Insider's Update: New Soarin' theater, new Boardwalk restaurant, and new raises for Disney employees
July 19, 2014, 11:57 AM ·
We've learned from several sources that Walt Disney World is moving ahead with plans to build a third theater for the Soarin' show at Epcot, which ultimately should help relieve the often-hours-long waits for the show. If all goes well, the third theater could be ready in time for the debut of the new Soarin' film in a couple years.
The Soarin' show building could be getting even bigger.
Over at Disney's Boardwalk, the resort has announced the replacement for Kouzzina by Cat Cora: Trattoria al Forno, an Italian restaurant that "will showcase Old World techniques, including handcrafted mozzarella made daily, a variety of Neopolitan-style pizzas baked in wood-burning ovens, and other classic Italian favorites such as risotto, baked lasagna, chicken great alla Parmigiana with tagliatelle pasta and more." If that sounds familiar, it's pretty similar to the line-up for Universal Orlando's Vivo Italian Kitchen, which opened at CityWalk last month... Or Via Napoli, over in Epcot's World Showcase... Or Portobello at Downtown Disney... No worries, though. The day people stop liking Italian food is the day the zombie apocalypse is upon us. Although the zombies likely will decide that they prefer the brains they crave to be smothered in marinara sauce.
Many of Walt Disney World's cast members will be getting well-earned raises soon, thanks to a new contract agreement between the company and its employees' largest unions. The deal raises starting pay for most park employees from just over $8 to $9-an-hour this year, with 50-cent-an-hour raises each year after that, while preserving pensions for new employees and avoiding immediate cuts in health benefits. The pay raises are good news for all Orlando businesses, as it puts more money to spend in the pockets of more than 20,000 local Disney employees... and possibly more, if it leads to wage increases at other area parks. Employees will vote on the deal Aug. 1.
On the west coast, Disneyland has announced plans for another interactive game at Disneyland, following this month's introduction of Legends of Frontierland: Gold Rush!. The Adventure Trading Company will open in Adventureland on August 1, continuing a game that Walt Disney Imagineering tested in its pavilion at last year's D23 Expo in Anaheim.
We hope that everyone is enjoying their summer, but we must note that many theme park fans already are looking forward to fall and this year's Halloween events. Universal this week announced that SyFy's Face Off will be coming to Halloween Horror Nights as a scare zone in Orlando and a maze in Hollywood. This follows announcements of a From Dusk till Dawn maze on both coasts, as well as the return of The Walking Dead. Here's the playlist of this year's promo videos from Halloween Horror Nights:
A final item: Reader Nathan Alexander notes that Sea Viper, Australia's first triple-looping coaster, has closed at Sea World Gold Coast.