New Shanghai Disney Resort Zootopia Attraction Details!

Exciting news for Zootopia fans! Prepare for an unforgettable experience at the upcoming Zootopia attraction at Shanghai Disney Resort. Get a sneak peek into all the amazing things you can expect, from a thrilling police chase to unique entertainment and mouthwatering Zootopia-inspired food and drinks.

Zootopia at Shanghai Disney Resort rendering

Step into the Zootopia Police Department and embark on an adventure as a rookie officer. Join forces with Officer Judy Hopps and Officer Nick Wilde to rescue Gazelle, who has been kidnapped on the day of a major concert. Traverse through iconic Zootopia landscapes, from Tundra Town to the Rainforest District, in pursuit of the culprits. It’s an action-packed ride you won’t want to miss.

Zootopia at Shanghai Disney Resort rendering

Guests will also be able to witness live entertainment that brings your favorite Zootopia characters to life. Catch glimpses of familiar faces like Fru Fru, Mr. Big, and Flash as they interact with each other and even with you from the windows of Zootopia’s stunning buildings. Don’t forget to take a selfie with Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde at the Zootopia Recruitment Station for a memorable keepsake.

Zootopia at Shanghai Disney Resort rendering

After all the adventures, satisfy your cravings at Jumbeaux’s Cafe. Indulge in Zootopified treats like the paw-shaped Disney Zootopia popsicle or Officer Clawhauser’s favorite donuts. And if shopping is on your agenda, visit Fashions by Fru Fru for a wide selection of themed products and unique finds.

Zootopia at Shanghai Disney Resort rendering

Zootopia at Shanghai Disney Resort is the ultimate destination for fans of the beloved film.

Zootopia at Shanghai Disney Resort rendering

Zion National Park Begins Construction On New Discovery Center

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There is a new Discovery Center coming to Zion National Park that will enhance the experience for visitors in the coming years! Design architects from Overland Partners unveiled renderings of the highly anticipated space during a ceremony in East Zion, Utah on August 22, 2023.

After more than a decade of planning, construction on the Discovery Center officially began. The site, located just outside the park’s east entrance, was carefully chosen to preserve the natural beauty of the area and prevent commercial development.

The 22,000-square-foot Discovery Center will provide free educational experiences for visitors, allowing them to learn about the park’s history, ecology, geology, and agricultural heritage. The goal is to create a strong connection between people and the land and foster a deep respect for the environment in future generations.

James Lancaster, principal architect at Overland Partners, emphasized the commitment to preserving and integrating structures into the landscape. The design of the Discovery Center aims to celebrate the iconic natural beauty of Zion while harmonizing with the surrounding environment.

The building will be constructed using sustainable materials, such as Forest Steward Council-certified wood, locally sourced sandstone, reclaimed wood finishes, and weathered steel. Passive design strategies will be implemented to maximize energy efficiency and create comfortable indoor and outdoor spaces throughout the year.

In addition to serving as an educational facility, the Discovery Center will also act as a gateway to Zion National Park, providing access to new trails and alleviating congestion at the south entrance.

The project received significant funding from various sources, including a $15 million bond from the local service district and a $10 million investment from the Utah Department of Transport for road construction.

The Zion National Park Discovery Center is set to become a model for conservation-focused development, showcasing the beauty of the park while promoting environmental awareness and education.

Polaris Marine Announces Two Electric Pontoon Boats

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This week Polaris Marine introduced groundbreaking electric pontoons, showcasing their potential in the pontoon boat market. The Bennington and Godfrey Pontoons brands have unveiled two concept vessels, highlighting the capabilities of high-horsepower electric propulsion. These impressive demonstrators were unveiled at Polaris Marine’s annual dealer meetings in Syracuse, Ind., and serve as testbeds for future electric watercraft development.

By collaborating closely with high-horsepower electric propulsion OEMs, Polaris Marine utilizes these concept vessels to explore the possibilities of electric propulsion.

