What’s New Wednesday: May 4th edition – Walt Disney World

It’s been awhile since I’ve had an edition of What’s New Wednesday, but some exciting things are happening again around Walt Disney World! If you’re traveling soon, you’ve got more new things to look forward to. As mentioned a few weeks ago, a lot of new things are coming this summer with Disney’s Awaken Summer campaign. A 3rd track to Toy Story Mania to alleviate some of the standby line, a 3rd track and a new place to soar (around the World) with Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, Anna & Elsa’s big move to Epcot, and a whole new experiences (at night) in Animal Kingdom!

So what’s new? Princess Fairy Tale Hall in Magic Kingdom FastPasses opened up through June 11th which very likely means that all things Frozen will open up after that date since Anna & Elsa can’t be in 2 places at once!

Olaf is HERE! He’s ready to BRING BACK SUMMER in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Currently they are listed as “soft openings”. Wait times were not bad today, however it was a long day of almost constant rain. You can find him near the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.

Sorcerer Mickey is finding a new home as of May 8th! Currently he’s in a less than ideal location in an empty building next to Toy Story Mania. He’s getting a new set with a gorgeous looking backdrop and a great new location. Minnie is also joining him with a glam look ready for the red carpet – it is some very unique attire!

The Frozen Games are coming to Blizzard Beach this summer. Beginning, May 27th, join Olaf and Kristoff and participate in a variety of “frozen” themed activities. Only water park admission is required (remember, this is different than your theme park admission).

During Fulton’s Crab House’s current refurbishment, the restaurant will undergo a name change: Paddlefish. With this change a menu change is coming as well! Check back for additional details as Disney continues to update!

What’s New Wednesday: December 16th edition

I am SO excited for today’s What’s New Wednesday around Disney destinations because there is a lot to cover with so much new coming around Walt Disney World with openings, changes, and additions. 2016 is going to a really exciting year for Disney!

Disney World:

  • Skipper’s Canteen restaurant is officially open in Magic Kingdom! These uniquely themed restaurant offers table service lunch and dinner in Adventureland. The skippers for the World Famous Jungle Cruise offer unique menu items in this small just over 200 seat restaurant. With the current official opening, Disney announced that they are not accepted advanced dining reservations (ADRs). That comes to a big surprise to me as anything new in Disney causes lines and a little bit of chaos. Keep your eyes open for that to change! Right now, they are just accepting walk ups and have the ability to text you updated wait times so you can go do something else with the 80+ minute wait times that were seen in the few days of “soft openings”
  • Symphony in the Stars – a Star Wars themed Fireworks extravaganza begins on December 18th! You can live stream the entire experience through Disney Parks Blog. If you are traveling January 5 – March 19, you’ll be able to reserve seating (at an additional cost of course)! Still waiting on official times and details quite yet. If it follows suit for other dessert parties, I’d expect them to shoot off about an hour after the parties start (so perhaps 8 pm. Does that mean park hours will change and get extended. It’s the million dollar question right now!)
  • A new restaurant is coming to Animal Kingdom in 2016! Tiffins is a new signature restaurant which is expected to open in spring of 2016 with both Rivers of Light and the extended hours of Kilimanjaro Safaris! More details about menus and pricing to come!
  • Exciting changes to Memory Maker…something not often heard of in Disney – a price cut! The new cost of Memory Maker for advanced purchase is $149 (which was the original price when the product became available) and $169 for purchases made on site or less than 3 days from arrival. There is now a 1 day Memory Maker option which is $59 which is great for short trips or those that didn’t purchase the product but come home and see tons of great photos in Magic Kingdom that they want to keep. Another great enhancement by Disney. For those that purchased Memory Maker when it was at the $169 advanced purchase price, you should have received an email from Disney that you will have a $20 credit to use after you return home for any additional items or prints.
  • “Brunch at the top” at Disney’s Contemporary resort will debut on February 7th. This Sunday brunch experience will allow guests to have the fine dining experience they love at dinner with brunch including a sushi bar! Adults can partake in a bloody Mary bar, craft beers, and unique cocktails. Cost is $80 for adults and $48 for children. No official word if this will be included on the Disney dining plan (It hasn’t been mentioned in any of the communication I received so I’m guessing not). Reservations available online today!
  • The Ganacery – luxury chocolates is now open in Disney Springs! Some tasty and amazing treats (16 different varieties of chocolate) are available for kids of all ages. If you are a chocolate fan, go in and try it near Paradiso 37!

