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Ears the News with Richard

THINK by IBM at Innoventions West will close on January 1 2015 and Test the Limits Lab at Inventions East will close on January 6 2015. Both exhibits have reached the end of their sponsorship period, with no word yet on any replacements.

The Magic Kingdom's Jungle Cruise is scheduled to be closed for refurbishment in the Spring. The closure will begin on April 13 through to May 8 2015.

The pools at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are scheduled for brief closures next week to carry out essential maintenance work.
Image courtesy Disney Parks Blog
The main feature pool, The Big Blue Pool is planned to be closed from January 12 to 14.
The Flippin' Fins Pool is scheduled to be closed from on January 15 and 16.
The Cozy Cone Pool is not expected to be closed.

Work is now underway at Disney's Hollywood Studios on the removal of the Sorcerer Mickey Hat icon. Overnight crews have installed construction walls surrounding the hat as the area becomes an active construction zone. Nothing looks to have been removed yet, but an assortment of machinery is in place behind the walls.

Typhoon Lagoon has reopened following its annual refurbishment.
There are no major changes to Disney's most visited water park, but guests will find a few small updates.
Inside the park, you can find Singapore Shades by Sunglass Hut inside Singapore Sals, the parks main shop. An extensive range of high end sunglasses are on offer from Ray-ban, Oakley and more.
Despite speculation that the Shark Reef was set to permanently close, it has reopened and is operating as normal.
Finally, menus at some of the dining locations have been updated.
The Snack Shack now offers a Cornbread Waffle Sandwich with BBQ pork and coleslaw along with a Fruit and Chocolate Chip Waffle Sandwich.
Surf Doggies has a new Sausage Sub with peppers and onions.
Over at Leaning Palms you can find a new Chicken with rice and beans bowl and a new Plantain Burger.
Now that Typhoon Lagoon is back open, Blizzard Beach is now closed to begin its annual refurbishment through to March 14 2015.

To accommodate the new wider Buena Vista Drive alongside Disney Springs, the main entrance has been pushed further back and widened. Most of the props remain, although the area is still very much in construction, so perhaps more changes are coming.

The Flame Tree Barbecue is currently closed for a major remodel which is expected to last through until April 2015.
During the closure, some of the Flame Tree dishes are being made available at nearby kiosks.
Jumbo Turkey Legs and Pork Sandwich are available at Trilo-Bites near the entrance to Dino Land U.S.A.
Half Chicken, St. Louis Style Ribs can be found at Beastly Kiosk and Garden Kiosk near the exit of Tough to be A Bug.

The remodel will bring a number of improvements to the restaurant's outdoor seating area. More covered areas will be installed, including covering the walkways between the seating areas. The ordering area will also see an expansion of its roof, covering guests placing orders.

The remodel is expected to take approximately three months, with a reopening in early April 2015.

'Backstage Tales' will open in March 2015 as a new tour to be offered at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Replacing the existing 'Backstage Safari' tour, 'Backstage Tales' will be a longer experience with a few changes and higher price. Guests aged 12 and above can take part at a cost of $90 plus tax.
The 3 hour 45 minute tour will take guests backstage for a look at animal housing, the nutrition center, and the veterinarian facilities.
You can continue to book the existing 'Backstage Safari' tour through to February 27 2015, with the new 'Backstage Tales' tour available from March 1 2015.
The tour is offered Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday at 8:30 AM and 1:00 PM. Reservations can be made at 407-939-8687.

Disney has announced that sales of its latest Disney Vacation Club property at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort will go on sale next week, beginning January 12 2015.
Existing DVC members can purchase at the property on January 12, with general sales beginning on
Image courtesy Disney Parks Blog
February 9 2015. The first phase of the project will open on April 1 2015.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming families to this enchanting new resort, located just a quick monorail ride from Magic Kingdom Park,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club. “At Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, both the young and young at heart will enjoy a truly unique, enhanced and memorable vacation getaway, one that combines completely new Disney elements with the iconic and beloved experiences found only at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.”

The 20 Bora Bora Bungalows on the Seven Seas Lagoon will sleep up to eight guests each in a two-bedroom, home-like setting reminiscent of the South Pacific. The Bungalows have two full bathrooms, a kitchen, washer and dryer, and large dining and living room spaces for gatherings. Décor combines modern style with the tropical and enchanting look and feel of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
Image courtesy Disney Parks Blog
Private decks will feature a plunge pool where Members and guests can view fireworks over the
Magic Kingdom, complete with the soundtrack that can be heard through an individual sound system. They will also have front-row seats to the Electrical Water Pageant that performs nightly on the Seven Seas Lagoon.

Disney's Polynesian Resort has recently unveiled its new open lobby redesign, with the new main feature Lava Pool area set to open later this year. Trader Sam's Grog Grotto lounge will also open soon to round out the redevelopment of the resort.

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