What’s New Wednesday: December 2nd edition

Happy December Disney fans! It’s the most wonderful time of the year so the song goes! There is a LOT of wonderful new things around Disney parks, so let’s get right to it…

Walt Disney World

  • Star Wars Launch Bay is up and running. This provides Disney and Star Wars fans with all sorts of new and fun experiences. You can follow the Path of the Jedi to give even the seasoned Star Wars fan walk down Luke Skywalker’s journey to becoming a Jedi.
    • There is a line to get into Launch Bay (there is a posted time above the entrance – typically about 15-20 minutes). It doesn’t seem like guests are getting “kicked out” after a certain period of time, so times may vary.
    • Launch Bay also offers 2 unique character meet and greets – The Dark Side: Darth Vader and The Light Side: Chewbacca. Both are reported to be a great experience and worth the wait (lines have ranged in the 40-70+ minutes in the first 2 days).
    • For Disney Visa Card holders, you have a special meet and greet available to you beginning at 11 am. You must show your Disney card and up to 6 guests may enter under that single card. (if you have a party larger than 6, you must be able to show a 2nd card)
  • Yacht & Beach Club is hosting a New Year’s Eve spectacular. This is available for Walt Disney World resort guests ONLY for an exclusive countdown to midnight. There are 3 different experiences and all-you-care-to-eat menu and beverage “reception” to enjoy and booking is available now. Like any “limited time” experience, expect it to go quickly!
  • The World of Disney Store in Disney Springs went through an expansion (so the largest store on Disney property just on bigger) adding an additional 6,000 square feet of space! If you can’t find what you need here, you probably won’t find it anywhere!!

Disneyland

  • The new Paint the Night Parade will offer dining package beginning January 11. You can book a reservation at Blue Bayou or Aladdin’s Oasis. At Blue Bayou, you will have a 3 course meal and seating area will  be on Main Street! At Aladdin’s Oasis, you have a choice of 3 entrees and have the option to take your meal to go or enjoy it in the restaurant’s seating area. The viewing for this location is near It’s a Small World which is where the parade starts. Reservations are not yet open, but should be available soon!

And that’s what’s new around Disney Destinations this week! Stay tuned for the most up to date information!!

What’s new Wednesday: November 25th Edition

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! I hope everyone is either heading to see family or getting ready for family to arrive. I wish I could get creative with today’s post and theme it around giving things or the holiday itself, but I’m not that good, but we can be thankful for all of these new or upcoming things (or updates from previous info).

Walt Disney World:

  • New information is available for Rivers of Light – the evening experience at Animal Kingdom which incorporates light, water, and a spectacular show. The expected opening date is sometime in spring of 2016. This definitely makes me excited about spending a full day in Animal Kingdom (it’s not a park we often spend a full day in)
  • Update to FastPass tiers – Flights of Wonder added to FastPass availability option in Animal Kingdom; Mission Space added to the tier 1 attraction list during the closure of Soarin’ beginning in January
  • Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival is extended to 90 days in 2016. Official dates: March 2 – May 30, 2016. It’s one of my favorite experiences in Epcot – with the outdoor kitchens expanding every year, it’s a must do attraction!
  • Two of Disney’s Child Activity Centers have some upgrades making them similar to Disney Cruise Line’s experience with more immersive kids activities and CHARACTERS! These two locations are the Sandcastle Club in Beach Club and Lilo’s Playhouse at Polynesian Village. With this update, there is a change in cost. It is now a flat fee of $55 per child instead of the previous hourly charge but it does allow adults to have a full “date night”.
  • Innoventions in Epcot finally reopened to the public with Colortopia – a unique interactive area for kids. It’s not a “must do”, but it’s a great kids diversion or a place to get out of the heat or the rain!
  • Epcot’s Captain EO will be closing in early December and being replaced with Pixar Shorts (no word if it a FastPass will be available or necessary)
  • Star Wars experiences including new character meet and greets and updated Jedi Training will open on December 1st!

Disneyland:

  • Seasons of the Force is in full swing as of November 16th and let me tell you IT IS AWESOME! It will be well worth the wait at Walt Disney World.
  • Hyperspace Mountain (the Star Wars overlay of Space Mountain) is absolutely fantastic. Worth a 60 minute wait time (try to grab a FastPass if you can).
  • Special Character Meet and Greets – Dark Side, Light Side with Darth Vader & Chewbacca
  • Star Wars: Path of the Jedi captures your favorite Star Wars moments (if you’ve seen photos of some of the Star Wars memorabilia, this is likely where it is!)
  • If you’re considering a trip to Disneyland, add an extra 1/2 day (at least) for just the Star Wars experiences. You can spend a LONG time looking at all of the fantastic details!

That’s it for this week. Hope the turkeys and the wine are at the ready!

