Theme Park Bits: Say Goodbye To IllumiNations, Hello To Traveling Magicians, And More

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • You've only got a few more days to enjoy IllumiNations at Epcot.
  • Disneyland is getting some more entertainment.
  • And more!
  • 'IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth'

    If you're fortunate enough to be visiting the Walt Disney World area as September 2019 wraps up, do yourself a favor and head over to Epcot. Why's that? Not just the great food and drink options, not just the various attractions. No, through September 30, you can also catch the wonderful nighttime spectacular IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. And that's it: the show is going away permanently starting on October 1 in place of a new show. IllumiNations is now maybe a few years out of date, but it's an incredible experience and one you can now only get a few more times.

    The Golden Horseshoe at Disneyland Park

    One of the more recent, disturbing trends at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland has been the swift removal of entertainment options. Because the parks weren't as populated this summer, Disney has made budget cuts and live performers have been on the receiving end. It's nice, then, to see even a mild reversal of that trend, coming to Disneyland's version of Frontierland. Guests there will soon see a strolling magician as well as dueling pianists. These two options don't sound as big and splashy as some of the recently-removed entertainment options, like Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, but it's better than nothing.

    There's Magic in the Air with New Disney Skyliner

    The end of September at Walt Disney World also marks the arrival of something new and exciting at the resort: the Disney Skyliner. It's opening on September 29, and will be a new way for guests to travel from hotel to hotel in the Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios area, this time floating high in the sky. If you haven't already seen any of the teases and behind-the-scenes videos, the one linked here might be a good way to whet your appetite for this cool transportation supplement at the parks.

    Foodie Guide to WonderFall Flavors at Disney Springs 2019

    If you do happen to be traveling at Walt Disney World, you'll have to make time for even more aside from that last show of IllumiNations and a ride on the Disney Skyliner. Over at Disney Springs, they're kicking off their WonderFall Flavors event, running through November 4. The Disney Parks Blog has the foodie guide for this event, and fair warning, it's the kind of thing that's just going to make you hungry. They'll have everything from squash blossom quesadillas to apple crepes to an Oktoberfest burger, and seriously, I am starving right now because it all looks genuinely delicious.

    Let's stick with Walt Disney World to wrap up today's column. Over at Disney's Animal Kingdom, what used to be one of their best live shows has undergone yet another renovation. The last time I visited Walt Disney World (far too many years ago, pre-Avatar), they had a show with live birds interacting with humans, called Flights of Wonder. That show is now called UP! A Great Bird Adventure, and despite keeping the title, it's been heavily revised. On one hand, adding a Pixar film to the mix makes...some sense, since one of the key characters in the film is a colorful, large bird. But the sense you get from this video is that the show script has been heavily dumbed down in favor of easy laughs, not compelling, bite-sized insight about various birds of flight. A shame.