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Thursday Theme Park News Roundup: MagicBands for WDW passholders, Illuminations dessert party, and a new Ferrari park in Europe

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Published: March 13, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Walt Disney World's annual passholders soon will be getting MagicBands and access to the park's new Fastpass+ ride reservation system. The resort has begun emailing its passholders, inviting them into the new system. Once they have their MagicBands, WDW annual passholders will be able to book attraction and show reservations up to 30 days in advance, compared to the 60-day advance window for booking that Disney's on-site hotel guests will get.

Here's another option for Walt Disney World visitors: The resort is now offering a dessert party for the Illuminations show at Epcot. Disney started offering these events with the Fantasmic! show at Disneyland, providing a selection of desserts with a reserved viewing area to watch the show. The Illuminations dessert party will include sweets from various World Showcase pavilions, along with reserved space to watch the show, for $49 for adults and $29 for children. The parties start Saturday night and are available for booking now at 407-WDW-DINE.

Finally, Port Aventura in Spain has announced plans for a major new Ferrari-themed development.

Ferrari Land PortAventura
Concept art courtesy PortAventura

From the press release [PDF]:

The new branded site (expected to open during 2016) will be the sole Ferrari theme park in Europe and will envisage a total investment of more than €100 million. Ferrari Land will be built on a total surface area of 75,000 square meters and benefit from several rides (including the highest and fastest vertical accelerator in Europe), a new premium hotel with 250 rooms and 5 star service, restaurants, shops and large simulation areas for car racing.

Ferrari is said also to be considering a new park in Asia, to go with the PortAventura development in Europe and the existing Ferrari World Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Update: A PortAventura spokesperson replied to me that it hasn't yet been decided whether the new Ferrari Land will be a separate ticket from the PortAventura Park or included in that park's admission.

Readers' Opinions

From Tracy Bates on March 13, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Do you know how they are handling passholders who frequently stay onsite? Is it 30 days ahead normally, but 60 days if you are staying on property? How does it distinguish between the two?
From Robert Niles on March 13, 2014 at 11:40 AM
Hmmm, I smell another FP+ bug about to be exposed....
From Anon Mouse on March 13, 2014 at 11:45 AM
With Disney's My Experience, you link your resort reservation. So if you have no reservation, you are restricted to 30 days. If you have a reservation, you get 60 days. I guess the real loophole is whether you can cancel a reservation at the last minute, or you can make FP+ reservations prior or after your resort reservation.
From Rob Pastor on March 13, 2014 at 11:51 AM
On another site, a few AP holders booked rooms, then cancelled. They said that as soon as they cancelled, their Fast Pass plus reservations vanished. So, I assume, that Disney anticipated the possible loophole.
From Don Lancaster on March 13, 2014 at 12:32 PM
Thanks for the info, Robert. Do you know where they plan to put the reserved Illuminations seating for those who attend the dessert party?
From 71.49.17.106 on March 13, 2014 at 2:59 PM
I worked in special events 92-99 at Epcot prior to that MO5 at MK. Retired 99

They had desert parties as far back as then for corporate events and private parties 10 or more. They were usually at the terraces (Called then the French Islands) off the bridge between France and UK. And for larger groups in the area between the two merchandise locations at the end of main promenade where it reaches the lake.

From 50.89.103.212 on March 13, 2014 at 5:01 PM
I was able to make FP+ reservations yesterday. I booked 7 days over the upcoming month. The system was very easy to use, much better than waiting for the CMs using their iPads. I have Soarin, Peter Pan, Test Track and Toy Story booked in the coming days. It has been months since I've had a FP for any of those attractions.
From Rob Pastor on March 13, 2014 at 9:26 PM
Details on Universal's Hogwarts Express attraction are now on Orlando United & Touring Plans web sites courtesy of Orlando Weekly columnist Seth Kubersky.
From Annette Forrest on March 13, 2014 at 11:44 PM
That Ferrari Park looks interesting. I think this is an example of something that doesn't have to be themed to hide the steel of the coaster track, because it's "Ferrari" themed, so it's like the Ferrari company just designed and built this. I think it looks totally appropriate for that park.

But it would look out of place at a Disney park, unless Disney ever built a coaster park. The Ferrari area would also look awesome at Cedar Point or coaster parks like that. I have a feeling my sons would love it when they get a little older.

From Kelly Muggleton on March 14, 2014 at 3:42 AM
Ooh count me in for the Ferrari park...if only they made Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen do the meet & greets! *drools a little bit*
(This may be me slightly obsessed with Formula 1 being back!)
From Brent Moody on March 14, 2014 at 5:53 AM
Does anybody know if an annual pass holders will be able to link a credit card to their magic band?
From 216.53.141.123 on March 14, 2014 at 6:20 AM
We have tickets for the first run of the Illuminations dessert party tomorrow night. I'll try to follow up afterward with a quick review.
From Amanda Jenkins on March 14, 2014 at 3:50 PM
Booked the Epcot dessert party for our upcoming trip in May. I have tried in the past to do this for the Magic Kingdom, yet have been unable to. Looking forward to this new experience.
From Annette Forrest on March 14, 2014 at 5:14 PM
Okay, did I just read that my favorite food writer in the whole world is going to the dessert event? I am so excited to be thinking about the wonderful report you will bring back for us Amanda. Please take lots of pictures and tons of notes on everything so you can tell us all about it. I look forward to everything you write but I know this article is going to be extra special because it combines my two favorite things in the whole world: dessert and Amanda Jenkins writing! :)
From Amanda Jenkins on March 14, 2014 at 8:15 PM
Thanks Annette :) I will do my best.

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