Theme Park Bits: Skyliner Testing, World Of Color Returns, And More

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • World of Color is coming back to Disney California Adventure.
  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has announced its Food and Wine Festival.
  • The Disney Skyliner did a test run this week in full view.
  • And more!
  • Well, it's about time. After more than nine months of being on the mend due to unexplained accidents, Disney California Adventure's incredible nighttime spectacular World of Color is returning on Saturday, February 23. (Fresh off my latest trip, I'm more than a bit disappointed to miss out on its return.) World of Color was meant to be back in action last summer, but went down for much longer than anticipated. The first week will be full of testing, but here's hoping World of Color is back for good.

    Speaking of nighttime at Disney California Adventure, if you're a fan of Marvel, you'll want to take advantage of the new Disneyland After Dark event. "Heroes Assemble" is a four-hour event taking place on April 30 and May 1 where you can stay in DCA after hours to meet superheroic characters, indulge in a dance party, ride Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT!, and more. As with other Disneyland After Dark events, this will cost you over $100, but if you're a die-hard comic-book/theme-park fan, this might be up your alley.

    That looks pretty delicious, right? Well, it's just one of over 30 dishes you can find at the Food and Wine Festival taking place at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay starting on Saturday, March 16. Until April 28, if you're a guest at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, you can take advantage of the delectable-sounding dishes being offered at the festival. There are both new and returning dishes, with everything from grilled lamb chops to chorizo queso fundido, to lots of other dishes that sound mouth-watering. Plus, there will be musical acts throughout the festival, from Daughtry to Boyz II Men to Foreigner.

    Recently, Disney announced that one of the beloved characters from Pixar's Up would be making appearances at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This video offers proof of that mysterious and often-hidden character, the colorful bird Kevin. From the looks of it, the in-person version of Kevin is a more challenging and physically dexterous character for a Disney cast member to portray. It reminds me of the acrobatic cast member who walks around Animal Kingdom in forest-esque camouflage, but this time with a character mask on top. It's pretty remarkable.

    Disney Skyliner testing

    We are that much closer to the Disney Skyliner being a reality for guests of the Walt Disney World Resort. As you may know, Disney is in the process of getting these skybound gondolas ready for guests by the fall, so they can travel between parks like Disney's Hollywood Studios and hotels like the Caribbean Beach Resort. In fact, it's between that specific park and hotel that Disney has begun to do test runs of the gondolas, starting this past week. Though the gondolas, like the one in the picture above, are currently covered, when officially unveiled, they'll have character- and movie-specific designs to keep with the general theming of the high-in-the-sky transportation.

    We'll end today on a bit of a frustrating note. The management company that runs the four golf courses at the Walt Disney World Resort (the Palm, Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista, and Oak Trail courses, to be precise) recently had to pay more than 20 employees a combined amount of over $19,000 to satisfy rules related to minor, niggling things like overtime and minimum wage. Disney has had troubles like this in the past, such as cast members improperly transferring funds for their own gain, but this kind of attempt to cut off employees' overtime pay and basic wages is pretty ridiculous. Good thing that it's been resolved.