Bennington L-Series Bowrider

While electric propulsion has been proven effective in smaller applications like dinghies and tenders, its potential for luxury pontoons is the next step in the evolution of watercraft. Electric motors boast advantages such as easy maintenance, decreased moving parts, and no need for oil changes or scheduled engine upkeep. Furthermore, electric propulsion offers instant torque and the ability to navigate even restricted waterways, revolutionizing the capabilities of luxury pontoons.

Bennington L-Series Bowrider

The selected concept vessels were chosen due to their optimal battery placement. The 2024 Bennington L-Series Bowrider and the 2023 Godfrey Monaco 235 platforms are already popular models for their respective brands, making them ideal choices for exploring the potential of electric propulsion.

2023 Godfrey Monaco 235

Equipped with a 150-hp outboard electric motor from Forza X1, the Bennington and Godfrey demonstrators reached top speeds of 25 mph and 28 mph, respectively. The Bennington demonstrated a cruising range of 25 miles at 15 mph or 15 miles at 20 mph, while the Godfrey showcased a range of 29 miles at 15 mph or 17 miles at 20 mph. The systems were controlled by a custom interface, and Garmin touchscreen display, and featured 4G connectivity for remote monitoring.

New Crayola Experience Announced For Pigeon Forge

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BrightColors LLC and Kingsmen Xperience Inc., in partnership with Crayola LLC, are thrilled to announce a new family entertainment venue in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Fall 2024 will see the arrival of the latest generation of Crayola Experience, bringing a burst of color to this popular vacation destination.

For more than 25 years, Crayola Experience has been a go-to destination for families seeking interactive creative play. These immersive attractions allow both kids and adults to explore art and technology, unleash their creativity, and discover color in an exciting way. Joining the existing attractions in Pennsylvania, Florida, Minnesota, Texas, and Arizona, the Pigeon Forge venue will be the sixth Crayola Experience.

This indoor family entertainment center will span 30,000 square feet and feature over 20 hands-on attractions. The retail store will offer the largest selection of Crayola products and unique souvenirs in the world. Visitors can look forward to never-before-seen innovative attractions as well as beloved Crayola Experience activities like naming their own crayons, appearing in a personalized coloring page, and creating melted wax art.

Warren Schorr, Crayola Senior Vice President of Business Development, Global Licensing & Experiences, stated, “Crayola Experience at Pigeon Forge will introduce exciting new adventures to our already iconic lineup of imagination-inspiring activities, taking the experience to the next level. We have truly sharpened our crayons to create an immersive world that will transport guests into the whimsical world of Crayola crayons and markers.”

Robin Turner, Managing Director of BrightColors, expressed enthusiasm for developing the first of the next-generation Crayola Experiences, saying, “This marks one of the first globally recognized attractions in the Pigeon Forge area. We will focus on family-friendly markets with a strong tourism and residential appeal to introduce the colorful world of Crayola to new audiences.”

The Pigeon Forge location is the first of five Crayola Experience venues that BrightColors plans to open within the next five years. This expansion is part of a licensing agreement with Crayola that aims to double the presence of the attraction brand across the United States.

WDW Announces Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month

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Celebrate Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, 2023. Vacationers will enjoy new characters, amazing music, and delicious dining throughout the resort.

Experience the magic of “Encanto” with the Madrigal family at Magic Kingdom Park. Mirabel will welcome guests to her casita, and her uncle Bruno will make his debut as part of the Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade. Join them along with other beloved characters like Princess Elena, José Carioca, and Miguel.

WDW Announces Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month

Dance to the rhythms of the Caribbean and Latin America at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Catch performances by Monsieur Periné, Raul Acosta and Oro Sólido, and Bacilos. Los Amigos Invisibles will also be returning for more amazing shows.

Don’t miss the chance to indulge in delicious cuisines from around the world at the EPCOT International Food & Wine International Festival. Explore more than 25 Global Marketplaces featuring flavors from Mexico, Brazil, Spain, and more.