 

What’s New Wednesday: November 11, 2015 edition

First, a big thank you to all of those who served our country to veteran’s day! This edition of What’s new Wednesday around Disney destinations. Some of these are updates on experiences that are now open or have more info based on previous announcements!

Walt Disney World

  • A Star Wars presence will increase in Hollywood Studios as of December 1st! For full details, check a full post from earlier this week: HERE
  • Star Wars weekends were officially cancelled for the immediate future. The marketing gurus of WDW came up with “you can have Star Wars every day with the upcoming expansions”
  • Two new dining experiences opened up this week – the expansion of Garden Grill for breakfast and lunch and Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine. Both are getting rave guest reviews. At Minnie’s Holiday Dine, guests are greeted by Santa Goofy (a line that is ALWAYS long for meet and greet). A few posed photos will be available to you (if you have Memory Maker, the photos will be part of your download package). At Garden Grill, the breakfast menu looks fantastic. Food is as always fresh tasting and you have your favorite Disney characters – Chip, Dale, and Farmer Mickey!

Disneyland

  • Seasons of the Force officially opens on Monday, November 16th! Expect larger than average crowds during this time. I’ll be there LIVE to show some of the new experiences available. When I return home, I’ll be able to give you a big update on the details, but for up to the minute updates follow me on twitter: alittlewdwmagic.
  • The holidays are in full swing around Disneyland – Jingle Cruise, Haunted Mansion Holiday, and its a small world holiday are all available. Holiday decor is up as well! The first Christmas parade is on Friday! Dawn and I will both be available over the weekend to provide live updates of the experience! Look for a video blog sometime this weekend (or at least a feeble attempt at one!) Again, follow me on twitter for up to the second updates of changes around Disneyland Park and California Adventure: alittlewdwmagic.

Disney Cruise Line

  • With the dry dock complete on the Disney Dream, several new experiences are available to you! Vanellope’s Sweet Shop with absolutely adorable themed sweets from my favorite friend from Wreck It Ralph, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (reservations required), and new interactive areas for kids including Disney Infinity experiences! Of course, you’ll also have the addition of Star Wars experiences in the kids club areas. There is also an additional experience for adults with some renovations on the “adults only” areas! Surprises around every corner. You know when Disney takes 3 months away from a normal cruise itinerary, they are going to throw as much at a renovation as possible!

And that’s what’s new this Wednesday!!

Update to Star Wars experiences at Hollywood Studios

Star Tours

Well Star Wars fans, the excitement you have all been waiting for – Disney released additional details about the updates to Star Wars experiences. There is some bad news and some good news.

The bad news is what I have been fearing for the last several weeks – the cancellation of Star Wars weekends. This HUGELY popular weekends in May and June are no longer. It sounds like forever, but I can’t quite tell. I’m sure the Star Wars/Disney community is in a bit of an uproar as news starts to trickle out. I do have some clients that are quite disappointed with the news! Their marketing team is spinning it that the updates to the HUGE Star Wars land breaking ground in 2016 will allow to be immersed in the Star Wars experience every day instead of just a few times each year!

The good news? LOTS OF IT! A few highlights:

  • New experiences will open as early as December 1, 2015 which is a bit ahead of their original timetable
  • Star Wars launch bay will open which is behind the scenes at the new Star Wars film as well as meet and greet opportunities. Right now, the announced meets will be with Darth Vader and Chewbacca. If this is on your must do list, arrive early as they will be hugely popular!
  • There will be an update to the Star Tours attraction which will give you an experience similar to the new film. More from Disney Parks Blog
  • Jedi Training is getting a revamp at the expense of my poor October and November guests! This experience will open in early December and it sounds like a huge upgrade in terms of location and experience. They added a villain from the Disney XD series as well to keep it interesting for even the young Star Wars fan!
  • Ground-breaking for the new monstrous update to Star Wars land will happen in early 2016. I’d expect the full project to take 2-3 years if not even more (thinking about the start to finish experience of New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom. As projects were completed, Disney did open pieces at a time, and I’m hoping this will be the case for this new area of Hollywood Studios!

For full updates on all things new Star Wars, check out Disney Parks Blog! I’m excited for the future of the park. It’s going to become a hugely popular park likely doubling the number of attractions currently available (not including live shows of course).

