Insider's Update: Universal's heading in One Direction

September 13, 2014, 10:14 AM · Theme parks often book pop bands for concerts, especially during otherwise slow periods when parks need to boost attendance. Most times, though, the bands parks welcome hail from the nostalgia circuit and haven't had a hit in decades. But, thanks to an assist from its TV network sibling, Universal Orlando has landed a band from pop's A list. One Direction will perform Monday, November 17 at CityWalk for an appearance on NBC's Today show.

One Direction
Photo courtesy Universal Orlando

Universal hasn't yet revealed details such as the performance time, the specific performance location, or when and where fans need to show up to get the best view of the performance. (One Direction's been playing in Theme Park Insider's hometown of Pasadena, California for the past two nights, so we are well aware of the crowds that the band attracts!) Universal is making the rest of that day a "One Direction" day at Universal Studios Florida, retheming Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit that day with One Direction songs, and showing a special One Direction-themed Universal Cinematic Spectacular that night. The Cabana Bay Beach Resort also will be offering recorded wake-up calls from band members that day.

Following the lead of its sister park in Virginia (not to mention a certain Disney park up the highway), Busch Gardens Tampa will introduce its own Food & Wine Festival next spring. No specific dates yet, just a promise of "a variety of food, wine and entertainment." Our correspondent Russell Meyer reviewed Busch Gardens Williamsburg's second Food & Wine Festival this spring, and the initial event in 2013.

Disney fans continue to fume or rejoice over yesterday's news that Frozen will replace Maelstrom in Epcot's Norway pavilion. The rest of the pavilion will remain open and retain its theme after the ride has its final day October 5. The new Frozen ride and character meet and greet will open in early 2016.

HalloweenTime has started at the Disneyland Resort, with the Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy overlays opened for their seasonal runs. We've been busy previewing many of the top haunts around the country, with sneak peeks at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida and at Universal Studios Hollywood, as well as at Halloween Haunt at Knott's Berry Farm.

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