Celebrate Star Wars at Disneyland with new Season of the Force videos and photos.
With the latest Star Wars movie breaking the all-time domestic box office record less than a month of its release, it’s pretty clear that the Force is wide awake all over America, but nowhere has the film’s impact been more evident than inside the Disney parks. I’ve already covered the newly added Star Wars attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, and recently I had the chance to fly west and compare Orlando’s offerings to their Anaheim analogues. While in California, I captured this gallery of Season of the Force videos and photo gallery to give our Disneyland-deprived readers a taste of the Happiest Place on Earth’s take on a galaxy far, far away…
Season of the Force Crowds
The first thing to know about Season of the Force is that the crowds are strong with this one! Even though the days of my Disneyland visit were predicted to have moderate attendance, Tomorrowland was packed from open to close, only becoming busier as the afternoon and evening continued. If you want to experience all the popular attractions that are part of Disneyland’s Season of the Force, get there at rope drop or be prepared to wait in line!
New Force Awakens footage is featured in Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Star Wars Episode VII doesn’t open until next month, but the Force is already awake inside the Star Tours ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Unlike Disneyland, Walt Disney World won’t debut the Seasons of the Force special event (which replaces the long-running Star Wars Weekends) until January 5 (Launch Bay with displays and character greetings opens December 1), but one element of the event is already having its “soft opening” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As of November 16, new Force Awakens footage has been added to DHS’s Star Tours attraction, and we were there on the first day to experience the changes.
Disney World has truly spectacular offerings during the holiday season.
It’s no secret that I dress for success when I plan my outfit choices in Walt Disney World – no detail is left out. While this usually refers to some light DisneyBounding, it means something a little different in December, when a cute dress and Mickey ears isn’t enough to get you through the cold evenings in the parks. Thanks to the fantastic holiday offerings, December is one of the most exciting times to visit Disney World. You’ve got Magic Kingdom’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP), Epcot’s Candlelight Processional, and Hollywood Studios’ Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. On top of that, the resorts and parks are decked out in their holiday finest, so even if you don’t want to spring for the extra cost of a party ticket to MVMCP, you can still enjoy the ambiance during the day. Just make sure, as you’re planning for your holiday trip, to give serious consideration to the weather. As unlikely as it sounds, Florida gets COLD at night in December!
I know what you might be thinking, “I’m from [insert cold state here — mine is Michigan]; Florida doesn’t even know what cold is! I walk eight miles uphill both ways through six feet of snow just to get to the Disney Store!” Okay, that might not be exactly what you thought, but it is pretty close to my viewpoint on the subject before my first December trip. Luckily, I followed the advice of others and (even though I scoffed) I packed for the cold weather. And thank goodness I did! Based on that experience, I’m going to give you a breakdown of my 5 must-pack items for cold weather, some tips specific to nighttime holiday entertainment options, and a few final pieces of advice so you can dress for success on your holiday adventures in Disney World!
When I arrived at noon, Epcot appeared quite a bit busier than you might hope a weekday in early November would be. Welcome to Jersey Week! Thanks to teachers’ conferences in New Jersey, wait times were jacked up throughout the park, with Spaceship Earth posting a 35 minute standby queue as I entered.
Hidden around Epcot’s World Showcase during the International Food and Wine Festival, you’ll find more than just booths with food and drink—you’ll find rats. But don’t worry, these aren’t your ordinary rats. It’s Remy, from the Disney movie Ratatouille. He’s decided to make his signature dish and is scouring ingredients from around World Showcase. Even better, he needs your help for a game of “Hide and Squeak”.
Available at select gift shops in Epcot (such as Pin Central and the Port of Entry), you can purchase a map with stickers for $7.95, similar to the kind available during the Epcot Easter Egg hunt in the spring. As you travel around World Showcase, look for Remy hiding somewhere in each location noted on the map. (For a hint, because he’s searching for food, you’ll usually find him somewhere near a food booth.) As you find him, see what ingredient he’s obtaining at each location and use the corresponding sticker on your map. When you are finished with your grand tour, take the completed map back to the Port of Entry and receive one of six commemorative pins featuring Remy and one of the ingredients.
As we were playing this game, we did find that some of the hidden Remy locations were more tricky than others, and so it may be challenging for a young child to do completely alone—but it is a great game for families or even for adults. To add another layer to the game, most of the ingredients are aligned in some way with the country in which you find them or the food being served at the booth. We had the most fun trying to predict what ingredients we would be looking for in each country. (Proud to say, I got more right than my husband!)
Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom isn’t the only place in Walt Disney World to score a French breakfast these days. The Parisian Breakfast has returned to Les Chefs de France restaurant in Epcot. Even though this is the 20th Anniversary of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, it’s only the third year for the Parisian Breakfast, an event that takes place every Saturday through November 14.
At $39 per person, plus tax (gratuity included, park admission required but not included), the Parisian Breakfast is one of the least expensive special event meals of the festival. The menu includes fresh pastries, just-baked baguettes, brioches, croissants (they had me at baguettes), unlimited coffee, tea, cappuccino, cafe au lait, chocolat chaud (French-style hot chocolate,) orange juice, and mimosas.
Here’s what I experienced this year:
We arrived at Epcot at 8:20 a.m. After bag check we headed to the right — past the lines of guests waiting to enter the park — an straight toward a sign marked “Breakfast Reservations Entrance.” The Cast Member near the breakfast entrance had our names on a list on her iPad and there was no line to speak of. We scanned our MagicBands and walked toward Spaceship Earth and into an empty Future World. We had plenty of time for great photos with Epcot all to ourselves.