Adventures by Disney

If this unique Disney product interests you, now is the time to experience it! Through a special limited time offer through specific travel agents (including ME!) you can earn up to $250 off your reservation if your deposit is made before January 2, 2016!

Now is also the time to book because deposit and payment policy is changing as of January 1st! Currently deposit is $300 per person and as of January 1, the deposit goes to 10% of the vacation fare (a huge difference in some of the larger vacation destinations!) Final payment is also changing from 90 days to 120 days (again a little more time to pay).

If you’re looking for more information and tips for this luxury travel destination, I started a new blog to help promote this amazing and best rated Disney Destination: Adventure with Me and ABD!! If you know someone that has traveled on this unique experience, they are the best people to talk to about it. It’s truly a memorable family experience and perfect for active families who don’t want or want a break from the theme park experience!

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!!

What’s New Wednesday: November 4th Edition

 

FullSizeRenderHappy Wednesday! It’s halfway through another week! It’s time to talk about what’s new around Disney Destinations!

Walt Disney World:

  • Osborne Festival of Dancing Lights in Hollywood Studios are doing “previews” each night. Official opening date is scheduled for the 6th of November, but they are ON. If you’re in Disney now, enjoy them while you can!
  • Club Villain is available at Hollywood Studios on select evenings in 2016. Details from Disney…The mysterious Dr. Facilier welcomes Guests into Club Villain, his parlor of mystical mishaps, for a spellbinding evening. This special-ticket event, offered only on select evenings, will feature musical numbers with the help of a DJ, as well as appearances by the divas of evil – Maleficent, Queen of Hearts, Cruella De Vil, and the Evil Queen. Throughout the evening, you can enjoy fiendish concoctions from the Potions Bar and savor culinary delights from New Orleans while they mingle with the villains and dance the night away! Cost is $99 per guestFullSizeRender 3
  • Disney introduced new refillable mugs around Walt Disney World resorts. I LOVE them! They are starting to pop up around locations as the old ones are selling out.
  • It’s a small world meets Frozen again this year at Contemporary Resort’s holiday display. Holiday decor should be going up in the first 2 weeks of November!
  • Frozen Holiday Wish will return this year in Magic Kingdom as Elsa lights Cinderella’s Castle in a beautiful display. While I’m over Frozen Mania, it’s a gorgeous site!
  • Ft. Wilderness Cabins have been undergoing a renovation (a little secret renovation since there’s little guest interruption since each cabin is an individual entity)
  • Santa Goofy is available for meet and greet through the holiday season in Hollywood Studios!

Disneyland:

  • Disneyland Holiday experiences begin November 13th! We will be there LIVE to bring you the updates available to guests with valid park admission. This includes Haunted Mansion Holiday (which runs from Halloween through the Christmas season), its’ a small world holiday overlay and a Christmas parade among other special events! Check back with us over the next 2 weeks for the fun and exciting updates!

That’s it for this week. We’ll continue to bring you updates as they happen!!

BIG things coming to Disney World starting this winter!

It has been a really big day for Disney! With the D23 Expo going on in Anaheim this weekend, all sorts of buzz is around my favorite places. Disney World has several new and exciting things coming around. A lot of these have been rumors for a long time. As usual, rumors are typically true in Disney World!