Interested in experiencing just some of the Star Wars excitement in Disney World? Ready to get started planning your 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

What’s New Wednesday! Weekly roundup around Disney destinations

It’s a new installment here on A Little WDW Magic called “What’s New Wednesday”! It’s a way for us to get you the new information for the past week around Disney destinations (Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line for the most part with a little bit of Adventures by Disney and Aulani news here and there). It will allow both new and old readers to get the tips and tricks they love and need while keeping updated on some of the new things happening around Disney parks and destinations. So let’s check out this week’s roundup…

Disney World

  • Downtown Disney OFFICIALLY becomes Disney Springs today! It’s an exciting transition that has been in progress for a few years now. All of the online presence on Disney’s web sites now says Disney Springs. They have been working on changing signage around property over the last month or so.
  • Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs will be opening this week! Another great addition to the area providing some unique and delicious dining. You will see this location available for dining on DisneyWorld.com/Dining in the coming months
  • Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar is now open in Disney Springs! This nod to Indiana Jones has been a popular destination since it’s opening. This location does not accept Disney’s dining plan, but it’s a great place to grab a drink and some tapas style appetizers.
  • Hollywood Studios popular Jedi Training Academy will be closed for a refurbishment beginning October 4th. No word on how long this refurbishment will last, but lots of disappointment fall travelers on this one!
  • TWO new promotional offers available for Disney World travel 2016 travel dates in January, February, March, and early April. Check out the full details HERE.
  • The Salute to the Military offer for military members and their families has returned for 2016!

Disneyland

  • Seasons of the Force will begin on November 16th at Disneyland which includes:
    • Star Wars Launch Bay – Offering opportunities to visit with favorite Star wars characters, special exhibits and peeks at the new Star Wars; The Force Awakens
    • Star Tours the Adventure Continues – Updated attraction with scenes from the new film!
    • Jedi Training – Trials of the Temple – Coming in December to Disneyland. It will introduce new characters and a new villain!
    • Hyperspace Mountain – Reimaging of the classic Space Mountain ride (for a limited time only)
    • Opportunity to revisit favorite scenes from classic Star Wars movies at Tomorrowland Theater (limited time)
    • Special themed food & beverage items (limited time)
  • The New Star Wars Land will break ground in early 2016 which will permanent close some attractions in Frontierland , Big Thunder Range including Big Thunder Range BBQ, Petting Zoo and Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. The last day for these attractions will be Jan 10, 2016.
  • The following Disneyland attractions will close for approximately 1 year beginning Jan 10, 2016:
    • Disneyland Railroad (all stations)
    • Fantasmic!
    • Mark Twain Riverboat & Sailing Ship Columbia
    • Pirate’s Lair on Tom Saywers Island
    • Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes

That’s this week’s WHAT’S NEW! We’ll continue to update you on important breaking changes!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your late 2015 or 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

Friday Five: 5 Theme park events included with your park admission

Today is opening day for the International Food & Wine Festival, so today we are going to talk about 5 amazing events that happen each year that are included in your park admission!

1. Food & Wine Festival (Epcot). This is the best of the best in terms of special events. Epcot World Showcase (and part of Future World) get transformed into a bustling marketplace full of amazing smells and tastes! Take your taste buds on a trip around the world with more food and drink than you could ever consume. The biggest trouble you’ll have here is figuring out how much you can eat. This is a GREAT place to use your snack credits if you have a Disney dining plan. This event happens every fall typically late September through early to mid-November.

A little taste of Osborne lights!

A little taste of Osborne lights!

2. Osborne Festival of Lights (Hollywood Studios) 2015 marks the end of this amazing experience which runs from early November through the holiday season (usually into January). Streets of America gets turned into millions of lights from all directions and the lights are choreographed to amazing holiday music. I could sit on the ground and watch it for hours. There are so many lights that cast members begin to put them up in SEPTEMBER. Seriously, a not to be missed experience and this is the last year it will ever be seen in Walt Disney World so what are you waiting for?

3. Flower & Garden Festival (Epcot). This festival has becoming a mini food & wine festival with the addition of pop up “kitchens” around World Showcase. Originally, the event started as over 100 topiaries of Disney characters old and new lined much of Epcot. It has become a favorite event of ours because crowds are not often high and there are all sorts of fun snacks, drinks,and things to see! There’s even a butterfly garden! It makes Epcot more appealing for those who think it’s not a worthy park to visit. This event typically runs from early March through early  Mary.

4. Star Wars Weekends (Hollywood Studios). An event that will likely grow and grow. Star Wars weekends

happen in Hollywood Studios from Mid-May to Mid-June. Special meet and greets with star wars characters,Star Wars themed dining, special fireworks and a themed parade are highlights of this event. It’s truly fun and unique whether you enjoy Star Wars or not! If not, you better start enjoying it with the Star Wars presence only growing (Disney announced a Star Wars land coming to Hollywood Studios in the next few years)

5. Candlelight Processional (Epcot). This event comes with a little asterisk. While this amazing holiday experience is free to the general public, the theater it is held in is small. Disney offers dinner packages to allow you to guarantee a seat to experience the retelling of Christmas by celebrity narrators accompanied with an orchestra and choir. It’s a magical way to enjoy the holiday season. This event happens 3 times nightly (with a few exceptions). Still a very loved experience by my family! This event begins after Thanksgiving and runs through the Christmas season.

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to enjoy one of these amazing Disney experiences? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. We can talk about the best park tickets, resorts, and package inclusions for you! The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free vacation opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!