In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Living with the Land got a surprise update.
  • Mobile ordering is available at more Disney resort restaurants.
  • Universal’s Studio Tour has a new host.
  • And more!

Living with the Land greenhouse at Epcot

True fans of the Walt Disney World Resort know that one of the low-key incredible attractions at Epcot is all about Living with the Land. This pleasant boat ride takes you through both show scenes and genuine garden environments where food scientists are hard at work creating the future. It’s gotten a surprise upgrade, though, in some of the sections with film scenes. Those filmed moments looked a little old-fashioned (well, a lot), but now, they’re slicker and more digital. Considering how food science has changed over time, this section was long overdue for an update.

Guests at Universal Studios Hollywood may have already experienced the extended Studio Tour attraction. The English-language version is hosted by talk-show host Jimmy Fallon, and has plenty of crazy mix-’em’ups. But the Spanish-language version is about to get a new host, Carmen Villalobos of Telemundo. Villalobos filmed a series of vignettes for this version of the tour, and they’re set to go live on August 30. One can only imagine her bits won’t be quite as faux-wacky as Fallon’s (but that will automatically be an improvement).

New Logo reveal for 2022 Special Olympics USA Games

Think, if you will, about what the world will be like three years from now. Yes, some people are already thinking about 2022, even if you’re not. For instance, the upcoming Special Olympics USA Games are taking place in 2022, and it was recently announced that the host of the event would be Walt Disney World at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This edition of the games will also mark the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics Florida. It’s sure to be an exciting event, so prepare yourself in three years’ time.

Mobile Order

Mobile ordering has become exceedingly standard at the Disney theme parks, at restaurants at both the parks themselves and the hotels. At Walt Disney World, things are getting more mobile at a handful of restaurants at the resorts, with new inclusions everywhere from the Contemporary Resort to the Pop Century Resort. I will use this place to encourage you to try out the Sassagoulas Floatworks and Food Factory at Port Orleans French Quarter, AKA the best hotel on Disney World property. (I said it.) Port Orleans is wonderfully themed, and the food court is a fine inclusion and worth the money and the mobile order. Get to it!

Speaking of resorts on Walt Disney World property, one is still in construction and development. That would be Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge. That mouthful of a title is connected to a resort hotel being built on the old grounds of the defunct water park River Country. Today, we can look at one of the various design elements in concept art, a statue of Pocahontas from the 1995 Disney film. Seeing Disney go back to the well of Pocahontas after nearly 25 years is intriguing — the statue looks quite impressive, and designed to catch the eye automatically. Though it’ll be high-priced, Reflections is starting to seem like quite the stop. It’ll arrive soon enough, if you look just around the riverbend. (I’m not sorry.)

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