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Ears the News with Richard

Image courtesy Disney Parks Blog
The new Starbucks at Disney's Animal Kingdom has been under construction for the past few months at the former Creature Comforts store on the Discovery Island walkway to Africa.
Disney has also shared a piece of concept art of the interior, which remains very faithful to the theme of the area.


Peter Pan's Flight at the Magic Kingdom will be closed for a short, 2 day refurbishment in early March 2015. The Fantasyland ride will close on March 5 through to March 6.

Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at the Magic Kingdom is also scheduled to be closed for a short 2 day refurbishment in March 2015. The closure begins on March 4 through to March 5.

Tomorrowland Arcade, the Magic Kingdom's video game attraction, has now permanently closed.
Located at the exit of Space Mountain, February 9 2015 was the final day of operation for the Tomorrowland Arcade, with no indication of what may replace it.

Changes in Florida laws regarding bans on Internet Cafes that may potentially be applied to video game arcades that dispense prizes are speculated to be behind the decision to close. Disney has not made any official comment on the issue.
It is also expected that Disney will also close similar prize counters and games involving clawing for prizes at the resort hotels.

It has been the source of constant speculation for the last several years and it now seems that finally the Adventureland Veranda will once again become a restaurant as construction permits have now been filed.
Located just across from the Tree House, it originally operated as a fast food restaurant with a tropical theme from opening day Oct 1 1971, but ceased operating in 1994. The Veranda has since been home to character meet and greets.

Various restaurant concepts ranging from the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean to an Adventurers Club theme have been mentioned in connection with the location over the years.
Related to this project seems to be the extended 6 month refurbishment of the nearby Liberty Tree Tavern beginning his summer. There has been some suggestion that kitchen space and other facilities may be shared between the two restaurants, which explains the rather unusual extended downtime of the Liberty Tree Tavern.

It is not yet clear what the final plans are, but this construction permit certainly puts the Verandah back in the spotlight and we should expect some official announcement of the plans soon.

The Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Exotic Driving Experience will permanently close later this year.

The driving experience attraction that gives guests the chance to drive a race track either on their own, or with a race car driver, will close in late June 2015. Those guests who already have a reservation will be able to move their drive to another Richard Petty course, with the closest being the Daytona Beach location.
“Our main focus at this moment is taking care of our staff and preparing them for the upcoming transition,” said Petty Holdings Vice President Bill Scott. “Any reserved guests prior to July 1 will have the same fantastic experience that we have delivered since 1997 at Walt Disney World Speedway.”
The Richard Petty Driving Experience is located on the outskirts of the Ticket and Transportation Center parking lot. Disney has said that it expects to use the land for future transportation improvements, but has not elaborated on what those are.
With the addition of New Fantasyland, and the parks increased capacity, parking capacity at the TTC has become an issue, with that reaching capacity before the park itself reaches capacity. If Disney sees parking as a limiting factor to attendance at the Magic Kingdom, it may well be the case that more parking is being planned.
The Richard Petty Driving Experience expanded its offerings in 2012 with the addition of the Exotic Driving Experience where guests can drive super cars.

Petty Holdings currently has plans in process for exotics and stock car programs in Orlando.

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