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!!
- 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!!
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!
- 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!
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…
- 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!
- 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)
- 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!
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