Guests can immerse themselves in the art and culture of Latin America. Watch TRATOS live paint a mural at Disney Springs Art Walk, take art lessons featuring characters from “Coco” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and enjoy Hispanic-themed Movies Under the Stars at various resorts.

Discover new merchandise inspired by films like “Coco” and “Encanto.” Look for the vibrant EPCOT International Food & Wine Disney Encanto Collection and spot the Familia Madrigal on the Disney Skyliner and transportation buses.

Test your knowledge of characters like Miguel and Mirabel with the Play Disney Parks app. This interactive experience is perfect for the whole family and can be enjoyed while waiting for attractions.

Join the celebration of Hispanic and Latin American cultures at Walt Disney World Resort – a magical experience for everyone.

Travel Review – Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland OH – VIDEO

Looking for something close to all of the sights while in Cleveland, we chose the Drury Plaza Hotel.

Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown

Housed in the iconic former Board of Education building, this 189-room hotel is the perfect choice for your stay in downtown Cleveland. With over 3,900 square feet of meeting space and a two-story lobby adorned with beautifully restored murals from 1931, this hotel offers a unique blend of history and modern luxury.

Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown lobby

Conveniently located within walking distance of popular attractions such as FirstEnergy Stadium, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Progressive Field, and Quicken Loans Arena, you’ll have no shortage of things to do and see during your stay.

But it’s not just the location that sets this hotel apart. Start your day off right with a hot breakfast, complimentary for all guests. And in the evening, they have a free 5:30 Kickback®, where you can enjoy a variety of tasty bites. Plus, you won’t have to go far for a drink or a meal, as their lobby bar and restaurant are right on-site.

Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown breakfast

Here is a tour of our room!

We booked the double Queen room and were surprised by the size. Each room includes free Wi-Fi, TV, microwave, refrigerator, iron/ironing board and hairdryer.

Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown queen room
Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown bathroom
Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown room

In addition, there is a 24-Hour Fitness Center, Indoor Pool & Whirlpool along with valet parking on site.

Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown fitness room
Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown indoor pool

Visiting The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park – VIDEO

The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park is the largest inland Naval Park in the United States where visitors can learn more about some of the military conflicts the vessels served in and see what ship life was like 40-70 years ago.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park USS Little Rock

Located on Buffalo’s Waterfront, this unique family destination also has a restaurant, museum, gift shop, and military exhibits in the main building.

We have visited a few times over the years but hadn’t been in 3 or 4 years so we planned a trip last week.

I bought tickets online and we were checked in quickly when we arrived and given wristbands.

You start your tour on the USS Sullivans. Named in honor of the five Sullivan brothers who lost their lives serving in World War II, it served in both World War II and the Korean War, before being used as a training ship until she was decommissioned on 7 January 1965. In 1977, she and the cruiser USS Little Rock were donated to the Buffalo Naval Park where they have been on display to the public since 1979. Unfortunately in April of 2022, the USS The Sullivans partially sank from a severe hull breach. In the past, you would have been able to go below deck to see the staff quarters and some of the operational spaces. Currently, they are closed. A staff member told me there are plans for it to go into drydock where they will hopefully be able to repair the interior so visitors can tour it again.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park USS Little Rock
Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park USS Sullivans Kitchen

The USS Little Rock is the largest ship at the park with lots of spaces to explore. My kids enjoyed seeing the sleeping spaces for the crew and the differences in comfort between the different ranks.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park USS Little Rock officers quarters

The tour includes spaces like the mess hall, kitchen, Captain’s office, Officer’s quarters, operating room, and the Brig.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park USS Little Rock Mess
Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park USS Little Rock Sleep beds
Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park USS Little Rock captains office

Many of the spaces onboard offer additional education with items like uniforms worn by the crew, some of their belongings, other ships in the class and historical information.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park USS Little Rock museum

The USS Croaker is your last stop on the water. Commissioned in 1944, USS Croaker sailed through the treacherous waters of the Pacific theater on six war patrols. Retired in 1971, USS Croaker found a new home at the Buffalo Naval & Military Park in 1988.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park USS Croaker

It’s very interesting to see how they fit sleeping quarters(and pretty much everything) onto this ship with its slender design.

