Animal Kingdom Welcomes Baby Hippo

baby hippo at animal kingdom

Here’s the latest on Animal Kingdom’s newest resident – a baby hippo! – plus the all the updates on news, weather, refurbishments and closings this week at Walt Disney World.

baby hippo at animal kingdom

Tuma and her calf – the cutest baby hippo ever – at Animal Kingdom. Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog.

There’s a lot to keep track of at WDW, whether you’re going this week or planning a future trip – we have everything you need to know – keep reading!

New at Walt Disney World This Week

It has been 13 years since a hippo was born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but all that changed last week. Tuma is the proud mom of the cutest baby hippo you will ever see! You can catch Tuma and her calf on the Kilimanjaro Safaris. Disney Parks Blog recently released a video of the baby swimming with her mom that you MUST check out!

Walt Disney World is in the process of testing the use of Registered Nurses at Disney’s All-Star Resorts. For the next three months, guests staying at the All-Stars will have access to a nurse in the morning from 7am until 11am for any minor medical assistance. The nurse will be available in the lobby and can provide bandages, over-the-counter medication, and minor first aid. What do you think about this trial run?

Were you aware that Monday January 22nd is National Polka Dot Day? Minnie Mouse is the star inspiration with her “rock the dots” fashion. Disney Parks created a bunch of new merchandise in celebration of the event. There is literally something for everyone with polka-dotted Minnie merchandise including pins, cups, mugs, shirts, purses, and Pandora. Want ears? They’ve got ‘em! Want your own Minnie inspired dress? That’s available too! Many items will be offered for a limited time, so don’t wait if you want to #RockTheDots in style!

Back for its second year, Epcot International Festival of the Arts is one of the best events to get the most amazing Magic Shots! If you are going to the Festival and were ever thinking of getting Memory Maker, now is the time to act! During the Festival, you will have the opportunity to become a “part of the art” and have your picture taken “inside” a variety of famous paintings! Imagine yourself inside “George Washington Crossing the Delaware” or you as the famous “SCREAM” painting! There are many Magic Shot photograph opportunities that are too good to pass up.

Ever wanted to be able to purchase more FastPasses? Disney is making that a reality. Before you get too excited, it’s kind of limited to certain guests. Here’s the deal, you have to be staying at one of the Deluxe Resorts at Club level in order to be able to purchase additional FastPasses. You also need to have either a 3-day+ theme park ticket or Annual Pass. Then for $50 (plus tax, per person of course) you can purchase 3 additional FastPasses. You can even book passes in multiple parks as long as you have a hopper. Not only that, but you can book 90 days in advance and even book multiple top-tier attractions. Disney says the ability to purchase additional FastPasses will not affect those who are booking 60 days in advance. (Although it seems hard to believe that making additional FastPassess available isn’t going to affect anything…)

Children’s Activity Centers located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts will close their doors forever on July 31, 2018. It seems that there just hasn’t been enough demand to warrant keeping the facilities open. Kid’s Nite Out babysitting service is suggested as a resource for those wishing to have some adult time.

WDW Closings and Refurbishments in January

  • Liberty Square Riverboat is undergoing refurbishment starting January 8th until an undisclosed time.
  • Splash Mountain will be closed from January 8th until February 1st.
  • Kali River Rapids will be closed from January 2nd until February 10th.
  • Flights of Wonder is now closed to make room for a new attraction opening this spring.
  • Blizzard Beach is under annual refurbishment and will be closed through January 7th 2018.
  • Typhoon Lagoon will be under annual refurbishment from January 7th until March 18th.
  • Portobello Country Italian Trattoria in Disney Springs remains closed until spring of 2018, when it will reopen as Terralina Crafted Italian.
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort will have room and Convention Center refurbishments through early 2018.
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort will be undergoing refurbishments until sometime in 2018. The renovations will close Old Port Royale Food Court, Shutters at Old Port Royale, Cabana Pool Bar and Calypso Trading Post. Other food options will be available during this time.
  • Old Key West is in the middle of room refurbishments until late June 2018.
  • Meadow Swimmin’ Pool at Fort Wilderness will undergo refurbishment from late January until early February.
  • Duck Pond Pool at All Star Movies will be under refurbishment January 2nd until sometime this spring.
  • Big Blue Pool at Art of Animation will undergo refurbishment from mid-January until a time to be determined.
  • Toy Story Land is currently under construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with an expected opening of Summer 2018.
  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is currently under construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with an expected opening in 2019.

Don’t forget, closures are subject to change without notice. If you have your heart set on an attraction, be sure to check before you go. Also, check the parks for changes the day of your arrival.

Weather at WDW this week

Highs of 81°F / Lows of 59°F

Partial cloud, showers.

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