beauty and the Beast” as your hosts.
  • Disney Hollywood Studios has a new evening event this Holiday season. “Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam.” This new Holiday spectacular will showcase projections, special effects, fireworks and classic Christmas songs.
  • Not to be outdone, Disney Springs is hosting several new events scheduled to run thru the end of the year.
    • Starbright Holidays” is performed nightly above the West Side of the Disney Springs water front. Running at both 7pm and 830pm, this one of a kind spectacle features classic Holiday songs and an innovative use of drone technology to create a special Holiday experience for all.
    • Disney Springs Christmas Tree trail located at The Marketplace plays host to fifteen different Christmas trees, each focusing on a favorite Disney Character or Movie Moment. You’ll discover a light dusting of  “snow” and enjoy beloved Christmas songs.
    • And this is your last chance to visit Santa before the big day! There is a special Chalet located in The Marketplace featuring the jolly old man! Pagers are available to hold your place in line as this continues to be a popular photo opportunity.
Time to head out!
Time to head out!

That does it for this week! Are you excited to see the trails around the Tree of Life open once again? How about Dinosaur’s extensive refurb? Looking forward to Rivers of Light and Avatar? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

 

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