For mealtime, the crew had small tables that doubled as gameboards to sit in beside the tiny kitchen.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park USS Croaker dining

We met a lovely man who served in the Cold War that gave us some information about the ship and how the crew lived on board. This was a highlight for us because he was able to give us first-hand accounts of things that happened over the 20+ years he served in the Navy. He showed us things about the Submarine that we would never have seen on our own and brought it to life for us. If you get the chance to book a tour with one of the Behind the Scenes Curator Tours that would be the best bet as you get more information and visit spaces on board the USS Little Rock that are not available on any of our other tours.

Outside there are more military equipment exhibits including aircraft, a tank, and the PTF-17 boat.

Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park

If you are planning to visit as a family it’s important to note that the tour route is not stroller friendly and the stairs to move around the ship and transfer between each vessel are very steep. The staircase between USS Little Rock and USS Croaker is not for the faint at heart so it may not be the best option for toddlers or even kids under 5.

Admission was reasonable, parking was ~$5 and there are a couple other attractions in the area you can visit including the waterfront, The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum, Buffalo River History Tours and the Keybank Center.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Announces Elephant Valley Project

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San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has started construction on a groundbreaking project at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The Denny Sanford Elephant Valley will transform the current elephant environment, creating an immersive and educational experience for visitors of all ages. This project aims to foster understanding, and appreciation for elephants while igniting a passion for wildlife conservation.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Announces Elephant Valley Project

“We are thrilled to announce Denny Sanford Elephant Valley—a first-of-its-kind immersive experience for visitors, to further connect the vital work happening here in San Diego to the collaborative elephant conservation initiatives we support in the field,” said Paul A. Baribault, president and chief executive officer, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. “Elephant Valley could not be achieved without the incredible community, donors, members and allies who support us and make all our conservation work possible with partners around the world.”

The centerpiece of Elephant Valley will be a two-story lodge inspired by African safari destinations. Visitors to the zoo will have the opportunity to see elephants in action, surrounded on multiple sides and from an overhead walkway. Education about the essential role of elephants as ecosystem engineers and their social dynamics will be a key focus. The vibrant cultures and local communities where humans and elephants coexist will also be spotlighted.

Elephant Valley will reflect the awe-inspiring sights, sounds, and smells of the African grasslands. Expert horticulturists and arborists have curated the plant life to create an authentic experience. The expansive new habitat will provide enhanced experiences for the elephant herd, replicating the African savanna throughout the year.

Lisa Peterson, Executive Director of San Diego Zoo Safari Park, emphasized the fragility of elephants’ future and the importance of wildlife conservation. Elephant Valley aims to inspire curiosity and discovery while creating lifelong memories for visitors of all ages.

Climate change, habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife challenges are threatening elephant populations. San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has prioritized elephant conservation and collaborates with various organizations to protect these endangered species. Scientific research conducted in Africa and at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park helps increase knowledge about elephants and develop effective conservation solutions.

Chief Conservation and Wildlife Health Officer, Nadine Lamberski, highlighted the need for collaboration to find sustainable solutions for elephants and people across Africa. The impact of Elephant Valley on global elephant conservation efforts is eagerly anticipated.

Elephant Valley is made possible by the generous support of thousands of donors, including Denny Sanford, a dedicated supporter of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Sanford has also contributed to other initiatives, such as Wildlife Explorers Basecamp and educational programming for children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide. The completion of Elephant Valley is expected in 2025.

Disneyland Resort Announces 2023 Holiday Season Dates and Details

Get ready for the Holidays at the Disneyland Resort! From Nov. 10, 2023, through Jan. 7, 2024, you and your loved ones can create amazing memories and experience a range of special holiday offerings. This season, immerse yourself in the magic of Disney with traditions and celebrations inspired by Christmas, Navidad, Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Three Kings Day. Indulge in delicious food at the Disney Festival of Holidays marketplaces, witness stunning projections and fireworks at Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle, and capture a photo with Mickey Mouse in his brand-new holiday outfit!