First, coming later in 2015 a Jungle Cruise themed restaurant: Skipper’s Cantina will be coming to Adventureland. This a long awaited announcement as the current refurbishment of Liberty Tree Tavern was to expand the kitchen for this restaurant. The skippers of the Jungle Cruise will be manning this restaurant so I expect the same corny jokes and humor. While the full details are not completely revealed, many (including myself) believe that the restaurant will work in similar fashion to Be Our Guest with lunch as a quick service stop and dinner as table service. It will also rival the popularity and difficulty to grab the reservation as Be Our Guest. I’m excited to see when opening day will be and get some reviews!

Next, Star Wars Land coming to Hollywood Studios and a second in Disneyland This will a new 14 acre land that will transport you to Star Wars. This will be a very time consuming process. I’m guessing they have been doing a lot groundwork already, but I’m sure we’ll soon see a lot of new things popping up and walls going up around the construction zones. The land sounds nothing short of amazing. Guests can ride the Millennium Falcon and also check out the famed cantina (while my family isn’t die hard into Star Wars, you bet I will be trying out both)!

While all of the Star Wars fans so patiently wait for the new area to open (no whispers of dates yet), Disney did reveal some exciting things to tie you over:

  • An update to Jedi Training Academy
  • Star Tours 3.0 (a refresh to the existing ride – don’t expect to see a refurbishment since it’s a simulator style ride)
  • Star Wars: Season of the force coming in 2016 which will be a lead into the Star Wars weekends with fireworks returning to Hollywood Studios (a great way to add evening traffic to that park!)

Staying in Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Land is also coming! I am really excited about this one. It adds a kid and family friendly area in a park that was lacking a good kid presence outside of Disney Jr. themed attractions. This 11 acre area will be anchored by a new family coaster created by Andy where guests get to ride on the back of Slinky Dog. Another new attraction will be the Alien Green Saucers which sound a lot like the Mad Tea Party in Magic Kingdom. Guests will also be able to meet their favorite Toy Story friends. Additionally (and already announced), the 2nd Toy Story Mania track is in place to help alleviate the current (and future) traffic coming to that area. No details on an opening date for any of the new attractions.

Moving over to Epcot, the update to Maelstrom to a Frozen attraction is still in progress. Newer information about the transformation of the entire Norway pavilion has been revealed as well. The Royal Sommerhus (which has started to peek over the the top of the construction walls earlier this week) will give guests an new location to meet Anna & Elsa and the area is very authentic Norwegian. Sven will also be making his appearance here. Still no Olaf (sorry friends!) Scheduled to open in mid-2016.

Epcot’s headlining attraction Soarin’ will also be getting an update: Soarin’ Around the World will make its debut in 2016. This new experience will keep you in your hang glider as you fly high above some amazing attractions. No longer will it be California centric. Disney is currently in process of adding a third theater in Epcot to meet capacity demands.

The last park to get an update: Animal Kingdom. For anyone that has been there recently, you’ve seen the construction walls. None of these projects are newly announced, but it was nice to hear updates to them.

Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris. A family favorite attraction will now be extended for a nighttime adventure with speciality lights added with some additional animals getting adding to the safari. Expect to see this as hours get extended while Animal Kingdom joins the other 3 parks with true evening hours (can I get a FINALLY?!)

Rivers of Light. Walls have been up for what seems like forever on this project! Scheduled to open in spring of 2016, this experience will combine live music, lanterns, water, and animal imagery. Don’t expect any fireworks, but it sounds like a very unique experience and capacity will be high to see this around the water.

Update on AVATAR. The official title will be Pandora – the World of AVATAR. The main attraction in this land will be “Flight of Passage” which brings gets into scenes from the movie as they soar on a Banshee. This will be another amazing immersive experience. It is scheduled to open in 2017. Stay patient friends!

I, for one, am absolutely excited about all of these new updates! We are frequent Disney goers, and while there’s always something new, I haven’t seen announcements this big since new Fantasyland was announced and with so many announcements and enhancements, it’s an amazing time to get excited about Disney travel.

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 2015 or 2016 holiday 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!