The Latest News From Disney Parks, Universal Studios Resorts, and More Fan-tastical Destinations

The Latest News From Disney Parks, Universal Studios Resorts, and More Fan-tastical Destinations

It's Winter Break at the resorts filled with festive celebrations, classic attractions reimagined, themed foods and drinks

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indiana jones hot chocolate
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter vacation at major theme parks and fan-tastical destinations, with lots of merriment to be had into the new year. The Grinch continues his reign on both coasts at Universal Studios Orlando and Hollywood. Fantasmic returns at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios with the Frozen power of Elsa and the holidays around the world at Epcot. Plus, the future looks wondrous at Disneyland as it gears up for the Disney Centennial.

Here’s the latest themed entertainment happenings at amusement parks and beyond!

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Fantasmic! Reopens at Walt Disney World

Fantasmic! Reopens at Walt Disney World

Replacing the highly questionable Pocahontas colonizer scene at Hollywood Studios’ Fantasmic! is a power combo of Mulan, Elsa and Moana with Pocahontas still there to round-out the showstoppers from their movies. I felt so amped up on sugar and “I want” Disney songs. People screamed as if Taylor Swift took the stage when Elsa showed up. Major bonus points over Disneyland’s Fantasmic! is that there was no Jack Sparrow in sight.

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Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Holiday Bar

Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Holiday Bar

jock lindsay hanger bar drinks holiday
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

The Indiana Jones universe inspired Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar features drinks inspired by the Lucasfilm franchise that takes themed bars to another level, with collectible mugs that should go in a museum—er, your geeky tiki mug collection that you have at home. And for the holidays the place gets an extra cheerful spin on their food and drink menu.

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Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail of Hot Chocolate

Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail of Hot Chocolate

The specialty themed drink is the Grail Hot Chocolate Flight, inspired by the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Be sure to choose wisely between Salted Caramel, Cookies and Cream, and Peppermint. The taste of immortality is pepperminty—to me at least. Unfortunately the wooden tray the Indy taste experience comes out on cannot cross the seal of the bar.

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Holiday Around The Globe in 8 Hours or Less

Holiday Around The Globe in 8 Hours or Less

The World Showcase at Epcot holds it down with all the festive foods you can imagine to consume (even for vegans and gluten-free folks) in one place at the International Festival of the Holidays. There’s a sushi Christmas tree, which is pure wild fiction fantasy that probably only exists at Disney World. It’s 10/10 tasty though.

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Into the Santa-Verse

Into the Santa-Verse

Barn Santa
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Probably the most unhinged thing is that Epcot has all the Santas. Yes, all the Santas. Various country pavilions feature appearances of Santa variants (someone call the TVA!) who share their folklore and explain their presence around the world. Pictured above is Barn Santa from Norway, an invisible mischievous and magical trickster Santa who sneaks up on people. You can also see Père Noël in France, Father Christmas in the United Kingdom, La Befana in Italy, and classic commercial Santa in a sleigh.

You can collect them all and try to become ultimate Santa.

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Don’t Miss The Bars at The Great Movie Escape

Don’t Miss The Bars at The Great Movie Escape

We’re obsessed with this concept—there are Back to the Future and Jurassic themed libations at The Great Movie Escape room experience at Citywalk Orlando. Drinks like the Raptor’s Bite and Wake Up Juice curates easter eggs and quotes with elevated cocktails. More of this!

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Green and Red Coconut Club

Green and Red Coconut Club

The seasonal bar space at Universal Studios Citywalk Orlando, previously the Dead Coconut Club has proven to be a fun festive playground for Universal Creative to make immersive drinking a thing.

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Green and Red Coconut Club

Green and Red Coconut Club

creature from the black lagoon
Photo: Sabina Graves/Gizmodo

Currently, it’s a holiday themed bar with festive drinks inspired by the Christmas Spirit(s) vibe with a mash up of classic Universal but with The Great Movie Escape open down the way, we’re thinking this could be a good space to expand more cinematic cocktail fun inspired by various worlds at Universal.

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NYE at Area 15 Las Vegas

NYE at Area 15 Las Vegas

If the Las Vegas Strip is not your thing, the interactive hub at Area 15 will be ringing in the new year with 8 activations open, live music and DJs. Lost Spirits Distillery and Meow Wolf: Omega Mart will be open for main attraction immersive experiences.

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First Look at Wondrous Journeys

First Look at Wondrous Journeys

Behind The Scenes: New Details For ‘Wondrous Journeys’ | Disneyland Resort

Beginning Jan. 27, 2023 “Wondrous Journeys” will light up the night with new projections and music on Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in time for Disney’s Centennial celebration. The spectacular will span from the animation studios beloved 100 year catalogue and even incorporate new hits from films like Encanto. We’re ready to see casita come to life at the park.

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Epcot International Festival of the Arts

Epcot International Festival of the Arts

The Festival of the Arts is set to run January 13 through February 20, 2023 with Disney affiliated artists returning with new pieces inspired by all things under the Disney umbrella. There will also be live Broadway music from artists from the stage and screen.

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Cinderella’s Royal Table

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Cinderella and friends return for meet and greets during meal services at Cinderella’s Royal table.

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Super Nintendo World

Super Nintendo World

Passholders can be the first to become players at Super Nintendo World before its official grand opening. RSVP for exclusive access stars 1/5 at 1:30 pm PT.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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