Here’s everything you need to know about the festivities, decorations, entertainment, and more that await you this holiday season. Discover the Disney Festival of Holidays, featuring diverse cuisine, live performances, and an incredible atmosphere inspired by multicultural celebrations. Enjoy both new and returning food and beverage options at the marketplaces, groove to music and dance performances across the resort, and catch the Holiday Toy Drummers in action at “Mickey’s Happy Holidays.”

For those who want to savor the culinary delights, consider purchasing the Sip and Savor Pass. With eight tabs redeemable for food and nonalcoholic drinks, you can sample the best dishes from various marketplaces and dining locations in Disney California Adventure. Share the Pass with your friends and family to enjoy this season of flavors together.

Don’t miss the return of Disney ¡Viva Navidad! at Paradise Gardens Park, featuring an all-new menu at Paradise Garden Grill. Join the Three Caballeros as they host a festive street party, accompanied by vibrant dances, lively music, giant puppets, and appearances by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. There will also be live music, dancing, character meet-and-greets, and special appearances by Mirabel from “Encanto.”

Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit with dazzling decorations throughout the Disneyland Resort. Marvel at Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle, adorned with icicles and snow-capped turrets. Visit the gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, inspired by delicious treats. Explore uniquely themed Christmas trees across the theme parks, Downtown Disney District, and the hotels. And be prepared for a touch of Disney magic as “snow” falls in select areas of Disneyland Park every night.

Favorite attractions are getting a festive makeover too! Experience the joyous tunes of “it’s a small world” Holiday or venture into the Haunted Mansion Holiday, transformed by Jack Skellington. In Disney California Adventure, Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl and Mater’s Jingle Jamboree will offer seasonal spins for the “haul-idays.”

Capture unforgettable moments with Disney characters dressed in all-new outfits, adding a modern twist to the classic red and green. Keep an eye out for Santa Claus, who will be available for jolly photos until Dec. 24.

Enjoy merry entertainment that will make your holiday season even more magical. Watch “A Christmas Fantasy Parade,” featuring characters from “Frozen,” “Toy Story,” and more. When night falls, be amazed by the “Believe…In Holiday Magic” nighttime spectacular, complete with breathtaking fireworks and snow. For an extra dose of holiday enchantment, consider the Holiday Time at the Disneyland Resort Guided Tour, offering a hosted experience and reserved viewing for “A Christmas Fantasy Parade.”

At Disney California Adventure, be enchanted by “World of Color – Season of Light” as hundreds of fountains bring heartwarming moments from Disney animated films to life.

Family Halloween Festivities Await At Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

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Experience a bewitching fall season at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. From Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party to the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

At Magic Kingdom Park, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party offers parades, character photo opportunities, and delicious treats. Don’t miss Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, and Clarabelle Cow dressed as the Sanderson Sisters. Indulge in 30 specially-themed fall and Halloween treats, including Mars sweets like SKITTLES, SNICKERS, and M&M’S. Take photos with The Seven Dwarfs and enjoy entertainment from a spirited pirate band and Max Goof’s Powerline party pack.

Magic Kingdom is also adorned with festive fall decor, transforming Main Street, U.S.A. into a wonderland of autumn colors and giant pumpkins.

At EPCOT, the International Food & Wine Festival offers a taste tour of six continents. Visit the Brew-Wing Lab at the Odyssey for wacky culinary creations from Muppet Labs. Explore over 25 Global Marketplaces and enjoy live musical performances at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series.

Experience Halloween fun at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park with Tree of Life Awakenings and The Animation Experience at Conservation Station.

Disney Springs is full of festive fun with spooky treats, seasonal merchandise, and live entertainment from “Squad Ghouls,” Zombie Drummers, and Skeleton Stiltwalkers.

Don’t miss out on these enchanting fall experiences at Walt Disney World Resort.